2008  DAILY LOG:                            

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Wednesday December 26th - home gas $3.09 last year $ 2.19
Saint Clair Shores MI.


December, 26th 2008
Patiently waiting for square dance dinner outing tomorrow, Family gathering Friday, Friends over Saturday and then maybe we can take down Christmas decorations and prepare for departure to a warmer climate.

Friday January 4th - From home to visitors center south of Covington KY gas $3.03 Overnight free. 296 miles.
Very busy Holliday Season. Happy birthday Glenn! Glenn and Ty stopped by this morning with a dozen doughnuts to get us off to a good start. With the camper 90% packed and not wanting to leave till after noon, Mom suggested going out for breakfast. Glenn said he was to meet Emily around noon. "Why not see if she'll join us, I say." Steph was home. "Ask her to come along." She suppose to meet Dan. "Bring him along." 

"How many in your party sir" Seven, thank you. We had a nice breakfast and we were happy to spend some with the grandchildren. We got home a little after one and the kids drove off. We backed the camper out and Herman stopped by. "I saw your camper was still here you haven't left yet?"  Your just in time watch the car in back of me while I finish backing out. We were on the road at 1:45 pm.

This is a good time to leave. You can get to the other side of Toledo before 4 pm. and avoid  a lot of traffic. Then  you can reach Cincinnati after rush hour and drive to the visitors center in time to settle down a little before hitting the sack.

I haven't been happy with the house battery recently. So in Findley OH I saw a Wal-Mart, the store of purchase, and pulled in. Manager pronounced it DOA
(Dead on Arrival). They determined it was less than two years old and gave us a new one --- NC.  Love Wal-Marts.

Suppose to rain all day tomorrow.

Saturday January 5th - From the visitors center south of Covington KY to  Meriwether Campground in Tennessee, SW of Nashville.
gas $3.04  passed up $2.89, camping free. 342 miles.

Raining  this morning. Stopped at Flying J to top off and fill with water. It only rained till we reached other side of Louisville but it remained cloudy the rest of the day. We made the Natchez trace around 3 pm. Lots and lots of deer after only two minutes on the trace. 
Mom, not wanting to get the campground too early suggested a side trip to Columbia TN, lots history there. Twenty mile drive off the trace and then twenty miles back. We did see the only surviving home of the 11th U.S. President, outside side the white house, build in 1816. Polk lived there. The town appears to be worth a second trip, during the daylight.
The drive back to the trace and on the trace was in total blackness, only the headlights. Talk about spooky, no traffic, no nothing, except black. 
The campground is always near empty and pulling in in complete darkness is not inviting. There is still no lights to be seen. After winding through the campground one light is shone at the shower building and that's it. We found a flat spot and pronounced it ours. Five rigs here tonight all from Ka-BECK.  Camping free!

Sunday 6th - From  Meriwether Campground to Jeff Busby on the Trace. 80 miles south of Tupelo
gas $3.05 at Sam's Club.  Camping free. 197 miles.

We have arrived and this picture proves it. 72° and sunshine. Boy this has been a senior's day. Nice early start, best part Mom's driving all day. Well almost, ten minutes down the road 'detour' Trace closed. Mom says I better drive. We switch seats I settle in and drive two blocks (to  our surprise) around the detour (bridge repair) and Mom's back behind the wheel. Few more miles down the road another detour. We switch again this time a five mile drive around and were back on the Trace looking for a pull off to switch. So far everything is going smoothly. Since Mom took us off the Trace yesterday I decided to take a short jaunt off the Trace and check out a Corps of Engineers camp ground at Bay Springs Lake. Well don't ya know a  narrow single lane road up a couple block to the closed sign. Pondered for some time and finally had to disconnect the car to turn around, groan! Five more mile up to check out Piney Grove which was also closed, groan! Back to the Trace.
Gary calls to check to our progress and Mom yaks for a time and then hands me the phone as I glance over to grab the phone a deer jumps right in front of the rig. I scream Mom screams as I look to my left to see the white tail butt still on the road adjacent to my window, that's how close it was. I had to explain to Gary what all the noise was about. 
Made it to Tupelo and found a free wifi and got caught up on everything. Now for the best part.. Ice cream sundae.   Oh yes now for the senior part. Walking back from the ice cream store with THREE ice creams in her hand. Yep three. the mutt got a cone too.
About 5 pm. we pull into what will be our final stay on the Trace, Busby Campground, free of course. Not only that but free water fill and and free wifi. How can you beat that! 

Monday 7th - From Jeff Busby on the Trace to Amite LA. 
gas $2.89.  Camping free. 223 miles.

Hello Nasser & Jeanna!  Thought about you as we crossed the state line. And, are you calling at Fun N Sun?? I know it doesn't look good..

Picture perfect day. After breakfast we took a long walk in the park just to enjoy the beautiful weather. Upon leaving we stopped at Busby and filled our fresh water tank with the free water. While on the road and the prospects of favorable weather we decided to head towards New Orleans. This means we'll exit the Trace at Jackson MS via I-20 over to I-55 and head due south to Louisiana.

Here's how things go for seniors. I suggested we stop at the visitors as we enter Louisiana to learn how the coastal roads to Texas are and learn of a couple campgrounds we might stay at. After all who would know more about Louisiana than the Welcome Center.
The Hostess said all the roads are open and clear. She suggested the Louisiana State Parks because they recognize the Golden Age Pass making the fee only $9 a night.  I asked if there was something near here as I was tired of driving and it was getting close to 4 pm.  She recommended a new large campground in Amite 18 miles down the road. She said it was about 2 or 3 miles west of the expressway and very very nice. 
Off we go with a load of brochures.
We exit 42 and heading west. At about two miles down we see cheap gas and a casino we keep looking. I told Mom if the campground was too costly we'll park in the casino's lot. Three miles down still looking, four miles, five miles I stop at a party store and of course the Korean doesn't speak English. Fortunately a couple of customers gave me directions. "Back down the road a couple miles its right by the truck stop."  I said is that near the casino?  "Yea right in back of the casino." Back in the cab I said how could we miss this? Why didn't the Visitor Center say in of the casino? Casinos have the biggest signs around. 
Back to the casino where we find there are three small casinos in a row and one sign does have RV Campground on it. Oh well. We pull around back only to find this large full service cement padded campground closed. Ask the people what happen. "I don't know they just left."  Is it alright to park in back with the trucks? "Oh yes no problem." 
Just can't seem to pay for a campsite.

Tuesday 8th - From Amite LA. to Mandeville LA, Fontainebleau State Park.   Camping $8    52 miles.
Now this is what retirement is all about, a short drive, sunshine, and a full service park for $8 a night. This park was under water from the hurricane surge and only a small portion is now open. I think we enjoy it because the ambiance that takes us back to Glenn's birth place. Sitting under the Spanish Moss filled Live Oaks soaking up the summer like temperatures in the middle of January. Its only been 48 years ago, I wonder why we left.
The campground is under going continuous repair. It looks like several buildings have been replaced. Hundreds of trees are being planted. The camping spots in the old camping section are kind of small but nice. The newer section is suppose to have the storm damage repairs completed in March.
During the night we experienced some of the biggest BOOMERS we've ever experienced. The concussions from the thunder shook the camper. Wow!

January 9th Sitting tight.
Fresh rested and ready to go. Taking the car and heading east to Slidell. We're looking for old Fort Pike an historical outpost that we've visited years ago. In route the evidence of Hurricane Katrina is still very evident. Damaged trees, collapsed roofs, boarded dwellings, busted boats and on-going repairs. We found Fort Pike and to our dismay it was all fenced off. We couldn't go near it. 
Back to Slidell to discover fresh made beignets. We stopped at the Slidell train station where they are made while you wait. This may not be Cafe' Du Monde but these beignets were scrumptious, just ask Mom
We talked with the 35 year old owner, after pigging out, about Katrina. He was born and raised in Slidell and road out the storm with eight others at his mother's. It was evident that it was a panic situation as they watched the water rise five foot to the floor level. It was then they raced around to lift the brand new appliances and furniture, of the just redecorated house, onto cinder blocks.  After everything was lifted the surge came and the water rose another seven foot. All nine of them scurried to the attic where they stayed another three days. As water subsided to knee level on the first floor the men went down to check things out only to find snakes and fish which quickly drove them back to the attic for another two days. He said it was a terrible experience. 
(I guess.)
Back home for a late lunch then out for some biking. We found a nice bike path and will do a little more exploring another time.

January 10th Sitting tight.
Spent the morning figuring out our objectives for the day. We then loaded Bindi and headed east to check out Fairview-Riverside State Park, which is only a few miles down the road. I think over all it's a little nicer park maybe because you don't see any signs of hurricane damage and the sites are larger.
Continuing on to Madisonville. Madisonville is one of the oldest communities in Louisiana. The first settlements on the "North Shore." Located on the first high land at the mouth of the Tchefuncte River. (Don't ask) The small village was a bustling place in the boat building era until the turn of the century. First stop was the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Martime Museum and Research Center. This was a neat visit. The display that got my attention was a miniature display, hand carve by a local, of rural life on the bayou. Here are several pictures depicting some of the detail involved
pic1 pic2 pic3 pic4.  Keep in mind the house is only about 8" to 10" high.
Picture of Mom is in front of the museum.
Since it's past lunch I asked the receptionist for the best eatery in town. Without hesitation "Friends." The restaurant is located on the river and was very nice. We got a window seat and consumed a platter of blacken Tilapia on Caesar Salad. It was excellent as was the hardy coffee. Here's our picture as we were about to leave.
Next was Smith's Hardware in Covington, established in 1876. This is your typical old town hardware with lots of  stuff'. We did some shopping, a little motor touring then home for the evening.

Wk 2
Friday January 11th Sitting tight.
Rolling along the 24 mile long causeway heading to the Big Easy.  Nothing planned but to do a little people watching and reminiscing. After energizing at Cafe' Du Monde we strolled the street doing tourist things. Here are a couple before and after photos pic1 and pic2. It's kinda fun watching the street musicians  pic3 and artists. There aren't as many as there use to be but it's still early in the season. We stopped at Buffet's place Margaritaville. We sat upstairs overlooking the street. I enjoyed Gator bites and Mom had Gumbo.. Oh yes margaritas of course.  

Saturday 12th - From  Mandeville LA, Fontainebleau State Park to 
New Iberia LA. 
Camping $22.50 at KOC campground. 142 miles.
Today is dedicated to driving. We lollygagged along with a couple of non productive stops. I'm having a problem navigating through Louisiana.  Their map sucks and the visitor centers don't have the answers I'm looking for. My navigating system said that Lake Fausse Point State Park was near St. Martinville. So I follow the route around to St. Martinville and slowed to ask where's the park? According to the map the symbol it is right next to the city on the map.  We circled then looked for a place to pull off to review the paper work. No shoulder, no commercial property, drive-on Jeeves. About three miles out side of town we found a spot to pull off. We check the literature which read Lake Fausse SP is 18 mile east of town. Groan. Street & Maps shows no direct road there, like four different curvy roads to get there. New Iberia a few miles down the road, has a couple RV parks and that's are primary destination anyway. Chug Chug Chug... were here New Iberia  KOC RV campground.

Sunday 13th - New Iberia LA. Camping.
Our campsite is tight but of 130 sites this was the last one available. First off this day was a little drive around checking out the "walking tour." Nothing with an extreme WOW factor. Checked in with the visitors center and heard more hurricane woes. This area was affected more by Rita than Katrina. 
As everyone in the world knows, except me, this is the hot sauce center of the world. Tabasco! Tabasco is a family business opened daily for factory tours. At the factory we watched a ten minute video then walked by the production area (behind a glass wall).  It was interesting to learn the sauce is aged in old oak barrels (used Jack Daniel barrels) for three years. Since Jack only uses the barrels one time, because longer use effects the color, Tabasco can use them ten years or more. 
After the short tour we took the obligatory gift shop tour where I indulged in a Tabasco sausage. No, it was very mild. Mom did some shopping and some shopping and...
We then took a long (I can't say country drive) swampy drive to Lake Fausse Pointe State Park. This is another great Louisiana state park where you have all black top pads, large sites, and on a lake. All for he same low senior price of $8. Too remote for tourist like us to use but excellent for fishing and kayaking.
Returned to see if I could find out why the left turn signal quit on the camper. I took the bulbs out they're ok. I checked the manual and there is individual fuses for the left and right signals. So I'll check that tomorrow.

Monday 14th - New Iberia LA. to Crystal Beach TX.
225 miles, gas $2.93 Camping PofA at Bolivar Peninsula RV Park $12.

Turn signal was a fuse, replaced it and all is working. Will figure why later...
Easy drive along the coast on two lane road with no traffic all daylong. This is Cajun country for sure. I've never given this a thought before but Cajuns eat Crawfish. by the gross.  Who catches all these Crawfish? Well driving by what we initially thought were rice fields I could see what looked like 1/2 of a red painted coffee can spaced around these fields. Along the side of the road we then spotted a stack of these cans. Attached to the unseen portion of the can was a conical shaped cage. So we concluded these fields were dedicated to raising crawfish. And, these were Crawfish traps. This is all speculation of course. I'll let you know what the facts are when we learn of them. I'll check with Nasser he should know. Here's a picture of a field. If you look at the full size picture you can see the traps.
We crossed into Texas around 4 p.m. It has taken us over a week to get here whata ya think. You can tell when you're near coastal hurricane waters by the style of the homes pic1    pic2.  How would like to bring home the groceries?
The devastation of hurricane Rita is still very evident along this route. The small town of Cameron is gone. Cement pads where stores once stood, lots of campers, and new trailers where the hard heads are staying put.
We arrived at Bolivar Peninsula RV Park just before dark. We've stayed here before so we know the routine, set-up and pay in the morning. This is a Passport of America park so we get half price. Free WiFi enables us to listen to WJR radio on the computer while I'm typing away.

Tuesday 15th - Bolivar Peninsula RV Park 
Staying an extra day here just to do some house work and relax.. hmmm
Found the reason for the blown fuse. The insulation on the wires connecting the car were bare and rubbing. Cut and reworked them, it should work good now.
Happy Birthday Errol. 

Wednesday 16th - Bolivar Peninsula RV Park 
Rainey morning decided to stay another night. Sun came out at noon. Took a ride to Galveston just to bum around. We could see that they brought in a couple more towers for reworking.   pic1  pic2  
Had lunch at a waterside restaurant then did a little shopping before home for the evening.

Note back from Nasser, he has no idea about the Crawfish farms. He said he would check with a "serious Cajun crawdad-suckin' caller friend."
Mean time I scanned the web and found: Crawfish farming in Louisiana. And found this picture of what the trap looks like.

Thursday 17th - Crystal Beach TX to Port Aransas TX
  275 miles, gas $2.87  drove by $2.78
Drive day today, slight overcast with spotty sunshine. Easy drive over familiar routes. Mom talked with Debby and learned Aunt Dory and Uncle George are not doing well. 
Talked with John & Marilynn who said they'll be leaving for California on February 11th. We're going to go out dinner with them before they leave.
Settled in at Nueces County park, now called  I B Magee CP, again this season. They've finished building the new office building complete with lookout tower. Kind'a contemporary. Will get a picture tomorrow.

Nasser confirmed Crawfish farming in Louisiana. He said, referring to the cans "They are very essential contraptions for us Cajuns."
Bill Vorgitch is having shoulder surgery early February, Good luck Willie.
Nick & Pat will be departing MI on January 24th barring bad weather.

Wk 3
Friday 18th - Port Aransas TX  
Forget this day. Rain and cold 45°. Couple errands and that's it..

Saturday 19th - Port Aransas TX
Ahh yes. Sunshine all day long temperature up. Lunch at San Jaun's, a little drive around, a little birding (?), and long beach walk. This is more like it!

Bindi you ask. She is doing great. I have a short video I'll post when I get a fast WiFi.
Here is what she does most of the time Bindi.

Sunday 20th - Port Aransas TX
More sun and warmth. After walking the beach and getting ready to leave Mom said why drive in such  nice weather. Good question back to the beach. Later took the ferry an a drive to Rockport to tour Wal*Mart. Afterwards, while in the area, we ate at Plummer's on the water. Blacken something or other senior portions not by request. Since it was enough food for this fat person I offered no complaint, the price was right, but did have a dish of ice cream at home. 
Did the mail at the free WiFi back of the computer club. They improved their free service since last year, posted a couple of video clips.  Tomorrow we move south another couple hundred miles.

Monday 21st - Port Aransas TX  to  San Benito TX  
168 miles    First Colony $15. Passport America price 2wks.
What a  day. Departing under gray cooling sky. Park dump was plugged, maintenance man on the job with a big snake. Few of us campers hung around the dump gabbing and watching the plumber for over an hour before he broke through.  I was first in line so we were out of there in no time.

As we drove south the sky cleared and the temperature rose. We check in at 74° and sunny, oh boy is this great. Washed the car before darkness set in. I'll have to wait to do the motor-home.

We are parked near Carl and Linda the couple with the pair of schnauzers we parked next to last year after Dieter died. They let Mom cuddle their pups (last yr).

Nick, the park has expanded the WiFi so you have a strong signal all over the parks. The park appears about 77% filled. There are fewer Canadians then last year, go figure.

Tuesday 22nd  San Benito TX   First Colony
Full day today. 9:00 am. at the Fun N Sun dancehall for classes with Nasser. We weren't needed to help teach so after our hellos and making luncheon arrangement we boogied. Nasser and Jeanna met us at the Lone Star Restaurant where we engaged in conversation and all had, you're right, Mahi Mahi.  Yep, it was as good as it was last year.
On the way home we stopped at the large mall in Harlingen. There we bumped into John and Anita, square dancers we had a good time with last year. Gabbed for a time Got caught up on the local news.
Gone for some time we had to walk Bindi. You heard of a dog park, well here in this park there is a park for schnauzers.
This evening after dinner this small park had some Branson entertainment for $4pp. The seating capacity of the meeting room is about 70 seats. This compares to about 1000 seats at Fun N Sun. We were entertained by Ermal Walden & Paula Cravens. They put on a fun little show. Basically he portrays John Wayne and Paula sings and yodels. He does an auditory of John Wayne's life in full costume  while Paula sings between costume changes. Ermal looks like John Wayne and in fact has doubled as him in commercials.

And, finally for all the square dancers who may have missed Patches' January Elvis Hop may enjoy visiting the site to see a few photos...

Wednesday 23rd  San Benito TX   First Colony  
Low key day. First off, A1 at 11am. Instructor Nasser and wife Jeanna got us off to a good start. All the dancers were good so everything went quite smoothly. Especially when you dance with the instructor's wife.
It was good to see cuer Karen and here spouse Dick Fisher again. Karen is such an energetic and enthusiastic person who welcomed us with so much enthusiasm we felt we've known her for a hundred years. I have to take a picture of her and  Dick, I don't think I have one.
Afterward your Mom went to the H.E.B., a large grocery chain here in Texas, to replenish supplies. I stuck around home ironing out some small chores. Too overcast to wash the house today.
Met new neighbor from across the street. Now here's the test; Carol and Jeff from Wyoming, Adell and Bob from Ontario, Jenny and Mo from can't remember (Alberta) and Carl and Linda from Waterford. Now which rig is who in! I guess at this time in life one should introduce yourself and quickly take a picture. This way you may avoid calling Adell  Apple cause you remember her name was a computer.... (Don't ask you Mom about that).
Nasser in action

Thursday 24th  San Benito TX   First Colony
Cool and overcast, groan. Mom suggested we just bum around to get re-acquainted, which we did. Somewhere around noon we discovered Fat Daddy's in Weslaco. The parking lot was full the small restaurant was full but we found a table. I asked Rose (waitress) what I should order. She got me the steak fajita and Mom Fat Daddy's burger. Not an awesome meal but a fun meal and it was good, good enough to go back.
We then checked out Alamo Palms, the RV park where Dick Duckham calls. It's a very nice park we're looking forward to dancing there.
After returning home we went through the the stack of collected papers on the table an to our amazement we found we missed Nasser's doughnut dance this morning, double groan. How is that possible missing a doughnut dance??? We pined the rest of the day.
Mom did laundry while I observed some computer training in the club house.
Fat Daddy's review.

Friday 25th  San Benito TX    First Colony   gas $2.76 Wal*Mart
First thing this morning we're dressed and out the door with no destination. We're driving out the campground and it appears the car is driving it self, left turn, right turn another left another right, where we heading? Low and behold we find ourselves right in front of the San Benito Bakery. Can you believe! A stop for gas and couple things at WM and back home to consume our breakfast lunch and snack. (groan).
Caught some flack from Anita for missing yesterdays dance. What can we say.
We had an A2 class this afternoon, what a workout. Why does one subject themselves to such abuse. We already know how dumb we are, we certainly don't have be reminded every 3½ minutes. I guess we endure cause of the great company and loads of laughs. Speaking of great company here's the picture of Karen and Dick.
A couple walks around the park and that's our day...

Talked with Nick yesterday and he said they will be leaving today (Friday) around noon. They're heading to New Orleans to do the "Gras" before heading heading west.

Saturday 26th  San Benito TX   First Colony
Craft show at Fun N Sun first thing this morning, like before 8 am. Next hot cooked breakfast at our meeting hall at 9 am. We sat there afterwards and talked with neighbors Adell and Bob for a couple hours about allll the important things in life before returning home. 
This evening we danced to Nasser's calling and concluded the evening with a trip to the Dairy Queen. Well not Exactly. As we left the dance John and Anita suggested ice cream stating something like "We know you guys enjoy a Dairy Queen after a dance." (ref. reading our blog). Now I replied in the midst of four people talking, "In San Benito?" To which John replied "No Anita likes McDonalds, I'll tell you how to get there." But what I heard was "No I'll tell you how get there." implying were not going to the Dairy Queen in San Benito but in Harlingen. So the four of us continue to talk while I navigated towards Harlingen. John pointes out on this five lane roadway that it's down there on the left see the sign (referring to the giant golden arches). Well there lots of signs I said no I can't see it. John said right there next to the to Tocco Bell. Now I'm closing in on the signs on my left trying to see where. Slowing cruising in the left lane and still seeing no Dairy Queen. Everyone is shouting turn in, right there, there! Well all I see is the McDonalds go by then the Tocco Bell, still no DQ. Then John shout "Do a u-turn back." I wheel around an shout "Where?" Turn in there McDonalds, everyone is yelling.  I follow the instruction assuming we're cutting through the lot and I say "Where's it at?" Of course everyone but me knows we are there. I'm still saying "I can't see it."  Someone was gracious enough to explain to me we are going to McDonalds not DQ.  
You had to be there...

Hot Fudge Sundaes for all.
Thank you John!

Sunday 27th  San Benito TX   First Colony
John & Anita introduced us to a great eatery. Great food at a great price. The bill for the four of us, dinner and a drink, less than $20. Can you believe! The restaurant is called (I have to wait till Anita emails me the name) located on bus. 77.
Advance A2 dance after lunch. We went to observe but got conned into dancing. I think we held our own. 
Back at our meeting room someone was celebrating a birthday, more ice cream and cake and yak yak yak ...  Goodnight!

Monday 28th  San Benito TX   First Colony
No plans today. Warm day so I decided I have to wash the rig. I hope I didn't get sun burnt, 80 degrees today. 10 degrees above normal. Your Mom went to the pool to do water exercise. I took  Bindi out for a run before bed..

Tuesday 29th  San Benito TX   First Colony
Weather holding, cocktails under awning. Pool for Mom pic and I'm spending a lot of time making a major change to a web page, Nasser is helping me out.

Wednesday 30th  San Benito TX   First Colony
Cooler today only got to 75°. A1 at 11am and the a dance with Dick Duckham at Alamo Palms this evening. It was good to see some Michiganders there. Larry & Sharon Johnston and Bob & Linda Price. DQ on the way home, after all it was a thirty mile drive.

Thursday 31st  San Benito TX   First Colony
Heavy overcast last night and light sprinkle this morning. First thing up today doughnut dance at the Fun N Sun. Nasser brought in another caller Mike Kelly, and together they put on a real good show. I have a short video I'll see if I can get it posted. I find it interesting that it's common to see callers share the stage. I've never seen it in Michigan. Oh you do at a charity event but no one invites another caller to call at a club dance in Michigan. I guess it's called insecurity.
A good time was had dancing and afterwards the sun was shinning and the temperature soared to the high 70's. Came home to walk the dog and decided to go to Mexico.
Stateside parking went up 50¢ a day, now $2. What a surprise walking into Mexico. The border/customs office which is basically an empty building had the army out in front this day. There must of been over a dozen armed troopers milling around. They investigated one incoming car while we watched. There was still no procedure for entering Mexico, other than walking in. Other then the army everything looked the same.
We walked the street in and out several shops when a young man invited upstairs to a restaurant. We went up for a drink and some chips, after all we just ate lunch. We then continued our walking until another hour passed and we recognized this restaurant. Heck it must be supper time. Dine we did. Cloth table covers, cloth napkins, drinkable water, what more could you ask for. Enchiladas of course. A very good meal and all for less than a twenty dollar bill. (including 20% tip).
Next stop, make Bill happy. We stopped at a booze store and pick up a few bottles on to find what cost $12 last year now is priced at $14. The cost of low tourism? We asked a few vendors how the business compared to last year and the all said it was way down. By our observation there was no tourist traffic. But in all fairness we never went to town this late in the afternoon. Home for the evening..

Friday 1st February San Benito TX   First Colony
Bright and sunny. Screwed around with the web this am. Got a call from Nick about their web problems. Resolved all and had time to wash the car before running out to the SAS shoe store (San Antonio Shoes). 

Saturday 2nd February San Benito TX   First Colony
Fun Day! How many times have you heard 'Go Fly a Kite.' I guess I never knew what that meant, but today was the day. We drove over to South Padre Island to watch an annual kite flying meet. I now understand there are clubs worldwide that meet and have contest and competitions yada yada yada.  Clubs fly colors flags at the events and at this event they put on demonstrations. Well you'll never believe the precision that a group of four men can fly kites in cadence at. I posted a video, click the video button at the top and check it out if you're on cable. I was in total awe, one guy flew his kite to square dance calls. I did a short clip of that as well. Hundreds of folks come down to watch the show which goes on for a couple days. The size of some of the kites are as large as a  school bus. We saw a kite made to look like a blow fish. Another like an octopus. Others like other various fish. I guess fish are big in the kite industry. We spent several hours watching all the going ons. On the way home I had to shoot this picture of a Texas Long Horn Steer. They just have to impress you.
At home we just laid back for a couple hours to ready ourselves for dancing. Nasser is out of town this weekend and Mike Kelly will be calling. Some Cajun caller put me in charge of running the old Commodore Computer which is used to tell dancers which square they'll be dancing in each tip. He'll be happy to know everything went without a hitch. We had a good dance and Mike is a good caller, but the best part of the night came towards the end of the evening when we won the 50/50. Big smile...
As I was working on this guess who was also up at 2 am. cause she couldn't sleep an was "IM"-ing, Emily.

Sunday 3rd February San Benito TX   First Colony
Fun-er day. Sun shinning and warm this am. Mom decided we should be out enjoying the great weather, so I uncovered the bikes. By the time we finished our coffee the Texas wind was building. We peddled over to Fun N Sun which was a little struggle but once in the rows of campers the wind wasn't a problem. The trip back was a "breeze."
Rodeo in Los Fresnos this afternoon, our first. We got there early to stand in line till they opened the gates. Tickets were $15pp for a two hour show. Seats were good with the sun and breeze behind us.
They started with some pomp and circumstance with a rush of eight woman on horseback carrying large flags of the show sponsors, racing across the arena to the roar of the crowd. The show started right off with the events of roping, tying, bucking broncos, bull riding and all. We got some nice shots and videos of some events. One of the cattle ropers came charging out roped the cow jumped off the horse, then all hell broke loose. The cow turned the wrong way and ran over the cowboy and in front of the horse causing the horse to roll over the cowboy. This all happened in just a few seconds. The show stopped immediately and they called out for the medics. He laid there motionless for several minutes then he was up and appeared OK (vid). The bucking broncos (pic) (pic) were more exciting to watch in person then on TV. The cowboys were biting the dust right and left (pic). The girls could really handle the horses here they are doing the barrel race (pic) (pic). The bull riding was very exciting as this rider did the time (8 seconds for those not in the know) but then had a hard time getting off. when he finally got down the bull stepped on him and he then fled the field. He was taken away in an ambulance afterward (vid). I guess we have to agree the bull riding was the most entertaining (pic).
All in all it was a very enjoyable event despite the reserved bleached seating numbers were only 18" apart. I don't think any Americans butt is less than 18". So the crowded conditions made for a very friendly atmosphere. we were lucky as the two seats next to mom were empty so we were able to breathe.
Corn dogs and nachos on the way out made for a great day.

Monday 4th February San Benito TX   First Colony $16.50
Another nice day. We registered for another week this day. The only thing on our agenda is lunch with John & Marilynn and Art & Nancy. It was good to see fellow Michiganders. We spent a couple hours talking and comparing notes before returning home.
Comcast really screwed up the web! The made changes to all their PWP ( Personal Web Pages) with no notification. They basically made an address change. Where all Comcast web pages were preface by "mywebpage" they are now prefaced by "home."
Bottom line means changes had to be made to all link addresses within a web page. And some pages contain maybe a dozen links. Need less to say this is a big undertaking and I have no idea if I have made all the necessary corrections. Please let me know if there is a problem connecting where "mywebpage" appears in the address bar. I'm glad I changed most of my web to oshnock.com. I still have a ton on Comcast though.

Tuesday 5th February San Benito TX   First Colony
According to the park calendar there is a bike seminar in the meeting room at 8 am. and doughnuts will be served. Off we go to join fifty other seniors for coffee, doughnuts, and to learn bike safety and to view some new products. The meeting was short and sweet, pun intended. There were door prizes of which we didn't win but mom got a buy one get one free dinner for volunteering in a demonstration.  We didn't linger because Tuesday morning Tom Roper has a Doughnut dance and your mother didn't want to miss it.
Attendance appears down by about ten squares. last year 25 to 30 squares, this dance 18 squares. And, everyone looked a year older. Got reacquainted with Jack and Joan, friends from Ponchos Pond who stay at this park. They had planned Arizona this winter but plans changed for family reasons. They have been looking for a home to buy down here and this week will close on a home in Alamo.
The dance progressed nicely, we did enjoy the turnovers. Came time for the 50/50 and I checked my numbers and found I had 747. I showed Mom the ticket and said they just drew 747 at the bike seminar what's the chance. "Dancers the winning number is 747."  Hey hey hey.... Big smile!
Pool for a time your mother felt she had some turnovers to dispose of.  Stopped at Bike World to buy some lights and mirrors and used our 10% discount coupon. Seeing how we're only having one meal today we had dinner out late this afternoon, Mexican of course. We call it the Michigan restaurant because of the name, "Mi Rancho."
Emails from Errol and Patti both continue to have problems with their web sites as do I. The difficulties are not consistent so I'm assuming Comcast is still making changes and things just aren't going smoothly. Oh the stress!

Wednesday 6th February San Benito TX   First Colony
Winds subsided this morning they have been blowing steady since Saturday. Don-Wes flea market this morning, "Oh boy!" The market located between Donna and Weslaco, hence the name, is the largest perpetual market in the Valley. We shopped and shopped and had to settle for  tee shirts, more "oh boys." Your Mom did see John Wayne doing a book signing so Mom took the opportunity to get this picture.
After the hours of walking the market, since the day was sooo nice, we headed to a sanctuary. The is a new reserved located near Progresso we visited last year. Our first sighting were these interesting paw prints. There only about 3" long but have no idea what kind of critter made them.  I'll have to do some research. One thing or sure this guy didn't make them pic.  We walked here for another couple hours. Very few people and a whole lot of nature
Talked with Errol this evening, still having a little web problem I think we resolved it. He said over 8" of snow on his deck and it was still coming down big time. Another Oh Boy, what a contrast to our day. 
IM-ing Emily confirmed the snow and she said if she got off to school early enough maybe Steph would shovel the snow. :-)
Voice message from Nick he expects to be here in the Valley Saturday. I'll return his call from the dance tomorrow and have Nasser talk with him.
Nice day for us over all...

Thursday 7th February San Benito TX   First Colony
Nick called this morning expecting to be here in the Valley Saturday. 
Dance this morning 10 am.  Nasser is back and called to his repertoire of love songs like ... Grandma get the hammer out there's a fly on Grandpa's head.  We had fun. Nasser had Nela Eaton call a tip. A female caller from New Boston Texas. We were totally impressed with what a dynamic caller she is and with a fantastic voice, check out this short video. Swimming pool this afternoon. Mi Rancho for dinner and home the evening.

Friday 8th February San Benito TX   First Colony
A fun run to McAllen to shop around. On the way back we used the half off coupon, Mom won at the bike seminar, for Ci Ci pizza buffet.  Of course we  ate too much. Your Mom took a dip in the pool while I did something important. 

Saturday 9th February San Benito TX   First Colony
A nice warm sunny day. Mom went to the pool while I, after contemplating chores, cleaned out the shower head. Bits of calcium (from the hot water tank) collect in the strainer and slowed the shower. 
Nick & Patti arrived around 2 pm, checked in and set up "camp." Tonight Nasser is providing a Sweetheart Dinner Dance. Dinner at 5 pm follow by dancing. The dinner was excellent and everyone seemed to have enjoyed it, chicken or beef. 
Afterwards Karen and Husband Dick but on a little show of advance round dancing to everyone's pleasure. Nasser preformed in his usual humorous style keeping everyone laughing and in good spirits. I don't know whether it's the dancers or the caller but Nasser had twenty plus squares doing progressive squares ( that's where dancers move from square to square around the dance floor) and after moving and mixing partners got everyone home again and with their original partners. It must be the dancers... :-)
After the dance someone suggested ice cream, and John was nice enough to offer his larger vehicle to transport these six tired bodies to a Dairy Queen. We consumed and chatted for over an hour. Exhausted and frizzled where home for the night. Thanks Anita and John!

Sunday 10th February San Benito TX   First Colony
Suppose to be hot today but the light clouds kept the temperatures just comfortably warm. Ran Bindi in the field this morning for her exercise when we came across a suitor pursuing her, pic  pic
Picked up Nick & Patti for advance class this afternoon. It's all coming a little easier now. Afterwards Mi Rancho for dinner. Ahh yes Mexican cuisine. We returned home just in time for the ice cream social. Unlike Fun N Sun where they serve over 500 guest in less than 15 minutes, here they serve 50 people in 15 minutes. Ice cream was good.
Worked with Patti to help resolve a few of her web issues.  That's the day!

Monday 11th February San Benito TX   First Colony
Slight overcast with partial sun, nice. Mom took Bindi in for a trim this morning and while we wait for her return we took a little ride to the gulf, Boca Chica. We walked the Man-of-War invested beach and enjoyed watching the surf. Don't know why but the beach was littered with newly washed-up Portuguese man-of-war. These baby jelly fish were all along the beach. Link to a picture of one.  We did get a couple shots of a patient Blue Heron picBlue Heron.  Driving on the beach is not an issue but finding the right path to get on-to the beach poses a problem. We concluded our afternoon with a non-Mexican dinner then picked up the baby. Nick & Pat stopped by later for cocktails and to mull over events!
Word from Saint Clair Short is COLD & SNOW! Boy do we fell bad.. Wish you all were here with us!

Tuesday 12th February San Benito TX   First Colony
Beautiful morning. Today is doughnut dance day. 9:30 am Nick drove us to  Tom Roper's dance (vid). One of the more exciting aspects of this dance actually occurs after the dance. We all circle and say our thank you then Tom says square em up for a "hot hash."  Well only a few of the twenty plus squares return to the floor. We are among them. The dance calls start at a quick pace and progressively get quicker and quicker and quicker. All the patterns are short, there are no long 24 count patterns. Needless to say it's extremely difficult to complete this tip. We had good dancers and made it to the last pattern which we just couldn't quite finish. We were all very pleased with our performance though.
Lunch at home then Mom and I went over to Mexico to pick up some vanilla for Gail. When we got home a couple of ladies Mom meets on the dog walk bought a birthday card for Bindi, her first year today you know. The card was signed Bow Wow! Now this is a little embarrassing so let's just keep this in the family. I would not want any one to know of this. Your Mother put Bindi in the car along with the Riesers and had me navigate all to the nearest DQ where the birthday mutt celebrated her birthday with a small cone. Thank God we didn't have to sing Happy Birthday to her...
Next year she'll probably get sprinkles on her cone...   Good night!

Wednesday 13th February San Benito TX   First Colony
Lay back day. Cool sleeping last night, I think it dipped into the 50s. 
Went to the bike shop with Nick so he could buy some lights for their bikes while Mom took a dip in the pool. Took a little bike ride, Wizard at night and that's it. Quiet day.

Thursday 14th February San Benito TX   First Colony
Happy Valentines day ! Morning doughnut dance this morning. Nasser sings of love. He went through some zany antics to demonstrate how difficult is for men to say the "L" word. (vid).
One thing bad about a morning dance is that it is hard to do ice cream afterward. We did manage an early dinner though at Vicky's. Mexican again and the food was good although the service was a little confused. Nice clean join with a roaming guitar.
Quiet evening at home. 

Wk 7
Friday 15th
 February San Benito TX   First Colony
Wal Mart this morning for a few groceries. Puttered around the house most of the day. A long walk around Fun N  Sun with Bindi, can't get much more laid back then this.  Starting to do a little prep for departure, Monday morning at this point time. In the evening they showed a moved in the meeting room, no charge, 50¢ for a bag of popcorn, Nick treated.  

Saturday 16th February San Benito TX   First Colony
Wind! Oh this Texas breeze. For the past two days we've had a 'strong breeze.' Just strong enough that bike-riding is work, sitting out is frustrating, but it keeps the temperature down, right? Well today it's nuts! Winds all day long steady 30 to 52 mph. Finally the weatherman said the wind will subside at 6 pm. and it did.
To keep from getting seasick this morning we opted for a car ride to Port Mansfield located on the gulf. As we drove northeast with the 'breeze,' we see coming towards us a convoy of bicyclist. Some club had a 50 plus mile ride scheduled. Theses bikers were spread out over ten miles fighting this Texas breeze head on. There must of been over a hundred of them. We stopped to talked to one of them who said he wanted to get 62 miles in. Groan.
Other sights along the way were some of the Texas size birds. We made it to Port Mansfield without a hitch. A small remote community of 400 residence with a large shipping marina. Although they have a deepwater channel to the gulf there didn't appear to be much commercial stuff going on here. We walked the community fishing pier and had some cheese and crackers on the shore.
Back home this evening was the dance that we extended our stay for, prominent caller Mike Sikorsky. Mike, pictured here with Jeanna and Nasser, calls in Mesa Arizona and California. We had over 30 squares dancing which in itself makes for a fun dance. Well you talk about an animated and entertaining caller Mike is among the best. There are a great number of callers with good voices and know the patterns but I've come to realize what makes a great caller is their ability to entertain. You can sit at a table and not dance and enjoy this caller. Mike wears a wireless mike so he can be quite animated. While we were concentrating on his calling and trying to keep up with the fast pace of things guess who appears in your square, yep the caller. He'll push aside one of the men and does some of the moves then on to the next.
I did a little video of him just to get some idea of his animations and style. (vid)
Wound up after the dance and not knowing what to do, we decided to go for and ice cream.. Hmmm you saw it coming huh. John and Anita joined us and we talked until they closed the DQ...  It's been a great stay here!

Sunday 17th February San Benito TX   First Colony
Gorgeous day. Light breeze full sunshine and only 84°.  The Schnauzers got together to say good buy picRose and Linda have two each and we only have one. Linda has an invisible fence around their camper, note the flags.
Nick drove us to the advance class this afternoon where we stretched our brains some more. We had a good time and afterward we said good bye to our follow dancers and to Jeanna and Nasser as well.
Nick and Patti treated us to a farewell dinner at Lone Star where I tried to have something different but ended up with Mahi Mahi. Hmm good. Anita and John joined us for and early dinner as well. 
We it made home in time for the ice cream social at the club house and then afterwards  ready for tomorrow's departure.   

Monday 18th February  San Benito TX to Carrizo TX  263 miles gas $2.79, camp $18.
7:45 am. Shutting down for travel.. Don't know when we'll get another connection as we travel west in southern Texas..
Started under cloudy skies but as we mover north skies cleared and the sun warmed to mid 80's.  We are staying at Bush Country RV, fifty sites no WIFI. 
Talked with John & Marilynn who invited us to join them in El Paso. As retired military John gets to stay at military campgrounds at a very reasonable price. And... the best part, he can sponsor guest to join him. A lot of military installations have campgrounds including Selfridge. Fort Bliss here we come!

Tuesday 19th February  Carrizo, TX  to  Alpine, TX  302 miles gas $2.97, camp $19.81.
9:30 am Rolling again. Shot leaving Carrizo campground. Greatest travel day today, tailwind almost all day. Two lane hwy no traffic all day long. Near the end of our driving day we are entering hill country.
We ended our day in Alpine TX. We've stayed here at Pecan Grove RV Park before. We should be in El Paso by late afternoon tomorrow that will be our our last stop in Texas, boy this is a big state.

Wednesday 20th February  Alpine, TX  to El Paso 202 miles gas $2.99, camp $15.
9:00 am. filled the tank and started heading west. Got moving to about 40 mph and heard this awful squealing. Slowed down, sped up, still there. Stopped thought about it, then started again, still there. pulled to the shoulder while still doing 25 mph shut off the engine, no change still there. Stopped. Wheels or drive shaft? Went back to the campground got on the phone and computer to chase down  a Ford dealer. After one hour and fifteen minutes and several 800 numbers on hold I learned the closest dealer is 60 miles away and doesn't do RV's. Talked with owner of the campground and he suggested Alpine Motors who are very nice people. Followed his suggestion down the road to a ten foot high fence then around corner. After driving two miles and not finding a ten foot high fence the squealing stopped. Came back and finally found a six foot fence and Alpine Motors. The mechanic took the Greyhawk for a spin and gave me the confidence that it was just something stuck in the brakes like a stone that wore away. It's now 11 am and we are finally heading west.
In Van horn we stopped at Chuy's Spanish Inn for lunch. I think this is the forth time we ate there and they still don't remember us.. hmmm.
We pulled into El Paso around 4 pm local and met John and Marilynn at Fort Bliss RV park. Wow talk about first class! I guess the military spares no expense. I'll get some pictures tomorrow.
We visited for a couple hours comparing notes before settling in for the night.

Thursday 21st February  El Paso
Here is a picture of our campsites. Cooler today with gusty winds. We decided to tour El Paso's old town. John drove and we were only minutes away from downtown. We parked in the convention center and visited the tourist center to learn what was available to us. We decided on the self guided walking tour. This is the newest old town I've experienced. Although there is some interesting architecture in the older buildings and interesting history, the walk was just mostly exercise. 
Did a little shopping at Wal Mart in the afternoon. After dinner John and Marilynn came over and we played a couple games of Wizard. They are good card players but I kept score and didn't cut them any slack. 

Wk 8
Friday 22nd
 February  El Paso TX to Deming NM   110 miles Gas $2.99 Camp $13 PA
Said goodbye to John and Marilynn and left around 9ish. Winds are scheduled to be out of the west for the next few days. It's quiet this morning so we headed west along I-10. Headwinds were schedule to increase this afternoon as they did. We opted to pause and wait out the breeze. At Deming we pulled into Low Hi campground. A very clean and orderly campground with large sites.  Had lunch then took a ride to Rock Hound State Park. Picture this, your mother with Wal Mart baggies in hand hiked up the mountain pathway to find rocks. The 88 year old lady at the park office said this path is only one mile. What she neglected to say was the first half the hike was straight up hill. We survived. Two bags of rocks and a tugging mutt we made it back to the car. The wind was a little puffy but not crazy.

Saturday 23rd February  Deming NM   
At 9 am. we are rock and rolling.. opted to spend another night as the winds remain directly out of the west 25 to 35 mph. We'll do a little side tripping as the sun is shinning and out-of-the-wind temperatures are warm. This wind kicks up dust storms often. Signs along the roads warn of low visibility due to dust storms. Here is a picture of the same mountain at two different times. Mom decided on Mexico as a destination this day. driving pass local color on the way. Heading south about 30 miles on NM11, first stop is Columbus a pre civil war town use by General Pershing to combat Pancho Villa. This is a picture of the general area of the visitor center and museum. After touring the museum we drove another three miles south to the border crossing. There's no Rio Grand River here so a fence is use to separate the countries. The entrance to Las Palomas Mexico, a one street town with few stores, is a simple walk/drive through. No crowds here. The most visited The Pink Store, is clean and well stocked. We shopped for a while to work up an appetite. At the rear of the store is a restaurant where we dined. Before dinner a Margarita. I had  the usual, enchiladas with green sauce while your mother had peppers stuffed with cheese. Dinner was $18 including drinks. I was looking to buy a little something for the dive shop but couldn't get into my trunk. In back of the restaurant I had a chance to meet General Pershing and Pancho Villa. Afterward we returned to the street to enjoy the street music and one of the local poor people.  Time to head back across the border. Good bye Las Palomas. (Vid)

Sunday 24th February  Deming NM  to Tucson AZ  220 miles gas $2.95 camp $27
I think we have a handle on the name of this park "LOW-HI."  Loaners On Wheels - Hello! (pic) Here is rig 34' towing a Saturn wagon with a boat on top and is driven by a loaner, a woman in her late 50's.(pic)  Didn't get to talk with her other than hello and goodbye when we left.
Goodbye Land of Enchantment and hello Grand Canyon State. On the road at 8 am while the winds are quiet, zero in fact. Bright sunshine on the open road, looks like we're off to a great start. As I pull into the truck stop adjacent to the Best Western figuring I could get two birds with one stone, fill-up and free wifi. After fill-up I pulled ahead across the street to the truck parking lot and a little closer to Best Western. Mom, who has the computer on her lap, I asked "Do we have connection yet?" "Nope."  Pulled a little closer now we are across the street from the motel. "Now?" "Nothing." Dang if I pull up any farther I can't turn around and will have to follow the frontage road for 12 miles before I can get on the interstate. "Are you sure." "Nothing." Ok, I nudged to the front of the motel still nothing.  Heck I'm closer then I was yesterday and we had 5 bars. I look over and see the wifi switch on the computer is still off!  Double groan !!
I sent the mail updated the web and started heading down the service drive to access the I-10. No cars or trucks either way this will be a breeze. Six miles down the road Barriers across the entire road DEAD END!  Groan Groan Groan. Real tight tried to make a U turn, too tight. Get out disconnect the car, jockeyed around, got both units turned around, connected and we on our way back up the road to the entrance ramp. 
Two birds with one stone... hmmm.
It's been a great drive day the scenery is outstanding (pic) whether we are moving or standing. Arrived at Prince of Tucson RV Park in time to enjoy Tucson's first above 80° day.

Monday 25th February  Tucson AZ  Museum cost $6 pp
Heading over to the boneyard today. Boneyard you say? Yes the military stores all the old planes that have been taken out of service here in Tucson. We drove over to the Davis Monthan Air Force Base and while driving we passed the "yard." (pic) There are thousands of old planes stored here. Planes of every description. After driving around the outside we went into the Pima Air & Space Museum. Inside there are planes of every size. Here is the smallest and the one of the largest. The out door static display is the largest we've every seen. It looks like there is every type of plane ever made here. They have a tram ride through the area but we opted to walk among the planes. Here's a picture that all the x military men will recognize (pic)...  if they're my age.  how about it William?
This is one of my favorites I think it's called Cherokee.
Yuma tomorrow.

Tuesday 26th February  Tucson AZ  to Wellton AZ 209 miles, gas $2.95 camp $9
Well we almost made Yuma we're a little short due to the reasonable cost of camping, $9 compared to $37 in Yuma. They have some very large nice RV resorts in Yuma. The girl at the visitor center said the population nearly doubles in winter, so you know there 's a lot of resorts here.
Since we arrived early we took a ride to Yuma and checked the layout of the city then visited the Yuma Prison. The prison opened in 1876 and closed in 1909. A couple of neat things one of which was the way they took picture of the inmates, using a mirror to gain a profile. Check out these two inmates. (pic) (pic). The dark hole is a dark cell for the mean ones. Mom's checking out the cells from the yard. Here are a couple of the real inmates. (pic) (pic).

WB, Here is a link to everything I shot at the air base: Tucson AFB 

Wednesday 27th February   Wellton AZ
I'm surprised by the train traffic. Long trains go by our campground every hour in either direction. I wonder why there are so many trucks on the highway? We have a triple track here and every few trains wait here until another passes in the other direction before they proceed on. In the past hour five trains went by.
This date will be remembered. We dipped our toes into California! A picture perfect morning we decided to head to Algodones Mexico via California. We headed west across the Colorado river and then headed south to the border. Nice large parking lot on the American side, $5 all day. We walked into Mexico like other crossings no customs, no cost. First appearance is the town is larger and cleaners then others. Some of the windows were clean and shinny. There were loads of tourist milling around. We watched some sidewalk entertainment that cost me a buck, dancers and fun-makers. Mom found a little something she couldn't pass up. We walked and shopped walked and shopped then we ate. Oh did I say we shopped? We spend a good couple hours walking around and after tiring our selves out we figured it was time to head back to the border. We turned the corner and could not believe our eyes. The line to customs was over a good city block long. Oh boy can you believe this?  I was tired just walking to the end of the line. One and one half hours later we walked through customs.
California here we come!

Thursday 28th February   Wellton AZ  to  San Diego CA  171 miles $3.05 gas camp wk $211 PA
Our first impression of California, large sand dunes and big people toys. For the first 30 miles or so is nothing but pure sand. We would see pockets of flatland where a number of RVs are gathered with all their toys. We had a very pleasant drive in with only one tough hill to cross. The homes all look nice and picturesque as we entered San Diego. We checked in early. Our campground "Campland on the Bay" is located right in the city. We walked and checked out the beach and the pool.  Our campground is about half full as high season starts in June. So I suspect this 80° day is not the norm for this time of the year. I think tomorrow we'll spend familiarizing ourselves with the immediate area. 
Mom talked with Aunt Dory's kids, Aunt Dory is in the hospital again with pneumonia and not doing well. 

Wk 9
Friday 29th
February   San Diego CA
Bumming around day. Drove to the airport so when Emily and Katy arrive we'll be able to find them. It appears to be and easy endeavor. Next was to locate the Midway aircraft carrier, which we did (pic). That will be a tour to take. Then we punched in Matthew's address and drove over to his place to see if he could join us for lunch. Ate half of the biggest burrito I've ever seen as we updated our family news.  Captured a little of the skyline as we crossed over the bridge to Coronado Island where we got our first view of the Pacific Ocean. For all the beach here there is very limited access to the beach at this location. Maybe because of all the Military facilities around here?
Returned home to meet a couple new friends. Mom can talk to anyone. It may not be summer here yet but boy you can sure tell spring has sprung (pic).

Saturday 1st March   San Diego CA
Cloudy this day. Touring again, went to the shore then north to La Jolla (la Hoy-a). This area is a popular beach/surf area. I found one thing wrong with this part of California. I've been complaining the last couple years at the fifty plus resorts at which we've been staying. You never saw anything but OLD people. I mean day in day out gray gray gray. Well here in San Diego  I haven't seen anyone my age, there all kids here, roller boarding, surfing, skating, running, biking. Just can't win. Here at La Jolla beach surfers wait for the big wave (pic). Then catching the wave (pic). We stood on the bluff and watched all the goings on for some time (pic).
Next, back down south near our campground to Mission Beach. I guess you could compare this to Venice Beach in LA. There is a beach walkway that goes for miles with loads of things to do. Even on this, what we call cool day, the walk and beach have a ton of people doing their thing (pic). Among the toys available is a surfing water wall. Water shoots up a hill and a want-to-be surfer tries to ride this water flow. I took this video of a young-en trying his skill (vid).
I mentioned that the beaches beside restricting, glass, smoking, also restricted dogs. Well found a beach for dogs. Yep a whole beach dedicated to the mutt. Here we exercised Bindi. A beach for dogs.

Sunday 2nd March   San Diego CA
Finally, sunshine in the morning. This is the first morning we have sunshine at the crack of dawn. Warm and sunny all day. Today we checked out San Diego's "Old Town." There is a lot here, history, shops, and food. We first visited Presidio Park Mission next to Old Town (pic). It's location atop a bluff offers nice vistas of the surroundings. The gardens were park like and well cared for (pic).
Around the corner to old town where we had an opportunity to shop. The area encompasses about a four block area of some historical structures of the first town of San Diego. A nice walk around on a warm sunny day. After exhausting ourselves we ate at Casa De Reyes, sitting out on the patio (pic). Home for the evening.

Monday 3rd March   San Diego CA
Back to the dog beach to exercise Bindi before proceeding south along the shore line to the 1,971 foot long public pier. That's close to a half mile long. Can you believe the signs on the beaches and parks, no smoking? We walked the pier and had some pier fries at the cafe near the end of the pier while Bindi slept. We then drove along (pic) the beach and admired the nice homes. Continued on down to Point Loma just in time to catch an aircraft carrier coming in (pic). We walked out to the point to enjoy the incredible view of downtown San Diego. This is a National Park that closes at 5 pm. That was very disappointing because the night view of the city has to be incredible from here. Came home to the pool and hot tube before settling in for the night.

Tuesday 4th March   San Diego CA
Family day. Drove over to Ken's this morning.  He lives about ten miles from here so it was a quick hop. We caught up on family matters then we toured his factory. I enjoyed the simplicity of the production line. The way it's set up I think he could produce twelve units a week without any problem.
We went to the Lotus Pond for lunch. I asked the waiter what he recommended for me to eat and after a struggle with the language barrier I agreed with his recommendation. Something beef and like Mongolian Beef he said. It was scrumptious.  We posed for a photograph which they didn't say they would post on the wall.
Afterwards we stopped to visit with daughter Renee who works her agency from home. Got this picture in her yard

Wednesday 5th March   San Diego CA
Heading up towards La Jolla and then to Torrey Pines. La Jolla is such a great little town on the edge of the ocean. Very upscale (like everything around here). We stopped to over look the Pacific Ocean and found these little fat things laying all over the beach. The seals appear to be very accustom to humans as our presents didn't really spook them (vid). We hung around a long time just watching them.
Driving up to Torrey Pines (world class golf course) we passed through a couple more high rent areas. As we passed California College San Diego we saw this small sign that read "Gliderport" we decided to check it out. Here we watched people run off the cliff just for fun (pic). We watched as they ran off the wall and the up-draft carried them gently off (pic). They wore these large back packs, it looked as if they were sitting in a lounge chair, as they drifted by. I asked  the coordinator who said the the pack was to insure a soft landing. It was mostly foam and also carried an emergency chute. It all looks like great fun (vid).
On the way home I shot a couple of pictures of the homes. Every home is so different from it's neighbor. (pic) (pic). What a great day!

Thursday 6th March   San Diego CA
Still have a few more areas to check out. Found the location of the Gas Lamp Quarter. Then over to Sea Port Village and after making mental notes of parking and the likes of the area we drove south to the Mexican border evaluating the congestion and confusion. Alright Emily and Katie we're ready for you.
Nasser you'd be proud. Ken invited us to join him and Renee's family at Craw Daddy's for dinner. Food was excellent, kids love the place cause they serve with no eaten tools, fingers only (pic). I almost tried the crawfish, but settled on catfish. Steve showed me how the crawfish are eaten so with all this knowledge, next time...
Thanks for the evening. Ken, Renee, Steve, Tanner, and Hunter.

Wk 10
Friday 7th March   San Diego CA
Mom's been talking almost everyday with family regarding aunt Dory's health and this morning we received a call Dory has pass away. It will difficult to move forward today.
Busy day. First things first, called the airport to check on arrivals. After pushing way too many buttons and re-calling several times.... 'no information gained.' On line with computer to check flight arrival time. No flight 3079 from Detroit anywhere. Fumbled around and found a flight 2079 from Chicago arrives 10:24 am. Looks good, off to the airport to pick up guests. Mom stood at the foot of the baggage stairs holding identification sign. Welcome to San Diego Emily and Katie! In the car and off to the beach, they were in the water by 11:30 am. (pic).  Lunch at Canes on Mission Beach. We sat overlooking the Pacific Ocean. After a good lunch we took a mini tour of the dog beach and a San Diego overlook from Loma Point, then back to the camper. In order to burn off a little pent up energy the girls went biking, and then swimming. 
Cousin Ken invited us over to visit with his son Darrin and his family this evening. We had a very enjoyable evening gabbing about everything for several hours. Here's a (pic) of Darrin's family. 
The girls were sound asleep by the time we reached home. Some things never change.

Saturday 8th March   San Diego CA
Boy oh boy. I think I've said this before, but I'll say it again. I think on each adventure you have at lease one extraordinary memorable experience and I think we just had ours. We started off normal enough with a trip to the seal rookery  and a stay dry trip down the beach. Things are going along as expected as we headed out near Torrey Pines to watch the chutist do their thing. Now somewhere along here something went a amiss The winds were light and no one was in the air so we walked over to the edge of the cliff. Knowing how much the girls enjoy walking the beach, and I knew Grandma wasn't up for the long walk down, I suggest the girls hike by themselves down to the beach. Off they went as I took picture after picture of them descending the long long path down. They were gone for some time before I could see they were on the way back up. Well I think this short video says it all (vid). "GRAMPA DID YOU KNOW THAT'S A NUDE BEACH?"  Heavens no child!  "He said is this our first time on a nude beach, let me take a picture to send to your mom." click  click  click
Needless to say the girls spend the next several hours on their cell-phones tell everyone in the world of how embarrassed they were.  What was dinner conversation about you ask (pic) well maybe not. As a diversion gramps encouraged them to exchange some of their Spanish with Martin who was from Argentina (pic). 
Matt stopped by later in the evening and here was a whole lot of talk about...

Sunday 9th March   San Diego CA
Quiet day today. San Diego zoo is planned. Started of with friendly duck feeding then a ride down to the city water front. This is the location of the aircraft carrier Midway. The girls did a photo shoot (pic) (pic) among some well recognizable figures before we scooted off to the zoo.
There must of been a million people at the zoo the giant parking lot looked to be overflowing. We took the bus tour of the park then the aerial bucket ride across the top of the park just to get a feel for the park. Finally we checked out some animals, ate some snacks, watched the gorillas for a while, then grabbed a Häagen-Dazs for the walk to the parking lot.
Dinner at home then a little ride to Coronado Island to check out the money and watch the sun set.  

Monday 10th March   San Diego CA
Tijuana here we come.. The girls are all excited, it took them less than two hours to get ready this morning. Naw they did good, we were on the road by 9:30 am. We parked close to the border crossing and in no time we're in Mexico (pic). No inspection, no cost just walk in. Shopping (pic) at all the stall will takes weeks. Shoes (pic), nope. Tee shirts (pic), maybe. 
Walking the market on a Monday morning we found the streets empty. They say tourism is down due to the long wait returning to the states. I suspect the crime rate is also slowing things down. Comparing Tijuana to other border cities we found it much cleaner. Merchants that had no customers were actually sweeping the sidewalks and cleaning their merchandise. Windows sparkled, it is a different Mexico than we're accustom to. You can see the absence of tourist here (pic). Only a buck for this shot (pic). 
More shopping or I should say being encouraged to "enter my shop." The girls got cornered in this silver shop with a smooth talking hombre (pic).  Here's what we got a good deal on (pic). Back to the street for more shopping (pic). Well what do you think, how do I look in this? (pic).  Good, you both look good, like the Mexicans say "Barbies." (pic). 
Time to eat, "eat in Mexico?" Yep (pic). We had a real nice waitress who was kicked out of the states last month. Her three children can stay in the states. She said it would cost her $3,500 for a coyote to smuggle her back in, but she was afraid. She wants to do it legally. The girls spoke Spanglish with her..  (pic).

Tuesday 11th March   San Diego CA - Campland to Mission Bay Campground
Departure day. Everyone's up early and scurrying around doing makeup, selecting wardrobe, and packing. We're done early now what? We drove over to the Ocean Beach Pier to watch the surfers for and hour or so. Got a couple neat shots while watching the herd of surfers  (pic).
We arrived at the air terminal early. The modern check in method I found fascinating. 
You simply walkup to the check in counter where they now have numerous screens. You plug your credit card in to one and the screen shows "welcome Emily, would you like an upgrade?" you answer a couple questions then all your tickets are printed out. They tell you what gate to go to. If you have bags to check in you place them on the scale and your claim check is printed. No personal contact with anyone. At the gate we hugged the girls and sent them on their way.
We disconnected and moved to the campground next door, Mission Bay, to take advantage of Pass Port America discount. Next we caught up on five days nap.
Looking over some pictures, I have these of the $375  per night in season camp site. Here is the outside view of the privacy fence that surrounds the camp site H8. Now behind the fence they have a hot tub and all the camping things you may need. I held the camera over the fence for this shot. This is the only high price site at the campground. Would you believe it was rented out this past weekend. 
As we leave San Diego our overall view is that we found it to be a very picturesque area. The hilly setting for the the home-sites makes for very pleasant driving. The second thing that caught our attention right off is the large number of street people meandering around. Next we found everything to very clean and inviting. They say there are some low class neighborhoods, we never seen any. I guess the single thing I liked best about this area of more than a million people and after driving more than a thousand miles through the city streets, I did not see ONE single "No turn on red" sign!! Not around the schools, not around the downtown, not around the high touristy areas, notta - none - zero..  
As we head east tomorrow we'll be traveling through remote areas again with spotty wifi.

Wednesday 12th March   San Diego CA -  Mission Bay Campground
We're still here. Mom decided we should tour the Midway before leaving the area so we paid for another night on way over to the boat. For a mere $10pp we were given individual headsets with ipod type players where you simply punched a number of the display and you could listen to the high quality narration during your walking tour.
They had a nice static display of aircraft topside. It's hard to realize the size of this boat. Here's Mom near the bow and you can see how small the aircraft are near mid-ship (pic). Here you can see the "island," what I knew as the conning tower, where the ship is driven from and all air operations are handled from. I took the opportunity to handle the helms for a time while we docked. Below deck, on the hanger deck, there are several vintage WWII planes displayed. Back top-side I took this shot of the WWII end of the war famous photo, now a statue. After we finished walking the decks, where 4500 servicemen worked daily until 1992, we relaxed and had a sandwich on the fan-tail.
Goodbye Midway and Good bye San Diego

Thursday 13th March   San Diego, CA -  Gila Bend, AZ 285 miles $3.25 gas, Holtz Shell RV $9 PA
We left around 9 am and had a real nice easy drive. As our first hour of driving was over the mountains, I did not not hook-up the car and Mom drove behind me. It work out great as I was able to maintain highway speeds up grade and it was for only a short time. Here's a neat finding, you may think you're looking at a palm tree but it's really a cell tower.
I communicated with Nasser and learned some big news. Gary Shomake will not return to Mesa AZ next season but will remain in Tennessee. This leaves a very large group of dancers without a caller. Hence, Tom Roper will leave his sizable group of dancers in Harlingen TX and go to Mesa AZ next season hoping to fill Gary's shoes. With all the a Hassel at Fun N Sun Nasser said he will be calling for Roper's group in Harlingen. So that's a lot of moving for some big names in calling.

Wk 11
Friday 14th March
   Gila Bend, AZ    Holtz Shell RV $9 PA
Today we spent checking out Gila Bend, a stage coach stop on the way to San Diego. After the day of driving through the surrounding are area we decided the stage coach didn't have stop here. 
One of the highlights is the desert is in bloom at this time of the year and we were able to enjoy the many varieties of wild blooms. We stopped along the road so your Mom could pick some flowers (pic). 
One fact I found interesting is in driving to this area and around this area we observed large patches of pail size rocks. When looking at the rocks they looked like they were covered with a black dried oil (?). Some of the rocks that had been move or over turned where a light color on the bottom. We seen these patches scattered over a ten mile area. Did some investigating and found no answers. Here's a picture of a smaller sample piece. It is more black than the picture shows.

Saturday 15th March   Gila Bend, AZ to Organ Pipe NP AZ 70 miles south  $6
As we were preparing to leave Mom suggested going south to Organ Pipe National Park since the desert is in full bloom. Why not I say, so we go. We arrive at this true campers park, as they provide no services. They do have large sites with cement pads so it's not all rough going. Took the bikes off as the visitors center is a couple miles away and the day is perfect... again. On our bike ride I did shoot some pictures of the desert flowers (pic) (pic) (pic).  There is a weather front to come through tonight, the temperatures are to drop to the mid 50s. Warming during the day to only the high 60s. 
The evening we took the girl for a walk.

I did a little research on the black and white rocks. if I understood this right, 36 million years ago local volcanoes periodically oozed the dark lava, called rhyolite. Most of it was too thick and gooey to flow vary far. in between lava eruptions, pyroclastic explosions hurled volcanic ash skyward. his later became the lighter bands of rock call tuff.  To me it appears as if the pyroclastic was laid first than the rhyolite flowed over it..

Sunday 16th March    Organ Pipe NP AZ 
Should we stay? We walked the perimeter and found the trail leading to Victoria Mine only a two and half mile hike (one way). How inviting is that! We can do five miles no sweat. Back to the camper, hiking shoes, check - water bottles, check - Pukaskwa walking sticks, check, - snacks, check. Weather is partly cloudy 30% chance of showers and about 65 degrees. 10:30 am we're off. 
The trail is very visible patted down stone next to natural stone. Well it appears very apparent anyway. Pleasant walking the desert plants are numerous and most in bloom with giant sequoias every where. Over the first ridge down through the wash up over the second ridge and so it went. We walked and walked and walked, wash after wash. I quit counting after eight washes. Concern about the dark heavy clouds to the southwest of us, they appear to be stationary. We've been walking west a couple hours now and the clouds haven't appeared to move much. Now two an half miles is not far for young city dwellers. But, have you ever tried it on loose large movable stones of ALL sizes. I tried to convince your mother to turn around several times due to a possible storm, the condition of her feet, and the possibility we'll miss lunch. Un-deterred we mushed on. 
Exhausted and famished we arrived at the remnants of a partially collapsed stone building. The site is neat with the mine pits open but covered with steel rails. We scouted the area and seated ourselves for the snacks. Hardboiled eggs, cheese and crackers along with pop, hmmm good. Rested and replenishes it was time to move on. The dark skies appear to be staying south of us although they have moved east. We're the last to leave the site as there were a few others here when we arrived. Here's the picture, two great grand parents alone on the rocky trail desert storms pending supplies gone the only thing driving us on is.... lunch. It's well past 2:00 pm now the fear of being wash away in the turbulent waters of the heavy desert rains has diminished as the sight of the campground is now in view. I looked back and could still your mother trying to make it up the steep sloop of the last wash. I refrained from running the last hundred yards as not to upset you Mom.
Regardless of the reality of it "It was no walk in the park."

Monday 17th March    Organ Pipe NP AZ to Benson AZ 185 miles Cochise Terrace $19
After a long nights sleep we awoke to the predicted weather, cooler, part sun and mixed whatever. We were off and had a very nice drive. In fact this drive is what we like about traveling the back country. After leaving the Park area we headed east on AZ86, two lanes no traffic. When I say no traffic I mean not a car for fifteen or twenty minutes at a go. The scenery is not like the Shores, here we have Saguaro on the mountain sides by the thousands. Distant clouds and mountain formations that can't be captured by camera. We could see showers off in the distance but that was it. We arrived in Benson AZ a little after noon with some beautiful clouds. We found Cochise Terrace RV Resort for a mere $15 a night PA. This is one of the nice campgrounds we've ever seen. Here's our camp site and it includes the picnic table. The location is on a small hill that is located in a very large valley surrounded by mountains in the distance.  Paradise!
On top of all this we received some button popping news. Our Grandson Tyler after auditioning for the musical school at Western University he was invited to the Michigan State Finals for Solo performance and small group from his high school. This is a pure judging atmosphere where he played in a small room with judges and a few family and friends present. For the solo performance he scored 84 a meager one point shy of the best. But, his trio of French horn, trombone, and his trumpet scored high placing them in the number one tops position.
Nice blow Ty.

Tuesday 18th March       Benson AZ
Everything is going well. Weather is again perfect so we decided to visit the Saguaro National Park. It was only a ten mile drive. Before we hit the park it was necessary to fill the tanks.. At the visitor center we evaluated the numerous hiking trails and opt for the eight mile drive through. It was enjoyable but we didn't discover anything new.
Back at home we relaxed the rest of the evening for the big drive tomorrow.

Wednesday 19th March   Benson AZ to Las Cruces NM  242 miles Gas 3.15 Great Western Sky $14 PA
Nice easy start this morning. The ride was uneventful. Sometimes when she's bored she'll lay her head on my shoulder while driving along (pic). We stopped in Lordsburg NM for a 'in the restaurant' lunch. We asked the girl at the visitors center for a good Mexican restaurant and she recommended Kranberry's.  That didn't sound Mexican but we went anyway. Clean and the food was a little spicy for a Mexican restaurant but it was good. Pulled into a campground a little south of Las Cruces for the night. Easy day.

Thursday 20th March      Las Cruces NM
Bindi asked if she could go with us this morning, how could we refuse. We want to tour the "old Town" of Las Cruces, and found much to our delight it is a great place. These are original buildings hundred and fifty years old. Shopping was great, we found this neat little shop with a department of sauces with samples, that was almost lunch. The name is Solamente and we made some purchases there. Then there are the places that are hard to pass up (pic).  Of course after all that shopping lunch. We ate in one of the oldest building in the area. It's the same place Billy the Kid ate and others. here's what the building looks like (pic) and here's my favorite (pic). (Three enchiladas covered in a red sauce, shredded lettuce & tomatoes, Mexican salad of cabbage-onion-oil-vinegar & rice, beans. Oh that was good!)
After lunch a slow ride home checking out the local architecture. Of course the pouch had to have her walk (pic) while we checked out mother nature. All this view was from our campsite.

Wk 12
Friday 21st March     Las Cruces NM to Van Horn TX 150 miles gas $3.15 Mountain View $12.50 PA
Decided to take in the War Eagles Air Museum just west of here a few miles. This is another great small privately owned Air Museum. They only have 37 war birds but they're all flyable and in pristine condition. It's really inspiring to walk among these vintage birds. Here's a P40, Corsair and here we're walking past the stealth fighter when Carol asks "Where's the plane?"  Dahh... it's a Stealth.  "Oh!"
After spending a couple hours at the museum we headed east on I-10. Lost an hour today through a time zone. We stopped in Van Horn TX for a coffee at Mc Donald's and plan for camping. It's now after 4 pm so I said why don't check-out the campground in Belmorea about forty miles down the road and see if we can get in. Mom called and called but was continuously busy. So we checked out Pass Port American right here in Van Horn. We called but got a recorder that said "Come on down." Instead of taking a chance 40 miles down the road and being turn out, we drove a couple of miles down the road and pulled into Mountain View RV. We disembarked and walked to the outside foyer of the office and found the door locked. Mom was reading the instruction on the wall which said to pick a site and put the money in the slot. As Mom was reading another camper approached the office door, as I'm watching this lady in blue walk nearer I realized we know this person. Mom turns around and the two are literally nose to nose and looking totally bewildered at each other. Marilynn! Carol! Then of course in concert "What are you doing here?"
We set-up close to each other so we could catch up on the past weeks (pic). Isn't that something!

Saturday 22nd March     Van Horn TX to Fort Stockton, TX  117 miles Park View $11
Heading a little more east this day. A short drive to Park View RV in Fort Stockton. This appears to be a hard pressed area for some reason. Campground has all that we need but the visual leaves a little something to be desired. Town symbol the Road Runner. We found a few historical sites in town around the original town fort. Here's a Episcopal church from the past (pic). We had 80° today and they predicting 50°s for Easter but back to 75° for Monday.

Sunday 23rd March     Fort Stockton, TX  
Happy Easter! Cold and cloudy giving thought to moving on but wind is out of the east. We have checked out of the campground with the intention of moving closer to the expressway to what looked like a nicer park, it wasn't. Talk with John & Marilynn who said they are on there way here. The other campgrounds are of equal stature so we met John & Marilynn in Wal Mart's lot and decided to return to Park View RV till tomorrow.
We got together this evening for a couple games of wizard. John kick butt and walked home with puffed shirt.

Monday 24th March     Fort Stockton, TX to Sonora TX, 135 miles gas $3.24 Caverns RV $15
Whopper drive :-)  We stopped in Sonora because "the book" said prominent geologist claim this is the the most beautiful cave in the world! Eight miles off the road in to the country side we drove around the gift shop to a large parking lot with Peacocks roaming.  I proclaimed "We've been here before." After a pause and discussion we all agreed, June 5th 1995, we were here but not in the cave. 
At the price of a double saw buck a piece, I can see why. Cave temperature was 85° and it is beautiful (pic). The formations are very different from what we've experienced elsewhere (pic) (pic). The cave is like being inside a giant geode. In fact the guide pointed out in a wall the pockets of geode stones. This is a very spectacular cave. 
The grounds provided camping for a reasonable cost so we stayed the night.

 Tuesday 25th March     Sonora TX, to Fredericksburg TX,  118 miles  Fredericksburg RV $15
Whopper drive again. I did some computing in my head and the rate of declination in miles driven, the overall distance to drive, the things left to see, I calculate we well arrive in Michigan in time for Thanksgiving dinner.
In the process of driving towards Austin, the navigator was digesting "the book" which explained the National Museum of the Pacific War is located in Fredericksburg and we'll be driving through. We of course stopped in Fredericksburg for lunch and found this is a neat little berg. Lots of arts and crafts shops, German restaurants (thinking of the Reuters) where we in fact ate at one with pastry shop attached. How good is that? Food was excellent. At the restaurant we learned the Museum and LBJ's ranch were very worthwhile, and of a nice RV park near by that is reasonable.  So after lunch we parked the rig for the night. We went to the Nimitz Museum and found it'll take in several hours to do and we could do it over a couple days. This day we walked the history of WWII, enjoyed seeing a B25 on the deck of the 'in house' carrier. We watched as Doolittle looked to crank his engine (pic) and then we watched the propeller spin (pic). Also housed here is a two man Japanese sub captured in Pearl and then the typical static displays. Japan has donated a memorial garden to the Museum in honor of the fight for freedom. Tomorrow we'll do the outside tour.
Talked with Nick and they will be heading this direction we'll see if we can hookup for at lease some time. Mom made contact with her cousin Denny (in Austin) and it looks like we'll be getting together this weekend so this will dictate some of our itinerary.
Also talked for sometime with Errol this evening and after hashing out some computer stuff we find the weather is settling down back home so maybe we'll be able to head north soon.

Wednesday 26th March  Fredericksburg TX
Cloudy in the AM so we waited till noon before heading to the outdoor portion of the Museum. This was neat, they have depicted a typical beachhead in the islands of WWII. They included the landing craft and pillboxes. Everything was done well. 
We walked the main street of Fredericksburg afterwards. It's a good thing we did this after the museum as your Mom was a little tired and not up for too much shopping. Although we did go through a few shops. In fact in one of the antique shops we found our old cash register with a $395 price tag on it. Hang onto it Craig, one day you be able to retire on it. 
This is quite a tourist town. We understand there are over 300 bed an breakfast here. The place is very clean and lots of small town atmosphere. A lot of the buildings  range in age from the 1860 to 1900s and appear in good repair. After the town walk we again ate German, at an outdoor cafe called Silver Grill. Then name is not German but the food was as was the beer.  Hmmm good, you'd enjoy this place Ron.
Back home I relaxed while Mom cleaned and cleaned an..... Gosh I'm tired!

Fredericksburg         Fredericksburg RV Park      Pacific War Museum

Thursday 27th March  Fredericksburg TX to Austin TX     88 miles
Early start this morning for we want to stop in world famous Luckenbach TX, population 3. Willie Nelson and other singers made a song about Luckenbach and everyone in the world except me knows of this burg. It was only 8:30 am so there's not much activity here, but there is music every night in the picken plucken palace. Here they encourage impromptu performances by anyone who plays or wants to jam. Judging from the surroundings they must draw a crowd. The outdoor bar wasn't opened yet but Mom found the bartender to fact find with. Although all the buildings  were open sale staff were in short supply. The general store has a policy to self shop and place cash in the can. Here is the general store. The adjoining bar was also vacant. They closed the post office in 1971when the population fell from 29.
We moved on to Austin, a very clean and vibrant city. We toured the capital building which we enjoyed. It was after hours and appears everyone went home, we felt we were the only people in this very large building. The interior is beautiful with a lot of high quality wood trim. Outside the grounds surrounding the building are well manicured and litter free. Outside we found this drinking fountain but weren't sure how to use it. I guess Mom figured it our (pic).  It was time to move on as the locals do (pic). We drove down through town and were impressed with the activity. In the entertainment district we passed numerous open-air restaurants which were all full. The same in the warehouse district. This was early evening on a Wednesday and yet it looked like a Saturday night in most towns. Austin Texas, it looks like a nice place to live.

Wk 13
Friday 28th March
  Austin TX  to Lake Georgetown    45 miles
Drove to the north end of Austin to an Army Corps of Engineers campground. Golden Age past port saves us half the cost. Big nice camp on the lake. Nick and Patti checked in a couples hours after us. We spend the next several hours playing catch-up. After dinner we enjoyed a couple of games of Wizard. Being the good host we sent them home victorious.

Saturday 29th March  Lake Georgetown    
Riesers stopped by this morning to say goodbye as they departed early.
I think this is kind of the last day of our southern winter. Tomorrow we'll be heading home. This afternoon we visited cousin Denny Ellis his wife Donna and their son Stephen (pic). We had dinner together and talked about old family history for some time. We had a real enjoyable get together and we're happy to find we have some real great family in Austin Texas, AND the worlds best homemade cinnamon cup cakes hmm hmm.

Sunday 30th March  Lake Georgetown, TX to Tyler, TX       205 miles  gas $3.15  
Got to get a little serious about moving north. Started off heading out a little later then we wanted but as we move Mom said Fort hood is almost in our route and Adam live just off post. Gave Adam a buzz and asked if he'd like lunch, he said "Sweet!"
We met off post and had a nice meal and found him looking good and things going well. Got this pic of Adam and Mom (pic). 
I don't think we have any more stops between here and home so tomorrow.....

Monday 31st March   Tyler, TX  to SE of Vicksburg       gas $3.09  
Finally we're out of Texas (pic).  No big deal today. We drove to the Natchez Trace and parked at Rocky Springs campground, free.

Tuesday 1st April   SE of Vicksburg to Tupelo, MS       220 miles  gas $3.29  SP $14
Rain this morning that cleared by the afternoon. Stopped at Trace State Park located 6 miles east of Tupelo MS. Nice park on a lake. Just laying back and nursing my allergy. All the dogwoods and everything is starting to bloom around here. Talked with Nick today, they plan on be home Thursday. Boys, Mom will be looking forward to see you and family on Sunday, maybe I'll cook some ribs.

Wednesday 2nd April   Tupelo, MS to  Meriwether Campground 137 MILES last stop on the Trace.  
Stopped at the Jameson for Email then an easy drive (Mom behind the wheel) to the near end of the Natchez Trace Parkway. Talked with the Canadians (of which there are many. Like their southern resorts stay ended and they are not eager to head north yet so they linger at the free camping on the trace.) The camping is so crowded on the Trace that yesterday we had to double-up in the camp spots. Meriwether is larger and there are still a few empties here.
Prepared for an early departure by hitting the sack early, like 9:45pm.

Thursday 3rd April   Meriwether Campground  north.    Gas at flying J $3.29  622 Miles to home
Mom finished up driving the last 60 miles on the Trace then I got behind the wheel. Starting raining full speed on the wipers, all the way through Tennessee across Kentucky and I finally slowed the wiper down as we approached Cincinnati. Wow that's a lot of water.

Friday 4th April   12:20 am Saint Clair Shores, MI.  
We're Home!



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