Monday, April 30, 2012

Zippers and ZZZZZZZ's -- Mon., Apr. 30

Fort Worth, Texas:
Zipper, a great invention that replaced hooks and eyes and, in some instances, buttons and buttonholes. Instead of individually fastening hooks and eyes, you do one zip and you are securely in your clothes!

The other Zipper that I love is a ride at a fair. You are locked into a cage with a lap bar. Before the ride starts, you can rock your cage and get it going around 360 degrees. My sister and I love this ride. When your cage is spinning at the beginning and the ride starts you spin around and around with great centrifugal force. We scream and scream, but love every minute of it! And no, we don't get motion sickness.

ZZZZZZ's equal Bob's head hitting the pillow after a day of driving, hiking, anytime he watches sports or starts to read a book, or when I'm driving and he's a passenger.

The A-to-Z Blogging Challenge for the month of April is finished. Now I've done my ABCs, tell me what you think of me.

Update on our status: I could not do laundry last night as we didn't have quarters. Bob went into town but apparently no one would sell him quarters. (Must have been a busy laundry night somewhere!) I did laundry this morning and had the laundry room to myself.

Bob had the pick up truck weighed on Friday, and the truck/5th wheel combination weighed this morning. Howard and Linda of RV-Dreams weigh each wheel of the tow combination independently. They want us to make sure we're towing a safe weight for our pick up's towing capacity. Our tow combination passed with flying colors. We were about 1,500 pounds underweight. Now we can stock up for gate guarding and not worry about overloading. They suggested we might lower our tire pressure a bit.

This morning, we moved our RV back to Armadillo Junction RV Park in Ingram. We have reservations for two nights.

My Escape pod started making scary noises today. When I shift from park to drive, then turn the steering wheel, it makes a loud clunking noise. I hope nothing is wrong with my steering or suspension. This evening, the air bag light came on after a couple of loud clunks. Uh-oh.

Driving around Texas, I've made a few observations about how Texas is different from Oregon.
  1. In certain areas there are long frontage roads next to freeways. You need to know ahead of time what exit you need because you may have to go a mile on a frontage road to get to your destination. If you miss your exit, it may be three or more miles to turn around and get back to where you wanted to be.
  2. Many, many goats being raised. In one town the headline on the local paper was "Goat Cook-Off." I don't think they meant old goats cooking.
  3. Texas has Mesquite trees, cotton and pecan orchards, Oregon does not.
  4. Texas is huge...it takes a long time to drive across it from west to east or vice versa. You can drive across Oregon in one day.
  5. There are exotic animal ranches. These ranches are helping repopulate some of the endangered species from Africa, India, Pakistan. They allow controlled hunting on most ranches.
  6. The speed limits are 75-80 mph on unpopulated stretches of freeway, 65-70 mph on US and state highways (lower speed limits through cities).
  7. There are nice picnic areas along interstates, US, state, county, farm-to-market roads, etc.
  8. Scads of historic markers; it seems like a third of them tell about cemeteries.
  9. Gas is cheaper. We saw gas for $3.49/gallon today.
  10. They use "ma'am" as a sign of respect.
We are in the South, y'all.

That's all I can think of for now. Travel Bug out.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

"X" Revisited plus Update on Rally -- Sun., Apr. 29

Fort Worth, Texas:
Zipper, a great invention that replaced hooks and eyes and, in some instances, buttons and buttonholes. Instead of individually fastening hooks and eyes, you do one zip and you are securely in your clothes!

The other Zipper that I love is a ride at a fair. You are locked into a cage with a lap bar. Before the ride starts, you can rock your cage and get it going around 360 degrees. My sister and I love this ride. When your cage is spinning at the beginning and the ride starts you spin around and around with great centrifugal force. We scream and scream, but love every minute of it! And no, we don't get motion sickness.

ZZZZZZ's equal Bob's head hitting the pillow after a day of driving, hiking, anytime he watches sports or starts to read a book, or when I'm driving and he's a passenger.

The A-to-Z Blogging Challenge for the month of April is finished. Now I've done my ABCs, tell me what you think of me.

Update on our status: I could not do laundry last night as we didn't have quarters. Bob went into town but apparently no one would sell him quarters. (Must have been a busy laundry night somewhere!) I did laundry this morning and had the laundry room to myself.

Bob had the pick up truck weighed on Friday, and the truck/5th wheel combination weighed this morning. Howard and Linda of RV-Dreams weigh each wheel of the tow combination independently. They want us to make sure we're towing a safe weight for our pick up's towing capacity. Our tow combination passed with flying colors. We were about 1,500 pounds underweight. Now we can stock up for gate guarding and not worry about overloading. They suggested we might lower our tire pressure a bit.

This morning, we moved our RV back to Armadillo Junction RV Park in Ingram. We have reservations for two nights.

My Escape pod started making scary noises today. When I shift from park to drive, then turn the steering wheel, it makes a loud clunking noise. I hope nothing is wrong with my steering or suspension. This evening, the air bag light came on after a couple of loud clunks. Uh-oh.

Driving around Texas, I've made a few observations about how Texas is different from Oregon.
  1. In certain areas there are long frontage roads next to freeways. You need to know ahead of time what exit you need because you may have to go a mile on a frontage road to get to your destination. If you miss your exit, it may be three or more miles to turn around and get back to where you wanted to be.
  2. Many, many goats being raised. In one town the headline on the local paper was "Goat Cook-Off." I don't think they meant old goats cooking.
  3. Texas has Mesquite trees, cotton and pecan orchards, Oregon does not.
  4. Texas is huge...it takes a long time to drive across it from west to east or vice versa. You can drive across Oregon in one day.
  5. There are exotic animal ranches. These ranches are helping repopulate some of the endangered species from Africa, India, Pakistan. They allow controlled hunting on most ranches.
  6. The speed limits are 75-80 mph on unpopulated stretches of freeway, 65-70 mph on US and state highways (lower speed limits through cities).
  7. There are nice picnic areas along interstates, US, state, county, farm-to-market roads, etc.
  8. Scads of historic markers; it seems like a third of them tell about cemeteries.
  9. Gas is cheaper. We saw gas for $3.49/gallon today.
  10. They use "ma'am" as a sign of respect.
We are in the South, y'all.

That's all I can think of for now. Travel Bug out.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Young at Heart

Kerrville, Texas:

Young at Heart
 Sung by Frank Sinatra
Songwriters: KING, RILEY B.

Fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you
If you're young at heart
For it's hard, you will find, to be narrow of mind
If you're young at heart

You can go to extremes with impossible schemes
You can laugh when your dreams fall apart at the seams
And life gets more exciting with each passing day
And love is either in your heart or on it's way

Don't you know that it's worth every treasure on earth
To be young at heart
For as rich as you are it's much better by far
To be young at heart

And if you should survive to 105
Look at all you'll derive out of being alive
Then here is the best part, you have a head start
If you are among the very young at heart

And if you should survive to 105
Look at all you'll derive out of being alive
Then here is the best part, you have a head start
If you are among the very young at heart
© Universal Music Publishing Group


When I was young, my parents used to play this song frequently. To this day, I know most of the lyrics. And my mom is very young at heart. I think the words rubbed off on us. I am young at heart too.


Update on our RV-Dreams Rally:

Our RV Rally is so much fun! Thursday night we had a potluck. After-dinner entertainment was a game about RVing based on "The Newlywed Game." We laughed until we cried, it was so funny. Bob and I were one of the four couples on the RVing-under-one-year team. We did OK, but another team beat us and went on to the finals.

Yesterday we had seminars on "Selecting a 'Home Base' and Insurance Considerations," "RVing Basics," "Basic RV Maintenance," and "Driving an RV to Alaska."

 

Friday afternoon, I got my hair cut before we spend 2-1/2 months gate guarding. Our new job starts Friday, May 4.

 


Friday, April 27, 2012

X, The Letter

Kerrville, Texas:
The April A-to-Z blogging challenge is almost complete.  Three letters left: X, Y, Z. It's appropriate to talk about X, the 24th letter of the alphabet.

We can use x in mathematical equations, can cross off an errant word with an x, and can mark a ballot or checkbox with an x.

Not too many common words start with X: X-ray, xylophone, X-rated, and xylene are a few that come to mind.

When we talk about learning our A-B-C's, it brings up memories of elementary school and a cute song. The A-B-C's are what we cut our educational teeth on. A lot of our learning comes from reading and the alphabet is the foundation to learning sounds and words.
 
By the time we get to X-Y-Z, we know our A-B-C's  and it's time to explore the thoughts that come with learning words, reading, and the deeper challenge of critical thinking.

As we come to the end of our challenge, let's hear it for the letter X!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wanderlust, Workamping and Walmart

Kerrville, Texas:
Wanderlust to me equals traveling for the fun of traveling, getting "lost," making new discoveries, wanting to see what's around the next bend, making friends along the way, finding good places to eat, and learning interesting history and facts. Bob likes to go on "walk-about" or long wanderings.

Workamping, for those of you not familiar with the term, entails working in places you travel to or traveling to places to work and living full- or part-time in your RV. Working while you're RVing may be out of financial necessity, or to keep from becoming bored, or even to volunteer. You can learn more at workamper.com. Many RVers are workampers. We workamp because we cannot afford to completely retire. This gives us the best of all worlds--working, camping and traveling.

Walmart, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways:
  1. You are nationwide
  2. Good pricing
  3. You allow overnight RV camping (at some locations)
  4. You have almost everything an RVer could need including:
  • RV supplies
  • Groceries
  • Medicine
  • Clothes
  • Kitchen stuff
  • Music
  • Books
  • Shoes
  • Delicatessen
  • Cards
  • Gifts
  • Sundries
  • Puzzles and games
  • Pet supplies
What else? Part of our wanderlust has brought us to the RV-Dreams Rally in Kerrville. The seminars are informative, practical and witty. Having lived in our RV for six months, we are learning what questions to ask. Many of our questions are being answered here about wi-fi internet, RV maintenance, satellite TV, insurance, helpful gadgets, workamping, budgeting, and full-time RV strategies.

Here are some pictures of Buckhorn Lake Resort where the rally is being held.
The private club where RVers have their own cottages.
Bridge and waterfall--private owners' club
Our site

How closely we're packed in.
Ours is the second RV back.
Nice touches--windmill, tractor with flower cart.
The exercise building
Back deck of exercise building overlooking lake.
Ponds

River on property

River with white picket fence
Patio cafe.




Volkssporting

Buckhorn Lake Resort, Kerrville, Texas:

V is for Volkssporting as in the American Volkssport Association (AVA)--Fun, Fitness, Friendship. I have been a member for many years and have earned badges and pins for the number of events and number of kilometers I have walked/hiked. I call it volksmarching (literally walk of the people) or volkswalking.

From the AVA website:
"Volkssporting started in Germany and simply defined, is a personal fitness sports and recreation program offering noncompetitive walks, hikes, bike rides, swims, and in some regions cross-country skiing. You may choose your time to start within the start/finish 'window' and participate in the sport at your own pace.

"Volkssporting in the United States is sponsored by the American Volkssport Association (AVA) which has about 300 active clubs presenting more than 3,000 volkssporting events each year with some 50,000 participants.

"Promoting well being and good health by providing safe exercise in a stress-free environment is the hallmark of volkssporting. Walking – also called 'volksmarching' – is the most popular of all the volkssporting activities. Walks are generally 10 km (6.2 miles) in length and the routes are marked or guided by a leader. Local clubs generally offer a 5 km (3.1 miles) option for participants who are physically or medically unable to complete the longer walks. All events are noncompetitive. The volkssporter chooses the sport, the distance and the pace.

"Volkssporting events take place throughout the year, all around the country. Historic and scenic sites are selected for their enjoyment. Trails are carefully laid out and marked, easy to follow directions or maps are provided. Ratings of 1 to 5 (the most difficult) are given to trails based upon the challenge the trail presents. The designated Start Point is open for several hours to allow you to begin your volkssporting adventure at your leisure. Trails have checkpoints along the route and are monitored for security and safety.

"In the volkssporting tradition, you frequently find volkssporters gathered at the Finish Point where they take time to enjoy friends, and at some events, entertainment or refreshments."

Over the years, I have walked with friends, Bob, or alone on 10K (6.2 mile) walks in forests, parks, cities, tulip fields, dahlia fields, iris fields, lilac gardens, along rivers, through festivals, Christmas lights walks, historical areas, and gardens.

Some walks are year-round events that you can do anytime your heart desires. You go to a start box, sign in, get a start number, pick up a map and a start card, and go. Along the route you may need to answer checkpoint questions and write the answers on your start card. When you're finished, you pay $3.00, (put the money and your start card in a locked box at the start area OR taken an addressed envelope to mail your payment), stamp your AVA books if you walk for credit, and go about your day.

Other walks are traditional sponsored events which means a Volkssport club in the area maps out a route, staffs the registration, start and end tables, and usually provides checkpoints along the way where you get your start card stamped, water, and possibly small snacks.

Bob and I did a Volkswalk last Saturday at Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio. It's such a fun thing to do. 

Anyone want to go walking?? I can find us a good one. http://www.ava.org/

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Us, Story of

Kerrville, Texas:
This is the story of us--Bob and Susan.

The Willamette Week ad read, "Hank Rearden type seeks Dagny Taggart type to help find Atlantis." The author is Ayn Rand and the book "Atlas Shrugged."

I was married twice before, had a baby from my second marriage, and swore off men after my second divorce. Swearing off men lasted about 18 months. It was time to date again. Bars were no use, I didn't want to marry a cheater or drinker. 

Plan B: local newspaper personal ads (this was before the internet). I don't know why I didn't think I'd find cheaters or drinkers in newspaper ads as opposed to bars. My success was much greater. I met super nice guys but didn't hit it off with any of them. They would make good friends, but I wanted a deeper relationship.

Until, that is, I saw Bob's ad (above). I thought, "HE sounds like the man I'm looking for." At the time, I was reading "Atlas Shrugged" for the second time. I sent off a letter in response to the ad. He called me a few days later. Our phone conversation went like this:

"Hi, I'm Bob. You responded to my ad in Willamette Week. Tell me more about yourself."

I responded by telling him I'm an independent thinker, a rebel, a mother who works full time, who enjoys dancing, hiking, playing cards, reading, photography.

He then brought out his list of interview questions:
  • What kind of music do you like? 
  • Who are your favorite bands? 
  • What movies do you like? 
  • What kind of food do you like? 
  • What kind of work do you do?
  • What are your favorite books?
After I answered all his inquiries, he said, "I'd like to take you out."

I said, "Hey, wait a minute! I don't know anything about you," and proceeded to ask him questions about himself. He was an accountant, had a son, was divorced. We enjoyed dancing, the same music and books, but his movie-going interest wasn't as strong as mine.

He invited me to dinner and because I felt so good about him, he was the only guy I let pick me up at my apartment. (Other guys had to meet me in a public place like a restaurant.)

My apartment was ground level with a parking spot in front of my door. I had a security peak hole in my door. When Bob came to pick me up, I watched him get out of his car through the peak hole in the door. Handsome!! When he knocked at the door, I threw it open and enthusiastically said, "Hi!" 

We went to a Mexican restaurant and hit it off immediately. I couldn't believe he knew the name of my perfume as it was his favorite. He also loved the blue sundress I was wearing. He thought I was pretty good looking. We jabbered on at dinner, enjoying our conversation.

After dinner we went dancing at a rock 'n' roll club. Very fun!

One week later he moved in with me; one month later we bought a house together. He did not want to get married again, I did. I say I had the last laugh at that time because our house mortgage was 30 years...many people don't stay married that long. 

Seven years later in front of families, co-workers and friends, we married in a small ceremony. (I'm a patient woman. LOL.) At our reception, we had a TV and chairs set up to watch the Portland Trailblazers in a play-off game. Yes, Bob is an avid basketball fan.

Bob and I each have one son from a previous marriage who are four years apart. Our blended family worked well most of the time and had the usual child-rearing controversies, but overall everyone seems to have turned out well.

Flash forward 29 years. Bob and I are more in love now than we were then (even living in our 5th wheel trailer -- about 320 sf).

Now you're up-to-date and Bob is unwinding in the easy chair.






Monday, April 23, 2012

Trailblazers & Texas Twang

This morning we washed our 5er, Bob's truck and my car while it was early and cool. The amount of bugs our vehicles collect is staggering.

Once our chores were complete and the 5er hooked up to the truck, we left rustic River Oaks RV Riverside Resort and headed to a real RV resort: Buckhorn Lake Resort in Kerrville, Texas. The drive took us about 1-1/2 hours.

We checked in about 12:15 p.m., picked up our forwarded mail, and settled into our site. Laundry was at the top of my list for this afternoon and we finished that by 4:00 p.m.

Tonight, we went to the Portland Trailblazers vs San Antonio Spurs basketball game at the AT&T Center in San Antonio. More on that later.

Much more interesting is Texas twang or "How do you say that?" When we checked into the RV resort, I mentioned that we had been to Gruene (which I pronounced grew-knee). The clerks had no clue what I was talking about. So I explained where the town was located and asked them how to pronounce it. They told me it's pronounced "green."

Also included in my Texas twang lesson were the following:
Bexar is pronounced "bear."
Boerne is pronounced "bernie."
Leakey is pronounced "lake-y."
Lots more to learn about speaking "Texan."

We are long-time Trailblazer basketball fans, having lived in Oregon for over 30 years. We were looking forward to being at the game tonight for the game with the San Antonio Spurs. Bob wore his Trailblazer T-shirt. Unfortunately the Blazers did not show up for the game mentally. It was ugly. The Blazers looked like they didn't know what they were supposed to be doing (things like scoring, defending, making free throws, blocking shots). I told Bob the game was so bad he was going to have to turn his Trailblazer shirt inside out. The game went to the Spurs who had a 35-point victory.

Tomorrow is another day. The RV Rally starts and lasts until Sunday, April 29. Time for this night owl to fly off to bed.


Pedernales Falls State Park – Sun., Apr. 22


Selma & Johnson City, Texas:
Today we’re off to Costco in Selma, Texas and Camping World. At Camping World Bob found out we did not have to put in a double skylight. He bought some butyl tape to help with the seal between the skylight and the roof. 

When shopping was complete, we returned to the 5er and Bob put in the new skylight. It looks great. Thanks, Bob, for fixing the skylight.

For the first time, I cut Bob’s hair today. I am not a hairdresser. A couple of weeks ago we watched a You Tube video on how to cut hair. Today I actually did it. It looks pretty good.

At 4:30 p.m. we went to Pedernales Falls State Park. What a place. Bob and I love waterfalls. 


Sandhill crane fishing for dinner.


Goofball!




At the top of the trail to the waterfall is a big sign board explaining if the water level starts to rise, leave all your belongings and get to high ground. A flash flood is coming. You have five minutes to get out of the way. No swimming or tubing is allowed in the falls area which is a shame because the swimming hole looks awesome. A sandhill crane was hunting dinner next to the falls.

Bob wanted to go swimming. We drove to the parking lot for the swimming/picnic area and hiked the trail into the canyon. Bob swam and relaxed in the “coolish” water. Outside temperature was around 90. He said he felt refreshed.




We then drove to the campground and hiked a trail to Twin Falls. Two deer were on the trail but were spooked when we came along. Twin Falls was a small waterfall that had two three-foot drops (at least what we could see of it).
Deer on trail. Don't you love those eyes??

Oh, another dear!
Both pictures turned out great...couldn't decide, used them both.

Twin Falls
Because we hadn’t been there yet, we drove to Johnson City, home of President Lyndon Baines Johnson, and hiked a mile-long trail at the LBJ National Historical Park. It was getting dark so we went home.





On one-mile loop trail.






We hiked/walked four miles today.

Tomorrow afternoon we’ll have internet again and I can post my blogs and get email and Facebook again!!!

S is for San Antonio


San Antonio, New Braunfels, Guerne, Texas:
We were up early to travel an hour into San Antonio to do the Caminada de Fiesta volkswalk (10K non-competitive walk) around Ft. Sam Houston. Upon our arrival at Ft. Sam Houston, we checked in at the U.S. Army Medical Museum where we started the walk, literally. The first part of the walk was through the museum. We didn’t take time to read all the displays because we were on a mission to do the 6.2 miles in two hours. The most interesting thing we DID spend time on was a hospital train car used to get medical facilities closer to the battlefield. Our walk took us through the train car.

The rest of the walk went past the Gift Chapel, through the Ft. Sam Houston Museum, past barracks, officers’ residences, family housing and through a park on base. The day was gorgeous, clear, and about 75 degrees.
U.S. Army Base Ft. Sam Houston
Housing on base

Me stretching
View from walk--golf course.

Walk route markers into park.

We think this is a hospital on base.
 After our six-mile walk on the base, we headed downtown to see The Alamo and Riverwalk. It’s Fiesta time in San Antonio, not to mention Saturday, so throngs of people were downtown. Bob bought Chinese lunch to go which we ate in the car so we wouldn’t be tempted by the expensive restaurants along Riverwalk. We walked through The Alamo and its grounds.

Part of downtown San Antonio, Texas.
Line to get in the "Shrine" at The Alamo.

The Alamo (podium out front part of Fiesta)

On the grounds of the Alamo

Bob and "unknowns" outside Alamo Museum.



From the Alamo, we walked to and through a mall to get to Riverwalk. 

Dancing senoritaswere on one of the fiesta stages as we walked by. 

We were amazed by all the restaurants lining the Riverwalk. Lots of riverboat tours went by. So much activity! We walked approximately two miles while downtown. 

The Mall

Riverboat tour

Restaurants and shops line the river.

Lots of different bridges.

Beautiful tile murals.

My handsome honey!



Awww...too cute.

Cool building in downtown.
Total walking today: 8-9 miles.

We had chores to do so we headed north on I-35 to Camping World in New Braunfels. Bob bought a new skylight for the 5er, butyl tape and some sealant.

Walmart was next on the list, but we got sidetracked looking at old town New Braunfels. While there, we found Naegeli’s Bakery, the oldest bakery in Texas. We drove past. Bob said, “Let me know if we’re missing anything.” I couldn’t help myself and said, “We missed the bakery.” Around the block we went and joined the line of people waiting to buy streusel, bread, cookies, cream puffs, eclairs, lebkuchen…is your mouth watering yet? Ours were. Bob settledon peach strudel and a cream-filled doughnut. I opted for a butterfly roll covered in chopped walnuts and a cinnamon roll without frosting. Glad we didn’t miss that!

We made it to Walmart and completed our shopping. On the way back we “had” to go past the bakery again (darn it!). Second round for me was a chocolate-topped cream puff and an apple strudel. Bob ordered an ├ęclair and a muffin. (You'll be hearing about some hikes and bike rides to make up for all that!)

For shitsand giggles, we drove past Schlitterbahn water park (the best water park in Texas according to locals--couldn't see much of it from the car) and continued out to the town of Gruene (pronounced "green"). 

Gruene, Texas is on the banks of the Guadalupe River. A pleasant, historic town where the big attractions are the Saturday Market, old town, art galleries, restaurants and swimming/tubing in the Guadalupe River on a warm day. The town was packed, traffic backed up in all directions. A police officer was directing traffic at the main intersection.

After Gruene, we drove to Hwy 306 to try a new route back to the 5er. We cut time off our trip home using Hwy 306 to Blanco.

Bob got up on top of the 5er with the new skylight and found the outer skylight was securely sealed to the inner skylight, so we could not re-use the inner skylight. Tomorrow we return to Camping World for the inner skylight.

The rest of the afternoon we relaxed and read our books. Bob finished “Angel’s Weep” by Wilbur Smith.

I read a big chunk of “Catching Fire,” the second book of “The Hunger Games” trilogy.