Burgers & Toilet Lids

Because we missed our movie of the week last week, we decided to take in two movies this week.  On Thursday we tried a new theater, Santikos Rialto, which is closer to us and cheaper too.  We saw Blade Runner 2049 and both enjoyed it.  It was a bit hard to follow at times and at 2 hours 44 minutes long perhaps a tad bit too long.  Although, maybe it just felt too long and hard to follow because we were both freezing.  We have to remember to bring something to cover up with next week!

Even though we have our own washer & dryer in the coach (wouldn’t be without ’em!) I still take advantage of the washer & dryers at the Ft. Sam RV Park every time we’re here.  It’s nice to be able to throw our bedding, rugs, etc…the big stuff in and get it taken care of for $1.50 a load – used to be free 🙁 I got that all taken care of on Friday morning and now I don’t need to worry about it for a little bit.

Michael has been doing his favorite thing the past few days…piddling in the basement.  He’s had totes out of the basement – going through them, cleaning things up, sorting things out, disposing of stuff.  He’s just a ‘piddlin’ machine’.

Ready for the next rally!

He also built a stand for our Heartland banner.  Unfortunately, he didn’t get it made in time for our Braunig Lake rally but it is now all set for our next rally….or for any rallies that we might attend and the Chapter Leaders would like to borrow it!

Monday we played ‘tourist’.  The plan was to be at Joe’s Place Hamburgers when the opened at 11:00 am…which we were…but the place was closed up tight.  I asked some guys that were outside next door and they said no one had been there for a couple of weeks.  No clue what’s up with that.

Sadly, it doesn’t sound good for Joe’s

Joe’s has been serving up burgers since 1934 and the cast iron griddle dates back to 1928!! In October 2013, Phyllis, Joe’s cook of 40+ years passed away and customers were in a panic about no longer having their Joe’s fix.  They pestered Phyllis’ niece Susan about keeping the place open so much that by March 2014, Joe’s was back in business and Susan was the new owner.  Too bad…we’ll keep an eye out and see if they open again.

With visions of yummy burgers in our heads I did a search and came up with another burger joint not too far away.  Burger Boy hasn’t been around nearly as long as Joe’s but they do date back to 1985 as Burger Boy and before that it was a Whopper Burger chain that opened in 1965.  So these guys have been doing burgers for a long time too.

This is NOT the front of the building! LOL

The triangle-shaped building is kinda deceiving as we had a hard time finding the front door!  The back door is actually the front door and thankfully we weren’t the only first timers that stood at the ‘front back door’ trying to figure out how to get inside.  LOL!  An employed finally took pity on us and came outside to tell us that the door is around ‘back’.

Whatcha see is whatcha get. This IS the inside of Burger Boy!

Once inside, it was rather shocking to find how small the place was…there are two counters along the sides of the building and there are about 6 stools at each counter.  Then there is a counter to place your order with the friendly paper hat wearing order taker.

DEE-licious!

We each order the Bates Special (1/4 pound burger, fries and a soda) for $5.99 with cheese being extra.  Being about 11:30 the dining area was full so we sat outside at one of the 3 picnic tables.  We arrived at just the right time as there was no one in line when we arrived but as we placed our order a line grew behind us and after we sat down at our table the other two tables immediately filled up too.

Left to Right: Nick, Mark & Randy

We shared our table with a gentleman and his son-in-law and step son who work in the oilfield business…LOL…small world, eh?  We had some great conversation as we told them about Joe’s and where we were headed after lunch.  They gave us several ideas of places to try for other burgers and bbq in the area too!  Really nice bunch of guys.

We will definitely be back as the burgers were really good – perfect size with just the right amount of toppings and they were HOT when we received them.  Definitely a ‘must do’ in San Antonio.

Me, Barney & Michael while Michael signed ‘his’ lid!

After lunch we headed over to visit with Barney Smith, artist and creator of the Barney Smith Toilet Seat Art Museum.  Barney is 96 years old and has been creating collages on toilet lids for YEARS.  As a master plumber toilet seats were easy to access and since they were used…FREE.

Found a home for my beloved WI plate…

Barney’s inspiration is anything and everything.  He has lids with all 50 state license plates (we donated our old Wisconsin plate and he’ll use it for a ‘back up’…LOL), he has lids for all of his recent birthdays, his anniversaries starting with #60, he has an entire Olympics series, lids for all of the Armed Services, lids dedicated to dentistry, volunteer fire fighters, TV shows, McDonalds…you name it.

Just a few of Barney’s creations…

Another couple (Tony & Irene) arrived at the same time we did (you MUST call ahead and make an appointment the day you plan to visit….but don’t call too early as Barney likes to sleep late!) and we all had such a good time listening to Barney’s stories.  Barney would point out a particular lid from a distance and if we didn’t follow directions quickly enough or couldn’t find what he was referring to we’d get chastised or told ‘If it was a snake it’da bit ya!’

Irene and I got chastised a few times before we got wise and let Michael and Tony take the lead on finding the things Barney was pointing out!  Barney carries a bamboo stick with him to point out certain pieces and at first we were all a bit leary of getting whacked with it but after a while it was easy to tell that Barney was just a sweet old man with a wonderful sense of humor.

At 96, Barney doesn’t get around like he used to and isn’t able to draw or engrave on the lids anymore as he says he shakes too much and it ‘doesn’t look good’…however, this year alone he has completed 84 new works of art…as he currently has created 1324 custom lids.  He numbers them so that he can keep track.

Me & Barney saying ‘toilet seat’ rather than ‘cheese’!

He asks visitors to sign the lids that pertain to their life.  Today we all signed lids…Tony & Irene both signed the lid dedicated to the USMC as they’re both retired.  Michael signed the lid bearing US Army field patches as it had the 2AD patch on it and that’s the combat patch that Michael wore on his uniform from 1991 until his retirement in 2012.  I signed the lid containing the license plate from Wisconsin.

We all hung around in the street waiting until Barney got from the garage to the house to make sure he got their safely. What a man. <3

I’m not sure how much longer Barney will be able to entertain visitors in his museum as he uses a walker to get around and isn’t the surest on his feet.  He’s hoping to sell the museum before he dies so that it’s taken care of in the future.  I sure hope someone takes over as it’s a treasure…although I’m not sure it would be the same without Barney there to point out certain pieces and to relay the stories behind them.

This was BY FAR, my favorite Roadside America find.  If you are in San Antonio…go now….there’s no telling how much longer this man and his treasures will be available.

We had plans to head back to the oil patch on Monday, October 24th but we’ve had some interesting stuff come up that is still in the works and once it’s confirmed and set in stone we’ll be able to share that news with you.

With that ‘stuff’ in mind we decided to skip the oil patch this year (hooray!…oops did I say that out loud!?) So our itinerary has changed somewhat for the next few months.  If we’ll be in your area & you’d like to meet, we’d love to get together…just let us know what works best!

Ft. Sam, San Antonio, TX – 10/9 – 10/24

Cranes Mill COE, Canyon Lake, TX  – 10/24 – 10/31

Canyon Lake Recreation Area, Canyon Lake, TX  – 11/1 – 12/1

Ft. Sam, San Antonio, TX – 12/1 – 1/1

Val’s Kountry Corral, Mission, TX – 1/1 – 3/1

 

 

 

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New Address!

With all the hubbub last week we didn’t get to go to a movie so this week hit the ground running and went to see Victoria and Abdul our first full day here at the Ft. Sam RV Park.  I’d been waiting all summer for this movie and it didn’t disappoint.  Michael enjoyed it too.  I’m gonna even say it’s my favorite movie this year.

Bexar Fax & Mail Center

We started the process of changing our residence to Texas.  Heartland friend Lisa and Dan told us about a mail service they use in San Antonio that they were pleased with.  The business (Bexar Fax & Mail Center) is owned and run by 21-year-old Andrew Gonzalez and we drove over to meet him on Tuesday and get some more information about his services.

Andrew…so young and accomplished!

Andrew took the time to show us how to register online, answer all of our questions and even have a friendly, personal conversation about RVing (he’ll be moving into a pull behind soon).

Once back home we signed up for the service using (mysamailbox.com) and now the job of getting our address changed with everyone will begin.  Next step is to contact our insurance company and have our home state changed from South Dakota to Texas so that we can get the coach inspected.  Stay tuned!

Since the office was closed for Columbus day when we got here we stopped in and paid for our two weeks, hoping we could extend for another week.  Unfortunately, Baker didn’t have room for us the last week of the month but that’s ok.  I found a Corps of Engineer park in Canyon Lake (Crane’s Mill Park) and we plan to go there, hoping they have a first come first serve site available and since we’ll be arriving on a Monday I don’t think we’ll have a problem.

Crane’s Mill is just 16 miles away from where we’ll be staying the month of November so that will work out great and if we can get one of the lake front first come, first serve sites it will be even better!  Wish us luck!

When we were at the office to pay for this current stay I inquired about making a reservation for the month of December and was told there were plenty of openings.  So we’re all set!  We’ll be back here at Ft. Sam for the month of December.  Part of that time we’ll fly to Wisconsin to spend the holidays with ALL of our babies…9 of them….adult and children alike!

Wednesday I had a doctor’s appointment.  I haven’t been real happy with the doctor I’ve been seeing here in SA for the past 5 years.  He didn’t do anything wrong but he never really ‘shined’.  So I finally took the plunge and found someone I was hoping might ‘connect’ more with me.

As I get closer to that thing called menopause (sorry guys!) I felt the need to have a female doctor to speak with and guide me.  With my mom gone, one sister having had a hysterectomy and the other not remembering much of the process I just felt lost without having someone to give me a little guidance.

My appointment went well and the doctor was very thorough, something I never really saw with my previous doctor here in San Antonio.  I was given a flu shot and an ekg…just a baseline since I do have elevated blood pressure (well under control with meds).

I also have a list of appointments to make – blood work, thyroid ultrasound (my sister and I have been blessed with overly large thyroids) and a good old mammogram.  Plus, I have another appointment with her for a lovely female check up in December.  I was with either the doctor or a nurse for about an hour and a half.

Tacos!

For dinner we went to Ray’s Drive Inn.  Friends Andy & Joanna had seen something about the place on one of the travel/dining shows on TV and messaged us on Tuesday about it.  We were looking for a place to try after my appointment and who doesn’t like TACOS?!!?

Ray’s has more than just tacos but they’re really known for their tacos.  Specifically their puffy tacos.  Ray’s actually trademarked the ‘puffy taco’ name in 1992.  Ray’s was opened by Ray Lopez in 1956.  In 1982, Ray sold the business to his brother, Arturo, with one stipulation…that the name remain Ray’s Drive Inn.

Enchiladas: cheese, beef & chicken

I ordered tacos – soft, hard & a puffy taco…some with beef, some chicken fajita style.  Michael ordered enchiladas and a puffy taco.  We’d both tried puffy tacos here in San Antonio back in 2012 at Taco Taco.  You can read about that visit HERE. Neither of us were real impressed with the taco there but enjoyed these at Ray’s much more.  I also enjoyed the chicken fajita taco over the beef taco.  The chicken was seasoned very well but the beef was almost kinda mushy.

GOOD old music coming out of this relic!

Unfortunately, our visit was really dampened by our server’s service.  She didn’t write our order down and only relied on her memory.  She had to ask us several times to repeat our order and we both knew when she walked away that she wouldn’t remember it correctly.  And she didn’t.  I was supposed to have one puffy taco and got two…Michael didn’t get his puffy taco and we had to hunt her down to remind her as well as having to hunt her down for drink refills and our check.

On a brighter note…there is an old jukebox that sits in one corner of the restaurant and it constantly plays music…REALLY good music!  60s, 70s, 80s….all of our favorites.  We were be-boppin’ the whole time we were there!

 

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Travel Day: Elmendorf, TX to Ft. Sam Houston

Bob and Big Red were the first to pull out this morning

Monday 10/9

The biggest part of our morning was spent saying our goodbyes, see ya’s and giving and receiving hugs and handshakes as our friends, new and old, hit the road for various destinations.

I tried to take pictures of most of the rigs as they left and since there were only three still in their sites when we pulled out I got most everyone.

Lots of hugs today!

We’ve been with a good portion of this group for three weeks and it was really sad to part ways…but thankfully we know we’ll see them down the road.  Many are going to the rally in Branson in May so we know that we’ll see them then…if not before.

We met a couple of new couples we’d never met before and really enjoyed getting to know them and can’t wait to see them again…  After three weeks together it feels like we’ve known each other much longer.

We planned to leave about 11:00 am and ended up overshooting a bit and pulled out at 11:30.  Not a big deal as we were only traveling 17.7 miles to Ft. Sam Houston.

Oopsie!

We were ready to pull into our normal gate just before noon but had a rude awakening when we found it closed.  We’d know for quite sometime that they were supposed to fix the road but it never happened….well it has now!  Not sure how long it will be closed but…we’ll find out later.

We made a quick turnaround (Mikey’s a pro at hauling the coach!) and went a couple of miles down Harry Wurzbach and went in that gate instead.  So rather than pulling into the park about noon we were about 10 minutes behind.

Home for a couple of weeks. LOVE it here!

Since it’s Columbus Day (yes, dang it…COLUMBUS DAY…not indigenous people day) the office was closed but our site assignment was on the bulletin board so we made our way to site 47 (in my favorite part of the park!) and got pulled in, unhitched and hooked up to power, water and sewer in no time.  Michael had a little bit of an issue with the satellite dish again (always seems to when we’re here) but nothing overly crazy.

I threw some brats and fresh veggies on the grill for an early dinner and we relaxed the remainder of the day away.  We were able to work on cleaning up the DVR that has been kind of neglected lately but there’s still quite a bit to go to fully clean it up since the new TV season has started.

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Heartland Owners Club, South Texas Chapter Rally

Friday 10/6

Lots to choose from

Friday morning we were treated to another one of Frank’s Breakfast Extravaganza’s.  Franks provides a TON of bacon and sausage and then just asks that the rest of us bring other breakfast dishes.  We had several egg dishes, breakfast sliders, pastries, fruit, biscuits & gravy, breakfast potatoes, etc…and of course, as usual, everything was delicious.

Enjoying life…

We had a good turn out with 35 people making it to the rally hall for the 9:00 am breakfast.  Besides sampling the different dishes there was lots of socializing going on…with several people choosing to hang out in the air-conditioned room versus the humidity of the outdoors.  Can’t say that I blame ’em.

Our last two rigs came in today so we are now complete with a total of 22 rigs here for the rally!   Woohoo!

We had a bit of an ‘oopsie’ with the main dish we decided to provide for Saturday nights potluck.  We planned to by pulled pork from Sam’s Club that just needed to be heated and served.  Unfortunately, this Sam’s Club didn’t have any!  What to do, what to do?

Well…we purchased three 8ish pound pork butt roasts, Michael cut them up into smaller portions and I had three wonderful ladies that offered to use their Instant Pots to cook them.  So between the three of them each doing one batch of pulled pork and me making three batches we had it all cooked by dinner time on Friday.  Woot!

Rally ‘Link Up’

The RV Park cooks dinners on Friday night and Monday night.  For $8 you get a main dish, a side, dessert and drink.  Not a bad deal.  What makes it even better is that the food has been really good and the portions are ridiculously huge.

Friday night nearly our entire rally group chose to grab dinner at the park and I don’t think anyone went home hungry!  We had lasagna, salad, french bread and the most deliciously moist lemon cake I’ve ever had.  Yum!

Following dinner we had a ‘Rally Link Up’ as Michael dubbed it.  Just kind of a touch base – going over the agenda, putting out any information necessary, introducing folks…that kind of thing.

Michael serving up birthday cake

Plus we sang a rousing rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ to four lovely ladies (Gayle, Flora, Joanna & Debbie) who were either celebrating birthdays this weekend or next week.  We even had a birthday cake but not much of it was eaten since everyone was still so full from dinner!

Mexican Train!

A few people hung out in the rally hall to either visit or play Mexican Train while others went home to relax or chill out in the Tiki Hut/Margaritaville.  Michael and I visited for a while but I ended up back at home about 8:45 and Michael followed about 20 minutes later.

Saturday 10/7

A nice way to start the day…

The park offers breakfast on Saturday and Sunday mornings so people had several options to choose from:  let the park serve them, make their own breakfast at home or Michael and I set up some chairs and a couple of tables beside our coach where people could grab some juice, muffins or yogurt.  There was coffee in the rally hall that could be had as well.

We had quite a few people stop by to visit and we ended up out there as people came and went for a couple of hours.  It was a nice way to start the day.

I take such flattering pictures

I did an Instant Pot demo for anyone that was interested and ended up with about 20+ people (men & women alike!) show up.  We used two electric pressure cookers – one an actual Instant Pot and the other a Farberware brand.  They work fairly similarly and with a little bit of a learning curve we got the Farberware unit to do what we wanted and both dishes (Penne Pasta & Meatballs) turned out great and I think a lot of people found it to be fun and easy.

We had the traditional rally potluck for dinner with our pulled pork being the main dish and everyone bringing sides to share.  I don’t think anyone ever leaves a potluck full or unsatisfied as there is such a variety of dishes prepared by very talented cooks.

Our first rally as Chapter Leaders!

Before we ate we had our ‘official’ rally photographer, Bob, take a group picture.  Michael worked with Bob to get just the right back drop for the photo, which turned out to be Lin & Debbie’s Landmark 365.

Outgoing and incoming recipients of the ‘Traveling Sombrero’!

There has been a Heartland tradition since 2013…the ‘Traveling Sombrero’ we were very graciously gifted the Traveling Sombrero and serape by Andy and Joanna and are SO honored to be able to call it ours until we are able pass it on to its next lucky recipients!  Beware…no Heartland owner is SAFE!  Muah!

After everything was cleaned up everyone went their own ways while a small group of house stayed in the rally hall either, once again, visiting or playing a game of Mexican Train.  Michael and I joined the train gang and ended up playing until nearly 11:00 pm before we had to end the game due to the room closing at 11:00 pm.

Sunday 10/8

Jake wasn’t quite sure how to react to this little creature

We spent another morning outside beside the coach visiting with our Heartland family.  Michael grabbed us a couple of breakfast tacos from the park’s little diner  they weren’t nearly as tasty as I’m used to but they were better than just eating muffins for breakfast.

We set out juice, yogurt, muffins and pastries for anyone that wanted to partake and were able to empty several containers.  We donated the remaining muffins to the park and they were much appreciated.

There goes Andy and Joanna!

We had five rigs leave today…three in the morning so we were able to send them off with hugs from the Grimes’ and Smith’s and waves to the Sacrey’s.  The other two departures took place a little later and we missed ’em somehow.

John and Rana stopped by with the puppy, Allie, and we visited for a while…inside…out of the heat.  The high was in the mid 90s and the humidity has been horrible…60-70%…or more!!!  We pretty much took the day to relax inside…watched a couple of shows and just vegetated.

Smaller group…but just as much love filling the room

For dinner we had about 13 couples join us for an after rally leftover potluck.  We didn’t have quite as many offerings as we did the day before but we still had plenty and everyone got their fill and was able to clean out their fridge…which is always nice.

Back home Michael did a little prep work for Monday’s journey.  I had a little to do, but not much as I’d done most of it earlier in the day.  I had my jammies on by 7:30 pm and was in bed shortly before 9:00 pm.  We’ve been rallying for 3 weeks and we’re tired!  LOL

 

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Pre-Rally Happenings…

It rained a good portion of the night last night (Tuesday) and into Wednesday morning.  Thankfully, one of our neighbors put our chairs under the coach to keep them dry while we were gone on Tuesday.

We stopped in the office to pick up a package we had sent here and also met with the park manager to go over stuff for the rally.  The staff is very helpful and accommodating and I foresee a very smooth and fun rally.

Looks like a rallys a brewin’!

We were expecting nine rigs to arrive today and they started arriving about 1:00 pm.  Thankfully, the rain finally stopped and the skies cleared up enough for us to be able to take a walkabout and welcome our new arrivals and give them their t-shirts and agendas for the weekend.

25 Heartland friends sending love to one of our members who had to cancel

We made plans for anyone that wanted to join us to have dinner at the Buffet City in San Antonio.  It’s only about six miles north of the park so it worked out nicely.  The restaurant offers your typical Asian dishes but also has a Mongolian BBQ area, as well.

We ended up with a nice sized group that went for dinner…about 25 in all…a GREAT turn out for a pre-rally dinner!  The food was fresh and warm and that counts for a lot in a buffet in my opinion.  They also had a pretty good variety of offering for the Mongolian BBQ.  We’ll go back for sure.

After dinner we made stops at HEB (yay!) and Walmart for a few items.  Jay and Stella rode with us and they had a few items to pick up too so it worked out great.  And since the restaurant was across the street from both places it was convenient too!

Me, Mary Ann, Corbin & Flora checking out some shops

Thursday afternoon a group of us caravaned into San Antonio to hit up El Mercado or Market Square which is a Mexican market place with about 100 or so shops.  Michael and I were there back on October 13, 2012 and enjoyed it so I looked forward to going again.

Don, Michael, Larry & Vicky just hanging out

We had 13 in the group that went to the market and all went in different directions…some in groups of two or three some by themselves, others that just sat in the courtyard and visited.

I think that I was the only person that purchased anything at all but I think we all enjoyed roaming around looking at the various things for sale.  I ended up buying a small (perfect for an RV) nativity set that will be perfect on our entertainment center this Christmas.

Fifteen for dinner!

We all met back up for dinner at Mi Tierra, a San Antonio landmark.  They’re open 24 hours a day and also have a Mexican bakery on site.  We were joined by John and Rana who just drove into today from Alabama.

How could we pass up a treat or two??

The food was very good…authentic and tasty!  We visited over our meals, enjoyed each others company and were serenaded by the mariachis.  I don’t think that anyone had room for dessert but a couple of us did stop at the bakery to pick up some delicious baked goods for later on.  (I think Michael and I have dessert for the next week!)

We made stops at both Sam’s Club and Walmart on the way home to pick up supplies for the rally.  We had Jay, Stella and Nancy with us too.  Nancy had a few items to pick up too so she shopped a bit.  Jay and Stella got their fingers and toes done.  We were all pretty much done at the same time, which worked out great!

 

 

 

 

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Impromptu Drive With Jay & Stella

Tuesday 10/3

Pea soup?

Wow!  Was it FOGGY out when we woke up.  We had made plans with Jay and Stella to ride with them to Bellville to renew their license plates and at first I was a bit worried that our 9:00 am departure might get delayed but the fog lifted by then and we were good to go.

We ended up stopping at the Buc-ees outside of Luling for a potty break and a snack and continued on our way with no problems.

We arrived at the DMV office in Bellville at noon and Stella went inside.  She got their plates renewed and also her handicapped hangers renewed all in under 20 minutes!  I don’t know that we’ve ever been in and out (and actually got our business taken care of) in that amount of time!

Michael and Stella checking out one of the Landmark models

Since we were so close we decided to drive about 30 miles north to T&S Enterprises in Navasota.  T&S is a newer Heartland dealer and we’d all heard REALLY good things about their business practices and wanted to check them out.  Plus we’d befriended one of the owners, Tim, on Facebook and were looking forward to meeting him in person.

Chatting with Tim…

Tim was so friendly and down-to-earth that he spent roughly two hours chatting with us in one of the coaches.  We talked about the new Heartland coaches, ones coming soon, we discussed the possibility of T&S participating in our next rally, he answered questions and asked some of his own as well.

Tim has a great business sense, is all about his customers and is definitely a people person.  Plus he’s got a really cute dog (pit bull/Basset mix) named Boss.  I’m pretty sure that Michael has decided that when it comes time to purchase a new coach T&S will get our business.  We’d much rather purchase from a ‘small’ business that actually cares about their customer than some big conglomerate.

While we were visiting inside one of the coaches it rained…cats and dogs…which made the outside a muddy mess.  My flip flops had me slip, sliding away but I did check out one last coach before we left.  A Cyclone 3600 that has its entry door in the slide.  A different concept than I’ve ever seen.  It was pretty interesting except that the ‘living room’ area was really tiny.  Oh well…definitely not look for a toy hauler anyway.

Stella and I being chauffeured around like the Princesses we are!

We left T&S about 3:15 pm to make the 150+ mile ride home.  We’d seen a produce stand on the way ended up stopping to pick up some watermelons.  I also picked up some zucchini, squash, onions, peppers, cucumbers and blackberries.  Yummy stuff!

We stopped at Tony’s Family Restaurant in Sealy for an early dinner as we were all pretty hungry by this time.  I don’t think that Jay and Stella have ever steered us wrong with any of the restaurants they’ve taken us to.  This time was no different.

The crew at Tony’s

The food was of the ‘home cookin’ variety and very good and the portions were ridiculously large.  Michael and I both got chicken fried steak with french fries plus two sides…carrots and corn on the cob for Michael and carrots and broccoli casserole for me.  Delicious!  The carrots were just plain old steam carrots…no seasoning…but they were SO sweet and flavorful.  Wow.

Delicious food, huge portions

Of course everyone was too full for dessert but with their homemade pies and cakes we couldn’t pass up taking a piece home for later.

We were back on the road just before 6:00 pm and after making one quick stop to use the restroom at a rest area we arrived home just a few minutes after 8:00 pm.  It rained off and on a good portion of the trip home but nothing real bad.  Jay did a great job of chauffeuring, as usual.
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Travel Day: Tyler, TX To Elmendorf, TX

The ‘departing’ committee??

After saying our goodbyes to those outside that were preparing to leave as well, we pulled out of the Tyler Oaks RV Park at 7:45 am.  We had a 319 mile trip ahead of us and planned to stop at the Hall Truck Center in Tyler to get the truck and coach inspected.

We’re contemplating changing our residence from South Dakota to Texas for a couple of reasons and Texas requires that both truck and trailer have an inspection.  We decided to have it done now while we were already towing rather than having to make a special trip.

We contacted the Hall Truck Center in Tyler earlier in the week to make sure they did the inspections but when we got there at 8:00 this morning we were told that they only inspect RVs…we are considered a ‘trailer’.  SMH

Pit stop at the Pit Stop!

They directed us to a Pit Stop about half a mile back the way we came.  We got to the Pit Stop and found out that they, indeed, did do the inspection but we had to pull it through the bay.

Gotta say ‘Texas’

We ended up waiting about 20 minutes as there was another car ahead of us. We found out that our insurance card had to say ‘Texas’ on it…ours says South Dakota…so we didn’t get the inspection done.  We’ll have to do a little more leg work first (change of address, notify insurance of change, get new card with TX on it).

We made a potty stop about 45 minutes after leaving the Pit Stop and found that the truck tool box was open (nothing flew out!).  Michael closed it but not far down the road it popped open again!  We pulled over and Michael closed it again, giving a couple of GOOD whacks this time and that seemed to take care of the problem.  (It did pop open one more time, much further down the road.)
I decided to take Michael up on his offer to have me drive.  So about 10 miles before Corsicana I took over.  Driving through both Corsicana and Waco and then pulling into HEB to fill up with fuel ($2.39 per gallon)!

Fill ‘er up!!

After filling up with fuel, I maneuvered the truck and coach into the HEB parking lot and went inside the coach to make us a couple of sandwiches which we enjoyed from the comfort of the cab of the truck.

It took everything I had to keep from going into HEB to check out their deals but eventually we looked it up online and found it was something we could live without.  Gosh, I’ve missed HEB!!
I ended up driving through Temple (that was a bit scary…lots of tight construction!), Austin and New Braunfels where I pulled into the Buc-ees to use the restroom and grabbed a couple of jalapeno and cheese sausage kolaches for a snack.
We had less than 50 miles to go at that point but I was ready to be done so let Michael take over.  He tried encouraging me to drive the rest of the way…but I just wanted to be done.  LOL  I had driven 212 miles of the 319 we had to drive…I think I did my share!
We pulled into the Braunig Lake RV Park in Elmendorf about 4:15 pm and found that there were already six rigs here that came from the rally in Tyler (we left before everyone, I think!)  LOL  Plus, we had one pull in about 45 minutes after us.  So we currently have 8 rigs here and are expecting about 15 more over the rest of the week.

Tight spaces! Thank goodness we like our neighbors, Lin & Debbie! LOL

We were escorted to our site (site F26) and got parked easily enough, even though the sites are pretty darn tight.  Michael got the satellite dish set up in record time today…thank goodness, cuz it was HOT out there!  We are here for one week…for our very first Heartland Owners Club rally as the south Texas chapter leaders.  Let’s pray we don’t kill each other before the end of the week.

About 5:15 pm we joined a few other couples and went over to the rally hall, where the park was selling burgers, chips, watermelon and a drink for $5.00.  Not bad and for a travel day….very much welcomed.
After dinner we took a walk and stopped at each of the coaches that are already here and dropped off an agenda and the t-shirts that everyone had ordered.  The mosquito’s are pretty active and we didn’t waste any time outside as we were getting eaten alive!
Back home we did a little work for the rally and visited with Jay for a while when he stopped by to see if we were interested in riding along with them tomorrow as they drive to Belleville to renew their license plates.  We agreed…so we’ll be hitting the road about 9:00 am for the roughly 300 mile round trip!

 

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North Texas Heartland Owners Club Rally

Bacon Chefs

Friday morning we were treated to Frank’s Breakfast Extravaganza!  Frank provides bacon and sausage and he and Ted cook it up.  The rest of us that attended brought side dishes  – eggs w/jalapeno & cheese, breakfast potatoes, bacon, sausage, biscuits, gravy, danish, french toast bake, etc.  Everything was really good and it was a fun way to kick of the rally and start the day.

Socializing…

We did some visiting over at Jay and Stella’s rig that afternoon.  Nancy and Dave were there as well and then a few other people stopped by sporadically.

Fried catfish, shrimp and crab cake

Friday afternoon, Jay and Stella took us and Dave and Nancy to Jumbo Seafood and Grill for dinner.  We ordered a variety of dishes (shrimp po’ boys, seafood platters, grilled chicken, fried shrimp).  Everyone was very happy with their dishes and we all agreed we’d go back.  The owner is originally from New Orleans and came up this way when Katrina hit and just never went back.  It’s easy to tell that he knows his stuff!

I scream, You scream…

That evening we had our first official rally event…a Meet & Greet!  After introductions were made the club provided several different kinds of Blue Bell ice cream, as well as toppings.  We had a good time chatting but we were both pretty well worn out from out trip to First Monday the day before so we opted out of game play and went home to relax.

Nice sized group for a fun activity!

Saturday morning a fairly large group of ladies got together at the rally hall and Barbara W led us in another fun crafting activity.  We were each asked to bring a roll of toilet paper and two Walmart bags (or Gucci bags as Debbie B calls them!)

It’s the great pumpkins!

Barbara donated some pre-cut fabric in about 4 or 5 different patterns and combined with the supplies that we each brought we made the cutest little fall pumpkins!  The craft was super easy and super fast to do which gave us plenty of time for visiting after we were all done!

So many delicious dishes to choose from…

Saturday evening is almost always potluck time…this time was no different.  Before digging in Bob C rounded everyone up and took a group photo…it’s NOT easy to round up 60+ people and get them all squeezed into a picture…but Bob’s pretty darn good at it.

…plenty for everyone and then some…

The club provided brisket, sausage and turkey (all were very good!) while the members all brought side dishes and desserts to accompany the meal.  We had pea salad, cole slaw (several kinds), green beans, a couple of fruit salads, 3 different baked bean dishes, 2 different offerings of deviled eggs, three bean salad, four or so different potato salads, brownies, poke cake, several cobblers, etc, etc etc.  You never go hungry at a Heartland potluck!

Good to the last drop!?!

I contributed a pot of baked beans that I made in the Instant Pot.  When I saw that there were two other large pots of baked beans I was a bit concerned that Michael and I were going to be eating beans for the next few weeks.  To my relief the pot was completely empty by the time everyone had their share!  Whew!

After dinner there was a White Elephant exchange for those that chose to participate.  We had planned on participating but couldn’t find the item we were going to ‘donate’.  (we later on remembered that we had sold it at Dan and Amanda’s garage sale in May)  We had a good time giggling at some of the items people received as there were a couple of doozies.  There were also a couple of pretty nice gifts too!

There happened to be one bag left over and everyone that brought a White Elephant claimed they’d gotten one in return…so we ended up with the last one.  We were blessed with 4 chalk blocks, a wireless antenna, magnetic knife holder, brass pressure regulator, 30 to 110 adapter, stick on bubble level and a battery-powered lantern.

Erika & Tony came from west Texas to join in on the festivities and were good enough to bring the t-shirts we’d had Erika design for our south Texas rally…which is next weekend!  We spent a good portion of Sunday morning sorting the shirts and getting them packaged so that we don’t have to worry about it later.

Last get together for this rally

We had several rigs leave Sunday but a good portion stayed over until Monday.  We had an after the rally potluck using all of the leftovers from the rally for dinner Sunday night.  Since I didn’t have anything leftover I brought a bowl of watermelon and 3/4 of a 9×13 inch pan of baked ravioli, which worked out great!

We had dinner in the outdoor pavilion moved all of the tables under into the shade.  The temp was pretty near 90 so it was still pretty warm in the shade.  We enjoyed our dinner and visited with new and old friends before we gathered our empty dishes and headed home to the air conditioning.

We still had some work to do in order to head out in the morning so  we kinda ate and ran.  Tomorrow we head further south to Elmendorf, Texas which is just south of San Antonio.  We’ll be there a week for the South Texas Chapter rally…OUR rally!  EEK!

 

 

 

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First Monday & Family

Since we were in the area and it had been almost five years since we visited First Monday in Canton, TX we decided to take the day and wander the grounds.

Shoppin’!

The First Monday grounds is 100 acres and has space for 6,000 vendors.  First Monday is a huge flea market of sorts…but it doesn’t just have used goods.  A good portion of the space is covered…in big huge buildings that can feel like they go on for miles.  LOL  There is also plenty of vendor space outside too.

You can find pretty much anything you’re looking for (or NOT looking for!) dog beds, boats, jewelry, clothing, toys, hair accessories, furniture, antiques, shoes, socks, books, etc.

Cousins!

We spent about 3 hours in the  morning wandering from building to building before we headed over to Chen’s Buffet a couple of miles away to meet Michael’s cousin, Jeannie, for lunch.  Jeannie is and RN and happened to have the day off so it worked out great that she could spend some time with us.

It had been a couple of years since we’d been able to spend time together so we had quite a bit of catching up to do…but we did a pretty good job of it.

After lunch we went back over to the First Monday grounds and continued where we’d left off…after getting a map of the grounds so that we could have a better idea of where we were and where we wanted to go.

…even outdoor shoppin’!

We spent another three hours wandering around in the heat but we got a TON of Christmas shopping out of the way for our sons and their families.  We found so many fun things that I’m excited to watch them open their gifts at Christmas!

We spent roughly 6 hours at First Monday and walked 6+ miles…and our bodies knew it!  We were hot, tired, sore and achy!  But it was good as we’ve been much to sedentary lately.

We left the First Monday grounds about 4:30 pm and headed to Soulman’s BBQ to meet Michael’s Uncle Kenneth and Aunt Frances (Jeannie’s parents) for dinner.  We were meeting them until 5:30 pm and we arrived about 5:00 pm…which was time as it gave us time to sit in the truck, cool off and rest our weary bodies a bit before they arrived about 20 minutes later.

GOOD Texas BBQ

We had an excellent BBQ dinner (ribs for me, brisket sandwich and brisket street taco for Michael).  My ribs we so much better than the disappointing ones I had last week at Earl’s Rib Palace in Oklahoma City.  Uncle Kenneth had talked about the place and how good it was for a couple of years so we were glad we finally got a chance to check it out.

Michael and his precious aunt and uncle

We visited over dinner and for several hours after dinner.  We are so happy that we have been blessed with the life we’ve been given that gives us the opportunity to spend time with family (and friends) when we are in their area.  If it weren’t for this lifestyle, I know we wouldn’t be able to see our family members as often as we do.

We got home about 8:30 pm and I immediately went to work putting together a French Toast Casserole for Friday morning’s Breakfast Extravaganza.  Its pretty easy to put together but then needs to sit in the fridge overnight.

After assembling the casserole and placing it in the fridge we settled into our recliners to watch a little TV before heading to bed.  We were both exhausted so sleep came quickly!

 

 

 

 

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Gearing Up for the North Texas Rally

Tuesday was pretty quiet except that we visited the Times Square Cinema here in Tyler to take in this weeks movie.  This week it was Mother!.  We’d seen previews for it at previous movies and it looked interesting.

Well…yeah…not much to say.  It started out good…for about the first 5 or 10 minutes.  Then it got kinda weird…and then just got weirder and weirder and weirder.  And when I say weird…it wasn’t weird in a good way.  NOT a movie I’d recommend.

For dinner I tried a new recipe in the Instant Pot and was very happy with the results.  I’ve tried various recipes for Beef Stroganoff over the years and was never really impressed much but this one was tasty and easy…two of my favorite things!  Click HERE for the recipe.

Enjoying the cooling temperature

After dinner we joined a small group of Heartlanders that had set up shop between our rig, Ballard’s and Finnegan’s.  It wasn’t long before others joined us (a total of about 13 or so at one time or another).  We sat outside until it starting getting a bit too dark and the bugs started attacking.

After we got home from the movie on Tuesday I got a message from one of our gate guarding friends, Shirley, who lives in the area that she’d been at the same theater we were at and didn’t realize until she saw my post that we were there too!  We ended up making plans to meet for breakfast Wednesday morning.

We LOVE being able to visit with friends and family around the country!

We met Shirley at 9:00 am at the Cracker Barrel just up the road from the park.  Shirley and her mom share gate guarding duties and work part-time like we do…mostly when they want to make a little extra money for holidays or projects they want to work on around their homes.  We had a really nice visit over breakfast and plan to do it again the next time our paths cross.

We had quite a few additional rigs come in today…probably about 9 or so.  They’ll continue to come in throughout the week as the rally doesn’t officially start until Friday.

A group of about 18 rally-goers went out for Mexican for dinner Wednesday evening but we chose to stay back as I already had dinner in the works….another new recipe!  This one was for Baked Ravioli, which I’ve never made or even considered making.

Deliciousness!

I used some of my Mama’s spaghetti sauce that was in the freezer and it turned out really good.  It’s a real easy recipe and we both enjoyed it a lot.  Plus we have enough left over for 2 more meals.  It’d be a great meal for company.  Who wants to join us for dinner??

Terry, Paul, Nan and Mary Ann

After dinner we went for a walk around the park which is really starting to fill up now.  We checked out the outdoor pavilion which has an outdoor oven, tables, counter tops…very nice.  We also checked out the pool which has no steps to enter just a slope to walk in.  It’s more of a soakin’ pool than a swimming pool as it only 3.5 feet deep at its deepest point.  I did a little wading and the water was just perfect!

We joined a small group that had congregated next door for a short while, visiting until it starting getting dark and the bugs started biting again.  Nasty little buggers!

 

 

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