Sunday, January 31, 2010

Junction, Texas

Junction, Texas

Weather: low 25 degrees in Kerrville, high 51 degrees in Junction, clear skies

After a week in Kerrville, we started getting a case of hitch itch. Everyone knows if you have an itch, it feels better to scratch it. So, that's what we did, hitching the truck up to the RV today and moving about 50 miles west to Junction. Ahhh, that itch feels better!

This is downtown Junction on Sunday afternoon. Note that I took this picture while standing in the middle of the main street through town. Junction has received some publicity in recent years because of the movie "Junction Boys", that was made to recount the time when Paul "Bear" Bryant decided to bring the Texas A&M football team to Junction for training and to help install mental and physical toughness in the team. There's not much here now, and there was probably less at that time. That's not to say this is not a good place to live. The terrain is still typical of the hill country, but there are some hints of what is to come west of us, where it is drier and rockier.

Junction is located in Kimble County, and is the county seat. Here's a picture of the courthouse. One claim they make is that there is more flowing water in the county than any other county in the state. The North and South Llano Rivers converge in Junction. We drove a few miles south of town to the South Llano River State Park to check it out. We were impressed with the park, especially the area set aside for the RV campground. We could spend a few days there, enjoying the scenery and peace and quiet.

On our way out of the state park, we saw another exotic animal farm. I'm not sure what this animal is, but my best guess is that it is an eland of some kind. The horns have a cork screw effect.

The population of Junction is about 2,500 people, while the county total is about 4,500. The population has been decreasing slowly for the last 30 to 40 years, and that's a shame. This seems like a good place to raise a family, but I understand that people are going to go where the opportunities are.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Junction, Texas: The Land Of Living Waters

Not all who wander are lost.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Stonehenge (II, That Is)

Kerrville, Texas

Weather: low 25 degrees, high 52 degrees, clear skies

Last night, the first full moon of the new year occurred. I was outside about two hours after the sun went down, and I can't remember a brighter moon. According to information I read yesterday and today, the first full moon of the year, also known as the wolf moon, was about 30 percent brighter and 14 percent larger than at any other full moon this year. That's because the moon is closer to the earth than at any other time in the year.

In American Indian tradition, the wolf moon is associated with wolves howling in the cold midwinter, according to National Geographic.

Just a little more useless, quirky information that I like to find and share.

And today, I have even more quirky stuff to share. We took a trip to Stonehenge (II, that is). A few miles west of where we're staying on FM 1340 is a replica of the Stonehenge attraction that is in England. A local lawyer was fascinated by the original Stonehenge monument, and had the idea to build the copy. A builder friend worked with the lawyer, and they developed the monument to be about 2/3 the size of the original Stonehenge. There is no charge for admission to see the monument, but they do accept contributions to help maintain the site.

As if a copy of Stonehenge was not enough, the developers decided to copy some of the monuments from Easter Island. Now, I understand the motivation of the Texans who copied these monuments, but what in the world possessed the people who built the full size monuments so long ago? Is there anything earthshaking about the monuments we saw today? No, but I'm sure the builders had an idea of what they were trying to do. Maybe it was like the movie A Field Of Dreams. Remember the message was build it and they will come? Well, when we were at Stonehenge II today, there were about 30 other people there. This is not an easy place to find, so that may have been the motivation behind the local builders......

When we left the Stonehenge site, we continued west on FM 1340. Carolyn had a good day with the vertigo, and she wanted to see what was over the next few hills. Before we knew it, we had come up on these cattle, which I think are called Watusi cattle. According to Wikipedia, they are from Africa, and have performed well in dry, poor areas, such as here. This is the first time we've seen this type of cattle here, but we have seen many exotic game animals on the ranches.

Another day of quirky stuff. I love it!

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Daytona Beach Shores, Florida: Life Is Way Better Here

Not all who wander are lost.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Let's Go To Luckenbach, Texas

Kerrville, Texas

Weather: low 34 degrees, high 38 degrees, cloudy until early afternoon, then clear skies

The rain continued until this morning, with about three inches falling during the night. We had a big puddle in front of the RV that the truck was sitting in. By noon time, it was starting to look like the rain was passing on, so we decided to take a short trip to the little town of Luckenbach, made famous by the song by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson.

Luckenbach is one of those places that you have to be wanting to go to in order to get there. It's a good idea to have directions, and Yahoo gave those to us. Now, we didn't know what to expect, but were excited about the prospect of seeing a place made famous by a song. Using the directions from Yahoo, we had no problems finding the right roads to take. About two miles from where we thought Luckenbach would be, we saw a sign that said welcome to Uptown Luckenbach. Huh? This place didn't look anything like what we were looking for, with one small building that was obviously a tourist trap. What happened was that we were not at Luckenbach yet, and this other place calling itself Uptown Luckenbach was trying to tap in to the tourist dollars going to Luckenbach.

Continuing on down the road, we saw a sign welcoming us to Luckenbach. Aha, we're finally here. Is there such a word as oversell? There were two main buildings that included a post office/grocery store and the dance hall. In addition, there were a few little houses, and a large parking area for the times when music is being played. Several major stars have played there, including Waylon and Willie, Pat Green, Lyle Lovett, Jerry Jeff Walker, Robert Earl Keen, and others. Concerts are scheduled routinely, and I'm sure the place is covered up with people at those times. There was not anything going on today, and in many places, the town would have been called a ghost town. It would be interesting to find out how much beer people drink during one of the concerts.

There are times when the anticipation turns out to be better than the reality. Today was one of those days. But, anticipation is what keeps us looking over the next hill or around the next curve. We never know what we're going to find.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Luckenbach, Texas: It’s About The Music

Not all who wander are lost.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Cloudy And Rainy

Kerrville, Texas

Weather: low 60 degrees, high 62 degrees, cloudy and rain all day

Cloudy and rain were the operative words for the weather today. The rain started late lat night, and it is forecast to continue into tomorrow. This was not a good day to be on the road with an RV.

I stayed at home most of the day, but finally decided to go to the post office to pick up our mail, which I had sent here earlier in the week. The information for filing our income taxes has started arriving, and at this time, we only need two more pieces of paper to be able to calculate last year's income taxes.

While I was out, I went by the Kerr County courthouse to see if I could get a good picture. Unfortunately, the light was not good enough, but I found a picture on the Internet that will have to do. This picture is a little weak, but in driving around the building, I didn't see anything that would have been better.

An interesting bit of history I found had to do with the introduction of camels to the area by the US Army back in the 1850s. Camp Verde was established about 12 miles south of Kerrville for the purpose of determining whether the camels would adapt to the Texas terrain and Army tactics. The camels actually did well, and when the Civil War broke out, the Confederacy took over the camp and used the camels. At the end of the war, the US Army again took over the fort and camels. The camels prospered and their numbers increased. The problem that arose was that the soldiers couldn't adapt to the camels, plus Congress refused to authorize money for any further use shortly after the war was over because money was need for Reconstruction. In 1869, the program was abandoned.

Just a little bit of the quirky history we happen to encounter from time to time.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Nashville, Arkansas: Peach Capital

Not all who wander are lost.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bad Laundromat

Kerrville, Texas

Weather: low 50 degrees, high 62 degrees, cloudy, misty

This was not a good day for sightseeing or pictures with the clouds and mist. Late in the afternoon, I took a chance that the light outside would be good enough to take some pictures of the murals in the little town of Ingram, just down the road from where we are staying. I've mentioned before that we like to see murals, because they usually give a sense of the history and what's important to the people. The first one remembers the last Indian massacre in the area, which happened in 1878. Four members of a family were killed in an attack by Indians. Check out the other ones in this post.

Since we were not going to be out and about, we decided to wash our laundry. The laundry we chose to use looked good from the outside. I went in and checked it out, and found that it was clean, with plenty of machines available. I did note that it seemed overpriced. After we talked it over, we decided to stay there, even though the price was more than we were used to paying.

Well, the price wasn't the only thing that was bad about the place. The water did not get hot enough, and Carolyn did not like the short time that the machines washed or the amount of rinsing that took place. To compound our dissatisfaction with the place, there was still a lot of water left in the clothes when the spinning was finished. Then, to really put a capper on this sorry laundromat, it took about 45 minutes to dry the clothes. This was the absolute worse laundry we have used on the road.

After the laundry fiasco, we took the clothes home and put them away. By then, it was meditation time. There's something about meditation when the weather is cloudy and cool that is so refreshing. Of course, meditation is always refreshing.

As I said, this was not a good day for drifting in the area, and the prospects for tomorrow don't look any better. Who knows, I may get bored and find some adventure in between the rain showers that are forecast for tomorrow.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - San Francisco, California: City Of Love

Not all who wander are lost.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Harper Indian Massacre

Kerrville, Texas

Weather: low 28 degrees, high 68 degrees, mostly clear skies

This is a view of part of the country we drove through yesterday. We could see for about 50 miles.

I thought the wanderlust would be satisfied after yesterday's drifting, but today it flared up again. This time, we were able to scratch our yen for wandering by taking a drive to the west and north, and then back to the RV. All in all, it was about half as far as we drove yesterday.

We have been in several states that have a town named Mountain Home. Today, we visited Texas's version of Mountain Home, and I have to say that I can't figure out where the name came from. This place doesn't even qualify as a wide place in the road. This is not meant to put the place down: there really isn't anything there to talk about, at least that we saw. About all I can say is that the name intrigued me, and now I'm not intrigued anymore, at least about this place. By the way, there is a post office there.

We continued on our drive after looking at the map, picking out Harper as our next place to check out. Now, Harper does qualify as a wide place in the road, and their biggest claim to fame was an Indian attack by Kiowa Indians in 1864 that resulted in two settlers being killed and five others being taken captive. The US Army eventually paid ransom to the Indians to get the captives back. When we see the historical markers scattered across the state, we try to imagine what the countryside looked like back then. One thing for sure is that it was a lot harder to travel then.

We were on US 290, which led to Fredericksburg, but we didn't want to go there today. Looking at the map, we found a country road that would take us just to the south side of Fredericksburg, where we could pick up Texas 16 back to Kerrville. Part of our drive on the road we took over to Texas 16 was through open range, which meant no fences. We had to watch for livestock, because if we had hit an animal, we would have been at fault. Fortunately, none were seen, and the drive was uneventful.

We drove into the south side of Fredericksburg, passing by the airport and Lady Bird Johnson Park. Turning on to Texas 16, we drove through typically beautiful hill country, with the best views being close to Kerrville. It took us about 30 minutes to drive from Fredericksburg and get home. By then, we were ready for some meditation.

When I had rested a little, I took care of a couple of little chores on the RV ( hooked up the sewer hose, etc.). Tonight, we went to Chili's for supper. As usual, we couldn't eat everything, so leftovers will be used tomorrow.

We need to wash the laundry tomorrow, and there is some rain in the forecast. Who knows, we may be grounded.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Comfort, Texas: Star Of The Hills

Not all who wander are lost.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Lost Maples State Park

Kerrville, Texas

Weather: low 28 degrees, high 62 degrees, mostly clear skies

We didn't get out early today, choosing to stay inside and rest after that long move of 75 miles yesterday. When I finally stuck my head outside at about 0900 hours, the weather was fantastic. Clear skies, temperatures in the 40s by then, and no wind. I walked down to the Guadalupe River to see what kind of adventures I could find. This river begins in Kerr County, and is composed of a south fork and a north fork that combine near Kerrville to form the main body of the river. The Guadalupe is a popular tourist destination in the summer, and includes boating fishing, swimming, and tubing as the main recreational opportunities available.

The river has many smaller streams flowing in to it, including a couple just west of our RV site.

I saw several deer while walking, and it's apparent these deer have not been tamed by man, unlike the ones we saw at Canyon Lake. As soon as they saw me, they were off in a flash.

By the time I returned to the RV, Carolyn had managed to get herself together. We talked about what we wanted to do, and decided to take a trip down to Lost Maples State Park, located about 45 miles to the south. The route we took led us through Ingram and Hunt, and followed the south fork of the Guadalupe River. We passed through some of the prettiest hill country we've seen, with beautiful vistas around every curve. It's a good thing the speed limit was only about 35 mph, because we couldn't have driven any faster with the road going up, down, around, over, under... Wait a minute, no under, but I think you get the idea.

My biggest concern was that the road would cause Carolyn's vertigo to act up, but she managed to keep it under control. Eventually, we arrived at Lost Maples State Park, which was named that because it has a population of Bigtooth Maples, left over from the last ice age. In addition, there are sycamores, black walnuts, red oaks, and other trees that change color in the fall. The best colors are in November. The park has a nice RV camping area, as well as several primitive camping areas, and the Sabinal River flows through the area. If a person is looking for peace and quiet, this is the place.

We headed back to the north and Kerrville from the state park, passing through more beautiful country along the way. Check out the sign about falling rocks. That should give an idea of the kind of area we were in. One interesting thing we passed was the home base for Bob Philips, host of TV's Texas Country Reporter. He is known for finding quirky subjects in out of the way places to report on. Sounds like what I like.

By the time we were back at home, the wanderlust was satisfied, at least for the rest of today. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Medina, Texas: Home Of The International Apple Festival

Not all who wander are lost.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Moving Day In The Wind

Kerrville, Texas

Weather: low 46 degrees, high 60 degrees, clear skies, WINDY!!!!

The wind was blowing out of the west with sustained gusts of at least 30 mph most of the day. Normally, we don't like to travel when the wind is blowing as hard as it was today. Consulting Ms. GPS, she found a route for us that allowed us to stay off the major highways for most of the trip of about 75 miles. That gave us the comfort level we needed to go ahead and leave Canyon Lake.

We hadn't dumped our black water tank for the last 11 days, so that was the first order of business when we pulled out of our nice campsite at the Canyon Lake COE campground. Dumping the tanks took us about 15 minutes, and we were on our way. We followed FM 306 west to US 281, then north to FM 473, then west again across the hills to I-10. Then we turned to the west on I-10 for about 15 miles to Kerrville.

Finding the RV park we were going to was easy with Ms. GPS's help. The biggest problem we had setting up was getting the satellite dish tuned in for a signal. I worked on the dish for about 45 minutes, with no success. Finally, I decided to walk away for a little time. About an hour later, I was able to get a signal in less than five minutes. That dish can be so aggravating!

By The River RV Park, where we chose to stay, is located on the banks of the Guadalupe River. Pictures will follow later. Much to Carolyn's delight, we're not far from town. It's close enough that we decided to drive about two miles to a local restaurant, Billie Gene's, for supper. The restaurant is a family style restaurant, featuring Texas type food, such as chicken fried steak, chicken fried chicken, steaks, etc. The food and service were good, and we brought home enough chicken fried steak that we know what lunch will be tomorrow.

After supper, we drove through Kerrville's downtown. It appears that this area is a major winter Texas destination, as there are several RV parks here, and they are all just about full. The town has all the shopping we could ask for, including the WalMart Mall and an HEB grocery store. There are several things we want to see in and about the area, so we should be busy for a few days. Stand by for new adventures.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Chattanooga, Tennessee: Chattavegas

Not all who wander are lost.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Info About Canyon Lake

Canyon Lake, Texas

Weather: low 56 degrees, high 69 degrees, partly cloudy skies, WINDY!!! Gusts above 30 mph

The wind was blowing like a Texas wind today. I'm glad we cleaned the truck up yesterday, because I don't think we would have been able to get much water on it today. This was not a good day for traveling with an RV.

Canyon Lake was created by the damming of the Guadalupe River in 1964. It is 8230 acres in area, and the deepest point is 125 feet, and provides flood control and water conservation. Since the lake is fairly close to San Antonio and Austin, it is popular for camping, boating, and fishing. The biggest concern is the proposed plan to sell water to those large cities, which has the potential to lower the lake level below the conservation pool level. That would affect property values as well as weaken the dam.

Just before the turnoff to the dam is this sign explaining what will happen if you're caught speeding. Any questions?

When I was up there today, there were quite a few people walking on the dam. I'm not sure how long the dam is, but walking in the open against the wind was giving people a good workout.

With the wind blowing like it was, it was a good day to have a sail boat on the water. There were a few boats out, but the fishermen seemed to have taken the day off.

Last weekend, it was rainy and cool, so we didn't have any tent campers in the park. With the sunny weather, the tent folks are out in force, but the wind may blow then away.

We'll be moving to Kerrville tomorrow so we can explore that area for a few days.

More later, be safe.

Today's County - Nacogdoches County, Texas: Capital Of The Texas Forest Country

Not all who wander are lost.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Truck Cleaning

Canyon Lake, Texas

Weather: low 44 degrees, high 72 degrees, clear early, then fog, then clear skies again

The wind blew like gangbusters today, with gusts up to 30 mph. As nice as the weather is now, the wind is only a minor irritant.

When we checked the day/night shade that we had repaired yesterday, we found that the strings had loosened slightly, resulting in the shade being too loose. With a little experimentation, we found how tight to make the strings so the shades were easy to move up and down, yet still stayed in place. With that success in hand, we decided to redo the factory set tension on all the shades.

When I called the shade manufacturer for help on repairing them, the lady I talked to told me that the biggest problem with the shades was how tight the tension was set on the strings when the RV factories installed them. She advised setting the tension just tight enough the hold the shades in place when they were raised. One finger should be all it took to raise or lower the shades. With that criteria in mind, it took a little time to figure out how to adjust the shades without going to a lot of trouble.

Eventually, we realized that the little holders for the string at the bottom of the shades were the key to easily adjusting the tension. Every one of them were turned to the left or right at least half a turn, resulting in too much tension. Once we turned the holders to the orientation shown in the picture, the tension was perfect. What we did may not work for all day/night shades, but it worked for us.

By the time we finished adjusting the shades, it was time for lunch and a little meditation. Then we both worked on cleaning the truck, with Carolyn doing the inside and me doing the outside. Looks pretty good for eight years old.

The wind really worked over Carolyn's hair. I was going to put a picture of it on the blog, but was persuaded not to. Oh, the devil in me was trying hard to get out.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Plant City, Florida: Strawberry Capital Of The World

Not all who wander are lost.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Day/Night Shade Woes

Canyon Lake, Texas

Weather: low 45 degrees, high 75 degrees, clear skies

We woke to clear blue skies this morning, which was quite a difference from yesterday morning. I like this kind of weather, and it energizes me. When I finished my morning walk, we talked about what we would do to take advantage of the beautiful day. Carolyn suggested we repair a day/night shade that had been causing us some problems.

"Uhhh", I said, "I don't know If I want to get into that, Dear".

Needless to say, the repair became the priority for the day. We didn't have the material to do the repair, so that meant a drive to San Marcos to the Hobby Lobby. We looked high and low for the string we needed, with little success. Finally, I asked a clerk where to look. He said if they had any, it would be in one of three places. The last place we looked had what we were looking for, so we bought enough for several shade repairs. Nothing like looking ahead.

On the way home, we stopped at HEB and picked up a few groceries. By the time we were back to the RV, it was time for a little meditation. Then, on to the great day/night shade repair.

Several days ago, I had contacted the shade manufacturer about directions on how to repair them, and directions were sent via e-mail. The directions looked fairly easy to follow, so how hard could this be? Famous last words.

I removed the valance over the shade, then the shade itself. Following the directions, we discovered we didn't have all the parts needed for the repair. I jumped in the truck and drove to an Ace Hardware about 10 miles away. No luck there. Then on down to the local NAPA store, looking for some crimps to hold the string in place at the top of the shade. The NAPA store had something that would work, so I bought the amount needed.

Back at the RV, we measured out two pieces of string about five feet longer than the directions said we needed. Remember the old adage measure twice, cut once? Well, it worked, and we had the two pieces of string needed. Then we used the crimps I had to go buy to connect the string to a spring at the top of the shade. Worked perfectly. Then the directions really came in handy, as we had to run the string through the shade. We used a big needle to run everything through the holes. Without the directions, we would not have known to cross the string at a certain point.

Holding the shade together so it would not unfold, we reinstalled the shade over the window. It took two of us to hold the shade and install it to keep it from unfolding. Once the top was installed, we had to set the tension of the strings, and then tie them off at the bottom. We think the biggest problem with these shades is that the RV factory sets the tension too high when installing the shades, resulting in breaking the strings. The manufacturer said to set the tension just high enough to hold the shade in place.

At this time, the shade seems to be working well, and is easier to raise and lower than the others in the RV. We've decided to adjust the tension on the others to lessen the chance that they will break.

Was this a frustrating job at times? Yes, it was. We couldn't have done the repair without the directions, but we had to figure out some of the steps ourselves. Do we want to do it again? NO! But, the odds are that we will have to eventually. The consolation is that we know how to do this repair now, and any future ones will be faster and easier.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Savannah, Georgia: Most Mannerly City

Not all who wander are lost.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Canyon Lake, Texas

Weather: low 60 degrees, high 70 degrees, cloudy and fog until mid-afternoon, then clear skies

The weather was so yucky this morning and up until about 1500 that we decided to stay at home today. This kind of weather is not conducive to good sightseeing, and it's almost a waste of time to take any pictures. We discussed when we'll leave here, and where we'll go. After looking at the map and reviewing what is around several towns, we decided we would move to Kerrville on Sunday.

Why Kerrville? Well, we've not been there, it's still in the hill country, it's a fairly small town (~20,000 people), the kind of shopping we like is available (WalMart Mall, HEB, Chili's, etc.), and there seems to be a lot to see and do there and in the general area. Actually, those reasons are more than we need to go somewhere, but they are all good ones.

This is our site in Potter's Creek COE Park on Canyon Lake. This picture was taken late this afternoon just after I finished cleaning up the RV. When we moved here from Taylor last week, we drove through some light rain on I-35 that made the RV and truck filthy.

Potter's Creek is a nice park, and we have enjoyed our time here. The biggest negative is that we have to drive so far to get to shopping if we need anything. I'm talking at least 30 miles. However, the positives about the park outweigh the negatives.

When we were at Guadalupe River State Park yesterday, we saw some of the smallest pecans we have ever seen. I wonder how many of these pecans it would take to make a pie, and how long it would take to shell them? I don't know if the squirrels would bother with something this small. I have a nut picker upper (is that a real name for a tool?) that would allow these little guys to fall out.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Akron, Ohio: Lil’ A-Town

Not all who wander are lost.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Boerne, Texas

Canyon Lake, Texas

Weather: low 58 degrees, high 70 degrees, fog and clouds until about 1100 hours, then partly cloudy skies

We woke to heavy fog again this morning, so held off on doing anything away from the RV until some of the fog was gone. When we left, we decided to check out the Boerne area. Usually, when we go a drive, we try to take a route that allows us to take a circle so we can see new country each way. This time was no exception, as we took FM 306 to US 281, and then turned off on to another road that I can't recall the number of at this time. Imagine our surprise to find a creek named after us! Note the flood gauge behind the sign. When there are flash floods in this part of the country, those gauges are not to be ignored.

Here's the Kendall County courthouse, located in Boerne.

At Kendalia, which was basically a wide spot in the road, we turned onto a road leading to Bergheim, which is German for mountain home. The next road we turned on to was Texas 46 (I remembered!), which led us into Boerne. We didn't know what to expect when we were going to Boerne, but had thought the town would be like Fredericksburg. Well, in the sense that both towns have a flavor that attracts tourists, they are somewhat alike. My impression of Boerne, however, is that this town is not as dependent on tourism as Fredericksburg is. Boerne seems to have a more diverse economy, which may be helped by the fact that it is not far from San Antonio and I-10 runs on the outskirts of town.

Eventually, we headed back toward the RV, but stopped at Guadalupe River State Park, since it was on the way back. Note the color of the water, which is probably due to the minerals in the area. The state park was not busy today, but we could see that it would be very busy in the summer.

Our entire route was over what we would consider typical hill country terrain - rolling hills covered with oaks, mesquite, and juniper. We can see why it has become so popular and why so many people are moving here.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Boerne, Texas: A Texas Hill Country Original Since 1849

Not all who wander are lost.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Leaking Toilet Bowl Seal

Canyon Lake, Texas

Weather: low 45 degrees, high 70 degrees, fog until noon, then partly cloudy skies

Here's an example of the type of buck that we see here in the park. Look at that rack!

The day started with fog that was so thick that we decided to wait awhile before going anywhere. Eventually, it cleared enough that we went to the laundry in Startzville to wash our clothes. That little chore went well, so when we got home, I used our blue boy waste water transporter to empty our gray water tanks. Another job that went well, so then I decided to tackle a problem (again) that has been bugging us for about two weeks. The toilet bowl wouldn't hold water like it should. The seal was leaking, but several attempts at cleaning it did not make a difference. Last week, we took the toilet apart and cleaned the seal thoroughly (using rubber gloves!). Still no luck on stopping the leak. This afternoon, I took everything apart again, and examined the seal closer than I had before. I found two areas on the seal that were curling, which were apparently causing the leak.

I called the Camping World store in New Braunfels and told them what I was looking for. The store didn't have the part number we needed, but the salesman called Dometic to find out if there was another seal that would work. There was another seal that would work, and the store had one in stock. We drove to the store about 30 miles away and picked up the part. Carolyn did a walk through of the store to see if there was anything she wanted. Then back on the road to home, where I installed the new seal. At this time about five hours later, the repair seems to be working. Is success in my grasp? Oh, by the way, Camping World gave us great service. How many stores would have gone to the trouble they did? This type of service used to be the norm, but when I encounter it now, I'm surprised.

Just another day in the life of RVers.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Florence, South Carolina: A City of Character

Not all who wander are lost.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Wimberley, Texas

Canyon Lake, Texas

Weather: low 38 degrees, high 63 degrees, partly to mostly cloudy skies

Here's a picture of part of the Devil's Backbone, which we drove over yesterday. Beautiful views up there.

We took it easy this morning, and after a lunch of leftover pizza, decided to take a drive to Wimberley. Since we hadn't been there before, the GPS unit was powered up to show us the route. Three options were offered on which route to take, and we chose the shortest one. Well, now. That was a mistake. We went down one lane roads barely wide enough for the truck, across running creeks (in the water), up and down, and then, it happened. We were stopped by a gate with a sign saying the road was closed because of high water from the recent rains. This was on the one lane portion of the road, so we backed up and turned around, retracing our steps back to a main road.

On the way back to the main road, we stopped to take a picture of this waterfall. I have a feeling that the water doesn't flow most of the year. Still, it was a nice picture to take, and if we hadn't followed the GPS directions, we would have never seen it. Score one for the GPS.

I need to come up with a name for the GPS unit - wait a minute, it's coming to me. How's Ms. Garmin? That would fit the lady's voice that is so insistent that we follow her directions.

Eventually, we got straightened out on which direction to go to get to Wimberley, and it wasn't that hard to find. Wimberley is a small hill country town that was incorporated in 2000. It lies in the Wimberley Valley, and is surrounded by hills. The primary business appears to be tourism. The town is full of shops that cater to tourists, as well as lodging places. The Blanco River flows through the town, and is a popular tubing river in the summer. The town is quite pretty, and I have a feeling that there are so many people there in the summer and fall that it would be difficult to drive.

We had a good day. Beautiful scenery, adventure, got lost, no trains. What more could we ask for?

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Wimberley, Texas: A Little Bit Of Heaven

Not all who wander are lost.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

San Marcos, Texas

Canyon Lake, Texas

Weather: low 45 degrees, high 61 degrees, clearing in the morning, then cloudy late in the afternoon, windy

The rain passed through the area early this morning. About 0900 hours, the clouds went away, and it was good to see the sun. About 1000 hours, we decided to get out and about and see what was over toward San Marcos, about 25 miles east of where we are staying. We took FM 12, which wound through typical hill country terrain. A relatively short distance of the drive was on the Devil's Backbone. We had heard a lot about this area, and were surprised at how short that portion of the road is. Of course, it's probably good for Carolyn that it isn't any longer than it is, considering the problems she has with vertigo.
As in most cases, the picture doesn't do justice to what we saw.

Once we got into San Marcos, the courthouse called to me to take a picture of it. Unfortunately, I was unable to pull over and take one, so this is a picture I copied from the web. The style of architecture is considered to be Classical Revival. It was erected in 1908.

The downtown area of San Marcos is one of the most vibrant and alive ones we have seen. Many of the older towns we see have downtown areas that are dying, but not in this case. The town is the home of Texas State University, San Marcos, so that tends to bring a lot of energy to the town. Also, it doesn't hurt that I-35 runs through the east side of town.

While we were in town, we went to the WalMart Mall to pick up a few things we needed. Busy!!! Luckily, we were able to use one of the registers that took up to 20 items, and were able to get out quickly. Then we went down to Sam's Club (using the GPS unit to find it) for a few things we needed from there, including diesel.

By the time we headed home, Carolyn was starting to suffer a little from all the visual stimulation, which was affecting her vertigo. We decided to not make things worse, choosing to try to get out again tomorrow. We were starting to run down by the time we got home, so we took a little time to rest. Supper was a pizza we picked up at Sam's, and then an evening of television, blogging, and reading.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - San Marcos, Texas: Hill Country Jewel

Not all who wander are lost.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Rain And Wind

Canyon Lake, Texas

Weather: low 47 degrees, high 51 degrees, rain, windy

The rain started falling about 2300 hours last night, and hasn't stopped yet. If anything, it's raining harder now than it was last night. The area is under a flash flood watch, but we should start seeing an improvement later in the night, and most of the wet weather should be cleared out by noon tomorrow.

In last night's post, I attached a picture of some geese that we couldn't identify. Reader and friend Jerry identified them for us as Egyptian geese. Thanks, Jerry.

Most of you who know Carolyn know that when the weather is like it was today, she likes to burrow in at home and not stir outside. That's what we did today, except when I had to go to the post office to mail a letter. There was little traffic on the road, and I can't say I blame people for staying in. This was weather that was not fit for man or beast. The deer stayed away, probably sheltering in the trees.

When I'm forced to stay inside like today, I tend to get cabin fever. As small as our home is, that's not good. Knowing that I needed to try to stay occupied with something, I scanned our bank records and some other stuff so we could get rid of all the paper. When that was finished, I did a little reading, watched a little television (bad stuff), surfed the web.... Of course, Carolyn was right there helping, and tonight, she prepared a nice meal for us that seemed to push the bad weather away.

Both of us want to get out tomorrow when the weather's better. One of the first things on our list is to drive the Devil's Backbone, the crest of a ridge in the hill country. If the sun's shining, maybe we'll have some pictures to share.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Iowa Colony, Texas: Where We Make It Happen

Not all who wander are lost.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Warmer And Foggy

Canyon Lake, Texas

Weather: low 50 degrees, high 58 degrees, cloudy, misty, fog

This is the warmest weather we've seen in several weeks, and we're grateful for it. Even the dreary conditions couldn't put a damper on feeling warmer when outside. Note a few of the deer and how foggy it was all day. We saw several people feeding the deer, and it was quite a sight to see, as the deer would come running from all over the park to enjoy the treats.


Another picture of the fog, which hung around all day. We're supposed to start getting rain tonight, and it's not expected to stop until about midday on Sunday. At least we're parked on a concrete pad and there is not any mud around to try to keep out of the RV.

This park has about 120 sites, and I have a feeling it is very busy during the summer.

Here's a picture of what we assume are some type of geese we've not seen before. We checked our bird book and the web, but were unable to find anything that matches these. Does anyone out there know what these are?

We stayed at home today as the weather was too nasty to be able to see any of the countryside. Carolyn worked on her tatting, while I walked and tried to gear myself down a little wit reading, surfing the web, and going through our old receipts and getting rid of what we didn't need any longer. I finished fine tuning the satellite dish setup, and now we have more channels than we can watch. Of course, like most people, we have our favorites, and ignore most of the other selections. It would be nice if we could just pick the channels we wanted and have the rest removed.

More later, be safe.

Today's County - Comal County, Texas: Where Living Is Good

Not all who wander are lost.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Lost In Gruene, Texas

Canyon Lake, Texas

Weather: low 38 degrees in Taylor, Texas, high 53 degrees in Canyon Lake, Texas, cloudy, misty, and light showers

We left Taylor about 1000 hours this morning. Taking the truck bypass around town, we passed through Hutto and Round Rock on our way to I-35, where we turned south. From there, we went through Austin and several small towns. Eventually, we turned back to the northwest at New Braunfels.

That's when the adventure really started. We knew that we were supposed to take Farm to Market Road 306 to Canyon Lake. Well, we saw a sign that said Canyon Lake pointing to the left. Huh? We haven't gone far enough to be at Canyon Lake yet. Oh, well. Follow the signs, right? Wrong! We ended up in downtown Gruene. Now, if you've been to Gruene before, you know what we ran into. For those of you who have never been there before, this is a historic little town that is completely within the city limits of New Braunfels. Basically, it is a tourist trap, with narrow streets and little room to maneuver a large RV like what we have. Eventually, we found a place to turn around and retrace our steps to FM 306, where we turned back to the north.

The logical question to ask at this time is why didn't we use the GPS unit we bought a couple of weeks ago? Simple answer: we forgot we had it. Besides, look at the fun we would have missed if the GPS unit had been in use. At least that's my read on this. I'm sure Carolyn has a different opinion.

Persevering, we eventually found Canyon Lake and the COE park we're in, Potter's Creek Park. The park is a nice COE facility that we hadn't been to before. As we were pulling into our campsite, the first thing we noticed was a couple of deer, including a big buck, about 100 feet away. Well, now. Where did they come from? Suddenly, here comes a herd of about 50 deer. What's this about? Deer are usually shy around people. As we watched the deer, we realized that these have been around people so much that they are just about tame. As people would come out of their RVs or drive up, the deer would run toward them, much like a bunch of dogs living in the yard would do if someone came outside. We were wondering if anyone here is feeding them. We hope not, because if they leave the park, we think they might be setting themselves up to be shot if they acted the same way. I'll take some pictures of the deer and park later on.

By the time we were set up, we were starting to get a little tired. I set the satellite dish up, but it's not quite right, and I didn't feel like fooling with it. That's a chore to finish tomorrow.

Rain was in the forecast, but we hoped we would be moved and set up before it started. Unfortunately, we hit sprinkles that turned into a light rain near San Marcos. It didn't rain hard, but it was enough to make everything nasty, including the truck and RV. I'm glad I didn't do any outside cleaning before now. There's more rain forecast for the next three days, so I don't know how much exploring we will get done. Knowing us, we'll be out whether it's raining or not.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Gruene, Texas: Gently Resisting Change Since 1872

Not all who wander are lost.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Sun Catcher

Weather: low 36 degrees, high 56 degrees, partly cloudy skies

Both of us slept until about 0700 hours this morning as we rested from a busy day of moving yesterday. It feels great to be able to sleep in on these cold mornings. Once I was able to wake up enough, I went for a long walk in the park. This COE park is typical of so many of them that we have stayed in: clean, well kept, and quiet. No trains all night. On top of that, the gates are closed at 2200 hours, so there's less chance that someone with no business here will come in and cause mischief.

This picture is of Granger Lake looking toward the dam.

When I was walking, I met one of the COE volunteers who are staying here for the winter and helping with maintenance and other duties. He has been doing this type of volunteer work since he retired in 2004. As we talked, he mentioned that he was from New Orleans and retired from Waterford-3, the nuclear plant I was at in November. What are the odds that something like this would happen? Both of us retired from the nuclear power industry, and both of us worked at the same plant. We had a good talk, and eventually he had to go do some work. Who knows, I may see him again.

After lunch, we went into Taylor for a few groceries and to deliver a sun catcher that Carolyn made to Chriselda. Carolyn loves to tat, and the sun catcher and other things she makes are used as little gifts that she gives to family and friends. Chriselda was at work, but we hung the sun catcher on the front door knob so Chriselda would find it when she arrived home. Carolyn also sent a text message to her letting her know what we had done. Here's another picture that gives a little better idea of the size of the sun catcher.

We are enjoying the peace and quiet so much that I didn't put up the satellite dish. We found that when we raised the TV antenna on the RV, we were able to pick up about 40 stations. That's more than enough for the two nights we'll be here. Isn't HD television the greatest? It's amazing to us how good the picture is with these new televisions. Even the imperfections in the people's faces show up.

We plan to move on down the road a little way tomorrow. Since we're trying not to plan too far ahead, I'll let our final destination for the next few days be a surprise.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Kosciusko, Mississippi: Beehive Of The Hills

Not all who wander are lost.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Supper With Scott And Chriselda

Taylor, Texas

Weather: low 30 degrees in Bay City, Texas, high 48 degrees in Taylor, Texas, partly cloudy skies

We left Bay City this morning after enjoying the visit for the holidays. Normally, we have a place we plan to go in order to see new places and things. This time, we haven't planned beyond the next couple of days. We're in Taylor at the Army Corps of Engineers Wilson H. Fox Park, located on Granger Lake. Our plan was to stay at the Corps' Taylor Park, but when we pulled in, we discovered that the park was closed for the winter. That was a surprise, because we had been told by a camp host in March that the Corps had decided to keep Taylor Park open year round. I guess they changed their minds. We moved on down the road a couple of miles and checked into the park we're in now.

We were parked and set up before 1400 hours. The trip over was uneventful, with nothing to distinguish it from all the other trips we have made this way. Resting until about 1700 hours, we met our nephew Scott and his wife Chriselda for supper at Chili's in Hutto at 1730 hours. This get together was delayed from our earlier visit in the area back in December when circumstances prevented us from getting together. We had a good meal and visit with Scott and Chriselda, with a promise to get together when we're in the area again.

When we arrived home, we happened to look up at the night sky with all the stars shining. Wow! When living near a town or city, the background light at night tends to mask the beauty of the sky. If we're fortunate enough to make it out to Big Bend, one of the things we'll be looking at will be the night sky and stars. Plus the Marfa lights. Plus........

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Hutto, Texas: Growing A Quality Community

Not all who wander are lost.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Frozen Faucet - Again

Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 25 degrees, high 45 degrees, clear skies

This was the second morning in a row that the water faucet was frozen, even though I had protected it by insulating it as well as I could. I waited until about 0800 hours, when I used a hair dryer to thaw it out and get the water running again. I'm ready for some warmer weather. I know that folks up north probably think the weather we're having is like a spring day, but it's cold to us!

We met Lori and her family for breakfast this morning at a new place for us. Las Fuentes Mexican Restaurant has been open for a couple of years, but for some reason we had never stopped there. After our experience at breakfast, we think we'll be trying them for supper. The restaurant is clean, bright, and colorfully decorated. It was full of local people while we were there. The food was good, there was plenty of it, and the prices were reasonable. What more could we ask for?

The big breakfast made us ready for some couch time, so after telling Lori we would see them in the evening, we went home. I went for a walk, which was the first one in several days because the weather has been so cold. When I got back from the walk, I dumped our holding tanks. Then I straightened the basement and put up the satellite dish in preparation for hitting the road tomorrow. In the meantime, Carolyn was doing her thing inside the RV to get ready to move. We'll finish up tomorrow, just before we leave.

This evening, we visited Lori and her family. we had a good discussion about what they were going to do for summer vacation. The Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Glacier National Park, San Francisco.... No, not all of them, but those were some of the places they kicked around in their discussion. It felt good to be able to tell them some of our impressions of many of the places they thought of.

Hmmmm, I wonder what we'll be doing this summer? It's never too soon to start planning. Wait a minute. Every time I plan something, it seems as though something comes up to change the plans. Maybe we'll just wing it.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Charleston, South Carolina: The Holy City

Not all who wander are lost.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Terrell And Kathy Have Left Bay City

Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 21 degrees, high 38 degrees, clear skies

Last night was the coldest one so far in Bay City since we have been here for this visit. Even though I take precautions to keep our water lines from freezing, the faucet froze this morning. No problem, as I used a hair dryer to thaw it out. In a couple of minutes, we had water flowing again.

Speaking of cold weather, get ready for higher fruit and vegetable prices as the cold weather hits the crops in Florida. According to the forecast, the next four or five nights down there will be below freezing. The state has already been hit hard by the recession, and it looks like the weather is going to make the job situation even worse.

I called my brother Terrell this morning to see if he needed any help finishing up the packing and loading of their moving truck in preparation for their move to Tennessee. He said they were just doing a final walk through, and were about ready to leave. I wished him and Kathy luck, and told him we'll see them sometime in February. We'll miss them when we're in Bay City. They have lived here for the last 22 years or so, and it never entered our minds that they would be leaving Texas until they told us they were moving about a year ago. Have a great retirement, guys.

Terrell left some lumber that he offered to our son-in-law John. This afternoon, I moved the lumber to Lori and John's house. John has become adept at home repairs, and I'm sure the lumber I took him today will be put to good use.

When we left Lori's house, Julian loaned me District 9, a video he received for Christmas. We started watching it, but it quickly became apparent that Carolyn didn't like the movie or the premise behind it, which was about apartheid. I waited until she went to bed and finished watching it. The movie certainly wouldn't be classified as my favorite, or even one I liked, but the special effects were awesome. It gives me a new image now when I hear the word prawns.

More later, be safe.

Today's State - Arizona: The Copper State

Not all who wander are lost.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Snow Flakes

Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 26 degrees, high 33 degrees, cloudy skies, windy

The weather here in southeast Texas reminds me of some of what we experienced in New York in 2000 and 2001. About the only thing missing has been about 70 inches of snow. Late in the afternoon, we saw a few snow flakes, but nothing that would qualify as flurries. Tonight will be the coldest we have seen in Bay City this winter, but the cold should start getting better by Monday.

My brother Terrell and his wife Kathy are selling their house in Bay City and moving to the Knoxville, Tennessee area this weekend. He is retired from his daytime job, but still does a little consulting on the side. His employer has worked it out to where he can work at home, with a trip about once a month to the job site here at the nuclear plant. Sounds like a good deal. Still working at a job he likes, but doing it at home. What could be better?

We went over to Terrell and Kathy's house to help them pack and load the truck they're renting to move with. The last time we did something like moving furniture was years ago. We got everything packed and on the truck by the late afternoon. It used to seem to be easier to do.

They will be leaving in the morning, and it's going to seem strange to come down here to visit Lori and her family, and not have Terrell and Kathy here. They have lived here for about 22 years, so I'm sure there will be some changes for them. Like, new doctors, dentists, exploring for good places to eat out, changing college football allegiances.... Wait a minute - changing allegiance to the Gators can't be done. Once a Gator, always a Gator. Of course, they'll be living in the heart of Volunteer country, so they'll have to keep their heads down.

Now that Terrell and Kathy are moving to Tennessee, that's one more place that we'll have to visit to keep up with family. Especially when it's hot in Texas or when the leaves are changing in the mountains. I don't think we'll be dragging the RV up there in the winter, though.

All this physical labor today has wore me out. I think I'll take a shower and see if I can snuggle up to Carolyn and get warm.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Maryville, Tennessee: People Are The Key

Not all who wander are lost.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Cold Weather

Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 36 degrees, high 58 degrees, cloudy, windy

The only good thing about the cold weather in this area is that we're not getting the snow and ice that states north and east of us are getting. About midnight, we started having rain showers pass through, and when we woke, the temperature was about 58 degrees. It started falling from that point, and at the time that I'm writing this post at about 2030 hours, it has fallen to 36 degrees, with winds of about 15 mph. By morning, we expect a low around 20 degrees with a high tomorrow of about 36 degrees. Is there any place that's warm?

I had a couple of chores to do today on the truck. It was time to have the front end alignment checked, especially since I have a new set of tires on the truck. As much as tires cost, it made sense to check the alignment. It's a good thing I did, because both tires were toed in. When the shop was finished, I was driving away and noticed that the orientation of the steering wheel was not centered as it usually is. In fact, I would estimate that it was off about 15 degrees. Back I went to the shop, where it took them another 45 minutes to get everything right.

The next stop was at the post office to pick up our mail which had been forwarded to us by our forwarding service in Livingston, Texas. I was surprised by how much mail was in the package, even though it had only been about ten days since we last received mail. None of the mail was of enough importance to be a concern, which is just the way we like it.

The WalMart Mall was the next stop, where I had the truck serviced. This little errand was part of the preparations for getting ready to leave here in the next few days. Maybe we'll find some warmer weather.

Carolyn gets the cooking urge when the weather is cold like this, and today was a day for hot soup and other goodies. We'll enjoy the soup again tomorrow. Maybe I can persuade her to bake some cookies.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Lufkin, Texas: The Heart of The Texas Forest Country

Not all who wander are lost.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Out Of Date Food

Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 48 degrees, high 58 degrees, cloudy skies, misty late in the afternoon

As closely as we watch our clutter and unneeded stuff, we still find things that we no longer need. We decided to go through our grocery cabinets and the refrigerator since the holidays were over in order to make sure we were not hauling stuff around that we didn't need. Guess what? We found several grocery items that had expired on shelf life. How in the world did that happen? Besides toting around unnecessary weight, it was a waste of food and money. We have decided that we'll check the cabinets more often, taking care to not let food go to waste again. Now, if we decide we no longer want something because our tastes have changed, that's one thing. Letting food go bad because we don't keep track of what we have is unacceptable.

When Terri was here, she received a gift that was too big to take home on the airplane. Today, I took the gift and an item that I wanted to return to Amazon and mailed them. Since I was feeling good about what we had already accomplished for the day, I decided to move the recliners around so they will be used equally, rather than wearing one or the other out. While I was at it, I changed out the chair we use for the desk. That chair is the same as the ones we have at the dining table. Eventually, we plan to find a computer chair that will be more comfortable than the dining chair.

Once we had everything done that we wanted to do today, we decided to take a ride down to Palacios to see what changes had taken place down there. Here's a picture of the bay. Notice how cloudy the sky is.

Several new houses are being built, but we noticed that several houses on the bay that have been for sale for the last year are still not sold. I understand that water frontage and water views will cost more money, but some of the prices seem out of line to us.

Here's a picture of part of the shrimp fleet based at Palacios. There seems to be a lot of winter Texans staying in the local Palacios RV parks. For the ones who like seafood and fishing, this area must seem like paradise. Some of them can step out of their RVs and throw a line in the water of the bay, and the shrimp boats sell fresh seafood. To top it off, the area is quiet, with a pace of life that is unhurried. If Lori wasn't living here, we would probably be in Palacios. Just think, no trains.

One of the birds we saw today (along with a large bunch of snow geese and Canadian geese) was this long billed curlew. At least that's what we think it is. According to the information I found on it, this bird was almost hunted into extinction. I never realized these birds were hunted. Another little tidbit of information people can probably live without is that a common name for these birds was candlestick, and Candlestick Park in San Francisco was named for the bird.

Now that everyone has been given some useless information for the day,

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Palacios, Texas: Shrimp Capital Of Texas

Not all who wander are lost.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Found Cousin

Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 29 degrees, high 44 degrees, clear skies

Terri and Thomas had to go back to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, today as the Christmas holidays ended. I took them up to Hobby Airport in Houston this morning to catch their flight home, which included a change of airplanes in Dallas/Fort Worth. As I said in an earlier post, we had the best of gifts for Christmas, having both our daughters and their families together. We're already making plans for next Christmas.

On my way home from Houston, I stopped at Academy Sports, looking for a new pair of walking shoes. In the last two weeks, I've noticed that my feet have been bothering me a little after a long walk. That's usually a sign to me that I need a new pair of shoes. I'm not the type of person who will spend $100 for a pair of shoes, choosing instead to buy a pair of medium priced shoes. Since I walk as much as I do, I tend to have to buy a couple pairs of shoes each year. It took longer than I wanted, but I found a pair that fit my criteria, including price, and I bought them. Now, I'll wear the new shoes when I'm not taking long walks until I get them broke in. Then the old shoes will be outta here.

The blog has created an unexpected bonus for me, as I received an e-mail this morning from my cousin Ronnie and his wife Judy that I haven't had any contact with for about 30 years. I replied to the e-mail, and I'm hopeful that we can work out the details to visit them in the summer. It's too cold to go to Virginia at this time. Ronnie is a couple of years younger than me, and when we were growing up in Florida, our two families were very close. It would be nice to see him again. Maybe there's a trip to Virginia coming up when it's warmer.

Now that the holidays are over, we have some winter cleaning to do inside and outside the RV. Carolyn doesn't know it, but the weather is going to have to get a little warmer before I do much on the outside. In the meantime, I'll help her with the inside.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Powell, Wyoming: Deeply Rooted, Branching Out, Growing Stronger

Not all who wander are lost.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Brrrrr!

Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 38 degrees, high 45 degrees, cloudy until noon, then clear skies, windy

Brrrrr! What a cold day! Especially when I took my morning walk. The wind was blowing about 15 mph, with the temperature about 40 degrees. It felt like my face was going to freeze.

Once I got home from my walk, I had to take some time to warm up. About the time I ws warm, I realized that the cold weather was probably going to require me to have to go buy a bottle of propane. I checked the regulator, and saw that one of the tanks was empty. So off to the propane distributor I went. When I arrived at the propane filling station, I had to get in line with several other RVers who were there for the same reason as me. Luckily, I didn't have to wait long, and got my tank filled for $2.12 per gallon. Both tanks are now full, and we're ready for the cold weather that is forecast for the next ten days. Well, almost ready, that is. Like I said the other day, we need to find a warmer place to spend the winter.

I had new tires put on the truck a few weeks ago, so today I decided to have the front end alignment checked so the front tires don't wear unevenly. The shop I stopped at is booked up until Thursday, and I was given an appointment for that morning. While I was talking to the owner of the shop, he mentioned that he has seen several instances of passenger cars being placed on light trucks. If the reader remembers, that happened to me. Luckily, I didn't have any bad consequences out of the episode, but it appears to happen more frequently than I thought. Just a thought I'm putting out to the readers so they can be aware that the tire stores don't always get it right.

We have always used public libraries for checking out books and videos, as well as for Internet access when needed. Over the last 18 months or so, it seems that the libraries are becoming even more popular as the recession has affected the economy. Could it be that the increased use of the libraries is an indication that people are going back to simpler and more economical ways? It certainly seems that way to me, as just about every one of them that I visit in our travels seems to be very busy.

Carolyn prepared lasagna with bread sticks and carrot cake for supper. Lori and her family were here for Terri and Thomas' last night before they go home tomorrow. It has been great having both our daughters and the grandkids here for the holidays. We've been talking about where we might meet next year for the holiday, with most of the conversation favoring San Antonio. The holidays are almost 12 months away, but if we keep planning and talking about them, maybe it will happen.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - San Antonio, Texas: Mission City

Not all who wander are lost.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Quiet

Bay City, Texas

Weather: low 48 degrees, high 52 degrees, cloudy skies

It was a typical winter day near the Texas gulf coast from a weather perspective: cold, cloudy, some wind, and everything felt wet. We've got to start finding better places to spend the winter.

Terri and Thomas stayed at Lori's house last night, so it was quiet at the RV. They will be leaving on their way back to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on Tuesday, and we will miss them. It's been nice having both our daughters nearby. There is some hope that eventually it will happen on a permanent basis.

Since it was so quiet at the RV, it felt like old times for Carolyn and I. We did much the same things we do when we're out exploring the countryside. Sleeping late, leisurely waking up and getting the day going, late breakfast, daily walk, a trip to the WalMart Mall, a little television, a movie, reading....... I think you get the picture. A typical day for us. That sounds like retirement. Now, if the weather would get better, it would be even better.

Looking forward in our plans, it appears as though we will be leaving here on the 10th, next Sunday. Our first stop will be in Taylor for a deferred supper date with my nephew Scott and his wife Chriselda. After that, we plan to be down in the Canyon Lake area for a few days. If everything works out, we may even make it out to Big Bend National Park to do some drifting around. That's a place we've never been, and we're looking forward to going there. Of course, the weather will have some bearing on whether we go or not, but those are the tentative plans. Many times, I feel like our plans are written in sand, because they get changed so much. That's part of the fun of the RV lifestyle. We're not tied to schedules. Most of the time, that is.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Freeport, Texas: El Agua

Not all who wander are lost.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Good To Be Home

Bay City, Texas

weather: low 38 degrees, high 56 degrees, clear skies

It felt good to be back in the RV last night, sleeping in our bed. Even though we had a good time while on the visit to Glen Rose, it's always good to be home. And in this case, home is Bay City because that's where the RV is. Next week, home could be in Austin, or San Antonio, or.....

When I went for my morning walk, it had warmed up enough that I didn't have to wear a heavy jacket, instead using a lighter one. I still used my gloves, since my hands seem to get cold easily. One thing I noticed while out walking is how wet the ground is here. Water is standing everywhere, and the ground is mushy. It wouldn't hurt this area to have dry weather for a month. The forecast doesn't show any rain for at least the next four days. Here's hoping it stays dry.

I went over to see my brother Terrell and his wife Kathy after my walk. Kathy has been fighting cancer for the last three years, and her latest checkup this past week was very positive. We're praying for her and wishing all good things for the new year. They are planning to move to the Knoxville, Tennessee area in the near future as part of their retirement planning. If we're still here when they start packing a moving truck, I'll help load their stuff. While I was visiting, we made plans to meet everyone for a late lunch/early supper at K-2 Restaurant.

When I returned home, I realized it was time for a trip to the WalMart Mall for some necessities. Since everything we needed was at the Mall, the trip didn't take long. Once everything was put up, I talked to Carolyn and Terri for a few minutes, then decided I needed to recharge my batteries. Meditation was performed for a half hour or so. Then I watched some college football, which reminds me that my concerns about Florida not being ready to play last night were unfounded, as Florida defeated Cincinnati 51 to 24. A good end to a great season that might have been a little better.

About 1500 hours, everyone met at K-2, including Lori and her family, Terri and Thomas, Terrell and Kathy, and Scott and Chriselda, plus Carolyn and me. A big group of 12 people that had a corner of the restaurant to ourselves. It felt like some of the old family gatherings we had when we lived in Florida and everyone else was there. I miss those times.

We had a good meal, but the best part of the gathering was being with family and enjoying their company. It would be nice if we could do this more often.

Tonight, we went to Lori's house and had an old fashioned gab fest, with everyone talking and laughing. I am amazed at how our grandchildren are growing up and developing their personalities. They can hold their own in discussions with adults, and their sense of humor is really something. Julian can keep you laughing with one quip after another.

When we left Lori's house and returned home, Carolyn watched Lord Of The Rings on television. When she finished the movie, I watched more college football. A good day with family, good food, and doing the things we like.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Caldwell, Texas: The Kolache Capital Of Texas

Not all who wander are lost.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Waffle Iron Mishap

Bay City, Texas

Weather: low in Glen Rose 28 degrees, clear skies, heavy frost, high in Bay City 54 degrees, clear skies

It's too bad the weather wasn't as nice yesterday as it was today. It was bitterly cold yesterday, with fog, rain, and wind. That made it difficult to be outside. Today was the opposite, with bright sun and warmer temperatures. There was a chance of snow flurries last night, but I didn't stay up to see if there was.

We got over staying up late to welcome in the new year long ago. Last night was no exception, as we were asleep well before midnight. Do we feel like we're missing something? Not at all.

We finished our little mini trip to the Glen Rose/Granbury area today. Unfortunately, we were so busy that we didn't get to do everything we had planned. Like visit friends. Hopefully, they will understand how hard it is to herd cats.

Everyone except Carolyn and me slept late this morning, and by the time they were all up and had eaten, it was 1030 hours. One of our grandkids had a little problem in the dining room, when he decided he wanted waffles. The breakfast was continental style, where each person picks what they want and takes it to their table. The oldest boy (did I spare his identity enough?) failed to spray the waffle iron with non-stick spray before he poured the mix into the iron. When the waffle was finished, it wouldn't come out of the iron because it was stuck. Like, big time. The cleaning took at least 15 minutes, and when Carolyn went to help him, he started to edge away. Carolyn stopped him and told him to get back here and help clean this mess up. I don't think he will forget this mistake. Unfortunately, this is how most of us learn.

Most of the time when we go to the Glen Rose area, we take Texas 71 to Texas 77. Today, we decided to take Texas 36 back, and even though it's a few miles shorter than going by 71 and 77, we think the route down 36 is not quite as nice. Unless we have something to do on route 36, we'll take 71 from now on.

Florida is playing Cincinnati in the Sugar Bowl tonight, and I have a bad feeling about the game. Could it be that Florida is going through a letdown after losing to Alabama in the SEC championship game? If they're not careful, they'll lose this next game. Cincinnati is a very good team, and they would like nothing better than to knock off a SEC powerhouse.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Houston, Texas: Hustletown

Not all who wander are lost.