Thursday, April 30, 2015

West on I-10

It was Wednesday in the city. January 12, 2005 and the city was Junction. With a population less than 3,000 I used to call these small bergs towns, but Junction thinks it is a city, so it is okay by me. Kathi and I got out and drove around. We were through viewing Junction in about 20 minutes, so we expanded our drive and backtracked south on US 83, then FM 41 and FM 27 back to the Hunt-Kerrville Area. We saw a lot of cattle and horse farms on a cold wet day. Not too good for pictures, but I had to take a few of the Stonehenge Replica we found near Hunt. We were amazed to run across this open field with the replica. It was a complete surprise. We had never heard of it before that day. The original Stonehenge had some astrological value, but the replicas are just rocks. It was still fun to see.

Stonehenge replica in a field near Hunt, TX

Arlon getting a close up view of the Stonehenge Replica

We drove on into Kerrville and had lunch at a cafeteria. I do not recall the name of the cafeteria, but the food was similar to what we were used to getting in the Luby’s Cafeterias in the Pasadena area. I usually get chicken fried steak or the bacon cheese steak with macaroni and cheese, green beans and pecan pie. The pie is always too expensive, but it is my favorite and I find it hard to resist. Most people eat desert after their meal, but I enjoy food so much if I save desert for last, I am too full for 

A white donkey near Kerrville
We drove around Kerrville for a little while and found nothing else exciting, so we returned to our RV at the Junction KOA to spend a quiet evening at home and prepare for traveling further west on Thursday.

On the 13th we drove another 200 miles west on I-10 to Fort Stockton, TX and stayed at the Parkview RV Park. This was another Passport America Park and we stayed two nights for $11 per night. We were finally starting to see hills high enough to make us realize we were moving. The rolling hills in Texas are fun, but we really enjoy the higher mountains a little further west. We visited with my sister and brother-in-law, Carol and Lloyd at the RV Park. They left Dickinson a day behind us, but caught up quickly. We planned to make the same stops for the next few days. Kathi and Carol took a long walk around the park. I managed to be otherwise engaged. I hated walking just to be walking and I have not outgrown that feeling. I get most of my walking exercise in Walmart and Walmart parking lots.

The next day we had beautiful cool weather and we decided to spend it indoors. We got a call from our Marine and he got orders to leave for Ramadi, Iraq on February 20th. The apprehension was building, but we did not talk about it.

On Saturday, January 15th we drove on to Van Horn, our last stop before leaving Texas. It was a short 120 mile trip. We always talked about going to new places, but often ended up in the same places we had been before. Driving distances and RV park prices are usually the deciding factors. We ate Mexican food at Chuy’s with Carol and Lloyd. The restaurant was catty-cornered across the street from the El Campo RV Park where we stayed. I think that RV Park is now under new management and the name has changed to Southern Star. After lunch we sat outside in lawn chairs and talked. A beautiful day and a fun way to close it down talking with family members.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

2005 Travel Plan

After spending the 2004 yearend holidays with our family in Deer Park and La Porte it was time to move again. Although we had only had our motorhome for a short time, RV traveling was already a way of life for us. We did want to slow our travel speed down from the previous year, so we could enjoy the local areas more. But now was not the time for slow. Our plan was to move west to California to visit our youngest son before he deployed to Iraq, then visit our oldest in San Francisco. After that a leisure jaunt north to Oregon and Washington for the summer months, then take a high route east and back to Texas before year end.

We spent Wednesday night, January 5th at Freightliner to get our oil changed before leaving town. The Houston Freightliner lot is always full of big trucks in for service. Their RV technician normally only schedules one RV per day. He was through with our RV before 1:00 pm the next day and we returned to Green Caye to finish out our stay before traveling on Sunday. Thursday afternoon it got cold again. We visited my sister & brother-in-law at Green Caye.

On Friday we awoke to another cold day. We met Kathi’s mother and step-father to tell them good-bye over lunch at Sudie’s on Spencer Highway in Pasadena. I had the all you can eat catfish plate and Kathi had fried shrimp. The ladies from Mississippi sold great catfish. After lunch Kathi and I picked up prescriptions from the drug store and took all our clothes to the laundromat so everything was ready for traveling.

Saturday was a beautiful, sunny day and we did our final grocery shopping before hitting the road. We visited my sister again in the evening in their fifth wheel. They just bought a new truck and needed to get a hitch installed before they could travel.

Finally with all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed we got on the road. The first day was a short trip to Luling, TX – only about 160 miles due west on I-10. We stayed at the River Bend RV Park, one of the Passport America parks, so it only cost $11 per night.  There were no trees at our site to obstruct our two satellite dishes, but the park did have a lot of pecan trees surrounding us.

The next morning after coffee and cereal, we took a short site-seeing excursion north until we reached the outskirts of Austin. After lunch we both had a nap and took a walk around the park in the afternoon. It was a cool windy day and I like being out in the wind. Kathi talked to my sister, Carol and they got their tow hitch installed and were ready to travel the next day. They seemed to be more anxious to get out of Texas than we were.

Our next stop was the Junction KOA, about 170 miles further west on I-10. It was a nice drive with little traffic and beautiful weather. Too expensive for us, but the only suitable RV Park in the area. The park was almost empty when we arrived and filled up before the day was over. That alone told me there was not much to see or do in the area, since there were no permanent guests in the RV Park. We see a good number of RV parks that cater to one night stay travelers.

Next: Continue west

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Year End 2004

Kathi and I celebrated or 40th wedding anniversary in October 2004. When we returned to the Houston area in November she had her wedding ring restructured to commemorate the occasion. Both our sons were living in California. We split our time in the area between the Almost Heaven RV Park in Manvel and the Green Caye RV Park in Dickinson. The Green Caye RV Park was much better with paved roads and paved sites. We were thinking like RV travelers, which means when we got into town for the holidays our next thoughts were of leaving for our next adventure.

There were a lot of rainy days the end of November and into December of 2004.  At years end we had some bad times. My cousin, Lloyd Bowden died of bone and liver cancer and we attended his funeral in Nacogdoches. My brother Mike had a leg amputated. He had little feeling in his legs due to diabetes and slept with a heating pad on his leg, which caused a burn that would not heal. The burn got infected resulting in loss of his leg.

We also had some good times. We visited several times a week with my sister, Carol and her husband Lloyd. She and Kathi walked a lot and Lloyd and I joined the walks occasionally. Carol walks so fast, I had trouble keeping up with her. Kathi and I got all our doctor visits taken care of and received new prescriptions for the coming year. We caught up with local friends and relatives. We spent Thanksgiving at a family get together with our niece and nephew Shanna and John Clark. Our youngest son, Christopher flew into town from Twentynine Palms for a two week Christmas leave. On Christmas Eve, Kathi made dressing for Christmas Day and we picked up our oldest son, AJ at the airport. AJ was the first to get to sleep on the fold out bed made from the couch in our motorhome – he said it was comfortable, but I was skeptical since he is 6’ 7” tall. On Christmas day we awoke to a blanket of snow on the ground – snow was so unusual in the Houston area. We spent Christmas day at home with AJ. Christopher spent Christmas with his girlfriend and her family.

 As soon as Christmas was over we were all ready to get back to our normal lives. AJ had to get enrolled at San Francisco State University, so he only stayed with us a few days. Christopher was going to be deployed to Iraq when he returned to California. Kathi and I spent New Year’s Eve at home watching the fireworks through the windshield of our motorhome. Kathi always makes black-eyed peas and cabbage on New Year’s Day. I ate the peas, but left the cabbage for her.

With all our medical needs attended and the holidays over we were ready to hit the road again so we started planning our next trip. We were headed back to California to see Christopher and his friends off to Iraq, then back to the San Francisco area to visit AJ. We went to the laundry and got all our clothes washed and stowed for travel. We spent the night at Freightliner to get our oil and filter changed. We visited with my sister, Carol and her husband Lloyd and they told us they were ready to get out of town, also. They have been RV travelers longer than we have and I think Lloyd keeps the maps in his head. He always knows what’s next. Kathi and I had to do a little more planning.

Next: 2005 trip back to California 

Black bird in a pine tree at Green Caye

Arlon standing next to our Alfa motorhome

Ducks at Green Caye

Old car at Green Caye

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Thanksgiving Time 2004

We arrived at the Almost Heaven RV Park in Manvel, TX on Thursday, November 11, 2004. It was rainy in the Houston area and it rained every day for most of the next two weeks. We spent most of our time inside. We visited a few of our relatives, had lunch with Kathi's Mother and step-father a couple of times and spent several afternoons and evening visiting with my sister Carol and her husband Lloyd who were staying at the same RV park. Ten days of rain and staying mostly inside was getting to us some and we both started feeling yucky. Too much of anything gets depressing after a while.

Wednesday the 24th, the rain finally let up a little, although it was still windy and cold, but feeling the breeze in my face felt good. I like the wind and cold as long as I do not have to dwell in it. I enjoy it moving from here to there then getting out of it again. Anyway, we were glad to be out and about.

Kathi had been talking about taking diamonds from several rings she owned and getting them combined into a new wedding ring. It did not make sense to me, but ladies seem to understand the attraction of diamonds more than I do. We drove over to the Jewelry Factory on Southmore Street in Pasadena. We have bought jewelry and had work done by them several times before and found them to be honest people that display good craftsmanship for a fair price. Kathi explained to the jeweler what she wanted to do, described what she wanted the end product to look like and they agreed on a price for the work. Fortunately we had some gold left over from previous transactions, which made the price seem better,

It turned out some of the diamonds were the wrong color or shape and would not enhance the overall design, so they got left those out of the finished product. They ended up using the original wedding ring stone as a centerpiece surrounded by diamonds from Kathi’s 25th anniversary ring.

Thursday was Thanksgiving and we spent it at our nephew’s home. John and Shanna Clark had a nice home on the northwest side of Houston off US 290 near the Telge exit. John and Shanna were excellent hosts as usual. Most of the family was in attendance, with the exception of our two sons who were in California. Kathi talked to both of them on the phone in the evening. They were both sharing Thanksgiving with friends. Family get-togethers are always fun and this was no exception.

If you enjoy travel blogs, Al Bossence and his wife are excited about their new Jeep Liberty. He takes great pictures and posts on

Our nephews Jeff and Carl

Wesley, Andrea and Larry Clark talking to David Clark.

Arlon with David Clark

Virginia and Jim Hathaway, Kathi's mother and step-father

Nephew John Clark and niece Amy Clark (now Amy Whitaker)

Monday, April 20, 2015

Another Day at Almost Heaven

Kathi and I are in Dickinson, Texas for a good period of time this year and I have been relating some of our previous travel experiences. Today I am continuing our story from November 13, 2004. We were staying at the Almost Heaven RV Park in Manvel, TX at the time.

The evening of November 13, 2004 we talked to our youngest son, Christopher. He was reporting in from the Marine Corps Ball in Las Vegas. He and his fellow Marines were in their dress uniforms and enjoying the diversion before returning to base to prepare for a return trip to Iraq. Kathi and I were both apprehensive, as I am sure the Marines were. None of us talked about it much, mostly sticking to logistics when we talked.

On the 14th, Kathi was having some breathing problems mostly due to the high humidity. We both thought there was something physically wrong, but her doctors have not found a source of her breathing problems. In Texas we blamed the humidity and in the mountains we blamed the altitude for her lack of ability to draw in enough oxygen. We discussed switching doctors, but were not quite ready to take that step.

Kathi and I visited my cousin Lloyd Bowden at MD Anderson hospital. He had terminal cancer, but he and his wife Shirley were putting on a brave face. We visited for a little while, but Lloyd was hungry, so we did not stay too long. After we left, we talked a little more about Lloyd, but realized the best we could do for them was provide positive thoughts and hope for a pain free death.

Later that afternoon Kathi and I met with my sister and her husband, Lloyd Jackson and the four of us took a walk around the Lake at Almost Heaven, then went to Lloyd and Carol’s RV to visit for a while. We talked mostly about our travel adventures. I could remember being most places, but remembered few details. Kathi remembered more. Lloyd was amazing as usual, he remembered and related details about their visits to all the places Kathi and I had gone during the year. It was a fun conversation.

November 15th was a Monday and we drove to Deer Park to pick up medicine from Walgreen's and to drop off film for development. It was rainy and cool with high humidity – typical Texas winter. We stopped at Gabby’s in Pasadena to have barbecue. Good barbecue was hard to come by outside of Texas. I had the sausage, ham and brisket plate and Kathi had brisket. Gabby’s was our favorite barbecue restaurant at that time.

After we returned home, Kathi and Carol took three laps around the lake, dodging rain showers. Then Carol and Lloyd came over to visit us in our RV – more stimulating travel conversation. We were all glad to be back in Texas to rest up, visit family during the year-end holidays and get back out on the road as soon as the holiday season was over. Looking forward to traveling and seeing new places is almost as much fun as the travel, but not quite – just almost.

My next post will continue our 2004 experiences.

Location marker in Pearland

Nice car at Patients Hospital in Pasadena

Flags over Jack In The Box in Deer Park

Night view of the Capitan Theater

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Saturday in Dickinson

 We had a lot of rain the last week, which gave us a sudden reminder that we had a leak over the pantry in our Alfa motorhome. We have known about the leak for a while and had service people at Charlie’s Service Center in Sunset, UT do some re-caulking last year, to no avail.

Flowers and waterfall on League City Parkway near Highway 146
Our next door neighbors are Bunky and Linda McMahon. Kathi and I met Bunky a few days after we moved into the site next to them at the Green Caye RV Park in Dickinson. We had not met Linda, although we had seen her several times. Kathi remembered seeing a mobile RV repair truck at their RV and went to talk to Linda to see if she remembered the name of the repair service. They had a nice conversation and got to know each other a little better. Linda did not know the name of the repair company, but told Kathi that Bunky had the information and would let us know when he got home from work. Bunky is retired, but still working for the company he retired from. They spend weekdays in Dickinson and weekends at their home in the Beaumont area.

That afternoon which was Wednesday, April 15, 2015 Kathi and I had lunch with my sister and brother-in-law, Carol and Lloyd Jackson. We ate a Mexican food lunch at Jimmy Changa’s on I-45. Jimmy Changa’s is owned by the same parent company as Gringo’s Mexican food restaurants and share some of the same menu items. Kathi and I shared a Vera Cruz and Lloyd and Carol had the same. Vera Cruz is a combination of fajitas and shrimp brochette. I could eat that meal several times a week, if Kathi would allow it. While we were awaiting lunch, I asked if Lloyd knew the name of the mobile RV service man we have seen inside the Green Caye on several occasions.  Lloyd did not know the name of the RV service provider, but volunteered to come over and go on top of our motorhome and try and patch the leak himself.

When Bunky got home from work he gave us the name and phone number of the mobile RV service provider he used. It was Bob’s RV Repairs available at 409-986-8484. Before Kathi got a chance to call Bob, Lloyd came over with a roll of Gorilla tape. It looks like duct tape but holds up much better in the weather. Lloyd got on top and patched a few questionable spots. After all the rain we had last night and no leaks, we are considering his efforts a success. We have a lot of appreciation for Lloyd and his ability to solve most problems around an RV.

Last night we had dinner at Cheddar’s with Kathi’s brother, Larry, his wife Andrea, their son Matt, his girl friend Kristine and their daughter Austin who will be three in June. I had chicken fried steak and Kathi had a salad. I remember some shrimp dinners and a grill cheese for Austin. Before dinner arrived Austin entertained Larry with her Shopkins. She had two tiny shopping baskets that contained plastic pepper, cake and a couple of other food items I do not remember. Austin is probably the best-behaved child I have ever had the pleasure of having dinner with. Austin enjoys queso and chips which she used for entertainment between Shopits and grilled cheese.

It was another great evening and a great week for being with family and friends.

Kristine & Matt

Austin with Shopkins
Austin eating queso

Austin eating a tortilla chip

Austin about ready for the next course

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Almost Heaven

On Thursday, November 11, 2004 we left the Emerald Lake RV Park in Jarrell, Texas and moved to the Almost Heaven RV Park in Manvel, TX. It was a pleasant drive with no unusual occurrences. We stayed on country roads as much as possible, but I do not recall exactly which route we took for this trip. Total trip about 220 miles and around four hours in time. At this point in our travels we seldom stopped for lunch and mostly relied on peanuts and soft drinks for sustenance at lunchtime.

There were no vacancies at the RV Park in Dickinson, so we moved to Manvel, because this is where my sister, Carol and her husband Lloyd were staying. It was raining when we got there and there were a lot of mud holes in the park. The roads were a little rough for us, but we were going to be there for a while. We went over to visit with Carol and Lloyd right after our arrival and before transitioning the motorhome from travel mode to living mode. We enjoyed the visit and all of us were glad to be near home for the holidays.

The next day we took Kathi’s mother and step-father, Jim to lunch. It was fun and nice to catch up. Kathi is the only girl and she and her mother had a special relationship. In the afternoon, Carol and Kathi walked around the lake at the RV Park. Three trips around seemed to be enough to quell their need for exercise. Carol walks on a daily basis and is still near her high school weight. Kathi is an occasional walker.

A lot of people at the RV Park were staying there while undergoing outpatient treatment at the Medical Center in Houston. Manvel is about 10 miles south of the Medical Center on TX 288. It took us about 30 minutes to get to Deer Park and La Porte using 288 and Beltway 8.

We had a Mexican food lunch with Carol and Lloyd on Saturday. I think we ate at Gringo’s in Pearland, but I do not remember for sure. Lloyd will tell me when he reads this post, since he remembers everything. I do remember the food was good, but we like Tex-Mex. Mexican food is not the same anywhere else, but Texas.

On Sunday the 14th we went to visit my cousin, Lloyd Bowden at MD Anderson. He and his wife Shirley were very gracious and it was nice to see them. Lloyd looked more and more like his dad as he got older. Lloyd had a very fast acting kidney and bone cancer and only lived about a month longer. He was one of my role-models as I grew up. His dad, my Uncle Elbert was the best man I have ever known. Cousin Lloyd was a retired pastor and content with letting God make the decision about his future.

We stayed at Almost Heaven for three weeks before moving to our preferred location at Green Caye RV Park in Dickinson, TX.

My Cousin Lloyd Bowden when he was about 25 years old.

My uncle Elbert Bowden

Monday, April 13, 2015

Weekend in Austin

On Friday, April 10, 2015, Kathi and I drove to Austin to see our oldest son, AJ. We opted to leave our RV in Dickinson and drive our Jeep to Austin. Diesel vs hotel is pretty much a wash. There was no room at the inn. Rooms with our needs were booked in Austin, so we stayed at the Best Western Hotel on I-35 in Round Rock. This Best Western was well maintained and I recommend it for anyone who needs a clean accommodation while visiting the area.

We left Dickinson about 10 am with heavy fog which turned to misting rain, then heavier rain. We took I-45 to downtown Houston and I-10 to Loop 610 north, then west on US 290. Traffic was heavy all the way to 290 and really bad on the little stretch of the Loop where I had to move over five lanes in the stretch of a mile. The rain was slow and steady until we got to Brenham, then it rained hard on us until we got to Elgin. After that it stayed clear for a few hours, but still overcast. We stopped in Giddings for coffee and peanuts.

Even with the fog and rain causing limited visibility, we saw a lot of beautiful wild flowers along the way. Thank you Lady Bird. We saw bluebonnets, Indian paint brush, buttercups, some little yellow flowers and several patches of orange flowers with yellow tips on the petals. The flowers made a pleasant diversion from the road views.

We spent our last twenty minutes at home unloading our freezer with all the food Kathi made especially for AJ. It took all three of us to take the food up to his apartment and the food filled his freezer and refrigerator. AJ looked great. He does not drive, so we took him on a few errands, including the grocery store and for a haircut. He was wearing a black fedora when we picked him up and after the haircut the hat was too big. He said he had a red fedora at home that was smaller, so no problem.

Friday afternoon we ate at Rudy’s Barbecue. AJ and I ate moist brisket sandwiches and Kathi prefers the lean brisket. As usual, Rudy’s was fun again. I got to take the leftover with me this time.

AJ at his apartment with guitar

AJ at Mari Gras in Austin a few years ago

AJ in cool white

Caricature of AJ done by street artist in Austin
Saturday we picked AJ up at 8 am and spent a full day together. We ran a few more errands and picked up some insulation at Home Depot to cover a heater vent he has no control over. I think it may be central steam heat, but we cannot tell, because everything is caged up. We had lunch at Pappasitos for Mexican food. He and I had quesadillas and Kathi had shrimp diablo. We were all stuffed and ready for a nap when we left lunch.

We started back to Dickinson early Sunday morning with the skies still overcast. I noticed mostly Indian paint brush on the return trip, although I did see one field of mixed flowers containing all they kinds I mention above, plus some I do not remember. We wanted to get back to the Pasadena area so we could take Kathi’s brother, Larry Clark for one of his twice weekly blood tests on Monday morning. It has been a good week for Larry as he nears time for the bone marrow transplant for his Leukemia. He found he is still in remission, had a heart stress test, a pulmonary test and scheduled a meeting with the transplant doctor. Everything feels good.

Recent picture of Larry at Casa Marias in La Porte

Larry at Thanksgiving 2014.

Friday, April 10, 2015

My Fort Hood Experience

I joined the Army in June 1961 and last saw Fort Hood in 1963 when I went to Korea. I will never forget my arrival at Fort Hood. I started off the day in Galena Park where I graduated from high school a few weeks earlier. I had a good friend, Tommy that talked me into joining the army paratroopers to jump out of airplanes. The day we left, the recruiter called our home phones to confirm he could come by in an Army car to pick the two of us up. At that point, I called my mom and told her I was leaving to join the Army – this was the first time I had mentioned it to my parents. My dad showed up at home soon after my talk with Mom and told me goodbye and gave me his shaving kit. Mother was some upset and I am sure Dad was also, but he did not let on.

At the Houston Army Recruitment office we met several others that were going to Fort Hood with us. They swore us in and gave us train vouchers, and then took us to the train depot in Houston, which is now Minute Maid Park, where the Astros play home games. We rode the train with a group of soldiers that had finished basic and were going to Fort Polk in Louisiana for Advanced Infantry Training. They told us how cruel the Army sergeants were and warned us about the square needle they had to use to inject medication into our testicles. I looked at this group of soldiers and decided if they could do it, so could I – that was the end of my worries.

About ten pm we got to the depot in Killeen and got off the train. There was almost no lights and two guys in uniform started hollering at us to get in line. It took a few minutes of hollering before we stood straight enough to be allowed to get on their two and one-half ton truck, commonly known as a deuce and a half. I was laughing inside at all the screaming. I thought it was funny, but I did not say so and certainly did not smile. They got us aboard the truck and took us to join several other truckloads of recruits and then took us to an empty field about the size of two football fields with grass knee high. They told us we were having police call. That was new terminology to me and I did not know what to do. Someone yelled, “Move out.” Everyone started walking and I did what they did. Soon one of the screamers came over and chastised me for not picking up a snow-cone cup. At that point I found out police call means picking up the trash. I would never have guessed.

Next we all went back to the barracks where we were we were issued sheets and pillows, then divided up by first, second and third floors. Then they sent us inside to pick out a bunk and go to bed. All the time they were screaming at us to hurry up. I was on the third floor and running, we had to go single file up the stairs, so our speed was limited by the slower stair climbers. They screamed some more and told us we were too slow and sent us all back outside to do it again. Getting in formation and standing in straight lines seemed very difficult for this particular group of new soldiers. I figured we would get more practice the next day. When they finally got us in a formation they were happy with, they explained we had to be quick in case of fire, so I guessed we were in the midst of a fire drill. We ran up the stairs and back down several more times before they were satisfied with our performance. Somewhere in there I figured this was not a fire drill. We finally got to bed about two am and were told to get right to sleep, because 6 am was reveille. That made me feel right at home, as sleeping four hours per night was normal for me.

My winter class "A" uniform

A soldier I o not remember with me at Fort Hood.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Back in Texas

November 3, 2004 we were at the Cactus RV Park in in Tucumcari, NM. We were headed back to Texas, but thought about a short detour to Guthrie, OK to visit Kathi’s older brother, Carl. After living in the snow for a few days in Tucumcari and checking the weather, we decided a more southerly route back to the Houston-Pasadena-Deer Park area made more sense.

We followed I-40 east into Amarillo and then I-27 south through Plainview and landed in the Lubbock RV Park in Texas. There was snow along the way, but they do a good job keeping the snow off the interstates. Lubbock RV Park was nice, but too expensive for our tastes. We prefer to stay in Passport America parks that offer half price rates for the first few days you stay there. We stayed in Lubbock two nights and mostly watched TV and the weather.

After two nights in Lubbock, we took US 84 south to Snyder, then Texas 208 through Colorado City and on to San Angelo where we moved into the San Angelo KOA. KOA’s are all too expensive for us, but we had stayed in enough of them to get a gold card for a 15% discount. We got to view a lot of cotton fields along the way and it was getting noticeably warmer as we moved south.

The next day was Saturday, November 6th and we took a drive around the San Angelo area. It was a nice sunny day and we had to run our car air conditioner. We ate lunch at Red Lobster and went home to rest, since Kathi was feeling a little under the weather.

On Sunday we had a nice drive with sparse traffic to the Emerald Lake RV Park in Jarrell, TX. Jarrell is a small community between Belton and Georgetown on I-35. We got the Passport America rates at the RV Park, but we decided we would not return there because the sites were too unlevel and the other patrons were a little seedy for our taste. I guess that sounds snobbish, but we do not like to be where we feel uncomfortable.

On Monday we drove to see Fort Hood. There was a lot of activity and a lot of soldiers about. A lot more traffic than I remember seeing when I was there. When I was there we were at peace with the world, except for the cold war. In late 2004 we had troops in both Afghanistan and Iraq. I did not see any of the sights I remembered from 43 years earlier, so we returned to the motorhome

We took a drive around the area and saw more cotton fields and hay farms and decided we had seen enough. Kathi was getting anxious to see her mother, so we started getting ready to move again.  We spent the next couple of days doing housework and reading. We were trying to get everything ready, just in case the family wanted to visit us at our home.

Next post: My Fort Hood Experience.

Monday, April 6, 2015

A Week in New Mexico

Today I will continue relating our 2004 trip returning from California back to our family in Texas. Well, most of the family, anyway. We left our two boys in California, one in San Francisco and one in Twentynine Palms.

On October 25th we left the OK RV Park in beautiful Moab, UT driving in the rain for most of the 200 mile trip. We went south on US 191 to Monticello, NM then east and south on US 491 through Cortez, CO and into Shiprock, NM. In Shiprock, we turned back east on US 64 through Farmington and moved into the KOA Park in Bloomfield, NM. The KOA was much too expensive for us, so we only stayed there for two nights. The park was nice, but had too many trees for us. Since we got our Motosat satellite dish installed in April for our internet service, trees are even a bigger problem for us. Our TV satellite dish is in the rear of our coach and the Motosat dish is in the center. Before the Motosat we could often maneuver around trees to get a TV-satellite connection. After the Motosat installation, no trees at all near our site is preferable.

Our two days in Bloomfield we did not find much to entertain us -- grocery store, post office and TV was about it. We were glad when Wednesday the 27th came around, because it was time to leave Bloomfield behind and move on an affordable Passport America park in Tijeras, NM. We stayed at the Hidden Valley RV Park which was very scenic and had a lot of room and long pull through RV sites. The trip to Tijeras was about 185 miles south on US 550 to Bernalillo where we picked up US 85 into Albuquerque, then I-40 east out of Albuquerque to Tijeras.

The next morning we backtracked into Albuquerque and looked around for a while. The altitude there is 6,200 feet and it was causing us some breathing problems, as we have spent most of our life near sea level. There was probably some dust in the air also. At least the weather was cool. We did not find anything that struck our interest so we went home and watched TV in the afternoon. The highlight of the day was when our youngest son called and told us he had been promoted to corporal – he was a proud Marine.

On Monday, November 1, 2004, we moved 160 miles further east on I-40 to Tucumcari, NM. I had been wanting to go there since I heard the name in one of the Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns. It snowed on us for most of the trip – both beautiful sights to see and scary driving the RV in the snow. We stayed at the Cactus RV in Tucumcari for $12 per night which was good for us. At that price we wanted to stay longer, but we needed to get to Texas. No new snow the next day, but the ground was covered with snow -- everything looked beautiful and clean. You can’t see the dirt and rocks under the snow. We made a trip to the Dollar Store for some cleaning supplies and got some propane for the RV, just in case we ran into a hard winter in Texas. We never had before, but now we were RV travelers and everything seemed different.

Next Stop: Texas.
Pop Toy Shop at Mom & Pop RV in Farmington, NM

A model town on the Mom & Pop property.

Rock formation on US 491 south of Shiprock, NM.

An Indian village by a butte on US 491 south of Shiprock. 

Friday, April 3, 2015

What Are We Doing?

Kathi and I are in Dickinson, Texas on an overcast Good Friday day in 2015. We plan to be here through the summer helping family members through medical issues.

Kathi’s brother Larry was diagnosed with leukemia in November 2014 and went into Methodist Hospital for chemotherapy on December first. He was released from the hospital mid-January 2015 to put on some weight and gain some strength before the doctors would consider a bone marrow transplant. He had a setback in February with an abdominal blockage and infection that put him back in the hospital for three weeks. Since that time he has put on over twenty pounds and is able to walk around the block.

Larry has been going to Methodist Hospital twice per week to get blood tests to monitor his progress while he is rebuilding his strength. Kathi and I took him to Methodist yesterday for a routine visit and he saw his doctor and transplant coordinator. They were impressed with his conditioning and thought he was now strong enough for the transplant. He will see the doctor on Tuesday for another bone marrow biopsy, before the doctor finalizes the transplant schedule. Our fingers are crossed.

My sister, Carol and her husband Lloyd have been here in Dickinson the first quarter of the year visiting their sons and grandchildren, as well as making their annual doctor visits. Most of the time when we are located at the same places, Kathi and I get to visit with them a lot, but that has not been the case this winter, as we have all been busy. They now have four granddaughters ages one to twelve and spend a good bit of time visiting with them.

Carol and Lloyd are also RV travelers and we have met them on the Oregon coast the last few years during the summer months. We like the Oregon coast in the summer, because the temperature hovers in the 60 – 70 degree range – much different from Texas. They plan to travel soon and do not have any plans past New Mexico, where they will meet up with Lloyd’s brother Dale and his wife Debbie. Dale and Debbie own a home and have an RV for recreational use.

Lloyd and I are about the same age and when we went over to visit them a few days ago, Lloyd was rotating the tires on his motorhome. I envy his ambition, but those tires are heavy. I am really glad he feels like doing activities that require so much energy.

It has been a busy winter and we are glad to be here with our family. We will probably makes some short RV trips later in the year, but do not expect to get far from Texas.

A big rat spotted in Pasadena, Note the ears and tail.


An Easter display at Methodist Hospital

Larry looking stronger on April 2, 2015

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Going To Texas

October 18, 2004: Headed for Texas. We left the Wendover Nugget RV Park in Wendover, Utah moving east on I-80. We had rain and wind the previous evening, but the skies were clear and blue and the wind had died down in the morning. Driving in the wind takes a little more care than no wind, so we were glad it was not windy. There was very little traffic and the mountain scenery was well appreciated again. We passed the southern edge of the Great Salt Lake, just west of Salt Lake City.

In South Salt Lake City we turned south off I-80 onto I-15, moving through American Fork, Orem and Provo before turning back east on Utah 77 to Springville, Utah. We checked into the East Bay RV Park in Springville. This is a nice RV park with paved sites. The trip was about 170 miles and took almost four hours. The park is surrounded by beautiful mountains and had many small trees with golden, red and yellow leaves. Obviously it was a nice time of year to visit the area.

East Bay RV Park office

A view of the RV park and mountains

Another RV park view
The next morning the rain returned, but we did not care – we took a drive anyway. The rain slows all the traffic down, so it was more pleasant for sightseeing. There were fruit orchards everywhere. We were both surprised to see them, mostly because we did not know Utah was known for fruit production.

October 21st was a Thursday and we moved further south along US 89 and US 6 before catching US 191 just north of Price, Utah. We followed US 191 to I-70 where the two roads were the same for a while before US 191 turned south again. We drove past the Canyonlands and Arches National Parks and on into Moab, where we stopped at the OK RV Park for a few days.

A scene from the highway in Utah
I have made previous posts on this blog August of 2014 about Moab on the 22nd, Canyonlands on the 28th and 29th and Arches on the 30th. Feel free to look at more pictures posted on these dates. Utah has some of the most colorful rock formations seen anywhere in the world. It does not take much to be mesmerized by the red rocks while driving down the road. The views are awe-inspiring. The rocks take on more brilliant colors when they are moist. The gold and yellow trees along the way were a pleasant eye diversions from the beautiful red mountains.

Looking down into a canyon in Canyonlands from the park road

Red rock face in Canyonlands
The OK RV Park is a little rustic, but well worth the prices they charge. Some of the park sites are parallel to the mountains and some you get to park where a big red mountain takes up the whole windshield view. We love that site.

We spent about four hours touring Arches on the 22nd. October 23rd was our fortieth wedding anniversary and we spent it driving up the Colorado side of the mountains to about 9,000 feet to see the snow. It was windy and cold and so beautiful. As a reader you may think I overuse beautiful as an adjective, but you would know better if you have seen these mountains. On the 24th we toured Canyonlands. It was still raining some, but it did not stop the tourists from getting out, including us.