Now in Crawfordsville, Indiana

Now in Crawfordsville, Indiana

We are now in Del Rio Texas

We are now in Del Rio Texas

Setting up for the winter in South Texas

October 05 - 23, 2015 

It’s been awhile since we have made a post and so much has happened since the last one!  I am figuring that we will post probably just once a month while we are wintering at our site in south Texas.  Mostly, while here, we enjoy staying warm and doing summer type stuff like playing golf and social events in the resort.  So, most of the time it’s the same fun stuff over and over, it’s a tough life!

However, the last few weeks have been full of some new stuff for us.  We left Goliad TX and headed to our new site 19 in Nature's Resort near Edinburg TX, about 200 miles straight south of Corpus Christi.   The trip took just under 3 hours and was uneventful but pretty hot.  The temperature was hovering around 95 with full sun, nice, nice! 

Nice rest stop near Edinburg TX on 281 south

This is our 4th time making this trip and I think we have done it different each time.  I didn’t recognize anything until we were just 4-5 miles from the exit on to Monte Cristo Road (FM 1925).  After the exit it was just like coming home again!  I never thought I would say that this was our home area but it is becoming that.  In the past 3 years we have spent more time here than anywhere else. 

Now I just want to say that our intention for now anyway is that South Texas will not be our only home area.  Our plan for the future is to eventually become snow birds between New Jersey and here in South Texas.  At some point, after a couple more years traveling the US, we plan to leave the RV here in South Texas and either buy or rent a place in NJ, prefer to seasonally rent in NJ over owning.  At that point we plan to travel/tour more outside the US as well as some destination trips.  OK, now that we have settled that, on to what has happened the past few weeks! 

It’s nice to pull up to the resort gate and our password still works!  It’s the small stuff that gets you.  We knew when we purchased the lot improvements that we now own a set of wooden RV stairs from the previous owners.  We also knew that these stairs are now laying across the concrete part of the site so that we will need to move them before we can pull in.  Knowing about these stairs, we pull into one of the pull through transient sites temporarily until I can get the stairs out of the way so we can pull in.

Our new to us site 19 with the heavy stairs across the entrance.

The stairs are tied down to anchors in the ground and are very heavy.  They are way too heavy to move or lift by myself.  At this time of year it is very hard to find anyone who can help with lifting these stairs.  It will take at least 3 maybe 4 guys to lift this thing!  I walked the park looking for anyone I can volunteer to help and finally found a guy who volunteered the use of a bucket truck.  That will work!  With a little effort we got the stairs up and out of the way so we could move in to our new site.  Thanks to Brad for the help!  By dinner time we were set up and ready for the winter here.

Bucket truck to the rescue!

The site, as we took it over, has concrete on about half of it.  It also has an 8x12 metal shed as well as the heavy wooden steps.  Our plans are to concrete the entire site ASAP.  We really do not want to perform yard and shrub maintenance, been there and done that!  We really don’t mind doing yard work, just not at this time in our lives.  First though I need to get the stairs to fit our RV.

The first few days we are back I worked on the stairs.  The original owners had an RV that didn’t have slides on the front so the stairs are on both sides, one of which goes into our slide.  At first I thought that I might get away with just some slight modifications and leave the second set of stairs on and let them sit under the slide.  Nope, that didn’t work. Need to completely remove the stairs and half of the metal roof.  I also had to raise the roof of the stair unit. Seems that the original owners RV sat lower so our higher RV entrance door hits the roof!  Anyway, after some help from neighbor Ken, the stairs are now functional!  OK, first project done!

Our site in it's original form with us on it.

These are beautiful butterfly plants with hundreds of butterflies on them.  This was for us very difficult to have these removed and replaced with concrete.  However, a few in the park took alot of them and replanted.

We also have hummingbirds here!

Now, on to concrete the entire site.  The only thing is, what the entire site is and how much are we allowed to put concrete on.  The only thing we made sure of when we purchased was that we could completely fit on the site with the 5th wheel and the truck and we do fit.  The way you find out here is to ask the park owners where you can put the concrete and where the site boundaries are.  That happened real quick, within 2 days we knew where we could put the concrete and where we could put temporary stuff or landscaping (rocks for us).  Basically, the site can have concrete 33 feet wide by 45 feet long.  This leaves approximately a 3 foot piece on each side and in the rear for an easement.  That is completely good with us!

The next day, the 13th, Joe the concrete guy came and gave us a very reasonable estimate to do the concrete work. Before the concrete work can be done we need to have the shed moved off of the site.  This is something that is done here all of the time.  An employee of the park and an owner moved the shed for us within a couple of days.  A week later, on the 20th, Joe came and did all of the concrete work.  By 2 in the afternoon it was all done!  We have been here exactly 2 weeks now and we have steps and new concrete!

On our way over to Mexico for lunch and to get our site number
19 in ceramic tiles to put in the concrete.

Good thing the concrete was done this week as the weather is calling for rain and a lot of it!  After the concrete had set for a few days we moved the shed back on to the new concrete. The shed is wired for electric so I reconnected the electric and put the small refrigerator back in.  Now we are ready for the rain.

Removing the grass before the concrete is poured.

Adding the rebar.

Waiting for the concrete truck.  It is now about 92 out!

Concrete truck has arrived!

We added another foot to the west side too.

These guys work real hard!

Adding the final touch, our site number 19 ceramic tiles.
We got these over the weekend in Mexico.
All done!

Patty would have liked the numbers to be closer together, but this is the way it is!

Now for a nice dinner of steak and asparagus.  The asparagus is being cooked on the grille with olive oil, parmesan and mozzarella cheeses.

Just need to say that the area down here is absolutely green right now!  They have had a lot of rain this summer so everything is very lush and green.  The golf courses are really great too.  I have not got back to where I was yet at just under 100 but I have broke a hundred on an easy course and just this week got a 100 on our usual course Los Lagos.  My goal this season is to score around 90.  We shall see!

Not sure of the name of this bird but it is very common here.
It was trying to attack it's reflection in our rear window 

That's him smashing into our window!

We are now caught up to the present time with this post.  We are sitting inside and watching the heavy rain coming from 2 fronts.  We have the original coming from the west and now we have the remaining rain from hurricane Patricia.  We are forecasted now to get from 4 to 11 inches of rain!  We are in the end of the park that floods but we think we are up high enough that it won’t affect us too much.
View out the back window during the storm on the 24th.  We were almost an island!

View from the front window.  The water was just past the rear tire on the truck.  The park posted a "No Wake Zone" for our end of the park.  

Some update about Patty’s health.  We came back to south Texas a month early so we could get here in to see some doctors.  She has seen some doctors but we have not had much in the way of progress yet.

We have seen her primary care Doctor, her endocrinologist, and the neurosurgeon.  She saw her primary doctor 2 times because the first time she passed out due to low blood pressure while seeing him and had to be sent to the ER!  I am used to this and knew that after giving her some IV fluids she would be fine and released.  And she was in fact released after 5 hours.

Patty is scheduled for a new test for determining if she has diabetic gastroparesis.  Yet another diagnosis but little in the way of help!  The neurosurgeon now thinks she doesn’t have a nerve issue (arm scratching) related to her spine compression.  Now he has no idea!  He is, however, doing a few blood tests to determine who knows what!  As for diabetes, her endo suggested that she will just need to learn to determine when these low blood pressures are about to happen and act accordingly!  

With all of this happening to her, her depression has worsened and she has been manic at times.  She has not been able to get in to see a psychiatrist until the end of January.  

That’s it for us now.

Stay tuned!

Last of our 2015 RV Travel

September 29 – October 05, 2015 

We just landed in Goliad Texas, the last stop before we arrive at our winter site in Edcouch Texas.  Since we left Mississippi last week the weather has been great.  We have had bright blue skies with temperatures in the 80s during the day and lows in the 50s at night.  Now, if the weather could just stay this way all winter!

We left Hattiesburg MS on Tuesday the 29th headed for Lafayette Louisiana about 230 miles southwest.  On the way we changed our mind about our selected campground and picked a different one.  We were going to stay at the Catfish Heaven Aqua Farm but changed to the Poche’s RV Park near Breaux Bridge LA.  The reason for the change was that it looked to us like there was more to see in the Breaux Bridge area.  Breaux Bridge turned out to not be so great but we would not have seen this little town any other way so it was worth it.

Our site at Poche’s RV Park near Breaux Bridge LA

Our site is in the middle

Poche’s was one of those places we could have stayed longer at.  The park looks to have been recently purchased and they have spent a lot of money on the place.  The sites are good sized and located around a large man-made pond/lake.  I walked the lake and it is about ¾ of a mile around it.  Just across the road is another man-made lake of the same size.  We believe that these were used at one time as fish farms.  Anyway, our site was located in between the 2 lakes.  It was real nice to see water out of all of the windows. It was also very secluded so we didn’t even pull down our blinds at night.

Looks like we are a boat now!

Sunrise and.....

We only stayed there 2 nights so we just had one day to explore the area.  Our choices were to either explore the Town of Breaux Bridge or take a Bayou tour.  We chose to explore the town as the tour of the bayou sounded a lot like the air boat tour we did in Florida a couple of years ago.  We waited way too long to get to town so the stores were all closed!  It was 4 in the afternoon on Wednesday!  

The bride where the town gets it's name, or, is it the other way around?

We parked in a Catholic School Parking lot and this was in front of our space.   Not being Catholic I don't know why this is here.  Maybe I need to be a priest to park here?

Downtown Breaux Bridge LA

We planned to walk around the rustic town, explore some stores, and then eat some local seafood.  We did walk the town and looked into the stores.  There is not a lot here but, what was, looked like it would have been fun to explore.  Oh well, next time! 

We took the recommendation for a restaurant from the Camp Host at the RV Park.  She suggested a few places but said the freshest seafood was at the Le Café. She said it is nothing fancy, small, and the seafood is all fried but it was really good.  She also said that they had the best Catfish in the area.  Catfish was what I was wanting too!  So the Le Café is where we went to have dinner.

The Le Café really is very small!  It was so small I had a hard time parking our big ass truck in front of it.  Inside there is only room for about 10 seated guests.  Mostly it seemed that people came here to get to go orders.  I ordered the catfish and shrimp and Patty got just the shrimp.  The food came with French fries and Coleslaw.  I also ordered the onion rings because the girl at the counter said they were great.

I am not sure how they fried the catfish but it was not greasy at all.  The shrimp was a little greasy but they were so fresh they tasted like they just came out of the gulf!  The fries were great too; crisp and hot! Oh, and the onion rings, the best rings I think I have ever had!  The catfish was the best that I have had and reminded me of the catfish I used to get in Indiana when I was a kid.  Le Café had the best fried seafood I have ever had!  OK, did I say the food was really, really good!  I was the kind of good that when you were full you had a real hard time to stop eating.  And when you did stop eating, you had already way too much.  It was that kind of good!

I started eating the cat fish already..

On the 1st of October we picked up and moved 200 miles to Houston Texas.  We are now in Texas where we will be for the next 5-6 months.  We stayed at the Turtle Bayou RV Park.  We decided to stay here for 3 nights instead of our usual 2 nights.  We have been through Houston many times but have not explored here at all. 

The Turtle Bayou RV Park is right on the east bound side of Route 10.  We were going West so we had to exit 10 onto a small access road that seemed it was just for the Park that was on the Eastbound side of 10.  The access road was full of large holes and took us under route 10.  This was an under 5mph trip from one side of 10 to the other. 

The first thing the camp host said was that they didn’t have any space for us!  Then she said we could park next to the highway behind the dumpster.  The space didn’t have sewer either but the cost was just $15 a night.  We were here and we were not planning to stay in the park all day so we took it. When I said that we were near route 10, I mean right on the Highway!  We were parked parallel to 10 so it looked like the eastbound cars were coming into our RV for a visit.

Top of the line site!

Nice pictures of inside the Park and Turtle Bayou.

So now we have 2 full days to explore the Houston area.  We decided to do a Murder Mystery Dinner cruise, visit the NASA Johnson Space center, and visit the Boardwalk in Kemah. All of these things were about 20 miles from where we were staying.  Also, none of them were really in Houston proper. We really could visit here longer too as we really only scratched the surface here.  We seem to do that a lot!

I did a little upgrade to our bathroom fixture.  The handles on the original plastic one broke so I just replaced the whole fixture.

The dinner cruise was nice.  I say nice and not great because we have been spoiled with dinner cruises in Europe.  This cruise in relation to other cruises in the US was great though, especially the beginning of the cruise.  

The cruise left port at 7pm so the sun was still up and we could see the surrounding area in daylight.  Also, as the sun set, the view was fantastic!  After hanging outside we headed back inside for dinner.  The food was great as US dinner cruises go.  We have had some really bad food on some in our US cruises in the past.  

Our dinner cruise boat.

Patty looking at the boardwalk and the sunset.

Sites along the water.

The aquarium.

Cool restaurant!

Patty and the sunset again.

The murder mystery was good too.  I had forgotten how lame this type entertainment can be.  After you remember how these things are done though, it really is a fun time, just somewhat lame.  By the way, as a spoiler, Kitty Litter was the murderer tonight!

Part of the murder mystery.  This woman's dress left nothing to the imagination!

On Saturday the 3rd we went to the Johnson Space Center. The space enter is a little pricey; makes me think they are using the money to pay for the next launch!  Parking was $6 and the entrance ticket was $20 a piece after a $3 discount because we purchased and printed our ticket online.  So the afternoon cost a total of $46 for about 3 hours of exploring.

The highlight is the 90 minute tram tour that is included.  The tour mostly takes you around the center and shows you where the moon launch control was and where the new stuff is being done.  Mind you, we are traveling in a tram on the outside of these buildings and being told that is what was and is happening on the inside; not very enlightening.  For me, it was nice to see just what the place looks like, how open it is and that was OK for me.  

Toilet aboard the space station.  Doesn't look very comfortable.  I didn't see any magazines!

Apollo space suit.

Moon lander.

There were 2 stops on the tram, one for the mock-up training center and one for the Saturn V rocket that was to be used for the last Apollo mission, number 18.  The Apollo 18 mission was canceled due to budget cuts in the 70s and so the rocket was not used.  The Saturn V rocket is now in a huge climate controlled room to preserve it as a museum piece.  It is really something to see this rocket!  It is just amazing to me that we did this stuff almost 45 years ago now.

Red stone rocket

Saturn V rocket

The mock-up building is pretty cool too.  You walk around along a walkway above the center.  You can see the mock-up of half of the international space station as well as mock-ups of future Mars mission stuff.  This place reminded me of mock-ups of rail vehicle builds I had been involved in during my career.  It is very heady stuff for sure!

Half of the international space station mock-up for training purposes.

The Orion Mars lander

Just some cool stuff!

After the space center we traveled the few miles to the Kemah Boardwalk.  The good thing here was that we found a place to park on a Saturday night for free!  We were not sure what we would find here at the boardwalk but we thought it might be nice to see it.  The boardwalk is a cleaned up version of the huge boardwalks on the East Coast that we are used to.  It is mainly a place for kids and young adults, not really our thing.  

Cool yard set up for fall on our walk to the boardwalk in Kemah

View of the ocean from our walk to the boardwalk

Nice wooden roller coaster at the boardwalk.

View from the boardwalk

Board walk in Kemah

Saw this on our way back to the truck from the boardwalk.

After the boardwalk we found a 4.5 star Bistro about a mile away located on the water.  The Opus Bistro was great as well as pricey.  We got a nice table outside on the water with the ducks.  The weather was great as was view and the company!  However, this was the most we spent on dining out in a very long time!  It was a great night out to finish our stay in the Houston area!

View from our table at the Opus Bistro.

 On Sunday the 4th we headed the 190 miles to our last stop before we arrive at our winter destination in the Rio Grande Valley.  We are staying 2 nights in Goliad Texas which is just Southeast of San Antonio.  Goliad is just a wide place in the road on route 59.  The town has a population of 1900 and has 9 churches but only one grocery store.  

We are staying at the Angels In Goliad RV Park.  The park is in town but right on the southern edge.  This is another Passport America Park so the price is half price at $15 a night, not bad for a full hook-up pull through site.  This is a nice quiet park with mostly resident RVers in it.  The residents are not like the ones in most places, the residents here are in very nice newer RVs.  The place is only about a quarter full.  The park host said that the park is like this most of the time as there just isn’t much to do here.  The closest Walmart is 45 minutes away!

Our site in Angels in Goliad RV Park

On Monday the 5th we went out to see the little there is here to see.  The town was formed around the mid 1700s and is the leftovers from the Spanish fort and mission that were here before.  

We first visited the downtown that is all registered as a national historic site.  The old courthouse is a magnificent building, really hard to believe that it was part of this small town.  In front of the courthouse is the hanging tree where capital justice was accomplished.  No appeal process in those days; guilty, string up the rope and Let 'em swing!

Very nice courthouse

Historic downtown Goliad.

The hanging tree!

After the hanging, you can have dinner at the Hanging Tree Restaurant.

After the downtown visit, we headed a short ways out of town to the old Spanish mission.  The mission is owned by the Texas state parks commission.  There is a small charge to visit the mission and go through the museum.  We have seen many missions now and this is one of the best preserved ones.  This was the first we have seen with a museum too. The most unique thing about this mission was that it was where the first fight of the Texas revolution was fought.  It was worth the $3, but really, when you have seen one mission you have seen all of them. 

Very nice job of restoration of the mission

Inside the mission

We leave here tomorrow and travel to Natures Resort in Edcouch Texas and our new site number 19.

Stay Tuned!