Sunday, July 31, 2016

Springtime in Colorado Springs

Events in this post occurred in April and May of 2007.

April 29, 2007 was on a Sunday. We awoke tired and exhausted. We had been at the Pike’s Peak RV Park in Manitou Springs, CO for a week and been on the go all day, every day since we got there. Our oldest son AJ flew into Colorado Springs and visited for a few days and we tried to be good hosts and keep him entertained while he was in town. We put him on a plane back to San Francisco on Friday, April 27th. We had ridden the cog train up Pike’s Peak, visited Seven Falls Park, saw the Garden of the Gods and rode a train along the floor of Royal Gorge. Kathi and I were ready for a break.

Sunday was a little warmer than the previous few days and we were glad to spend the afternoon at home, after doing our laundry in the morning. We picked up KFC to go and spent the rest of the day in leisure. We talked to both our sons in the afternoon and they were fine, so we were fine too.

We stayed at home being domestic the next few days and recuperated from the sightseeing we had done the previous week.  A little housework, some reading and TV viewing and we were ready to start sightseeing again. The weather was different every day. We were using heat at night and keeping windows open in the daytime. A little rain and a little snow.

One day we left home in shirt sleeves on a cool sun shiny day and drove into Colorado Springs for lunch at Cracker Barrel. While we were at lunch, looking out the window, a blizzard came. Snow was blowing horizontal to the ground and it covered everything white within minutes. We stayed inside the restaurant, until the wind died down a little, probably to below 20 mph, before getting in our Jeep and driving back to the RV Park. It was a drive of about six miles, with less wind and snow the closer to Manitou Springs we got. There was a little snow on the ground in the RV Park, but it was light jacket temperature. We assumed it was a typical spring day in Colorado. It was certainly fun for us.

Friday, May 4th, Kathi and I returned to Seven Falls for another look around. There was a lot to see there, but most of the fun views required some walking on mountain trails. We did most of our sightseeing from pullouts along the road and it was still worth the visit.

These are some of my Colorado pictures. I do not remember where we took them.







We decided to drive back to The Broadmoor resort in Colorado Springs and spend more time looking around the property. I just thought I knew how to get there, but we never found it. I promised to use a map next time. We saw a lot of countryside looking for The Broadmoor. We both like being lost, because we get to see things we would never look for intentionally. Being retired RV travelers was fun and we were enjoying a life we never even dreamed of when we were younger. Life was good and we were taking advantage of it.


Thursday, July 28, 2016

Kindred Rehabilitation Hospital

This post reflects current events and is an update on my brother-in-law, Larry Clark.

About a month ago Larry was transferred from the cell and bone marrow transplant center on the 8th floor of Methodist Hospital to Kindred Hospital in the Medical Center. He always got excellent care at Methodist Hospital.

The experience with Kindred downtown was not as good. We feel like he deteriorated during his month stay there. He got dialysis three days per week, but not on a regular scheduled time. He was supposed to get physical therapy and occupational therapy daily, but they often showed up when he was having dialysis. Not having a schedule was a real problem. They used visiting nurses at that hospital and there was no continuity or follow up on many personal and medical issues. We think all the staff was overloaded with too many patients, and the problems were exacerbated with lack of a schedule. Several times after dialysis his blood pressure got so low, he felt bad, was lethargic and unable to eat.

Larry was transferred to Kindred Rehabilitation Hospital on Medical Center Blvd in Webster on Tuesday, July 26th. His wife Andrea met him on his arrival. Kathi and I saw him yesterday. His primary care physician at the new hospital is an MD with a PhD in biochemical medicine. His name is Dr. Lewis Clarke and his PA is Susan Gratzfeld. Andrea got to meet Dr. Clarke on Tuesday and Kathi and I saw Susan yesterday. They were both encouraging, positive and determined to get Larry walking again soon.

Larry also has a case manager. a hematologist, an oncologist and a nephrologist assigned to monitor him. They have a regular schedule for all therapy and dialysis. Along with medications he needs, he is getting supplements he needs to stabilize his body chemistry and boost the body’s natural ability to heal itself.

He has been in bed so long, his blood pressure crashes when he tries to sit on the side of the bed. The therapist wrapped his legs and stomach with wraps that will not let all the blood flow to his legs when he sits up. He was able to sit up and do physical therapy this morning, with the wraps in place. This afternoon when Kathi talked to him he said he was hungry. It has been a while since we heard that. Before, we have had to be forceful to get him to eat. This is better.

This is the most encouraged Kathi and I have been in a while. We are not looking for a miracle; we just want progress. Larry needs to be at home and I think we are getting closer to that.

Larry talking to Kathi yesterday.

Larry last night getting ready to eat watermelon.

                                 ============== 

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Two Train Rides

Events in this post occurred in April 2007.

Being in Colorado Springs is one of our more memorable trips for several reasons, but mostly because our son, AJ got to fly out and be with us for a few days to share our experiences.

Thursday, April 26th we took the cog train up the mountain to Pike’s Peak. The train was slow and steady and there were pastoral mountain scenes with some snow every foot of the journey. The ride took about two hours up and two hours down. It was exhilarating. We could not get to the top of Pike’s Peak because the tracks were covered with snow. We got within 2,000 feet of the top but that was okay with me, since I was already struggling to get enough air into my lungs sitting still on a train at 12,000 feet. Pike’s Peak elevation is 14,114 feet and I would not have been able to walk around and enjoy it. Kathi and AJ were doing a little better than me, but not much. I was surprised, because Kathi and I had been at 15,000 feet up a mountain in the Sierra Nevada mountains in California without any breathing difficulty. Still, that was the most fun train ride I have ever experienced.

A little snow as seen from the cog train window

Great views from the cog train window

It looks like a small mountain community as seen from the cog train window.

AJ had some obligations in San Francisco, so Friday we took him with us to eat at On the Border for some Mexican food before taking him to the airport. It was an action filled fun couple of days together and dropping him at the airport was a little sad for us.

Saturday, April 28th was our youngest son, Christopher’s birthday. He was working in Houston and could not get away, so we wished him a happy birthday by telephone. Kathi and I were still sightseeing. We took the train through Royal Gorge. It was a pleasant ride and they served a light lunch. This train ride was not nearly as memorable as the cog train up Pile’s Peak. I think the better views of Royal Gorge are from the top, not riding a rail at the bottom.

We were still feeling adventurous after the train ride, so we drove to Cripple Creek to try our luck at a few casinos. For a real spirit of adventure, we took our trail rated Jeep over the mountain on a mountain trail. It turned out to be more adventure than I bargained for. There was brush on each side of the trail, scratching our new Jeep for much of the trip. We had to go over sharp rocks, and I was afraid of puncturing a tire. Kathi was not thrilled. I had to keep reminding her about the casino awaiting us at the end of the trip. The mountain scenery was beautiful, but scary driving – a little too close to nature, I guess.

Driving distance between Royal Gorge and Cripple Creek was about 50 miles and a little over an hour on the main road. The route we went on took about 2-1/2 fun and thrill filled hours. Kathi insisted I would take a safer route home.

The casino was nice and the machines were friendly. We had a Philly cheese steak sandwich at Womack’s and it was delicious. That topped off a full, fun-filled day and we were tired and ready to see our motorhome.



Sunday, July 24, 2016

Garden of the Gods

Events in this post took place in April 2007.

Garden of the Gods is one of the tourist attractions in Colorado Springs. It has rock structures similar, but smaller in scale, to what we saw in Monument Valley on the Arizona-Utah border. It is probably not surprising, because Monument Valley is on the Colorado Plateau. Garden of the Gods was originally named Red Rock Corral, which was also a good name and a good descriptor. The rocks were red in color similar to what we saw in Moab, UT and the Arches National Park, just north of Moab.

They have a Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center to get information about the rock formations, geology and plant life in the area. We spent a couple of hours in the visitor center one afternoon and got to watch a video about how the area mountains and rock formations were created – well worth the viewing time.

Visitors to the park can access hiking trails or bike trails and can even rent a horse to ride horseback on the mountain trails. For more strenuous sportsters there is even a rock climbing in some areas.

We were fortunate to be staying within five miles of the Garden of the Gods when we were at the Pike’s Peak RV Park in Manitou Springs. We drove through the park several times while we were staying there and certainly it was one of the spots we shared with our son, AJ while he was in town visiting. The weather was great and we enjoyed being together seeing new territory and new sights.

AJ and I near the road through Garden of the Gods. Sorry about the glare.

Beautiful red rocks and an idiot in blue blocking the view.

Another view of the road through the park

View across the parking lot from the Visitor Center

I cannot help it. I like this rock.

This is the picture I used for the cover picture on my book, Road to Montana.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Manitou Springs

Events in this post took place in April 2007.

Saturday, April 21, 2007 was moving day again. We had spent two days at the Fountain KOA in Fountain, CO and Friday we scouted out the Pike’s Peak RV Park in Manitou Springs. They only had two spaces available, so we paid them rental for a space for a month. Now it was moving day. It was a short 20-mile trip, so we were in no hurry.

We had to make a stop at a tire store on the way to the RV park and replace the outside right rear tire. I hit a curb with the side of the tire on a narrow street in Fountain on Thursday while we were looking for the Passport America park. It was a bad omen, I suppose, because we did not like the park after we saw it. After we discovered the damaged tire I called and found a replacement tire an arranged for a Saturday installation.

We arrived at the Pike’s Peak Park at about 10 am and selected the site we thought would give us the best reception for our TV and satellite dishes. The gentleman that was the caretaker of the site was very amiable and pleasant to do business with. He helped me get set up and assured both satellite dishes could get reception before he left us. Many of the people staying in the park were permanent residents. There were about 25 spaces and most spaces were shaded by large old trees. The space we chose was on the north side of the park to give us a clearing to the southern sky and satellites.

My understanding is that park no longer allows monthly rentals. They only show daily and weekly rates. I am sure that increases their revenue. It is only a few miles from the park to the road up to the top of Pike’s Peak, so they have no trouble keeping the park full.

After getting set up, Kathi and I went to Cracker Barrel for lunch. I think I had a sinus infection, which was not uncommon for me. I spent most of the afternoon napping. While I was asleep, Kathi and our older son AJ were making arrangements for him to fly into town to spend a few days with us. We stayed in the next couple of days and saved our sightseeing to share with AJ.

Tuesday it rained most of the morning and snowed in the afternoon. We picked AJ up at the Colorado Springs airport on Tuesday evening. Although we talked on the phone almost every day, it was good to be together and have a few laughs and see a few smiles.

Wednesday we drove up into the mountains to see the Seven Falls area. The area was beautiful and the falls were fun to see. Full enjoyment of the falls required some walking, but we chose most of our viewing from the car and near the roadway. Walking on flat ground was okay, but walking on mountain trails was difficult for Kathi and I both. We were just enjoying being together.

AJ at Seven Falls park

I was as happy to see AJ as I was the falls, so he is in all my pictures.

More of Seven Falls

Another view
I will continue with more of the Manitou Spring and Colorado Springs experiences in my next post. 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Raton, NM to Fountain, CO

Today’s post is about events in April 2007.

April 15, 2007 was a Sunday, so people that paid their taxes at the last minute got a 24-hour reprieve. We paid our taxes in February and I still feel obligated to hate tax day every year. Sunday was the day we arrived at Raton, NM.

On Monday we woke up early and opened the shades, so we could see out. There was a regular exodus of RV’s leaving the park in the morning. We held our ground. Our plan was to stay through Wednesday and move again on Thursday.

We took a long drive around the mountains, enjoying all the pine trees. There were patches of snow everywhere at this elevation – over 7,800 feet above sea level. After the drive we ate sandwiches for lunch and stayed in the rest of the day.

Tuesday it was foggy and we stayed home. Kathi was having trouble getting enough oxygen at this elevation. Besides, it did not take long to see all there was to see of Raton, so nowhere to explore in the fog. The temperature was in the 40’s so staying inside felt cozy.

Beautiful weather on Wednesday, but we stayed at the RV park to get our laundry done before moving again. They only had two home-style washing machines, so doing our laundry took a while. We did not care. We were retired and on the way to nowhere with no special time to arrive. What a life. But, we were ready to move anywhere else. The mountain scenery was great, but other than that Raton did not have a lot to offer.

Thursday we took I-25 north about 140 miles to Fountain, CO. Fountain is just south of Colorado Springs. We looked at a Passport America Park and it was too shoddy for Kathi’s taste, so we looked for another park. We found and stayed at the Fountain KOA for two nights at $46 per night. That was way over our budget, but it gave us time to look around the area and find a more reasonably priced RV Park.

Pastoral scene in Colorado

Evergreen trees around a Colorado lake

Lonely fisherman
It was a great drive to Fountain, Pueblo was the only large town we went through. Elevation was 5,500 feet so most of the trip was downhill from Raton, but you always go up and down in the mountains. The lower elevation helped Kathi breathe a little better.

Friday, April 20th we spent the day looking for another RV Park that was affordable. We found the Pike’s Peak RV Park in Manitou Springs, in the suburbs of Colorado Springs. We were still in the off-season so they let us rent a space for $500 per month. Their off-season weekly rate was $125, but we wanted to stay in the area a little longer. Pike’s Peak should have been a clue.

We were looking forward to a fun filled month in Colorado. Kathi read some brochures and found some interesting things to see in the area. We were looking forward to moving a few miles further north to Manitou Springs and Pike’s Peak RV Park on Saturday morning.




Saturday, July 16, 2016

Week with Larry

Today’s post is in current time – July 2016. First is a short recap of Larry’s condition, followed by some details about recent activities.

Larry Clark, my brother-in-law, has leukemia. He was diagnosed in November 2014 and Andrea, his wife, Kathi & I took him to the emergency room at Methodist Hospital the Monday following Thanksgiving of 2014.

In subsequent months, he went through chemotherapy to kill his bone marrow. Then, he got a bone marrow transplant from a donor in Europe who was a 10 of 10 match with him. Larry has struggled through several infections including several bouts of pneumonia. He has had digestive tract infections, several bouts of MRSA infection and blood clots in his legs. He has shed his skin several times, which is not unusual for bone marrow transplant patients.

Between infections, Larry went for almost a year going to the clinic at Methodist Hospital two to four times per week to check his vital signs and give him blood or platelets as needed.

The current hospitalization began May 16, 2016. Larry checked back into Methodist hospital for an upper respiratory infection. All the medications Larry has taken, including antibiotics, steroids, appetite stimulants, anti-rejection medication and some others I do not recall, have caused his kidneys to fail. Lying in bed for long periods of time has depleted his strength. Not feeling good enough to eat has caused his weight to drop to around 170 pounds. That is not much for a 6’6” frame.

They started doing dialysis on Larry at Methodist hospital, but he was losing strength and could not get out of bed. His doctor had him transferred to Kindred Hospital very near Methodist Hospital in the Medical Center. Kindred is able to do dialysis, physical therapy, occupational therapy and provide the meds he needs.

This is a picture of Larry at Methodist Hospital a few weeks ago.
With all the activity in Larry’s room, and the paraphernalia around the room, it is often hard for housekeeping to clean the floors and difficult for the understaffed group of nurses to find a time to bathe him. Andrea and my wife Kathi have been like eagles monitoring Larry’s vital signs and blood information and like drill instructors barking orders to assure he gets the care he needs to survive. Kindred uses contract nurses and each nurse cares for about 10 patients. They are very busy.

This is how we see Larry much of the time. He stays cold.

He comes out to watch TV with us in the afternoon.
Kathi and I take Larry food and sit with him on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Andrea is with him on other days. He prefers food from home and we are trying to help him put on weight. Andrea still needs to work and they are in the midst of installing new computer software. Andrea is the controller and must have a knowledge of the new computing system to assure financial needs are met. Kathi and I try to help where we can.

Larry is ready to go home and we are prepared to get him to dialysis on an outpatient basis. All of us live on an emotional roller-coaster. Mostly we have hope.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Amarillo to Raton Pass

Events in this post occurred in April 2007.

April 10th was on a Tuesday and we spent most of the day at home with the shades open and a little fresh air blowing through the motorhome. Really ideal conditions. We returned to Dyer BBQ on Tuesday for a late lunch. We did not enjoy it quite as much, but it was still good. Kathi got food stuck in her throat and could not breathe. I slapped her on the back a few times to dislodge the food. A scary moment that probably clouded our judgement of the meal. I was really glad I did not have to resort to the Heimlich maneuver. I have never done it in an emergency and I hope I never have to do it.

We went back home and spent the afternoon watching RV travelers moving into the park. They got a lot of overnight business.

We spent the next few days at home. Cool weather, but the sunshine was hiding from us. Kathi was getting cabin fever and I just wanted to move our RV down the road. I always refused to move before the rent was due. I hated the idea of paying for two places to live at the same time. Just my cheapness showing up, I assume.

Saturday we awoke to find a little snow on the ground, but it was melting fast. The overnighters got a late start, but they were moving before all the snow was gone. Kathi and I talked and decided to move to Raton Pass on Sunday, sacrificing one nights rent. I reluctantly agreed, because I was ready to move. Two weeks in Amarillo at the Amarillo Ranch RV Park was enough to last a lifetime for me. Raton seemed to have the same weather as Amarillo, so weather wise the move was inconsequential.

We went to Red Lobster for lunch and spent a little time cleaning the RV in the afternoon. I unhooked all our utilities and got us ready to move at dawn. I was hoping Kathi would not wake me at dawn, but if she did I wanted to be ready to move.

Raton Pass in is New Mexico at an elevation of 7,800 feet above sea level. It is on the eastern side of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains along the Colorado - New Mexico border between Trinidad, CO and Raton, NM. The Sangre de Cristo Mountains are part of the Rocky Mountains Range. I-25 goes through the pass and is the easiest route between Albuquerque and Denver.

We had a great drive to Raton on Sunday morning, April 15th. The trip was about 220 miles with no big cities to go through and almost no traffic on US 87. We saw a lot of snow in the fields alongside the highway. We went around a curve and it looked like a winter scene from a picture – really beautiful and Kathi and I were thrilled to see it together.

We signed up for four nights at the Cedar Rail Campground in Raton. They allowed the Passport America rate for one night only so our average daily rate was $23. Their weekly rate was $145 plus electric. As usual we parked, hooked up utilities and we were home again. The views of the snow-capped mountains around us was worth the price of admission. Happy Days!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Amarillo by Morning

Events in this post occurred in April 2007.

It was April 2nd which was a Monday. We awoke early at the Lubbock RV Park anxious to get on the road. We were going 125 miles north to the Amarillo Ranch RV Park. We took I-27 through Abernathy, Plainview, Kress, Tulia, Happy and Canyon on the way to Amarillo. Plainview and Canyon were the only sizeable communities we saw; the others being just whistle stops. It was mostly farm and ranch land, which was fine with us. It was another beautiful spring day in Texas and we like to see agriculture in progress. The Amarillo Ranch RV Park charged $154 per week. It was more than we usually paid, but we toughed it out for a week.

Tuesday we drove to Palo Duro Canyon – it looked like a miniature Grand Canyon. There were a lot of spaces for camping and RV parking, but we would not want to take our motorhome into the park. It was cool and windy with temperature in the mid-60’s – perfect for us. They were building new homes on one side of the canyon. What a great view to wake up to every day. We did not walk a lot, but the walking we did in the canyon wore us out. We were ready for a nap when we got home. Retirement was hard for older folks.

A view of Palo Duro Canyon
Wednesday we took a short drive to look around Amarillo. We stopped at Dyers BBQ for lunch. It was a nice restaurant and the food was great. I had sausage and pulled pork with pinto beans and potato salad and Kathi had sliced beef. Kathi was wearing a sweat shirt because of the cool temperature. I stuck with my shorts and short sleeved shirt – that was my entire wardrobe. On the way home Kathi spotted an RV park called RV Xpress. We took a drive through. It was a large park and very nice. We decided to consider it the next time we were in Amarillo.

The next day, Kathi had the Thursday special – turkey & dressing at Cracker Barrel. Weather stayed great the next few days and we enjoyed being out and about. Friday it got colder – down to freezing temperatures. There was snow in the forecast for the next couple of days. Interesting weather, but fun no matter what. We discussed extending our stay in Amarillo, because Kathi did not want me driving on icy roads. I thought it would be okay, but I have learned to listen a little more and follow my own instincts a little less.

It was cold all weekend and we had a little snow. It seems like the wind was continuous in Amarillo. We re-upped for another week at the RV park. By the time Monday came around it started getting warmer again. It got up to the low 50’s. It was fine for me. We opened the windows to let some fresh air inside and ended up having to close all but two windows because it got too airy. Looking out the window at the sunshine was great. We stayed at home all day, enjoying being together. Kathi made dinner at home.

I was second guessing our staying another week, but the commitment was already made. I prepared my mind for another fun filled week in the Texas panhandle.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Lubbock and Buddy Holly

Events in this post occurred in March 2007.

Monday, March 26, 2007 we left our luxurious accommodations at the Baird Inn RV Park and moved to the Lubbock RV Park. We drove west on I-20 through Abilene and Sweetwater, then we took US 84 west and north through Snyder and Post on the way to Lubbock. It was a drive of about 185 miles. We had a little rain on the trip, but not a bad drive. We stayed in Space 78 at the Lubbock RV Park for $124 per week. Not a bad rate and both our satellite dishes were able to find the satellites, so we were happy campers.

Tuesday we surveyed the area and ran a few errands. It was a beautiful day to be out in the sunshine. There was a lot of road construction going on in Lubbock, making moving around the city tiresome. We just took our time and enjoyed the life of RV travelers. We had Red Lobster for lunch. I was stuck on the Sailor’s Platter and Kathi had salmon.

Wednesday was another bright, sun-shiny day with a lot of wind. We spent a few hours at the Buddy Holly museum. I was a huge Buddy Holly fan and I think I read everything they had on display. I am sure I bored Kathi while she waited on me, but it was a small museum. Well worth my time seeing it. To make it up to Kathi, I took her to Logan’s Steak House for lunch-dinner (linner or lunner?). The meal was mediocre, so it did not work out as well as I hoped. I guess sometimes you expect too much. The atmosphere was similar to Outback, but the food was not as good. They probably have tough cows in west Texas.

Arlon modeling the Buddy Holly Glasses

The Buddy Holly Center is a small museum

Buddy Holly statue at a traffic circle in Lubbock

We had a lot of rain, wind and hail on Wednesday night, but there was no damage to our Jeep or our motorhome. Thursday was cooler and somewhat overcast, but still a beautiful day. We took advantage of the temperature and went to the laundromat to get all our clothes clean. After laundry we ate lunch at Olive Garden. I ate so much salad, I was not hungry by the time my spaghetti and Italian sausage arrived, so I had leftovers to take home for dinner. Kathi had chicken spiedini for lunch.

Friday was March 30th. Kathi was not feeling too well, so we did a little Walmart shopping and spent the rest of the day at home. It rained on us all the time we were out and the rain stopped just after we got home. The sun came out and the afternoon looked great. Kathi took a nap and I watched the outside activities through my window while I was surfing the internet.

Saturday was another great day to be outside. We wanted some Tex-Mex and drove around until we found an On the Border restaurant. Kathi likes their salads and I opted for cheese enchiladas. We drove some more after lunch and came across a prairie dog colony. We spent over an hour parked and watching the animals. They were so funny. They dug around in the dirt and popped up on their hind legs at very short intervals. Their skittish behavior and fast movement is fascinating. Another nice thing to remember about Lubbock.


Thursday, July 7, 2016

Baird and Abilene

Events in this post occurred in March 2007.

Kathi and I left the Berry Springs RV Park in Georgetown on Monday, March 19th and got on US 183 through Lampasas and Brownwood on the way to Baird, TX. We began the trip with drizzling rain and damp clothing for the 180-mile drive. We had recently spent six months stationary in Dickinson, so we were glad just to be moving. We looked at a Passport America park in Baird, but did not like the way it looked. It was small, grassed-over and nested among houses located on each side of the park. We decided to stay at the Baird Inn on I-20. This was a small motel with about 20 RV spaces in the rear. The RV portion was not paved and there were some deep ruts in the drive, but it was adequate for our needs. I just had to remember to drive slow getting in and out of the park. We paid $105 to stay a week for all the utilities, including 50-amp electrical service – cheap. If there was anything to see in the area, we could live there permanently at that rate. Unfortunately, we saw almost everything in Baird while looking for the Passport America Park.

Tuesday was cool, windy and overcast with no rain. We made a trip to the post office to mail a package and called Escapees in Livingston to have them forward our mail to us. In the afternoon, we enjoyed a short 20-minute walk in the woods.

Bird I saw out the window of our RV while at the Baird Inn.

Baird City Hall

Baird T & P Depot Sign

 
Better view of the T  P Depot  & Museum
By Wednesday we had seen everything around Baird and decided to drive into Abilene to look around. It was only about 20 miles west on I-20. I spent a few weeks in Abilene one summer when I was in high school. My grandparents on my mother’s side lived there and my Uncle Tommy was only one year older than I was. I enjoyed running around with him, but I think I embarrassed him – him being older and more sophisticated. A year difference in age seemed like a lot when we were in junior high and high school.

Nothing looked the same. All the things I thought I would remember, I did not remember. My grandfather had an Allis-Chalmers dealership on Treadway 40 years earlier and I could not even identify the building, even though I had spent a lot of time there when I visited.

There were a lot of new buildings and businesses in town. We also discovered Lake Coleman which had several RV parks nearby. The problem was the roads were so rough we were hesitant to drive in that area with our motorhome.

It drizzled rain off and on all week long. We walked almost every day, but before the weekend began, we had already seen all we ever wanted to see in the Baird-Abilene area. Translate that as bo-o-o-oring. We were definitely ready to move along again before the weekend was over.



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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

A Week at Berry Springs

Events in this post occurred in March 2007.

On Tuesday, March 13, 2007, Kathi and I awoke at the Berry Springs RV Park just north of Georgetown, TX. Monday was exhausting and humiliating for me. Getting stuck in the mud was all on me and, of course, I did not want to talk about it. Kathi agreed to let the subject drop and we drove around the area, just to get familiar with our surroundings. We stopped at the Cracker Barrel in Round Rock for lunch. I had the bacon cheeseburger and it was big, I could not finish it and had about ¼ of it to take home. Kathi ate most of her chicken and dumplings.

It was raining when we left Cracker Barrel and we decided we had done enough cruising for the day. We spent the rest of the afternoon listening to the raindrops hitting the roof of our motorhome.

Wednesday it was still overcast and Kathi and I went to see Lake Georgetown at Cedar Breaks Park. That is a Corps of Engineers Park. They had many RV and picnic sites, but only 30 amp electrical circuits and no sewer hook ups. There were a lot of families camping. Most were staying in tents, but there were a few motorhomes, fifth wheels and trailers. Every site had a designated place for a campfire and we suspected there would be a fire going at every site in the evening. Our lungs did not appreciate the wood smoke as much as when we were younger. Or maybe we were just more tolerant before. We parked our Jeep and walked around a little while and there was a nice breeze coming across the lake. The view of the lake was fantastic.

Sailboat on Lake Georgetown

View across Lake Georgetown

Campsites at Lake Georgetown

Fisherman on Lake Georgetown

We were obviously getting bored in Georgetown, because we stayed home most of the week. Friday we decided to take a look at the Jim Hogg Park on Lake Georgetown. This park was across the lake from Cedar Breaks. It was also a Corps of Engineers park and offered the same amenities. Jim Hogg is where my sister, Carol and her husband, Lloyd Jackson stay when they are in the Austin-Georgetown area. They liked staying there for short periods of time. I really did not want to tell my friends we were staying in the hog park, but I guess that was my problem.

This must have been our week for lakes. Saturday was a beautiful spring day in Texas and we drove to Lake Travis to look around. The views of the big houses in the hills was the highlight of the trip. Kathi still liked to look at houses, even though we did not ever plan to live in one again.

Saturday evening, we did our laundry at the RV park free of charge. Yes, they had free washers and dryers at the Berry Springs RV Park. It was a pleasant surprise for us.

We spent Sunday at home and began planning our next move. We were going a little more north and west on Monday and planned to stop in Baird, just east of Abilene. It was about 180 miles and four hours away vis US 183. Just talking about moving was fun.




Sunday, July 3, 2016

Stuck in the Mud

Events in this post occurred on March 12, 2007.

We awoke Monday Morning, March 12, 2007 at the Artesian Park RV Campground in Brenham, TX and eager to make the 100+ mile trip to the Georgetown area. Our plan was to find an RV park after we arrived. We saw a sign that said something like trailer and RV park and we took a chance. I must have made a wrong turn or misread the sign because we ended up in a new housing addition with only a few homes built at that time. I could not find a place to turn around without unhooking our Jeep, but there was an empty lot where the ground looked solid. I turned off the pavement and was beginning my circle turn and the back wheels started spinning in the dirt. I got out to look and we were stuck.

I unhooked our Jeep and found a couple of boards we could slide under the tires to get traction and back out of the mud hole. After working at that about an hour, we were deep enough in the mud that the back of our motorhome shell was touching the ground. I should not say we since being in the mud hole was all my doing, but Kathi was with me and we were stuck.

A gentleman from across the street had been out and when he came home, he recognized my dilemma and brought a shovel over to help. Another half hour and we were still stuck. We thanked him for his help returned his shovel and gave him enough cash to pay for dinner, then Kathi called a tow truck.

We waited about an hour for the tow truck to arrive. The driver was a man in his early fifties and he spend about 20 minutes walking around, looking under and deciding what to do. He made a decision and found a place to wrap a chain around a beam on the back portion of the chassis. He hooked his winch cable to the chain and put a 2X4 between the cable and the fiberglass shell of the motorhome. He ran the winch at about 6” per minute. He was really careful and patient and he had our rear wheels on the hard surface about 15 minutes after he started the winch. Nothing was damaged, except my pride.

The wrecker driver stowed all of his equipment and moved his wrecker out of the way and waited to assure I could put the front wheels on the pavement without assistance. I could and I did. We thanked him for his help and he went on to his next project.

Less than an hour later we arrived at the Berry Springs RV Park just north of Georgetown.  The 100-mile trip took a little longer than we planned and the Berry Creek Park was neat and roomy. They had several large back-in spaces and several pull-thru spaces. We unhooked the Jeep and I hooked up the utilities and we were home again.

Nice RV at Berry Springs

Shrubs by neighbors RV

Wildflowers in Georgetown

More wildflowers
The lesson I learned again on this trip was to ask for Kathi’s advice when making changes in our routine procedures. She may have mentioned that to me several times. It is hard for me to remember that for sure. After all, it was a few years ago.