Travel Day: Canyon Lake, TX To Gainesville, TX

With about 320 miles to travel today the goal was to pull out of the park about 9:00 am and with a stop at the dump station that meant pulling out of our site about 8:40 am.

We had an audience as we hooked up, checked the brakes and lights.  About half the menfolk of a group of 9 couples were sitting around the fire across the road.  They watched us so intently I expected them to raise score cards as we finished up!  Of course, I would have expected nothing less than 10s across the board.

We pulled up to the dump station at 8:32 and with the 40 degree temperature, Michael didn’t hang out outside…he hustled back into the truck for warmth while the tanks drained.  LOL

We pulled out of the park at 8:42, but not before seeing a deer cross the road ahead of us and being wished a safe trip by the gate attendant.

The beauty that is the Texas Hill Country

Rather than take I-35 all they way north we decided to take highway 281 north toward Forth Worth where we then picked up I-35 for the remainder of the trip.  The drive was nice and scenic.  I love the beauty of the Texas Hill Country and this route took us right through the heart of it.

The Death of a King

We weren’t the only ones who saw deer this morning.  Zack and Kelsea happened to see a big buck lying down off the road.  He tried to get up but his back end was not working.  They were sure he’d been hit and his back was broke.  They watched him for quite a while and he tried to get up a few times but just fell back over.  They called the police and the DNR to come take care of him but by the time the police arrived he had died.  Zack and Kelsea were given the deer and Zack took it home to process.

Lunch time!

We stopped in Hamilton (about midway) for lunch at Subway.  We have several Subway gift cards so it was a nice way to utilize part of one.  At not quite 50 degrees outside it would have been a little too chilly to enjoy lunch at Kelly’s Kitchen.  We were back on the road about an hour later.

This we along with the message I received on Tuesday…he was ‘waiting…’

On Tuesday of this week I got a message from our oil field Company man saying, ” Shouldn’t you be just a few miles down the road from me by now?”. Apparently he was keeping track of when we were coming back to work as that was the day we had originally planned to go back to work.

I explained to him that we weren’t coming back to the oil patch due to our new venture and never got a response.  Yikes…was he that angry with us??  Today I messaged him and asked if he was still talking to us.  He immediately responded with, “I was waiting for the punch line. Because you got to be kidding me!!!!”. Gosh are we gonna miss him…but we’ll stay in touch.

Passing by Ft. Worth

The drive was nice and peaceful until we hit I-35 on the north side of Ft. Worth…then we hit the construction and congestion of the big city.  However, the traffic still flowed smoothly and before long all the hubbub was in our rear view mirror.

We pulled into the Gainesville Cracker Barrel just a few minutes after 4:00 pm, our overnight stop for the night.  We got parked and put down the front jacks for a little stability and almost immediately went into the restaurant for dinner….we were hungry!  We double checked with the manager that it was ok to overnight in the parking lot and he confirmed that it was.

Snug as bugs in the Cracker Barrel parking lot!

When overnighting at places like Walmart, Cracker Barrel, Flying J etc we like to thank them for allowing us to utilize their parking lot by patronizing their business.  It’s good karma.

Another gift card purchased our meals tonight!  Michael changed things up a bit and ordered meatloaf rather than his mainstay chicken fried steak and I went with chicken and dumplings.  It’s the second time I’ve had it at a Cracker Barrel and have really enjoyed it both times.

We were back home about 5:45.  We fired up the generator so the heat pumps and fireplace could warm the place up and so that we could watch some TV before we call it a night…as I’m pretty sure it’ll be a pretty early night.

 

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Friends, Burgers and Time to Hit the Road

The most unassuming places usually have the best food!

We had absolutely no plans to go anywhere or do anything while here at Crane’s Mill….but….when Heartland friends, Tom & Marty, messaged us asking if we were free to get together for a burger on Wednesday, how could we possibly say no!?!

We met Tom & Marty at the Horseshoe Grill in Canyon Lake as they’d been there before and said they had a darn good burger.  It’s just a small burger stand offering burgers, hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, fries, tots and onion rings pretty much.

We placed our orders quickly enough – bacon cheeseburger for Michael and a patty melt with bacon for me and an order of fries and onion rings to share.  Since this is a burger ‘stand’ there is no dining room but there have several picnic tables outside to sit at.  We chose a table with chairs that have backs and settled in to visit.

Thanks go to Tom for snapping the picture, that I couldn’t get!

Our meals were delivered to our table while we chatted with Tom & Marti.  Tom & Marti were the South Texas Chapter Leaders before we took over so we discussed the rally we just had and how it went.  They gave us some tips and ideas for future rallies too.  They went on a big trip to the east coast earlier this year and we enjoyed hearing about that…we really need to get that way!

Our burgers were delicious but what really made the meal especially enjoyable was our time with Tom & Marti, we hadn’t seen them in a couple of years, I think, so we really enjoyed the 2 hours we spent together.  We’re hoping to get together again in a couple of weeks and we’re really looking forward to it!

Can you see ’em? That don’t even budge when people are around…

Before heading home we made a quick drove over to the JBSA Canyon Lake Recreation Area (where we have reservations for the month of November) just to check out the campground since it’s been five yeas since we were there last.  We were greeted by lots and lots of deer…five when we first drove in, 3 more inside the campground and a couple of others along the road as we left.  This was one of our favorite things about staying there before…we fed the deer out of our hands!

Deliciousness, right there!

We made a quick stop at the Lowes grocery store in Startzville to pick up a small container of ice cream to go with a Pecan Cobbler I’d made earlier in the day.  This was a recipe Michael saw on Facebook and I told him I’d make it for him.  The non-baker in me thought it looked fairly easy…and it was!  PLUS…it’s delicious…but oh so rich!

Since we have time while we’re cooling our heels here at Cranes Mill Corps of Engineer Park Michael’s been do some small projects.  One such project was to clean the bathroom Maxxair fan.  After 6+ years it was in dire need of a good cleaning.

Giving all the parts of the Maxxair fan a GOOD washing!

Michael completely removed it from the roof and brought it down to ground level so that he could completely dismantle it and give it a thorough cleaning.  It looks SO nice now.  I should have taken a before picture to show the comparison, darn it!

In the same category…Michael took down both air conditioner ceiling covers and gave them a thorough cleaning as well.  They sure can collect a lot of dust!  Thankfully, they’re not too hard to clean and look as good as new when done.

Friday blew in like a Tasmanian devil!  Super windy with a high in the low 60s!  We kinda rocked and rolled all day long and the water in the lake produced lots of whitecaps.  There was a wind advisory until noon but the wind sure didn’t calm down much after that.

It looks like our new venture is getting closer and closer.  So now we must pull up stakes here at Cranes Mill COE park and head north to the Oklahoma City area so that we can begin this next phase of our lives.  We’ll be heading out Saturday morning bright and early to make the 450ish mile trip.  We plan to overnight along the route, probably at a Cracker Barrel or Flying J type place and then either stay at Tinker AFB FamCamp (no reservations) or at a nearby fairgrounds.  Gonna play that by ear depending on whether Tinker has space for us or not.

Hopefully by this time next week we will be able to share with all of you what our future holds.

I’m curious.  What do you think our new venture will be?  I can give you this hint:  We will still be RVing FULL-TIME.

 

 

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Travel Day: San Antonio, TX To Canyon Lake, TX

Just a short 45ish miles to travel today with a pit stop at the very beginning.

Since we now have a San Antonio, address we made plans to stop and get the coach inspected so that we’re one step further to switching our residence to Texas, rather than South Dakota.

Southwest Wheel had been recommended to us by one of our Heartland Owners Club members and it’s not far from Ft. Sam so we decided to give them a try.

After doing the usual move day chores (unhooking & stowing satellite, water, sewer & power outside and stowing & securing necessary items inside) we pulled out of the Ft. Sam RV Park at 9:58 am.

Ready to be inspected!

We arrived at the inspection place about 30 minutes after leaving our site at Ft. Sam.  We would have been there about 10 minutes sooner but we missed our turn and had to go a bit out-of-the-way.

The inspection was ridiculously easy…they checked the lights and turn signals, had Michael pay the $7.00 fee, handed him the paperwork and we were on our way 21 minutes later.  We would like to have had the truck inspected at the same time but they only inspect trailers.  We’ll get the truck taken care of here shortly…it’s much easier to deal with.

Set up in site 23 for who knows how long!

We arrived at the Crane’s Mill Corps of Engineer Park about in Canyon Lake (on the south side of the lake) about 12:15 pm.  None of the reservable sites were available but I felt sure that we could snag one of the non-reservable sites and we did.  We got one of the last non-reservable sites…and it backs up to the lake!

We got backed in and unhitched and then went back up to the gate house to pay.  We’re not sure exactly how long we’ll be here…possibly eight nights…possibly less if our new venture comes to fruition.  We’ll just have to wait and see…for now we just paid for two nights and will go for there.

​ By 1:00 pm I had dinner in the Instant Pot (Penne & Meatballs) and Michael had the water, electric & satellite dish up and running.  No sewer here, so no need to deal with setting that up today.

The view from my recliner

We relaxed the remainder of the day away.  I watched a couple of the old Halloween series movies and Michael even catnapped.  I couldn’t help but view out the back window every now and again…so pretty!

Back tracking a bit…yesterday we made our weekly pilgrimage to the movie theater.  This week we saw Only the Brave.  What an excellent movie!  I didn’t really realize what we were going to see…I just knew it was about firefighters and had a decent IMDB rating.  The acting was spot on, the story line was true.  We both really enjoyed it.

Pappadeaux – nice atmosphere

After the movie we tried out a restaurant we’d never been to, Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen.  We’ve driven past the one in San Antonio numerous times and it didn’t matter what time of the day or day of the week the parking lot always seemed to full.

This time it wasn’t any different but when we got inside we saw that there were plenty of tables in the dining room and we had no wait for a table.  The restaurant was much nicer than I expected and our server was very friendly and helpful.
We splurged a bit…Michael ordering a Filet & Lobster while I went with the Filet Oscar…plus we each got a cup of the lobster bisque.  Oh my!  Everything was absolutely delicious and we both really enjoyed our meals as well as the experience.  We’ll definitely be going back.
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Dinner With Friends x2 and Mail Call!

Waiting for the vampire to take my blood…

Thursday started out fairly early as I had to have some fasting blood work done…just routine stuff.  We left home about 7:30 am and made our way to my new doctor’s office, getting there just before 8:00 am when they opened.  There was one person ahead of me but I only had to wait just a few minutes before the vampire…ummm…I mean technician was ready to draw my blood.

When I was done we had a meeting to attend in New Braunfels regarding our possible new venture.  Things seem to be taking shape and hopefully we can ‘spill the beans’ soon.  It’s all very exciting…yet very scary too…(for me at least…I’m a chicken).  Anyway, our meeting lasted about 3 hours and then we headed back home.

Our Heartland friends, Lou and Bette stopped here at the Ft. Sam RV Park for the night on their way home from their summer adventure.  They spent a good portion of the summer in the Pacific Northwest and we enjoyed watching their fun via Facebook.

We attended our very 1st Heartland rally together in October 2011.

We’d last seen Lou and Bette at the National Rally in Goshen this past June but with all the goings on we didn’t get a whole lot of one on one time with them so we were looking forward to that with this quick stop.

We’d planned, ahead of time, to take them to The Tip Top Cafe as it’s kind of a San Antonio ‘legend’.  Having been in business since 1938 and being the subject of one of the Diners, Drive Ins and Dives episodes it’s just one of those places you have to visit at least once…or twice.  We were last there on October 27, 2012 (almost exactly 5 years ago!) with our son, Zack, and were ready to go back.  You can read about our first visit HERE.

We arrived shortly after 6:00 pm and they were busy but still have plenty of tables to choose from.  We gathered round a table for four toward the back of the dining room and were greeted by one of the friendliest waitresses we’ve had in a long time.

Chicken fried steak & fries

Michael and I split a chicken fried steak (it’s as big as your face according to our waitress), Bette went with chicken fried chicken and Lou went with one of his favorites – liver & onions.  The food was very good but the conversation, as usual, was much better.  We don’t get near enough time with Bette & Lou so we cherish every minute we get.  We also ordered their famous onion rings to share amongst us.

Unfortunately, for us they were just here for an overnight as they’ve been away from family all summer and their grandbabies in Mississippi are getting anxious to see them.  But…we’ll see them again down the road…somewhere…sometime.

Andrew and our very first San Antonio mail!

We picked up our very first mail delivered to our new address in San Antonio on Saturday.  We’d been notified that we had two pieces of mail and when we walked into the office, Andrew laughed and from behind his desk help up an envelope and said, ‘I was just going to enter this one in the system!’  So rather than two pieces of mail we now had three!

I can’t tell you how impressed we are with Andrew, the owner of Bexar (pronounced Bear) Mailboxes & Shipping.  He is so friendly and helpful.  It’s like having another son…LOL  I can definitely foresee a wonderful relationship blossoming.  If you’re an RVer and in need of a Texas address we would highly recommend Andrew’s services.

 

A great meal and excellent conversation over Mexican food…what could be better?

Saturday afternoon we drove to New Braunfels and spent a couple of hours chatting with new friends, Ron & Margaret.  We first met them while we were in Oklahoma City and now with no rally going on to distract us we were able to spend more time with them.

We had a good time getting to know each other and they were so sweet to take us to dinner at Mamacita’s which was just down the road from their RV park. They, too, are fulltimers so we had a lot of stories to share.

The food was very good, margaritas (per Ron & Margaret) were excellent, the chips were super yummy and getting to know Ron & Margaret better was the best treat.  We’re looking forward to spending more time with them in the future.

 

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Seeing Seguin

We spent several hours touring Seguin, Texas today.  Neither of us had been there before so it was great to explore for the first time together.

Nice and orderly…but not much to see

We stopped at the Seguin-Guadalupe County Heritage Museum and while it was very nice and orderly – clean and well-kept displays, nicely signed displays and very friendly personnel, it was kind of a disappointment as there wasn’t much too it.  What happened to everything’s bigger in Texas??  We probably didn’t spend much more than half an hour there…and that includes potty breaks!

Los Nogales

We also stopped at Los Nogales.  Los Nogales is the last remaining adobe structure in Seguin, having been built in 1849.  A quaint little building that now has a second life as a small museum.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t open today and there was no information about when it would be open.

What we didn’t know was that Los Nogales was part of the ‘Heritage Village‘ and there were three other historic buildings on the same corner.

The Dietz Doll House

Right next to Los Nogales is the Dietz Doll House, built in 1910 by Louis Dietz a German Carpenter.  Dietz and his sister, Miss Mollie, adopted Alice O’Brien, a foundling who arrived on an Orphan Train.  Alice and her cousin, Buddy, played in the house for many years.

The doll house has been restored over the years and now holds various toys from days gone by and there is also a wardrobe and dresser on display that were originally owned by Louis Dietz.

The Donegal Dog Trot

Across the street we found a cute little dog-trot style house that dates back to the early 1850s.  John Donegal from Ireland built a small cabin just five miles southwest of Seguin.  The year following, he returned to Ireland and convinced 23 of his relatives to move to Texas with him.  With the help of his relatives he added on to the small cabin, making it the dog-trot of today.  Descendants of Donegal lived in the in the cabin until 1952 without the comforts of running water or electricity.

Seguin’s first church & bell tower

Beside the Donegal dog trot sits Seguin’s First Church and bell tower, built in 1849 and originally located in the center of town.  There are two doors at the entrance to the church – the door on the left was for women and children while the door on the right was for the men…once inside the church members sat on designated sides…by gender.  The church is available for rent for weddings, baptisms, etc.

The Rusty Rooster

While we were roaming the grounds of the Heritage Village, Michael mentioned that he was hungry for fried chicken (he’d also mentioned it several times over the last few days) so I did a quick Google search for fried chicken in Seguin and came up with the Rusty Rooster.  Normally, I only get the usual KFC, Popeyes and Church’s so I was happy when I saw the listing for The Rusty Rooster and it was rated at 4.7 stars (out of 5) with 46 reviews on Google.

GOOD fried chicken and fixin’s

Our entire order was delicious (fried chicken, catfish, cole slaw, macaroni & cheese, mashed taters & white gravy).  The young lady who took our order was very friendly and accommodating.  The inside dining room was pretty small (and nearly full) so we opted to sit outside on the patio and our food was delivered to us there.  We’d highly recommend this place if you’re in the Seguin area and enjoy good fried chicken.  Another thing we really liked?  An open bible on the counter…where do you see that kind of thing these days?

The front of the building is part store, part museum

The biggest reason we went to Seguin was to visit Pape’s Pecan House & Museum.  Pape’s has been on my ‘list’ for several years and we just had not gotten there.  But…Michael found a recipe for a Pecan Cobbler that he drooled over enough that I said I’d make it for him.  So…off to Pape’s we went!

Huge Pape and his son, Kenneth, opened Pape’s in 1961 and while Hugo passed away years ago, Kenneth and his wife, Zee still own and operate the business.  Pape’s has its own pecan orchard a few miles away but they shell and package them at this location.

The biggest portion of the museum is in back. LOOK at all those nutcrackers!

Also on location is a nutcracker museum.  All of the nutcrackers (approximately 8,000 of them!) were collected by Kenneth and they come in all shapes and sizes from all over the world.  There are you typical wooden soldier types, Naughty Nellies, brass crackers, wooden crackers, big ones, small ones…you name it!  We enjoyed seeing all of them!

Vicky posing with Pape’s giant nutcracker.

Vicky, the young lady working the cash register was awesome!  She even showed me a ‘naughty’ cave man nutcracker that she said she wouldn’t show when men were around!  She told us about the owners and explained about the different types of pecans and when they were harvested.

2ps with a giant pecan!

Pape’s also boasts that they have the ‘Largest Mobile Pecan’ and we made sure to get a picture of the two of us with it!

When we first drove into town we happened to see signs for the Juan Seguin Burial Site.  After a quick Google search to find out who he was, we made a detour and found it.  Juan Seguin was born in San Antonio in 1806 and spent much of his life in the military.

Juan Seguin’s final resting place, nestled beneath several huge Live Oak trees.

He played an integral part in establishing the independence of Texas, reached the grade of Colonel in the military, served as a US Senator, was elected Mayor of San Antonio, was Justice of the Peace in Bexar County, defender of the Alamo, hero of San Jacinto, founding father of the Bexar County Democratic party and served as the County Judge in Wilson County.  Just a few accomplishments, right?

Sequin passed away while living Mexico near his son in 1890.  He was re-interred in Seguin (his namesake) in 1976 during the nation’s bicentennial ceremonies.

We really enjoyed our day in Seguin, a pretty little town with one of those quaint town squares that we wouldn’t mind going back to do a little more exploring.  You should too!

 

 

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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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