Sunday, April 17, 2016

April 5 through 17

April 5, 2016, we headed out, stopping at the Interstate Battery place in Jasper.  The man came out and checked our batteries, said they were OK, and said we should go to an RV service place about 7 miles away.  We did, they were out of business, and it was back a 1 lane road and not a great place to turnaround.  We decided to keep going to Vidalia, LA.  We went about 230 miles, and checked into Riverview Campground, for 2 nights.  We went to Lil’ Dago’s and had fantastic pizza!

April 6, 2016

We got up and drove up to Lorman, MS, which is the home of ‘The Old Country Store’, better known as Mister D’s.  I’ve written much about this place in previous blogs.  We love it!

There was absolutely NO place to get RV service done, either in Vidalia, LA or Natchez, MS.  I did some research and discovered that Greywolf Mobile RV Services was in Vicksburg.  I called them and they said when we got in, let them know where we are and he’ll come take a look.  In the meantime we had talked to Murphy (Matthews RV Repair) a couple times, and he maintained that it was the batteries, no matter what that Interstate man said!

April  7 – hitched up the night before, and headed out to Vicksburg, to the Ameristar Casino RV resort.  We’d been there before and it is a nice clean park to use as a  base to ‘do’ the area.  Once we got settled in, we called Tom (Greywolf) and he came over immediately.  He looked at the batteries, said yes, that was the problem.  He left to get 4 new batteries, came back about 45 mins later and said they only had 3, but would have another in the morning.  He said he’d be back about 8 am. 

We met a really nice couple from Canada, Mike and Marilyn, and although they have our blog address and email and phone, I didn’t get their information!  We had a nice little yammer together, until it was time to hit the hay!

April 8 – Tom came back with the batteries, installed them, hung around and made sure they were charging properly then he took off.  We made the decision to stay another night to let them charge fully before we went up the road.

I unhooked the car and Marilyn and I did a WalMart run.  I had put a nice roast in the crockpot for dinner, and wanted some fixin’s to go with it J  She needed to grocery shop because their car was on a dolly and to unhook was a major undertaking.

When we got home, everyone had a bite of lunch, naps, then it was time for Happy Hour!  David and Mike had some 15 YO single malt Scotch, which they thoroughly enjoyed (Mike had it stashed until he found someone that liked it), while Marilyn and I enjoyed an ice cold beer, cashews and conversation!

April 9, 10, 11, 12 – We hitched up and left Vicksburg and made our way to Jeff Busby National Park Campground, free camping, no hookups.  It was a learning curve, but we figured out how to use our Inverter/batteries, making our days very enjoyable.  We were in our spot and set up by noon, and by 3pm the campground was FULL.  No reservations, so first come first served.  Do NOT wait until late afternoon to try to get a spot in one of the 3 free campgrounds going up the Natchez Trace.  I felt very sorry for the people that came later and had no place to park!

On Monday we got up to lots of rain, but we were expecting it, and had put away all our gear.  We decided to go for a drive, and David found a restaurant he wanted to try in a little town named Ackerman.  It was “Pop’s” and really, save your money.  Hole in the wall, over half the menu was not available, and NOT inexpensive!   

Tuesday we went down to French Camp, once again a place I wrote about extensively before.  We had lunch at Council Bluff’s House, where we shared a fantastic BLT (10 slices of bacon, heirloom tomatoes, homemade toasted bread, house made garlic mayo), and I had potato soup, David had Chili.  It was a delicious lunner, and dinner later on was popcorn J 

April 13 – We left Jeff Busby campground and headed to Arkabutla Lake COE park where we have a wonderful huge site, with water and 50 amp electric, for the princely sum of $10 per night.  We’re staying for a week! 

Weather is wonderful, cool enough that you don’t need the AC, and warm enough that you don’t need a jacket!  We did a drive around, a WalMart run, and went to Tunica MS to check out the casino’s.  We also went to the Horseshoe Casino in Robbinsville, because I had a $25 coupon for the seafood buffet.  I sat down at a penny machine, put in a 5, and won 20.  So for about $8.00 we had a great seafood dinner, and several hours of fun!  Can’t hardly beat that!

April 18 – Memphis, TN tour…stay tuned!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

April 1 - 3 of our Northern Journey

April 1, 2016

We got a rather late start, pulled out of Hondo after filling up with diesel, at 10 am.  Considering this was the first time we hooked up the new car to the motor home, and the fact that we hadn’t left TX in 2 years, I guess that was pretty good!

Our destination was to be Somerville COE park, but when we go there, it was closed because of flooding.  We ended up staying at the Marina campground which was ok, but was $30 and I had budgeted 11…such is life.  We had leftovers for lunner, and were in bed pretty early.

April 2, 2016

We got started earlier, 9ish, and headed to Magnolia Ridge COE, where they said they had some ‘walk up’ spots available.  I didn’t make reservations because getting out that first day is always iffy!  And, you have to make them more than a week in advance! 

We started out with breakfast cookies, and by the time we got here at 1:30, we were both starving!  Leftovers again…and on our trip I heard a ‘popping’ sound.  When we hooked up we discovered that the inverter was not working, and after checking everything David discovered that one of our batteries had blown its lid, and another one was bulging.  So, literally no power to the front of the rig L  We got on the internet, found a battery place in Jasper, TX, but no place was open until Monday.  Hopefully we’ll be able to buy 4 of these bad boys so we can get on down the road on Tuesday. 

Part of the life of a full time RVer. 

April 3, 2016

We slept in until 8:30 this morning; I fixed a good breakfast of ham, eggs, grits and toast and went for a nice walk.  When I got back, David showered and we went into Jasper to find the battery place and make sure we can get the motorhome around in there…and we can!  We made a stop at Walmart for some groceries, and then had an early dinner at Cedar Tree restaurant.  If you’re ever in the area, stop in, it’s a buffet that is all home cookin’, including the pie!  We sampled lemon and coconut cream…yummy!

March 31, 2016

Catching up again…

So, last time I blogged, we were gate guarding for Riata Oilfield Services in Cotulla, TX.  Second week in July we got the news that the gate closed, and we had 5 hours to get off the pad.  We made it in 4.  Off to Hondo we went, where we cleaned the rig, unpacked the bays, set up our bbq pit…and bought a new to us car!  It’s a 2015 Equinox, which can be owed 4 wheels down behind he MH.

Two weeks later I got a call from Guard 1 Services, asking if I wanted to work a guard shack outside of Cotulla, but no MH pad, which meant we had to find and pay oilfield prices for an RV spot.  We did, stayed at JD’s Nueces River RV park, to the tune of $550 a month…for Aug and Sept.  They shut that gate Sept 24th so Oct 3rd we were back in Hondo. 

Our friends, Lynn and Joyce Marlatt from Riverton came to Hondo for the winter, so we started the usual winter activities.  Eating, happy hours, Dr appts, etc. 

Right before Thanksgiving I got a call from Guard 1, asking me to work a shack in the Whitsett area.  I said OK and off I went, 4 days on, 4 days off, 12 hour days…but, Cinder wasn’t doing very well when we were in Cotulla, so I left David and her at the park in Hondo and drove back and forth every 5 days.  That worked out OK until Feb when we decided to take the MH down because I was spending a fortune on room rentals. 

So, off we went, and spent a week at Choke Canyon state park, which is really a great park!  However, the day after I got the call that the gate closed…so back to Hondo we went. 

That was in mid-February, and we stayed in Hondo, until April 1st.  That’s when we hit the road and  I decided to start blogging again.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

April through July Gate Guarding in Cotulla TX

We got a gate through Riata Oilfield Services, just 5 miles out of Cotulla, TX on the Northcut Ranch.  We felt blessed, because our gate had NO mud, and very very nice oilfield workers, whom we got to know pretty well in the 4 months we were there!


We did have an issue with rattle snakes – we saw 5 in a two week period, two of which the workers dispatched for us because they were under and/or near our motorhome (as in behind the back wheels).  That was exciting, and we did see several more but nowhere close to us so they got to live Winking smileIMG_2582IMG_2584


While there I joined the Ladies luncheon in Cotulla at the Baptist church, the first Tuesday of each month.  They have a wonderful patron who pays for the lunches to be catered in, and it was always very nice.  The best thing about it was that we got to network with the other guards, from all different companies, so we learned quite a bit about them!  We also had a lunch the 3rd Tuesday at a different restaurant each month, which really was nice too.  It’s a Godsend when you can get away from the gate and enjoy the company of others in the same lifestyle!


My friend, Judy Mott and her husband Dick got a gate the same day about 8 miles from us, so she went with me about every other week shopping to a ‘big’ store, HEB, WalMart, etc., because Cotulla just has a small Lowes grocery, and a couple dollar stores.  When we would go we’d have a late lunch, (Dick slept until 2, but on our days out he got up so we could leave at 1), then we’d shop, and arrive home about 6:30/7:00.  It was always nice to get away and stock up the cupboards!


Of course we treated ‘our’ workers on holidays, Memorial Day, 4th of July, etc.  I decorated our gate and made brownies, sometimes they would get tootsie roll pops, sometimes donuts, no bake cookies, goodie bags of bite sized candy bars…something almost every week.  They really enjoyed it, and we enjoyed treating them! 


We had planned to stay on the gate through March of next year, but we got the call on March 21 that our gate was closing and we had until 5 pm to vacate.  Well, we put it in high gear and were pulling out by 11:45.  We got back to our lot in Hondo, TX and set up by 3 pm.  We went to the local restaurant, The Cowboy for our first meal out together in 4 months.  Woohoo!


Then, last Thursday, we went to San Antonio and bought our new car.  My ‘old car’ was a 2005 Chevy Malibu, with 140,000 miles on it.  It was a great car, but we put a refurbished transmission in it back in Dec in DC and it had a 6 month warranty on it.  It was starting to shift hard, and then the AC went out in it July 17th.  We are members of USAA and I used their car buying service to purchase our new ride.  It is a 2015 Chevy Equinox, LT2 with all the bells and whistles…more than I need that’s for sure. 


We’ve had several outings since being back.  I have my name in several places for guard positions, including for 12 hour guard shack jobs.  I sure would love to have something, but we can’t work a real busy gate, since David’s COPD keeps him down quite a bit…but a 12 hour or 18 hour gate would work as long as it wasn’t horribly busy.  We’ll just see what opens up.  We have several dr appts coming up, the last one is Aug 19th for David.  If we have nothing lined up by then, we’ll be packing the car and heading to PA for Sept and Oct…returning to TX for winter.


All for now – I’ll report again in a few months, unless something major happens before then!

January, February, March Hondo Tx

We arrived at Lone Star Corral January 18th.  Our friends, Lynn and Joyce Marlatt were already there waiting for us, and they were almost our back door neighbors!  We immediately started showing them the area, and joining the wonderful Escapee friends at LSC.  Some of the things we did:

  • The Alamo
  • LBJ ranch tour
  • Outlet Mall in San Marcos
  • Visiting gate guard friends and fellow LSCer’s Gene and Linda Moreau
  • San Antonio river walk
  • Bill and Rosa’s for country fried steak
  • Pulled pork dinner at LSC
  • Mad Dogs Pub in San Antonio
  • Coopers BBQ in New Braunfels
  • Lunch bunch tea room in Uvalde (fantastic jalapeno soup)
  • Trade days in Boerne
  • The Brazilian Grill in North San Antonio (highlight of the trip)
  • 5 Days in Rockport where we walked on the beach and pier, had breakfast on the bay, went to the boiling pot for a dinner, and since we were parked right on the bay had wonderful views every day!
  • Welcome Winter Texans lunch in Uvalde
  • Sabinal bean supper
  • Valentines dinner at LSC
  • German dinner in Fredericksburg
  • Breakfast and shopping at the Old Spanish Trail in Bandera
  • Omelets in a bag (Peggy’s kitchen)
  • Many days of ‘just driving around’
  • Car show at Womack Chevrolet in Castroville
  • Mercado in San Antonio (Mexican shopping plaza)


Before Lynn and Joyce left, our friends Len and Phyllis East came to LSC for a month, and they joined in on some of the fun stuff too!  Also we had visitors Joe and Sandy Fryberger from Longmont, CO came and stayed 2 nights.  We sure wish we would have had more time with them all!


On March 16th we left LSC for a gate at Northcut Ranch, with Riata Oilfield Security Services.  We were hoping to get a gate and just kind of fell into this one, and we love it.  It is now May 4th, and we are planning to stay here until at least next spring (if the job holds out).  It will be a long hot summer in south TX, but the kitty is crying the blues, and we have to make some money.  We really enjoy the Cotulla area, even though it is in the desert pretty much.  We’ve got some great wildlife here at the gate – cows, deer, turkey, eagles, rabbits, road runners, rattle snakes, coyotes, cardinals, and many birds we don’t know, but they’re fun to watch.  We’ve gotten to know quite a few of our ‘workers’ and so far I’ve made them brownies and no bake cookies. 


Saturday, January 17, 2015

Jan 13, 14, 15 Magnolia Ridge COE Park


Tuesday we got up and got moving early – we had 240 miles to go to get to our spot at Magnolia Ridge where we had reservations for 2 days – hoping if we got in a day early we would be able to stay.  The drive was nice, we had no sunshine but no rain Smile  We got to the park about 3, which is the cut off for us…if we aren’t somewhere by then we find a place as quickly as possible! 


We got parked in site 40, which is an amazing site.  Actually, I don’t know if there is a BAD site in this park.  Of course it is a Corp of Engineers park, and we had 50 amp elec and water for the princely sum of $9 a day. 


One of the perks of this park is that friends of ours, Judy and Dick Mott were parked on site 40 – and we stayed here specifically so Judy and I could have some ‘friend’ face time Smile  Normally we would go to Livingston, but these sites are less expensive, bigger, more level and much quieter.  I really really like this park!  I expect it will be back on our ‘go to’ places again.


We settled in and had beef lo mein out of a frozen bag for dinner – and you know that doesn’t happen very often, but it was very good.


Wednesday we got around and headed into Livingston to pick up our mail.  Hadn’t gotten it since mid Nov so there was a lot – I haven’t even gotten through it all yet!  While there we had lunch at Taco Bell and I grocery shopped at HEB.  Also filled the car up with gas at $1.84 a gallon – Oh Happy Day!  We came home and got stuff put away, Judy and I got some visitin’ done, and I pulled out a frozen bag of homemade Taco Soup, and that was dinner!  Later on I went over to Judy’s and watched Criminal Minds and Stalker – both were excellent!


Thursday we got around pretty early ‘cause I had invited Dick and Judy for breakfast.  I did sausage gravy and biscuits, with eggs to order.  It was awfully yummy!  Of course, in true RV fashion, we sat and yammered for almost 2 hours Smile 


Then Judy and I went to visit with Lynette and her husband, Gregg McHenry, more gate guards with Gate Guard Services.  It is always fun to meet new folks in the same ‘business’ as us! 



We visited for a couple hours, then headed back home where I got a nap…and baked a cake!  I made a banana split cake for dessert, because Dick and Judy made us a wonderful dinner of shrimp gumbo and potato salad.  It was a true Louisiana feast and we enjoyed it immensely.  Thanks Judy and Dick for feeding us that amazing dinner!



We ended the evening on more laughter – which is the way it should always be!  We had a wonderful 3 days at a great park…who could ask for anything more!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Jan 11, 12 Natchez MS

We left Jackson, MS on Sunday morning, at the late hour of about 10:30.  We were in no hurry since we only had about 100 miles to go.  We stopped for diesel and paid $3.45 a gallon, which was a great price considering on our trip North in May we paid $3.99 a gallon a couple times!


We got to Natchez Trace State Park about 1 pm, and although we stayed here before, I forgot about the road to get in here.  It is about 3 miles of twisty, turny, hilly potholed roads.  When we got here we realized that there was NO TV stations to be had, even though we’re only 8 miles from Natchez….gggrrr!  So we were unable to watch either of the playoff games, but we’re happy to have our Verizon hot spots and that Green Bay won their game, also the Indianapolis Colts won their game!  My kindle got a workout for sure while we were here!


Monday morning we got around very slowly, it was raining and had rained hard most of the night.  I got a big surprise when I took Cinder out – for the first time in about 2 months I didn’t need layered clothing, gloves and ear muffs!  It was a balmy 55 degrees…hooray!


About 11 we left to go 20 miles North to ‘the Old Country Store’ AKA Mr. D’s restaurant.  It is a buffet that we have visited every time we have traveled on the Trace.  Really the best fried chicken I’ve ever eaten, and I’ve eaten a LOT!  Today was no exception, the food was amazing, from the salads to wonderful veggies, green beans with bacon, turnip greens, sweet potatoes, ribs, country fried pork chops, handmade biscuits that just about floated away they were so flaky…yummers!  We ate ‘til we were miserable…then David had blackberry cobbler with ice cream!!!   I had ONE bite, and it was SO good. 


We meandered our way back home, napped and played on the internet for a while.  Tomorrow we pick up the jacks and roll on down the road Smile