Saturday, May 31, 2014

These newfangled backup cameras and alarms are unsafe

 

We have had them for so many years now in the Jeep and minivan, we’ve gotten used to them and unconsciously rely on them.  One of us backed out the driveway at home in the golf cart and almost drove in front of a neighbor going by in their car.

 

Well, it’s unsafe not to have them now that we’re used to them anyway.

 

 

Friday, May 30, 2014

The new motorhomes are too new

 

They cost more than we want to spend.

 

The used motorhomes are too used.  What we want to spend doesn’t get us what we want.

 

There is a resolution here.  We’ll either decide to spend more or want less.

 

Meanwhile, it’s good to be home.

 

 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Wow

 

There are sure a lot of motorhomes to look at.

 

There is a 30 foot Winnebago we like but it only has one air conditioner.  That might be enough air conditioning for that small a rig but it gives us pause in this South Texas heat.  There are several 32 footers we like, a Holiday Rambler and a Jayco for sure, and they each have two air conditioners.  All these RVs we like are new RVs and we came prepared to buy a used one.  We’ve looked at a lot of used ones and don’t find the ones we like.  There is a big price difference between new and used.

 

We may have done enough for this trip.  We’ll probably head home and reboot.

 

 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

See this?

 

 

This is not a 32 foot Georgetown motorhome; the place we thought we’d be spending the night tonight.  The motorhome was just fine, as advertised, but the onsite tour revealed that the walkaround bed isn’t.  It’s walkaround on one side, but the other side is a crawl-over.  No deal.  We’re in a hotel again.

 

Since we’re already here where all the RV dealers are, we’ll stick around another day.  We found a brand new 30 foot motorhome that has everything we want and is practically within our price range, but I have an aversion to paying for a brand new motorhome again.  Once was enough.  I want a 2 year old one with low miles.  Let someone else take the big price hit.  We’re still looking.

 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

We drove to Houston

 

We’re all set to go check out the motorhome tomorrow.

 

Ensconced in the Holiday Inn on Galveston Island.  We got a room with a balcony

…kind of.

 

…and a view;

…kind of.

 

 

If we look the other direction though, we get a really good view of the runway lights for the local airport.

 

Monday, May 26, 2014

We dropped the dogs off at Boy's Camp

 

Tomorrow morning, bright and early, we’re off to Houston.  There have been a couple blips along the way, but it seems like we’ve got a deal on the 32 foot Georgetown gas motorhome.  The price has finally quit wiggling and I’ve calmed back down again.  They’re prepping the rig for delivery.  If all goes as planned, we’ll have a motorhome on Wednesday.  If not, we’ll be headed west on Interstate 10 for El Paso.  There is another one just like this one there.

 

 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Breakfast at Monte Carlo,

 

Indianapolis by lunch.  Dinner in Charlotte.  What an exotic life we live.

 

Formula 1, Indy car, NASCAR.  Crank it up!

 

 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

A trip to Mexico from here

 

It’s an easy 30 miles or so from our house to the border crossing at Progresso.  Plenty of parking right at the border.

 

It’s not especially busy.

 

This is one of the few border crossings that are still considered “safe” by our government.  No travel advisories against it.

 

A walk across the bridge…

 

 

…and we’re right in town; Nuevo Progresso.

 

It’s a small Border Town.

 

Most everything is on the main street.  It’s full of shops; jewelry, souvenirs, dentists, pharmacies…

 

…and photobombs.

 

A stop for some street tacos (and a Mexican Coke), can result in an impromptu serenade.

 

http://youtu.be/3GPTNGeMdU0

 

An easy return through customs.

 

And we’re back in the U.S.A.  Altogether a charming experience.  It’s an easy passage, the food is yummy, it doesn’t cost much, the vendors are more friendly than pushy, and we get to practice a smattering of Spanish.

 

Friday, May 23, 2014

The quick trip

 

…was.  An easy drive north; we saw the doctor, ate fish and chips, diverted to see a bird (which we didn’t find), diverted to look at some new RVs (which we did find), and drove home by dark (with one more stop along the way at Dairy Queen for a Blizzard).  A successful trip.

 

Judy didn’t get any treatment on her knee, but we got to discuss her options.  We’ve already tried doing nothing and that hasn’t worked out really well.  She got the cortisone shot and that helped some.  It turns out there is another intermediate option before knee replacement.  It’s a gel (called Synvisc) that can be injected into the knee which should provide some cushioning and lubrication for 6 months or so at a time.  It takes a series of three injections spread out over three weeks.  We should be able to start the first round in early June.

 

 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

A quick trip

 

We’ll drive to Corpus tomorrow to see the orthopedic doctor about Judy’s knee.  A year ago he said the problem was arthritis and there was nothing he could do about it.  Judy can move around okay if she doesn’t go very far, but she can’t go on walks with me anymore.  We’re going to tell the doctor we didn’t like his first opinion a year ago, so we want a second one.

 

We ought to be able to make the drive, have Snoopy’s for lunch, maybe even test drive a motorhome, then drive back home by dark.

 

 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Change in plans

 

We’re not going to get the motorhome on Saturday.  With the long Memorial Day weekend coming up, the deal just wasn’t coming together easily.  We’re going the middle of next week instead.  This isn’t a solid commitment either.  We think this is what we want; we’re going to go take a look at it and make sure.  It’s a 2011 Georgetown 327DS.

 

http://www.ronhoover.com/RVShowroom/tabid/1747/Type/View/ID/56385/2011-Fifth-Wheel-FOREST-RIVER-GEORGETOWN-327DS.aspx

 

(It’s not really a fifth-wheel.  That’s a typo on their website.)  Low mileage, so there should be a lot of life left in it.  They’re holding it for us.  We’re going to look at it and drive it.  If we like it we’ll give them money and drive it away.

 

 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Less is more

 

We’re going to downsize.  No more big bus for us.  We’ll get something small and tow it behind the minivan.  Uh-oh.  The only things we can tow behind the minivan are single axle trailers and they’re too small; too claustrophobic.

 

No problem.  Less is still more.  We can go a little bigger and still be way downsized.  We’ll get a class B; a big van.  That will still be a giant downsize.  Uh-oh.  Even in a big van, there isn’t room to pass each other moving front to back.  One of us has to sit down for the other to stand up.  That’s a little tight.  We’re not traveling full-time any more but we still need to be prepared to go out for a month or two at a time just to visit the kids in Colorado.  No problem.  We’ll get something with a slide for more room.

 

Darn.  Can’t seem to find just what we want.  We’ll need to look at at least a Class C motorhome.  Can’t get a small one though; they all have corner beds.  We need a walk-around.  A walk-around bed, a dinette table, and a couch or chair.  There have to be places to sit.  We found some Class Cs we like, but to get what we want they’re so long; they’re at the maximum a Class C can be built to.  They seem cumbersome.  Okay.  A small Class A motorhome.  Not too big.

 

We put a deposit down on a 33 foot Class A gas motorhome in Houston.  It’s still “something” of a downsize; it’s smaller and lighter than the 40 footer we just gave up.  We’re scheduled to go pick it up this weekend.

 

Less can be more, but in the words of our friend Brandon, “Sometimes less is just less.”

 

 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Drones?

 

We don’t need no stinking drones.

 

We have our own surveillance blimps in the Valley,

 

tethered along the Rio Grande.

 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Who knew?

 

…that when they’re kids, black-throated sparrows

 

...actually have white throats?

 

 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

More like a meteorite than a meal

 

I love that phrase.

…and it describes a properly-smoked brisket perfectly.

 

This is the first one I’ve gotten just right.  An 8 pound brisket.  Two hours of hickory smoke and 11 more hours of low and slow at 220 degrees.  A 13 hour cook.  Fall-apart tender.  Instead of slicing, I took it apart with the Bear Paws I use for pulling pork.

 

 

Shredded brisket.

 

A nice pile of food.

 

 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Big Daddy's Burgers

 

 

I think their motto is understated.  It should read “Best Burgers on the Planet!”  Don’t go there by yourself though.  Take a friend and split the burger.

 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A Retrospective

 

I got to thinking about how much we have traveled in RVs over the years, and it occurred to me that we have a pretty good record going back to 2009.  We traveled a lot before that, but 2009 is when I realized I could make a Google Map showing each of our stops along the way.

 

Here is our 2009 map:

We covered a lot of ground on that one.  We went the farthest we ever have into Canada, then drove all the way down to Key West.

 

In 2010:

We explored the Upper Midwest.  We were Yoopers.

 

In 2011:

We went west to California and back.

 

2012:

We didn’t cover so much ground.  We were practically homebodies.  We only went as far north as Montana.

 

But back in action in 2013:

We finally made it to Maine.

 

We’ve made a lot more trips than I’ve documented with trip report maps, but even with just these, we’ve traveled a lot.  What stands out though, is the place we’ve been the least recently; the Pacific Northwest.

 

If only we had an RV…

 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Uh-oh

 

A three day trip.  Hotels and restaurants.  It was only three days.  Now the other one of us came home two pounds heavier while one stayed the same.  Two pounds in three days.  It hasn’t gone away yet.

 

I guess it all evens out.

 

 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mother's Day

 

I’m glad that’s over.

 

It was her day, Mother’s Day, so Judy got to be “right” all day long.  Golly, was she “right” a lot.  And she never got tired of it either.  Not for the entire day.

 

Tonight, we sat out on the covered patio at 80 degrees listening to it rain on the roof above us and all around us, a little bit of thunder and lightning, but mostly just a quiet rain, a bird chirp in the distance we can just barely hear, the creak of a nearby cricket, the dogs at our feet, a light breeze from the south blowing little bits of mist onto us now and then until we almost feel a chill.

 

 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

We forge on

 

Growly Bear in his place of honor in the windshield.

A souvenir of our travels, he’s been with us since before we started full-timing ten years ago.  He was the last thing we emptied out of the coach on Friday.  He can ride of the dash of the minivan until we get him a new home.

 

It was time to leave a different memento behind.  Many years ago, while scrubbing bugs off the front of the coach, Jim and Elle were in the coach next to us, Jim scrubbing off his bugs.  He volunteered that he had needed a plastic bug scrubber but when he bought one at the auto supply store, they came in twos.  He gave the one he wasn’t using to me.  A nice friendly gesture.  We didn’t know them well then.  That was only the first of many friendly gestures over the years.  What a joy to have been Jim and Elle’s friends, and the friends of so many others, for so many years.  But that bug scrubber?  It’s done its job.  On this very last trip in the bus, it just broke down and started coming all apart.  Along with the bus, the scrubber has been retired.  Our friendships remain.

 

We return to the Valley RV-free for the first time in many many years.

 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Lunch in Luling

 

Blake’s CafĂ©.

Pure Country.

 

Drove on to New Braunfels outside San Antonio.  Looked at some consignment RVs.  Looked at some dealer RVs.  Nothing yet.  Dinner at Cooper’s Barbecue.

 

Brisket for me.  Ribs and beans for Judy.  The brisket and ribs are wrapped in paper and don’t include a plate.  Apple Cobbler.  There are two Cooper’s Barbecues.  The other one is in Junction, Texas.  This must be the more sophisticated one; it doesn’t have a sign outside that says “You can’t beat our meat!”

 

An evening walk in Landa Park.

 

 

Wood Duck.

 

 

 

Egyptian Goose.

 

Another night in a hotel.

 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Dropped off the bus

 

We’re at a hotel for the night.  We’re still in Houston, so no nice pictures to send out.

 

Here’s one more of Lake Texana.

 

 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Wow

 

That was a lot of work emptying the Monterey.  Ten years of living piled up in there.  At the end, we had two complete houses set up; the house at Sandpipers and the motorhome.  We could walk into either and have all our stuff.  Now we’ve got two of everything, with one of everything now packed into bins at the house in closets, underneath in the outside access, and in the shed.  We’ve got months of sorting and discarding to do.

 

It was so much work; lucky for me Judy didn’t mind doing it.  It was exhausting just watching her.

 

Today, we drove 230 miles north to Lake Texana State Park, a place we’ve never been to before, and it totally sucked.  Fifteen minutes later though, the rain shower moved on and maybe it’s not so bad after all.

 

 

They found a spot to squeeze us in.

 

42 species of birds on the walk around camp.

 

Spotted a few mammals too.

 

Tomorrow, Houston.

 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Happy Anniversary to Us!

 

48 years today.  It’s a good day.

 

Spent the day together, and we’ll be alone with each other tonight.  We dropped the “kids” off at “Boy’s Camp” (the kennel) this afternoon.  Grilled a ribeye.  Popped a bottle of champagne.  A romantic evening just the two of us.

 

We’re leaving tomorrow morning for a motel trip to Houston.  We’ll drop the motorhome off at PPL RV Consignment and drive home together in the minivan.  We’ll make a several-day trip out of it.  PPL is really big.  They have a lot of inventory.  They move a lot of RVs.  We’ll see how that goes.

 

Still don’t know what we’re going to do for travel once the bus is gone.  Driving the minivan and staying in hotels is the fall-back option.  We’ll take a look at all the other RVs they have for sale at PPL while we’re there.  Who knows, maybe we’ll drive home in something unexpected.

 

We’ll keep you posted.

 

 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

We hardly ever get to see American Bitterns

 

Can you find the American Bittern in this picture?

 

..or this one?

 

…or this?

 

We don’t see many, partly because they’re so hard to see.

 

Of course if he yodels that helps us zero in on him…

 

Then he’ll just sneak away.