DAILY LOG:
2010

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Saturday December 26th, 2009- home gas $2.58 Saint Clair Shores MI.
Happy Anniversary Honey..... Fifty years today Whoa! Let see fifty years ago tomorrow we were on a plane to New Orleans for an extended honeymoon. If the weather holds we'll be heading to the gulf coast again in just a couple more days. We'll have to find something else to do down there this time.

Let's see now, Christmas eve party done (pics), Christmas day dinner done (pics), Anniversary dinner this evening, Extended family gathering pending, Square dance dinner pending, then weather cooperating were underway..

Sunday December 27th, 2009
Wow what a dinner, thanks boys for a most memorable anniversary dinner. Rochester Chop House for an exceptionally delicious meal. Just our immediate family yet that's quite a crowd (pics). Now tonight we'll be gathering at our place for the extended family get together, that's always a great time. 

Monday December 28th, 2009
Oh boy! What a family, everyone brought some munchies, deserts and low and behold a 50th wedding anniversary cake. The majority have strong Polish roots so needles to say the food was outstanding. Lots of catching up, lots of eating, lots of talking, lots of eating. Oh did I mention we had a lot of good food. We took a few pictures before calling it a night. Thanks all!

Now today we start the disassembly of Christmas and some packing. Outside lights are down, one tree down (two more to go), lunch is done, let's see.. A perm for Carol, some computer work with sis, and oh yes dinner out tomorrow then a smooth departure...

Tuesday 29th, 2009
Packing, gathering, cleaning and then some computer work with Barb and now were ready for Tom Katz Christmas dinner. Got to Juliano's a little early, in time for a relaxing drink. Nice turn out and the food was excellent. Took some pictures of a lot of great folks.

Wednesday 30th, 2009   Replace the house battery today, Wal Mart $85.
This is the day, no obligations so it's pack pack pack....
 

Thursday 31st, 2009  Florence KY  Departed at 2 pm, local gas $2.59 Stopped at Florence KY rest area free night, 
                                                                         gas up for $2.69 349 miles

Slow start this morning, more packing with moderate temps outside close to 40. Decided to fill the water tank but found someone didn't drain the hose and although temps are moderate the hose is stiff. Wiggled and played around for and hour or so and finally got the tank filled. I think we are ready. Barb & Emily stopped by to say good bye and at 2 p.m. we were off.

Smooth sailing all the way to Columbus, OH. where we stopped and visited with Aunt Wanda. She looks good and was happy to see us. She is doing good and is well cared for. Struggling with memory issues especially of grandchildren, grandnieces and nephews, largely because she hasn't seen many since leaving Michigan. Here's a  picture of Mom and Aunt Wanda (pic).

After resting up for a couple hours at Aunt Wanda's we decided to move on. We pulled into the Kentucky visitors center after gassing up at about 11 pm. Cooling down somewhat outside but still not too bad.

Friday 1st, 2010   Florence KY  to Franklin KY      Bluegrass Music RV Park $17 PA. 213 miles
Happy New Year!  Sunshine woke me this morning, good nights sleep. Checked outside temp, 25. Turned on the water and it worked just fine. Few minutes later Carol is asking why no water? Dang! Yep froze up. We had a bite to eat and headed south figuring mother nature would handle the frozen problem. Sometime in the late afternoon water starting working with no problems. Moving slow this day with several rest areas, lunch, and many phone calls getting updates on Tyler's broken leg, decided to pull in early, 4 pm, southern Kentucky. Were at Bluegrass RV a nice park. We finally made the decision that we would indeed head to Foley AL for our first main stop of the season.

Now to check out Franklin... Drove uptown to check things out. Nice typical small town with the court house in the center of the town square (pic). A good number of antique stores, oh everything is closed, must be late, darn. Still cold out it's in the low 30ths.

Saturday 2nd, 2010   Franklin KY  to Montgomery AL    South Montgomery RV $15 PA. 331 miles  gas $2.45
Whoa 19 this morning, pumps froze again. We left about 9ish cloudy and cold. Sometime around 11 the sky cleared and sun again for the rest of the day. It warmed to about 46. Another long drive day but tomorrow should be less than 200 miles. Debby said there are a couple of lots available near her at a real good price. I guess we'll see tomorrow. I filled up again this day here in Montgomery for $2.42. All piping thawed finally and everything appears normal.
 
Sunday 3rd, 2010   Montgomery AL  to Elberta AL   Deb's. 178 miles  Plantation Harbour $175 a wk.
Cold morning again, 26. Water OK this day. Easy drive along I-65 all morning. Arrive in Foley about 1pm local time (central time zone). We arrived to bright sunshine and warm weather, 56. Locals say it's cold but trust me it feels real good.

Deb had dinner made for us so it was eat and talk all evening.  Their new pooch, a four month old shih tzu called Bama, as a real cutie. Played great with Bindi. Funny cause it's usually Bindi that does all the chasing and here this little shih tzu did all the chasing. Ran Bindi ragged. (pic)
We settled in on the lot next door which made walking home real nice.

Monday 4th, 2010  Elberta AL   Deb's.   
Happy Birthday Glenn!  Cool again this morning but at least it's above freezing. They are saying cool weather for another five days. Talked with Linda from San Benito TX, she said it's been cool there as well. So we just have to enjoy the sunshine and 40 daytime temperatures the best we can. Tyler got home OK so now  he has the rest of the week to heal before school starts back up. Shrimp dinner with Deb & John then home for the night.

Tuesday 5th, 2010  Elberta AL   Deb's.   
31 this morning warming to 42, sunny all day. Forgot I washed the car and camper yesterday. Hooked up the video-cam this morning and Skyped with friend Bill, just had to show him, live, Deb's pup Bama.  He love it. Today we just checked out the Lazy Day Campground. Nice campground but there is nothing near by, not even a store for miles. Mike Barb are planning on staying there for a time this year. We had lunch at the Road Kill Cafe where you have a super great buffet meal for $8. Today is was pork chops and fried chicken plus all the trimmings. This was a re-run from last year and great again.

Wednesday 6th, 2010  Elberta AL   Deb's.   
32 Upon awaking, bright and sunny all day warming to sweatshirt day. Checked San Benito's weather, got up to 70 there. Mom did an exercise thing at the gym with Deb, John worked, and I toured the coast looking at condos (pic).

When to "El Paso's" for dinner. Excellent Mex food with a jumbo Margarita hmmm hmm. Finished the evening with John watching Michigan Central beat Alabama. A good day.
 
Wk2

Thursday 7th, 2010  Elberta AL   Deb's.   
Warming, a sweatshirt day. Looked at more real-estate today. Skyped with Dave in Iraq, we talked for almost an hour. 

Was bright and sunny even though the weatherman said heavy rain at 2pm. As we drove south to the beach all we could see was a clear sky. At 1pm. Deb took us to  DeSoto's Seafood Kitchen for a superb fish lunch and as we ate, at precisely 2pm, the rain started, hmm. 

John was home by the time we got back and was handling the roast in the crock pot and we were able to enjoy another delicious meal.  7:30 was kick-off so we watched the home team be victorious in Pasadena.  

Friday 8th, 2010  Elberta AL   Deb's.   
Oh boy its cold! Bright and sunny though. Not much done today, went to lunch with Lisa and Debby. Had a lunch at the Jade Garden a Chinese buffet which I pigged out at. I think the meal was $6.95. Played with the compute all evening. Posted forty some years of Easter pictures of our boys. It's set up for a slide show but I think it works better doing one pic at a time. To stop it just click the pause button ( ) then use the arrow button. 

Tomorrow will be our last day here than on towards Texas on Sunday morning..

Saturday 9th, 2010  Elberta AL   Deb's.   
Bright and sunny but still cold so cold in fact that the water froze. Your mom got all undressed for a shower then I hear "No water is coming out." Outside I go, she got out of the shower and got re-dressed. When I came back inside I agreed the water hose has in fact froze up. I went in the bathroom turn on the water pump and our stored water worked just find. Mom got her shower.   

It was a good day for your mother cause she got some Wal Mart time in. I rode over to Florida with John to purchase some lottery tickets for his lottery club. Then we had a delicious dinner at Debs. Football finals were on while the BEST 'I.T.' person in Alabama work on my laptop. Lisa smoothly removed some clutter and stuff to increase my computer speed and start-up time. Thank you Lisa.  Yes I know no one works on my computers but but ... well here is Lisa

Took a couple pictures. Here's a good shot of a dog with natural eyeliner, Punka.  Mom walking the dogs. Deb and her new pooch Bama. And a shot of Lisa and Deb.  In the morning we hope to hit the road to look for another WiFi connection heading west...

Sunday 10th, 2010  Elberta AL to Mandeville LA  Fontainebleau State Pk $11 Gas $2.54  179 miles
Bright sunny and cold. Our week was of the coldest in a decade. Night time temps averaged in the mid twenties, daytime temps averaged 40 degrees. After our goodbyes we were rolling by 10 am. heading west. 

Talked with Tyler he is now back at Western and will have rough time hobbling around while his wounds repair. Talked with Emily who is planning with her girl friend to visit with us during break again this year. We'll look forward to having them it's a lot of fun for us.

A nice easy three hour drive today that we were able to drag out to six hours. Off I-10 we dropped south to US-90 to travel the coastal shoreline. Again we toured to observed the progressive repairs of Hurricane Katrina 2005. The trees are now clean of debris, all the property is free of rubble, there are newly built condos, and a new clean beach. Most all of the privately own homes have not been replaced so there is mile after mile of vacant costal property. We stopped along the roadway to have lunch and reminisce of our first visit fifty years ago..

Monday 11th, 2010  Mandeville LA  Fontainebleau State Pk 
Bright sunny and over 50, nice day. We drove to New Orleans today to check out a couple popular spots. Leaving about 11 am we headed across Lake Pontchartrain to a place recommended by world famous square dance call Nasser Shukayr, named Morning Call. It was a short hop after crossing the 26 mile bridge. The 100 year old coffee shop was nearly empty (pic) but freshly made beignets were serve up in minutes with a cup of  strong flavored chicory coffee. hmmm good, yes Nasser it was excellent! (pic). We wanted to save our appetites for a world famous restaurant so we only ordered one order. Well heck not finish with the first order someone requested another order of beignets, oh boy. We drove down town and circled around the bustling business district for a while before zeroing in on "Mothers". The lunch crowd was leaving so we had no wait. Placed and order for one Debris sandwich to share and sat down to wait. Observing the posted signs which read "Do not tip the waitresses." That helped to defray the cost of a ten dollar sandwich (pic). I thought the beef was excellent, stacked high and dripping with Au Jus.. hmmm. Your mom said "Do you think it's really that good?" Oh yea have another Beignet! (pic) (pic).

Discovered serious problem this evening. I went out to photograph the sunset, which was gorgeous, and got nothing but a black picture, oh boy. Came in and looked at the camera only to find a big dent in the lens face. This dent prevented the protective cover from opening, hence no pictures. I was able to release the pressure with a dental pic, good I had several to chose from. Seems to working OK now.

Tuesday 12th, 2010   Mandeville LA to Beaumont TX    Gulf Coast RV $17 PA gas $2.65 miles 265. & $2.59
Yes! Yes! Finally, we're in Texas, the sweatshirt is off and the thermometer reads 70. A long walk after dark, wow how nice is that. Nice uneventful drive this day. Once into Texas Nick suggested this park because it comes with a free breakfast, well a doughnut anyway, so here we are.  Ten miles of road construction in Texas but it didn't slows us down any. Should be on the beach tomorrow.

Wednesday 13th, 2010  Beaumont TX to Port Aransas TX  Beach $free   Miles 305 Arrived 3:30 pm. 
We got here about 4 pm set up and walked the beach, felt real good. Got up in the morning, we were the only campers on the beach (pic). We walked the beach some then walked the campground to find it was a little less than half full. Watching the weather we  learned that heavy rains were coming tomorrow up to 9".  So we opted to continue on south tomorrow to San Benito cause the rains were suppose to run north not south, well see.

Wk3     
Thursday
14th, 2010  Port Aransas TX  San Benito TX  First colony $231.00 2 wks miles 172
Happy birthday Mike! Arrived First Colony at 3:30pm cloudy sky and light rain, 72. Checked in, set-up and now drink in hand it's time to relax. We're here for the next two weeks for sure. 

Skyped Nick to learn he is still on schedule for a 21st departure. He has several therapy's left then he'll be on his way. Also said he was still wasn't getting around as good as he would like to be but is walking around the house without a cane.

Friday 15th, 2010  San Benito TX    First colony
Happy Birthday Errol! Beautiful, sunny & warm. Just a catch-up day, slow and easy. Computer stuff and Email. Rosemary sent us a neat web page. It's a page where you can pick you car model and year and up pops the original brochures

Donna & Lytle are staying next door at the Fun & Sun  we invited them over for a visit tonight. Talked all evening and got all caught up on everything. We decided to go to Mexico tomorrow, we'll see how that goes tomorrow...

Saturday 16th, 2010  San Benito TX    First colony
Cloudy and windy at awaking. By 10 a.m. the sun was out and we were off to Progresso Mexico with Lytle & Donna. Walked into what's now a familiar town. We did a little shopping and had lunch at the Garcia's Canadian House (No Canadians all Mexicans) a usual stop. We returned early enough to hit the couch when there was a knock. Whoa, Anita asking if there was a dog in this house. John & Anita saw us driving Lytle and Donna home, hence a visit. Talked and shared a little Bombay while getting caught up on the local happenings including the recent shootout in Progresso Mexico. All shoppers were escorted to the rear of the stores and store fronts closed while a street shootout occurred. Good thing we didn't know this earlier cause we may not of enjoyed our visit.

We danced at Fun & Sun to Mike Kelly. Small crowd of familiar faces with good dancing and lots of talking. After the dance and in need of more gabbing we headed to the DQ with Russells and McDonalds. (pic)(pic)

Sunday 17th, 2010  San Benito TX    First colony
Happy Birthday Sue. Mom did a sunbath today on the chase lounge while reading her book. I washed the car and puttered around till it was dance time. We went to Fun & Sun for an advance class. Talked with Randy Dougherty to see in we would fit in because we haven't danced advance in a year. He suggested we sit-it out cause they were doing A2. well as they squared up they needed a fourth couple to have another square so we danced. We had little problem as compared to the rest of the dancers.

After the dance we went to Dinner with John & Anita. Driving round Harlingen looking for a Mexican restaurant that was open. We found Mi Rancho, new to us, for a delicious dinner.

Mon day 18th, 2010  San Benito TX    First colony
Recoup day mostly loafing. Mom spent some time in the pool, warm day. Did some shopping and that was  about it.

Tuesday 19th, 2010  San Benito TX    First colony
Early morning dance (10 am) at Lakewood RV park to Mike Kelly. They only had about 18 squares, that's about half of what they use to get just a few years ago. Dancing was good. I can't imagine calling recycle (sashayed) at a home dance. Here they called it and not a square broke down. After the dance Mom went splash again while I washed the motorhome. Hot and sunny. Nice long walk after dark in shirt sleeves.

Wednesday 20th, 2010  San Benito TX    First colony
The last couple days have been very warm and sunny so yesterday your mom suggested we go to South Padre Island and spend some time on the beach today. Outside this morning heavy fog temp at 59, so we took care of in house business waiting for sun. Long about noon Mom said let go... There hasn't been much change but they're saying 84 and sun so we left for the Island.

On the Island one of the high rise co-ops, that construction had been halted on because it was tilting, is gone (pic) (pic). We stopped at Dirty Al's for lunch. The best thing about this place is the sign on the door that reads "Sorry we're OPEN."  The shrimp are excellent, it's what I call three bite shrimp. They're butter-flied so that's one bite for each wing and one bite for the body and six of those guys is a full meal. Coupled that with a cold MGD on draft requires a long beach walk..   The sun did come out and temperatures have gone up so walk we did (pic). 

After the beach we stopped at the newly open birding center (pic). We watched the movie, toured the museum, and walked the elevated trail (pic). Saw a couple of neat birds (pic) (pic) and surprisingly a gator (pic). This guy is only some two hundred feet from the main road.

The SAS shoe store for Mom and a  McDonald coffee for me and that was our day...

Wk4    
Thursday
21st, 2010  San Benito TX    First colony
Got a call early this morning from Anita looking for a forth to fill another square. I was in the shower and the dance had already started so we had to pass. The called ended with we'll get together for lunch after the dance, so on about noon John and Anita stopped by and we were off to Brownsville. Brownsville? Yep, your mother needed another stop at the SAS, don't ask. 

We stopped at Coyote Canyon for a scrumptious buffet. Oh yes ate way more than I needed. I snapped a coupled shots and we gabbed for sometime before leaving. At home as, I left John's car after the twenty minute return trip, I found my pocket empty of Mom's camera. Groan, a quick call and a return trip to Coyote Canyon. Thank you Laura!

During the afternoon John and I had been discussing his sick Dell, so it was in short order we were at the McDonald's diagnosing the ill Dell. Mom and Anita took Bindi for a walk, while we doctored. We had the patient up and running in short order, so we talked a little more until the girls return from their two hour walk. We sat around the table visiting for a while longer when Miss Dell became suddenly ill again and passed away. The blue screen was permanent.

I took Dell home with me this evening and spent several hours trying to resuscitate her but I'm sure she has has a cracked vertebrae that even Chiropractor John can't fix.

Friday 22nd, 2010  San Benito TX    First colony
Good day. John called this morning checking on the Dell. Discussed possibilities and we agreed a new hard drive was where to start. They stopped by and we sat down an ordered a replacement on line. Wanting to be overly generous john insisted on dinner on him, what can I say. He drove us to Padre and we consumed an all you can eat fish special at Marchan's Seafood Restaurant. Dinner was follow by a beach walk in the dark (pic), where Anita almost got ran over by a speeding policeman. Leaving the Island we happened upon a DQ and enjoyed a treat on the outside veranda.

Saturday 23rd, 2010  San Benito TX    First colony
Computer class this morning. I found this fascinating, at this small park there were twenty or so people attending all with laptop in hand. Now just seven years ago I had to use my cell phone to find an internet connection, some RV parks had a phone available for a computer connection and that was it. Rarely seen anyone with a computer. Now most all parks provide a free internet connection and most "every" RV has a computer sitting on the table. How fast things have progressed.

While I was investigating computers Mom biked over to Fun & Sun to see the craft sale. When we got together later Mom had talked with John & Anita and guess what, we're going out for late lunch today. We're eating Mexican at El Campanario's Restaurant (pic), a very clean new looking place. The food was superb, I had typical enchiladas your mom had spinach and mushroom enchiladas which said was very good but really different..

Saturday night dancing at Fun & Sun. Randy Dougherty called to fifteen squares, a real nice turn out this day and age.  It is good to see Donna & Lytle dancing most every dance. We had a number of other callers dancing tonight, Nelda Eaton, Jerry Rash, Mike Kelly. We had such a nice time dancing that later on we had to discuss the events over a DQ, oh boy.

Sunday 24th, 2010  San Benito TX    First colony
Warm days cool nights how sweet is that. Did some puttering while Mom tried to catch some rays. About then John called and asked what's for lunch suggesting Chapitas. "Oh yes that sound great," off we went. Half hour after lunch advance class for two hours, groan. An hour after that the heaping ice cream social for a buck, wow. Immediately after that the Cowboy Hobo Tri, an hour of good entertainment. At the end of the show I shot a little video for a sample of them (vid). For a do nothing day we sure got busy. We'll try again tomorrow.

Monday 25th, 2010  San Benito TX    First colony
Sunny and warm with little breeze this morning,  we opted for a bike ride. Took to the back roads for a little ten mile trek. Nice scenery (pic) on a quiet peddle. We paused on a bridge (pic) before turning around I was a little hesitant about continuing in hopes of finding roads to complete a circle. There are a lot of water canals around which terminate a lot of back roads. Back at the ranch we enjoyed the lounge chairs for a time before preparing for a dance this evening, At the last minute we decided to do tomorrow morning's dance an bypass tonight's dance. All in all a quiet day.

Tuesday 26th, 2010  San Benito TX    First colony
Talked with uncle Mike first thing this morning. They left Michigan yesterday and this morning they are on I-71 heading towards Louisville and presently stuck (2 hours so far) on the xway. Snow and ice on the roads contributed to numerous accidents basically shutting down the highway (8:30 am)..

Went dancing at Lakewood RV this morning, only had ten squares following a big dance last night. Anita called while we were returning from he dance wondering if we were hungry. We drove to a small restaurant named Las Vegas, where most all patrons are Mexican. Here, without a doubt, the best meal out since leaving home. It's hard to believe I had a full plate, that's one tortillas filled with juicy hunks of beef, one filed with ground beef and trimmings, one scrumptious enchilada with rich sauce, rice, and some trimmings. All this for $4.50. 

Checked in with Uncle Mike again they were 50 mile from Nashville meaning they must of been delay and additional hour, groan. Aunt Barb was driving so that means the roads must have cleared up. 

Check in with the computer class this afternoon they were covering some very basic stuff so I took a pass. Something is missing this evening but just can't put my finger on it....

Wednesday 27th, 2010  San Benito TX    First colony
It's getting time to move on. Tomorrow we'll be pushing on to Pharr Texas just down the road about 35 miles. A number of Michigan square dancers are there. Talked with Patti a minute today they just arrived there.

Packed up some outside stuff in preparation for tomorrow. While doing so I called out to Carol that we never did buy that jug of Tequila. "I'll call John and Anita to see if they want to go for a ride," she said. Since it was after one, and no one has eaten yet, your mother suggested we try Mi Tierra, the old Mi Rancho, which has new owners. Lunch was good and filling and my bill for Carol and I, $12.50. Now it's off to Progresso Mexico for a bottle of booze. We did some walking around then stopped at the bakery for desert along with a cup of joe.
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It was getting dark by the time we returned. We decided we'll do the morning's dance so we saved our good-byes. At home we snuggled in for the evening.

 Wk5   
Thursday
28th, 2010  San Benito TX  to  Pharr TX Tip of Texas  36 miles  $18 
Did a little more packing before going over to the dance at Fun N Sun.  Afterwards we did lunch with John and Anita at Tilas in Harlingen then said goodbye. Next we stopped by to See Donna & Lytle to say goodbye. Across the street from Lytle's I saw this VW motorcycle. It's 100% hand built. (pic) (pic) (pic), really neat. When we finally got home John & Anita pulled up showing his hard drive that just arrived. Time was getting short so we were unable to work with it now.  

All hooked up and ready to go. A short drive to Pharr and the Tip O'Texas. Checked in for a month and finally got all connected when Patti & Nick stopped over. We had a little Tequila and got all caught up. Made a few phone calls talking with Ty for an hour and then got a call from John, appears the hard drive will not fit. Groan.

Friday 29th, 2010  Pharr TX       Tip O'Texas 
This is neat, The park pays you for anyone you get to stay at the this park. There are eight couples from Michigan that know each other and we each said Dick Johnston recommended we stay here. For this amount of recommendations the park is paying Dick something over $800 which I understand he plans to share with each of us, meaning $100 rebate. Isn't that sweet! 

We checked the pools as we wait for a little warmer weather. Got a couple pictures of the indoor and outdoor pools (pic) (pic). Cloudy cool start this morning but sunshine prevailed. Robbie called this afternoon, we are fortunate to have such fantastic grandchildren. The clubhouse put on a spaghetti dinner for $6 per. The meal was very good, they served over 700. John & Marilynn stopped by to say, they're doing well. We ended the day with cards and cake at the Riesers.

Saturday 30th, 2010  Pharr TX    Tip O'Texas
Plan is to run over to Camping World with Nick & Pat today. John is in a table tennis tournament near by so we are going to stop and watch a while (pic) (vid).  Had lunch at Pizza Hut then a long drive around checking some of the past campgrounds out. It appears to me that over all the campgrounds are more full this year then in the past.

Relaxed this evening reading. Do, I don't know whether to thank you or not. Carol's reading "The Leisure Seeker" laughing out loud follow by abundant tears and more laughter. After hearing numerous excerpts I'm finding it difficult to maintain. I guess if you have to face reality it best to be laughing. 

Sunday 31st, 2010  Pharr TX     Tip O'Texas
Good by January! Another cool day today with little sun. It looks like this weather is to be here for another solid week with some forecasted rain as well. I guess our mid 50's is still better than the north's weather.

Monday February 1st, 2010  Pharr TX     Tip O'Texas
Pleasant day little sun. Park put on a $3.50 hamburger lunch today. Berger, potato salad, beans, and cake for desert. Group of us Michiganders ate together. After lunch a few of us went to their first computer class where some 100 folks attended. It was interesting to see what each person hoped to gain from the classes. A lot were interested in Face Book and I think most wanted to know about pictures, saving them, putting them in email, and sorting them. We'll see how this will go down the road.

Got a call from San Benito, John was having a little problem putting a letter together to the seller of the hard drive that didn't fit. Actually it was the email he wasn't sure how to use. I told him to sit tight and we drove over to see if we could help. We resolved a few issues then headed over to Harlingen for dinner. Thanks John!

Tuesday February  2nd, 2010  Pharr TX     Tip O'Texas
Mom thought we ought to dance this morning, so off we went to one of the nations best square dance callers, Jerry Story. He is a amazing. He has been calling for years, and he calls often. With 30 plus squares (240 dancers) dancing he starts with great zeal, exuberance and loads of enthusiasm. It very hard to believe that he has been doing it for so long and still shares such excitement. At this Tuesday morning doughnut dance, he calls continuous for one hour stopping for two minutes after every second record. After doing sixteen records he'll pause for seven minutes for coffee then it's back to serious square dancing. No Rounds. The dancers arrive early and square up fifteen minutes before the start of the dance. I now see why, there is no time to change squares you dance with the same folks until someone has to sit down, so you want to be sure you're in a good square. I'm so impressed that so many folks, all I'm sure over 60 years, dance so good for so long. I took your mom home after the hour cause I'm sure she'll pay tomorrow. Back in Michigan we would have to go to three different dances to get in this much square dancing. Jerry Story at the Peppermint Palace.

Wednesday February 3rd, 2010  Pharr TX     Tip O'Texas
Weather, oh boy! Nearing the end of a week of clouds and rain. Light sprinkles this morning then just clouds most of the day, temps in the low 70's. We drove over to the outlet mall and spent the day walking the shops. On the way home we stopped for an early dinner at Fat Daddy's, a restaurant we stopped at a couple years back where we had to wait in line to be seated. This year no crowd, but the burger and ribs are still very good. I asked the waitress about business and she said no more crowds and shrugged her shoulders.

Wk6
Thursday February  4th
, 2010  Pharr TX     Tip O'Texas
Still cloudy this must be Michigan. Ran out to the post office and Wal Marts this morning came home and washed the car, wow. The pools are heated and you do see a few folks enjoying them but it'd hard to get that motivated. Puttered around the camper, got the bikes out and put new seat on Mom's. I think we're ready for the sunshine.

Friday February  5th, 2010  Pharr TX     Tip O'Texas
Glory be.. Bright blue sky, sun with the temperature pushing 80 (pic). Oh how we missed it. Great day to do something exciting. After talking with the group looks like a flea market is on the agenda. We caravanned to west Mission to a very busy flea market (pic). Walked all the isles for exercise stopping only at the food court. :-) (pic). We had a Spiral cut potato on a stick French fried, it was fun (pic). They had a Mexican DJ playing for the crowd, with some of them dancing. The locals seemed to be enjoying themselves.

On the road we stopped at a swimsuit shop (pic), I think top price was $15 then continued on to Danny's Mexican Restaurant for a good lunch. 

This evening we have tickets for the "Crusiers" who are playing music for the 50's style dance tonight. This is another adventure that is real hard comprehend. With over 300 guest in attendance most all in the over 60 bracket, you see grandmas dressed in poodle shirts and grandpa in a tee shirt, rolled-up sleeves, and jeans. A very enthusiastic group.  Dancing went on continuously for an hour and half before the band took a break. The dance floor was always full. All the tunes were the big hits from the time we were teenagers. They were doing the Swing, Jitterbug, Halftime, Funky chicken and most every dance step we've known. The dance floor was always full for the fast and slow dances. It's great fun to see so many old folks have such a great time. The Music was so good that Nick had to get out there and dance, even with his bum leg (pic).

Saturday February  6th, 2010  Pharr TX     Tip O'Texas

Yes, it's another great day!
Two in a row but the forecast is looking a little bleak. Puttered around most of the day getting not much of anything done. Plans are to see a show at the Chicken House Opry this evening. Reports are that it's entertaining.

As a group we drove to the the theater (big smile) some 15 miles in the country. It's hard to describe, the basic structure is a pole barn with some very sophisticated seating but I guess this picture of the stage's curtain kind of tells it all (pic). The MC introduced some low key 

country humor warming up the crowd (pic). The presentation was so laid back and amateurish that we didn't know whether we were laughing with them or at them.  They perform some skits and played some music which did in fact did get us going. Then the big name guess made an appearance, Sherwin Linton.  Sherwin makes a Johnny  Cash type presentation. He in fact knew Johnny Cash and produced a tribute album of Cash which was successful. We all enjoyed his performance specialty his Elvis interpretations. (vid). 

Sunday February  7th, 2010  Pharr TX     Tip O'Texas
Mom wanted to take in the Los Fresno Rodeo so we joined up with John & Marilynn and drove to Los Fresno's fairground. We had good seats with other Michiganders. They do a good job of mixing up the action and keep things moving. Took some pics of the lady riders and bronco riders. (pic) (pic) (pic). 

One of the highlights was the introduction of Sumo Wrestling. They had the crowd roaring. Three ladies wrapped in big air filled inter-tubes (pic). They were so big that when they got knocked over they could not get up on there own (pic). They bumped and jumped on one another sometimes bouncing back off and landing on their head. They drew a big response from the audience. Afterwards we had an enjoyable Mexican dinner at Julia's on the way home.

Monday February  8th, 2010  Pharr TX     Tip O'Texas
Cloudy and warm nice day. Day started with a park meeting which they have every Monday to update the happenings. Shared a little computer knowledge with a couple of fellow Michiganders. Then we did the pool for some water exercise, perfect. Later we went with Nick & Pat to Mission West RV for their Hamburger dinner fest. Good fresh hamburgers with all the fixens. I kind of enjoyed an American meat patty for a change. We finished the day with a game of cards at our place.

Tuesday February  9th, 2010  Pharr TX     Tip O'Texas
This is Bindi's day! Appointment to have a hair cut for 9:00 am in San Benito. We got her there a little early, dropped her off and then had several hours to play with. We decided to go the the Tuesday dance at Lakewood and dance to Mike Kelly. After the a couple tips we were sitting talking with Mike Kelly and some friends and learned of his harrowing experience. Some things need to be shared. A couple weeks ago Mike was at the H.E.B. store (large local grocery chain) in Harlingen. It was about 11:30 pm. and alone in the parking lot at night a large Mexican bumped against him and demanded his wallet, I interrupted "What is this guy crazy?" Mike who stands about 6'2" and weights much more than he would like to, looked at the Mexican and said "What?" "Gimmy you wallet or I stab you." Mike replied "Look if you pull a knife two things are going to happen." "What you mean?" Mike "One of us is going to die and one is going to jail." The bandito pulled a switch bade and as he clicked the blade he was looking down the barrel of a Glock staring him right between the eyes. Mike is a Deputy Sheriff back in Missouri and he carries at night. Mike told him to drop it and lay down. While on the ground and with Mike's foot stepping on his neck while he tried to retrieve his cuffs from his car, the would be bandit was screaming from the pressure. The screaming brought out five of the crooks buddies. In short order he had six guys setting cross-legged and sitting on their hands while he called the locals. As soon as he announced that he was holding thieves at gunpoint the local police showed up. Mike learned that the police later located the would be thieves car and found several rapid fire weapons including an AK47 in their car.
Thank goodness everything turned out positive. 

It was noon when we got the call Bindi is ready. We picked up the stinky mutt, with a great looking hair do (pic), and drove to John & Anita's. We were taken back to learn that John spent a day in the emergency room and several days in bed at home since we've last seen him.  John suffered a gallbladder attack and may have to have it removed. He is still doctoring and we'll stay tuned.  He did feel strong enough to go out to dinner, so we did. We did Luby's which is large down here but I never have done, and enjoyed a very good meal. We fiddled around with his laptop which now has a new hard-drive, for a while, everything seems to be going well.
Back at home I had to do some screwing around with my HP. I think the inverter is going bad (screen lighting). For the last six month the screen has been flickering and acting strange, this evening it went berserk, all color strips. Little panic attack but things settled down and I immediately backed-up all recent data and reactivated the Toshiba.

Wednesday February  10th, 2010  Pharr TX     Tip O'Texas
Temps in the low 50's all day, cloudy and cool. Went with Nick & Pat  to Don-Wes flea market this morning (pic), mostly for exercise but we always come home with something. 
Talked with Aunt Barb this morning. They are working their way home and are presently stuck at a campground near Memphis, TN. She said they had 7" of snow on the ground and the roads are real bad. They plan to sit tight a while to see if things will clear up.
Mom did the laundry and it just happened to be at the time of the ice cream social, oh well it's been a few days I guess it's OK. Hot fudge sundae. 

Wk7 Thursday February  11th, 2010  Pharr TX     Tip O'Texas
Cloudy and cool barley made the mid 50s. Post office this morning then a little ride in the country. Nothing much out there except a whole bunch of commercial farming. A lot of the remote areas appear kind of slummy, yet the outer burbs are very very nice. We've found that a lot of subdivisions in the area are surrounded by high brick walls, some gated others open. Homes there priced in the $300k plus range.
Dance at the Peppermint Palace with Jerry Story this evening. Drove over with Dick & Linda and as usual it was a very good dance. Since I wasn't driving we had to stop at the DQ on the way home.
Spent an hour  afterwards in the deserted rec-hall with the Toshiba, getting some fine tuning done for continued use. The whole office complex is open for use with the pool lights on and most everywhere else dark. The dance hall had a couple lights on so that's where I found a plug to use. I was the only one around, it was about 11 pm.

Friday February  12th, 2010  Pharr TX     Tip O'Texas
Yahoo.. Sunshine this morning! Going to the mid 70s. Downside, allergies or head cold coming on. Took a ride with John & Marilynn this morning to a unique grocery store. They specialize in all kinds of seeds, spices and dried fruits  in additions to catering to gluten free products, (Marilynn's requirement). 
Took in a little vitamin D (sunshine) this afternoon and finished my day blowing my nose.. groan!

Saturday February  13th, 2010  Pharr TX     Tip O'Texas
Instituted self-imposed isolation. Mom feels she has a head cold I feel like my typical spring allergy, so we felt we should lay low and not spread anything around.  We walked the dog around the perimeter of the park and I stopped by and visited with Nick awhile. That was pretty much the day.  Pattie stopped by later in the day to check on us.. 

Sunday February  14th, 2010  Pharr TX     Tip O'Texas
Not much change, isolation continues. A run to Wal Mart to renew supply of medicine. Sudoku, novels, and the Olympics this day. Oh yes, homemade chicken soup. Feeling better already. Did wash the car, just hate to  completely waste a nice warm sunny day.  

Monday February  15th, 2010  Pharr TX     Tip O'Texas
Turned the corner this morning. Feeling much better thank you.  Mom is lagging behind a little but improving. Mom went over to the Park's weekly information meeting this morning, nothing earth shattering to report. Nick and I went to the computer class for a couple hours, all basics nothing too much gained. There had to be 50-75 in attendance. Just coasted the rest of the day. Little sun, mostly cloudy, mild about 60 to 65. Still waiting for the weather to come around.

Tuesday February 16th, 2010    Pharr TX     Tip O'Texas
Better yet today, Mom is still dragging a little. Drove over Wal Mart to change to some different meds then Mc"D's" for some ice cream on the way home. Still coasting.. More sun and warmer today.

Wednesday February 17th, 2010   Pharr TX     Tip O'Texas
Warm and sunny. The sun felt so good on the lawn chair I was using that the sandman came by. Nick picked us up for a luncheon with the "Michigan Club," campers from Michigan. We met at a Shriner's hall with some hundred and fifty other Michiganders. The meal was good but the meeting for a club that appears to have no purpose other then this dinner, was way too long. By the time the meeting was done we were thinking about something to eat. Well what else, a DQ stop. 

Wk8 Thursday February 18th, 2010   Pharr TX     Tip O'Texas
W
e are going to have to start looking for a place to spend next winter. Some place sunny and warm, like South America. A dreary day today, but sun and warmer for the weekend they say. Walked the dog and spent time disassembling the HP (laptop). It definitely needs a new screen, oh boy. Keep my fingers crossed for this old Toshiba. Spent the evening with Nick & Pattie, played some cards and watch the Olympics.

Friday February 19th, 2010  Pharr TX     Tip O'Texas
Light rain most of the night, cloudy and some sprinkles this morning. We had planed to watch activities at the
Iwo Jima Memorial today but because of all the water we decided to just do some visiting. Nick drove us over to Fun N Sun where Donna and Lytle are staying. They look well and everything seems to be going good for them. Next we stopped at John and Anita's and gabbed for a bit before going over to the De Mi Tierra Restaurant for an early dinner. Very good meal and it only cost $5.95. 
Pattie wanted to stop at the SAS shoe store since we are on this side of the Valley, groan this can be bad. Pattie took care of her business and low and behold your mother was trying on shoes. "They're no longer going to make my favorite shoe and it's on sale sale!" Whoa, didn't you just buy a pair?  "I think I better buy an extra pair at his price." Well it's not a problem here they have a defibrillator and oxygen supply in the store for just such a thing. I'm breathing OK now...

Saturday February 2oth, 2010  Pharr TX     Tip O'Texas
Hello sun shine. Low key day, checked out the location of a couple nearby flea markets then headed to Wal Marts for some grocery shopping. Sat home and enjoyed the rest of the day.

Sunday February 21st, 2010  Pharr TX     Tip O'Texas
Another perfect day! Yes and another crazy thing about this years weather, we've had very little wind, hmm. Weslaco, small town nearby, has a bird thing going on today, "Live Raptor Show." Since it's so nice out we'll check it out. Weslaco is known for being a rendezvous place for the Red Head Parrots, for over a hundred years. Wild Red Crown Parrots and parakeets living and visiting the Rio Grand Valley, flock to this city. There are pamphlets around that give specific street to drive down and the time before sunset to watch for these parrots. Certain times of the year are better than others. Tried to locate them a few years ago to no avail.
Today in the city's sports complex the Valley Nature Center is sponsoring a small demonstration of several birds, Falcons, Hawks, Owls, and Vultures. Lawn chairs in hand we made our way to the Weslaco sports complex. There must of been a hundred or more folks in attendance. The handler and companion first brought out a Harris Hawk and explain all about this fascinating bird. Then he stood at one end of the crowd with his helper at the other end and turned the bird loose (pic). This large predator swooped down and flow just inches about the crowd's heads onto the companion's arm. Wow was that neat. I took a load of pictures that you can see here. They repeated this with a falcon. These birds are so gorgeous.
The Hawk's colors were striking. The birds are all 

 recovering birds  that cannot be returned to the wild for various reasons. At the end of their presentation they brought out the American Bald Eagle. This one was shot by a farmer and has a badly damaged wing so he is living in retirement at their facility in San Antonio. It was neat to watch them turn these birds loose. Now these are not

pets but birds that have to live in captivity for one reason or another. He now let the falcon go and it flew way up high landing on the towering field lights. He hung there a while then came down to the baseball backstop and hung up there awhile, then finally came to the man to see what treats he was offering. We enjoyed getting a real close up and all most hands on experience. 
Here's a link to Weslaco. www.weslaco.com see if there is anything about the Parrots at their site, it's a good read.

Monday 22nd, 2010  Pharr TX     Tip O'Texas
Back to gloom, groan groan.. Mom went over to the Monday morning meeting while I walked Bindi. In the afternoon I went over to the computer class nothing to report there. After the computer class, in the same hall, the Michiganders, from the park, had a pot luck dinner(pic). There were forty attending and all the food was very good. After lunch a couple members put on a short skit about a government inseminator who was to visit a childless couple but at his arrival time a family photographer just happen to show up at the door. The misguided conversation between the "to be inseminated wife" and the "clueless photographer" was hilariously funny. i.e. "I get my best results from a variety of setting like in the tube, or on the kitchen table, or on hood of your car." Then there was the comment, "I use a tripod now because my equipment is so heavy!"  We all  got got a big laugh from their efforts.
Afterwards it must of been about 60 out but a number of Michiganders used the warm pool and hot-tub while Mom did some laundry. Olympics finished our day.

Tuesday February 23rd, 2010  Pharr TX     Tip O'Texas
Cool wet front came in last night, no comment. Went to Jerry Story's rapid fire dance this morning. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 squares along with doughnuts and coffee were there. I'm still amazed to see this generation of folks dancing for an hour straight without leaving the dance floor. You don't change squares you just dance. After every two songs he pauses for what he calls two minutes, in case you want to leave a square, you just stand there and talk and get acquainted, then back to it. I'm get tired just talking about it. There is a seven minute pause for coffee after the first hour than back to it for another hour.
Stopped out for Mexican lunch afterwards. That was pretty much the day. 

Wednesday February 24th, 2010  Pharr TX     Tip O'Texas
Sunshine, mid 70's. Sat back and enjoyed the day. Took Bindi over to a brand new dog park (pic). The city of McAllen fenced in about four acres for the the pooches to enjoy (pic). Washed the car, biked the park and that's the day.

Wk9 Thursday February 25th, 2010  Pharr TX     Tip O'Texas
Warm and sunny. Not much going, invited Nick & Pat to do lunch at Fat Daddy's in Weslaco
today. There was a full house there but we only had a five minute wait to be seated (pic). I had very good BBQ chopped pork sandwich. Lunch was good. Pat had a couple of shops in Weslaco she wanted to visit, so shopping it was (pic). After all that shopping the body was in desperate  need of nourishment so off to the DQ it went. Hmmm.
At the rec. hall this evening the resident choir put on a short show which Mom and I took in. They asked only for donations, well after the show I think I was overly generous  :-(

Friday February 26th, 2010  Pharr TX     Tip O'Texas
Whoa, another great day. Got a call last night from Dick Johnson asking if we wanted to go to South Padre' this morning. We opted to go and left at 9 am. this morning. We drove and Ken & Sharon went with us. They had a shopping bonanza going on at the convention center on South Padre called Market Days. I bought another hat for a buck.  The group of us headed over to Dirty Al's (pic) for a late lunch. We had to split up due to the crowded conditions there (pic). I had to go with my favorite menu item here, fried shrimp. The shrimp were a little smaller than usual and my order of six came with seven shrimp. I think everyone enjoyed their lunch.  Sharon thought Ken (pic) needed new shoes, so guess where we headed after lunch? Whoa is me, SAS shoe store. "Hello Bob" upon entering the store, what does that tell you? Your mother exercised great restrain and only tried on one pair of shoes, no oxygen was required.  That was it for the bulk of the day. On the way home we gave witness to this mess on the highway (pic)..

Saturday February 27th, 2010  Pharr TX     Tip O'Texas
Hard to believe we will be leaving tomorrow. Harder to believe we've had four great days in a row, maybe this weather has finally turned the corner. Tomorrow we'll head back to Harlingen to the Tropic Winds where we'll meat up with Dick & Brenda for a day or two. 
Did a little computer stuff, I flipped the pictures around on the picture page so the most recent pictures will show up first. That should save some view time.
Getting ready for departure most of the day, stopped the propane truck and topped off our tank and Mom got the laundry caught up. In the evening John & Marilynn pick us up and we went and danced to Joe Saltel at the Tropic Star. Joe is another great caller but he only had 17 squares this evening as thing are starting to wind down in the Valley.

Sunday February 28th, 2010  Pharr TX     Tip O'Texas to Harlingen TX, Tropic Winds,   37 miles
Windy day today, first windy day in a long time. Of course we'll be heading into the breeze. We said good bye and were on the road heading into the wind about noon. Boy the ride over was rough, the wind was really strong. This park, Tropic Winds, is located on the north edge of Harlingen in farm country. Nice large sites, cement pads, and lot of dogs. I  don't recall being at a park with so many dogs. 
Dick and Brenda will be here tomorrow so we'll spend a couple days together before we start towards New Orleans to pick up Emily & Ashley.

Monday March 1st, 2010  Harlingen TX     Tropic Winds 
Bright and sunny. In a rare moment any more, we went out to breakfast. Went to Chapitas, one of our more favorite restaurants. Kind of a more normal breakfast of beef, eggs, tatos, and beans (pic). Time we got back Dick and Brenda just pulled in. We gave them time to settle in before going out for a Mexican dinner at Les Vegas. We finished the evening at their place playing a board game similar to Pachisi, then Brenda served ice cream. Ice cream!

Tuesday March 2nd, 2010  Harlingen TX     Tropic Winds
Brenda needed another twenty bottles of vanilla so off we went to Progresso Mexico. There has been a lot of turmoil in the boarder towns of Mexico but Progresso seems to be avoiding most of the mess. The sense of comfort comes from the thousands of tourist along the mile long street that is packed with shoppers. We usually walk a half mile up one side then back down on the other side. Here Brenda is bartering for a good price on a small shirt (pic). We stopped for a coffee break and had some baked goodies (pic) and listened to some entertainment (vid). As we were walking back today Mom recognized two performers from the Chicken House Opry, we attended back in early February, Punjo Reed and Lucy Jackson (pic). We admired her new hat and talked for a bit then returned back across the boarder.
This evening it was euchre, men against the woman. We played four hands and the woman won the second game big time. We brought Bindi along she enjoys socializing with their two dogs and really enjoys the ice cream that Brenda serves. Yep the dogs get their share as well.
We have a breakfast date in the morning with John & Anita then off we go heading a little further north.

Wednesday March 3rd, 2010  Harlingen TX Tropic Winds to Port Aransas TX  on the beach, 160 miles gas $2.54
9:00 a.m, and were at Chapitas for breakfast. John & Anita, Dick & Brenda and us. Lots of good gabbing, good food and then our final good bye to John & Anita. On the way back, I had to stop at Wal mart for a new SD card, I carelessly broke ours. I looked for a 1 gig card but the salesman said they only have 2 gig cards, Whoa, I paid $40 for 1 gig two years ago. "How Much?" $15. Isn't that a nice surprise.
11:15 and we were on the road heading to Port Aransas, a nice day for traveling, no wind. Pulled on the beach about 3 p.m . sun shining with long sleeve comfort. We walked our couple miles on the beach and were able to let Bindi run free a while. Caught a little of the sunset (pic). Talked with Craig and then Emily and that's our day.

Wk10Thursday March 4th, 2010  Port Aransas TX  on the beach.
Gorgeous sunrise (pic) and forecast for a perfect day. Talked with Nick this morning got all caught up again. This is our spot on the beach (pic). We then walked the beach and walked the beach and walked the new nature center and and... We had to catch up on some walking. Took some shots of the locals (pic) and some looked like they were shooting us (pic) and some just kept an eye on us (pic).  Here we sit on the shipping channel's red granite seawall (pic), a good place to watch all the boat traffic and lots of dolphin activity.. 
I want to get an extension for my SD card so I won't break another one, off to Wal Mart we went. Stopped for a $10 special pizza on the way. A good day!

Friday March 5th, 2010  Port Aransas TX  on the beach.
Clouds moved in during the night, suppose to be cloudy all day. We got more beach walking in and Bindi is all caught up on walks as well. Watched freighters for some time (pic) (pic), do you have any idea how hard it is to catch  dolphins riding a bow wave of a freighter? Well here's the best I could do (pic). Good thing I told you first huh. Spent the rest of the day getting ready to  travel again. That means, dump tanks, fresh water, grocery shopping, laundry and I think that was the day. Oh yes one more quick run with Bindi. She'll sleep all day on the road tomorrow.

Saturday March 6th, 2010  Port Aransas TX      to Beaumont TX  Gulf Coast RV 317 miles gas $2.59
We got a nice early start this morning, 8:30 a.m. Gassed up in Port Aransas Pass and drove under the clouds till around noon when the sun poked out. Had some gusty winds on our beam most of the day. Came up via Galveston and the ferry to Bolivar Peninsula. All the heavy debris has been clean up on the Bolivar Peninsula from the last big hurricane, a couple years back. The crowded beach community is now a sparse beach community. They are still in the process of building a new ferry dock.  We had no problem heading east but the west bound traffic was backed up over mile. Here is the RV park we've stayed at in the past (pic). They have a new office trailer now and it looks like business as usual. We pulled into Gulf Coast RV about 4:30 p.m. Mom made some dinner and I jumped on the computer I have a load of stuff to get caught up on. Whoa is me who is that Skyping me, I'll be dang It's John & Anita. Boy they look good it's been a long time  .....err.. few days since we've seen them. They are on there way to a  dance tonight and while John was waiting he pushed all the buttons on the computer and there we were.... John won another gold medal in table tennis at the final local tournament. 
We'll miss these folks!
 

Sunday March 7th, 2010   Beaumont TX      Gulf Coast RV 
A day to tour Beaumont Texas. Originally produced rice, cattle, and trapping here before black-gold was discovered. Back in 1845 merchant John Jay French built his home here and it's still standing today (pic). In 1865 Captain O'Brien though oil was here and it took till 1893 before serious drilling was started. Numerous investors came and went till Lucas hit oil with his second well in 1901. The Lucas gusher at Spindletop came in blowing 100' above the drilling tower, oil is here. We toured the old buildings of Spindletop which was created just half mild from the original oil fields (pic) (pic). Oil drill derricks were located so close together that you could walk a half mile without setting a foot on the ground (pic). In the photo studio they had a nice collection of cameras (pic). The oil boom was short lived here, lasting only about 10 years.
Downtown seems to be a ghost town most everything is closed on Sunday. The downtown's hot spot, Crockett Street, was like a abandon movie set (pic). We drove around the Historical District and found some interesting architecture mixed in what we would call a middle class neighborhood (pic) (pic). Judging from some of the interesting fixtures around town (pic) dogs have to love it here.
Now after all this excitement it was time to get serious about dinner. We are close to Cajun country so Crawdads it is. A hot juicy specialty of Floyd's, we said we should have backbone enough to try them (pic) (pic).

Monday March 8th, 2010  Beaumont TX to Mandeville LA  Fontainebleau State Pk $9 Gas $2.56 264 miles
Started with the free breakfast in the clubhouse, you have to make your own waffles (pic). We were on the road by 9:00 a.m. It drizzled till about noon then remained cloudy the rest of the day. Easy drive with no issues. We're here now till Emily and Ashley arrive.

Tuesday March 9th, 2010  Mandeville LA  Fontainebleau State Pk 
Little house cleaning this morning before we left to find the airport. The trip over was well marked and parking straight forward. Toured the terminal, baggage, and best parking. We are all set now. Now for a causal drive back. Wow look what I see, the car seems to drive it self, swerving over then parked. I was the first one in due to some slow mover with foot restrictions. (pic) (pic)...
More good exciting news, Craig called and said him, Robbie & a buddy will coming down for a visit. Barb has ten new pups so she'll be tending them for some time. They should be here near the end of the month. Now Glenn, when?

Wednesday March 10th, 2010  Mandeville LA  Fontainebleau State Pk 
Light rain on and off most of the day, temp in the mid 70s. Puttered around all morning then Wal-Mart for some long over due grocery shopping. About a ten mile drive and while Mom was in shopping I went next door to Sam's for gas. After several hours of waiting your mother finally came out empty handed. "There's a hold on the credit card." That's what I need to hear. After using my other card we loaded the car. Could have use a roof rack. All the way home I tried to figure out why the hold. I just used the same card to fill the car. My mind was still wondering as we drove past the gate and down the half mile straight away towards the camp site, just then the on coming Ranger pulls across the road in front on me, lights  flashing, as I slowed he spoke over the speakers "Pull over." There I sat while he exits his vehicle with pad in hand and walked to the rear of our PT. Writing, looking, then on the phone, I'm sitting waiting, thinking a hold on the card, blowing the gate, now a ranger stop.   Something's up! He finally comes to my window and asked "Do you know what the speed limit is?" Yes 10 mph. "You know you were doing 36 mph down the deserted half mile stretch."  No.  We have full park this weekend and yada yada yada.. This is just a warning, drive careful.  Yes son...
Called Citi about the credit card. Bottom line an alert was triggered because a small gas purchase follow by a large charge in Wal Marts. "My Groceries." Jessie explained that the crooks use this action to see if the card is good then make a large buy. Groceries? The day ended well.

Wk11
Thursday March 11th, 2010  Mandeville LA  Fontainebleau State Pk 
Girls are coming tomorrow so it's a make ready day. Finding a compartment for everything that's laying about. Final trip to catch-up on all the laundry, and a trip to the post office. Sun was shining so we ended our day with a walk to the beach. Early start tomorrow, 6 am.

Friday March 12th, 2010  Mandeville LA  Fontainebleau State Pk 
Up by 6:30 a.m. and rolling by 7:45. New Orleans International Airport with time to spare. Plane was on time but the luggage was not, we hung around then made the report. Laura took the info and trace the bags and said she would have them delivered, so we boogied. The girls said they were up all night since they had to be at the airport by 5 am. Very little sleep on the plane and yet they were ready to go. First some New Orleans Chicory and quick energy, beignets of course (pic). We stopped at a beignet shop in route to the French Quarter, then it was hours of walking, shopping, shopping, walking then finally Margaritaville for lunch. Sat out on the balcony and had a light lunch then hit a few more stores while making our way towards the parked car. Three minutes after starting the car two young folks sound a sleep. Back at the camper they were off to the beach for some vitamin D. Short time later they were again sleeping, I think it was 6 pm. 
We got a couple calls regarding the luggage it should be here by 10 pm. We took a lot of pictures I grouped them at this link: New Orleans.

Saturday March 13th, 2010  Mandeville LA  Fontainebleau State Pk 
After 13 hours of sleep the girls were ready to go again. Where to today I said. They are having a Saint Patrick's day parade in the Garden District today and could we check out one of those spooky cemeteries. Back across the 26 mile causeway we went, through downtown New Orleans to Old Saint Lewis Cemetery #1 (pic). 
Then onto the Garden District. We located the parade floats waiting to start the procession. With enthusiasm and excitement the floats begin to roll, loud music, and a lots of merry makers aboard tossing the coveted adornments. Spectators lined the streets in hopes of catching some treasure. For some reason, unknown to us, heads of cabbage were being thrown along with some other eatables. Of course our refined ladies stood back and watched as things readied. While watching lasted about three minutes before the girls were hollering for a gift, and chasing after the floats like old professional Mardi Gras spectators (pic). Of course grandma had to get involved and came home with a head of cabbage (pic).   It wasn't long before the girls were tagged (pic) and coming back with the finer trinkets  like cans of beverage (pic) and extravagant head wear (pic).
Next it was back the Quarter where some street performers doing some extreme acrobatics. Here is a little clip of a what they did (vid). We tried to have dinner at Mother's but the line was half way around the block so we had dinner on the square then headed home for the night. There were thousands of people in the French Quarter and loads of things going on. All in all it was a fun day.

Sunday March 14th, 2010  Mandeville LA  Fontainebleau State Pk 
Where still here! We opted to stay here at the state park for another day to relax and unwind. After one hour of unwinding the girls jumped on the bikes for a sixteen mile bike ride (pic). While they were gone we moved to another camp site, due to our extended stay, as ours had been reserved by others. The new site was a little better than the last, here a (pic). 
Since your mother caught a cabbage in the St. Patrick parade she made corned beef and cabbage for dinner. Delicious of course. Did lay back the rest of the day. Tomorrow Gulfport Mississippi.

Monday March 15th, 2010  Mandeville LA to  Elberta AL  Wolf Bay Plantation $18 (by month)  170 m  $2.58
Nice easy departure this morning, I think we finally got moving about 10 a.m. Short hop of about 75 miles to Gulfport where we showed Emily the house we lived in when her dad was born. The 150 year old home still is in great looking shape. They have installed a garage with carriage house and in ground pool since we lived there. It's presently for sale for $285K and to top that last years taxes for seniors were $45. We're only three blocks from the beach, this might be a nice winter get away home! (pic). 
We stopped at the beach for a couple pictures (pic), then moved on to Gulf Shores. We were settled in by 4 p.m. and hungry for Mexican, Debby suggested El Paso's for their delicious meals. We were home in time for a couple games of euchre.

Tuesday March 16th, 2010  Elberta AL  Wolf Bay Plantation 
All the ladies went with Debby to the indoor pool for exercise while I tackled the grubby motorhome. Just about the time I was finishing up washing the outside they returned. The girls were now anxious to get to the beach, so after hours of in and out of the bathroom, what to wear, what to take, how's my hair, where is the sun block, I drove them to the beach. Cell phone when ready to return please. I returned to finish up on my outside chores. At about 5 p.m. we picked up Debby and on to the girls then directly to the VFW hall for a prime rib dinner. It was an out of the world cut of beef price $10. Lisa joined us, it was good to see her again. John is in his busy time of the year and is working any where from 12 to 19 hours a day. Visiting with John this time around will be minimal. At lease we'll be able to do some things with Debby so her days won't be too lonely.

Wednesday March 17th, 2010  Elberta AL  Wolf Bay Plantation 
Happy St. Patrick's day! Cooler this day, beach option canceled, shopping instead. So first lunch at DeSoto's Fish place then some serious shopping. Lunch was exceptional, I skipped the fish and went for house special chicken and dumplings $7, hmmm hmm. We dropped the girls off at a very large shopping mall and went home to relax. Some six hours later it was back to the mall to retrieve to excited kids with arms full of packages. 

Wk12
Thursday March 18th, 2010  Elberta AL  Wolf Bay Plantation 
Almost as warm as Detroit today, groan. Took a picture of our camp site (pic) and our company Mom, Deb, and pooches too (pic). Girls went to the beach today, and Mom & I searched out a rental unit for Emma and her parents. We found what appears to be a newer park model for a real good price. 
On the way home from the beach the girls want to try out a Fun Park ride. Here we go, after suit up (pic) they were placed on a platform, wires are hooked to their harness (pic) then you slowly pulled up skyward backwards (pic). Some where around the 100' level Ashley pulled the trigger and here they come some hundred miles and hour right at me then zoom right past and back in the sky (pic). Little problem with the video but you'll get the idea (vid).
This evening John got off work at his regular time and stopped over. Good to see him, we talked for some time. Yesterday, the traffic on the main road was the busiest Deb has ever seen. John was saying that there are over a hundred softball teams in town from across the country for the tournaments. They also have soccer teams here and it was St. Patrick's day as well. In any case thing were much more normal today. John said the tournaments are over.

Friday March 19th, 2010  Elberta AL  Wolf Bay Plantation 
Perfect day! Girls head to the beach by 10 a.m. More family arrived in the late afternoon, staying with Debby, Judy, Kate and baby Amaya. I laid back all day sunning around the motorhome, and your mom spent the morning with Deb. We picked the girls up around 5 p.m. and stopped at DeSoto's for fish dinner. I think the girls were sound asleep again by 9 p.m.

Saturday March 20th, 2010  Elberta AL  Wolf Bay Plantation 
Happy Birthday Robbie & Uncle Ed! Nice bright morning, guess what the girls want to do? We dropped them off at the beach, with patchy skies and breezy it looks like it may cloud up. Mom and I hung out at the beach, walked the board walk then felt it was time for coffee. We found a bakery that sold coffee so we stopped in and of course had a doughnut as well. We drove around a bit than checked in with the girls to see if they felt like a pizza, "Oh yes!" Clouds were heavy now and the wind picked up so it looks like the beaching was done for the day. Had pizza at Papa Rocco's and on the drive home what was left of my half dozen doughnuts disappeared..
Mom made a chicken dinner topped with an early birthday cake for Emily. Finished the day with some games of Rummy O, and some packing as tomorrow will be fly away day for the girls.

Sunday March 21st, 2010  Elberta AL  Wolf Bay Plantation 
Rained all night but cleared this morning, much cooler now. Most of the day was spent reading for departure. We headed for the airport early so we could stop for a good bye ice cream. We had lot of fun for the past eleven days and now it's time for a sad goodbye.

Monday March 22nd, 2010  Elberta AL  Wolf Bay Plantation 
Mom went to the pool and lunch with all the woman and I elected to hang around the house all day. Did a few small

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projects then Bindi and I did some walking. How nice is that?

Tuesday March 23rd, 2010  Elberta AL  Wolf Bay Plantation 
Road Kill Cafe for lunch and the rest of the warm afternoon spent on the beach. John stopped by around dinner time and asked if we wanted to join him and Judy for prime rib at the American Legion hall. Again the beef was scrum shish.
We did check out some of the park models today, to see what what cost what. Example: One beautiful two bedroom model with screen porch and utility building, full furnished in like new condition is asking $125k and you own the property.

Wednesday March 24th, 2010  Elberta AL  Wolf Bay Plantation 
Coasting

Wk13
Thursday March 25th, 2010  
Elberta AL  Wolf Bay Plantation 
Rain for a short time this afternoon. Judy, Kate & baby left for home this evening after dinner at Desoto's. 
Posted some pictures (pics). Tomorrow the
Elberta Sausage Festival

Friday March 26th, 2010  Elberta AL  Wolf Bay Plantation 
Sausage Festival is tomorrow. Mom's at the pool today and I'm supervising the installation of a new park model, next door. After removing the wheels, axles, and tongue they 'hurricane strap' down the unit (pic). Installation time five hours, except for the plumbing, electrical and water.
There is a near by cheese factory (pic) where we bought some of the local product and a loaf of home made bread. 
We closed the evening with dinner at El Paso, good Mexican food and a jumbo Margarita, your mother laughed and giggled out of the restaurant and all the way home. There must of been something in that drink... hmmm.

Saturday 27th, 2010  Elberta AL  Wolf Bay Plantation 
First thing this morning we're off to the the festival. This is a very big thing for the town of 700 people. The fund raiser happens twice a year. Last year they prepared 7,000 pounds of sausage, this year they don't plan to run out, they are preparing 14,000 pound of sausage. Almost live live entertainment (pic) (pic), Lots of booths to purchase the things we really need (pic), yes we bought. It was a fun few hours, we ate the sausage, the apple and ice cream dumplings and coffee. Everything cost too much, "but it's for a good cause." hmmm...

Sunday 28th, 2010  Elberta AL  Wolf Bay Plantation 
Great day for a drive! Small town of Fairhope located on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay has favorable write ups that tweaked our curiosity. Fairhope appears as an upscale artsy community with some beautiful home along the bay. It was about a 35 mile drive from Foley to the area. We stopped for lunch at a small road side cafe' in town. Crab cakes with a cup of chowder was the special of the day, good enough for me. There was outside seating, that's what caught our eye, but opt  to eat in (pic). This quiet town has flower lined streets (pic) and of azaleas that are now in bloom (pic). Waterfront parks, marinas and yacht clubs make up a lot of this historical community. Found my the camera's battery dead a short time after arriving hence not many pics. Here are some pictures the city offers (city pics).  Wikipedia has an interesting write about the history of this community that remains in effect to this day.

Monday 29th, 2010  Elberta AL  Wolf Bay Plantation 
Laundry today. Spent time with busy work, balancing the budget, talked with our insurance, and took Bindi for a trim. Talked with Craig to see how his travel plans are coming, he should be here tomorrow. Finished the day with a chicken dinner at Debs.

Tuesday March 30th, 2010  Elberta AL  Wolf Bay Plantation 
Enjoyed the southern climate today. St. Clair Shores is scheduled for a warm weekend, it must be getting close to the time for us to head north. 
Perm for mom today and wash the car for me. This evening we enjoyed steak at the American Legion and a sundae at Mc Dee's. We decided to go for a beach drive after dinner and headed towards Florida, along the water. This is the night Craig and Rob are landing at Pensacola. Did some calculating and computed that we could get to the airport at 8:30 pm their plane is scheduled in at 9:00 pm, so we continued east. Because this little venture was unplanned, we only planned a dinner outing, I have no camera and no phone. Pulled into the parking structure at the airport at 8:35 pm and proceeded to the arrival gate. Viewing the scheduled arrivals I see the flight has been delayed, possible ETA 10:30 pm. Groan..  They must be setting in Memphis airport waiting for the hour flight and I can't call them, no phone.  Craig is planning a car rental so there is no point hanging around. Back at home I called Rob to learn they're repairing the plane and schedule to depart at 10:30 pm. Let's see, depart at 10:30 arrive at 11:30, half hour for baggage and car, midnight, an hours drive to our place, make the ETA about 1 am. I stayed up till 2 am with no word. Wednesday morning we've learned their plane got to Pensacola and was turned back where they had to stayed aloft to burn off fuel and finally landed back in Memphis. The airlines put them up for the night and are now scheduled for a direct flight to Tampa FL, their final destination. So we won't see them this trip, so sad...

Wednesday March 31st, 2010  Elberta AL  Wolf Bay Plantation 
Happy happy Birthday Emily! Perfect day today, kept busy doing some odds and ends around here. Walked Bindi too long today, cause when I later asked her out she just rolled her eyes while lying on the couch. Mom made lasagna and Deb and John joined us for dinner... What a day.

wk14
Thursday April 1st, 2010  Elberta AL  Wolf Bay Plantation 
Beach today. First thing is lunch at the Pink Pony located right on the beach (pic). After a scrumpish burger relaxing on the soft sand seemed the right thing to do (pic). Spending time on the sand is a very tiring thing for me, trying to snooze yet kept and eye open so as not to be run over by a young bikini, well you understand. I don't know, whether it was the consumption of the beverages at the waters edge or the hot sun but the couch definitely call on me when we got home. Mom on the other hand went on an extended shopping spree.

Friday April 2nd, 2010  Elberta AL  Wolf Bay Plantation 
Aunt Barb & Uncle Mike pulled in first thing this morning. Robin, Chuck and Chas came along with them for support driving on their straight through venture. Mom and Deb did the pool first thing while the new arrivals settled in. By 10:00 am. Chuck was stripped to the waist taking no time in burning his outer epidermis under the bright hot sun. By the time we got to the beach he looked like a well done red hot! (pic). Son Chas used a little more restrain (pic) as we all enjoyed the beach (pic). After the beach we all headed to the American Legion hall for their steak dinner. Concluded the day at out place planning the weekend. (more pics).

Saturday April 3rd, 2010  Elberta AL  Wolf Bay Plantation 
We hung around the home all day today. Mom Aunt Barb did some shopping for Easter dinner and I washed the rig. We watched Michigan State basketball (thanks for the buck John) and had dogs and burgers at Deb's this evening. Now we await the arrival of Gary and family. The plane is off the ground from Atlanta and should be landing in 25 minutes. ...  They are here!

Sunday April 4th, 2010  Elberta AL  Wolf Bay Plantation 
Happy Easter! Family day today for sure. The five of us joined Aunt Barb with her group of five and John, Deb and Lisa at their nondenominational Church, Liberty Church. There was lots of singing to the four piece band along with the boisterous verbal praising of the Lord. The atmosphere is very relaxed, although today most everyone was in very nice dress, Pastor JP wears jeans and a white sport coat. Most Sundays the congregation comes in short and tee-shirts, I was told. Later we gathered at Deb's for a large banquet, Dearborn Ham, roast turkey, and all the trimmings. We just hung out the rest of the day. Oh yes, we did do a little bird watching, Osprey in fact (pic).

Monday April 5th, 2010  Elberta AL  Wolf Bay Plantation 
Tourist day. We all piled into two cars and head to Mobile Bay to visit Fairhope (pic). Cutest thing in the world was this Persian cat in her bed in an antique store window (pic). Walked the town, walked the pier, then had a Mexican lunch (pic) (pic). Finished with a long time on the beach (pic) (pic) (pic). Us older folks left a little earlier than the kids. I asked "can you find your way back?" Oh Yea no problem, we may stop at the marina though to see the catch of the day. Well back at home we remembered that the Easter leftovers are locked in Gary's home and it's already 5 pm and we had all decided that leftovers will be our dinner. We'll wait! Long about 7:30 pm. we get a call from Chuck in a very mumbley voice, "We may need a drive home, oh boy another pitcher of Margaritas." Mom said well you don't have to drink it, as she hears in the background Gary saying "anybody seen Emma?" Well needless to say Mike and I got up to go be designated drivers. Just as we're pulling out of parking lot here comes Gary's van full of laughing family, they put one over on us...  Oh boy!

Tuesday April 6th, 2010  Elberta AL  Wolf Bay Plantation 
Another fun packed day. Started off with a healthy breakfast at the Beignet Cafe (pic) then a staff meeting in front of Mike's place (pic). Decisions were made to lunch at Desoto's, shop, then a Dolphin watch boat ride. Lunch was easy everyone loves to eat (pic). Shopping went very well mom didn't spend a cent, smile. We then made it over to the marina which is located in Orange Beach, about three miles east of Gulf Shores. There was a crowd already lined up for the tour (pic). We struggled to move around aboard as the passageways are very narrow and the boat is crowded. Chuck had a time transporting the all important cooler, which I think only had ice in it as beer was purchased aboard. Us older folks headed towards the bow on the main deck and we watched Chuck tussle the cooler to the upper deck on the narrow rear stair case. We settled in on the bow as others were still milling around bumping in to each other. Laughter broke out on the bow as someone was trying to wiggle down the skinny spiral staircase at the bow with a large blue cooler, yep it was Chuck (pic). He was gracious enough to pose for this reenactment after the crowd disappeared. We're now all in place (pic) and ready to watch for Dolphin (pic). It wasn't long after leaving the dock that we were watching Dolphins all around the boat (pic). The ship's pilot maneuvered this large boat around the Dolphins so each side of the vessel could watch as they splashed around in these shallow waters. I took this shot off the bow as we moved to another location and the Dolphins road the bow wave (pic), also took a short video (vid). The $12 tour lasted over two hours and as the sun set (pic) we departed (pic). We got back home to find that Deb had made some delicious deserts for us, oh boy. All in all is was a fun full day.

Wednesday April 7th, 2010  Elberta AL  Wolf Bay Plantation 
Everyone seems to be moving a little slower this morning. Some planned to hang around and lay back but we along with Gary's family and Uncle Mike decided to do the Road Kill Cafe for lunch and then the National Museum of Naval Aviation located at the home of the Blue Angles near Pensacola Florida. We finally got it all together by 12:30 pm and took the fifteen minute ride to the Cafe only to find they close at 12:30 pm. hmmm. We continued on towards the museum looking for a place to lunch first. Well well well what do you know Gary's car pulled up to a Mexican restaurant, near the Naval Museum. All of use thought the food was great.  
Next was the Museum (pic), what a super place with hundreds of planes on display, video displays, and some hands on stuff. This is one of the best air museums in the country. It's already pushing 2 pm. so no way can we do everything here. We did a little walk around then took the trolley ride around the outdoor static displays (pic). We then took in the IMax about the Hubble, super super show. Plans are definitely for a return visit as the museum closes at 5:30. (pic). Oh yes one good point, the museum was free.

Thursday April 8th, 2010  Elberta AL  Wolf Bay Plantation 
Uncle Mike and family left for home this morning. We're on our way for a tour of the Biloxi area today. Suppose to rain most of the morning but by 10: am. the light showers stopped and the sun was shinning. We toured the Biloxi Gulfport area and tried to get on Kessler AFB but unless you have military ID you're not allowed. We had a nice lunch on the beach at Snappers Seafood Restaurant and sat outside on the upper deck (pic). The drive home included a stop for ice cream in Loxley MS and then a quiet evening back home. Gary and family will be leaving early tomorrow morning and I'm sure will be following in the next few days.

Friday April 9th, 2010  Elberta AL  Wolf Bay Plantation 
Start prepping for the trip home today, we'll finish packing tomorrow and plan to leave Sunday morning. Had dinner at Wolf Bay Lodge this afternoon with Debby, a real fun place on the same bay where we took the Dolphin watch cruise. Lot of outdoor seating next to the boat docks so it was just fun place to eat (pic). Food was very good, I had shrimp. Stopped by Lisa's on the way home, she is still not feeling well.

Saturday April 10th, 2010  Elberta AL  Wolf Bay Plantation 
Getting ready, soaking up the warm sun shine on the lawn chair before packing it away. Just a nice quite day, have most everything done before we went to dinner with Deb. John has been working extra the past several days hope to see him before tomorrow morning's departure.

Sunday April 11th, 2010  Elberta ALto Montgomery AL  241 miles, gas $2.79, S. Montgomery RV $15 
Started off this morning with a detour to the Bellingrath Gardens. It's a little out of our way but a worth while trip. I don't know if you could be here at a better time of the year, the Azaleas are in full bloom and there are hundreds of them (pic). We enjoyed touring the grounds for two hours, the paths cover a thousand acres. The most stunning blooms in additions to the Azaleas were the Blue Hydrangea. All the pictures are here (slides). 
The rest of the day was an easy drive to south Montgomery.

Monday April 12th, 2010  Montgomery AL to Nashville TN    312 miles gas $2.79 Nashville Country RV $17 
Getting anxious to get home. Walked the park and just relaxed all evening. The drive trough Nashville is always a little more stress than country driving. Little construction but other wise uneventful.

Tuesday April 13th, 2010  Nashville TN to Rising Sun IN   254 miles gas $2.79 casino free 
What a great area along the Ohio river. Madisonville is a very quaint town and the country drive was along narrow roads but no traffic so it was a nice drive. Rising sun is also very quaint and picturesque. We stayed at the casino and did check out the machines but can't brag about our winnings.. especially since the camping was free.

Wednesday April 14th, 2010   Rising Sun IN  to Home  305 miles gas $2.79 
Beautiful day, we got an early start and had a smooth drive. Got home at 2:30 pm.. tired but happy...

Till out next venture Bye!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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