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Sunday, January 15th - home gas $2.24
Square dance "Camp Inn" weekend is now a memory and heading south is imminent.

The past weekend at Marriott's Ashman Court in Midland     was a resounding success. We had a GREAT group of dancers (picture) most of whom have been with us for numerous Camp Inns and some first timers. I really enjoyed hearing first timer Roger Van Havermaat exclaim "This is great." If he said it once he said it ten times referring to the overall experience. Roger went on to say "If I had only known it was going to be this nice I'd come years earlier." It was evident Roger enjoyed his weekend!

Errol Atkinson did another tremendous job of calling and work shop along with Judy Powers expert cuing of rounds. With Nick & Patti Rieser taking care of the details the weekend went on without a hitch. Good job!

With all this behind us now it's time to finish packing and take care of all the details then start our engine. We'll be leaving Tuesday morning January 17th.

Monday, January 16th   gas $2.29 KY - map

Campers packed, all the miscellaneous chores complete what is left for one to do.. Come on Mom let's hit the road! If that's the case it's time to fill the rig with fresh water. Outside temperature near freezing, water hose all stiff and kinked. Got everything all connected and purged the water lines. Now flip the lever to fill the fresh water reservoir.  #%@#* NO FLOW. Screw it. Mom run up to Wal marts and get some bottled water. No sooner than the Neon was out of sight the water begin to gurgle and flow. We now have four gallons of bottled water to tote. 
We're off, 3:15 pm. Smooth drive all the way to Covington KY where the rest area provided comfortable accommodations at a very reasonable cost..  Free!

Tuesday, January 17th   gas $2.24  TN - map
Awoke 6am with a scheduled full day of rain, a tough day of driving. It was interstate most of the way with a good deal of trucks, big, fast, water flying trucks. We made the Natchez Trace Prkwy midday and that was a welcome relief. An empty new roadway void of all hassle, very relaxing. 
We again stopped at the Meriwether campground the first on the Trace. Last year we were the only campers in the park, this year there are four others here. After dinner and settling in we called Gulf Port and Biloxi campgrounds. We heard rumors the prices are sky high. Price was not important because the first five called were full. One owner said he even has two rigs parked on his front lawn and they were only taking weeklies. He said every available space around the area has campers and FEMA trailers. He said he was still only charging $25.  We found one, ten miles north of Biloxi , for $30 a night so I guess will give it a try.
Dieter is in good spirits. Still out foxing the seniors. We stopped at a rest area and we were milling around, Mom in the rear and me getting two cookies for the next trek, placing them on the counsel then taking my turn in the rear. As I walked back up to the front, here comes smiley with two large bulges in his cheeks. "Dieter drop it."  Plop plop, two soggy cookies on the floor. Now what is one to do? Can't reward the mutt for misbehaving. I was very tempted to eat the darn things but I put them on the sink. As I climbed into the drive seat looking over my shoulder guess who is giving the dog wet cookies. "Well your not going to throw them away!"   Hmmm.

Wednesday, January 18th   gas $2.26  MS - Paul B. Johnson SP $13 full - map
WOW what a morning! Bright sunshine and a clear blue sky with a light ground cover of the white stuff.  Temperature heading toward the mid sixties. Initial plan was to jump off at Tupelo and head directly towards Hattiesburg . The ride along the Trace is sooooo relaxing that when we hit Tupelo we opt to stay on the Trace till Jackson . It's a little out of the way but worth the time. We stopped to checkout some wild pigs/hogs ? Other than that it was straight through to just south of Hattiesburg to Paul B. Johnson state park MS. Free wifi wow.
We called ahead the park was full but we were told we could overnight in the office parking lot for $11. We said yes. The park has about 50% FEMA. Once here we found a small full service site for an additional $2. No gouging here!

Thursday, 19th    - Paul B. Johnson SP $13 full 
Short sleeves today high 69°. We drove to the coast, Oh my God! You have to see the devastation, pictures can not capture it (pic). Mile after mile rubble upon rubble (pic). It looks like it'll take 10 years just to clean up the debris. Here is what's left of the dolphin's home (pic). This is one of the casino barges that washed ashore (pic). Hurricane Katrina 2005.
We met niece Debby and husband John for lunch. Deb drove in from Foley AL and we met at the Isle of Capri casino for a great buffet. Mom hit for a couple hundred but only walked out with $65.
I was surprised to see the price of gas drop as we neared the coast. The cheapest we seen was $2.18

Friday, 20th    - Wal Mart Crowley LA -gas $2.23 - map
Blah day. Your basic travel day, cloudy all day. Left the park and made our way towards Texas . Stopped in the small town of Crowley LA at Wal Mart for the night. Two other rigs overnight-ing with us. Did a little shopping.

Saturday, 21st    - Galveston TX  Galveston State Park $21 - map
Early start this morning, left about 6:30 am local time. Nice easy drive I-10 was getting a little lumpy and the CB was saying construction in the Beaumont area on I-10 so we took the option to go around the city and construction. SR 73 was a good choice no traffic and a easy ride to the ferry to Galveston . We drove straight to Galveston State Park where we stayed last year. It's on the water and very nice. We plan to stay here a couple days just to try to adjust into this Texas environment.
Along the route in, there are a number of bridges that got my attention. They go straight up and straight down with low side rails. Here is a sample of a small one (pic). Here we are boarding the ferry to Galveston (pic). Final stretch along the Gulf on Galveston (pic).

Sunday, 22nd    - Galveston TX  Galveston State Park $21 
FOG big time all day. Took Dieter for a run on the beach and you would swear it was old home week. He was so exuberant he was doing flips. What  a mutt. 
Drove in to old town for a walk around checking out the old buildings and had out first dinner out. Mexican I think  :-)
Spent the rest of the evening trying to tame this old laptop. 

Wk 2
Monday, 23rd    - Galveston TX  Galveston State Park $21 
Overcast with the promise of sunshine. I may as well be in Michigan , no sun again! Still in sweatshirts. Took
watchdog Dieter on the beach for a looong run. Spent a couple hours collecting seashells while Dieter chased birds in and out of the Gulf. He was a mess.
After lunch we did some touristy stuff. We toured the Bishops Palace and the Moody mansion. Both are located in the historical district. We found both homes extraordinary with lavish woodwork throughout, beautiful woods and trimmings. What a way to have lived. 
The Bishop's Mansion was built by Colonel Walter Gresham (attorney) in 1886 where he lived until 1923 when the Galveston-Houston Diocese purchased it for Bishop Christopher Byrne.
The Mansion was built in 1895, the Moody's bought the home after the great storm of 1900 and lived in it till about 1985. The grand entrance of both home are really spectacular.

Tyler you thought you played a BIG horn..

Tuesday, 24th - Galveston TX    Galveston State Park $21 
Great Day! Of course it started out under the clouds so laundry was the order of the day. But, after the laundry was finished SUNSHINE!  High of 69° with sun what else could ask for? Did a little bird watching at Sea Wolf park, seen the Common Egret and Sandhill Crane along with frolicking porpoise, just great being outdoors. At the bay of Galveston got this shot of the ferry we came over on. 
Back at the campground we of course hit the beach for a long walk. Just over the walkway from the campground the beach. I'm sure it is crowded during season but at 69° it's just a nice place to watch the sun set to finish a great day..

Spent the remainder of the evening working with Errol and his web. After a little password confusion we finally got the web up and running again. Now you can visit the Patches page to see the photos taken at the January dance.

Talked with Nick & Pattie and they are move south nicely and are somewhere on the Natchez Trace.
Mary Berg reports that Chuck is being tested and still has to take it easy until test result are finalized.

Craig reports 1" of snow on the ground and the weather is turning colder at home. Robbie is feeling better and Sea the World SCUBA Center is doing fine.
Glenn closed the gate I left opened and can't figure when he'll be visiting Texas to keep me on track. Business is presently booming. Tyler is going to save 50% of his income. Emily won one and lost one and Steph is working.
Gary is holding Chryslers together and doesn't know when he'll be able to put Emma on a plane to see grandpa.

Wednesday, 25th - Galveston TX  Galveston State Park $21 
We decided to stay here another day. We were walking the beach in the sunshine and decided this isn't all bad. Afterward, we drove through some of the nearby residential areas to find all home are on stilts. (pic) Even the larger homes. (pic) (pic).
We took in an overview of Moody Gardens . This is a large convention center, hotel, water park, along with three large pyramids. Each pyramid is home to a different theme.  One is a tropical rainforest, one an aquarium, and the third is call Discovery where they have different topics explained i.e. Space, the body, science etc. At this time they had an exhibition called Bones. It was all about animal skeletons. They also have an I-max, and of course restaurants. All an all a very nice quiet day. Sun all day long.

Thursday, 26th - Galveston TX    to Port Aransas TX gas $2.09  Nueces cnty pk $18
Nice light cloud cover just perfect for driving. We took the short cut along the water to save 75 miles. Only 200 miles this day so it was easy.
Arrive Port Aransas about 4 pm. Parked on the beach at a beautiful 74°.  One thing that quickly came back to me was when you leave the camper on the beach you should not be eating a cracker (pic). We disconnected and drove to Whataburger for a quick snack then off to the wild life viewing area where were met the local Nutria (pic) and some pretty birds,  here the Louisiana Heron (pic).
We returned to the beach and took a space in the county park for the night. Last year they said repairs were to be made to the park. The only thing done is the ground has been cleared for a new office..
Talked with Nick & Pattie and they should be catching up with us tomorrow, Friday.

Friday, 27th - Port Aransas TX Nueces cnty pk $18
Beautiful morning, sunny and warm. Walked to the jetty and talked with the fishermen. We learned that catching the fish isn't the hard part but as the fish is flopping around the water's surface Pelicans dive bomb them for a meal. This is quite a challenge for the fisherman. And, of course very humorous for the spectators.
Dieter did his thing today. Stole a box of treats and got his nose stuck in the box.
Took the bikes off the rack and did a little riding when we got a call from the Riesers. Nick reported he was at Port Aransas Pass (15 minutes). As we peddled back towards the beach the Tioga tooted and passed us.  After setting up camp we went to La Playa Mexican Grill for dinner. Good to see folks from home, we spent the rest of the evening in the Greyhawk catching up.

How you feeling Willie? 

Saturday, 28th - Port Aransas TX Nueces cnty pk $18
Quiet day overcast and mild. Started the day with an emergency run to Beeman's for hot cinna-buns. Washed the car and visited with Nick & Pattie most of the day. Little walk on the beach and concluded the day with a couple of games of Wizard. 

We brought our 10,000 slides along with us to scan into the computer in our spare time. Thanks to Mark and Sue for the use of their slide scanner. We've been out two weeks now and yesterday was my first effort. I did the math and here is what I find: at two minutes a slide times 10k equals 20,000 minutes, divide that by 60 equals 333 hours, divide that by 40 equals 8.3 weeks.. I guess I won't finish scanning slide for some time. I didn't even address cleaning and adjusting... groan.
One neat thing comes from scanning, I discovered a couple slides of buildings in Gulfport MS that we took years ago to compare with pictures from this trip. Here is a picture before and after of Mary's place. This second photo is from two different prospective. The gas station and larger apartment (far right) conceal the view of the large office building which is now visible on the left photo.

Sunday, 29th - Port Aransas TX Nueces cnty pk $18
Big fog and warm warm warm.. Little bike ride around the area and some grocery shopping. Had company over for lunch today then a looong walk out the break wall. Visual proof that Nick made it all the way to the end (pic). (pic)
We are giving thought to taking the Whooping Crane boat tour Tuesday. It's basically a five hour coastal boat ride. We'll have to wait to the last minute for the weather report. Fog is not good...
Hearing numerous reports of warm weather in Michigan , which is good. If it keeps up maybe next year we can save a lot of driving.

Monday 30th - Port Aransas TX Nueces cnty pk $18
Tour day. Nick drove and we did a little tour of Corpus Christi touring the waterfront (pic) and stopping at the visitors center for dining recommendations. Water Street Seafood Company was her recommendation. We enjoyed a good fish early dinner (pic)(pic) then headed back to Port Aransas for our beach walk.  Laundry day as well.

Tuesday, 31st - Port Aransas TX Nueces cnty pk $18
Whooping Crane boat tour day. For a senior rate of $28 per we were given a five hour boat ride (pic). Beautiful warm sunny day with a heavy breeze of course. There were about 26 passengers aboard this large double deck pontoon boat (pic). Our Narrator was a very knowledgeable birder and nature lover. We got a lot of individual attention from him and gained a wealth of bird knowledge which I hope to remember at least until we reach port. We navigated along the inter-coastal for a couple hours before yours truly spotted the first whoopers (pic). Our narrator also pointed out the many platforms (pic) where natural gas is drawn off by natural pressure. Also in the area are many oyster gatherers (pic). They drag a rake behind the boat which they steer around in small circles. Mom and I enjoyed the event but the Riesers found it a little long and enjoyed napping in the ships galley. We stopped at Whatabergers for a snack on the way home.
At home we found Dieter waiting patiently with his legs crossed. Walked the beach for a while and came back home to some of Moms homemade banana cream pie.
Well tomorrow the Riesers will head to Fun'N Sun as they are committed to reservations. We'll maybe hang here another day or two or head toward South Padre Island just to see how that well be. We'll make that decision over toast in the morning, and than again may not.....

Wednesday, 1st - Port Aransas TX Nueces Beach free
Well to make South Padre would take us four hours. We called the park they said if we get there by 5:30 pm they would fit us in. It's afternoon already and to get there on time would be pushing us retirees, so we decided to move to the beach for the night and leave first thing in the morning.
Took a short ride to Port Aransas State Park . We found it a little to isolated, with a peculiar, tight layout, so we wrote it off. 
Spent the rest of the evening watching freighters (pic) go by. More (pic)

Thursday, 2nd - San Benito TX    Fun N Sun for two weeks $21 per
First thing as we were leaving I was watching this Freighter go by and noticed the Porpoises jumping in the bow wave. You have to have good eyes to see him in this picture.
Left early and after about ninety miles took a roadside break and checked email from a local free internet wifi service. It was getting hot, 90° forecast, so we decided instead of pushing on to South Padre we would stop at San Benito and do the pool. Checked in a little after noon.
The pool was crowded. I thought everyone was in the water way way too long then I discovered they stayed wrinkled even after they were out of the water.. hmm

Ok Boys who's coming first, we're settled!

Friday, 3rd - San Benito TX    Fun N Sun 
Now we settle in for some retirement living. Advance class for a couple hours this morning, Bike around the park during mid-day, swimming pool in the late afternoon, and relax the rest of the day.

Saturday,4th - San Benito TX    Fun N Sun 
Pancake breakfast in the recreation hall, all the cakes you can eat $2.50. I paid $3.50 for the "white" tray. This means I can have anything offered, biscuits and gravy, sausage, cakes, apple sauce, scrambled eggs.  Good breakfast good price.
After breakfast we drove to Donna for their flea market. Good old fashion flea market with a lot of variety of 'stuff' not where every booth has the same socks and tee shirts. I bought some junk, and Nick came back with arms full.
Square dance tonight we'll have to rest the legs all afternoon.
Met a nice couple at the dance from Minnesota Larry & Joyce, both have recently lost their spouses. Re-acquainted with dancers we've met in previous years, Judy & Roy and a new caller    Tim Tyl. We really enjoyed dancing and talking with him.

Remind me to tell Lytle First Colony is basically FULL. Must be the price the have it down to $11 a night.

Sunday, 5th - San Benito TX    Fun N Sun 
Stiff breeze all day, warm and sunny. Did a Home Depot thing this morning, must be getting home sick. Nick Drove we did a boarder check than a tour of a neighboring town, Rio Hondo.  Nothing caught our attention there so we opted for and exciting time at Wal Mart.
This is Super Bowl Sunday and more importantly ice cream social and free entertainment at the rec hall. Patti had us over a spaghetti dinner after which we had all the ice cream we could eat for a $1. We skipped the entertainment for a quiet evening at home.
I'll have to get some pictures from around the resort so I can remember where we've been, maybe tomorrow.

Monday, 6th - San Benito TX    Fun N Sun 
Great day. Mon did laundry and got her hair cut while I played with slides [thanks Sue :-( ]. I made progress this day, I looked at the camper and said this would be a good day to wash it, that passed. Next I said I should adjust the left rear, we are not setting perfect, that passed. I did arrange the under compartments and bump and cut my head so that's when I decided I belonged inside playing with my slides..
Free entertainment this evening, Ivey, A young country singer who entertained us for an hour, we enjoyed her. After the show Nick & Pat joined us for ice cream sundays Mom fixed. Short after the ice cream, Tom Bankstahl called and gave us an update on the Square dance happens back home. Good to hear things are settling down for him.
No pictures today, maybe tomorrow. Mexico is tentative for tomorrow.

Tuesday, 7th - San Benito TX    Fun N Sun 
Ok here's a shot of our camper just before we departed for Progreso Mexico . It's about a 15 minute ride from Fun N Sun. For $1.50 we park all day just this side of the boarder. Walking across cost us .25¢ a piece, no custom check going in.
The touristy part of town is about a mile long street lined with "shops" and on the sidewalks in front of the shops are steer vendors. The sidewalks are now only wide enough to walk two abreast if empty, with on coming traffic you walk most of the time single file. To make thing more congested they have walking street vendors, selling the hot items. When there is more space on the sidewalk you have poor grandma sitting  holding grandchild in one arm and a money cup in the other. All in all it makes for a slow walk up and back. I assume the reason for coming here is because everyone else does? Oh the shops do have a lot of "stuff" and I guess there must be something I need so I go.. Shop  Shop  Shop
We eat at the Canadian Store, which has a large restaurant on the second floor. Here they have 6 oz fillet migon for &7.50. The restaurant is full of Americans and appears clean, so we dine. (pic) Mexico is on the cutting edge street vendors have their own web pages

Wednesday, 8th - San Benito TX    Fun N Sun 
Perfect day. As owners of a Jayco Motorhome we were invited to a Jayco breakfast. We invited the Rieser to join us for the drive to Donna and breakfast. The breakfast was held at Victoria Palms RV Resort. What an impressive place. We rate Fun N Sun at about 3½ maybe 4, the Palms was a five. Everything we've seen was well done and well cared for. The price is very comparable. I think we'll investigate it more and maybe even spend a couple weeks there if we can get in. Oh yes the breakfast was nice as were the folks we met. And.. don't cha know it's located right next door to the Donna flea market.
We again stopped at the flea market but this time the portion located across from the big one. Here they have fresh fruits and vegetables which we needed.
We got home in time to ready for the Michiganders pot luck. 4:30 pm with pot in hand we headed for the rec hall. Of the 1150 rigs here 50 showed up for the Michigan dinner. We ate well and afterwards the raffled off door prizes. We took home a pass to the dog race and a food discount coupon..

Good night. 

Thursday, 9th - San Benito TX    Fun N Sun 
Warm and sunny all day. This day we checked out a few RV parks near South Padre Island . A thirty minute drive and we entered Port Isabel the mainland city that hosts the bridge to Padre. First park visited was Long Island Village in Port Isabel. Great location on waters edge with many canals. Each site is privately owned and the park rents them out for those owners that want them rented out. We gave this park five stars. Next, on the Island, we toured Destination RV Resort and as you can see from the aerial view it's tight but very clean and an excellent location, in regard to the Island proper. We gave this park a 4½. 
Next we toured the very large county park at the tip of the island and located near Destination. I couldn't fine a web page for the park but we found it to be typical of county type parks, reasonability priced, fairly clean, with a good beach location. The park is 100% full.
After the exhausting investigations we eat!  We revisited the Pirates Landing were we both had "Yahoo Wahoo sandwich." It was excellent! Served with waffle fries which were perfect, crispy on the outside soft and chewy inters and nicely seasoned. Hmmm em! You know the fish are fresh here when you check out the fishing pole and catch outside.

Friday, 10th - San Benito TX    Fun N Sun 
Dark overcast morning. Nick having problems with intermittent operation of his furnace, so today was a good day to look at it. We looked at it... Now it doesn't work at all. Humorous in a diabolical way. We actually didn't touch anything. So maybe that's better cause things are easier to fix when they are not working at all. Nick has repair insurance so it shouldn't be a big problem.
Advance dance this afternoon, Nasser really put us through the mill. Fast and confusing with simple calls that are extremely difficult for aged ones. Square dancers, I hope can relate, pass in, pass out mixed and repeated with quarter in and quarter out.. I just walked in circles groan groan.  After lunch the sun was hot we headed for the pool. 
The evening was Pizza Hut and shopping and the Olympics on TV.
Oh yes, here are a few pictures I took around Fun N Sun: 
Panorama of the rec hall
This is our camp area, Greyhawk
Looking out the entrance drive
The pool when it's empty.
Indoor scuffle-board court.

Saturday 11th - San Benito TX    Fun N Sun 
Windy but sunny. Pancake breakfast day again so soon, must be Saturday. Over indulged in breakfast so skipped lunch only to have Mom cook a dinner of meatballs, mashed taters and chocolate cream pie with Cool Whip topping, boy am I loosing the weight! At least we square danced this night to Nasser , he's a very animated caller. I'll have to shoot some video of him. 
Nick had his furnace repaired today, problem, critter nest in combustion intake air chamber.

Sunday 12th - San Benito TX    Fun N Sun 
Sunny with only a light breeze high 70°. Great news best we've had since leaving home. Wait till you hear this...  Gas $1.87.
Such a pretty day we decided to re-visit the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge. Any thing National is especially attractive because all you have to do is show your Golden Age card and your in NC. The Golden years. At the visitors center they have a short bird walk and bird blind. Here you get to see some nice birds as these bird watcher view the Green Jays. Of course everyone is not into bird watching (pic). You do have to be careful walking along the nature trails no never what to you may come across (pic).  yes he's stuffed.
After the long drive we stopped and treated ourselves to Mexican dinner. Very good the name of the restaurant was Mi Rancho. (MI Michigan ?? hmm).
Here Dieter is treated to a stalk of sugar cane.
Sunday evening, ice cream social and free entertainment. Wow the rec hall was packed, well over 400 seniors. Butter pecan for me, boy am I losing the weight! Entertainer Tucker was quite entertaining. Western humor and he did some Eddie Arnold songs.

Monday 13th - San Benito TX    Fun N Sun 

Sunny no breeze. Took a little bike ride out side the park. peddled along one of the many irrigation canals just to enjoy the outdoors.   Washed the house and started polishing. A little desert this evening at the Rieser's finishing up with a terrible game of Wizard.

Tuesday 14th - San Benito TX    Fun N Sun 
Happy Valentines Day !
What a great day! Square dancing in the morning, 10 am we danced to Tom Roper who calls at Sun Burst park, just a 15 minute ride from here. Now this is what square dancing is all about. They had 27 squares (216 seniors) this morning with coffee and delicious turnovers. Now that's good but the best part is that after the dance he calls a hot hash. This is not for the faint of heart. We recorded it with Nick vest pocket recorder so the quality is light but it's good enough to get a feel for the calls. (Hot Hash mp3- 2.4 megs give it time). Now if we could get some Michigan callers to try this maybe square dancing would grow, I am sure.
Now your system may suggest the file contains a virus etc. I assure you it's clean. If the link doesn't open and play automatically don't give up. Right click the Hot Hash link and save to your computer and use Windows Media player or Real Player or Quick Time to play it. I hope it works for you.
We survived the hot hash very well don't you know.

After the dance we took the ladies out for Valentine lunch to Lone Star Restaurant  (not Franchised) as recommended by Friends Jack and Joanne Cooper (Michiganders). We had delicious Chicken Fried Steak, Nick had Chicken Fried Chicken. Now I don't what that means but the quantity was big and the price right in addition to being good.

Quiet evening at home, resting.

Wednesday 15th - San Benito TX    Fun N Sun 
Sunny hot and WINDY.  Polished another side of the camper this morning. Than the day of days. The worst event of the year. Nothing, no words to describe it.  My computer died….  It’s like going to the beach without a suit, like standing in a long line for hot cinna buns and when you get to the counter they are all gone.  You know the feeling…

After hours of meditation and five hours of shopping we finally have a replacement in hand. Now the long and tedious job of cleaning, loading, and understanding what we have….  Oh my!

Thursday 16th - San Benito TX    Fun N Sun 
Sunny warm windy. Yep your right laptop, on off, alllll day. Pretty happy with the results, we’ll have to await the arrival of some software from home. Neat some of the standard stuff they include now a days, Wifi, DVD burner, and software to burn labels directly on a CD and DVD. Plus free printer, router and $100 dinner certificate with $200 rebate.

Friday 17th - San Benito TX    Fun N Sun 
Partly Sunny light breeze. Morning Advance dance class, Nasser worked us to death. John & Anita Mc Donald and Gordon & Marilyn Lewis danced with us and humorously complained as much as we did. Caller Nasser read about my computer problems and offered a possible fix. The lid switch which shuts off the screen when the lid is closed sticks and may just need some flexing. After the dance I hurried home to dislodge the stuck switch only to discover this was not the problem. There was some dirt around the switch but after cleaning and flipping, still no picture.

Later mom and I drove over to the SAS outlet and bought bags of shoes. Got Lytle his shoes as well. We heard about St John Lutheran church’s spaghetti dinner in San Benito for $5. It suppose to be great. So we went and at the church we waited in line a half hour just to get in. The line moved well and the dinner was good so we enjoyed it. The Riesers topped off our evening by allowing us to people watch at Wal Marts for an hour while they did their weekly shopping.  J L

Saturday 18th - San Benito TX    Fun N Sun 
Berrr… Cold, in the 40s, and misty wet all day. Mom and I walked down for pancakes this morning and did the garage sale that was down there with breakfast. The rest of the day was indoors, did my slides. The thing that salvage the day was the dance. Larry Letson came to the park, We enjoy dancing to him. Went out and had a Dairy Queen after the dance to try and brighten the day.

Sunday 19th - San Benito TX    Fun N Sun 
Same as yesterday, with the promise of 70 for tomorrow. Oh Boy. Played with slides on and off all day. Mom started her needle point project and made several phone calls to get updated. LuAnn had here knee replaced with complications after the surgery. After a week things settled down and she is expected to go home in the next day or two. Mom talked to seven year old granddaughter Emma who said “We went to the show and saw Eight  Below (About sled dogs in Antarctica )  and although it was G rate a couple of scenes were totally in-appropriate.” 

Of course the ‘all you can eat’ ice cream social was this evening with entertainment. I’ll have to get some pictures, there’s quite a crowd of ice cream eaters and they are not bashful about filling their plates. Entertainment was Donnie Sneed a singer comedian who did a great job. If everyone stays to the end, you know the entertainment was good. The shows usually last from and hour to an hour and a half. Long enough for the ice cream to settle.  

Wk 5
Monday 20th - San Benito TX    Fun N Sun 
Sun and warmth. Back to the beach, we took Nick along while Pattie sewed all day. The drive took us along the south side of the Brownsville shipping canal. Got a nice view of South Padre Island.  A nature preserve and very remote area. This evening we were entertained by Diamond Joe, country singer no jokes, very nice voice. How times have changed, all the entertainers now sing with music from CDs, like karaoke. Although Diamond Joe did play along on a keyboard as well.

We returned home to find a message from Mary that Chuck Berg’s heart operation went well. We are happy to hear that. It’s always nice to have good news at days end..  

Tuesday 21st - San Benito TX    Fun N Sun 
In the 80s today. Danced to Tom Roper this morning, Good time nice people. Only 25 squares this morning. After dancing we lunched at Mr. Gatti Pizza. Mr. Gatti's is a pizza buffet with pasta bar in addition to the salad bar all for $5 each. Then is was on to home to sunbath and await the express arrival of my software package.  Craig made an emergency run to the house to package select software CDs, just so I could operate more efficiently
. Package arrive two pm.

I installed software and Mom went swimming. This evening we took a bike ride on each road in the park which totaled 6.5 miles.

Wednesday 22nd - San Benito TX    Fun N Sun 
After learning that each of the dances that offer pastries offer excellent pastries, we of course buzzed around to learn where they come from, especially the turnovers. The pastries come from La Especial Bakery in downtown San Benito. We took a tour to locate the bakery and than this morning at 7 am Mom and I made a bakery run. Now check this out 15 donuts, which included two turnovers and 2 loaves of French bread for a total cost of $4. I think two loafs of French bread at home cost more than $4.

Partly sunny warm low breeze today. Appeared a lot of campers were doing outside house work today, I gave it some thought but that thought passed. Sitting in the sun is better.
Great show in the dance hall this evening, 14 Karat Country.  Five men and woman did a real fun job of convincing me I enjoy country music. It was a two hour show and I sat through the whole show without a wiggle. Nick served some popcorn prior to the show and I tried to get a picture but lighting was too dim. Here is a picture of the group.  10 pm and still 70° that's unusual.  Ice cream Sundays at our home while we critiqued the show.

Thursday 23rd - San Benito TX    Fun N Sun 
Cloudy and warm.  Early morning dance today with world famous Nasser Shukayr. Nasser put us through the paces with triple combination calls like Linear Cycle, Load the Boat, Relay the Deucey.  The command was when you hear Linear Cycle automatically follow it with these calls...  We had fun with that, and did it well I might add..   Nasser has a great voice and is very animated making him a bundle of fun to dance to.

This afternoon we scheduled a tour of Victoria Palms RV Park. First thing you notice there are very few empty spaces. They have four categories of lots, the smallest and tight to the very spacious and well planted. The facilities are very very nice three heated pools and hotubs. We may try to spend some time here.

Spent the evening copying old slides. I really enjoying re-meeting all the beautiful people in my life.

Friday 24th San Benito TX    Fun N Sun 
Warm and nice.  Advance class today, got beat to death again. We do more laughing and carrying on than dancing. Here is the group of us. From L. to R. Marilyn & Gordon Lewis, Anita & John McDonald, Nasser Shukayr, Nick & Pat Mom and I.

Mon did Wal Mart than Nick & Pat's for meatloaf dinner, hmmm good. After dinner we all sat outside soaking up the great weather.  Took a little walk around the park talking about how warm and nice it was when someone mentioned coupons for free Dairy Queens as we all scrambled for the car for an emergency ice cream run...   Ga nite !

Saturday 25th San Benito TX    Fun N Sun 
Great day for a parade. Pancake breakfast again, it must be Saturday. Right after breakfast we all went to the Donna Flea Market. Why?  Don't ask. We took a back road to Donna and I finally got a couple of shots of the famed Long Horns. I think they are trained because as I approached the fence they started to close in on me. 

Returned just in time for the Park's Mardi Gras Parade. What an event. It's hard to believe the cream of the population crop can.. can .. Well check out the picture and draw your own conclusions... Waiting for the parade pic , Getting closer, Dieter is in the mood pic.  So far so good then pic and again  pic.  Dieter says "Did you see that!" pic. Several states created floats with various themes Michigan was the Holland Festival pic and pic. Here we have Illinois pic.  It was a grand parade and the participants had a real good time throwing beads and candy, as did the spectators.

Dinner at 'Super Antojitos' in San Benito, real Mexican. This evening is the park square dance with Nasser. His tribute to the new teenage dancers left everyone taken back. I wish I had taken the video down cause I don't have the words to describe it..  Nick recorded it, I'll see if I can get some sound for this page. No ice cream tonight saving up for ice cream social tomorrow....

Sunday 26th San Benito TX    Fun N Sun 
Cloudy morning, warm and sunny the rest of the day. Played around with computer while Mom did some laundry. Phone calls to home checking on the health of family and friends . Chuck is doing better this day maybe home within a week. Nora is running with a temporary cast. Glenn is feeling better. Gary is running the dog, and Craig can't be found...

Ice cream this evening and you guessed it, country singers at the rec. hall. We stayed only a short time and opt to walk the dog to get some exercise and disperse the ice cream...

I see my "End" button wasn't working should be fixed now....

Wk 6
Monday 27th San Benito TX    Fun N Sun 
Sunny and warm.. Mom and I drove over to Hidalgo (pronounced E-dal go). We hoped to learn more about the irrigation system in the Rio Grand Valley. We visited a museum pump house on the Rio Grand River. I was all excited to see three boilers which were used to generate steam to drive the pumps. Each pump moved 90,000 gallons per minute to irrigate some 72,000 acres. There are manmade canals throughout the region with valve/vent stacks on every other corner. we learned that the entire watering system is private co-op owned and is still in operation. It started in 1905. All the steam driven pumps have all been replace with electric pumps. 
Driving through town we also found out that this is the location where the first Killer Bees entered the USA in 1990.
After the tour we drover to Pepe's on the river for a bite to eat.

At home I played with our slides and always enjoying finding the real nice slides, Mom.

Tuesday 28th San Benito TX    Fun N Sun 
Sunny and warm. Early morning dance at Sun Burst park again with Tom Roper. This is Paczki day and as unbelievable as it sounds no one, I mean no one ever heard of Paczkis. What could be more depressing. Fortunately for us Roper's dance is a coffee and pastry dance and they serve delicious
turnovers. Susan called to let us know she was upholding family tradition in case we did find any Paczki. And, as a side note J  Emily's team beat the first place team in the finals earning their volleyball team a place in tournament competition. Congratulations Emily ! 

I spend the afternoon on the phone with tech support. I can't use the cell  phone as a modem since I changed computers, and tech support didn't make much progress. So remote updating may have to wait for free wifi access as we move along. Fortunately wifi is all over these days. Keep your fingers crossed.

This evening we took the Riesers out for a farewell Mexican dinner at La Casa del Taco in Weslaco. It gave us the opportunity to use one of our discount coupons, from buying the new lap-top. Our rent is up March 2nd and we'll be moving west. Nick and Patti plan to stay near by for a little longer. Each morning as I write I see two and three rigs departing. This has been going on for the past four or five days and you can see more and more vacancies in the park. In fact a note was delivered to our door offering a 20% discount if we stayed another month. Tempting but we are getting restless.

Wednesday 1st San Benito TX    Fun N Sun 
Sunny and warmer.  Called Cingular first thing in attempt to resolve cell phone connection issue. Worked with top line technician Mike in Seattle Washington for five hours and bottom line, no connection. Mike was great to work with but the only conclusion we could draw, the connect cable is not compatible. Sooo until I can check another cable everything is on hold. Let's hope the free wifi is readily available.

Downed a Margarita and headed for the pool.  Departure tomorrow morning and nothing is ready. Retirement is not easy! oops Change in plans, Mom want to do the 10 am dance before leaving.

Late this evening I thought of another place I could of put the extra cord I have for the phone. Low and behold I found it in the slide scanner box. I made some progress with it and now I think tech support can get me going...

Thursday 2nd San Benito TX    to Mission, TX Mission Bell  $14 Passport America 
Sunny and really warmer. Happy Birthday Tom Bankstahl !  
Took some time to ready camper for departure before the dance. Nasser was in good form this morning rattling all our bones. He did  great job with Duckham's Ding & Dong, we were in stitches. We got to know Nasser quite well and he announced our departure to a receptive crowd. Mom requested his 'Teenagers are dancers' song and I have no words to describe it. Bases for his song is as seniors we don't understand kids music and he proceeds to prove it with noise and gyrations I didn't think any grown person could do.. Everyone was laughing so hard we could hardly dance. Thank you Nasser !   (Nasser send me and mp3 of this so I share it with the world.) Good luck to you and Gina.

We left about 1pm for the 40 mile drive to Mission Texas are and staying at Mission Bell Resort.. We plan on spending one night here so we can have time to visit with Art and Nancy. Nick and Pat want to catch a couple of squares dances here so they will stay a few days longer. 
We went to Art and Nancy's new purchase (park model) and found them hard at work updating the landscaping around his property. We gabbed for a time then all six of us went to Pepe's on the River for Margaritas and dinner with live entertainment.
We got back just after dark and enjoyed a long walk. After a hot day it's a perfect evening for walking, refreshingly cool (no sweaters) clear sky, and soft breeze.  Good night... .

Friday 3rd Mission, TX Mission Bell  to ..... Falcon Heights Gas $2.09
Goodbye civilization hello wilderness. Today we head west.. May not have web access for several days??? Short drive west on US 83 to Falcon state park $12 water/electric. Here is where the Rio Grand is dammed to create a very large fresh water reservoir. Fishing and birding are popular here. You can tell when your in birding country by the rearview mirrors.  

Saturday 4th Falcon Heights, Falcon State park 
We biked today and at the camper set up our own bird watching station and got the Lichtenstein Oriole. Caught this Mocking bird as well.  Dieter was not impressed. 
I put in a new oil filter (pic).  Atferwards we did a little walking then a little lounge chairing while we watch our bird station. 
Movie at the activity center this evening. Chairs setup in front of a large TV and at 7pm someone popped in a tape, Sarah Plain and Tall. We enjoyed it. and then preparation for early departure..

Sunday 5th Falcon Heights to Brackettville TX,  Gas $2.14 to $2.29    MAP 
Beautiful sunny day for traveling. Traveling US-83 to US-90 to get to Brackettville. Some of the things that differ from home along the way are the highway memorials, they're so elaborate (pic), and of course the highway monitors, the Harris Hawks, and the trail markers. We stopped at every small town along the way taking 11 hours to 240 miles, groan. One notable stop was the spinach growing capital of the world and of the home of Popeye, Crystal City.
We did our civic duty while traveling the endless miles of scrub covered countryside, after seeing six grown men climbing over a six foot high fence in  the middle of no where, we stopped the Boarder Patrol to report the incident minutes after seeing it. He scurried off in hot pursuit.
In Brackettville we stopped at Fort Clark  and checked in for a couple of days. Fort Clark was established in 1852 with large block buildings and the third largest fresh water spring in Texas. 

Monday 6th Brackettville TX,  Fort Clark 
Cloudy in the am hot and sunny the rest of the day. Took the bikes off and did a little biking. The Fort is almost three square miles in size so to get around biking is perfect. This Fort is basically co-op owned with a wide variety of residence. Some of the original barracks type building have been converted to condos and the officers quarters are now winter homes. Also a variety of motor-homes and trailers are scattered through out.  Deer and turkey walk freely about. Here Mom is cooking chicken with venison walking about.
Rieser arrived about 6:00 pm after a long drive. There was a crowd watching their arrival.  Of course Dieter enjoyed all the sights as well. We shared chicken than walked and talked till we called it a night.

Tuesday 7th Brackettville TX,  Fort Clark 
Cloudy in the am hot and sunny the rest of the day. Got word that Nora's leg is healing well and she can now put some weight on it. Also heard from Mary that Chuck is coming along as well. He'll be spending some time in rehab but is improving slowly.
Nick and Pattie went off to visit the Alamo movie set this morning, which is a few miles from here. We had toured the set in 2004 and opted to bike ride around here instead. Afterwards we sat in front of the camper and watched the deer and turkeys for some time this afternoon. After dinner we had some of Pattie's cherry pie and finished the evening with a game of Wizard. Tomorrow we push on to Del Rio, short drive.

Wednesday 8th Brackettville, TX  Fort Clark to Del Rio, TX American $14 (PA)
Cloudy in the am again as we made a casual departure from Fort Clark. Followed US 90 to Del Rio a nice size town of about 34,000. There is a large Amistad National Recreation Park located on the damned waters of the Rio Grand here. We are staying at the American RV Park (Pass Port America $14 per) just out side of town near Amistad. Amistad has camping but no services, dry camping only. 
The drive was less than an hour so no stress here. After setting up we decided to have lunch out and Nick decided on Gatti's pizza buffet and a motor tour of downtown. We stopped at the bridge to decide on how to approach getting in Mexico. The bridge appears to be about a mile from end to end and a cab cost about $15. So we talked with the sales lady at the winery who said she parks this side and walks across, and the Mexican town is right at the other end of the bridge. Oh did I mention Winery? Between downtown and the Rio Grand is
 Val Verde Winery which offered free wine tasting, hence the stopping in (pic). After tasting several samples (pic) (pic) we purchased several bottles of various vintages. A final stop at Wal Marts and were home for the evening. We sat out under the moon lit sky while Mother Nature tried unsuccessfully to rain on us.

Thursday 9th   Del Rio, TX
Sunny warm. Mission today, Mexico. We decided to walk the bridge. The best I can figure, using satellite imagery, is the bridge is ¾ of mile long. What a pleasant surprise, the first impression is clean and very commercial. Now it's about 10 am so the streets are empty unlike Progresso which is always crowded. Store windows are clean and shinny. Inside the stores, again, are clean and the products are free of dust. Kahlua still around $8. We shopped and walked and shopped and walked and shopped. We even found the streets free of debris. A very pleasant experience. 75¢ toll to enter Mexico and 30¢ toll to leave. Customs man said 3 liters per person of alcohol if your not a resident of Texas. One liter per person if your a Texan. So with baggage in hand we walked back across the bridge and headed for Whatabergers for a double meat treat. Stuffed and tired it's back to the traveling home for a long evening of relaxing... Tomorrow heading west to less population..

Friday 10th   Del Rio, TX to Comstock TX     Seminole Canyon State Park
Sunny warm. Another short drive day, 35 miles. Another event while traversing the boarder, are the numerous boarder patrol check points. They have dogs and asked a couple questions and wave you on through. Once at the Seminole Canyon Park we checked in and bought tickets for a two mile hike tour. After lunch and a afternoon rest-up we joined several others for the 3 pm tour. Dean our tour guide gave us lectures along the way, about the Indians and the cliff paintings we were about to see. Down to the bottom of the 200 foot canon we trudged, all in a row. Looking back as we entered a cliff side site, called Fate Bell Shelter (after a land owner), you can see the interesting Canyon. The cliff paintings were not too exciting but the hiking tour was fun.

Saturday 11th   Comstock TX- Seminole Canyon State Park to Sanderson TX   gas $2.39
Sunny warm. In route to Sanderson (Canyon RV $17) we stopped in Langtry Texas the home of the original bar where Judge Roy Bean dispensed booze and law. We bellied up to the bar for a quick one. It was an interesting visit and nice break in our 60 mile drive. Adjacent to the bar is a nice cactus garden were mom and a I posed for a picture
Here at the visiting center we quarried the condition of Big Bend, our next stop. Fellow tourist said the park was closed due to fire. We learned high winds dropped a wire at one of the camp grounds and 38 acres burnt and only the one campground was shut down for a day. All is back to normal operations now.

Sunday 12th  Sanderson TX to  Big Bend National Park (cities of Study Butte & Terlingua)
Sunny warm. We left relatively early and had a pleasant drive west, except for a steady wind on the nose (groan). As we approached the park entrance the signs read Campgrounds full. It wasn't even noon yet. Drove through the park to the west entrance and booked a couple on nights at "Big Bend Motor Inn & RV." ($24)  After settling in and getting and sending the email we took a drive to the nearby ghost town of Terlingua. During WWI they mined mercury here and most of the buildings have crumbling and abandoned.  The Trading Company is still in service and at one time was the largest store between El Paso and San Antonio. It was here I learned that it took cooking 4 tons of rock to produce one flask (about gallon) of mercury. They shipped 100,000 flask of mercury from this area, 

We find this countryside fascinating. The hot dry air (humidity 14%) the abundant variety of cactus and un-understandable reason why and how people live here year around. fascinating!

Monday 13th  Big Bend National Park (cities of Study Butte & Terlingua)
Sunny warm. With a lunch cooler packed we headed to Santa Elena Canyon Overlook, SW corner of the park. The drive along the dusty gravel road proved productive. Our first spotting was a family of Javenlia's for which I had to leave the protection of are armored vehicle and track off road to capture the photo. Next sighting was Jacal's home. El Jacal de Luna live here until 1947 when he died at 108 years of age. Arriving at Canyon Santa Elena we were all anxious to climb the rock for the spectacular vista. Here we climb, walking sticks in hand gaining altitude. Near the acme the going gets tough, but worth the views & pictures.  Here is a panorama of some of the terrain (big file).  On our way back we enjoyed the Devil's Cane blooms and of course what would a trip West be without a picture of a Red Racer - Pic..

Monday 14th  Big Bend National Park to Alpine TX  @ Pecan Grove RV $21
Sunny warm. Well we tried to register for another day or two but were turned down. The park is full with a reservation backlog. So we moved our rigs to a empty parking lot and drove the Neon back to Big Bend for a tour of the "Basin."  The basin is a lush depression high in a mountain located in the center of the park. Not only was the Basin campground full  but so was the nearby commercial area. So full that all we could do is circle the parking area and then retreat to lower altitudes. So much for the Basin. Continuing on with a short drive on a very suspect road, we found ourselves at the hot spring. The remote hot spring is located in the Rio Grand river. The hot spring comes up through a cement tub area and dumps warmed water, 105°,  into the Rio Grand. A lot of tourist were in the pool and as inviting as it appeared Nick wouldn't take off his shoes. Here we were entertained by a Roadrunner near the trail. Later we had our picnic lunch at the nearby Rio Grand Village campground and topped it off with and ice cream bar. All and all we toured the highlights of the Big Bend Park and as nice as the weather has been and good as our luck was with wild life the Riesers have no need to return. It was obvious this part of nature is not their bag. Maybe a little too remote a little to dry a little to barren. As much as mom and I enjoy the spectacular views the unique and interesting vegetation and the continuous discovery of things we've never experienced, enforces the fact people have different interest. So.. with the cap on Big Bend we drove the 80 miles to Alpine in the direction for our next major objective Carlsbad Caverns.
We arrived at Alpine around dinner time and since it's been a busy day it was Pizza Hut for dinner. After dinner Nick took us for a short ride to view the mysterious lights of Marfa. We got there just after dark and found a crowd of some hundred people waiting for the mysterious lights to appear. We seen some what appeared to be car lights coming down from a distant mountain but that's all.  

Tuesday 15th  Alpine TX, Pecan Grove RV $21
Sunny cooler We decided to stay another day. First thing this morning Nick and I checked out the operating mechanism for a windmill.  Next we toured the Western Museum at  Sul Ross State University and Art Colony . In checking I was astonished to see handmade bridles for $6,500. At close examination you can see the detail of the tight weaving. Upon leaving the museum I jawed with a local cowboy who was non-responsive. We late lunched at a local sandwich shop then took in a couple more stores around town. We finished at Apache Trading Post where we took in a fifteen minute video on the lights of Marfa. We didn't know any more after viewing the tape than before.  Outside the store is JackAssic Park where we posed with the donkeys. Oh yes one more thing. This is the point in time when at this latitude the trees come into foliage. This triggers my allergy and I'm miserable.  I'm more miserable when I think it'll start all over again when I get home.. groan groan...

Tuesday 16th   Alpine TX  to Fort Davis TX
Sunny warm again. Did a little grocery shopping and found a free wifi, so all caught up again. Communications are less often now.
Another short drive day. In route we see numerous Prong Horn Antelope in addition to the beautiful mountains. Fort Davis is the home of historical Fort Davis National Site. A beautifully maintained site is one of the best remaining examples of a frontier military post. Established in 1854 and in service till 1891. Five building have been fully restored and outfitted with original equipment of the time.
This is also home of the McDonald Observatory.  The main telescope is a 433" Hobby-Eberly, one of the world's largest. They offer a very informative tour twice daily.  Since mom and I have visited here before we did a walking tour of the town while Nick and Patti did the observatory. Here is a picture of our campground.

Friday 17th   Fort Davis TX  to Carlsbad Cavern NM  Windmill RV  PA $12
Overcast and warm. Leisurely start, after the Riesers toured Fort Davis we headed west. It was a forever drive we must have driven over two hundred miles J We stopped for lunch at Chuys, a restaurant we've stopped at twice before in the past and they still don't remember us. From there it was a relentless drive to the Guadalupe Mountains where took some road side pictures  picture. In this aired land it's interesting to find road side signs of water over the road depth. Then on to Carlsbad new Mexico. It was a long hard drive but we made it. Now all we have to do is rest up for our trip to the Cavern tomorrow.

Saturday 18th  Carlsbad Cavern NM  Windmill RV  PA $12
Overcast and mild chance of showers today everyone's excited. 
We are now on Mountain time (two hours different from home EST).  We arrived at Carlsbad Cavern  www.nps.gov/cave/ about 10 am to fine the parking lot almost full. We exercised our Golden Pass Port option gaining free entry and proceeded directly to the walkway to the cavern.
The cavern is a continuous downhill walk for some 800 feet in depth. After transcending the first pathway your in a cavern-ness room. Looking backup the walkway, people entering appeared very small . You have to believe your at the bottom. Well some two hours later we were still walking and winding our way downhill. We spent over three hours underground and truly enjoyed the elevator ride back to the surface.   The Big Room near the bottom is relatively level and is GIGANTIC. This area will dwarf a 25 story building. You have to be impressed simply by the immensity of this Carlsbad Cavern. I took so many pictures they're on their own page. They are in slideshow fashion and I think best viewed by clicking on them one at a time. (pictures) .
We dined out at Pasta Cafe and spent the remainder of the evening relaxing with our legs propped up. We did have a few sprinkles in the late evening with the promise of more to come.

Sunday 19th  Carlsbad Cavern NM  Windmill RV  PA $12
Rain, big time! Even had some large hail during the morning then sun shine...
Do nothing day, sat around most of the day. Took a little ride downtown after the sun came out (for a time). It seems that there are no storm drains for last nights rain because the rain collected in the lower intersections for some fun driving. 
Stayed sunny till early evening.  Riesers came over for Taco Casserole dinner after which we rode back to Carlsbad Cavern to see if any bats would be flying out. They really don't arrive here till late April (from migration) but the Ranger said there has been some sporadic evening departures. So we sat at sundown and waited 45 minutes, till the rain started, no bats tonight. Rained big time after we returned home... Wonder how the 'washs' will be for tomorrow's departure.

Monday 20th
 Carlsbad Cavern NM  to .Midland TX   Midland RV park $18...
Sunny, windy and mild this morning.  Favorable wind for easterly travel. This is the day we start for home. Nick is planning to take I-20 and we plan to stay a little further south, somewhere between I-10 & I-20 avoiding the Dallas Forth Worth area where they've had big time flooding, and, it's still cold up north...
After puttering around for half the morning and after the Riesers left, we finally got rolling. Took local state road 128 through the most prolific oil producing area we've ever been through. For hundred miles every 200 yards and a far as you could see was an oil pumping rigs. Most of them were pumping too. 
There is an aviation museum here in Midland where they have the largest and best collection of reconditioned WWII fighter planes. We'll take that in tomorrow. 
Worked with Errol for a while to help get the Patches news letter and pictures from their March dance
 posted to the web.  Tonight we took a  ride around the area before settling down for the evening.

Tuesday 21st  Midland TX   Midland RV park $18...
Sunny, cool, with little breeze. First thing this morning we're off to the Commemorative Air force Museum  'CAF' .  Wow what a place. Dayton OH has more planes and is larger but the best thing I liked about this hanger, all the aircraft inside are in service, flyable and you can walk around and touch them.. CAF has over 145planes, from the B-29 to the P51, but  because the CAF aircraft do fly most are dispersed across the country in museums and in air shows. They rotate with aircraft on display here which consist of only 14. I took a ton of pictures, so for my friend Willie and flying friend Mike T, I put them in a slide show
We had an early dinner, rested and readied to move on tomorrow.

Wednesday 22nd  Midland TX to San Angelo  TX     San Angelo St Pk 
Cold. Heading east this morning and don't you know the wind is on our nose, and strong. We're heading towards the small town of Coleman to a Core of Engineers park. We find them to be real nice and with the Golden Age Passport very reasonable.  As we drive along I-20 I can see brighter sky to the south. Finally at Big Spring we head south in to the sunshine and a few degrees warmer. As I'm heading towards my destination, mom says San Angelo State park would be nice, there's a number of interesting things there. Plus, in the near by town of Wall they talk about a neat restaurant in the an old cotton gin mill. So at San Angelo we pulled into the spacious State Park an took a site overlooking the damn waters  of the Concho River. Nothing blocked our view of the lake, not even another camper as we are the only ones here. Talk about eerie! Plenty of wild life jackrabbits as big as Dieter all over the place and a few deer about.
After settling in we drove to Wall and found the Gin Mill. A neat place clean and friendly. Mom had the chicken fried steak and I went Mexican. Food was good and everything went well but as we talked to the waitress we learned they have only been open a few months. Appears the owners that we read about have sold. The pit falls of travel.

Thursday 23nd  San Angelo  TX     San Angelo St Pk 
Cold and Cloudy. Went up town this day to check it's offerings. First off was Fort Concho. We were fortunate to have only one other person on our tour and even more fortunate to have a history major who was doing his doctorate on Fort Concho giving us a tour. Dressed in period costume  (picture) he explained the various buildings, content and the part they played in history. Afterward we tour the original old district and found in clean and inviting. Did some shopping then home for dinner.

Sun finally came out and warmed a little.. Later a trip to Wal Mart and that's it for the day..
Happy to hear from Mary Berg that Chuck is doing great. Their trip is on to Myrtle Beach, he is OK'ed to drive in a week  and at this time everything look s good..

Friday 24th  San Angelo  TX to Waco TX,  Midway COE Campground $10  Gas $2.41 
Sunny and Cool. Nice easy drive taking US 84 most of the day. Cotton country also lots of goats. Seeing more green as we drive. Stopping just outside of Waco at a Core of Engineers park. Checked in around 3:30 pm and took easy the rest of the day. 

Saturday 25th  Waco TX,  Midway COE Campground  
Sunny and warming. Short-sleeves finally! Took a little motor tour of Waco first thing this morning. Impressive city. First off we drove to the heart of the downtown district and like most US cities all the streets were deserted, no walking traffic no auto traffic it was very spooky. It is very clean and well maintained over all but very quiet. We toured nearby Baylor University Campus, very impressive, the largest Baptist University in the world. As we continued out tour the loops around the city is where it's at, people, traffic, and a very very busy place. 

Sunday 26th  Waco TX,  Midway COE Campground  
Sunny and warm. Phone calls today, everyone seems to be doing well at home. Then museums. One I think Uncle Ed and Chuck Berg would enjoy is the Texas Ranger Museum. It has a great collection of hand guns and  long rifles and they're not ordinary guns but engraved and unusual hand guns. here are a few samples, a belt buckle gun, Match revolvers, some great 45's, and a palm gun. We enjoyed the museum and movie. Afterwards took the rest of the day off.

Monday 27th  Waco TX,  to Nacogdoches, TX   Gas $2.37    Paradise Lake Resort $22  
Overcast and mild. Nice driving weather on US 84, a little more truck traffic than I expected for a two lane blacktop.  
We must be in the green belt of Texas for the vegetation is a nice green with planted fields coming up green.  As we neared our destination we compared the scenery to that of Georgia with red clay and lots of Azaleas and Dog Woods in bloom. 
Nacogdoches  (Nack o doches) is the oldest city in Texas. They've  maintained the 'old town' nicely with red brick-paver streets and antique shops with clean windows.  Over all a very nice area. We'll spend the nigh here and move on towards home tomorrow.

Tuesday 28th   Nacogdoches, TX   to  Marshall TX, gas $2.37  
Rain. Rain started during the night and rained all morning. We left around noon and headed north on US-59 to Marshall. This of course was not our destination but upon reviewing different points of interest in the Texas manual and the Country Discovery magazine, as we drove along, Mom reported the fascinating  history on Caddo Lake outside of Marshall.  Well let's see now, Marshall... Marshall has a pottery factory established in the 1890s and has camping for $8 a night.  Pulled into the Marshall Pottery parking lot around 2:30 pm. and went in to see what they offered. Well don't cha know they have loads of STUFF.  I shopped for and hour and had to return to the rig for how much pottery can a guy look at.  Although, I found terracotta pots 18" dia. by 18" high for $5.99. Seems to me they cost about $20 back home. In any case after hanging around the rig waiting for your mom for a half hour, I decided to pull the rig to the camp area. I left the car in the parking lot for mom and drove the rig over to setup camp.  After setting up and waited another half hour I decided to walk back to the car in case mom couldn't see the rig. I sat in the car another 15 minutes and figured I better go in an see what taking so long for she may be on the floor in the rest room. I found Mom wondering around about where I had left her more than an hour ago only now she was pushing a cart, and it wasn't empty. With a little encouragement we left the store a C note lighter. Don't ask...
On the brighter side the rain stopped shortly before Marshall and the sun came out for the rest of the evening, only wish your mom could have enjoyed it....

Pots   Pots2   Store   Camp   Sun

Wednesday 28th   Marshall TX
Fog.. Cleared  sunny & warm. Early tour of the historic district. Some neat old structures and nice renovations. Stop near the visitors center and took advantage of the free internet, free internet is everywhere. There has been a large increase in the availability of free internet. I have yet had to use dial-up. 
Visited the historical railroad station and near by hotel and in talking with the information person at the station, we learned there were much better buys at the Pottery Man as compared to Marshall pottery.  One thing lead to another and we found ourselves on our way to Jefferson Texas. which is sooo.... cool, we're told. Twenty minute drive north, past the pottery Man, and we're in Jefferson.  This place has loads of homes dating back to the 1880's with a downtown comprised of a lot of antique shops and neat restaurants. We ate and did a couple of shops and decided we would spend some more time here.  We'll have to do some research to find out this town's claim to fame. 

Established in 1840 at a river landing on Big Cypress Bayou.  Jefferson was a major East Texas river port of entry with as many as 15 steamboats at a time lining the docks, and score of wagon trains heading west. In addition to this, nearby iron ore deposits  bring smelters and plentiful pine and cypress stimulated the lumber industry. Today there is no river traffic. Population was 30,000 at it's peak and 2,100 today. 

A huge natural log jam backed up the Red River creating Caddo Lake and allowed steamboat traffic to and from the Mississippi. In 1873 this jam was dynamited and the lake drained. This may of caused the demised of Jefferson. (Still researching this).

Thursday 30th   Marshall TX to Jefferson TX   Core of Engineers park $9  Buckhorn Creek 
Little overcast but warm. With the back seat of the tow vehicle full of large clay pots and the motor-home stuffed with lots of literature and odds and ends, like a tin bird bath, we trudge north. Only 25 miles today to the COE park outside of Jefferson where we have lakefront property. As soon as we settled in and had lunch we were off to Jefferson.

Interesting facts about this log jam in the Red River. In 1690 Indians were asked about the log jam and they said their ancestors told of it, so it's been there a long time. The Great Raft, as it was locally know as, stretched down the river for 160 miles. 160 miles of logs is a heck of a lot of timber. It's theorized that a catastrophic even such as an earthquake and storms cause the accumulation of logs. City folks during their hay day figured if the rive were free of logs boat traffic could better serve out laying areas. Well as a result of a presidential champagne promise, in 1873 the Great Raft was dynamited and the water flowed once again. So much so that Caddo lake drained to such a low level that boats could no longer navigate to and from the Mississippi. So goes the history of Jefferson.

We spent the day here walking and talking. Here is a home of the 1890s. We had 5¢ coffee and $2 ice cream at the general store. Did some shopping and the museum before returning home.. I tried to buy some gas at 18¢ a gallon but no one would come out an pump.  What'a ya think?

Friday 31st   Jefferson TX   Core of Engineers park $9
Warm and scattered sun.  About the Great Raft, appears there are a lot of different stories about it's formation and effect. Here are two references that differ:  Great Raft   and  the Raft and also see Lake Caddo.

In any case today we're off to Lake Caddo.  Florida Everglades and Georgia's Okefenokee swamps are a little different than eerie Caddo Lake Cypress Swamps. Numerous movies were filmed here. It reminds me of the movie Cool Hand Luke, where Paul Newman escapes it to the swamp.  As we were driving around the the lake we stopped for lunch at the only diner we seen. Cute clean place adjacent to a boat launch. Here mom found a pal for Dieter. The mutts owner is showing off the latest ear wear. It was here at the restaurant where your Mom found a swamp boat ride for us, so after we ate it was off to the livery. Waiting for the boat ride your Mom drew a lot of attention. The swamp ride was not too scary as the Cypress trees which are heavily laden with Spanish Moss have yet to bear any leaves and the overall view was a little stark.  After the boat ride we drove around the area and it was neat to see a lot of vacation homes tuck away at the swamps edge. I can't imagine the mosquitoes here. Fun day!

Saturday 1st   Jefferson TX   Core of Engineers park $9
Warm with scattered sun. Quiet day, decide to take a run to see Pottery Man to see if we could fit more stuff in our car for the ride home. Got a nice little outdoor table for the back porch, so I'll have someplace to set my morning coffee. Also found a six foot folding decorative screen for .. for .. Well we must need it for something.. We'll see.

later in the evening we drove around the lake to see other COE parks and check out the surroundings. Took a picture of our camp site and later the sunset. That was the day, did some slides before bed and that's it.

Sunday 2nd   Jefferson TX   to Texarkana  TX   Clear Spring COE park $9
Hot with scattered sun. Well my eyes are starting to itch so it must be time to move a little further north. Trying to stay  ahead of my allergies.  35 mile drive so we didn't leave till 1:pm.  This park is almost full with over 100 sites and it being Sunday late afternoon, there are few empty sites. Nice an spacious sites all near the lake. Made plans to check out Texarkana tomorrow. 

Monday 3rd  Texarkana  TX   Clear Spring COE park $9  
 Sunny, perfect day. Drove to Texarkana and did a driving tour of the downtown district. There is still life in old downtown. One unique item is in front of the main post office located in the center of town. They have a small area where you can stand with one foot in Texas and the other in Arkansas, for this city is located in two state. The line goes right down the middle of the city. We hit Wal*Mart and spent the rest of this beautiful day in the park. Here's why I don't mess with your Mom. Gathering fire wood she almost pulled this tree over, picture.  Our campsite. Big drive tomorrow, heading toward Little Rock.

Tuesday 4th  Texarkana  TX   to West Memphis  AR    gas $2.54 
Beautiful sunny day. Talked with Uncle Ed today, he got the pictures I sent to Wal*MART for processing, of years ago fun. He said he enjoyed them. Long driving day. Wal*Mart for the night. 

Wednesday 5th  West Memphis  AR    to    Terre Haute IN    $2.62
Beautiful sunny day.  Easy driving all day. Since heading towards home anxiety prevails. Looking forward to see all the children and grandchildren. Reviewing the past months proved rewarding. Everything went well and as smoothly as could be expected. I think one misjudgment was leaving the "Valley" too early. Using a previous year as a reference was not a good idea for 2003 was very warm. This year, during the same period, an unusual cold spell happened just as we hit New Mexico which lasted a good week or more. Should we decide to return to Texas in '07, I think we've bummed around Texas enough, we'll just spend the three months right in the valley.

Been in constant touch with the Riesers since separating and learned that the other day Nick was backing up without his support group and ran into a tree, decapitating his ladder. Nick was not a happy camper that day. Duck take is in vogue. Riesers are off to visit some quilter acquaintances for the weekend, so they won't be home till next week sometime.

Thursday 6th   Terre Haute   to..........St. Clair Shores MI  Gas $2.54  Michigan gas $2.65
Early start in a light rain all the way to Indianapolis where the rain stopped. This may be our last entry for the web....We'll see  Moving along....
Arrived home 4:30 pm safe & sound.. Now for the arduous task of unpacking..

See you at the DANCE

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