Friday, December 30, 2016

Paris, Rome and Madrid

Kathi and I arrived at the Winstar Casino RV Park on Tuesday, December 27, 2016 and spent time in the casino every afternoon and evening. Donald Trump was right – we are so tired of winning. Today we are taking a break and tomorrow we will travel a little further south.

I woke up at 6:30 this morning and it was cold inside our motorhome. The temperature had dropped to 27 degrees and I was only prepared for 44 degrees. I got one of our space heaters out to keep Kathi warm while she slept and I went outside to disconnect the water so my hoses would not freeze. Of course, I came back in and got back in bed to get warm.

This is a little recap of our time here outside the casino. Tuesday when we arrived, I could not get electric power in two different sites, so I suspected a problem with the new connector that was installed just before Christmas. Sure enough, the common wire between our two 120 volt legs of electricity had pulled loose. The connector was not properly secured to the cable and let the wire slip out of the connector. A little more maintenance and we were finally in the casino by 4:30 pm.

On Wednesday, Kathi and I drove to RV-Max in Sherman for RV Parts – a new 50-amp electric plug and water pressure regulator. We also made a stop at Home Depot for a pair of wire cutters that would cut 2/0 wire. Our next stop was for lunch at Cracker Barrel. Kathi had roast beef, mashed potatoes and corn. I had a country fried steak with mashed potatoes, green beans and corn. I always feel obligated to eat my vegetables, even though I could live without them. I admire a good combination of colors on my plate.

It was cold and windy when we got back to the RV and it is still too cold to work outside on installing the new 50-amp plug, but I am getting by with the old one until I can work in the sunshine above 50 degrees. So, we spent the evening in the casino.

Yesterday I took Kathi to the casino about noon and I came back home to take a nap. As I mentioned earlier, I was tired of winning. I napped for a couple of hours, then met Kathi at her favorite bank of machines – the Hot Shot machines in the Vienna section of the casino. She bought me a bloody Mary, so I joined her in her quest to break the bank.

Fountain and ceiling art in the Madrid section

Sign to signify the Beijing section of the casino

Sign for the Paris section of the casino
After a few hours of fun at Hot Shots, we drifted north and east in the casino playing various machines in the Paris, Beijing, Rome and Madrid sections of the casino. We ate a late lunch at the Matador Pizzeria in the Madrid section. Kathi had a slice of a combination pizza and I had two slices of extra crisp (overcooked) pepperoni pizza. I bet they got a kick out of selling the pizza they left in the oven too long and calling it crispy and selling it anyway. The vendor did give me a choice of extra crispy and regular, so I cannot complain. Much of the extra crispy crust went in the trash, but I had plenty to eat.

Soon after lunch we played our way back to Hot Shots in Vienna so we would be near where our car was parked when we got ready to go home. We were home before eight pm and agreed we needed a day off. It was fun, but time to get back to the everyday joy of being RV travelers.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Crossing the Red River

Kathi and I spent about a month on Lake Georgetown and spent Christmas with our oldest son, AJ. The day after Christmas, we spent cleaning and storing so we would be ready to travel the next morning. I guess we were both ready to move, because we both woke up early on Tuesday, December 27, 2016.

Before I could leave Cedar Breaks Park, I had to reposition and tighten the passenger side mirror. That mirror hit a tree while I was parking. That sounds better than I ran into a tree, but the result is the same. I had to work on the mirror.

I had planned on getting a new four wire connector for my Jeep and cable to our motorhome that control Jeep lights while we are traveling. I could not find a connector, so I wanted to attempt to repair the connector I had, before getting on the road. I must have been successful, because the turn indicators on the Jeep were working again.

We finally got our slides in, our air bags on, utilities disconnected and left Cedar Breaks at 9:15 am. We were on the way to Thackerville, Oklahoma and the Winstar World Casino which was about 250 miles. My estimate was six hours travel time.

There was a lot of wind, a lot of construction and lots of big trucks traveling north on I-35 from Jarrel to Bellmead. The wind was blowing hard enough to move the swing arm on my passenger side mirror. I could not see behind me on my right side, so I stayed in the right lane until I found a place to stop and re-position the mirror. Obviously, I did a poor job the first time, earlier in the morning. We did not want to pull off the road to repair the mirror, so we were on the lookout for a roadside park.

We finally found the Hill Country Roadside Park about five miles south of Hillsboro and just before I-35 splits into I-35E and I-35W. I got my ¾” socket out of my tool box and fixed the mirror properly. It would take a hurricane to move the swing arm on the mirror now.

The roadside park had a Geico sign that said Geico was providing internet service for the park. Evidently TXDOT and Geico have partnered up to make roadside parks more driver friendly. Good news for people that want to use the internet while stopping by.

We took I-35W through Fort Worth and ran into a lot more construction on the highway all the way through town. Traffic was heavy, but we made good time getting through town.

We finally crossed the Red River and into Oklahoma. We arrived at the Winstar RV Park about 1:15 and got checked in. Kathi found her Hot Shots machines right where she left them.

Yahoo. Happy days were here again. Kathi was happy and I was happy. Good times.

One side of the Winstar Casino. It is in an L shape and is about 1 mile from one end to the other.

One of six entrances into the casino. This one goes into Vienna.

The Winstar water tower

The Winstar fire department

The Winstar Golf Club house

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas on the Lake

Kathi and I drove in to Austin on Christmas Eve to pick up AJ and have him spend the night with us in our RV, so we could share Christmas day together. On the way home, we stopped at Rudy’s BBQ for lunch. Kathi bought extra lean brisket for her sandwich and extra moist brisket for sandwiches for AJ and I. AJ always has a banana pudding – I may have taught him that you eat dessert first. I normally have my dessert with my meal, so it gets well mixed in my calorie count. We had enough brisket to take home for a sandwich for AJ later in the evening. I had a slice of pecan pie for a late-night snack.

Our Cedar Breaks view out the front of our RV

 We intentionally slept late this morning and when we got up, I lit the oven so Kathi could bake the lasagna she made on Thursday. Then we all had coffee and I added a bowl of cereal to my morning fare.

Kathi cooked the lasagna and heated some garlic bread and we ate as soon as it was done. The meal was great. To set the Christmas mood, I played Dolly Parton’s “Christmas of Many Colors” that I had saved on our DVR for the occasion. We all enjoyed the movie and just to show I have a little nostalgia, I coerced them into watching “Frosty the Snowman” with Jimmy Durante as the featured voice.  It was not as good as Dolly, but still fun.
AJ in Cedar Breaks Park

More lasagna for AJ to take home

 Kathi got a text from our youngest son, Christopher in Deer Park and he was relaxing and enjoying his day off. She talked to a few more relatives on the phone in the afternoon. We are all getting older and having medical issues, but all the family members seemed to find time for some Christmas joy.

Kathi and I will be here one more day and leave on Tuesday for a few days at the Winstar World Casino in Thackerville, OK. They gave us four days free in their RV park. Depending on how well we do, we may want to extend our stay. I am not feeling particularly lucky, but Kathi is always good luck to me. Win or lose, we will enjoy the time alone, with a casino full of revelers.

We may move back south to McKinney, TX to have a couple of shades replaced in our motorhome. Kathi will be watching the weather to determine the next stop. Wherever we are it will be fun and we will be glad to be together.

I really, really hope you all had a merry Christmas.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Move Across the Lake

AJ rode the Cap Metro train from Austin to Leander to spend Wednesday with us on Lake Georgetown. He left Austin about seven am and arrived in Leander about eight am, The rail cars are always partially filled and it is a leisurely ride that AJ spends reading books on his Kindle.
1912 Touring Car on Display at Crestview RV in Georgetown
I woke up at seven, got dressed and drove from Jim Hogg Park to the Cap Metro stop in Leander. As I was leaving there was a small deer standing in the grass next to our Jeep. I startled him and he skittered across the street, stopped and watched me leave. Riding through the sub-division on Jim Hogg Road I passed a 10 or 12 point buck standing right beside the road. I was running late and did not have time for a picture. I think he would have run away if I would have stopped, anyway. I think it was the first buck I have seen near the park. The deer are more calm in the neighborhood outside the park than the are inside the park.

Deer in the early morning haze before the sun came up 
I arrived at the Leander station about five minutes before the train. There are about 150 cars in the parking lot at the station, but I never see many people get on the train – usually less than ten. There are also buses that use the station, so maybe most of the riders are bus passengers. On weekdays they only have two trains in the morning and two in the evening.
On the way home, AJ and I saw a mama and two fawns cross the road right in front of us. It was pretty neat. The fawns were almost as large as their mother. AJ enjoyed seeing them. He does not get to see deer very often.
Kathi was not feeling well and she was still sleeping when AJ and I got home. We woke her up coming inside. No one was hungry, but everyone wanted coffee and I had my frosted wheat minis for breakfast. 
Kathi told me the optometrist called and said my new glasses were ready. AJ and I drove down to pick them up. My distance vision is much clearer now.
Kathi cooked some cheeseburgers for AJ to take home and put in his freezer. After cooking she sat in her chair and fell asleep. She did not feel like moving. She had head and chest congestion and a low temperature. We left Kathi sleeping and AJ and I drove over to Catfish Parlour and picked up lunch. The catfish was great and the pinto beans and French fries were good sides.
After lunch we started getting our motorhome ready to move. Our time was up at Jim Hogg Park and we were going to move across the lake back to Cedar Breaks Park. We will be at Cedar Breaks until after Christmas. The move was uneventful and AJ was a lot of help, easing the burden on Kathi and I.
The front view from our new site in Cedar Breaks Park

View toward the back of our RV site at Cedar Breaks Park
I took AJ home in the late afternoon and left Kathi home resting. We had a fun day together, but it would have been so much better, if Kathi felt better. I dosed her with medicine when I got home and I was convinced she would have a better Thursday.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Sun or No Sun

We stayed home on Friday and the day was uneventful. Saturday, we drove into Austin to pick up AJ for lunch and ate at Johnny Carinos in south Austin. AJ had lasagna, Kathi had a salad and I ate a pizza with pepperoni, Italian sausage and ham. Everyone enjoyed lunch, but I think we all agreed we would prefer Olive Garden to Carinos for Italian food. Just a personal choice, both restaurants serve excellent food. We ran a few errands and returned AJ to his apartment and drove back to Lake Georgetown. It was cold and we bundled up & made it through the night with our two space heaters.
Kathi and AJ in front of Carinos
The sun cannot seem to make up its mind. We have a little sunshine and a little overcast and a lot of cold temperature in the last few days, no matter what the sun was doing.
In my last post, called “Didja' Ever?” I discussed our perils for Sunday. I am glad we got that out of the way. After spending Sunday night in Best Western, I started calling RV repair places on Monday. I talked to five different places in Georgetown and their maintenance shops were all booked or the mechanics were sent home because it was too cold to work. Then Kathi started calling mobile repair people.
We finally got a mobile repair person that owns Wow Affordable RV Repair from Lago Vista to come over and look at our motorhome and try and find out why we lost electric power on Sunday. He found we had a burned out wire in the four way 120 volt, 50 amp plug we use to bring power into our motorhome. We were running three space heaters when we lost power, so obviously we had overloaded one leg of our electrical circuit. We got it repaired and the power is back to normal.
Being without water and electric reminds me of some of the tropical storms we lived through living near the Gulf of Mexico. I am glad we can now move our home away from them. My sympathy did increase for the people in the north who are having colder weather than normal for this time of year. I hope they are all adequately prepared.
We were cold in our RV last night, but it was warm in bed, so we did okay. By the time we woke up this morning it was warm enough that I could turn our water back on and Tuesday has been great again.
Sunshine shimmering on Lake Georgetown

A nice red tree behind our Alfa motorhome
Kathi and I had lunch at Longhorn. Kathi had a sirloin steak and I had chicken fried steak. We shared a salad and got plenty to eat. Temperatures are in the fifties tonight and I do not think it will freeze again at least for a few days.
It is not the northeast, but we have some wintertime color in our trees in Texas. These trees are on Jim Hogg Road.
We made arrangements for AJ to come over and visit tomorrow. He will ride the train from Austin to Leander and we will pick him up there about 8 am. We plan on spending the day together looking for adventure.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Didja' Ever

Remember back in 1960? Many of you will not because you were not born then. Well I was and I heard Elvis Presley sing “Didja' Ever.” It was in the movie G.I. Blues and it was just a song. Some of the lyrics: “Didja' ever get, didja' ever get, didja' ever get one of them days, boy, when nothing goes right from morning 'til night, didja' ever get one of them days?”
Well I thought about that song this morning. Again this afternoon and more this evening. Today Kathi and I lived one of them days.
Last night was cold on Lake Georgetown, probably similar to what it was in most of Texas, but much warmer than our friends in the north are suffering through. I feel sorry for them and I hope they are well prepared for the cold weather.
As I reported in earlier posts, our propane heater is not working and 28 degrees is much too cold for our heat pump, so I got an extra quilt for the bed and turned on two of our small space heaters to keep us warm. I turned off the water last night so the hoses would not freeze and turned on the lights in our utility cabinet to keep everything liquid that I could. Our water pump also is not working and we still plan to have it repaired when it gets warmer and we get to Utah. We were not expecting to have tap water this morning for brushing teeth and washing faces, but we had some bottled water we could use. All was good.
We were content to wait until the weather warmed up to turn our water back on. We had our coffee and checked the news. Kathi could not get her phone to work and I assumed she did not charge it overnight. She assured me it was on the charger when she woke up, but to be sure I put it on my fast charger for about half and hour. After that, all I could get was a blank screen.
Off to the ATT store and we traded in her 6 year old Motorola Atrix that she paid $20 for when we were in Washington or Oregon in 2009. She found an LG K10 that suited her nicely. It was the only one they had that cost less than $200, so she paid for it and we headed home.
I was just getting started setting up her phone and our electricity went off. I checked breakers and found we had no electricity coming into the motorhome. I talked to a couple of neighbors and their electric seemed to be working fine. We went to the park office and the Park Host on duty allowed us to move to another space. I was hopeful, but skeptical that would solve the problem. My skepticism as justified – after moving, we still had no power. I thought no problem, we will run our generator tonight and try and get it fixed on Monday.
I think this surge protector may be the weak link. My best guess.
I could not get our generator to start. Our batteries were already low and the generator did not want to spin very fast in the cold, cold weather. I was out of easy options.
Kathi took us to Best Western for the night and we will get an early start in the morning and see if we can get enough of our problems solved to keep us mobile. At least the mechanics will have a warm place to work as they resolve our electrical problem. If I have to do it, it's ways too cold outside for me and my rusty shoulder and knee joints, but you do what you have to do. Stay warm and think about me sitting in the breeze by our electrical cabinet.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Life on Lake Georgetown

Wednesday December 14, 2016, Kathi and I awoke to a bright sunshiny day. It looked like the making of a really nice day on Lake Georgetown. We had some laundry to do, so Kathi sorted and I loaded our laundry into the car to go to a laundromat on Main St. in Georgetown. We sat in the car and read while washing and drying.
I was reading “Ceremony” written by Robert B. Parker. This is one of the stories in the Spenser series. Remember Spenser and Hawk in Spenser: for Hire on TV. Parker wrote a lot of great stories. The Spenser stories are easy, relaxing reading. I have read all of Parker's books and I am re-reading them. I get about as much enjoyment the second time through them.
After we were through with laundry, we returned home and had home made soup for lunch. It was left over from last week and great again. Kathi is a good cook and enjoys making soup. I enjoy eating it with her.
It was overcast and dreary in the afternoon. We stayed home and I worked on trying to get my computer with the replacement disk drive running again. It was a futile effort and I gave up after a few hours.
Near sundown on the lake

Pretty sky
Thursday we found overcast skies on our horizon. We had plans to get AJ in Austin and run a few errands after lunch. We went to Cracker Barrel in Buta. I had the ½ pound bacon cheeseburger, Kathi had turkey and dressing and AJ had a country fried steak. Lunch and lunchtime conversation were both fun.
Colorful tree in Jim Hogg Park

More colorful trees

Still mostly green, but a little yellow in the mix
After lunch we stopped at HEB in Buta for a few grocery items for AJ. He likes meat and cheese from the deli but they did not have the same brands as the HEB where he normally shops. He did get the other items he needed, so we will make another trip to HEB tomorrow.
The sun came out in the afternoon while we were running other errands and we got AJ back to his apartment around 4:00 pm. Traffic on I-35 was bad as usual. There were several places where traffic creeps along for a mile of so then normal speeds for a few miles then another bottleneck. It is interesting, but I quit worrying about it – we just leave home earlier. After all we are retired and being in a traffic jam is almost as good as being home watching TV.
When we got home, I did an online chat with Dell, trying to get my computer running. After about 40 minutes, they offered to send me an original software disk and provide chat help with installation for $129. I was willing to spend around $50, but $129 was way to much to purchase software I was already supposed to own. I wonder if other companies sell their computers with software already installed and no physical media. I think it is a money making trap.
Back to the drawing board. Kathi and I enjoyed the evening. She had a lot of phone calls from friends and family. Always nice to keep contact, especially around Christmas time.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Sunshine on the Lake

I started off Monday morning with coffee and cereal for breakfast. While Kathi was finishing her coffee, I went to the post office to pick up our mail. We had it sent priority mail general delivery to Georgetown. There were about 30 people in line and it was moving slow. One of the postal workers came out and asked if anyone was picking up or dropping off. I was, so she took me to another line and I was next in line. Unfortunately, our package was not ready for pickup. I knew it was at the post office by the tracking information I read before I left home. The postal worker suggested I come back later or even better on Tuesday. They had 2,200 packages that arrived over the week end and it was going to take some time to sort them all.
I went back home to get Kathi and we drove into Austin and picked up AJ for lunch and a few errands. We were all hungry, so our first stop was Pappasitos for Mexican food for lunch. AJ and I each had a combination plate with quesadillas, an Ixtapa beef taco, rice and beans. Kathi had a salad with chicken. Lunch was delicious and we all got our fill. In fact, AJ took some from each of our plates and had leftovers to take home for another meal later. Pappasitos prices were too high, but the food and the service were excellent.
It was a beautiful day and fun to be out and about. After lunch, we took AJ to pick up a new pair of glasses. He ordered them last week and they called and told him they had arrived. It was the same type of frame he had before and they looked good on him.
After we completed our errands, Kathi and I stopped off at the post office again on the way home. My new disk drive was in the package and I was interested in getting my computer working again. I got the new drive installed with a little effort and patience. I could not get it to load the software, so I gave up for the day.
We woke up to a beautiful day on Tuesday. I opened the shade beside my computer table and the sunlight was shimmering like diamonds on the lake. I took a couple of pictures, then made coffee. We stayed in until the afternoon when Kathi had an appointment with the optometrist. On the way to the doctor, we saw a boat and two jet skis on the lake. It was good to see people having a good time. Her visit went well at the optometrist and she did not need new glasses, because there was such a small change in her vision.
View out my window

Boat and jet skis on the lake

Boat was moving pretty fast
Christmas tree in the window of the optometrist's office.
Next we went to Walmart for some routine shopping. Kathi had a few grocery items and I need some fluorescent lamps for our motorhome. It was 84 degrees outside on the way to the doctors office and 73 degrees on the way home. It did not make sense to us, but that is what the thermometer on our Jeep told us. It did not really matter. It was a great day to be out and a great day to be on the lake. Many of the other RV campers were sitting outside, enjoying the fresh air.
A little more work on my computer and some internet searches and I think I may have a problem. It turns out the backup software on Dell computers is only good for the existing disk drive and will not run on a replacement drive. My computer came with software installed, so no disks are available for reloading. I still have not managed to get the computer running. Maybe tomorrow – I am optimistic.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Jim Hogg

I have noticed the writing on our TV getting increasingly harder to read the last year or so. I thought it was our old CRT TV in our RV, so I did not worry about it a lot. Recently I realized my distance vision was not as clear reading road signs. Friday I went in for an eye exam and discovered my vision had changed a little since my last pair of glasses from two years ago. My close up vision seems to be the same as it was then. My new glasses will arrive sometime in the next week and I am hoping it will change my CRT TV to a high definition LED TV.
Kathi is skeptical since we were told it would cost upwards of $1,000 to build in a new TV into our RV and she has not authorized that expenditure. I will just enjoy my new glasses and pretend.
Our TV is built in just above the windshield.
Kathi made homemade soup and cornbread for lunch on Friday. It has been a long time since she made either. We did not like to use our oven when it was so hot in Dickinson. The cooler weather now was encouragement enough to light the oven. The soup and the cornbread were both great. Kathi was thinking ahead and made two pans of cornbread, so we were able to have the same meal for lunch again on Saturday. I think I got my annual quota of carrots. I avoid them whenever possible, but they seemed to taste okay in the soup.
Around noon on Saturday, a group of tent campers moved in next door to us. We assumed they were a boy scout troop, since all we saw were men and boys. The boys were rambunctious and noisy. It was nice seeing them having fun by the lake.
Saturday was also moving day for us. We left the boy scouts and Cedar Breaks Park on Lake Georgetown and moved across the Lake to the Jim Hogg Park. We can see our previous spot across the lake. We prefer staying in the Cedar Breaks Park since it is a few miles closer to Austin. Driving into Austin several times a week to visit with AJ, the miles and gasoline add up quickly.
Our view across the lake.
The drive into Jim Hogg Park goes through a subdivision that must be deer friendly. We often see deer and fawns walking or laying in people's yards and the deer seem to be right at home there. We also see a lot of deer inside the park. They are normally only out early in the morning or late in the afternoon, but the overcast days may affect their internal time clocks. We saw a lot of deer out in the middle of the day on Saturday.
Mama and fawn a few sites down from us
Our plan is to spend a quiet day at home today and drive into Austin Monday morning to get AJ and run errands together. We also expect to get our mail on Monday and hopefully I will get my other computer running before dark.

My view out the window while I write
Happy days.

Thursday, December 8, 2016


Kathi and I drove into Austin yesterday to pick up our son, AJ and brought him to Georgetown to spend the night with us. On the way home we stopped at Catfish Parlour in Georgetown for another dose of fried catfish. I am glad we did, it was great again. I had a combination plate with catfish and popcorn shrimp and Kathi and AJ enjoyed just the catfish. Kathi had some cabbage and other vegetables. AJ and I stuck with sides of French fries and hush puppies.
Winter view across the lake

This is a look toward the woods behind us. I took this one so you could see the trees blowing in the breeze. Next time I may try a video. 
We spent the evening watching TV and later, AJ and I fell asleep watching old western movies. I woke up about 3:30 am and it was cold in our bedroom. It got down to 39 degrees on Lake Georgetown last night and too cold for our heat pump to work. Our propane heater is still not working. I am glad Kathi left a space heater for AJ and he had turned it on sometime during the night. He was wearing his coat in bed, so I guess he got cold turning on the heater, then went back to bed.
Today, I am colder. We ran a few errands and stopped at Joe's Crab Shack for lunch. Kathi and I shared a snow crab steampot and AJ had fried shrimp. We stopped for AJ to buy a pair of boots, then we took him back to his apartment. Kathi told me it would be colder tonight. Since it will be approaching freezing, I will have to add some heat to our utility cabinet so our tanks do not freeze and turn off the park water flow into our RV. Kathi and I have several space heaters, so we will be fine with the cold.
All the driving around Austin reminds me why we need more infrastructure spending. The roads and streets in Austin are pitiful – bumps and potholes everywhere. The city population is growing faster than the municipal government can adapt. There are new apartment buildings and new hotels being constructed all over the city. The traffic on I-35 keeps getting worse.
Hotel being constructed a couple of blocks from AJ.
The hard drive quit on my computer about three weeks ago and I have been using my backup computer since that time. It has an eleven inch screen and only 30 GB of memory. Dell and Microsoft both are trying to update my Windows 10 and almost as soon as I give them the okay, they tell me I need more memory. I think what I really need is a smaller version of Windows 10. The version I am using now is working for almost all my other needs, so I will keep what I have now on this computer. I am afraid if I try to fix the memory problem I will have two computers inoperable, so I will wait until my main computer is working again before I tackle this one
The major problem I have is no storage for pictures and no software to edit pictures. This bothers me because although my pictures are not always great, they are usually a better quality than I am able to produce with this computer.
My other computer is a Dell Inspiron 15. I use a blue tooth keyboard that suits my writing needs more than the flat keyboard on the laptop. I ordered a replacement disk drive and it will be here in a day or two and I can get back to my normal writing routine.
Keep warm.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Current Events and the Future

Kathi and I spent a cold and wet weekend on Lake Georgetown, then drove into Austin on Monday to pick up our son, AJ to run some errands. We slept late, at least I did. Kathi is usually up before me. She woke me about ten, since our plan was to leave the lake at eleven to go to Austin.
We picked up AJ at his apartment about noon, then stopped by Eye Physicians of Austin to order another pair of glasses for AJ, using his latest prescription.
We drove back to Buta and the Cracker Barrel for lunch. I suspect we will find another restaurant we like before we leave here, but we have been enjoying Cracker Barrel lately. I had country fried steak, mashed potatoes and gravy , beans and corn. This is the only place we dine that gives us three vegetables. Kathi had a grilled pork chop with a sweet potato. AJ also had country fried steak, but chose mac and cheese and dumplings for side dishes.
After lunch and on the way out of Buta, we stopped at the Falcon Bank for roll of quarters to use for laundry. We had a leisurely drive back into Austin and made one more stop for AJ to pick up a Tee shirt, then dropped him back at his apartment. Driving around in Austin is always great entertainment. I can never remember what street comes next and many north-south streets do not go through. The Texas State Capitol Building blocks several streets north of downtown. A little further north is the huge campus of the University of Texas.
I tried taking some through the windshield pictures of the capitol building while we were stopped at red lights, but I was not entirely successful. It was fun trying.
Texas State Capitol building on a cloudy day. Slightly off center. The light changed before I could center it.

From a few blocks further south

This one is on the south side of the Colorado River. The capitol building is dwarfed by the large buildings. The capitol dome is right down the center of the road.
Today Kathi and I awoke to sunshine on the lake. Just as we started to rejoice the sun disappeared again and has not been seen since. We loaded our wearing clothes in the car to go to the laundry. We washed our towels last week. It is easier for us to split the laundry into two trips. Going to the laundromat is completely different than having your own washer-dryer and doing the wash at home.
We hope to have our washing machine repaired when it gets warm enough to drive to Charlie's Service Center in Sunset, UT. We have a long list of repairs to be done after we get there. We had trouble working maintenance into the schedule while we were in Dickinson. When the service centers had time we did not and when we finally had time, they were all booked up. We like Charlie's better anyway. We can stay in our motorhome and they work around us. I recommend Charlie's Service Center to anyone in the Salt Lake City area. They also do auto repair and transmission service.
This is a shot of a car owned by a former Charlie;s employee. He has since retired. Charlie's garage is on the left. 
Another fun week on Lake Georgetown.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Not So Cold

Our plan when we arrived on Lake Georgetown this trip was to spend two weeks here, then move to Thackerville and the Winstar World Casino for a week, then back to Lake Georgetown for Christmas week, so we could spend Christmas with AJ. After Christmas, my plan was to go to McKinney, TX and get two replacement MCD shades for our RV in the driver and passenger area. Next we would move north and stay just south of the snowline.
View from our front door on a cloudy day

This is the largest puddle I see. Most of the rain water soaked in or went in the lake.

I never pay attention to the weather, but Kathi does. She still remembers the day we followed a snow plow into Albuquerque. I had to put a space heater on our dash to keep the windshield from fogging up. Kathi does not like riding in the snow or the rain. It never bothers me, but if it bothers her, it gets my attention. What I remember most is how dirty the RV was after the snow melted.
Anyway, Kathi was looking at the weather report yesterday and determined it was going to be below freezing in Thackerville next week. The snowline was moving south to meet us. Our rent is up here on Saturday, so we needed a new home. We talked a little and decided staying on the lake was our best option, because it gets cold here, but not too cold – at least a freeze is unusual.
I looked on and found a spot that suited our needs at the Jim Hogg Park right across the lake from us. With our senior discount cards we can stay on Lake Georgetown for half price, which is about $13 per day. It made no sense to move somewhere else locally and pay $25 per day.
Jim Hogg Park across the lake from us
Last week the temperature got to 39 degrees here, which is cold, but not so cold that it makes us want to move south again. It appears the mass of cold air from Alaska is moving south and the entire US is going to be colder for a few weeks.
We will be on the lake most of the rest of December and it gives us more opportunity to spend time with AJ. Last year when we were helping take care of Kathi's brother Larry Clark, we did not have a lot of time to spend with AJ. You really cannot make up for lost time, but we can take advantage of the time we have now and enjoy being near AJ for a little while.
There has been a lot of rain in Texas this last few days and much more around Seabrook, Kemah and Dickinson than we got here in Georgetown. It sounds like all our friends did okay in that area, but I think they are ready for the rain to stop. The hunters in Texas are slogging around in the mud and I know that is not much fun.
Sometime life in the fast lane is slow. Who cares when you are having fun.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Life on Lake Georgetown

Kathi and I are in space 24 in the Cedar Breaks Park on Lake Georgetown in Georgetown, TX. We arrived on Sunday and drove our son AJ to his apartment in Austin that afternoon. We want to spend as much time as we can with him while we are in town since we will only be here for two weeks on this visit. Driving into Austin every day uses a lot of time & gas, so we looked for an alternative.
Another view of the lake from our front door
I looked at the Cap Metro bus and train schedule to see if public transportation was available from Austin to Georgetown. There was not, but they did run a weekday early morning train from Austin to Leander. Lender is about 20 miles southwest of Lake Georgetown, which is closer than Austin with almost no traffic. We called AJ and made arrangements for him to take the train to Leander on Wednesday morning. Tuesday afternoon we drove to Leander to find the train station. It is more like a stop than a station, but it would work for us. Even better, AJ could catch the train at the Austin Convention Center which is a few blocks from his apartment. Woo, woo – we had a workable plan,
AJ Came over on the train and we spent the day together at our RV. We even went to a movie in the afternoon. Kathi was not interested in going, so AJ and I went to see “Hacksaw Ridge” at the City Lights theater complex in Georgetown. The movie was very well done. It is a true story about a real American hero in the Pacific campaign against the Japanese in WWII. Well worth watching.
It got cold Wednesday night and AJ was sleeping on our couch. I woke up in the middle of the night and I was cold in bed. It got too cold outside for our heat pump to run and it was 62 degrees inside and 39 degrees outside. Our propane heater is not working, but fortunately we had some electric space heaters. I put one near the couch where AJ was sleeping and managed to get the temperature up to 67. That was adequate since he had a heavy quilt for cover.
Thursday we drove AJ to Austin to run some errands, including a stop at the grocery store. After grocery shopping we drove to Buda for lunch at the Cracker Barrel. We really enjoy eating there, because they have such a variety of food on their menu, we can always find something we want to eat. I like it because they serve breakfast food items any time of the day.
Tree in Cracker Barrel parking lot.

Cracker Barrel flower bed

This trip Kathi had chicken and dumplings again. This was three trips in a row to Cracker Barrel that Kathi enjoyed that dish. I am glad she likes them. AJ had a grilled pork chop with macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes with gravy. I had a half pound bacon cheeseburger, which I could not finish. I took the small piece left home with me in a napkin. It was gone before I got home.
Our first week at Lake Georgetown has been fun and the weather has been interesting, including a little rainfall this morning. Happy days.