Welcome to our travels and adventures

Welcome to our travels and adventures

Beach Bums

This weekend we just hung out here at the campground, nothing too exciting except happy hour each day. Gotta have a little libation to celebrate with.

Sunday night we were standing outside looking up to watch the International Space Station (ISS) fly overhead. Pat clued us in earlier in the day that it would be passing overhead. It was pretty neat as our first time seeing it! Click here for more information. You can see a schedule for your location by clicking here.

The 4 of us wandered down to Mustang Island to play beach bums. We took the ferry across to Port Aransas and drove onto the beach. You can see for miles, lots of RVs parked to enjoy the sea air, people walking along the waters edge and lots of folk fishing both in the surf and on the breakwater. We walked along the beach ourselves, looking at the various critters that were washed ashore. Pat suggests that he would go back and move the truck forward. We thought that was a great idea except every time we would turn toward the truck, he would move it further away – I think he was ensuring we got our exercise!

There were lots of water fowl to entertain us – Pelicans, Cormorants, Loons and the Black Skimmers up close and personal! It's neat to watch a loon dive for food then when it surfaces, it flips the fish around so it can swallow it head first!

We decided to follow a recommendation and eat dinner at Jay's restaurant for the best seafood meal on the island! It was delicious – we all had a different entree and left very happy! It was a quiet ride back to the campground!

Thanks for stopping by and we hope all is well wherever you are.....

Goose Island Tour

The weekend already, time goes by quickly when your having fun! The weather here has been good, a little foggy in the AM but warm and clearing in the afternoons.

On Wednesday, we did some shopping in downtown Rockport (a 2 block shopping area – just perfect for me) and the girls bought some beading supplies so Barb could coach Carolyn in a beading class in the afternoon. Pat replaced his anode rod on their hot water tank and I watched – that's something I do very well! It was a kick back afternoon, some gabbing, some beading mixed in with a little wine and cheese!

Thursday, Barb & I toured Goose Island. Our first stop was the Schoenstatt Shrine in Lamar. It indeed was very tranquil and a beautiful place. Our next stop down the road was the Big Tree. It is pretty impressive although it is not the largest Oak tree we have seen on our travels. It is estimated to be over 1,000 years old! Wow, now that's impressive! Something man has not managed to destroy!

A short drive along the shore brought us to the state park. Only $10 for us to spend a few hours enjoying the nature of the shoreline. The first thing we did was check out the campground on the beach. Looks great, electric and water hook ups and the trailer will back in looking over the water not 20 feet away – thanks heavens for small tides here and not like the Bay of Fundy! We've agreed this will be on our agenda on our way back north! We took a stroll out onto the fishing pier. It extends out 1,621 feet – it was a long stroll to say the least! There were 'sand' bars under and around the pier that were not sand but oyster shells, millions of oyster shells. People fishing from the pier as well as wading in the shallows. We didn't see anyone catch anything but we did see fish swimming by as well as small ones jumping. We tried to capture them with the video camera but as with all nature, they only do it when you're not recording them!

We took our bikes with us in case we went crazy and decide to further enjoy this outdoor adventure. There weren't any 'bike trails' so we toured around the other campground in the wooded area. We stopped off at the boat launch to watch an air boat get underway and saw a Roseate Spoonbill fly into the reeds on shore! Wow, what a beauty!

With weary legs, we climb back in the truck to find lunch! We didn't plan a picnic as we thought we could stop off at a grocery store on Goose Island and pick up supplies to make one on the fly! Well, we find out that the closest food store is back in – yes, your guessed it – Rockport! Before we left, we drove back to the shore to follow a tip a lady on the pier gave us regarding a pair of Whopping Cranes. They were right where she had explained and we sat and watched them. It was spectacular when you consider there are fewer than 250 or so left in the wild! They nest in Alberta in the summer and winter here. Do yourself a favor and google them for more information.

We made it back to our campground in time for happy hour with Pat and Carolyn and to share each others day adventures. We hope you are enjoying yourselves wherever you are!

Oppsss, I'm a little late with this issue. We have been a little busy, finding the shops, site seeing and of course, the chores!

As I stated earlier, we got lots of rain on Thursday/Friday. This picture out the side window shows our group antenna field which was high and dry before the rains came! We also finished setting up our site after Dave brought in and laid the patio tile for us.

I borrowed a battery charger from Dave (the park owner) so I could put a full charge on the suspected bad battery. As it turned out, the cables were corroded enough to reduce the charge to the 3rd and 4th batteries in the bank. The battery that I suspected was bad tested fine after I used the battery charger overnight. I cleaned all the cable connections and reconnected the 'bad' battery, sprayed the terminals with a corrosion inhibitor. Now we'll have to wait and see what happens the next time we trundle down the road to a WalMart!

We decided that with so much possible to do here, we better set up an activity calendar so we can get most of what we want to do done! I'm sure this is not a surprise for most of you! Anyway, we had to wash the rig Monday so Barb didn't get to her first activity – quilting. So Tuesday, we started fresh with a GIMP lesson (I read the manual and Barb follows along in the software) and then in the PM, we toured the Fulton Mansion. Wow. Built in the 1870's, the first house to have running hot and cold water and central heating! It was the only house still standing in Rockport after the 1919 hurricane! See the web site (click here) for more information.

Hope all is well where you are....

Wednesday, Pat, Carolyn, Barb & I went down to the Rockport harbor for a walk around. Not too much going on, the shrimp shacks are closed and all was quiet. We walked out on the breakwater and saw a pod of dolphins, loons and cormorants. On the way out, a fisherman pulled in a spotted ocean trout but alas, it was a ½ inch too short and had to go back.
On our way back, we pulled over beside a bird sanctuary and saw a few cormorants (see the picture), white and brown pelicans and the beautiful blue herons.

When we got back, I pulled out the flags and other patio stuff and found them soaking wet! So much for no problems! Everything out the basement to see what is going on and of course I immediately go to the dark side and start calculating the amount of work and the cost to replace a couple of brass 90 degree joints that go up into the bathroom vanity! I check the inside of the vanity but do not see any water so I'm sure the worst is upon us. Thank heavens, Barb is on the ball. After she briefly felt around the inside of the vanity, she suggested that I take another look – especially follow the pex pipe up to the sink. Holy crap, I missed that and feel water on both pipes! You just can't get reliable help any more! After we put the new floor in the bathroom, the guy (me) did not tightened the fittings enough when he put it all back together! Now I have to clean up his mess and do it right!

Now it is time for dinner! We take the meal out of the freezer to find that the freezer is not freezing! What now? We just had the refer repaired in Sept, don't tell me it's broke again! Picture the panic here, freezer full of food and not working – all other propane appliances are working fine! Try switching it to electric and the heater seems to be working now. Switch back to propane and again the check light is back on! Waited for a bit and tried switching again to propane and all is good now! What a crazy day! A lot of stress for nothing!

We're in for a storm over the next 24 hours. The weather service is forecasting 4-6 inches of rain fall on already saturated grounds! When we woke on Friday, there is lots of water all around us but no damage anywhere here. We decided this is a good day for the show. Went to see It's Complicated for $4.00 each! It was a good show – funny, good entertainment.

Until next time, hope all is well where you are.
Well, our campground conundrum has been solved! Pat recommends Angler's RV Retreat in Rockport – not far from where we were going – and is not as expensive as the others. They only have 2 sites left so we broke our rule of not making reservations and made one!

Saturday, we needed propane so the 4 of us went into The Catfish King for lunch. We went there in '07 with Sean & Patti and it was great! This time, something was missing or is it that our expectations were set higher , before we didn't have any! Oh well, the catfish was still good albeit they were small portions! After lunch we went our separate ways for shopping etc. It was recommended that we use Livingston Propane as it is less expensive than other retailers around and since we were out that way anyway, it wouldn't be that much further to drive. Wrong! What we would have saved on propane would have cost us in diesel but wouldn't you guess, the place is closed on Saturdays! Now it really cost more!

Sunday was still cool but above freezing! The outdoor duties of dumping waste tanks and adding fresh water were done more comfortably. Barb continued on her top secret project and I added records to a new database.

Our trip to Rockport was uneventful mechanical wise – thank goodness! Traffic down was not too bad except for around Huston. Like home, construction is the main cause. Navigating the bypass route 610 and I10 was tricky! We had to cross several lanes where the 2 routes come together to stay on 610 or we were going downtown Huston! Who'd have thought that we would have had the A/C on in the truck on the way down! We were also surprised at the number of businesses that are closed south of Huston!

Arriving at the campground, we were greeted by Pat & Carolyn and the campground dog, Butter! The owners were on an errand and would catch up to us later – which they did. We got set up and Carolyn had dinner ready for us! We sure are spoiled, thanks. What a nice way to finish a day of travel!

Until Saturday, hope all is well where you are.

The weather is the story here! We had to dig our touques and mitts out! Wow, everyone we talk to says this has been the coldest since they can remember – we're talking to older folks so..... Anyway, that has been the story since we started this adventure 10 years ago – whenever the weather is bad, it is always the worst it has been! Everybody is running off their fresh tanks for water and there are no 'brass monkeys' out there – that's how cold it is!

We settled in on Wednesday and went to happy hour to hear about the goin's on. There is a dinner here on Thursday's for $6pp so went to that with Pat & Carolyn (friends we were meeting up with here). Other than that, the cold weather has kept us inside, Barb broke out the sewing machine and is working on her top secret project while I did some label making for our DVD home movies.

The next move hopefully will be warmer. We were going to Ransom Road RV Park but they are full so not sure now. All in all, it's been quiet here which is a good thing after our harrowing trip down to Texas!
It's time to move on down the road again. Sometimes we eagerly pack up and look toward our new adventure but this time not so. We have met new friends and it seems a shame that we are on our way again so soon. It's these times that we lament – for a short while!

We traveled along I20 west and the roads are good except when going through the major centres of Atlanta and Birmingham then not so good, bumpy, pot holes and very busy. We make it to the Wal-Mart in Meridian Mississippi for the night.

When it comes time to pull in the bedroom slide, nothing happens! Great! We check the battery voltages and see we are very low (11.3V) so we hook up the truck and after a few minutes to charge, we have enough power to pull in the slide! Whew, one nervous issue settled – for now! As we're driving, what is that white stuff blowing along the roadway! Holy crap, it's snow! Where are we, in the northern USA? Where is the southern warmth?

As we're heading out from Wal-Mart we hear a loud screeching from the trailer. It sounds like a brake is hanging up and not releasing so we stop, back up and forward again. After a short (100 feet or so) drive, it's gone so on our way. We pull into a rest area to make lunch and after our experience in BC in 2007, we now check the hub temperatures on most stops. Ouch, the centre hub on the curb (entry) side is extremely hot! Great, another issue on the road. Is it wheel bearings again like we had in BC or is it just a brake problem? I also checked the batteries to see why we didn't have enough power to bring in the bedroom slide and find one of the four has low specific gravity and is degrading the whole bank so I disconnected it and we continued on our way. Wow, we just installed these batteries in June of '08, they should last longer than this! Is it the cold I wonder?

We pull into the Flying J for fuel in Shreveport, LA and when leaving. hear the same screeching sounds and again stop, back up and forward and still the screech continues for about another 100 feet or so then all is good. We're nervous – or should I say I'm nervous and Barbie is white knuckling it! We decide to try to get to Nacogdoches, Tx, (100 miles or 161 Kms) where there are several RV shops that can help us out. We pull into a truck stop 40 miles from Nacogdoches and the hub temperature is really, really hot so we decide Nacogdoches is too far and head to the WalMart in Center, Tx, just 5 miles down the road. We thought that if we got to WalMart, we could see if their Tire and Lube techs would pull the tire off so we could carry onto Nacogdoches on 5 wheels!

We get there safe and sound but their policy is if it doesn't go in the service bay, they can't work on it. They do offer to let us use their equipment to do it ourselves! That's great but they close shortly so we gotta 'get-r-done' now! So, Barb & I remove the tire and let the hub hang so if necessary we can continue off down the road to the nearest RV centre. The manager at WalMart invites us to stay the night in the back near the tire shop – wow, super quiet but it was really cold again last night – where is the wonderful southern heat?

Up early the next morning to contact our dealer to see about a warranty on the wheel bearings (they were just replaced in the fall of '07) and they took the ball and made arrangements with the bearing company (Dexter Axle) to get the problem diagnosed! After a few phone calls, all arrangements are made and it is only 9:30! A repair tech from Nacogdoches will come over and pull the wheel hub to determine if it is a brake or a bearing problem. That's great news and we're hoping for a bearing problem then the costs will be picked up by Dexter! On the other hand, if it's a brake problem, it's our bill!

The tech doesn't arrive until 1:15 PM! Nacogdoches is only 35 minutes away! He pulled the hub and a brake lining falls onto the pavement – Ouch now we pay! $170 bucks later and we now have a peace of mind that the bearings are good! The tech said it would be unlikely that we will find brake shoes our size anywhere around Center and he suggests just cut the brake wires and go with 5 brakes on the trailer and get the job repaired when we are in a larger area! We still had to put the tire back on and all that for $170 bucks!! The rig is 9 years old so maybe it's time I become a RV technician!

Before we left WalMart, we left a thank you card and a box of chocolates for the Tire and Lube staff for their generosity of their equipment and courtesy.

On our way to Livingston, we drive through Nacogdoches and the downtown streets are all red bricked – really quite quaint! We made it to Livingston Tx at 5:15PM and set up and settled by 6PM. It's good to be home! There was a time in our earlier life when we had a stix home and had similar problems, we would have pointed the car north and headed home!

New Years Eve

Happy New Year, Barb & I wish you good health and extreme happiness through out this new decade. As I mentioned in our previous post, we met Wednesday to plan our New Years Eve festivities with our hosting neighbors. Once done, we took off to Madison for shopping and hang out at the laundromat! What fun that is!

While in Madison, we did the Historical Homes tour – this time with the camera! It's amazing if you imagine the time back when these homes were in their prime. Imagine the prominent 'Southern Bells' with their beautiful gowns as they sachet around their massive properties.

Now with the shopping done, we have to fire up the oven and get the cooking done. We've decided a pot luck dinner then out for a camp fire then back in to watch the ball drop in Times Square. The weather agreed and we had clear skies to view the 'blue moon' before going back in to ring in the midnight hour. Discussions of all the New Year festivities going on around the world and we learned of a new one – The Possum Drop. Sounds more fun than the Ball Drop doesn't it! Take a look at the Web Site and you'll see some down home fun as midnight approaches. Well, we didn't have a possum to drop or fire works to set so we watched the ball drop at Times Square. Maybe not too exciting for most but for 6 people camped in an out of the way campground, it was just right for us! The evening lasted through 'till 3AM! Wow that's the latest we've been up for awhile – you can't count senior's insomnia!

Needless to say, with the weather co-operating, Barb & I went to the course to get 9 more holes in before we leave here for Texas. Gotta love it, golfing on New Years Day! This probably isn't new to most of you other snowbirds but it is to us northerners y'all!