Saturday, March 31, 2007

Lazy Daze

Two weeks at one location gives you the opportunity to relax and really settle in to the area. We leave Monday for Livingston, about 260 miles east. Since today is our last Saturday here, we headed off to explore New Braunfels this morning.

Of course, we took the scenic route, and with the help of the GPS, got lost! We've found that it sometimes thinks the most direct route is down some residential streets that end in a dead-end. We did end up at Landa Park, which is one of the most beautiful parks we have ever been in. It's right on the Comal River, and there was an abundance of squirrels, swans, ducks, and geese to compliment the trees.

After that, we made a quick stop at Wal-Mart (the RV'ers place), and headed back to camp to enjoy the rest of the day. Today was the best day we have had in Texas, and maybe since we left Colorado. Temperatures were in the high 70's, as was the humidity, but a slight breeze made it perfect. We've been watching the Denver news channels, and see that they have gone back to winter, at least for a while.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Under the Oaks

Bluebonnets in bloom everywhere!

The pond across from our campsite

Our Coast to Coast resort here in Sattler is great. It's situated in the oaks...and our rig is parked under a big oak. I haven't taken a picture yet, but I will. Being under the oak is great, as it provides shade on the roof. But there are pitfalls! Several small branches were touching the roof; no big deal so we thought. Of course, we were wrong: branches touching roofs are highways for critters! Specifically, ants...lots of them. They started showing up a few days ago on the ceiling in the bedroom. We had a rainy day, and the branches drooped more paths. Pretty soon the little buggers were everywhere. I got out my trusty Klein pliers and did some tree trimming yesterday. Hehehe, no more paths, so we think (and hope!) they are thinning out inside.

I finally got Donna's recumbent bike fixed. Somehow the handlebars loosened up, and a simple tightening wasn't doing it. I had to take the whole fork assembly apart. Anyway, she's getting lessons (from me) on how to drive it. Totally different from a regular bike!

Interspersed in the oaks are cedar trees. I'm going to forage for some wood for's supposed to rain tomorrow and Friday, so maybe I'll head out after this is posted. We are definitely in the relaxed mode now. Either that, or I'll have another adult beverage...tough choice!

We are at this park until Monday, then we head for Livingston. After that, we head NE for Indiana. We'll be back in Colorado in May for doctor's appointments and to see family/friends.


For those of you old enough to remember the turbulent 60's, you will certainly remember Lyndon Baines Johnson, our 36th President. His Southern White House is located between Fredericksburg and Johnson City, here in Hill Country. We took a drive up there a few days back, and took the tour. Saw most of the grounds, the house where he was born, the family cemetery, and the stables. Interestingly, Lady Bird, who is still living, stays there most weekends, so the house itself is not open to tours. They slowed the bus down, told us to take pictures if we wanted, but we couldn't get out of the bus - the home is under the protection of the Secret Service.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Whut the Hill?

Hill Country. We're finally here; the first time for me without being here for work. We arrived in Kyle early Sunday afternoon and got situated in our park. A quick look around the park, and we found genuine trailer-trash could tell by the green moss growing on the roofs of their "rigs". Well, no problem, we would be there only one night!!

Bright and early Monday morning, we drove the rig up to the dealer. When we purchased it almost a year ago, they installed a dishwasher. It leaked the first time we used it, and so we had to come back here at some point to get it fixed. They said "hopefully" it would be done in one day; we told them if not, "someone" would have to put us up in a hotel - this is our home we retorted.

We took off to run some errands and have some lunch, promising to return by the end of the work day. Lunch took us to The Salt Lick, a BBQ place in Driftwood, up in the hills SW of Austin. Great BBQ (thanks V!). This was our second time there; the first being when we bought our rig.

When we returned to the dealer, they had done the repairs, and tested the fix twice. We left happy and headed to Canyon Lakes. The ultimate outcome of the dishwasher is detailed in the post titled "Frustration(s)". Speaking of frustrations, I have a very poor Internet signal, and can't seem to get any pictures uploaded. Stay tuned...


#1. On Monday, we took the rig in to get the dishwasher repaired. It had leaked the first time we used it last year, so it has been inoperable. The dealer fixed it, tested it twice, and we were all happy. Left the dealer in Kyle, TX, and headed up into Hill Country.

#2. Used the dishwasher today. It worked fine until the rinse cycle. Then it leaked...and leaked...and leaked. I spent about 3 hours removing carpeting from under the counters where the water had gone. We don't need no stinking mold! I called the dealer and gave him the bad news. I also told him to call Carriage and tell them that when we came in on April 23, they could remove the dishwasher, and put the oven back in. Enough is enough, 0 for 2 tells it all.

#3. While the dishwasher was running, I was writing volumes in the blog. When I stopped to bail water, we lost the Internet connection, and my writing was lost. As Homer Simpson says: "DOH"!!!

Mid-afternoon, we decided to leave for a while. Found a Costco AND a Sam's Club in San Antonio, and got some provisions. Thank goodness for the Garmin - I'm not sure how I navigated before I got it! Tomorrow we're heading over to Kerrville. I'll get the blog caught up tomorrow evening with the lost entries.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Travel Days

Saturday, we left Alpine around 8:30am (seems no matter what time we get up, and how much we do the night before, we can't get on the road until 8:30am). Since Kyle, TX was 425 miles away, I looked for a place slightly past the half way point, which ended up being Junction, TX.

Now, when we are traveling because of a need to be somewhere, we try and economize. We stay hooked up to the truck, so less work hitting the road. We found this RV park in one of our memberships - the membership allows us to stay for 1/2 price - the price was $20, which meant a $10 night. Twelve RV sites, next to a hotel. Quaint is one way to put it. We actually had a great time - I BBQ'd some steaks, we washed the truck, called it an early night. Unbelievably, we left at 8:20am, so we beat our record.

So, we are now in Kyle, TX, about 15 miles south of Austin - this park is part of the same network, so it's costing us a whopping $12.50. This afternoon, we hit the local Wal-Mart to get some prescriptions filled, and drove down to Gruene, one of the many German towns in this area. We have a favorite restaurant there, the Grist Mill, where we wanted to have lunch. Unfortunately, there was a giant flea market in progress, and it was the last day of spring break. We decided to come back during the week.

Tomorrow we take the rig in, and hopefully will get it back tomorrow afternoon. If not, we'll have to hotel it for a night. We also plan on going to a great Texas BBQ place called the Salt Lick, in Driftwood. It's a dry county, so they encourage you to BYOB!

Into Texas

We left Deming at about 8:30am, and headed down I-10. Got to El Paso, stopped at the Texas welcome center, and got lots of brochures and maps. Without consulting our calendar, we had decided to head south to the Big Bend area to hang out for a week or so, before heading to Kyle to have some warranty work done on our rig. We got reservations at a 5-star (per Woodalls) resort in Alpine, and were planning on staying for a week.

Upon arriving, we wondered who paid Woodalls for the rating. The pool they advertised was under construction, and, as far as being the "gateway to Big Bend"...turns out Big Bend was 105 miles away! And, the grass had the nastiest stickers you'll ever find!

We decided that we would stick it out...until Donna checked our calendar. Turns out the appointment I had set for the warranty work was on the 19th, not the 26th, as we had thought. Darn, we had to cut our time here short, as we were 425 miles from Austin. That gave us one whole day to explore the area. We'll have to take in Big Bend the next time we're in the area.

On Friday, we journeyed about 25 miles north, to Fort Davis, to see this historical monument. We spent several hours exploring the fort, which is being slowly restored. Originally built before the Civil War, it fell into disrepair during the conflict, and was later re-built. Afterwards, we found a local pizza place, and had some very good pizza!

Heading East

Yuma was getting hot...mid to high 90's (Denver - your 60's and 70's were looking good to us!). So we decided to begin our trek east to become Texans. First stop, Deming, NM. We had stopped at a remote park on our journey south and west in early February, but this time through, we decided to stay at an Escapee's park that was in town. This was an old park on the east side of town.
The circus was in town, and pitched their giant tent adjacent to the park. We didn't go, as my clowning around was enough for Donna. Instead, the park had signs out for a "social hour" at 4:00pm, so we decided to go and meet some people. I brought an adult beverage with me, since it was "social hour". Turns out I had the only adult beverage...everyone else was drinking coffee or water. Geez...was my face red! It was a round table, with everyone introducing themselves and telling a brief story about themselves. When I proudly said we had been full timing for 1-1/2 months, that brought a chuckle to the crowd. We did meet some interesting people.

We spent 2 days here recuperating from the long drive from Yuma, then hit the road again.

We're Here...You're Not!

Maybe (or maybe not) you've been wondering...why no new posts? As I've said before, being retired is such HARD work. Hmm, not buying that? Notice how Abbey has adapted? OK, actually, we've been "Internet challenged" for a few days. Remote areas, no signal. I can get satellite TV, but our Internet connection is through a Verizon wireless broadband card, and it just hasn't been able to get a signal. We've been places on the Verizon coverage map that weren't in red.

No more excuses, so the next few posts should catch things up.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Road Trip II

Since we are leaving the Yuma area tomorrow, we decided a mini-road trip was in order. Very mini - a whole 1/2 hour, and we were in Los Algodones, Baja, Mexico! You get to Los Algodones by heading west into California on I-8, and getting off at the 2nd exit. From there, it's less than 2 miles south. It's a quaint little town that does it's business just like Yuma - from November through March, they court the snowbirds. The primary businesses are 1) pharmacies; 2) dentists; 3) optomotrists; 4) liquor stores; and 5) trinkets...throw in a few restaurants, pack them all into about 4 city blocks, and you have Los Algodones. Having been in many border towns, we found this one to actually fun to walk around in. No pressure, and lot's of clever lines to hook the touristas (not the same old "step inside, take a look").

Unfortunately, it's a sad commentary on our medical/insurance system. Prescription drugs at a fraction of the cost in the USA. Eyeglasses for $40. The same with dental work. We know people who are full-timing that come here just for these services, since they don't have insurance.

We did end up buying some stuff: a t-shirt, a new stained glass window for the rig, and some Mexican pastries. I think I'm starting to feel retired: the t-shirt says it all!

Tomorrow, we're outta here! Time to start making our way east, to the land of Texas, where we will have some warranty work done on the fifth wheel, and where we will become citizens. Then we'll continue northeast to Indiana to the Carriage factory for some additional items on the "fix-list", before heading back to Colorado.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Life is too SHORT

This afternoon there was a medical emergency in our camp. Our neighbors next to us told Donna that a person in the rig next to them needed help. I was washing our rig, and ran over to see if I could help. I found a man slumped over in his chair, not breathing. For those of you who don't know, I was a medic in the California National Guard in the late sixties through the mid-seventies. Add to that my training at Southern California Edison and Great Southwestern, and my instincts and training kicked in.

Donna went to seek help from the workers in the park, while the lady next door got in her car and went to the office to get them to call for an ambulance, and I began giving him CPR. Since this is a rural area, it took the ambulance over 20 minutes to get here. I continued administering CPR after the paramedics got here, and they got set up to evacuate him. They left with the sirens going (his wife went with the ambulance). She told me that her husband had had a recent heart attack, but seemed to be recovering OK.

A few minutes ago, we saw lights on in the rig, with another car parked there, and went over to check on his condition. His wife told us that he didn't make it...we will always wonder if there was anything more that we could have done. And it also makes you reflect on life - how we never know when it will be our time. One of the reasons we decided to go on the road and see the USA and Canada at this point in our lives, was that we have our health, and can enjoy this lifestyle. It is sad when an event like this touches us so personally, but it makes us realize how lucky we really are.

We are really grateful for this special time in our lives that we can share all the beauty there is in this world as well as the tough times like today. Remember to try and live each day to its fullest and don't let yourself keep putting off things you feel are important until it's too late.

Road Trip

Last summer we met a full-timing couple (Tom and Roe) at our Coast-to-Coast RV park in Monument, CO. We became friends, and have stayed in contact. They are wintering in Chula Vista, CA, a mere 153 miles west of our current location. Tom had rotator cuff surgery a week ago, so we decided to drive in for a visit (hey, all the chores were done!). Donna, Abbey, and I headed west this morning, our trusty GPS programmed in with the address in CV.

Immediately, I started getting odd directions from the GPS. It kept telling me to get off the Interstate. Since I-8 is the only major route to San Diego, that was the way I was going, no matter what the GPS said. Every time we passed an off-ramp, it told me to get off and get on to a surface street. I ignored it until we got to the I-805 freeway and were getting close to CV. Then I started following it's directions. Big mistake - we ended up in National City (not Chula Vista) going through some nice residential areas, which got seedier and seedier the further south we went. Yes, we were in the barrios of San Diego. I finally got lucky and found I-5, which is where we needed to be. When we got to the RV park, I vowed to find out what was going on. Turns out, one of the settings had been changed (how? when? by whom?) to indicate that our vehicle was a bicycle. So the GPS had been trying to get us off the Interstate and on to roads that were accomodating to bikes. We had wondered why our predicted time of arrival in CV was 8:00pm!!

After meeting up with our friends, we left Abbey with Mizmo, their Shih-Tzu, and headed off to lunch in San Diego. We had a fabulous bayside lunch at Anthony's. Fresh fish! Donna even had fish, which she normally doesn't do. After lunch, we strolled down the walkway, passing the masted ship Star of India. After weeding our way through all the tourists waiting to go whale watching, we passed the aircraft carrier Midway. Remember the famous WW-II picture taken in NYC on V-J Day, of the sailor kissing the nurse? A 50' statue has been created depicting this picture, and is located in proximity to the Midway. Unfortunately, we left the camera back at the RV park (I do have a picture of it on my cell phone though). We ended up at Sea Port Village before heading back. Donna had a quilt store she wanted to visit, so we detoured there for her quilt fix before getting back to the RV park.

The RV park in Chula Vista is a 5 star in our book - we may end up staying there at some point in the future. It's right on the waterfront (

Reluctantly, we headed out for the 2 hour journey back to the desert. Thanks to Tom and Roe and Mizmo for a memorable day! By the way, Tom is recovering nicely from his surgery.

Tonight daylight savings kicks in, except for AZ. Arizona doesn't do the time change thing. During our travels next week, we will be time deprived, as we'll go through 2 time zones to get to Texas.


When you retire, many things change. Some things that don't: 1) there are still bills that need to get paid; 2) the "house" still needs to get cleaned; 3) clothes still need to be washed; trucks need to be washed; etc. etc. You get the picture: chores!

I have a hat that says "GET OUT" on it. It means "get out and go camping". Sometimes I think it just means "get out of here for a while". Yesterday (Friday I think) Donna and I headed in to Yuma to get out and away from our chores. We went to the movies and saw Wild Hogs. If you need to laugh non-stop for an hour and a half, we recommend it. We had been thinking about going for a few days; then we were talking with our neighbors, who said they had just seen it. Weird how those things work! Anyway, a movie and a lunch at Olive Garden (all-you-can-eat soup and salad), and we were re-charged.

Sunday, March 4, 2007


Yes, that is a palm tree next to the rig! And yes, that is a palm tree that our sign is on!

We left Wellton a day early. The noise of the freeway, the wind, the lack of a sewer connection, and management that wouldn't move us from the perimeter prompted our departure. I called our next stop, and they could take us a day early, so we bailed.

Now that we're here in Yuma (Yuma Lakes RV Park), we're so glad we left. This park is in the agricultural section east and north of Yuma. We are in the land of lettuce fields. There are roadside stands everywhere, so fresh veggies and fruits are available and cheap. Also, there is an In-N-Out Burger about 8 miles down the road!!

We arrived at the park at 2:30pm yesterday, and they informed us that there was a meatloaf dinner available if we signed up by 3:00pm. We did, but should have passed...on a scale of 1-10, Donna gave it a minus one. Huge yuck factor! We're still not sure what the "meat" was in that meatloaf. That and the canned green beans...well, you get the picture. At least Abbey was happy with leftovers.

Today we drove into Civic Center park for a classic car show. There were hundreds of cars from the 50's, 60's, and earlier. Unfortunately, we forgot the camera, so there aren't any pictures. I did take one picture with my phone, so if I can figure out how to get it from there to here, I'll post it, and you can see a souped up Mail Delivery Wagon.

Abbey has adapted quite well to our new lifestyle. She met 3 Yorkies at the last park, and has met a Yorkie-poodle mix and a 5 month old Yorkie puppy here (so far).