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!"

Saturday, February 22, 2014

And then there was Sunday & Louisiana

Sunday was one of those days we don't want to happen very often and wish we could have a redo. We were up early, we wanted to get across Houston early to avoid the traffic, well that didn't happen.

Our first inkling it was going to be a bad day was when we got our first ouch in the new rig. All set to go and we were getting the rig hitched up when I heard cracking, what we didn't realize or take into account was the canoe on the big truck and the new rig set further over the hitch, end result a small unnoticeable unless looking for it crack in the gelcoat. At least Dave is a handy guy and will work on it when we get somewhere for awhile.

Ah but the saga continues, we headed out the drive onto the frontage road and Dave says there's a problem, seems the hitch and the trailers king pin plate were not working together, back to where we had just left. Our neighbors Sharon & Jim were sitting outside and very surprised to see us back already. We soon realized our hitch used a special capture plate, thank goodness they never moved the old rig into the gated yard, we were able to remove the plate and with Jim's help eventually modified it to fit our new rig. 3 hours after our expected departure we were on the road again, thank you Sharon and Jim for your support both physical and mental-we hope to see you down the road again one of these days.

About 50-60 miles into our journey near Winnie TX we got caught up in traffic, something had brought it to a complete halt. After a few hours I called a nearby RV park just in case, they informed an 18 wheeler had jacknifed, they did have room in case we decided not to drive all the way to LA. About 4:30 after 3.5 hours sitting we finally got going, we opted to head on over to Breaux Bridge LA, we arrived around 6pm way later than we ever like to arrive but there was still a bit of light. So that was our Sunday, so glad it finally ended, what a day it was. Through it all though we were able to keep our cool and worked well together. 

Monday we took our time getting the day started, we were in no hurry to do anything. We decided though we wouldn't stay at Pioneer Acadian Village RV Park the whole week we planned, went and checked in and said we'd be leaving on Thursday. The park is right next to I-10 so lots of noise, it is a great place though for an overnight or two, good Louisiana crawfish, boudin & cracklin nearby. 

Monday afternoon we headed into the town of Breaux Bridge to see what was around, we ended up at Lake Martin looking at birds and taking a short walk along their levee.
We were also scouting out places to do some canoeing. Dave spent some more time working on the hitch a bit, finessing things for a better fit. Dinner was at Crawfish Town USA, Dave liked the crawfish better at the hole in the wall in Houston we ate at.

Tuesday late morning we decided to canoe the Bayou Teche, while most of this area has houses on the route we decided to head out anyway. We drove one truck about 10 miles down the road, came back to the rv park where we could put in at their dock. The owner of the park actually saw us off taking pictures for her website. We had an enjoyable ride, birds, dogs and cows were our wildlife sightings for the day no matter how much Dave tried calling for the gators. 4 or so hours we found where we had left the truck, while not the most scenic it was nice to get out on the water, haven't been in the canoe since November at Elephant Butte.

Wednesday we headed to New Iberia where we took a tour of The Shadows an old home on The Bayou Teche. No photographs were allowed inside and the house was having its roof redone so no picture of the home, it was a nice home to visit though I don't know if it's quite worth the $10/person but it does go to preserve and maintain the old home. The home was owned by the Weeks family who had sugar cane plantation in the vicinity, the home has survived the civil war, hurricanes and time, it was in the family for four generations before being donated.

Afterwards we headed to Avery Island, home of Tabasco and Jungle Gardens.We enjoyed a free tour of the Tabasco factory and browsed through their country store where a few things found their way home with us.

Jungle Gardens were started by the McIlhenny family, founders of Tabasco, as a sanctuary for migrating birds, they also have some resident gators and flower gardens which I'm sure are more impressive during their blooming time. We enjoyed a few hours wandering around the grounds and thought the admission was well worth it.

Thursday was our next travel day, with a bit of trepidation we got ready to hitch up, success on the first try, looks like his finessing the other day has paid off. We arrived at Buccaneer State Park with out incident, just my kind of travel day. We are here for two weeks, hopefully the bugs won't be too much of a problem. Spent the afternoon getting stuff together for our closing next week on our property at Gulf Waters. Need to get some stuff notarized and in the mail next week and we should be set.

Until next time...

Monday, February 17, 2014


We came to Houston for two reasons, to visit family and go to the RV Show and what a time we had there.

Many years ago Dave's Uncle Ray moved to Houston, after his divorce he met a lovely true blue Texan lady whom we have come to love very much.
A number of years ago we all attended a wedding in CT where we invited them to visit us in VT if there schedule allowed, well they took us up on our offer, we spent a great couple of days together site seeing. In 2011 we were going through Houston on one of our vacations, another great time was had by all of us visiting Old Town and eating some great BBQ. Now no trip to Houston would be complete with out a visit to spend time with them. Friday late afternoon we headed over to their home, lots of catching up was in order since it had been a few years between visits. We finally ended up heading out for dinner to a local Korean Restaurant where we had an enjoyable meal, picky eater that I am I even found something to enjoy then and a few days later the leftovers were just as good. Finally around 9pm we headed back to our park, 12 miles away but it takes 30 minutes to get there. Saturday late morning we headed back to Ray & Beth's home, they asked if we would mind going to the Container Store, they have been working on a design for storage in their garage and wanted our input. After a few hours there their design was complete and ordered, I spent time wandering the aisles getting lots of ideas for storage. Afterwards we headed back to Ray & Beth's home where we watched the movie Bad Grandpa, they had told us about it and wanted to share it with us. We all enjoyed the movie and laughed the whole way through, afterwards we headed out to dinner to Don Ramon's Mexican Restaurant. We had the best Mexican food we've ever had, of course we were too busy eating to take any pictures, our waiter Issac was top notch, he let us sample the different sauces prior to ordering our entrees. Dave and I ordered Mole Pablano and Pork Carnitas, everything was done to perfection, so much so we just had to try their deserts which were just as good. We are already looking forward to our next visit next winter, this is the meal we will compare all subsequent Mexican meals to. Sunday Dave and Ray headed to the Container Store to pick up the order that was placed on Saturday,  Beth and I stayed home and visited. When they got back we headed to Goode's BBQ, while a good meal we've had better, we made a stop at Home Depot then headed back to their home where Dave and Ray got involved in a small project. Ray & Beth have a beautiful swing that a contractor told them it would be $500 to hang it from their porch ceiling, well Dave knew he could do it for a lot less. A few parts from Home Depot and an hours worth of time and the swing was hung. Since rain was expected for Sunday night we headed home in the late afternoon to get the outside stuff packed up for our move the next day.

Monday we headed out of Houston :) to Stephen F Austin State Park for two nights, since the weather has been cool, rainy and dreary we weren't able to enjoy the park but hope to someday get back here when the weather is nicer.

So how did the Houston RV Show go, very well indeed. We arrived there about 12:30, the first dealer we browsed through was Holiday World of Houston. They are a big dealer for Keystone and Grand Design.  We found the Grand Design Solitude 369rl very comfortable and offered us almost everything we wanted in our next rv. Tom Marino, a salesman for Holiday World, worked us up a price, he came back with a decent starting point but since this was the first dealer we had stopped at we wanted to keep looking. We continued looking knowing that the ones with  figure prices weren't in our budget but it was still nice to look at them. After 6 hours we had found nothing that came close to what we had seen in the Solitude for a comparable price. So we let Tom know we were on our way back, by 7:30 we had come to an agreement and made a deal we all were comfortable with.We made arrangements for a Wednesday afternoon pickup, where after a 2 hour PDI and the obligatory discussion with the Joe Grossen from the financial department, she was ours. Our only issue during the walk through was the awning, coming home from the show the driver either got to close to a tree and scraped it up good, one was ordered on Wednesday and we were hoping it would be in so we could get on the road Sunday, we wanted to drive through Houston Sunday morning hoping it would be the best time for that. By the time we were done Wednesday at the dealership they had both rigs set up for switching out, since the old one wasn't connected to power or water we moved over only what we would need for the evening and for breakfast. Thursday after a quick trip to Home Depot and Walmart we got started moving stuff, first on the agenda was getting shelf liner down, since in the old rig the liner was always moving around when we took things out decided this time to tack it down with some light weight adhesive.The rest of the day was devoted to moving the kitchen over and by 7:30 most of it had been transferred. Friday was spent finishing the kitchen, bedroom moving day and getting the bathroom cabinets emptied in the old rig, our new bathroom has in place of a closet 4 large deep shelves so was pondering what to do in there. For now I've put lots of baskets in them, we'll see how that works. The basement is much larger than the old rigs so he was able to move most of the stuff that we've been carrying in the truck into the new rig, he also spent some time keeping up with where our awning was. Friday the awning arrived at the dealers, the service manager said they would call us Saturday morning around 8:30 to let us know when we would be coming in to the bay.

So much more room to entertain in, more storage more everything :)

Forgot until Wednesday night how much I had missed my king bed.

We had a great experience with Holiday World RV of Houston and our salesman Tom was great, no high pressure to buy and always checking in with us while we were on the lot. Would recommend the to anyone looking in the area for an RV to at least go in and see them.

Friday evening since we were so tired we headed about a mile down the road to dinner at Good Ole Boys, they are located in an old garage and were recommended by the salesmen from the dealership. It is what is know as a real hole in the wall but has some of the most outstanding fish Dave has eaten, crawfish, baked oysters and grouper were what Dave had, hand cut onion rings and a fried shrimp basket for me with a piece of pecan pie to go. Not only was it some of  the best fish we've had at $57 (plus tip) you couldn't beat the price.

Saturday about 8:45 one of the techs came over to see if we were ready for them to take it away, by 9 they had taken it in and we went out shopping, one last massive shopping trip to HEB and a few other stops, we got back a little after 12, no rig in our spot so we headed over to the service area. The gentleman who drives the forklift to move all the rigs here saw us, he had one more to get out of the way and ours we would them be coming out. The new awning works and looks great, we've tried all the systems and everything seems to be good to go.

Saturday we also had our first guest come over, Dave's uncle and aunt came out to see our new home, it was so nice to have the space to entertain like we enjoy doing. After a short visit we headed to Good Ole Boys again for dinner. Boudin balls and fried mushroom started our meals, followed by two rib eye steak dinners,  a 2 & a 3 BBQ meat plates and 4 slices of pie all for $74 (plus tip) sure can't beat the prices or the food. We spent a little time talking with Ray & Beth back at the rig, next year we plan to visit them in Houston and take in a rodeo, we always have enjoyed our time with them can't wait until we see them next year. Early to bed Saturday for and early departure sunday, I'll leave the details of which for another blog.

Until next time...

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Goose Island State Park to Brazos Bend State Park & New Friends

Goose Island State Park is located between Aransas Bay & St Charles Bay, across St Charles Bay is the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge wintering grounds of the whooping cranes. There are two campgrounds here, the wooded area and the bay front area, we chose the bay front area and 10' out our door is the bay, we get beautiful sunsets and can sit and watch the oyster boats from our site. Our WiFi and satellite get great reception as there is nothing to impede the signal, the wooded area has a weaker Verizon reception, the sites have water and 50amp service, it has been a great place to start our journey eastward and get back in the traveling mode. There is a fishing pier Dave has used every day we've been here, he has had some success so the freezer has fish in it for him to enjoy down the road. I've enjoyed the biking around the local area, while out we've found a place where the whooping cranes are along with other wintering birds. I think we're going to have to invest in a birding book as we have no clue as to who's what. While we are excited to be traveling again we are both sad to be leaving this area, we are looking forward to wintering down here next year.

Thursday while biking through the park I saw another bike rider who looked familiar, I knew Ingrid and Al of the blog Live Laugh RV were in the area. Dave spent Friday morning fishing with no luck so
 we went for a bike ride. As we came headed into the park who should be biking out but Ingrid and Al. We quickly decided to continue biking and Ingrid showed us some other bird viewing places, we then took a ride around their "rustic" rv resort. We then decided to continue things a few hours later at a watering hole in Fulton. We met around 4pm and headed to Moon Dog in Fulton where we spent an enjoyable couple of hours getting to know each other while participating in happy hour and enjoying some good food. Moon Dog is located where the fishing vessels come in with their days catch, they allow pets at the restaurant and have really good food, Dave thought the oysters were some of the best he'd ever had. Dave and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Ingrid and Al, with kids the same age and living in the same areas I'm sure we'll see them down the road someday. After a few hours and lots of laughs it was getting cool outside so we called it an evening, in this lifestyle so many folks are of like minds, enjoying life.

Saturday we hung around the Goose Island, Dave fished and caught the largest sheepshead of his season.
In the afternoon we took one last bike ride around the area, a stop to look at the birds and then we went to check out the local cemetery and to enjoy the beautiful day. As we were riding a truck stopped in front of us, as we went to go around we realized it was a friend we had made in Goliad State Park, we hardly ever run into anyone we know so what a surprise to find a friend while out riding.

Sunday late morning we headed down the road 150 miles to Brazos Bend State Park, it was a rainy windy day but an uneventful ride. Dave said the new truck with its dual rear wheels handled much better in the wind than our previous truck had. We did get to watch the Super Bowl, our first on the road and so very different from our usual over abundance of food and drinks, it was cheese and crackers, homemade pizza and chocolate pudding. I never watch the game for the game for me it's about the commercials and half time.

Brazos Bend State Park is another nice Texas state park, just wish the weather had cooperated with our stay. The sights are large with water and 30amp service, our Verizon jet pack doesn't work well, we could get a bit internet with the smart phone hot spot but not enough to upload photos to the blog. The park has a few ponds that are alligator habitats, with the cold and rainy weather though we never saw any, though there were lots of birds out on Monday but Tuesday they weren't around. If the weather were nicer we could bike many of the roads here and if Dave didn't have a foot issue we could have hiked all we wanted. Definitely a place we want to come back to when the weather is nicer and Dave's foot is better. So our stay has been spent mainly inside and with out good internet this won't get posted till we get to Houston on Wednesday, where I can upload the pictures to it. 
Site 117
40 acre lake

What can I say, Dave chooses the camel pics
We are now at Northlake RV Resort in Houston TX, a new park with really close sites, not exactly our kind of place but it will suffice for now, if it weren't for the RV show and visiting family wouldn't be here. Monday we head onto Livingston State Park, we'll be ready to get there I'm sure. 

Until next time...