Historic Castroville, TX

We took the day on Saturday (11/24) to go and explore Castroville, which is about 25 miles east of Hondo.

Visitor’s Center

Our first stop was at the Steinbach Haus Visitors Center which is in a building that was originally built in Alsace, France in the 1600s.  The home was dismantled (its built with pegs) in 1988 and stored and then gifted to Castroville in 1998.  For three summers volunteers from Alsace came to Castroville to assemble the building and finish it off.

It’s fairly small but has two stories and is quite interesting to see.  It’s furnished with furniture that was sent/donated from France to make it that much more authentic.

We picked up a walking tour map of many of the area homes and set out for that when we left the visitor’s center.  There we 60+ stops on the tour so we decided to drive it rather than walk as it would have taken us a LOT more time than the 3+ hours it took us to drive it.

The guide shows the year the home was built, current owners, address and then a write-up about the building’s history.  We really enjoyed it as its fun to see the different types of architecture in an area and much of this had a German influence.

St. Louis Catholic Church

One of the stops on the tour was at the St. Louis Church which also has a small tour inside that you can participate in, which we did.  The tour takes you around the church describing the people depicted on the stained glass windows, as statues, etc.

A little over halfway through the tour, the tour crosses the highway and we took a brief break to get something to drink and to stop at Haby’s Bakery…an Alsatian bakery with lots of goodies.  We’ve been to many different bakeries (German, Italian, French, etc) and this was similar…however, we did each pick out a couple of cookies to snack on.

Could be very calming if it weren’t for the traffic overhead.

The first stop after our break was at the Landmark Inn, a state Historic Site with several buildings on the premise including a gristmill (in quite a bit of disrepair).  The main building houses a bed & breakfast, small museum and gift shop.  We watched a video that gave some of the history of the place and then wandered a bit before heading outside to check everything out.

The Landmark Inn is situated along the Medina River where there is a man-made dam…which is a very pretty setting.  There are a few grills and tables down there for picnickers to enjoy.

Yikes!

The river must get pretty high at times as there was a flat bottom boat wrapped around a tree…way up off the ground.  Pretty sad.

The ‘walking’ tour ended right next to our next stop…Dziuk’s (pronounced Jooks) Meat Market.  Friends, Mike and Tina, had recommended we stop…so we did.  It’s similar to the Opa’s Meat Market in Fredericksburg, which we like so much.

Yummy! Can’t wait to try it all.

We picked up a few things to try:  chicken cordon blue, chicken Caliente (bacon wrapped chicken breasts stuffed with cheese & jalapenos) and sausage sticks.  And also tried their specialty…Parisa.

Parisa (pronounced ‘Pah-ree-sa’) is similar to something you might know as Cannibal sandwiches, Steak Tartare or Ground Round.  Parisa is ground round, cheese and onions.  It’s served on saltines or by itself.  At Dziuk’s you can also get it with jalapeno’s.  We tried it without jalapeno’s and while it wasn’t bad…it wasn’t anything we’d buy but would eat if we were somewhere that was serving it.

Monday we were back in San Antonio for a couple of doctor’s appointments.  I had a GYN appointment at BAMMC (or SAMMC…whichever you prefer) which is the Army hospital/clinic on Ft. Sam.  Before my actual appointment I had some blood work done and also tried to see if I could get in for a mammogram.  The mammogram will have to wait until we are back in town next year, this time as they were booked until January and we’ll be gone by then.

Michael in the hot seat

Then it was over to the other side of the city for Michael’s appointment with his primary provider at the VA.  The person he saw last time is gone so he got a temporary person who neither of us were pleased with…thankfully, she’s only temporary.  She did however, order a back x-ray to check on the progress of his degenerative disc disease as his back just seems to get worse and worse, causing him more and more pain.

Chicken fried steak

Finally done with doctor appointments we headed northwest to Bandera as we were meeting Mike & Tina at Brick’s River Cafe.  A nice, cozy place with plenty of seating and if it were light enough out we might have been able to enjoy the view of the river.

Southwest chicken & fried green tomatoes

We all got something different:  Michael, chicken fried steak, Mike, seafood platter, Tina, vegetable platter and me, Southwest chicken.  Michael and I also ordered Devil’s on Horseback (Gulf shrimp w/Monterey jack & jalapeno wrapped in bacon) as an appetizer.

Everything was very good.  Tina and I each had a cup of cream of squash soup…and it was delicious!  The bacon wrapped shrimp appetizer was awesome.  I’d recommend the place.

We really enjoyed our visit too…so much so that we’re already talking about meeting up in Fredericksburg next month after Michael and I are back from Wisconsin and Mike and Tina have changed locations.

Michael and I are moving to Ft. Sam on Thursday 11/29 and then flying to Wisconsin on Friday (11/30).  We’ll be staying with Paityn and Cameron while they’re mom and dad head off to the Dominican Republic to enjoy some time with Kelsea’s family.

It’s been a LONG time since Michael and I spent a week alone with little folk.  Little folk that have LOTs going on.  (Don’t forget their puppy siblings, Oakley & Maggie!)  We may need a vacation when we come back to Texas…but we’ll love every second of being with them as well as their cousins and their Uncle Dan and Auntie Amanda.

 

 

 

 

 

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Peacocks and Turkey

There was an ice cream social at the community room on Sunday evening (a weekly event) and a friend we know from the oil field (Peggy) invited us to meet her there.  Since we’d never met in person, we thought it was a good excuse to go enjoy some ice cream.

As ‘visitors’ we were asked to introduce ourselves…which I let Michael do.  🙂  Afterward we enjoyed some ice cream and cake too.

Card Bingo

After the ice cream social the group played card bingo, we watched for about 1/2 an hour or so before heading home.  Neither of us had ever played or seen the game played…seemed easy enough and something the we could handle.

We found we were out of propane and thankfully on Tuesday a local propane company came by and filled any tanks that needed it.  Michael took our tanks out and placed them in the specified location before we headed into San Antonio for appointments.  When we came home that evening they were full.  $40 for our two 30 pound tanks.

I had an appointment with a new provider on Tuesday afternoon on Ft. Sam.  We switched from Tricare Standard to Tricare Prime recently and I am now allowed to see providers on military installations as well as network doctors off post.

This appointment was mostly just to establish myself as a patient and get my meds refilled.  I really liked everyone I saw.  I was given a flu shot and told to get a mammogram and fasting blood work, which is all planned for before we leaving the area at the end of December.

Delicioso!

We also made stops at the commissary and PX as well as at our mailbox.  Both Andrew and his girlfriend, Juli, were there so we got nice big hugs from both.  We chatted for a while and were introduced to Andrew’s new employee, Chris, who works three days a week so that Andrew can get some time away.

Trying to avoid a bit of rush hour traffic (which didn’t happen) we stopped at Capo’s Pizza for dinner.  We were there about a year ago and really enjoyed it….and we did this time too.  The pizza is delicious and the garlic knots are wonderful.

Papaw making a face for Paityn.

Wednesday we were back in San Antonio for Michael’s appointment with his Sleep Medicine doctor who ordered some tests (ct scan of his lungs & a pulmonary function test).  Hoping to get those out of the way before we leave the well.  We were in and out of the VA Hospital in about an hour which is almost unheard of!  He also got a flu shot and I made sure to get a ‘good’ picture of him getting the shot for our granddaughter, Paityn, who had asked the day before if I was a crier while getting a shot.

This isn’t even half of the birds that were around…there we several more up in the tree…outside the yard and behind the vegetation!

After his appointment we had a couple of errands to run before heading back home.  We let Google show us the way from the VA to the next stop and it took us through the back streets where we discovered a ‘herd’ of peacocks.  At first we saw about six near the street in someone’s yard, not fenced.  But as we started to drive away we found the real ‘herd’ in the next yard over (fenced).  There had to be 25 or more total…7 or so of which were males.  Most were on the ground but there were about 6 or so that were roosting in a tree.  It was really pretty cool

Yum!

Back home, I made a pot (Instant Pot) of Broccoli Cheese Soup and some crusty bread for dinner and we ate it while relaxing in our new theater seat watching TV.

Back in 2009 we spent our first Thanksgiving alone since the Army had moved us to Montgomery, Alabama and the boys were on their own.  We started a tradition of going to two movies and having dinner out.  We’ve done it every year since if it’s just the two of us.  We did the same thing this year.

Nice seating in the VIP area for the second movie.

We saw, Green Book and Widows.  We both really enjoyed Green Book as it’s a story based on true facts.  It was serious yet had enough humor stirred into keep it from getting too serious.  The story is basically about a white man chauffeuring a black piano player around the deep south in the 1960s…obviously a bit unusual at the time.

Widows on the other hand kinda kept us wanting more.  A story about the widows of 4 thieves who were killed following a heist and how the man who they stole from wants the women to repay what their husbands stole.  It just needed more…oomph.

The Thanksgiving Menu

We had dinner at Maggiano’s Little Italy a place we had never been but I think we’d go back.  They offered a family style meal with several choices to choose from.  We had ham, turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, Tuscan creamed corn, butternut squash ravioli, rigatoni, 2 different salads…there was definitely enough food as we brought home 2 bags of leftovers.  Plus we each got dessert.

Barely got it all on the table!

Everything was very tasty…the only thing I didn’t care much for was the sauce served over the ravioli…a bit too sweet or something…couldn’t quite put my finger on it.  The butternut ravioli itself had very good flavor though.

It was a pleasant surprise to find Maggiano’s open.  We normally go to a Ryan’s or Golden Corral as when we first started our tradition there wasn’t much of anything else open.  Each year it seems there are more and more restaurants open…which is nice for in one way but in another I’d like to see places closed to ensure that the workers are getting time with their families.

We had left the house about 9:00 am and didn’t get home until roughly 9:00 pm so we were pretty pooped…and we went straight to bed to do some reading before turning the lights out.

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Fun Discovery!

Our first day in Hondo was spent running errands in San Antonio.  Michael had to have blood drawn at 8:00 am so we left shortly before 7:00 am but should have allotted more time as we didn’t end up arriving to the clinic until 8:15.

Oh my…good stuff!

From there it was time for breakfast so we headed to the Blanco Cafe to enjoy some yummy Chilaquiles    (mixture of eggs, tostadas, Serrano chiles, onions, tomato, and topped with cheese).  We stumbled upon this place a couple of years ago and usually end up there for breakfast after Michael has to have a fasting blood draw done.

Then is was off to our mailbox…and favorite postmaster, Andrew!  We were surprised to see that Andrew’s fiance, Juli, was there too!  We got big hugs and chatted a bit as we had a lot of catching up to do!  We’d accumulated quite a bit of mail & packages over the last couple of weeks in anticipation of being back in San Antonio so we didn’t have anything forwarded.

We made a couple of stops at stores to make purchases and returns and ended our trip into San Antonio with a movie at the Alamo Drafthouse Westlakes.  We’d seen the preview for ‘Bohemian Rhapsody‘ a while back and have had several friends that have seen it and enjoyed it so we were really looking forward to it.

It didn’t disappoint.  The soundtrack, of course, was awesome and the story line (based on true facts) was very interesting.  While I know most of the Queen hit songs…I didn’t really know much about the band itself or Freddie Mercury…other than he was quite flamboyant and died of Aids related illness.  We both enjoyed the movie and would recommend seeing it.

Guests in our new home!

Friday we received a surprise treat from friends we met this summer at the Redwood rally in Shipshewana.  Mike and Tina messaged us saying they were in Castroville and wanted to stop by!  Michael and I raced around the house trying to make it presentable before they arrived about 45 minutes later.  We a very nice visit catching up since we last saw them in August.  Of course, we should them around the new digs and discussed getting together in San Antonio while were all still in the area.

Gorgeous!

I did a search on Roadside America to see if there was anything nearby to check out and hit pay dirt!  Less than a mile from the park is the ruins of St. Dominic’s Church.  I kinda like to surprise Michael with these things so I don’t normally tell him where we’re going…just have him follow directions to each destination.  This time was no different and I got my reward when we drove up and he said, ‘ohhhh cool’!

Killed by Indians…

Not only were we rewarded with the ruins of the church (built in 1868 and abandoned in 1914) but there was also a small cemetery next to the church!  We roamed the cemetery, reading gravestones, many of which were in German, for quite a while.  Michael found that the oldest person was born in the late 1700s…that’s a LONG time ago.

Good for me…not so much for Mikey

For lunch afterward we stopped at Billy Bob’s Hamburgers in Hondo before heading to the grocery store.  (Never go to the grocery store hungry!)  Michael ordered the Billy Bob’s Special burger which is basically a normally burger and he had cheese added to it.  I ordered a Fried Egg Burger…a  bacon cheeseburger with a fried egg on it.

Michael wasn’t pleased as soon as he received his burger since the bun wasn’t toasted and by the end determined that he’d had better (Gonzales Burgers, Rosa’s Hamburger Stand etc).  I enjoyed my burger…the egg was fried perfectly…nice and runny…although I would agree that we’ve had better burgers elsewhere.

We took a walk around the park and checked out the ‘community room’ and met a woman (Sharon) who’s been living here 22 years!  Her husband passed away in May and they’re having a memorial for him on Monday.  She was very welcoming and told us about all the highlights of the park.  They have a HUGE library, large kitchen, small area for crafters to sell their wares, an area for donations, pool tables, shuffleboard set ups, game areas, etc.  Very nice place.  We still have 11 days left here.

 

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We Flew the Coop!

Taking the old coach away so we could pull the new coach out and hit the road.

Tuesday 11/13

After a week living in the T&S parking lot…we finally hit the road!  While everyone (Tim, Tex, Ashley, John, Albert, etc) were wonderful to us we were both anxious to hit the road and set up in a park somewhere and really get to ‘know’ our new home.  If you’re ever looking to purchase a Heartland RV or a used SOB (some other brand) we’d highly recommend that you check out T&S.  They’ll treat you right!

We had planned to stay at Lackland Air Force base (southwest side of San Antonio) for a couple of weeks as they don’t take reservations and we didn’t know how long we’d be at T&S.  I called several times to see if they had any room and never got an answer to my phone calls the morning that we left.  I called a friend who stays there quite often and had been there recently and found that there had been no room at the ‘Inn’ when they tried to stay there the week prior.  Hmmmm…we decided to deviate from the original plan and find something else.

I called a couple of local parks and found prices ranging from $660 to $893.47 (for 16 nights!)…holy smokes!  Michael remembered that there was an SKP park in Hondo (about 45 miles west of San Antonio) and suggested I try there.  We’re SKP members but have never stayed at an SKP park so were not sure how things worked.

I called the park and got a hold of a very helpful young lady who informed me that they did, in fact, have room for us for 16 nights and could fit our 44.5 foot coach!  (we grew from 40.6 feet!) Annnnddd…the price would be $55 for the first week (1st timer special!) and $110 for the second week (plus electric).  Who could say no to that!?

Fueling up at Buc-cees

We had a nice, uneventful drive.  The coach did not fall apart of explode…thank goodness!  (yes, I’m still nervous about this whole thing!)  We made a stop about 1/2 way through our 240 mile trip. at Buc-cees…our first since being back in Texas.  It was time for a potty break and to get some lunch.  Michael had his usual brisket sandwich and I had a made to order turkey club…both were very good and we ate them on the road as it was getting late in the day.

San Antonio rush hour traffic wasn’t bad at all but the setting sun was terrible!  There were points where we could barely see the road!  Sunglasses and visors did little to help.

Alamo Area SKP Park – site 93

We pulled into the SKP park (Lone Star Corral) about 5:30 pm.  The office was closed (which I’d known) but we were met by one of the camphosts who was expecting us.  He helped us get our packet and then led us to our site and helped us get backed in.  From what we could see (it was getting dark) it’s a pretty darn nice park.  The sites seem to be ‘owned’ and then rented out when the owners aren’t in residence.  Everything is nicely manicured and many of the ‘sites’ have ‘out buildings’ of some sort.  We’ll learn more once we get the lay of the land.

After getting backed in and leveled (wow, was that easy!) Michael hooked up the sewer hose (we needed to dump!) and the electric while I went inside to start letting slides out (five of them!)  One of the first things I noticed was that the pantry door was open.  I kinda figured that the entire contents of the pantry shelves was going to be on the floor since we hadn’t yet fashioned a barrier to keep it on the shelves while we were on the road.  I had taken somethings off the shelves and set them on the floor to alleviate a little bit of a mess.

Not too bad…I expected MUCH worse!

What I found was that everything that I had set on the floor had shifted enough to open the door and it all spilled out into the kitchen.  Surprisingly, the only things that actually fell off the shelves were 4 boxes of storage bags of various sizes.  Everything else was still on the shelves!  Score!  Now once we get something in place for travel days we’ll be golden!

After getting all of the slides out and looking over the rest of the house we found that very little had moved during travel.  Michael was a ‘happy camper’ when all he had to do to get the satellite dish set up was to push a button!  We invested in a roof-mounted dish that allows for the push of a button and it goes to work.  It stands itself up and then searches for the satellites and locks in on them.  Voila!  No more messing with a tripod and meter to get TV.  While most places he didn’t have much trouble getting it set up some places (Ft. Sam being #1) were a real pain in the hiney!

After getting settled in we both sat down in our respective ‘offices’ and did some work that had accumulated over the day.  We were done in about 45 minutes and were able to relax in our new theater seat (still miss the old one!) and watch some TV before calling it a day.

We are here at the SKP park until 11/29, when we’ll move to Ft. Sam until 12/29.  It’s time for our annual doctors appointments…which begin right away!

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Moving Day Has Arrived

Tuesday 11/6

Everyone thinks I should be excited…and I guess I should be…but…so far…not so much.  There are just so many things I’m not thrilled about:

  1.  Lack of carpet
  2.  Rig paint color
  3.  Lack of space on the sides of the bed
  4.  Having to leave our awesome theater seat behind
  5.  Storage for my pots and pans
  6.  There’s more….just not going to continue

Our old coach positioned in front of the new coach for easy transfer.

We got to T&S about 9:30 and after signing paperwork and getting the old coach situated so that we could move things from one to another it was probably 11:00/11:30 before we actually got the first boxes moved.  We worked until about 6:00 pm when our bodies were so tired we couldn’t go anymore.

We got the living room, bathroom and fridge/freezer contents moved over and pretty much unpacked and put away.  However, I’m sure that things will move around some until they find a permanent home.  We also brought the bedding over so that we could sleep in the new coach as there was no power in the old coach and it was still near 80 at bedtime.

Wednesday 11/7

We were awake about 6:30 am, made the bed and I did some PTB work before we each and a kolache and 1/2 an orange for breakfast.

Getting moved in

Michael and I got most everything moved over to the new coach, including much of the basement.  We still had some odds and ends inside the old coach but a lot of it was to go into the new pantry that was being built.

The pantry/laundry room mod didn’t get a whole lot further as Tim had a sick child at home to deal with.  However, between he and Tex they did get our washer and dryer moved over from the old coach to the new coach.  They got it in place and hooked up but still had to secure it in place.

Thursday 11/8

I was kind of at a stand still with things I could do until the pantry is finished so I concentrated more on PTB than moving.  Although, I did get the last few bits of stuff out of the old trailer.

Pantry shelves almost done

Michael worked on getting all of the things he’d put into little hidey holes all over the trailer as well as switching out the RVLock on the old trailer and putting the original door lock back on.  He also tried to switch out our ‘fancy glass’ in the door.  Unfortunately, the new coaches door window is bigger than the old so we won’t be able to bring our ‘fancy glass’ with us.

Tim did a great job working on the pantry…he got 6 shelves in place and just needed to trim them out.  It took him a while to get his momentum going…but once he did it came together pretty well.  The problem was that the walls had strange angles and weren’t square so he did a lot of measuring and re-measuring and made several prototypes before actually building anything.

Cousins dinner

We were blessed to have dinner with Michael’s cousin, Clinton and his wife T’Shana.  They live in Bryan and made the 25ish mile trek down to Navasota to meet us at Las Fuentes.  Clinton is the son of Uncle Kenneth and Aunt Frances who we visited a few weeks ago in Canton (and brother to Jeannie who we also met with a few weeks ago).

We had an excellent meal with great conversation and then had them follow us back to T&S so that we could show them the old and new coaches.  We realized it had been 9 years since we’d seen each other at Michael’s Dad’s funeral…definitely can’t wait another 9 years to get together again!

Friday 11/9

It started raining in the wee hours of the morning and continued until about mid-morning.  With everything wet and muddy the day got off to a slow start.  Though Michael did get down on the floor in the bedroom to check out underneath the bed to see if there was room to put the pump for our Sleep Number bed and to see if he thought that the Sleep Number and the new bed that raises and lowers would be compatible.  He thinks they will so we’ll be switching out the two mattresses.

Completed project!

We’ll most likely sleep on one of the pull out couches in the living room for a few nights when we leave here until Michael can get the Sleep Number bed all set up as he’ll have to do a couple of modifications first.

Tim was able to complete the pantry/laundry room project.  Now we have to get something put up for travel days so that everything doesn’t end up on the floor.  We’re thinking some sort of cargo net that can easily be put up and taken down on days that we travel.

Saturday 11/10

Working on the TV that had been rubbing on the woodwork

Tim worked off our punch list…though there wasn’t really much on it…which is a good thing!  Things like:  a cabinet door that wasn’t closing properly, a bathroom drawer that wasn’t closing properly, bedroom shade that had a small hole in it, no heat coming out of the living room vent, TV rubbing on the entertainment center…all things that were easily fixed.

We have a couple of bigger things that we’ll need to have fixed a Heartland next summer:  front ac is supposed to have a heat pump but doesn’t, a misaligned basement door that will mess up the paint if/when fixed.

In the afternoon we ran away to College Station…we’d never been and needed a few groceries.  (Woohoo!  HEB!) We also made a stop at Bed, Bath & Beyond to pick up some fridge storage bins and bathroom shower organizers.

I was hankering for some hot & sour soup (it was only 45ish outside!) and Tim recommended Chef Cao’s in College Station.  Cute little place with very good food….and HUGE portions.  We have enough leftovers for at least 2 more meals each.

Sunday 11/11

We had a fairly quiet day.  T&S was closed so there was no one coming in and out of the new coach doing work.  In between rain drops we moved our Sleep Number mattress from the old coach into the new coach.  We originally thought we’d leave it behind as we didn’t know if it would work on the new bed as the new one’s head raises and lowers but Michael did some investigating and thought it would work so we gave it a try…and it works!  Hooray!

Monday 11/12

Watching from the living room window while the generator gets moved over

T&S moved our old generator over to the new coach and also installed our backup camera onto the new coach.  After installing the generator we found that we couldn’t start it from inside the coach using the ‘mother board’ just inside the front door.  The guys did some investigating and found that that portion of the board was bad…so they took one out another coach and put in ours.  Tada!  Now we could start the generator from inside the coach.

About a half an hour or so after they left I decided to turn off some of the lights inside the coach as when the guys are working they use the ‘master’ switch that turns on/off every light in the house using the ‘mother board’.  Well…I couldn’t turn off the lights individually…I was only able to turn them all off or all on.  It was all or nothing.

Tim came over to take a look and between he and Michael they finally got things squared away…but not after a LOT of trial and error.  The ended up getting the original board and taking the part for the lighting from one and the part for the generator from the other and combing them to make a fully functioning board.

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I guess I should revisit my concerns from the beginning of the move and see how I’m feeling now after having moved into the new coach and lived in it a few days.

  1.  Lack of carpet – still not a fan at this point…but need to get out of this dirt parking lot before I make a final decision.
  2.  Rig paint color – I guess it kinda grows on you.
  3.  Lack of space on the sides of the bed – Absolutely HATE this…and there really is no way to improve on it other than going to a queen size mattress.
  4.  Having to leave our awesome theater seat behind – Still sad.  But it is what it is.
  5.  Storage for my pots and pans – I found some…but time will tell.
  6.  There’s more….just not going to continue.  – Overall it’s not as bad as I thought.

 

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South Texas Heartland Rally

We moved from Tyler down to Montgomery, Texas on Tuesday 10/30 in preparation of our south Texas chapter rally for the Heartland owners club.  Michael and I are the chapter leaders so this was our rally to organize and host.  The rally didn’t actually start until Thursday but people started arriving on Monday and they trickled in all week.

We got checked in easily and escorted to site 35 (the first site as you come in) which is a bit short but we made it work.  The site is right across from the rally hall so that worked out nicely.

We got together with Jay and Stella for dinner at a Chinese Buffet in Conroe our first night.  We had a lot of catching up to do as we hadn’t seen them since May at the rally in Branson.  Jay and Stella are the region directors for our region so in essence they’re our immediate ‘bosses’ so we have to toe the line when they’re around…ha!

Discovered this handy storage area as we did another check through the new digs

Wednesday Michael and I drove over to T&S RVs to check on our new coach…again and to discuss the open house that they were having for our rally that coming Saturday.  Still not sure how I feel about the new place…lets hope that changes.

Brisket, ribs and sausage

That evening we met friends (Jim, Jay & Stella, and Terry & Carol for dinner at Yo Mama’s…a bbq place that Jim and scouted out.  Two brothers, Kelvin and Kennard (Kenneth Bernard) made the whole visit worthwhile for me.  What a couple of nice guys!  Between the six of us we tried most every meat (ribs, brisket, sausage, burnt ends) and while most everyone else really enjoyed everything I only really cared for the burnt ends and some ribs that Kelvin had taken off the smoker early for us to try.

It started raining while we were at the restaurant and continued for quite a while…even producing a tornado watch.  While it got pretty windy for about 20 – 30 minutes that was the worst of it.

I was in awe of the beautifully hand carved wood on this 1920s hearse.

Thursday morning we had organized a group to travel into Houston to visit the National Funeral Museum.  We had about 20 attend.  We wandered the place for about an hour and a half.  Some really interesting stuff to be found, for sure.  The hearse that carried Ronald Reagan, a murder/suicide coffin (which was never used), tributes to celebrities no longer with us, funeral customs from around the world, an area dedicated to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  It would be a place Michael and I would go back to as we didn’t take the time we would have like to this time.

Lunch for 20

Afterward, we stopped at Sweet Tomatoes for lunch as a group before all heading our separate ways.  Michael and I made a pit stop at Sam’s to pick up supplies for the rally before heading back home.

That evening we had a Pie Meet & Greet.  We furnished 14 pies (pumpkin, pecan, apple, blueberry, chocolate cream & chocolate latte) for those attendees who had already arrived.  We had a really nice turn out and met a lot of new club members.

One of the club members arranged to have a young man who plays guitar and sings country western music perform for us and boy was he good.  He played for a couple of hours before traveling back to Dallas.

Crafting

Friday morning about fifteen of us chose to participate in a craft class that Nancy put together.  She comes up with the cutest, easiest things to create!  This one involved wine corks turning in to Thanksgiving Turkeys!  So fun!

Everyone in this picture…for as far as you can see…are newbies!

That evening was the traditional potluck dinner and with 45 rigs in attendance there was a LOT a food to go around.  Michael and I provided sliced ham and rolls and the attendees brought all kinds of ‘fall’ sides to go with it.  We had lots of desserts too…plus plenty of pie left from the night before!

We had a 50/50 drawing, several door prizes, Jim B and Jay spoke about upcoming get-togethers and rallies.  It was a good night.

We had a small group that hung out in the rally hall to play Mexican Train and a few that chatted for a while before going home.

Saturday morning we met with Jim, Jay & Stella and Gus & Debra for breakfast at the Montgomery Steakhouse (recommended by Kelvin at Yo Mama’s).  We had a nice breakfast to start off the very busy day ahead.

Delicious meal!

T&S offered to do an Open House at their place…opening all of the coaches, providing door prizes, special pricing, etc.  Tim & Tex and their crew even provided dinner for all of us….and talk about delicious.  We had chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, green beans and dinner rolls.  We arrived about 2:30 pm and didn’t leave

The Gang’s all here!

until 6:30 pm.

Our new coach was open to the public, as well, and we spent a lot of time in it…checking things over…AGAIN…as well as welcoming our friends into our new abode.  I’m feeling a bit better about the new coach…but still having lots of doubts.  We’ll see…

We opened the rally hall up about 7:00 pm (after we were all back from T&S) and put out all the remaining pies and ice cream and finally got them all finished up!  Several people hung around and visited until nearly 10:00 pm while the Mexican Train Gang was back at it again.

Breakfast Bunch

Sunday, our last rally day.  Michael and Jim left about 6:45 am to pick up 10 dozen donuts to go with the yogurt, juice and fruit we’d already picked up a couple of days before.  Jay started the coffee pot about 7:15 and by 7:30 we were open for business.

We actually had a very nice turnout for breakfast.  People stopped by to say their goodbyes before hitting the road.  Jim left about 11:00 to head to the airport and a small group of us hung around until 11:30 ish…just chatting and enjoying our time together.

Michael and I put things away when we got home and then both took a much needed nap…not a normal thing for us at all….but it felt SO good!

Happy Birthday, Gus!

We made plans to converge at Texas Roadhouse for an early dinner about 4:00 pm and to help Gus(tavo) celebrate his 69th birthday.  We had 12 for dinner and ended up having to wait about an hour before our two tables were ready.  We made sure that Gus ‘got in the saddle’ and was sufficiently embarrassed.

We were home shortly after 7:00 and promptly went to bed.  I wanted to finish the book I was reading so I could give it to Stella before the pulled out in the morning.  Michael did some ‘surfing’ before he turned out the light.

 

 

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North Texas Family Visit

With only about 200 miles to travel we pulled out of the Caddo River Access RV Park in Glenwood on Sunday about 9:20 am.  Our GPS took us a different route than we’d ever traveled before and we both really enjoyed it.

Gorgeous!

We headed west on US 70 then picked up AR 27 in Kirby through Murfreesboro and Nashville (‘d never been to either place so that was fun!).  We picked up AR 355 at Mineral Springs which took us to I30.  A beautiful drive with lots of farms, cows, and colored leaves…my kinda drive!

We had planned to stay at the Five Star RV Park in Tyler (Passport America) but when we arrived it was a bit on the questionable side, the owner wasn’t around but showed up as we were trying to call him.  He kinda stood around wondering where to put us (I’d called a couple of weeks before and been told I didn’t need reservations) and we decided to just head over to Tyler Oaks RV Park, instead.  We knew it was a decent place and hoped they’d have room.

Tyler Oaks had room…but just barely.  There were only 4 sites left and only one of those was a pull through…not a necessity, but nice to have.  We paid for our two nights and then made our way to site 73 with no issues.

We had one more teenager with us…but she was hiding behind her Mama.

We got settled into our site and had a couple of hours of down time before we headed over to Canton to meet Michael’s cousin, Jeannie and her family for dinner at Jerry’s Pizza.  We ordered Michael’s favorite (ham, pineapple, green pepper, onion and double cheese) and it was really good…the crust especially.

We’d not met Jeannie’s husband, Robin, yet and hadn’t seen her kids (O.C., Tasheena and Dante) in 3 or more years and at 6, 14 and 15 they had grown considerably!  We had a wonderful time getting to know Robin and catching up with Jeannie and look forward to the next time we can get together.

Me and Uncle Kenneth

We haven’t needed to use the air conditioning in weeks…but when we touched down and hooked up to the power the ac came on right away…perhaps because it was 85 degrees out??  Yikes…welcome back to Texas.

Aunt Frances seems a bit shocked by whatever Michael is showing her!

Monday was our normal crazy busy day but we topped it off with a visit with Michael Uncle Kenneth and Aunt Frances and some delicious BBQ.  We met them for dinner at Baker’s Ribs in Canton (one of our favorites).  We had a yummy meal while visiting and then went over to their home afterward to visit a little more.  We treasure these visits as they’re far and few between.

Our Heartland rally is coming quickly (one that we are putting on) so we made a stop for a few needed supplies and will have to make a visit to Sam’s once we get down to the Houston area as well.  So much to do and so little time!

Now it’s off to Conroe, Texas to join some friend who are already there for the rally and welcome others that arrive after us.

 

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Family, Friends and Lum Ed’dards!

Sunday (10/21) was our first full day in Glenwood and we started it by catching up on PTB work in the morning.  That afternoon we went over to Michael’s mom’s to visit.  Our friend, Brock, had told us that the Senior Center in town was doing a ‘Thanksgivingish’ meal for the community so we stopped there and picked up 4 meals to take over to Alice’s.  The food turned out to be pretty tasty too.

Monday we met Brock and Tammy for lunch at the Pizza Shack and as usual we had a wonderful visit.  It’s one of those friendships where there’s never a lull in the conversation, everyone gets along well, we have similar views and we can poke fun at each other and no one is offended.

After lunch Michael and I went back home and back to work as Monday’s are always busy for us.  We ended up working until almost 7:00 pm…but we got most everything taken care of that need to be taken care of.

Tuesday we worked from home in the morning and then ran a couple of errands (propane refill at Plyer’s and dropped off some donations at the Helping Hands store in town) before heading over to Alice’s for the afternoon.

We still had work to do when we got to Alice’s but we were able to visit while we worked.  I made dinner for the four of us (Chicken & Rice-a- Roni Casserole) before Michael and I headed back home for the evening.

Wednesday we did our work in the morning and then headed into Hot Springs for a date!  First thing on the agenda was to visit Greenwood Cemetery…the final resting place of Chester Lauck (Lum Eddards (it’s actually Edwards – but he says Eddards) from the 1930s – 1950s radio show, Lum & Abner)!  I was so excited…it’s the little things, you know?

It was a large cemetery and we had no idea where to start looking.  Michael’s mom suggested we stop at the monument shop across the street and see if maybe they knew where to loo as there is no office at the cemetery.  That’s what we did…and she was right!  The gentleman gave us directions right to the spot!

Lum, his wife and two children are all buried alongside a creek that runs through the cemetery.  It could be a peaceful place but it also runs right along 7th Street, which takes away some of the tranquility.  Nevertheless, we paid our respects and now will have to hunt down Lum’s buddy, Abner, in California!

The second item on the day’s agenda was a movie.  We went to ‘Bad Times at the El Royale‘ which had a 7.4 IMDB rating.  It was kind of strange but certainly kept me interested and wondering what was going on.  If you’re into a little different and a mysteryish type of movie you might enjoy it too.

After dinner we went out to dinner at Cajun Boilers.  I was looking for something we hadn’t had in a while and seafood/Cajun did the trick.  The restaurant was kinda in my old neck of the woods (near where I lived with my mom & stepdad way back in the 80s) and was established the year Michael and I married (1985).

I ordered a jumbo shrimp platter which came with 16 glorious, delicious shrimp as well as a salad and baked potato.  Yummy to say the least but WAY too much food.  We’ll share a platter next time.

Michael ordered the salmon plate which he could have done 4 different ways – he chose Cajun style and while it had a little heat he enjoyed it.

Thursday morning we had a breakfast date with Michael’s friend since birth (nearly) Cherie.  We met at 8:30 just across the street from the RV Park at the Caddo Cafe.  Michael had Huevos Rancheros while I had I had the Caddo Breakfast (2 eggs, hash browns, bacon and 1 biscuit and gravy.   Both the food and the company were enjoyable.  Conversation ranged from our grandchildren to our parents to our children and everything in between…as usual.  Before long we had to part ways as Michael and I had some work to do and Cheri had plans to drive to northern Arkansas.

That afternoon we picked Alice up and headed into Hot Springs.  First we ran a couple of errands and then took Alice to a doctor’s appointment.  The doctor was running an hour to an hour and a half late (which we didn’t find out until after Alice was taken back).  We ended up leaving the clinic two hours after her scheduled appointment time.

Then it was time for a little pampering.  We treated Alice to a mani/pedi and Michael and I also got pedicures.  Mary’s Nails and Salon turned out to be a really nice place…large with lots of chairs and workers so that we had no wait at all.  We’ll definitely go back when we’re in the area.

We finished up just in time to head over to the Hot Springs Bathhouse Dinner Theater as we had tickets to see Driving Miss Daisy.  Previously named, Five Star Dinner Theater, this was our third visit but our first under new management.

The buffet before is quite large with lots of offerings (Chicken and gravy, sausage, brisket, fish, ham, wings, baked potatoes, mashed potatoes and gravy, rice pilaf, three bean salad, potato salad, corn, green beans, squash & zucchini, California blend vegetables, salad, dinner rolls & various desserts).   The food was surprisingly good too.

The play and the actors were very good and made Michael and I want to see the movie again.  The only flaw all three of us found was that they didn’t use any microphones at all so it was quite hard to hear at times.  While the theater isn’t large, we were in the last row and the woman who played Daisy’s voice got softer as she aged which wasn’t good for those with hearing issues (Michael & Alice)…or those who didn’t have hearing issues (me).

Friday morning we got quite a bit accomplished (took our mattress cover & quilt to the laundry mat, got the tires put on the new rims and onto the trailer, replaced the propane tank, did a couple of loads of laundry at home and packed some boxes for our upcoming move).  And of course….worked on PTB stuff….that’s just a given.

Later in the day we headed over to visit with Alice for a few hours before coming back home to relax in our recliners and watch some TV before calling it a day.

Saturday (10/27) was our last day in Glenwood and we spent the majority of the day with Alice at her home.  Though we did accomplish several pre-move chores before heading over to Alice’s about noon.  I made dinner (Maid-Rites or loose meat sandwiches, whichever you prefer) for the four of us and after visiting for a while longer we headed home to get a good nights sleep before hitting the road toward Texas.

 

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Travel Days – Mount Horeb, WI to Glenwood, AR

Friday 10/19 we woke up early (6:00 am) so that we could go in the ‘big house’ and give Paityn and Cameron hugs before they got on the school bus at 7:10 am.

We were treated to Maggie (yellow lab) catching a mouse that had been haunting the house the last couple of days.  While Maggie might have ‘caught it’, Michael had to wrangle it and take it outside to dispose of it.  What a way to start the day!  LOL

Good bye, Wisconsin farmland!

We weren’t in a hurry to head out as we were planning on boondocking at a Walmart for the night so we did our move day chores, some PTB work and just relaxed until we pulled out about 9:30 am while there was a lull in the rain.

We had a pretty drive through the Wisconsin countryside before hitting the interstate around Rockford, Illinois.

Ouch!

We stopped at Kelly’s Kitchen for lunch (salads) and after coming out of the public restrooms we found our TPMS system was beeping.  Michael did some investigating and found that one of the coach tires was very low and that we had a cracked rim.  Michael changed the flat tire out for the spare and we were back in action.

Twinkle Twinkle

We traveled through St. Louis at dusk (traffic wasn’t bad at all) which made the lights of the city and the Gateway Arch quite pretty.

 

 

Home for the night

We decided to travel further than we originally planned (Farmersville, IL) and ended up at a Cracker Barrel on the south side of St. Louis for the night.  After getting parked in the fairly full parking lot we went inside for dinner and then back home and straight to bed so that we could watch the Brewers beat the Dodgers from Michael’s phone.

Changing out the tires.

The next morning we were awake about 6:00 am, went inside the restaurant for breakfast and then headed out to the truck to leave.  When we got back to the truck we were greeted by the now familiar sound of the TPMS beeping.

Michael did his investigating and found a low tire and another cracked rim…on the opposite side of the trailer!  Since it wasn’t too low and we didn’t have a spare we made our way to a truck stop and filled the tire with air and kept a close watch on it.

We made it to Glenwood and ordered two new rims from our tire supplier since we could get them here fairly soon and there is a tire place across the street from the RV Park.  We’ll get the tires switched onto the new rims and be good to go.

We arrived at the Caddo River Access RV Park on Saturday evening about 5:30 pm…a day early.  We were originally going to make the trip with 2 overnights but changed our minds to have an extra day in the area to visit family and friends.  We’re here for a week before we’ll be heading toward Texas.

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Time With The Kids

Our visit to Wisconsin went much quicker than I would have cared for but we didn’t do as much running around as we did the last time we visited.

Saturday was fairly busy as we watched Alex, Ben and Zoe while Dan and Amanda went to Milwaukee to watch the Brewers game – they lost. (playoffs!).  We ordered pizza and watched part of a movie.  Dan and Amanda got home just about 9:00 pm and after a quick chat we set off for home.

We got home just seconds before Zack, Kelsea, Paityn and Cameron who’d been at a wedding for most of the day.  We chatted very briefly and then went into the house and straight to bed.

Thank you, Tom for being our selfie photog!

Sunday morning we met my niece, Tara, and her family at the Pancake Cafe for brunch.  There were 15 of us total and it’s a good thing they put us in our own little room as we got kinda loud a couple of times.

Tara and her family were in town for the University of Wisconsin’s ‘family weekend’.  Her son, Tyler, is a freshman this year.  They live in northern Wisconsin, so we were very happy that we were able to get together with them a couple of times over the weekend.

Everybody’s hunting pumpkins!

Kelsea, Dan, Amanda and I and all of the grandbabies went to a nearby pumpkin patch so that the kids could pick out pumpkins.  I didn’t get any pumpkins but I did pick up some fresh produce – butternut and acorn squash was part of my haul.

The tune ‘Rag Doll’ came to mind while watching Michael flop around

The rest of the day we hung out at Zack and Kelsea’s.  The ‘boys’ went out into ZnKs ‘back’ yard and put together a tree stand for this upcoming hunting season.  We girls had a good laugh watching them cart the tree stand off on a tractor…with all three of them on the tractor.  And then again when they came back with Michael riding in the bucket while holding a ladder.  Both boys giggling as they went over bumps and Michael flopped around like a rag doll in the bucket.

I have NO idea who even won!

While the boys were gone we girls stayed warm and dry in the house with the kids.  The kids played downstairs so Kelsea, Amanda and I played a game of Rummikub – it had been a long time!  We also threw together a quick meal of sliders (hamburger & brisket), chicken strips, Bagel Bites, chili cheese dip, french fries and tater tots.

I made dinner for ZKPC on Monday since they were running errands and working.  I tried a new recipe for Round Steak & Gravy in the Instant Pot that turned out pretty good – though next time I’ll tweak it just a bit.  I also tried a recipe for roasted butternut squash that turned out really yummy too!  Afterward we watched another Brewers playoff game…they won 4-0!  Woohoo!

Hanging with babies

On Tuesday both boys left on business trips – Zack to the Appleton area and Dan to Albany, NY.  With Dan gone, Amanda asked us to watch ABZ while she was at work (she’s a gymnastics coach at the same gym that Paityn and Zoe go to).  We played a couple of games, had dinner, finished watching the movie we’d started on Saturday (Sophie & Sheba) and the boys learned how to use my ‘Happy Color’ app…which is basically a color by number app.  We also watched the Brewers game that went into extra innings…unfortunately they lost in the 13th.

Wednesday I went into town to do a little shopping – Michael wanted some long-sleeved t-shirts and I needed some jeans.  Then I made Haystacks for dinner – Paityn and Cameron really like them so I couldn’t deny them.  The Brewers played a day game (thank goodness!) but couldn’t pull out the win.  Currently the are 2 wins and 3 losses.  They’ll play again on Friday but they’re back at home so that could be advantageous.

Thursday both boys were back from their business trip so we all met at Hu Hot for our last dinner together.  Since the girls (Paityn and Zoe) had gymnastics dinner ended up being later (7:30ish) so we didn’t linger too long before we all went our separate ways.  Michael and I got hugs from Dan, Amanda, Alex, Ben & Zoe with promises to see them in December.

We stopped to fuel up the truck on the way home and arrived back at ZnKs place about 9:30 or so.  I went to bed to read while Michael took the TV out of the bedroom and gave it to Zack…the new coach comes with TVs and we supplied the ones for this coach.

We’ll be traveling Friday – Sunday so I will most likely not post again until we arrive in Arkansas where we’ll be visiting Michael’s mom.

 

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