Saturday, October 28, 2017

Saturday October 28, 2017-Inks Lake State Park

Our first week of work has gone by without any further mishaps. Our little group deep cleaned another cabin on Tuesday and I began cleaning the outside of another, getting  good start on the process, It's not that physically demanding to deep clean a cabin but it is time consuming. The last couple of days we have done regular cabin cleaning and it is much easier. All hands will be on deck tomorrow (Sunday) but then we'll be off for a couple of days. We've been working a lot already, and have gotten over 30 hours in already. I expected to get a lot of hours in during the deer hunts, but not this early. 

We had some campfires at our friends Chip and Bunkie's place. It was nice last season because we were only two sites away and we had a fire just about every night unless there were high winds or it was raining. Unfortunately, all the sites on their rod were taken when we arrived, but we'll get some new neighbors soon and may have our own fires up here.

Stella and I went out to eat one night at the Highlander Restaurant. The food was as good as ever and I'm sure that we'll be back here. We also went out with a small group to a place called the Dam Site Grill, which is located near the Buchanan Dam. We ate there just about every Friday night with our little group of friends but the food seems to have gone down in quality. The restaurant changed hands last year and tonight everyone complained that the french fries were cold and the catfish seemed to be tougher than we remembered. We'll probably return, but will keep an eye on these food issues.

The deer hunts will begin in about a month, so hang in there with me.

So long.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Monday October 23, 2017-Inks Lake State Park

Over the weekend I spoke with Stefan, the new Lead Ranger here at the park, about what job(s) he needs for us to fill until the hunt begins. He asked that we clean cabins this week because he has some abscensses that he needs to cover and I told hi that we would be happy to help out. We were to meet him and other cabin-cleaners in the morning at 8am.

We were right on time and were told to use one of the carts that are reserved for cabin cleaning. I immediately forgot that the golf carts don't have a transmission like one of the Gators do, and will start in gear, so when the thing started up, it lurched forward into the back wall of the storage building. I immediately threw it into reverse and before I knew it, I had bumped into a support pole. There was no damage done, except to my ego, but I had learned a valuable lesson.

We picked up some gear and proceeded over to cabin #13, where we were doing a "deep cleaning". After introducing ourselves to the other workers, and we began removing the mattresses and other items for cleaning. I grabbed one end of  mattress and we took it outside, but my feet got tangled up in a door mat that was laying beside the door, and down I went! I wasn't hurt, but scratched and poked my right arm in about 6 places and, being a free bleeder from the blood thinners I take, I soon had blood all down my arm. Stella drove us home where she dressed the wounds and put Band Aids on my arm and I was as good as new, with some new bruises and the bandages on my arm. Again, very sheepish when I returned to the workplace. Stella didn't return because I had forgotten that I had made an appointment with the local Dish Network store to come out and install some new equipment to our antenna and televisions so we could receive signals on the bedroom and outside TV's.

I worked on cleaning the outside of one cabin and we started working on a second, but we were all tired and knocked off about 2PM. We worked for about 6 hours today and accomplished a lot and I learned about deep cleaning cabins. We will continue tomorrow, and this time, Stella will come back with me. We'll have our required hours in by Wednesday at this rate! 

So long.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Friday October 20, 2017-Moving Day-T & S Enterprises to Inks Lake State Park

We were up at our normal time because we thought that we only had 172 miles to drive today. We ended up taking the wrong, longer way through Seguin that was 263 miles, and not only was it 100 miles further, the traffic was very bad, which slowed us down A LOT!! We got stuck behind some big ol' wide load going through New Braunfels, and on top of that, it was rush hour to boot!

We made the usual pit/refreshment break at the Bucc-ee's in Luling, where we took the above photo. Don't worry about the apparent sag between the truck and trailer, we were stopped on top of a huge parking lot drain, which is in a dip in the lot.

We were first assigned to site 306, but found it difficult to get into with the new bigger coach, so I found site 293 that fit us much better.

The Host sites are much larger than the normal sites, and of course, have full hookups. Sewer is not normally offered at the state parks, although a few have it.

Our Glowstep Revolution steps that were transferred from the old Landmark to the new one. We love them, so stable and flexible to any terrain.

We have a nice view of Inks Lake from the back window.

I imagine that we'll spend some time sitting outside with the lake in the background. We'll be here for about 3 months...wish you were here with us!

So long.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Tuesday October 17, 2017-Rayford Crossing Resort to T & S Enterprises

We got up this morning to drive the 68 miles back to T & S, where we had bought the trailer. They had ordered a Winegard Traveler antenna for us to be installed on the roof and we had been told that it is in. We made the drive over without incident  and arrived here about noon.

John, our technician, began working on the antenna installation and Tim, one of the owners and our salesman, began working on a hydraulic leak on one of the jacks. Tim, of course, was very busy with sales and didn't have much time to spend on my repair, but handed it off to John to complete.

As you can see, the Traveler almost matches the paint on the Landmark, like it was made for it!

As far as I'm concerned, the best job that John did was re-installing our stained glass window in the new trailer. He took his time and sealed it completely and it should last a lifetime.

Our old friends Mike and Patrice were here on Tuesday when we arrived, after we told them where we were buying. We thought they were going to buy another Oshkosh, just like ours but at the last minute, they changed their minds and bought a Newport. 

On Wednesday, our Missouri Chapter Leaders came by to look at new Bighorns. We took them on a short tour around the lot when Tim was tied up with other matters. Tim soon took over and Stella and I relaxed at home while they spoke with him. They came by after finishing up with Tim, the proud owners of a brand new Oshkosh, like ours. the only major difference is that theirs has a dishwasher that Stella didn't want. We went to lunch at the Mallet Bros. Barbecue and chatted about options and add-ons that they may want. That will be up to them, and of course, Tim. It made Stella and I very happy to have two good friends that purchased here. 

I can't say enough good things about T & S. They are so cooperative with their customers, fulfilling their wishes and satisfying their desire for a good deal. It is truly like buying from your brother-in-law. And John, our tech! He pays such attention to detail, even the tiniest thing. He truly treats every customer's unit as if it were his own. The closet rod fell while we were on the road, so he replaced the flimsy rod and support that the factory had put in place with a 1" wooden rod and bracing to hold our clothes. He put in a block of wood to hold a center brace and then went to the trouble to paint the wood to match the wood stain in the closet. I'm not sure that I would have gone to that extreme if I had done the work myself. After all, no one will see it except Stella and I.

We were held up for a bit this morning (Thursday) and decided not to leave until tomorrow for Inks Lake. Out adventures will continue then.

So long.

Saturday October 14-Tuesday October 17-Rayford Crossing Resort

We were met by Gwen, the owner of the Rayford Crossing Resort when we checked in. It was really good to see her again. We used to live here and became good friends with Gwen and her husband Billy and it felt good to be back.

We had told our friends Tommy and Susan that we were coming by for a visit but didn't tell them that we had bought a new coach, so they were very surprised when we were only a few sites away from them. They came down and were shown around our new home. They both liked it and were glad we got a new one. 

We have some other friends in the area, Dan and Connie who wanted to talk to us about our new rig. they came by for a few minutes to see the new rig and expressed interest in buying another trailer for them. Dan had a 12 volt converter that I needed for the old Carryout antenna in case I ever have to use it instead of the Traveler, so Tommy and I went over to his house on Sunday to pick it up. We went to El Palenque Mexican restaurant with them and had the usual delicious meal there. El Palenque us one of our favorite restaurants when we are in Houston.

Kim, Ray and the boys came up Sunday afternoon to see the new trailer and we had a nice visit with them. We all went out to Red Robin (Yummm) which is one of the boy's favorites. We spend a lot of money on specialty burgers for our kids and grandkids, but considering how seldom we get to see them, it's worth it.

Monday morning, I went over to men's coffee in the break room at Rayford. This is a tradition that I helped to start back in the day, and I was proud to see that it is still going on. There weren't as many there as there once was, but it was nice.

After coffee, Tommy took me to eat breakfast at Compadres Texas Cafe that is nearby. We decided to go by the Timber Ridge RV Park but when we got close, we got caught up in the traffic at an intersection, so we turned around and went back to Rayford.

Ted and Donna came over this afternoon to see our new coach. They have been traveling this summer and had just returned but will be leaving again soon. It was good that we hit town while they were here! Tommy fixed us some hamburgers with all the fixin's and we had a delightful meal with our friends. We sat outside in the nice night air. 

Our last night at Rayford was quiet and uneventful, and I suspect that we'll be back. Tomorrow we go back to T & S in Navasota to have a few things fixed and to have our Traveler antenna mounted on the roof. Should be a good travel day.

So long.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Tuesday-Friday October 10-13-T & S Enterprises

This blog entry will document the trading in of our 2011 Landmark Grand Canyon for a 2018 Landmark Oshkosh. We bought this coach from T & S Enterprises in Navasota Texas, and couldn't be happier about this dealer. They do what they say they will do, call back when necessary and always answer their telephones. It was refreshing to deal with an owner of the company who is so willing to make their customers happy.

The Oshkosh is a remake of the Grand Canyon, except it doesn't have the storage! I have lost room for a couple of large items in the underbelly and Stella is still trying to find places to store items in the interior. 

We love the colors, and the simple fact that the entire trailer has been painted should add to the value over the years of ownership.

One thing that I don't like is the white front end and the white ends of the slide-outs. It seems to me that it wouldn't cost that much to paint these items one of the main colors of the coach and it would make it look so much better. I have griped about it for years to no avail, so I guess I'll just have to live with it.

They will be changing my steps out to my beloved Glowstep Revolution steps.

I'm still using the Carryout antenna but will be getting a new Winegard traveler on the roof soon.

Now we will get into the working part of this week. I set our porch/steps up at the door of the new coach and they backed our old one up very close beside it, making it much easier to walk between the trailers, carrying packages.

 It seems to be a large gap between the porch and the doorway of the new trailer, but it really wasn't. I didn't have any trouble negotiating the walkway and never stumbled. Many folks have to "walk a plank" or walk on a 2 x 8 board when they buy a new rig, but this one worked out much better.

I must have gone on a serious diet to get in between the two trailers. Actually, there is more room that there seems and we all made it without problem.

This shows some of the custom work they did for me. The television started out on the wall on the right, or right out in the storage area. DJ, with T & S moved it to the opposite side and then cut down on the retaining wall that protects the television. All of my junk will soon be rearranged and probably put into boxes for storage.

Pretty nice looking rig if I say so myself!

So long.

Monday October 9, 2017-Moving Day-Braunig Lake RV Resort to T & S Enterprises, Navasota Tx.

Well, the last rally of 2017 is over and it was time to pull out for the next stop. Today we are going to T & S Enterprises, an RV dealer in Navasota Texas, south of College Station. 

I found this place on the Internet and was impressed with their pricing. they gave me a better price on a brand spanking new 2018 Landmark than my "other" dealer offered on a new 2016! I was glad to take them up on the offer, so today, off we went to begin the process of taking delivery.

We arrived after a 190 mile, uneventful drive and were soon met by Tim Meadows, one of the owners, who, I had been dealing with over the telephone and Internet. Stella and I were both impressed by Tim and his attitude to customer service. He answered every question that we had and began the walk-through process. Unfortunately, Chessa, the finance lady, was off sick today, so we weren't able to sign any papers today.We went back outside and I began transferring my gear over to the new coach and it soon became obvious that there was going to be a problem with fitting all of my stuff into the smaller underbelly, but I will make do. I worked until about 9 o'clock both inside (helping Stella) and outside. It was a hot and tiring day, but tomorrow promises cooler temperatures, but we'll see.

We stopped working about 5 to eat supper at a barbecue restaurant named Mallet Brothers Barbecue. This place has some of the best 'cue that we've had in a long time. There was plenty of meat with a delightful smokey flavor with just the right amount of hot spices.

So long.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Friday-Sunday, October 6-8, 2017-Braunig Lake RV Resort

Okay, the rally begins today! Friday mornings start with Frank's breakfast extravaganza. Frank and his crew bring the breakfast meats and everyone else brings the rest. As usual, it was great with plenty of food and lots of fellowship. 

The park has some meals that are open to the guests here. Monday we had burgers, today they had a lasagna dinner with salad, drink and dessert, and they have breakfast on Saturday and Sunday but we didn't partake of either of them. The lasagna was delicious and filling, and we all were very satisfied. After, we had the rally meet and greet. We had one newbie, William, but his parents had come in to visit him so he didn't make it to supper or the meet and greet. A large group, including Stella, played dominoes tonight. Actually they played every night and seemed to have a good time.

Saturday we met for a light breakfast at an open site next to Michael and Kelly's site. It was cool and damp every morning, but we sat outside until the heat of the morning made us go home. Kelly put on an Instant Pot demonstration today and me and several of the guys attended to act as testers for the food. She made meatballs with pasta and sauce in about 15 minutes and it was delish...
Everyone was on their own during the days; some went to San Antonio attractions, some ran errands and others just stayed in the park and hung out. 

Kelly, Stella, Nancy and others prepared pork butts for a pulled pork dinner tonight. I believe that most of them used their Instant Pots and of course, everything was perfect. Everyone else brought side dishes to go with the pork along with desserts, and as usual, perfect! After the meal, Louisiana Chapter Leaders Andy and Joanna passed the "traveling sombrero" to Michael and Kelly. This was a tradition that has gone dormant for a couple of years and I am glad to see it begin again. Dominoes finished off the night.

Sunday morning, there were a few folks leaving, so we got up and went down for the light breakfast furnished by the club and to visit with those that were leaving. The weather soon turned warm and most of us went back inside where it was cool.

We got back together for a supper of leftovers from last night. I think the pork was even more tender than last night! Even though there wasn't as much food as there normally is, it was good and there was enough to satisfy everyone. After the hall was cleaned up, we all went back home to begin preparing to leave in the morning.

So long. 

Wednesday & Thursday, October 4 & 5, 2017-Braunig Lake RV Resort

Two easy days of pre rally fun. Wednesday, we went into San Antonio to eat at the Buffet City. This place was okay for food, nothing spectacular, but not bad. The food was fresh because when we came in with a large group, they put out lots of fresh food, so it was a good choice for supper. 

We came back to the park to sit outside and chat with our friends until the skeeters sent us back inside. It rained yesterday so there was plenty of standing water and small ponds for the skeeter larvae to live in, and they feasted on some of us. 

Thursday we made a trip over to the El Mercado in San Antonio and ate at the famous Mi Tierra restaurant. The El Mercado is a group of Mexican shops selling trinkets and other goodies from Mexico. We were not interested in them because we see the same things offered in Mexico when we cross the border later in the year and buy items for about 1/3 the price! The Mi Tierra was one of my Dad's favorites and we went there often with him. I personally thought the food was bland and tasteless and very expensive, but it brought back memories of good times with my Dad. 

The rally starts tomorrow!

So long,

Tuesday October 3, 2017-Braunig Lake RV Resort

We decided to go to Bellville to get our license plates (truck and trailer) renewed. We had tried to get them renewed online but couldn't have them mailed to the address where we were. We called and were told that we could have them mailed to us but the park where we would have been (present location) would not accept mail, only packages.

We invited our friends Michael and Kelly to ride along with us for the day-long drive and we all left about 9 o'clock. We made good time, since it was was all on freeways and made one stop, at the Buccee's in Luling. Buccee's is a must-stop any time we get near one, so we all picked up something to snack on and continued on our journey. 

The stop off at the county courthouse was laughable in the time taken to renew the plates. Stella was only inside for about 15 minutes and that included getting her handicap placard renewed as well. It would have taken us more time than that to find a parking place at one of the big cities. There are certainly advantages to "living" in a small county.

We decided to drive over to Navasota to the T & S RV's store there. We didn't tell Michael and Kelly that we had made a deal for a new trailer there and they are interested in looking at new ones also, so it was a worthwhile trip. We hadn't met Tim, our salesman and one of the owners of the dealership until today and he went along with our ruse. We all went into the Landmark Oshkosh that we were buying. The four of us sat there, chatting about new trailers, when Michael said "I can see y'all in this one" and I replied "come back next week and you WILL see us in this one!". You would have had to be there to see the look on their faces! We had pulled it off. I told them that it just hadn't worked out for us to take delivery before the rallies, but we will get it next week.

We spent about 2 hours in the trailer with Tim, looking everything over and talking about what will happen next week when we come to get it. We were all impressed with Tim and his helpfulness and look forward to actually making this purchase from him.

We stopped at Tony's Family Restaurant in Sealy for supper. This is a favorite of our's and we stop here every time we are in the area. We continued on our drive back to the park in Elmendorf and arrived back home about 8 PM. Then we had the fun of telling everyone else about our new coach and talking about it with them.

The rally will begin on Friday, so more fun to come!

So long.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Monday October 2, 2017-Moving day-Tyler Oaks RV Resort to Braunig Lakes RV Park

Well, the time came to close out the north Texas chapter rally. We were up at 6 to drink our coffee and eat a quick breakfast before getting started putting things way for travel, and we made good time. We pulled out about 9:10, or just about right on time. We almost always plan on leaving between 9 and 9:30.

We made good time and State Hwy. 31 is an excellent road, smooth and wide on a divided highway. There was little traffic out this morning, so it was the perfect day to travel. I only had to use the train horn a couple if times today to wake some people when the wandered into out lane. We pulled onto I-35 in Waco and there was little traffic there as well, but we did run into some pretty serious traffic in Austin. There were no accidents and no major construction, so we continued to make good time. We made a couple of "rest" stops, one at a nice little convenience store where we picked some good ol' truck-stop burritos and a piece of chicken to munch on while we drove. We will keep the peanut-butter sandwiches that Stella had fixed for a later meal.

We had more traffic in San Antonio and New Braunfels and a couple of slowdowns but we continued to roll and pulled into this park about 3:30. We were escorted to our site, but a large, mostly dead tree interfered with our slide outs, so we asked to be moved to a more open site. No problemo, so we were soon set up and started cooling everything down. 

The park offered a dinner special tonight consisting of a hamburger, chips, glass of tea and a nice chunk of cold and sweet watermelon for a grand total of $5.00. With a bargain like that, who could resist. There were 6 trailers that made the trip from Tyler today and three of us went down for the burgers. 

We sat outside chatting with Dave and Nancy, Lin and Deb and Michael and Kelly came by with our rally t shirts until the skeeters ran us back inside. 

We love travel days like this one. Sunny skies, not too hot outside, good roads and reasonable traffic make for a delightful traveling day. Here's hoping for many more of these!

So long.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Sunday October 1, 2017-Tyler Oaks RV Resort

This entry will document what we did for the rest of the rally days here in Tyler.

Wednesday, Stella and I made a flying trip to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles to pick up some documents. When we returned, we went to make a stop at Wal Mart and while there we noticed a Mexican restaurant across the street called Posada's. We decided that this would be a good place to go for supper, so when we got back to the park, we passed the word to the rest of the group and our party was of 19 folks to eat! We kind of overwhelmed the wait staff but they did very well with our orders.

Thursday several of us went over to the First Monday sale at Canton. Stella and I went over about 10, but all the walking took a toll on her, so we cut the shopping short. We walked for about 3 1/2 hours before giving it up, and we didn't buy a single thing! Well, except that she wanted a funnel cake. I guess the thrill is gone from Canton, at least for us. We didn't talk to anyone that really enjoyed shopping there.

Friday was our Breakfast Extravaganza! One member, Frank and his wife Debbie LOVE a huge breakfast with lots of biscuits and gravy, friend potatoes, eggs and lots of breakfast meats. Frank always furnishes the bacon and sausage and recruits others to help him cook and several others of us furnish and cook the rest. A big breakfast is always a favorite and this one was no exception. There was plenty of food for everyone!

We had a Meet and Greet scheduled for 7PM but we decided that since we had so many chapter leaders here, that we would take Dave and Nancy and Michael and Kelly out to eat for their Chapter Leader benefit. We went to a place called Jumbo's Seafood. Larry and Gayle were also here at the rally, but they were still in Canton and didn't want to go with us. We'll catch them later. 

The Meet and Greet was very nice with plenty of Blue Bell ice cream for all. This is a large rally, with 28 rigs attending. Originally, there were 34 signed up, but some dropped out, two the day before the rally began.

Saturday morning the club furnished coffee, sweet rolls and yogurt for breakfast. Quite a change from yesterday's feast! It was good and we enjoyed catching up with friends, both old and new. 

Around noon, our West Texas Chapter Leaders, Tony and Erika came in for the rally. They drove in from their home in west Texas to visit the rally and to see friends here. Like the others before, we took them out to lunch and had a very nice time visiting with them.

Saturday night was the big potluck dinner. The club furnished barbecue, sausage, brisket and turkey and it was all delicious. Members brought side dishes and it was another delightful supper. After the meal, several people played dominoes and many of us sat outside in the great weather, visiting and chatting.

Sunday morning was the official end to the rally, with another sweetbreads, coffee and yogurt for breakfast. Several people were leaving today, so with hugs and handshakes, we wished them well on their travels.

We had an impromptu Chapter Leader meeting, with Tony and Erika, Dave and Nancy and prospective Chapter Leaders Jason and Audra. Dave and Nancy had said that they have served the club as North Texas Chapter Leaders for over four years and they felt that it was time for them to step down. We had a very good meeting with Jason and Audra and feel that they will make fine chapter leaders. It is sad to see a couple that has done a lot for the club step aside, but nice to see a qualified couple step up to take their place. We will be looking forward to Jason and Audra's confirmation and then working with them in the future.

It has been a good rally with a great turnout and now to top it off, a new change in leadership.

So long.