Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Yes!!!

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 35 degrees, high 53 degrees, clear skies

Three clear days in a row!! Yes!!!

When I've been taking my morning walks lately, I've been noticing that very few people are walking. Could it be because of the colder weather? To me, this is the best time of year to be outside. No bugs, no sweating, cool (or maybe cold) breezes. It's invigorating. Breakfast sure tastes good after these walks.

After the morning walk and breakfast, we decided to continue going through the cabinets in the living room. By the time we stopped, we had finished that task, getting rid of some stuff we no longer needed. After meditation, we cleaned up our address book.

This is the last day of 2008. It's been a crazy year, with a stock market meltdown, a new president being elected, record high gas prices with a subsequent fall of gas prices to levels not seen in years, natural disasters, political scandals, and on and on......

For us, 2008 did not go the way we planned it. We had planned to go to Alaska, but circumstances beyond our control prevented that. Our daughter and grandson needed our help, and we felt that was more important than a trip to Alaska. Fortunately, our daughter doesn't need our help now, but we are undecided about whether we will go to Alaska in 2009. At this time, our instincts are telling us to play everything low key for awhile to see how everything works out. Don't be surprised if we are in the Northwest, headed to Oregon, and suddenly take a right turn. Then again, don't be surprised if we stay in the eastern part of the country. That's the good thing about this lifestyle. We can change our plans at a minute's notice.

I'll close for now so I can relax before 2009 gets here. Here's hoping the new year is better for everyone than the old one has been.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Folly Beach, South Carolina: The Edge Of America

Not all who wander are lost.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Lunch At Chili's

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 29 degrees, high 64 degrees, clear skies

Wow! Two days of sun in a row! I love it!

The nice weather seems to have energized and inspired us. I know it has made us more upbeat. We felt so good about the weather that we decided to invite Terri to go to lunch with us at Chili's. That restaurant is one of Carolyn's favorites, and we had never been to the one in Tuscaloosa. Terri was busy and couldn't go, but we went anyway and had a good meal. I had a great hamburger with jalapenos, bacon, and cheese. Did I ever say that we really like jalapeno peppers? The bacon was thick cut strips that was so good. Carolyn had a bacon cheeseburger, and she said it was also good.

After lunch, we took Terri a hamburger and visited for a few minutes. We left shortly because she was working on a project that she needed to get finished. When we got home, we meant to do some work going through our living room cabinets, but the good lunch put us in the mood for some meditation. I guess we'll do the cabinets tomorrow, if something else doesn't come up.

After the meditation, I decided to do some work in the basement. It needs work occasionally, just like the inside of the RV does. Going through everything occasionally also refreshes our memories of what we are carrying with us. For instance, I found the Dremel tool set, which was used the last time about eight months ago. That's the type of thing that we will need if we get rid of it. Remember the old saying "You never need something until you get rid of it"?

The last thing I did for the day was to cut the ends off the satellite dish cable and put new connectors on it. We have had too many problems with losing the signal recently, and it has always been traced to a specific place in the cable. Maybe the repairs will fix the problem.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Texarkana, Texas: Twice As Nice

Not all who wander are lost.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Sunny Day

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 38 degrees, high 69 degrees, clear skies and sunny, light breezes

The weather was clear and sunny today, unlike the cloudy days we have been having for so long. It was nice to take my morning walk and be able to see the sky and sun. In fact, I felt so good about the day that after I ate breakfast, I put on a Hawaiian shirt. I know, this is not Hawaiian shirt weather, but it felt so good to be able to see the sun for a change, I had to celebrate.

After breakfast, I took the laundry to the laundromat and did the laundry thing. While I was gone, Carolyn changed the bed and did some other housework. When I returned home, we worked together on going through the kitchen cabinets, re-arranging and consolidating everything. If we're not careful, things will start to overwhelm us with the small amount of storage space we have. Tomorrow, we plan to finish going through the cabinets in the living room.

When I was growing up in the south, we ate the normal southern food of that time period. Black eyed peas, beans of all kinds, potatoes, sweet potatoes, cornbread, ham, chicken, pork chops, and so forth. We also ate all kinds of greens, such as turnip greens, mustard, and collards. Occasionally, we will get an appetite for some of the childhood food. Tonight, we had that appetite hit us, so we had collard greens, ham, corn bread, and pepper sauce. It was outstanding.

Enough reminiscing about the past.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Waxahachie, Texas: Come For The History, Stay For The Charm

Not all who wander are lost.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Aliceville, Alabama

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 46 degrees, high 54 degrees, cloudy, rain early in the morning

The rain stopped early enough that I was able to take my morning walk at the same time as usual. After we had breakfast, we decided to take a drive down to Aliceville, a small town southwest of Coker. In addition to wanting to see what the little town was about, we were also looking for clues on how to find Greenbow, Forrest Gump's hometown. We had no luck in finding Greenbow, but did find Aliceville.

Aliceville is a town of less than 2500 people. The main industries appear to be timber and farming. During World War II, an air field was built to train army pilots. From 1942 to 1945, German prisoners of war were confined in the area. A museum was built to house artifacts from the prison camp, but it was not open today. After driving to the town, we can see why the prisoners were kept there. Aliceville is a long way from anywhere, and you have to want to be going there to get there. In the 1940s, we can only imagine how isolated the area was.

When we left Aliceville after seeing what the town had to offer (and that only took about 10 minutes), we drove south toward I-59/20. Before we knew it, we had arrived in Meridian, Mississippi. A funny thing about our meanderings across the countryside is that most of the time, we don't know where we will end up going.

The highlight of our time in Meridian was that we had to buy fuel before heading home. We bought diesel for $2.099 per gallon, which is the least we have paid in the last four years. I know these low prices won't last, but we'll enjoy it while we can.

By the time we arrived home, both of us were tired. It was time for some meditation and rest. The remainder of the day was devoted to relaxing by reading, watching television, and surfing the web.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Hot Springs, Arkansas: Hometown Of Bill Clinton (not to be mistaken with his birthplace of Hope, Arkansas)

Not all who wander are lost.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Warmer Day

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 60 degrees, high 77 degrees, mostly cloudy skies

When you look at the weather for the day, do you ever get the feeling that it never changes here? Now you know how we feel, with every day seeming to be cloudy or mostly cloudy. We managed to see about an hour's sunlight today, which is better than the last few weeks have been. I hope a positive trend is starting.

During breakfast, we discussed what we would do today. After kicking several ideas around, we decided to stay at home, but we are going to plan a trip up to Athens this next week to see my sister Judy and her husband, Roger. In addition, we are going to try to go south of here in the continuing effort to find Greenbow, the hometown of Forrest Gump.

After the discussion, I went to the library in Tuscaloosa to return some dvds and books. I took the computer with me to update some programs. That part of the trip did not go well at all, because I forgot to take the wifi card with me so I could use the library's wifi signal. As soon as I got back home, I placed the card in the computer case so I wouldn't forget it again. Looks like the list making I do to help me remember what to do didn't help me this time.

After the afternoon meditation session, I did some work on the computer, updating files and backing everything up. Tonight, Terri came over to the RV and had supper with us. We had a good visit, remembering events that happened when she and Lori were still at home. It doesn't matter how old your children are, it's still nice to have them around. As a bonus, grandchildren are a gift from God.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Cheyenne, Wyoming: Capital City

Not all who wander are lost.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Lists

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 59 degrees, high 72 degrees, mostly cloudy skies

We finally saw the sun today for a total of about a half hour. The forecast predicts that we will see more of it tomorrow. I'm ready for it.

After my morning walk and breakfast, we didn't do much of anything until about 1100 hours, when we decided to take a drive out in the country. Passing by the stores in town, we noticed that the parking lots appeared to be over half full. I hope that indicates the after Christmas sales are going well.

We have seen very little sun in the last month. Mental health professionals have linked the winter doldrums people go through to the lack of sunshine, and it wouldn't surprise me to hear that people are feeling down in this area. In our ride through the countryside, the lack of sunshine made everything seem dull and washed out. There have been times when it looked better than now.

When we returned home, it was time for some meditation. After the meditation was finished, I decided to sort through the file box that holds our important paperwork that is kept with us on the road. The really important stuff is kept in a safety deposit box in a bank. Anyway, I usually do a pretty good job of keeping the junk out of our files in the RV. About once a year, I review all the paperwork from the past year to make sure we're not keeping junk, and that everything is filed in the proper folder. Somehow, we always manage to misfile something, or a few pieces of junk will worm their way into the files. About 45 minutes after starting, the files were in good shape again, and we were able to get rid of some junk. That's one thing crossed off my rather long list of things to do.

Speaking of things to do, I have noticed that the older I get, the more I depend on lists to ensure I don't forget something. Not that my memory is getting bad or anything like that.

I wonder if Carolyn knows where those keys are?

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Miami, Florida: Gateway To The Americas

Not all who wander are lost.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 50 degrees, high 59 degrees, cloudy, light showers late in the afternoon

Christmas has always been a time that is special to us. Family gatherings, good food, gifts from the heart, remembering those less fortunate than us, and remembering the reason this season is most special.

Remembering loved ones who have passed on. Thinking about loved ones who are elsewhere. I can remember when our extended family would gather at a central location for dinner and gift exchanges. Unfortunately, many of those family members are no longer with us, and others have moved for better opportunities. This modern world we live in, with all the material wealth, is lacking in some of the things we consider most important.

Our family is no different than most others, with members living all over the country. We would like to be with all of them, but it is impossible. Instead, we try to see as many of them during the year as possible. To us, it is Christmas every time we are with family, and we are thankful that we are able to live the lifestyle we have that enables us to do the things we do.

Our friends are important to us at this time of year. We appreciate the friends we have and enjoy seeing them. Life would not be as full without them.

Many times, we tend to take for granted the sacrifices of the personnel in the armed forces of our country. It is always important to appreciate them and think about their families and loved ones.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Houston, Texas: The Real Texas

Not all who wander are lost.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tornado Warning On Christmas Eve

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 57 degrees, high 76 degrees, cloudy, tornado warning late in the afternoon

About 1715 hours, we noticed the wind was picking up and it was starting to sprinkle. Carolyn turned the weather radio on just in time to hear that a tornado was expected to pass through this area in the next few minutes. We know that an RV is not the best shelter for safety from a tornado, so we decided to go out to Terri's house. Her house has a tornado shelter built into the basement. On the way out to the house, we drove through heavy rain and high wind. By the time we arrived at the house, the wind and rain had eased off. Since it was dark, we were unable to see what was going on with the sky. After a few minutes, the radio announced that the watch had been canceled. We waited a few more minutes to make sure it was safe, then returned to the RV. Another front is expected to pass through the area tomorrow, so we'll have the radio on to listen for any more tornado related news.

We have seen some extremes in the weather over the last 2-3 weeks. Heavy rain, high winds, tornado warnings, fog, mist, freezes, sleet, snow. About the only things left are hurricanes and dust storms.

This morning, I took my morning walk a little earlier than in recent weeks. That was in an attempt to get to the barber shop early enough to get a hair cut, and it worked. By 0800, I had finished my walk and by 0810, I was sitting in the barber's chair getting my ears lowered. By 0830, I was at the WalMart Mall, picking up the last few items needed for our Christmas Day feast. I was home by 0930 hours and eating breakfast. A lot was done in a short period of time, but I was able to avoid the busy roads and stores that the last few hours before Christmas always brings.

We were invited by Marsha and Chuck, two of our landlords, to go to their house and see their Christmas tree and other decorations. The tree was beautiful, using a lot of artificial fruits and vegetables as decorations, which is in keeping with their green thumbs. They are nice people, and we feel very fortunate to have them as neighbors and landlords.

We went through the presents we're taking to Terri and Thomas's apartment tomorrow for the Christmas celebration. It looks like everything is ready. In the morning, Carolyn will be preparing a bowl of ambrosia to take to the celebration.

This season of the year is always a special time for us. We hope everyone has a good day tomorrow.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Fort Bragg, California: The Undiscovered Jewel Of The Mendocino Coast

Not all who wander are lost.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Wings

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 45 degrees, high 52 degrees, cloudy, windy, sprinkles early in the morning

We had some sprinkles this morning that are expected to become heavier rain over the next 24 hours. We were glad to see warmer temperatures, which will probably last for a few days.

With the threat of rain, I put my walk off until later in the morning. Before walking, I went by the barber shop to get a hair cut, but it was so busy I decided to wait until my walk was finished. Trying for a hair cut after the walk was also unsuccessful. I was not ready to spend an hour waiting for an available barber. Later in the evening, I saw the barbers were still busy. Maybe I'll just wait until after the holiday. At least someone seems to be doing well in this uncertain economy.

When I got home from my walk, Carolyn had been busy baking. Peanut butter blossom cookies, chocolate chip cookies, sugar cookies, brownies. I'm in cookie heaven. Of course, I had to try the baker's products out to see if she had left anything out of the recipes. Good news, everything is fine. I guess I'm going to have to get more exercise to make up for all these good eats. I shared the cookies with our neighbors, and we'll take some over to Terri and Thomas on Thursday.

Since Carolyn had been busy baking, I helped her with the vacuuming of the RV. By then, it was time for some meditation. Tonight, we invited Terri and Thomas to go with us to Bob Baumhower's Wings Restaurant. Guess what we had? That's right, wings with all the trimmings, including cole slaw and curly fries. I had the hot wings, and that was probably a mistake. They were just a touch too hot to enjoy them properly. Carolyn was smarter than me, and ordered the medium wings. Oh, well. Live and learn. The food was good and plentiful, and we brought home a full carryout container of food. Looks like we'll have lunch for tomorrow. Or maybe supper.

After finishing supper, we returned home to a quiet evening. There's not much on television at this time of the year, so I have been doing a lot of reading, while Carolyn has been doing crafts and other little projects.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Thermopolis, Wyoming: A Past To Behold, A Future To Uphold

Not all who wander are lost.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Cold, Cold, Cold

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 20 degrees, high 36 degrees, clear skies, light breezes

Carolyn had a doctor's appointment early this morning, which gave me a perfect excuse for being a wimp as far as the weather was concerned. Usually, I go for my daily walk before 0800 hours every morning. If Carolyn had not had her early appointment, I would have put the walk off until the temperature warmed up, even at the risk of being called a wimp. I do not like weather this cold.

Carolyn's doctor's appointment was a followup to the treatment she has been receiving for the nodules on the calves of her legs. The nodules are responding well to treatment, but the locations where the biopsies were performed are not healing well. The doctor prescribed a new antibiotic cream, as well as some oral antibiotics. Hopefully, we will see an improvement soon in those areas.

After the doctor's appointment was finished and we had breakfast, I checked our propane gas tanks. One of our tanks was empty, so I took it down to a local gas company to have it refilled. We don't want to run out of propane in weather like this.

After I came back home and reinstalled the propane tank, I gathered the library books and made a book run to the library. When I finished at the library, It had warmed up enough that I was willing to try to get my daily walk done. Even though I was dressed for the occasion, I still got cold. It is supposed to be a little warmer tomorrow. I'm ready for it.

Tonight, Terri and Thomas came to the RV for a visit. We had a good visit, talking about all manner of subjects. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Waxahachie, Texas: Crepe Myrtle Capital Of Texas

Not all who wander are lost.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

First Day Of Winter

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 40 degrees, high 47 degrees, mostly clear skies, windy

Today is the first day of winter, and it came in windy and cold. We had some light snow earlier in the evening after dark, and the low in the morning is expected to be near 20 degrees. I'm ready to go south for some warmer weather. At least we had some sun today.

I was back to my usual walking distance this morning after being lazy yesterday and cutting the walk short. The cold walk woke up my appetite, and we had a nice breakfast after I returned home. Normally, I catch up on the news on the computer, but today felt like a good day to read a newspaper. I picked one up before heading home, and enjoyed reading it after breakfast.

Last night about 2250 hours, the cold front passed through the area. The reason I know the time is that I was reading in bed and heard the wind pick up and hard rain falling. That's when I checked the clock. This morning, when we turned on the TV to check the weather, there was no signal from the satellite dish. Checking the connections, I couldn't find any obvious reason why the system was not working. I have another cable, so I changed out the cables and a connector, and now we have a signal.

Since we knew cold weather was coming, I dumped our holding tanks. Now, everything is empty. Even though our basement is heated, I don't like to take a chance on our tanks freezing. Think of the mess we would have if our tanks were full and froze. If the tanks ruptured, I would have a real job cleaning it up.

Today was the first good day for sunshine in awhile. We took advantage of the sunshine by going for a ride in the countryside in the afternoon. It was nice to get out, even if it was going over roads we have traveled before.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - West Columbia, Texas: Where Texas History Began

Not all who wander are lost.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Shorter Walk

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 67 degrees, high 76 degrees, mostly cloudy, a little sunshine

On most mornings, I feel like I could walk almost forever when I go for my morning walk. For some reason, I didn't feel that way this morning, and cut my walk short by about 25%. Nothing to worry about. I think I was just being lazy.

Carolyn wanted to go to Target, so we went there after eating breakfast. She likes to browse through the store, and I trail along wherever she wants to go. We found a couple of things she liked, so we picked them up. Actually, they were gifts for Terri and Thomas. What was interesting about Target was the fact that the store has about 30 registers, and only five of them were being used. And none of the five that were open had people backed up. Is this an indication of the state of the economy?

After we left Target, we had planned to stop at a couple more places, but Carolyn's vertigo kicked in. The traffic going across in front of us at traffic lights seems to bring on an attack of the vertigo, and she inadvertently looked at the traffic when we were stopped at a light. We decided to go home, hoping she would feel better later. She did feel better, but by the time she did, it was too late to do much.

We have some cold weather coming (after all, tomorrow's the first day of winter). By Monday morning, the low is forecast to be 20 degrees. I insulated our water hose in an attempt to keep the hose from freezing. We have had some freezing weather already, but I have been removing the water hose when needed so it wouldn't freeze. That's getting a little tiresome. Now, let's see if I insulated the hose well enough.

We found a new hamburger place that has been getting rave reviews. We may try it tomorrow. If so, a full report will be forthcoming.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Portland, Maine: Forest City

Not all who wander are lost.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Sun, The Sun

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 58 degrees, high 73 degrees, mostly to partly cloudy

We saw the sun today! The first time we have seen it since....I don't remember the last time. Anyway, it was enough to raise my spirits.

After my morning walk and breakfast, I took our clothes to the laundry and washed them. While I was doing the laundry, Carolyn was doing some housecleaning. When I was finished with the laundry, I stopped at the WalMart Mall to pick up a few more baking items for Carolyn. She is going to bake some cookies, and I am ready to do my bit by doing a taste test. Of course, my taste test may result in having to bake more cookies, but I'm sure Carolyn won't mind. Would she?

Once I got home and everything was put away, I did some chores outside in the basement. Seeing the sun got my work juices going, so I gathered the truck washing stuff and went out to Terri's house. I was going out there to make sure everything was okay, so I decided to take care of washing the truck at the same time. The truck looks much better with about ten layers of dirt caused by snow, sleet, rain, and road grime removed. If I have the time tomorrow, I plan to clean up the inside.

Tonight while writing this post to the blog, I had another brownie to see if they were still as good as yesterday. Strictly a scientific test, which it appears was successful. The brownie was just as good tonight as they were yesterday. Now, I wonder if the cookies will hold up that well? Sounds like more tests will be coming to verify how long cookies are good.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Lufkin, Texas: See The Forest For The Trees

Not all who wander are lost.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Carolyn's Been Baking

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 54 degrees, high 67 degrees, cloudy, fog, mist, showers last night

After my morning walk, I had the truck serviced. It was time for that task to be done, and as I was driving by WalMart, I noticed they did not seem busy. So I drove in and a half hour later, the service work was finished.

When I got home, Carolyn decided she was going to do some baking. I got the baking pans out from under the dinette seat, the mixer down from the top shelf in the kitchen cabinet, the ingredients out of the pantry, and left her to do her thing.

While Carolyn was baking, I went to the library to finish loading the programs we want in the old computer. As I mentioned in another post, our Internet connection is not the fastest. When I need to download large files, I go to the library, where I can use their wifi signal for much faster access. As expected, the downloads went quickly. Also, I took the new computer and downloaded the same programs to it. The downloaded programs included a different Internet browser (Mozilla Firefox), an anti-virus program (Avast), an ad removal program (Ad Aware), a spy bot removal program (spy bot search and destroy), and CCleaner, (registry cleaner). All these programs received high marks from the Internet community, and best of all, they were free.

By the time I returned home from the library, Carolyn had finished her baking. I had to show my appreciation for her efforts, and had a fresh, warm brownie. Ummmmm, Boy!! That was good. Just to make sure I wasn't wrong about the taste, I had another one tonight while writing this post. Guess what? They're still good. Maybe I can talk her into doing more.

Tonight, we had supper with Terri and Thomas. It was a pleasant evening, and we made some plans for the days leading up to Christmas and Christmas Day. Looks like it's going to be a good week.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Puyallup, Washington: Working To Be Your Community Of Choice

Not all wander are lost.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Enough, Already

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 52 degrees, high 62 degrees, cloudy, misty, showers, fog

Have you ever gotten so tired of something that you said enough, already? That's the way I feel about the weather we have been going through since we got back to Coker. It seems every day is more of the same - cloudy, rain, fog, cold, etc. The same type of weather was present while we were in Bay City, Texas before coming here. I'm ready to see some sunshine for a change.

We got our Christmas cards in the mail today. Usually, we get them out sooner than this, but it seemed that we had something to do every time I thought about them. We had planned to get out and do some Christmas shopping, but Carolyn's vertigo was giving her fits this morning. She felt well enough in the late afternoon to go with me to the WalMart Mall for a little light shopping for some things we needed.

Carolyn made us a Christmas wreath to hang on the front door of the RV in between the vertigo problems. She is much more talented than I am with that sort of thing. I worked a little more on getting the old computer reconfigured the way I want. When it crashed, a lot of work was required to get it set up again. If we had not been backing everything up on a fairly routine basis, it would have been worse. Our Internet connection is not as fast as I would like, so I plan to take the computer to the Tuscaloosa library where I can connect to their Internet connection. They have a broadband connection that flies, and I will be able to quickly download some programs I use.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Russellville, Alabama: A Great Place To Call Home

Not all who wander are lost.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Yucky Weather

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 45 degrees, high 51 degrees, cloudy, misting, sprinkles, fog

Rain started late yesterday evening and continued all night. When we got up this morning, the rain had eased off to an occasional sprinkle. About noon, fog moved in and the sprinkles continued the rest of the day. Fortunately, even with the weather so nasty, I was able to take my morning walk without getting wet.

When we saw what the weather was going to be like, we decided to go into town and do some light Christmas shopping. The shopping consisted mainly of looking for some decorations that we could use in the future and that wouldn't take up too much room. I think we succeeded. In addition, we did some window shopping, thinking about what we might need in the future for projects and other needs.

We had lunch in town and returned home about 1330 hours. We took some well earned meditation, and then I started reinstalling some of our programs on the old computer. I'm being careful to install just the programs we use on a routine basis. This is in an attempt to keep the system lean and fast.

Carolyn has been busy getting her Christmas cards ready to be mailed tomorrow. I'm running a little behind, but expect to be finished before the evening is over. We're getting ready to watch NCIS on television, so I'll close for now.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Demopolis, Alabama: Jewel Of The Black Belt

Not all who wander are lost.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Computer Nerds?

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 54 degrees, high 68 degrees, cloudy skies, rain showers late

For the second day in a row, we managed to get up later than we have been for the last few months. I got up just before 0700 hours, while Carolyn followed me about 30minutes later. I think about another three months of this late rising will fix me up.

After my morning walk, I decided to go out to Terri's house to repair the broken drawer slide on the kitchen drawer. While there, I also cleaned the carpet and floor where people had tracked in debris from outside when the house was being shown. Leaves were collected against the garage door, so I hooked up the leaf blower and blew them away from there, as well as from the downstairs patio and front porch. Birds have been roosting on the front porch and had left evidence of their presence, so I used a broom and water to clean that up. Leaves and other trash had blown into the shop, so I swept it out. Limbs had fallen into the yard in several places, and were removed.

When I was finished at the house, I returned home and had lunch. After a few minutes of meditation (very few minutes), I decided to see what I could do with the old computer that crashed on us about ten days ago. The problem was that the computer would freeze in the startup process. I didn't want to take it to a shop unless I had to because it is over five years old. In addition, there was very little data on the hard drive that had not been backed up on our external hard drive. After we discussed the problem, we decided that if the worse case came to pass, we could always take the computer to a shop if our efforts didn't succeed.

Knowing that we were going to lose all the data on the hard drive, we inserted quick recovery disk 1, and lo and behold, we started getting a reaction. Following the on-screen prompts, about an hour later, we had a functioning computer again. We still have some programs to add and some updates to download, but we saved some money and the aggravation of taking the computer to a shop, then having to go pick it up. And we have a better feel for how to recover from these crashes again. It also brought home to us how important it is to back up our data on a fairly often basis.

In between all this work, Carolyn managed to do some Christmas decorating and cleaning. On top of that, she prepared a great supper for us. Have I ever said how well we work together?

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Alabaster, Alabama: The City for Families

Not all who wander are lost.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Offer On House

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 40 degrees, high 60 degrees, cloudy skies

Working on correcting our sleep habits, I got up this morning at 0730 hours, while Carolyn was a sleepy head and didn't manage to get up until 0800 hours. I could get used to sleeping like that. I think what has happened is that the traveling caught up with us.

I had not been for a morning walk for the last five days because of traveling and bad weather. This morning, I managed to get out and start walking again, and it seemed to wake my body up. On the way home, I stopped and bought the local newspaper so we could see what kinds of sales are going on. We found several things on sale for stuff we use on a routine basis. After lunch, I went into town and picked up those items, plus stopped at the WalMart Mall for some grocery items we needed. It was surprising to see that WalMart was not as busy as usual on Sunday. Is the economy affecting sales, or did I go at a time that was not busy?

When I went to Terri's house yesterday, I found that a drawer slide in the kitchen was broken, allowing the drawer to fall down in the opening. I will be going out there tomorrow to repair that, plus do a little housekeeping and minor yard work.

We heard from the Realtor on Friday that a party had made an offer on the house. A verbal counteroffer was made, and we heard today that the interested party wants the counteroffer written up for their review. I'm not sure why a written counteroffer was not performed to start with, especially in this tough market. Anyway, we're hopeful this is the party that will buy the house.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Brundidge, Alabama: Alabama's Own Antiques Town

Not all who wander are lost.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Settling In For The Holidays

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 25 degrees, high 52 degrees, heavy frost in the morning, cloudy skies

For some reason, we were up early this morning, even though we were still tired because of the trip from Texas. Our sleep habits are off a little, but I am going to make a concerted effort to get mine back in line.

We spent part of the morning going through our mail, which we had not received for three weeks. Luckily, no overdue bills. Of course, we didn't really expect any, since most of our recurring obligations are paid via electronic transfer. Tomorrow, we'll make a late start on getting Christmas cards in the mail.

I put up the satellite dish so Carolyn can watch her programs. We can watch TV with our onboard antenna, but the variety of viewing is much less than with the satellite dish. In addition, the quality of picture with the dish is much better.

About noontime, I went out to Terri's house and got some boiled peanuts and turnip greens out of the freezer. Tonight, we had turnip greens, potato salad, and chicken for supper. The turnip greens were the best we have ever had. Thanks, Ruth and Marsha for allowing us to pick them out of your garden.

After lunch, I went to the library in Tuscaloosa and picked us up some books to read. When I got back to the RV, it was time for some meditation, which we have not had time for in several days. The rest of the day was spent taking it easy and resting up. I don't know what we will do tomorrow beyond the Christmas cards, but I'm sure we'll stay busy. Who knows, maybe we will find Greenbow, Alabama next week.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Greenville, Alabama: City Of Smiles

Not all who wander are lost.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Back In Coker, Alabama

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 29 degrees in Duson, Louisiana, high 49 degrees somewhere in southern Mississippi, clear skies, light breezes, heavy frost in Duson

It was coldddddd in Duson, Louisiana when we got up this morning. Everything outside was covered with heavy frost, including the water hose which did not freeze for some unknown reason. By the time I had everything outside ready to travel, I thought my hands would break off, they were so cold. We left Duson at 0800 hours, and as I mentioned in the weather section, it was a great day for traveling.

We had heard on the radio yesterday that the bad weather was causing a lot of problems along I-10 in southern Louisiana and Mississippi. Our opinion was that Louisiana was hit hard, with some places still having up to 6 inches of snow still on the ground. It was apparent that there were a lot of accidents caused by careless drivers in conditions that they very seldom encounter. On I-12, we saw where the traffic had been stopped for hours due to road closures, and several snowmen were still standing that had been built by bored drivers. We were not held up by the weather today, but we saw several accidents caused by people being careless, including running on the edge of the road and losing control of their vehicles.

Once we got into Mississippi, we did not see any sign of snow. It may have been that it was already melted. As we got into Alabama, there was plenty of evidence that the rainfall totals were high. When we got to Coker and parked in our space, our landlord told us that the area had received at least 5 inches of rain over the last two days. She also said that the temperatures had been below freezing almost every night. Brrrrr!

We got into Coker about 1600 hours, so the priority was to park and get the RV set up before dark. We managed to do that, but didn't get the satellite dish set up. I know what I will be doing in the morning. Carolyn says she can't see her TV shows with the RV antenna.

The truck and RV are both filthy on the outside from traveling through rain, sleet, snow, slush, and mud the last few days. If possible, I'll start trying to get some cleaning done over the next few days. In the meantime, I'm wore out, so I think I'll close for now.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Laurel, Mississippi: Experience A Mississippi Treasure

Not all who wander are lost.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Icy Bridges

Duson, Louisiana

Weather: low 31 degrees in Bay City, Texas, high 49 degrees in Duson, Louisiana, clear skies, winds to 20 mph

We left Bay City about 0800 hours this morning. With the wind blowing about 20 mph, it felt much colder than 31 degrees. The snowfall from yesterday was still much in evidence on roof tops and in fields and ditches from Bay City to our stopping point for the night in Duson, Louisiana.

We were making good time until we approached the bridge crossing the Houston Ship Channel to Baytown. About three miles from the bridge, we encountered a massive parking lot on the highway. The bridge was closed due to the ice that formed overnight because of the rain, snow, and cold. We estimate we were sitting in the highway parking lot for about 1.5 hours, unable to do anything but sit there and hope the sun would eventually melt the ice. Luckily, we had our house with us, so were able to get food and water if needed. Equally important was being able to go to the restroom if we needed to.

When I was thinking of the things that might hold us up, ice on the road and bridges was not even remotely among the scenarios that I thought of. We have lived in Texas for 18 years, and I have never heard of ice closing the road this early in December in the Houston area. Houston drivers are notorious for thinking they are invincible. Today, however, we saw no one displaying the dangerous driving habits that we know so well for the area. Instead, everyone was being very careful. It was nice to see people being careful for a change.

Once the traffic started moving again, we eventually arrived at I-10 and turned to the east toward Beaumont. Traffic continued to move well all the way to Duson, Louisiana, where we are spending the night.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Duson, Louisiana: Paper Town

Not all who wander are lost.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Snow In Bay City

Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 34 degrees, high 38 degrees, rain, sleet, snow, winds 20-30 mph

Morning broke with cold temperatures, rain, and high winds. With the weather so bad, we decided to stay here another day. The forecast for tomorrow looks like it will be cold in the morning with clear skies. There will be some wind, but it should be better than today.

About 1530 hours, sleet started falling, with snow not far behind. I estimate about an inch of snow fell over the course of about three hours. At this time (2000 hours) it continues to snow, but lighter than before. Getting any snow at all in this area is a big event for the kids. On Christmas Eve of 2004, we received about 14 inches here, which was a record for the area.

We made some minor preps for leaving tomorrow, including washing another load of clothes. After a short trip to the WalMart Mall, we returned to the RV for the daily meditation session. At 1530 hours, I picked up Zoe from school and took her home. At 1730 hours, we went back to Lori's house to say goodbye again, and we decided to go out and eat with them one last time before leaving. We had a great visit to Bay City, and look forward to seeing everyone again soon.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Angleton, Texas: Where The Heart Is

Not all who wander are lost.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Preps For Leaving

Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 60 degrees, high 86 degrees, cloudy skies, showers, winds up to 30 mph

The weather didn't follow its normal pattern of having the low temperature in the morning. This morning when we got up, the temperature was 72 degrees. At the time this post is being written at 20000 hours, it is less than 60 degrees, and cooling down. We were on our way from Lori's house going back to the RV when the weather front passed through. There was an immediate change in the feel of the air, with it feeling dryer, and the temperature began falling. We could watch the temperature falling by the minute on the truck thermometer.

After the morning walk, we started getting things ready to leave here tomorrow. I washed two loads of clothes at the campground laundry so that if we were not able to go to a laundry for a few days, it wouldn't be a problem. Then I dumped the holding tanks so we can travel with as little weight as possible. Once that chore was finished, I had some errands to do in town, including going to the bank.

When I got back to the RV, I was stopped before going inside by a new arrival at the campground who was having problems setting up his satellite dish. He asked if I could help him, so I grabbed my equipment and worked for a little while before realizing that he had hooked the wrong cable to the wrong outlet on his system. Makes it a little hard to get a signal if nothing is hooked up right. I continued helping the new guy for a little longer, then had to leave to pick up Zoe at school and take her home.

We left Zoe at home and went to Terrell and Kathy's for a visit. He retired earlier this year and seems to be adjusting well to the leisure life. She is doing well in her battle against cancer, and we hope everything continues well for her.

On our way back to the RV, we stopped at Lori's house to visit and let them know we may be leaving tomorrow. Julian had good news about his PSAT, and he wasn't even trying. He scored in a very high percentile, and when he takes the SAT for real, he should be able to do well enough to go to just about any state school he would like. Way to go, Julian!!

If the weather is good enough tomorrow, we plan to start back to Alabama. However, the forecast is not good, with rain and high winds in the forecast. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Millport, Alabama: Tree City, USA

Not all who wander are lost

Monday, December 8, 2008

Golf And Matagorda, Texas

Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 53 degrees, high 73 degrees, cloudy skies, 20 mph winds

While walking this morning, Terrell called to see if I wanted to play golf. I called him back and we arranged to meet at the golf course in 30 minutes. This was the first time I have played since March, and only the third time in three years. In addition, I was tired from walking, my elbow hurt, and the wind was blowing hard. Now that my excuses are firmly in place, here's how I played. I had some good shots, some bad shots, and some horrendous shots. Overall, it was fun, and I played no better than I deserved. Just above bogie golf, and I really wanted to at least play bogie golf. Still, as I said, it was fun.

When I got home from the golf course, we decided to go to the boat harbor in Matagorda for lunch at the Waterfront Restaurant. This restaurant specializes in typical Texas food, and they are really good at preparing seafood and hamburgers. Aha, you say. I know what they had for lunch. You would be right if you said we had a hamburger. We like their hamburgers, and both of us had the bacon cheeseburger with fries. Ummmm, good! And enough left for supper.

Once lunch was finished, we drove down to the beach. A new bridge is being constructed that will probably cause a boom in activity going to and along Matagorda Beach. The new bridge will replace a drawbridge that seems to hold up traffic a lot. The bridge is on the Intracoastal Waterway, so there is a lot of barge traffic as well as fishing boats and sail boats. Here's a picture of the new bridge under construction.



When we arrived at the beach, we saw that the wind was blowing even harder than in town. The waves were rolling in pretty good, and washing across the fishing jetty. Here's a picture of the fishing pier and jetty.



On the way out of Matagorda, we encountered a cattle drive, with real live cowboys and horses. Actually, these movements of cattle are commonplace here.



Tonight, we went to a music recital for Zoe's school. She is in the school band, and is first chair for the trumpets. Zoe says they suck, but I thought they were good.

It's been a busy day, with more of the same set for tomorrow.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Matagorda, Texas: Where Texas History Began

Not all who wander are lost.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

New Computer

Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 38 degrees, high 69 degrees, light frost, clear skies, light breezes

We went to Houston with Lori and her family today. It was the first time we had been to that part of Houston (Sugarland, etc.) in more than three years, and it was amazing to us how much the area has built up. Based on what we saw, there is no sign of a recession or weak economy in Houston.

Our first stop was at the Sam's Club. We like to walk up and down most of the aisles to see what neat new things they have for Christmas. Unfortunately, we were a little early to try the free samples that they give away, such as cookies, shrimp, steak, and so forth. We found a few things that we just had to have. The most important was a new laptop computer that will probably be our primary computer, even after we have the old one repaired. The new computer is probably three times the computer that the old one is, and cost about half what the old one did. It's amazing what is done with electronics today, compared with a few years ago.

A minor problem we had with the new computer was that when I loaded the software for the air card, the computer did not have the proper drivers for the air card. I went to Lori's house and connected to the Internet via their broadband connection and found the drivers needed. Once the drivers were downloaded, we were ready to connect. Now I need to find a mouse because this touchpad on the new computer is driving me crazy.

After leaving Sam's, we went to Gringo's, a Mexican restaurant, for lunch. Very good food. Then we went over to the Sugarland Mall, where John went with me to look at the Apple computers. The Apples are very good products, but a little pricey. I think I'll be okay with the one I bought.

Carolyn and I came home and did some power meditating. After that, I spent the rest of the day becoming familiar with the new computer. I'm a little tired now, so I think I'll call it a day.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Houston, Texas: Space City

Not all wander are lost.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Broke Computer

Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 44 degrees, high 58 degrees, clear skies, light breezes

Today was one of the nicest days of weather we have had since being in Bay City this time. The morning walk was almost perfect, and by the time I returned home, I was starting to remove layers of clothes. Later in the day, we were able to open the front door for a short time.

I had some mail to take to the post office which needed extra postage. After taking care of that little chore, where the counter attendant tried to sell me services I didn't need or want, I went over to HEB to pick up a couple of items. Then it was on to Dollar General to buy some clothes detergent and softener. Then one more stop at the drugstore to buy some first aid tape to dress the areas on Carolyn's leg where she had biopsies taken of the nodules on her legs. The areas are getting much better, but we will have to protect the affected areas for a few more days.

Lori and her family came over for a couple of hours, and we had a good visit with them. They left about 1430 hours, and I watched the Southeastern Conference football championship game between Florida and Alabama. It was a well played game by both teams, with Florida pulling out a win in the fourth quarter, 31 to 20.

As I write this post to the blog, I am using Lori's family computer. Our computer is giving us problems again, failing to start up properly. The start up process will only go so far, then stop. I have done everything I know to fix the problem, but have been unsuccessful. This is the third time this issue has arisen in the last 18 months, and it looks like it may be time to go buy another computer. I will make every attempt to find a place to post the blog until we make other arrangements, including going to the library if I have to. I had been making plans to buy another computer so we could use the old one as a backup, and it looks like I took too much time to decide what to get. Lori and her family are trying to convince me that I should buy an Apple, and get away from the Windows based computers we have been using.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Rosebud, Texas: We Call It Home

Not all who wander are lost.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Cold Walk

Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 38 degrees, high 52 degrees, cloudy skies, winds 15-20 mph

It was another cold morning in the campground, especially with the wind blowing as hard as it was. My morning walk was taken just after daylight, and it was much more unpleasant than yesterday's walk, when I walked about noon. It looks like we will have more of the same tomorrow.

Carolyn's back problems continue to show slow improvement to the point that we were able to go eat lunch with my brother Terrell and his wife Kathy. It was a nice get together, and Terrell and I decided we would try to play golf if the weather warms up enough before we leave here next Wednesday. We couldn't visit with Terrell and Kathy as long as we wanted because we needed to get Carolyn back on the heating pad. We'll see them again later on.

We came home from lunch and Carolyn started using the heating pad again while I performed some meditation. About 1700 hours, we went over to Lori's house and visited with her and her family. A discussion on what to do about supper led us to the China Station, a Chinese restaurant. I had the sesame chicken and Carolyn had the chicken wings. Good food, and we had enough left for lunch. While we were at the restaurant, I saw a friend I worked with before retiring. She is now working as a teacher, and is Zoe's computer teacher. It was nice catching up with what has been happening with her.

Once supper was over, I brought Carolyn home so she could get back on the heating pad. Her back is getting better, and we don't want to do anything that will cause her to hurt it again. We'll see Lori and her family again tomorrow, and I'll be watching Florida and Alabama playing in the Southeastern Conference football championship game. It should be a great game, with one team possessing great speed and finesse, and the other having an old fashioned ground pounding offense. Both teams have very good defenses.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Tupelo, Mississippi: All American City

Not all who wander are lost.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Visit To Dentist

Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 38 degrees, high 55 degrees, clear to mostly cloudy skies, winds 15-25 mph

The wind blew hard all night, and it continued today. Combine that with a temperature of 38 degrees, and I was glad that we had appointments with our dentist for our six month checkups at 0815 hours. That meant I waited until about noon to take my daily walk, after the weather had warmed up a little. The coat and gloves still felt good.

On our way out of the RV park where we are staying, we saw a herd of about 20 deer. They showed no fear of us at all. I have noticed that the deer outside the park tend to shy away from humans.

We got good reports from the dentist, except for a little thing that Carolyn needs to have taken care of. Since we expect to be back here in a couple of months, the dentist said that would be soon enough to fix the little problem.

Carolyn's back was a little better today, but she stayed home again and used the heating pad. The only time she was out was to go to the dentist. The cold weather is not good for a sore back. We hope it continues to feel better so we can do some of the things we want to while here.

When we first arrived here, my brother Terrell and his wife Kathy were out of town. They got back today, so I went to see them in the afternoon. It was great to sit and talk with them about what's been going on. If Carolyn's doing well enough tomorrow, we plan to meet for lunch. Terrell said he has a spare golf bag I can use while here, so maybe we can get a round or two in before we leave.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Stafford, Texas: Island Of Business Opportunity

Not all who wander are lost.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Battery Maintenance

Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 68 degrees, high 82 degrees, clear skies early, partly cloudy to mostly cloudy skies in the afternoon, winds 20-30 mph

The contrast in the weather the last two days has been amazing. Yesterday morning, the temperature was in the middle 30s with frost. Today, the low was 68 degrees, and it got up to 82 degrees. The warmer temperatures are more to my liking, but Carolyn likes it to be a little cooler. I think she'll get enough of the cooler weather when we go back to Alabama next week.

Carolyn is still having problems with her back, and used the heating pad all day. The only time she left the RV was to ride into town with me to pick up something at a store. We're hopeful she'll feel well enough tomorrow so we can ride down to Matagorda, which is about 20 miles away. We always like to visit the beach when we're here. Someday, we plan to stay at the RV park that was recently built near where the Colorado River empties into the Gulf of Mexico.

I washed three loads of clothes this morning at a laundry we had used before. I don't think we will use that laundry again, because it has been allowed to deteriorate to the point that the machines are undependable, and the housekeeping is very poor.

Later in the day, between doing what I needed to for Carolyn so she would take it easy, I had to clean the battery connections on the truck. It had started dragging a little when starting, and Auto Zone checked it out for me. They found that the battery was fine. After cleaning everything up and tightening the connections, the truck started much easier. I'm going to have to start performing that and other simple maintenance on a routine basis again. We were so busy doing other things this summer that we ignored some things that we used to do.

We paid our rent for our RV site through next Tuesday. We plan to leave a week from today, headed back to Alabama for the holidays. At this time, our plan is to leave Alabama about the middle of January for an undetermined period of time. In the meantime, we will enjoy the rest of our time here in Bay City.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Nashville, Tennessee: Country Music Capital of the World

Not all who wander are lost.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Sore Back

Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 36 degrees, high 73 degrees, heavy frost, breezy after the early morning, clear skies

There was a heavy frost this morning, making the fields and golf course white along my walking path. Even though it was cold, it warmed up quickly. The walking weather was nice.

Carolyn's back was worse today. She thought it was getting better yesterday evening and tried to be a little more active. That turned out to be a mistake, but I don't fault her for trying to do something. She says she didn't come back to Texas so she could sit in the RV all day. Of course, she doesn't have any choice right now. We're hopeful she will feel better soon.

I had some errands to run this morning after Carolyn was settled. I was looking for some business card paper, but the WalMart Mall didn't have the style we needed. Can you imagine that? They usually have everything we need. I went to the only office supply store in town, only to find that things have changed. The office supply store closed last year, and nothing has opened to take its place. The reason I was looking for the paper was so I could print some more business cards, showing our latest career. As in retired.

I was also looking for a new golf bag. My old one was about 15 years old and falling apart. I got rid of it back in the spring, and had not thought to get another one until we arrived here. Again, the WalMart Mall didn't have any golf bags. What is going on? As a fallback, I went to the Salvation Army thrift store to see if they had any used bags, but they didn't. I haven't thought of another fallback, other than going to another town to find a bag.

I picked Zoe up at school and gave her a ride home so Lori wouldn't have to leave her school, pick up Zoe and take her home, then have to go back to school. I hope this little favor helps Lori out. Besides that, I get to spend some time with Zoe.

Later in the day, I was talking to Bob Skinner. He and his wife Nancy are our neighbors in the RV park. They used to live here, and moved away several years ago. They are RVers, and have built a home base similar to what we have been thinking about doing. Bob showed us some pictures of his place, and it is clear that they put a lot of thought into what they wanted when they needed a place to get off the road to rest and call home. Nice place. Tonight, we were invited to stop by and spend the night anytime we're in the area of Blooming Grove, Texas. They have two extra full hookups at their place, and we just may take them up on the offer some time down the road.

It's time for me to help Carolyn some. Hopefully, she will feel better tomorrow.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Sealy, Texas: A History Of Excellence, A Future Of Progress

Not all who wander are lost.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Buzzard Roost

Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 53 degrees, high 63 degrees, mostly cloudy skies, windy

It would seem that the temperatures listed above would be rather pleasant. Not today. The wind was blowing about 20 miles per hour, and a jacket felt good.

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, we prepared a late Thanksgiving meal. Today, Carolyn's back gave her a lot of problems and she spent most of the day on a heating pad. She said it felt better later in the day. We picked up Zoe at her school and took her home when school was out. Lori was already home, so we spent some time visiting. When we left Lori's house, Carolyn said she felt well enough to go to the WalMart Mall to pick up a few things she needed. I could tell she was having a tough time walking around, so we cut the walkabout short. We'll see how her back feels in the morning before deciding what we'll do tomorrow.

When I went for my morning walk, I saw 11 deer (two bucks among them). This area is full of wildlife, and apparently a bunch of buzzards spend the winter here. Whenever I take the nature path in the park, I have to watch the trees to make sure I don't walk under a bunch of buzzards roosting over where I'm walking. It's bad enough when a small bird drops a deposit on me. I would hate to have a buzzard do it.

I went to the public library after lunch to check out some books. I have used the local library for many years, but I wish they would get a different person to select the new books. They seem to buy a larger than normal number of romance types of books. Not my cup of tea. Give me a good mystery any time.

I returned home from the library and decided to clean out the front basement compartment. Whenever I do this chore, I'm usually find things that I had forgotten I had put in there. For example, I found the four way lug wrench used to tighten or loosen the lug nuts on the tires. Another thing I found was some indoor/outdoor carpet we use for door mats to clean our feet outside the RV door before going inside. I may have to do this chore more often.

Tonight, there is a celestial event occurring that is rare. The moon is in crescent phase, and just to the right of it are the two brightest objects in the sky early in the evening. The two objects are Venus and Jupiter. Venus is the brighter one. Here's what I saw when I took a picture of the event this evening. I hope it shows up well.



More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Waxahachie, Texas: Come For The History, Stay For The Charm

Not all who wander are lost.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

After Thanksgiving Dinner

Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 45 degrees, high 67 degrees, cloudy skies, breezy

The weather seemed cooler than it was because the wind was blowing. A jacket felt good whenever I was outside. We had planned to put the awning out and eat at the picnic table at out site, but it was just too windy and cold. Instead, we set everything up inside the RV and had a great after Thanksgiving dinner that Carolyn prepared.

We got an early start on the food preparations this morning. Instead of turkey, we bought a baked chicken at HEB, which saved some time and tasted great. This was the first time that we had cooked a lot of food using the gas oven in the RV, and it worked well. Julian and Zoe had asked that Carolyn prepare her garlic mashed potatoes and iced tea. She did, but also cooked squash casserole, turnip greens, cornbread dressing, english peas, and gravy, with cranberry sauce on the side. Lori brought some pies for dessert. Carolyn sent most of the leftovers home with Lori.

After we ate, we went for a walk in the park. I talked to a man who was fishing from the bank of the river, who said that a lot of salt water fish are caught there, even though it is about 20 miles from the coast. Maybe I'll see if I can have any luck this week.

The holidays are nice, and it's always a happy time of year for us, but they sure are tiring. Personally, I'll be glad when the holidays are finished.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Thermopolis, Wyoming: A Past To Behold, A Future To Uphold

Not all who wander are lost.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Wild Hogs

Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 58 degrees, high 67 degrees, cloudy skies, light sprinkles late in the afternoon

Tomorrow, Carolyn is planning to prepare a belated Thanksgiving meal for Lori and her family, and of course I'll get to enjoy it, also. That meant we needed to go to the grocery store to pick up what was needed. Carolyn's favorite grocery store in Bay City is HEB, a Texas chain. When she shops for groceries, she likes to take her time and make sure she doesn't overlook anything. Since she is doing the cooking, I went along and drove the cart, taking extra care to not say anything about needing to hurry up. We picked up almost everything on her list. Well, I should say we picked up everything on the list, but forgot to put everything on it. I guess I'll have to pick up a few things tomorrow.

After we got back to the RV, Lori and her family came over and visited. After a couple of hours, everyone started getting hungry, so we decided to go to the K-2 Restaurant for lunch. Saturday is the day that they have a special on their hamburger lunches, plus they also have a great nacho bar. We had a nice meal, and after it was over, Lori and her family went home to take care of some chores there. Carolyn and I returned to the RV because I had an important college football game to watch between Florida and Florida State. Florida continued their dominating style of play, defeating Florida State 45 to 15. That was also the fifth straight win for Florida over Florida State. Now it's on to Atlanta for Florida to play Alabama for the SEC championship and a bid to the national championship game. It should be a great game.

I forgot to mention an item from yesterday. While I was walking, a herd of 30 to 40 wild hogs ran across the road about 50 feet from me. That is the most wild hogs I have seen in one bunch before. The wild hogs in this area are considered to be pests, and there is an open year round season on them. These animals cause a lot of damage to property, and also cause harm to the smaller wildlife because they will kill other animals' young and destroy their nests. The picture below is representative of the type of hogs I saw.



More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Puyallup, Washington: Working To Be Your Community Of Choice

Not all who wander are lost.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Left To Our Own Devices

Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 68 degrees, high 83 degrees, thick fog early, partly to mostly cloudy skies

Lori and her family began their day early to take advantage of Black Friday shopping. Somehow, Carolyn and I managed to find something to do by ourselves that didn't involve shopping. I think I have been clear on what I think about shopping, a necessary evil.

We took a ride to Palacios, taking the back roads to the little town 30 miles west of Bay City. Whenever we go to Palacios, we usually take the road around the bay. In the back of our minds, we imagine what it would be like to have a place on the bay. We noticed there is a lot of property for sale in Palacios, but nothing that grabbed us. Driving through the downtown area, which took all of a minute, we saw several vacant buildings, and there were some businesses no longer open. The growth for the town appears to be along Texas 35, and several businesses have opened there, including a new grocery store.

There is a large fishing fleet located in the harbor, with a majority of the boats being shrimp boats. I wonder if Forrest Gump has any boats there?

As we were driving by the harbor, we noticed a new sign for an RV park located next to the water. We drove in and checked the new park out, and both of us think that the new park is a good possibility for a future stay. The water would be about 30 feet from the rear of the RV. I could step out the door and have a line in the water in no time. Another plus for the new park is that the fishing fleet is only a few hundred feet away. Can you imagine fresh seafood right off the boats?

On our way home, we took Texas 35 back to Bay City. Hardly anything has changed along the road to Bay City since we sold our house in 2005. On the way into town, we stopped at the library to check out some books, but they were closed for the holiday.

Since we were getting tired, we decided to go on home and do some meditation. Once I had recovered from the strenuous morning, I hooked up the sewer hose and replaced a compartment door latch.

We discussed what to do for supper, and both of us agreed that seafood sounded good. There is a seafood restaurant in Van Vleck named the Bay Town Seafood Restaurant, so we went there since it had gotten good reviews from other people. I had the fried catfish, while Carolyn had the fried shrimp. Ummmmm, boy!! It was really good, and there was so much we couldn't eat all of it. Lunch is ready for tomorrow.

While we were at the restaurant, I saw Dennis O'Brien and his wife. I worked with Dennis when I was still at the South Texas Nuclear Project. It was nice to see Dennis again. He invited me to play golf when I have the time. He and I played as a team in a golf league when I was still working, and I had a great time with him. One of the things I miss about work (maybe the only thing) is working with people like Dennis.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Collegeport, Texas: Town Of Opportunity

Not all who wander are lost.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 58 degrees, high 80 degrees, thick fog early, partly to mostly cloudy skies, two light sprinkles

In this time of turmoil and uncertainty, sometimes it is hard to realize how fortunate we are. We count our blessings everyday, and appreciate the opportunities that we have been able to take advantage of. We are thankful for our daughters and grandchildren, and feel blessed that Carolyn's mother is still here with us and in good health. We love our brothers and sisters and all the friends that we have across the country.

There are so many things that we are thankful for, but I want to give a special thanks to the men and women of our armed services, who travel far from home and put their lives on the line everyday so we can continue to live in freedom in the greatest country on earth.

As I noted in the previous blog entry, we got to Bay City late in the afternoon yesterday. As a result, we didn't have enough time to plan and prepare a Thanksgiving dinner. We checked around town and found a restaurant that was serving lunch today, so we met Lori and her family at the restaurant. The food was set up in a buffet line, and had all of the old favorites for the holiday, plus more. Turkey (naturally), ham, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, desserts of all kind. Then, there were other treats, such as fried shrimp, roast beef with potatoes, carrots, and onions, fried okra.......

I think you might be able to get the idea. There was plenty to choose from, and if anyone left the restaurant hungry, there was no pleasing them.

After eating, we came back to the RV for the traditional post meal nap, I mean meditation. Later in the afternoon, we went to Lori's house and had a nice visit with them. Tomorrow, they are going to hit the stores early for Black Friday. We're going to stay at home. Shopping is not really our thing anymore. We do what we have to do, and no more. Instead of going shopping, we're thinking of going to the beach.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Crystal River, Florida: Gem Of The Nature Coast

Not all who wander are lost.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Back In Bay City, Texas

Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 49 degrees in Waco, Texas, high 76 degrees in Bay City. Partly cloudy to mostly cloudy skies.

We left Waco about 0900 hours this morning on our way to Bay City. Before leaving Waco, I took a long walk through the campground, up to Texas 6, and back through the campground to the RV. The weather was great for traveling, and traffic was light. By 1430 hours, we had arrived at Riverside RV Park, owned by the city of Bay City and located on the banks of the Colorado River. The only problems we had were when we actually arrived at the RV park. It appears that the people running the park have not trimmed the trees in quite some time, and that made it difficult to get into our space without damaging the RV. With Carolyn's help, as well as another camper, I was finally able to get in without any damage. I think.

After getting the RV into the space, we spent a few minutes talking to the other camper who helped us. It was amazing the similarities in our history, once we started talking. He retired early at 57 years old, the same as me, but he didn't go back to work like I did. They used to own a house here, and sold it to go on the road and find another place to live. Still sounding familiar? They come back to Bay City to see their daughter. More and more familiar. There were other things that surprised us, and I'm sure we will have some good conversations over the next few days.

When we finished our visit with the neighbor, we set the RV up and got the satellite dish working. Then I sprayed around the landing gear and tires with a pesticide to keep the ants out of the RV. We have to remember that we are back on the gulf coast where the bugs hardly ever die or go dormant.

We rested a short time and then went to Lori's house. After the hugs and excitement were over, the talk turned to where were we going to eat dinner. The choice was Victoria's Mexican Restaurant. We had a good time talking and catching up on what has been happening with them. Then, because we were tired, Carolyn and I came home with a promise that we will all get together tomorrow for Thanksgiving lunch.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Dublin, Texas: Irish Capital of Texas (Also, where the original formula for Dr. Pepper is still used)

Not all who wander are lost.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Furnace Repaired

Waco, Texas

Weather: low 32 degrees in Glen Rose, Texas, high 70 degrees in Waco, Texas, clear skies

We awoke to a cold morning, with a low temperature of 32 degrees. Normally, a temperature like that is not a concern for us. This morning, however, our furnace finally bit the dust. It would not come on at all. In an attempt to stay warm, we turned on both of our little electric heaters and put a couple of pots of water on the stove. It started warming up inside, and then the sun came up and started warming the outside. Soon, it was toasty and we were comfortable.

I took Carolyn to the Glen Rose Medical Center for the two tests she had performed today. The preliminary reports are that everything looks good, but we will not know for sure until the doctor reviews the results. While she was having her tests, I went back to the RV and waited on the RV serviceman to come back and repair the furnace. He received the new electronics board about noon. The new board was installed and the furnace worked as expected. It looks like we are ready for cold weather.

After the furnace was repaired and I settled up with the repairman, I went back to Glen Rose and picked up Carolyn. She finished with her tests early enough that we decided to hook up the RV to the truck and move down the road about 65 miles to Waco. We told Jerry and Joyce, the owners of Midway Pines RV Park, and Denise, another of our friends goodbye and headed south.

The trip over to Waco was uneventful, and we pulled into the Speegleville Corps of Engineers campground about an hour later. This campground is a very nice place to stay, and we have 3G speed for our air card, which is how we connect to the Internet. We'll stay here overnight and drive on to Bay City, where our daughter Lori and her family live.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Texarkana, Texas: Twice As Nice

Not all who wander are lost.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Pictures Of Chalk Mountain

Glen Rose, Texas

Weather: low 51 degrees, high 67 degrees, mostly clear skies, windy

Even though the low temperature only got down to about 51 degrees, with the wind it felt much cooler. It seems as though the wind blows all the time here. The wind felt cold enough that I turned the collar up on my jacket and wore gloves.

In the morning, we washed two loads of clothes before Carolyn went to El Chico's with her friend Denise for lunch. El Chico's is Carolyn's favorite Mexican restaurant, while I tend to like the local Mexican restaurants more than I do the chain restaurants. I'm glad they were able to get together for lunch before we leave here.

In the afternoon, the RV repairman came back to finish repairing the furnace. The only problem was that the part he ordered was not shipped. Since he knew there was a good possibility that we might be leaving this area tomorrow, he called the technical representative for the furnace manufacturer to see what could be done to get the furnace operating properly. The rep gave the repairman a couple of things to look for, and he found that the on/off switch was actually sticking in the on position. One big problem: the switch is an integral part of the electronic board. That means we need a new board, which had to be ordered. I told the repairman to go ahead and order the part, and it looks like it will be here about noon tomorrow. If it is, replacement only takes about ten minutes. Then, if everything works on the furnace and Carolyn gets a clean bill of health for the medical tests she is having tomorrow, we may leave in the afternoon. Next stops: Waco and Bay City over the next couple of days.

When the repairman left, I went into Glen Rose to return some books to the library. Before coming home, I went back to Chalk Mountain and took some pictures at the picnic area just off US 67, which goes across the mountain. The picnic area is blessed with some of the finest views of the surrounding countryside. Here are a few of the pictures I took.


























More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Binghamton, New York: Carousel Capital Of The World

Not all who wander are lost.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Chalk Mountain

Glen Rose, Texas

Weather: low 54 degrees, high 67 degrees, cloudy skies, windy

After the morning walk, I spent some time on the computer reading the news and sports. I have found that when I'm able to access the Internet, I can get the news I want to read without looking for a newspaper. And I don't pay for the advertisements for stuff I have no use for.

After catching up on the news, we took a ride to one of the prettiest areas around here, Chalk Mountain. The mountain is located west of Glen Rose about 10 miles, lying between Glen Rose and Stephenville. It is the highest land mass around, and covers a large area. The mountain is covered with cedar and oak trees, as well as mesquite. The leaves of the oaks have changed to a brilliant red, which contrasts with the green of the cedars. The oaks are changing in bands across the hills, creating red strips with green above and below the red.

Most of the mountain has been owned by large landowners over the years. Recently, smaller plots have sold off with houses being built across the hills. A movement has started by the current landowners to save Chalk Mountain. Now, what I can't figure out is, what is Chalk Mountain being saved from? Is it being saved from development? Or is it being saved to keep a way of life intact? Could it be that the current landowners are trying to restrict who can be allowed to move there? Something doesn't quite feel right about this movement.

After our ride on the mountain was finished, we returned home and meditated. Late in the day, our friend Denise invited us to go to Chili's in Granbury for dinner. This was the first time we have been to a Chili's in some time, but the food was good. Both of us had hamburgers (mine was the original, while Carolyn's was with bacon and cheese). Not bad.

Oh, by the way, after getting back to the RV from Chalk Mountain, we were sitting in the RV doing our thing when we heard a loud explosion and the power went off. I told Jerry, the owner of the park what happened. The explosion sounded like a transformer had blown up. Jerry got his electrical meter and we started checking where power was off. About half the park was without power. We looked at all the transformers, but couldn't find one with obvious damage. Then Jerry noticed a dead squirrel underneath a transformer. Looking at the electrical pole closer, we saw that a circuit breaker had been tripped. Apparently, the squirrel got too close to something up there, and caused the breaker to open. Jerry called the power company, who got the power back on in a short time. That was the excitement for the day.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Lufkin, Texas: See The Forest For The Trees

Not all who wander are lost.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Cactus Grill

Glen Rose, Texas

Weather: low 41 degrees, high 56 degrees, cloudy skies, windy

The walk this morning was rather brisk with the wind blowing about 15 miles per hour. Once I got back to the RV, I didn't go out much until a little after lunch because it was so cold, when I adjusted the drain hose for the waste water tanks so it wouldn't have a low spot in it.

In the afternoon, I watched Florida scrimmage against The Citadel in college football. The Gators won 70 to 19, and it wasn't much of a game. Next week should be a better game when the Gators play Florida State.

The highlight of the day came when Jerry and Joyce Brown, the owners of Midway Pines RV Park where we are staying, invited us to go the Cactus Grill in Meridian for dinner. We didn't even know about this restaurant, but what a surprise. The Cactus Grill is located in beautiful downtown Meridian, and has seating for about 35 people. From the outside, it is not much to see, but the inside is decorated nicely with the Texas touch we like so much. And then the food. Ohhhh! It is so good.

I had the rib eye steak, and it was cooked perfectly. Carolyn had the Chicken Piccata, and she said it was very good. Jerry and Joyce had the filet mignon, and they said their food was also good. None of us had room for dessert. When we walked out of the restaurant, we were all ready to go home and take a nap.

A slow day for us, but it ended nicely.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Meridian, Texas: Top of the Hill Country

Not all who wander are lost.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Dinner With Friends

Glen Rose, Texas

Weather: low 35 degrees, high 50 degrees, clear skies, windy

We made a trip to the WalMart Mall in Granbury to buy a few things that we needed. On the way to the Mall, we stopped at a bakery to buy some pigs in a blanket. Since I like apple fritters, we also picked up one of those. Good stuff!!

The Mall was not as busy as we expected, so we were in and out in about 15 minutes. After getting home and putting everything away, I hooked up the drain line and emptied the bath and kitchen tanks. At 1300 hours, the RV serviceman arrived to check out our furnace. He found that the sail paddle was faulty, but he didn't have one like ours with him. He ordered a new sail paddle immediately, which will be here on Monday. He'll install the new part then. In the meantime, we can use the furnace, but will have to turn the fan off manually. By the way, the sail paddle is a relay that tells the fan motor when to start or turn off.

Tonight, we had dinner with Tim and Vivi Wright. Tim is a friend that I worked with at the Comanche Peak Nuclear Plant. It is always great to see Tim and his wife. We enjoyed the get together, guys. Nice new truck you have there, Tim.

We got word today that our sister-in-law Kathy received a very good preliminary report from her doctors on her battle with cancer. She has had a tough time of it, and is due some good news. Here's hoping that the future prognosis is outstanding.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Houston, Texas: The Space City

Not all who wander are lost.
More later, be safe.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Dinosaur Capital Of The World

Glen Rose, Texas

Weather: low 45 degrees, high 62 degrees, clear skies, windy

We had a rather restful day, with no appointments for poking and prodding by doctors. I took a long walk early in the day, and it felt good to stretch some muscles. After a short rest, we went to the library in Glen Rose to check out some books. They have a small library, but seem to have the writers that we like. When we left the library, we went to the courthouse square and took some pictures of the courthouse and the square around it. The town has a population of about 2200 people, and has made an effort to attract tourists by promoting their history and heritage. I would say they are succeeding, considering the fact that this small town has five hotels, with three of them being built in the last year.

Here's some pictures of the square and courthouse.
























We left the square and drove out to Dinosaur State Park. This park was created to save dinosaur footprints located in the bed rock of the Paluxy River. Just before the park gates is another attraction created in the last year to capitalize on the history of the dinosaurs in this area.








By the time we had driven around some of the back roads admiring the beautiful hills and scenery, it was time to go home and do some meditation for the first time this week. Tomorrow, we have an RV serviceman coming to the RV to check our furnace. It runs well, but the fan will not turn off when the desired heat is reached. Eventually, even though the furnace is blowing cold air, the fan still does not turn off. It is probably a relay problem, but it's best to get someone who knows more that I do to repair it.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Glen Rose, Texas: The Dinosaur Capital Of Texas

Not all who wander are lost.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Doctor Visits

Glen Rose, Texas

Weather: low 48 degrees, high 81 degrees, clear skies, light breezes

Today's weather was real hammock weather. Highs in the low 80s, light breezes, humidity in the 20% percent range. It doesn't get any better. Last year at this time in this area, we were going through an ice storm. This weather is infinitely better.

We had a busy day as we started our rounds of doctor visits for our yearly checkups. Early this morning, we had our lab work performed. When we went to see the doctor this afternoon, he already had the results. First, the good news - all test and examination results so far are good. The bad news is that our doctor has recommended that Carolyn have a couple more tests, including a mammogram. The earliest those tests can be performed is next Tuesday, 11/25/08. If everything is okay with those tests, we'll be moving on to Bay City to see our dentist on 12/04/08.

I should clarify that our doctor recommending that Carolyn have a couple more tests performed is not bad news. We feel fortunate to have found a doctor that we have confidence in and that understands our lifestyle. He is willing to work with us to ensure we receive the tests and maintenance drugs we take on a routine basis. Some doctors seem to find it difficult to understand what we need so we can continue to live this lifestyle we like so much.

Staying here for another few days is not considered a hardship to us. We like the area, and I like the lower humidity that we tend to experience here. The extra time here will be spent visiting with friends and re-familiarizing ourselves with the area.

After we finished the lab work this morning, we took a short ride around the area to see what has changed in Glen Rose. Three new hotels have been completed since we left, and a few new houses have been built. The rest of the town seems the same. And that's not bad. We like it like it is. When we got home, I noticed that the water hose I bought at the WalMart Mall last night had sprung a leak. Since the leak was close to the female end and I had bought a female end repair part last night, I repaired the hose and we were back in business.

Late in the afternoon, I helped Jerry, the owner of the RV park, set up a satellite dish so he could use the system in one of his rental units. We had some trouble getting a signal until we found that part of the cable was bad. After replacing the faulty cable, a good signal was locked in.

Supper was leftovers from the Mexican restaurant we visited last night. It was just as good the second time around.

Tomorrow, I'll be going for a long walk. I haven't walked for the last three days, and my body is starting to tell me about it.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Glen Rose, Texas: 2004 American Dream Town Winner

Not all who wander are lost.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Back In Glen Rose, Texas

Glen Rose, Texas

Weather: low 41 degrees in Arcadia, Louisiana, high 72 degrees in Glen Rose, Texas

We had a good day traveling from Arcadia to Glen Rose, with light traffic, good roads, and outstanding weather. We arrived in Glen Rose about 1430 hours and drove on to Midway Pines RV Park, located between Glen Rose and Granbury. We will be staying here at least a few days while we take care of our physicals. When we leave here, we will be going to Bay City.

We spent a few minutes greeting friends at the park before moving the RV into a space. Then we set up and put everything back in its place. When I turned the water on, I found a leak in the fresh water hose. Since I didn't have anther hose, I decided to pick up another one at the WalMart Mall in Granbury later on in the evening. Next on the list of things to do was get the satellite dish up and working. For some reason, I had a lot of trouble getting a signal from the satellite. With our friend Denise's help, I finally got a good signal, which should keep me out of the dog house.

Since we were both tired, we decided to go into Granbury to eat. Denise suggested a new Mexican restaurant, The Jalapeno Tree. We tried it, and I have to say it was very good. There was so much food, we have enough for another meal.

That's about all the excitement we had today. Tomorrow, we go get stuck, poked, prodded, and have other things done to our bodies, which will hopefully give us a clean bill of health for another year.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Starkville, Mississippi: Starkvegas

Not all who wander are lost.