Life's Journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, totally worn out, shouting "Wow...What a Ride!"

Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas & Hanging around

Gulf Waters RV Resort had a Christmas Eve party, lots of good food and a fun time talking, getting to know some of the other folks here at the park. Our contribution was Mini Grasshopper cheesecakes and Red Velvet cheesecake cupcakes, of course both were topped with real whipped cream. In the evening we got together with two other couples for some late evening eating. Jean-Marc and Nancy had prepared some salt cured salmon and trout which Dave enjoyed immensely.

Christmas Day was quiet with phone calls to the family in the morning out of the way we enjoyed a morning walk around the park. This is our first time celebrating the holidays on the road so it was strange not getting ready for a gathering of family and friends, instead we were heading to our neighbors for dinner, everyone brought their own steaks and something to share. We brought blue cheese stuffed dates wrapped in bacon, we had tried these at our sons home and loved them.The day had started out with beautiful weather but about the time the steaks went on the grill it started to drizzle so we all moved inside. Thank you DuWayne and Jackie for having us over.

The last few days we've just been hanging out doing our thing, nothing too exciting but so glad to be here rather than in VT where they've suffered with the cold and a few ice storms. Biking, walking and fishing (or rather feeding the fish) have kept us busy.

Some brave souls trying to get some surfing in

Next years site, it doesn't back up to a pond, with a rear kitchen it doesn't matter to us. On our door side we will have no neighbors just the boardwalk to the beach.

Today the rains have come and the temps haven't gotten out of the 40's so we are just hanging out at home. We have started getting our itinerary figured out for when we leave here, we are planning on being in Houston during their RV show, Dave has an uncle who lives in Houston so we'll also see them. We have a few more TX state parks planned and a few private parks taking us through most of February and into Louisiana.

We will keep our Christmas decorations up till New Years Day which has been our tradition but today we took the icicle lights off the rv, at night when the wind blows it sounds like an ice storm going on. 

Until next time...

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Getting Ready for Christmas

Ours days have settled into a routine here at Gulf Waters, we've trained ourselves to sleep in till 7am. For us that is late, for the last 20+ years we've been early risers usually in the 5am time frame, we're even staying up later for us, we've seen 10pm more in the last few months than we did in a year. By the time coffee and Pepsi's are done a walk on the beach or around the park is in order, both which could take a few hours depending on who how many folks we run into. Dave then usually goes to Mustang Island State Park for a few hours of fishing while I stay home and either go for a bike ride or power walk, which is usually on the beach wind permitting. Before we know it it is time for dinner and another walk around the park followed by computer or tv time. We've spent a few evenings in the hot tub and are now waiting for them to fix the pump, we usually don't have anyone joining us maybe it's been too cold for them, oh well not for us.
On one of our morning walks
windy day on the Gulf

Pelicans at Goose Island State Park
One day we did head down to Rockport for their market, not as many vendors as were in Goliad maybe next month when more winter Texans are here. Afterwards we headed to Goose Island State Park where I imagine we'll go for a short stay once we leave here. We looked at some places to stay in Rockport but didn't find anything we thought we might like for 3 months, guess we've become spoiled here, though we are looking forward to being in the state parks again.

One of the ponds here at Gulf Waters

Spent Monday trying to make some deserts for our Christmas Eve party, things take so much longer with such a small oven and fridge. It's been interesting to say the least but hopefully things will taste good, tried some new recipes, a Red Velvet Cheesecake Mini Pies and Mini Grasshopper Cheesecakes. After the party we are gathering with some new friends for a little while and then we'll all get together again for dinner on Christmas Day.

Our neighbors DuWayne and Jackie whom we'll be celebrating the holidays with

The turtle Dave saved, he was trying to cross the street here in the park so Dave gave him a hand

Then entertainment in the pond by our site. The Blue Heron is Harvey and he's having lunch.


I have missed seeing the Christmas lights, I used to so enjoy them on my ride home from work, Monday night we took a ride along part of Ocean Drive in Corpus Christi to see the lights.        

Thanks Dad

                                                                 Merry Christmas!!!!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Settling in at Gulf Water RV Resort

We arrived here at Gulf Water RV Resort late morning on Monday, we are in an end site so we have no on on our door side. For now the site on the other side is empty, though we hear that the park is full January through March, we have a large site with a pond with ducks for our amusement. The price is a little higher than other parks around, it's right on Mustang Island, but they have cable and internet so we will put ours on hold which will make the cost much more reasonable. We'll be here until January 27th, we'll make some plans while here as to where we are headed next.

Monday after getting settled we headed to the beach for a short walk.

Tuesday morning found us at Mustang Island State Park trying to catch some fish, after an hour or so I left Dave there and headed to the post office, I still hadn't mailed our Christmas cards. Found the post office and a HEB grocery store so stopped at both and then went back to find Dave. He had caught a few sheephead so I guess it was a successful venture.

After lunch we took the bikes on the beach, we ended up riding about 8 miles just enjoying the afternoon, so glad we are here and not back in VT where they woke up to -18 temps. Our afternoon ended with the Happy Hour (or two) where we met a lot of really nice folks, looks like lots of fun in store for the next 6 weeks.

Wednesday Dave headed to the state park to fish again and I headed to the laundry room, one of the few negatives I've found here is there are only 2 washers and 2 dryers. At 8am though I was the only one there, by the time I was done there was a waiting line for the machines. Afterwards I attended a meeting for the Christmas Eve party, should be a fun time with lots of food. We decided to look at what lots were available for next winter, we have to be back in AZ in October so looks like we'll be spending time out here again next winter. Since it doesn't cost anything to make a reservation we went ahead and signed up for 3 months, the site we're on isn't available next year so we found another one that we think we'll like just as much. If we change our minds we just have to let them know a month ahead and there's no penalty. 

Until next time...

Monday, December 16, 2013

Goliad State Park

Goliad State Park has been a nice place to stay, we've gotten a few things accomplished and unwound after the last week of craziness, between the crazy driving conditions and the almost constant moving we needed a break. With full hookups we settled right in, the temps have been great with the days ranging from the 50's to the 70's and the nights staying above freezing. Our internet and satellite are working well so we got caught up with everyone.

At Goliad State Park is the restored Spanish Colonial Era Mission of Nuestra Señora del Espíritu Santo de Zuñiga, reconstructed by the CCC.

There is a take out for the Goliad Paddling Trail and the park is part of the Texas Coastal Birding Trail. We've enjoyed watching the cardinals every morning as the flit around the rv and trucks.

Friday we headed to Victoria TX to find a Walmart, the Ridgeline needed new shoes, an hour later we were a little poorer but good to go for the next couple of years. Later a bike ride into Goliad for a look around the town, Goliad has a courthouse square with lots of little shops and a few restaurants surrounding it. There is a bike trail from the campground leading right into the center of Goliad's historical downtown, we have taken to riding the trail everyday if you take it through the park to the other historical places it is 2.5 miles so we usually get at least 5 miles of riding in a day. It's a lot easier than riding 5 miles in VT where there are lots of hills and skinny roads, here things are flat with wide roads or real bike trails.

On the weekends during the holiday season Goliad State Park has the Mission History in Lights, telling the history of the mission in lights and shadows.

On the second Saturday of the month there is a market on the courthouse square, of course we had to go. We spent an enjoyable hour wandering around, we found a few good things to eat but the majority of the vendors were selling stuff. We enjoyed looking but there was nothing we had to have. Of course we had to check out Faye's Naturals, lots of interesting Texan condiments, jams and such.

In the afternoon we decided to take walk, I had found there was a geocache placed by the Texas State Parks (seems they have one at most parks-wish I had looked into this earlier) so off we went to find it. Our site is just off of the River Trail and the cache was just a quarter mile away, well we found our first geocache and will look into doing this when we are in other areas. Another way to get us moving and seeing the area.

Saturday evening we took a ride into Goliad to see the Christmas lights, one thing we've missed this year is enjoying the lights everyone puts up to decorate their homes. The courthouse square along with the surrounding businesses were decorated, saw we got a small fix of holiday lights, looking forward to seeing all the lights when we get to Port Aransas. 

Over the last few days we've made some new friends, David & Jan who are from Corpus Christi and were on their maiden voyage with their Rpod, Pat & Sally who stopped in overnight from Nebraska on their way to Rockport. We hope to catch up with both couples over the next few weeks. After saying our goodbyes Sunday, took 2 hours to do that, we had lunch took a short bike ride, did some chores and then Dave wasn't feeling too good so we spent the rest of the day sitting with our computers and the television. Thankfully he is feeling much better this morning.

We've really enjoyed this stay, another place we would be glad to come back too. Goliad is a large enough town to have a small market, a few restaurants and there are larger towns with in 1/2 hour away. Next stop the Gulf of Mexico :)

Until next time...

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Working our way across Texas

 Warning: Long catch up post and lots of pictures. 

Friday (12/6) we headed out of Karchner Caverns State Park headed to Texas, we arrived in Anthony TX just over the border after an uneventful ride, American RV Park behind the local Camping World served our purpose, full hookups and a cheap clean laundry. We took a walk to Camping World, in their showroom they had a few rv’s and we walked through a Redwood by Thor, nice looking giving us more food for thought down the road. In talking with the salesman he recognized our last name, seems there are lots of Maloufs in the area whom have their own businesses, aside from Las Vegas this has never happened. In VT we were the only Maloufs in the phone book and no one really knew how to say the name, kind of cool to have folks know how to say the name without having to tell them. We headed to our for dinner at the Great American Land and Cattle Company which didn’t turn out so well, with a name like that you would think they would know how to cook a steak properly. Dave ordered his medium rare not raw like it came out, then after sending it back it came out rare. Between that and an inattentive waiter it wasn’t the nice meal we planned, good for the manager for taking 50% off of Dave’s meal. 

Saturday’s ride turned out very eventful, we left around 9:30 hoping to make Ft Stockton around 2pm, what a ride it was. After getting around El Paso just fine we started getting into higher elevations and the weather decided to change for the worse. After a quick stop for gas (33.5 gallons in a 35 gallon tank, think we cut that one close but the exits in TX with gas stations are far apart) the temps really started getting cold and some clouds settled in over the mountains we were passing through. We slowed down but lots of others went flying by, including some tractor trailers, and as we progressed along we started seeing cars off the road some that had recently passed us, then we started seeing tractor trailers off the road. By this time we were creeping along and soon after the I-20 interchange came to a complete stop, thankfully we were at the top of the hill not heading up the hill. We sat there for over an hour, no one was coming through in the west bound lane either so both lanes were blocked.  The east bound lanes finally started moving, one of the tractor trailers that had flown past us had wrecked, in the west bound lanes though things were much worse. As we moved along we saw smoke and a massive tractor trailer accident involving at least 10 trailers, they were every which way in and out of the road some had jackknifed some had rear-ended others, one looked like it had been broadsided and one ended up on fire. We later learned there had been fatalities and the westbound lanes were closed for 24 hours. Within a half hour we were in much better driving conditions, we were off the clouded over mountain and the pavement was drying out. I’ve never been so thankful for the winter driving skills I’ve picked up driving in the VT winters over the last 20 years. We arrived in Fort Stockton at the Hilltop RV Park around 4pm, I’ve never been so glad to be off the road for the day. No pictures of all the troubles we went through we were both too busy trying to stay on the road.

Sunday we headed on down the road, while still cold the sun was trying to shine and no precipitation was predicted. We stopped in Sonora TX to visit the Caverns of Sonora which is a favorite of ours; we first were there in 2011, wanted to see it again and with our new camera in hand. After a wonderful tour lasting almost 2 hours it is still one of our favorite caverns. The preponderance of formations is astounding.

After our tour we headed down the road a little further to South Llano River State Park, what a nice park it was, just wish the weather was more conducive to canoeing and hiking. The sites are nice and large,we saw deer, turkey and armadillos at our site.
We’ve purchased an annual pass for us both which waives entrance fees into any state park for a year, it also gives a half price discount on the second day of your stay for four stays. With three state parks planned between now and when we get to Corpus Christi it will pay for itself, it will also be nice to have while on the Gulf Coast to visit the local state parks. The only complaint we had about this park is our Verizon cell and internet don’t work here, next time we come here we hope to at least have a different internet provider, our satellite dish works and we are already looking into satellite internet for when our contract with Verizon expires. 
Monday was spent just hanging around the park, we took a walk, Dave got a bit of fishing in and I spent some time working on our annual Christmas letter. 

South Llano River State Park

Tuesday we moved to Guadalupe River State Park, another nice park just no Verizon service. Sites have lots of tree cover but we were able to get a Dish signal so while again no internet we could be entertained in the evening since it was still too cold to sit around a fire.  If it was warmer we could do some canoeing but the goal at this park is to use as a base to re-visit the San Antonio Riverwalk, we have been before but want to see it decorated for the holidays. 

Tuesday evening we headed into downtown San Antonio which was about an hours drive from the park. In 2011 we had been there and we wanted to see it all decorated for the holidays. We ended up at Dirty Dick's for dinner on the riverwalk and then took a walk along the canal, just wish the pictures came out better.

Wednesday we just hung around the campground, we took a hike and did some bike riding, Dave tried fishing to no avail. We found a HEB store in the nearby town, we'd never been in one before and are looking forward to more visits to others, so much better than Wal-mart for grocery shopping. 

This morning we moved onto Goliad State Park, another nice Texas state park this one with full hookups in the section we are in and the sites are all pull through unlike the ones in the back of the park that are basically a parking lot. They have a bike trail that takes you in to the town of Goliad which we've already ridden, a river that you could canoe on if the water was higher. We will be here until Monday when we head to Port Aransas for six weeks. Verizon has decent coverage here so we are back on line. 

And yes we missed hump day this week, this post is already so long that I'm not going to try and add more. If you've made it this far thanks for bearing with my ramblings, I wanted to get everything documented so down the road I won't forget when and where things happened. 

Until next time...