Moving on – to Whitney, TX

3/29/15 Sunday in Whitney, TX (Lake Whitney-TT)

A brief synopsis of our days with Sharon/Bob:

Wednesday: Reserved campgrounds in the morning, visited with Sharon in the afternoon, splitting to enjoy our own home cooked meals. They’ve recently moved into their new home, just 2 blocks away from the old one.  We got to park in the driveway of their old house and use their electricity and water.  A great place to wash a rig when most campgrounds won’t let you.

Thursday: Did our taxes with Sharon’s help (she works for H&R Block) in the morning. From there we drove to Costco for groceries, then back home for a nap/TV. Didn’t sleep well the night before. Out to dinner with Sharon/Bob at Logan’s Roadhouse for ribs. Yum!

Friday: Washed our clothes at Sharon’s and visited them, naturally. That afternoon John cleaned Miss Journey’s roof, then I cleaned her front and back end caps. The roof was a big job and there are still dark spots that will take more effort/time. Luckily we had the energy to watch Gonzaga play UCLA and win! Now they’re in the Elite Eight for the first time since 1999 (their first time). We all celebrated by going out to Clear Springs Restaurant, famous for their catfish. Mmm Mmm good.

Saturday: We washed the side of Miss Journey that was in shadow, then went with Sharon/Bob to check out the Wellness Fitness Center provided by their county hospital. Nice set up. Right next to their Rehab offices. John and I washed the other side of our coach (now in shadow) after a late lunch, then visited with Sharon/Bob. We all enjoyed a breakfast for dinner at IHOP to top off our day. John and I are gaining weight… We’d hoped to visit some missions and do some other projects on the RV but time just got away from us I guess.

home 1 bob 1 bob 2

On our way Sunday before 8-all to avoid heavy traffic in Austin. Sharon had warned us to stay to the right on I-35 N because it would split around the downtown area. If you stayed left the road stayed on the ground and has lots more merging traffic. If you took the right (Airport), it goes above the city for a while. Fear not, either way merges together soon anyway. Traffic was heavy, but never congested, so all went well.

Adventure wise, the suction cup on my window that holds my GPS to the sky fell off. I got smart and used scotch tape for a temporary fix. Then there was this clunking sound at my wall, like something heavy fell. But I couldn’t see anything. Then I heard a rattle inside the wall to my right. Hmm.

A lot of construction along I-35 N, with 2 lanes going North of pretty smooth road, lots without shoulder areas and many of the exits shifted or just plain closed. Note the speed limit sign. Texans love to drive, I think! Love their bridges. We even went under the bridge that recently was struck by a truck. It’s 14 feet tall. Why aren’t they building new bridges taller?

construction 1 bridges speed limit

It was a hot day and unfortunately, it took 2 hours to finally get settled. Over an hour of it was trying to find a good site. There are lots of trees here, surrounding every site. They make a lovely, private, natural space. They can make it difficult to get a view of the sky for a TV satellite, although the good news is many are not really tall. Many of the sites are either not level or small for us. It is an old campground, so we also have week power (30 amp). 50 amps costs $3/night. We were willing to pay, but couldn’t locate a site that met our other requirements-there aren’t a lot of 50 amp sites available and most were already occupied. They do have full hook ups, along with a number of water/electric only. It’s wonderfully rustic, with a large Adult only pool and hot tub, as well as the family pool in another far away location. Loop A is closer to the Adult activities while Loop D is closer to the family clubhouse. We tried Loop A at first but ended up with a better sewer hook up placement in Loop D. If you’re the sort that loves the woods and privacy I think you’d love it here!

After supper (grilled steaks and green beans) we drove (near Loop A) down to the hot tub. We found a couple already enjoying it. Wow! It was probably 105 degrees, but we really enjoyed it’s benefits and had fun talking with the other couple. Sadly, they’re moving on tomorrow.

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Moving on – to McQueeney, Tx

3/24/15 Tuesday in McQueeney, TX (Sharon’s driveway)

The jacks came up in good time today. Our DASH I-Pod is working just fine too, probably because we brought the bedroom radio up front :). On our way by 9:40. Nice smooth ride on I-10.  Who says freeways aren’t scenic?

tx 1

Spring in Texas sure does bring lovely carpets of color (wild flowers) along the freeway.  I THINK they’re blue bonnets.

tx 2

It got to 80 degrees here, so by the time we’d settled in around noon, we needed A/C. Well, it worked for awhile, but when we tried to shift things to the living room A/C, it just would not get going.  We’re plugged into Sharon’s garage outlet – 20 amps. At one point John pulled the cord out of that outlet and immediately our generator started working. It’d been set on auto. That means there just wasn’t enough power for even one A/C to get started. So we left the A/C and generator on for 2 hours, getting relief from the heat.

Neither of us had slept well last night (John is struggling with allergies to the major oak pollen out now). So I took a nap while John watched TV. Sharon had to work until after 5, so we all got together at a very nice Mexican restaurant in Seguin, El Ranchito. Great food, great conversation. Then John and I stopped at the nearby HEB for groceries, later meeting up with Sharon and Bob at their new home. It’s only 2 blocks from their old one, where we’re parked! It’s beautiful, only 10 years old.

Bedtime arrived too soon, so we took our leave.

Since we’ll be visiting with John’s sister, Sharon, most of our time here, I may take a blog break. We’ll be here for a week.

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Spring is Coming

3/23/15 Monday in Columbus, TX (Colorado River-TT)

As I was walking back to our rig before breakfast I got a phone call, so settled down at the picnic table to talk. Pretty soon I saw those sweet deer, gallivanting and chasing one another in the meadow now far from our side yard. So fun to watch. The sun is out in full force so the birds were having a grand time singing as well. I love this place and this site!

Inside the Miss Journey I managed breakfast and my other morning jobs, including posting to the blog. After lunch I went outside to read in the sunshine and made a couple phone calls while John watched his old TV shows. Lovely, restful, quiet day.

Sign of Spring:

flowers

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Gonzaga Wins Game With Iowa: On To the Sweet Sixteen!

3/22/15 Sunday in Columbus, TX (Colorado River-TT)

 

There seems to be a trend in Texas Catholic churches: the outdoor light just comes through stained glass windows.

CHURCH

When we got back home, we stopped to share a few words with our neighbors, Sandy/Roger. They have an annual site here. Sandy said because it’s in Texas in this particular county, they can stay in their site 365 days of the year. They can’t put permanent things on it, except a storage shed. She assured me that her garden is all easy to take apart. Do you recognize the coach in the second photo?

garden 1 garden 2

garden 3

In the afternoon I worked on my new watercolor paintings blog (www.patriciaelserwatercolors.wordpress.com) and posted on my regular blog. John watched TV. The sun finally came out, so we took a walk around the campground. On our way back we saw the “hog catcher” towing a trailer with a cage on it. Sure enough, inside the cage was a wild hog. This one was a medium size, I think, coal black with long fur. Wish we could have talked to him. Yesterday the manager here told us that he’s quite an entrepreneur. These wild hogs root up the ground and are dangerous, so Texas lets anyone kill them. However, this preserve is private property and guns are not allowed on it. Thus our manager (and others) ask the “hog catcher” to trap and take away the wild hogs that appear on their land. This guy has over 300 acres of his own land. He lets these hogs loose on it, then charges people to hunt them. He gets paid twice and gives to both parties. Great deal, I’d say. Naturally it went by too fast for me to get a photo.

When we were back home I settled in with my book, John with his golf and Nascar races, then John spotted the deer. They’d come to graze in “our” side yard! When our air conditioner came on, they skedaddled away.

deer 1 deer 2

We had early dinner so we could watch Gonzaga vs Iowa play at 6. It was a fun game to watch. Our guys played their game and won by 18 points. This was especially exciting because it’s the first time in the last 6 years they’ve made it to the Sweet Sixteen. Actually, Gonzaga has made it to the NCAA for the last 17 consecutive years. Tied for the sixth longest streak in history. That’s been incredible. Yet ever since 1999 when they were in the Elite Eight, they’ve only made it to the Sweet Sixteen 5 times before this. But the last time was in 2009, so this was very special.

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Rainy Day Project: Creating a Watercolor Blog in WordPress

3/21/15 Saturday in Columbus, TX (Colorado River-TT)

It poured all night long. I still love the sound of rain. It rained on and off all day today, so it was definitely an inside day.

I got an ugly surprise before breakfast: the freezer had accumulated fluffy piles of frost and hard spots of ice. This stuff is harder clean out from a French door (on the bottom) freezer than a regular one. I’d just cleaned this frost out 3 days ago. Need I mention how much I dislike this style of fridge! We’re working on an appointment with a repairman when we get to Lake Whitney in April. Hope my patience lasts that long.

After our normal routine we went to the Manager’s Meeting, in the rain. We walked figuring it was light rain and umbrellas would do. We took a short cut trail and came upon a small herd of deer. So sweet, perking up their ears and watching us. They started to turn away just when our path turned, so then they relaxed. You could say we had a private meeting with the manager, we were the only campers there! We learned a lot about running a TT campground. His camper nights have improved each of the 5 years he’s been here. He also reads the Facebook page, Thousand Trails/Outdoor World, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. He said Managers are not supposed to post on it, but I guess it’s okay to say things about their own campground, like we are having a party or other announcements. They are not to respond to remarks on the page. Our walk back to Miss Journey was in a lot of rain. Even though we used umbrellas our shoes and jeans got pretty wet as we walked in the heavy rain. I felt like a school kid, getting home to tell mom I’m all wet! We went ahead washing our jeans, since we needed to dry them anyway.

This is a lovely park, well maintained and very spacious. Beautiful entrance road that we learned was just installed a couple weeks before we arrived, just before the major rains. It sure has held up well. I love our site (A-10), with tall pampas grasses and mourning birds building a nest on one side. The other side is of some bushes and a meadow where I remember the wild deer often graze. There are sites near the clubhouse, FHU and non-sewered sites, good power and water (plus satellite and cell phone reception). Those with 50 amps cost an extra $3/night. Ours has a concrete patio with picnic table and good layer of gravel where we park. Many more spacious sites are down by the Colorado River, among lots of pecan trees.

site 1 site 2 site 3

I spent the afternoon creating a new blog site of my watercolor paintings. John enjoyed his old TV shows and golf. He remembered to make our potluck bean dish just in time to get them ready.

We had a great time at the potluck of only 5 couples, getting to sit with our neighbors Roger and Sandy. Immediately after the dinner we played a new (for us) kind of bingo. A deck of cards (minus jokers) is distributed among the 4 players at a table (13 each). Each organizes them face up. Then the “caller” calls out a card name, say 3 of hearts. Whoever has that card puts it in the center of the table. Each continues until the first person to have one card remaining gives a warning knock on the table. When someone has no cards left before them, they call out “Bingo”.

We 4 left the clubhouse via our CRV, because it was raining hard, still, and we had lots of dishes to carry. Roger and Sandy our new friends’ car battery had died.

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Moving on – to Columbus, TX, The First Day of Spring

3/20/15 Friday in Columbus, TX (Colorado River-TT)

You wouldn’t think it was spring, with the very dense fog here and winter sprouting in the NE. Our jacks were slow coming up again, but we’ve learned to hook up our towed car as we’re waiting. On our way before 8:30, in the fog, naturally. Once again, we brought up the little radio with I-Pod and (something like bringing your umbrella so it won’t rain) our dash I-Pod worked! The other good news is that the traffic in Houston was moderate so by staying in the 3rd lane from the left most of the time (when we had 3 lanes we went into the 2nd from the left), it was smooth sailing. Whew! The drivers here love to pass on the right as much as on the left. Not good to experience in an RV.  By the way, the traffic is light in these images because we were past a major part of Houston.

tx 1 tx 2 tx 4

We saw bluebonnets and orange wildflowers along the Freeway. Yay for Spring in Texas.

Arrival time: 11:30. We were all set up by 12:30 and enjoyed our egg salad lunch then. I ran a load of wash then when it was ready to dry (translation: whiny noise), we took off for the HEB store in Columbus. I’ve mentioned how much I like HEB grocery stores before. They’re only in Texas, have great prices (apples at $.77/pound), wonderful produce and super deals where, if you buy something you get several other complementary items for free. This time we needed 2 packets of Taco Seasoning. By buying those we got a free packet of Grillmates Marinade. Plus the Taco Seasonings were on sale! They use mostly Texan grown foods, so they’re fresh. They even make fresh guacamole and tortillas in some stores. Needless to say, when entertaining the thought of finding a stationary place in the South, I’d consider Texas, especially because of HEB.

Our good luck was still with us because as soon as we got home the rain started. It just kept on pouring, but we were happy reading/watching TV until our fish supper. I took a nap afterward to make up for my lack of sleep last night and to be able to stay up for Gonzaga’s NCAA game vs N Dakota. I have to say, N Dakota played hard. Our guys weren’t at their best in our opinion, so they won, buy by about 10 points. They’re seeded #2 (not #3 as we erroneously reported earlier), but we’re concerned if they can win their next game. They need to be on top of their game for their next opponents, Iowa, whom they’ll play on Sunday.

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Honda CRV Gets Washed

3/19/15 Thursday in Beaumont, TX (Gulf Coast RV Resort-PPA ($40/night))

Took it easy today, doing the laundry in the morning. I got my computer jobs done then called our Tire Pressure Monitoring System sellers. When we put the new batteries in a few days ago in Louisiana it appeared that a couple of our 10 sensors weren’t working. The seller had us try some things (over the phone) to verify that, yes, those 2 sensors needed to be replaced. $35 each, but he gave us a break at $25 each. Nice to know we’d figured that out correctly.

After lunch we got ambitious and washed our Honda CRV, then I just read while John watched TV. We did manage a walk before supper as well.

So long Beaumont. This is a lovely oak tree I saw near the Fire Museum yesterday.

Beaumont Live Oak

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