Monday, March 30, 2009

Meeting Kevin and Ruth

Kevin and Ruth stopped by yesterday. They asked about a place I had listed on my blog but it was a short notice and hard to set up. So I offered them an overnight at our place in Allende. They have a 28ft motorhome and have been on the road for 18 months, four of those here in Mexico and they have been just about everywhere.
A really cool couple who took the plunge and decided life is too short to wait and see what happens. They made it happen.
I met them around 3 p.m. in Allende, showed them to our place and then we took off for a drive to Santiago, El Cercado and then to Los Cavazos for a late lunch or early dinner at Don Arturo's for shrimp. We had a couple free tequila shots too!
We stopped by our house to show them the shack we live in and then back to there place for a couple of drinks. No booze is sold here on Sunday after 5 p.m. and I didn't know that. Now what does that say about me? (I buy my booze at CostCo during the week :) ). We had a couple of drinks, I showed them the route to the border around Monterrey and off they went his morning.
Bad news is I didn't take a picture.
Croft and Norma came today. A story worth reading but you need to check his blog. I'll let him tell you what happened.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Now What Do I Do?

Little Bit is on the road to recovery. I took him to the vet yesterday afternoon and his fever is almost gone. He is still a bit lathargic but has a bit better of an appetite and this morning he woke me up. I'll keep you posted on his recovery.
Now to the question of the day:

People are so cruel. I found this one on my road dying of starvation in knee high grass. I thought it was an empty cement bag or something as I saw a white object. I had been taking it food for the last two days. I keep a bag of dog food in the car and everytime I drove by I would fill up the bowl and some water on the side.
Well, yesterday morning I found her (?) in my backyard sleeping in the cold wet grass. I guess she smelled me out or followed my car. You never know as these guys are pretty smart.
Yesterday, at the vet, I mentioned the dog and told him he was just too big for me to handle by myself. He told me he could come on Monday. I just couldn't leave it alone there to die on the road. Now it seems to be coming around.
As I have said before, I know why humans treat each other the way they do. If you can't treat one of God's creatures with kindness and a little food and water you can never understand the rest.
Thought For The Day
I recently read a forum entry about rvers in Baja riding their ATVs etc. One post has a link with a picture of their rig and a giant flag pole waving the U.S. flag. I could care less but, what if I rved in the U.S. and flew the Mexican flag? How would I be greeted by many rvers?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

I Gotta Sick Kid

The cats enjoyed the whole trip to Florida and back. They played in the car and the trailer and seemed content overall. Nobody had the desire to run out of the trailer. Little Bit pretty much knows the routine but Missy is new to a long trip. We had a good time and I love having them along. LB sat on my lap or on the console between the seats so he could get a good look of what was going on. They really got excited if we were still driving and it got dark or in an early morning takeoff.

The last day or two in San Antonio I noticed LB was a bit sleepy all the time. I didn't think much of it because he had spent almost four weeks in the slow mode. When we got to the house, I opened the car door, opened the cat carrier and he didn't jump out like he always does. "Well", I thought, "maybe he just had too much fun and doesn't want it to end." I hauled him out and set him in the yard and he just sat there. "Maybe he's depressed from being walled in for so long."

The second day home Missy was by his side the whole time. I know cat sympathy and took LB to the vet yesterday. Sure enough, he has a kidney infection. He received one mega dose of antibiotic and then one to go which I gave him this morning. Today he went out and laid down in the grass. I was worried as cats can just go away when they think its time. I kept a close watch on him and he eventually came back in. He isn't eating much of his special renal mix and I keep offering him water. He is resting now here with me

The poor guy goes back to the vet today at 6 p.m. to see if his fever has gone and he is stabilizing. He's not out of the woods yet. I remain apprehensive.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Crossing The Border Back Home

It was a tough day coming home. I woke up at 3:30 a.m. bright eyed and bushy tailed. I grabbed my cell phone only to find out the battery was dead. I went into my friend's house where I was staying and saw the kitchen clock. Wow! Should I go back to bed? Forget about it. Once I'm awake, I'm awake.
I had my coffee, watched what crap was on tv at that hour and started to prepare my things and get the trailer ready. I didn't have the hookups the last two nights, or the jacks down as I had visited the local rv parts store the day before. So I was ready to roll.
I took a shower, said my goodbyes and headed out on the 35 South. It was a real experience that day it was. There was drizzle and then light rain. I kept going heading towards Laredo, Tx and found myself yawning just a short while into my trip. I knew I hadn't had enough sleep but what else could I do but keep going. And I did.
As wierd as it was, the highway was surprisingly empty. Very few cars and trucks on the road and that eerie feeling that surrounded me. I finally stopped in Cotulla for a coffee at the McDonalds. I ended up buying a breakfast on a bun as well figuring this was the end of my eating spree and back to my exercise and diet routine (anal retentive?) . So here I am in the McDonalds in Podunk, Tx waiting in line for a simple bun and a coffee. I entertained myself by watching the drive-thru window. Wow was that a mistake. Here I am at 8:30 in the morning, half asleep and looking for some solace in a simple heart-destructive breakfast. Here comes a pickup truck with a mother and what I first think is the daughter driving the truck. Turns out it is the son. Both are so obese that their bodies meld together into one, hard to recognize one body from another. The son (the driver) spits his nasty tobacco chew and spits it into a used coca cola bottle. As the window person accepts his money and turns to the register, vomit starts to spew from his mouth. He didn't have time to react, in fact, his lips just spluttered as the goo spilled over the door of the truck and out the window. Unbeknownst to the cashier, she turns with the two bags of food in her hand to find even more spewing coming from this horrible example of a human being. He continues to vomit and at the same time take the food from her hand. Now that is disgusting.
I couldn't help but laugh for the next 60 miles thinking about what had happened and how sick my mind is to find something like that so funny. Need I digress.
I got to the border and before I could even cross six men in uniform; two border agents, two I.C.E. agents in plain clothes, and two something or other, stood in front of my truck, stopping me and yelling to turn off the engine and get out of the truck. I told them I had two cats and they asked if they were exotics :). They did a complete search of both the truck and the trailer along with a thorough interrogation and a check of my passport and driver's license both Mexican and American. Once the "negative" was received, I proceeded to the Mexican side. Again, before I could hit the line they came running asking me again to stop, cease and desist. They too did the complete search but with one exception. As the agent approached my vehicle I saw a smile on his face and a fancy "howdidoo". "¿como está maestro? ¿usted pasa por aquí mucho, no? Once he recognized me we both accepted this was a routine inspection and on I went to the "semaforo". It was green and on I went passing the aduana.
But wait. Here come the military and they stop me with flags waving. One more search before I can leave the "patio" of the aduana. We or should I say I begin a conversation and we end up talking about how to import a 10 year old travel trailer into Mexico. You have to love Mexicans, they are the nicest people in the world.
On I went to the 26 km. To my surprise, immigration waved me on, I passed another "semaforo" and it was green. Having a travel trailer I am accustomed to being stopped whether or not I get a green light. I stopped on my own accord only to find no one there. I kept going and passed a Policia Federal who did nothing but watch as I drove by.
On to Monterrey and to the house, nothing out of the ordinary to report. I drove straight through town using the truck route and found myself at home in my bed taking my 2:30 nap as scheduled.
I miss my home. Not the house, but the country. I was getting depressed not seeing people on the steets, interacting, talking not having a fear of strangers.
I guess now I understand the saying, " a stranger in his own land". Viva Mexico!
On edit: yes, this appears to be the new procedure. Will be that way at all bridge crossings? Don't know, but they are attempting to stop the flow of weapons across the border.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Turned A Blind Eye For Too Long

Let the truth will out. Here we are, 20 years later and now its a problem. I remember when I was growing up. All the talk about not using drugs, the drug culture, the fight to win against those crazy drug dealers on the street. Remember the movies like "Shaft"?
Then something happened. Everyone turned a blind eye. Drugs were everywhere. Nobody cared. Everyone I worked with was smoking pot and snorting cocaine. Oh yeah, some of that good stuff from Mexico. They ate it, drank it, smoked it and I don't know what else they did with it.
So here we are and now, just like everything else, it is someone's elses trouble and problem and the big boy will jump in and save the day. Could someone please tell me how 30 billion dollars, wait, let me put that in numerics, 30,000,000,000 dollars worth of "illegal" drugs finds its way into the "strongest", "wealthiest", country with the "greatest" and "strongest" military and honest police force in the world ?
No one wants to talk about that problem. It's not about Mexicans moving the merchandise to the U.S., it's not about the thousands of peons that are recruited every year with promises of money, cars and woman that fight within the cartels and are truly the foot soldiers dying on the streets of Mexico, it's not about all the addicts and users in the U.S.
IT IS ABOUT HOW ALL OF THIS MERCHANDISE MAKES ITS WAY ACROSS THE BORDER. What rock have we been living under for the last 20 years? The same with Iraq. We have refused, literally refused, to do anything about reliance on foreign oil for the last 20 years, so someone else has to pay the price. Denial is dirty thing. How many of us have family members who smoke dope or family members who are drug addicts? I'm one!
Everytime an American buys just one little harmless dime bag of pot, a small rock of cocaine, or crack, they are supporting drug dealers and cartels. It may sound harmless but everytime someone who uses illegal drugs reads the newspapers about the chaos in the place where I live, they are GUILTY. They are the CULPRITS. They are RESPONSIBLE.
And so now what will happen? Will the U.S. come and save the day by invading Mexico? What will that do to our economy, our social stability that is already under deterioration? How much of this mess, abused and used by the media to make money will destroy a great neighbor to the South who just happens to be the number 1 consumer of American goods? Boy, will Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh have a hey dey with this! CNN is already beating them to the punch with their war correspondent Michael Ware, the Australian who can't seem to sit still and suffers from some severe tics. Oh wait, that's his animation to attract his listeners. Look out Fox, CNN is ahead of you on this one.
The house is already on fire, the fire department was playing cards, and now that they are coming to the rescue, they will find the hydrants have no water.
Evil is as evil does. My final word.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Turning Gringos Into Mexicans

The American dance group started to practice Mexican folkloric dance 6 weeks ago. Today, they even look like native dancers. They are performing at Ohio Northern University and are starting their state tour visiting campuses and schools entertaining students and the public as well.
Congratulations to Dr. Guerra and his ONU dance group!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Overnight At Flying J

I have to admit that even though I am an avid boondocker in Mexico I was a bit apprehensive about boondocking in the U.S. Sorry, but it kind of scares me knowing so many people carry guns and all the kooks out there that steal and break into rvs. I have seen the news stories. In Mexico, that just doesn't happen. At least as far as we know. We are constantly searching the news files and forums looking for stories of rvers who have had problems in Mexico but to no avail.
Thursday night I found myself crossing the Louisiana - Texas border and not having a place to stay. I found a small campground at exit 888 right on the border called Cypress Park or something or other, but there was no one there at the office, a pay box but no envelopes. It also said no cash, credit cards only, but no forms to fill out or even a price list. I left and kept going. I found a Flying J and with the sun going down, I went for it. I asked inside the store and the guy said there was no problem.
I parked in the designated area and found it to be a bit noisy. Once I got things set up, (no not the awing or the grill) I found it was very comfortable inside. I watched tv, connected to the internet, fixed a drink and had a nice evening. As I went to bed, I put in my earplugs as usual and slept all through the night.
The next morning I took off for San Antonio and that is where I am now, boondocking in my neighbor's driveway.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Escapees Summerdale, Al to Beaumont, Tx

Made a stop in Alabama late yesterday afternoon. One of the wheel bearings was bad on the trailer and the tire wore severly on the inside exposing the belt. I stopped at the visitor's center entering Alabama and checked my tires, that's when i discovered the problem. The shop I found was down the street from a Camping World. Difference in price was about 35%. So the mechanic recommended a small rv park there in Loxley but it was a real dump. It went something like this:
Hi honey, pick a spot. Twenty bucks. Do you have wifi? Who? You know, internet? No honey, I never hird of that. Sorry about the onions on my hands, but I fixin' dinner. Is it quiet here? Well, we's on the highway so its noisy at night. No, I mean, are the neighbors quiet? No honey, they's come and go all hours of the night. Well, let me check and I'll come back later.
Wow, that was an experience.
So I went down the road and that is where I found the Camping World. They recommended the Rainbow Plantation. I called, but they said they close at 5:30 sharp. And they mean it. I got there at 5:29 and they were closed. So I chose a primitive site for 12 dollars. Met a nice couple from British Columbia heading down to Florida.
Now I want to be an SKP. First off, what a beautiful park. Second, everyone was so nice to me. Things were clean and in order. I almost always shower in the TT but this time I used the shower behind the office. Very well done and clean. I take it everyone chips in. I spent a quiet night and woke up refreshed and ready to get the TT fixed and hit the road.
In the morning, I stopped and paid at the office and they gave me an issue of the Escapees magazine. He showed me all the parks listed in the back and encouraged me to join.
After, I got the TT repaired and finally hit the road around 11 a.m. I made it to Beaumont, Tx and I am at the Flying J off of I-10. A little noisy but not "very expensive". Believe it or not, this is my first truck stop camping in the U.S.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Trip To The Everglades

Outside Clyde Butcher's Studio

We drove out to Everglades National Park on Tuesday. We left around 9 a.m. Bob came by to pick me up and take a look at the rv and the rv park. I know they would never buy one, but it would sure be fun to have an rving family.

So we headed off for the Everglades stopping at a visitor's station with a boardwalk to get a good look at the fish and alligators in their natural environment. Bob took a picture of me standing in front of one hoping it would take off and scare the pants off of me. I was smarter than that. He attempted it again several time throughout the day.

We passed many indian villages where the Seminole live. You can see the rooftops of their houses, very similar to palapas in Mexico but using a different palm to cover the roof. They keep their villages enclosed within fences to keep out the lookie loos. They also have casinos and share the monies among the tribe. There are many stops along the way to buy souvenirs.

As we entered the national park, the ranger asked if any of us were over 62 so we had no entrance fees. The tram left about 20 minutes after we arrived and took us on a tour of the park. The fee is 16 dollars per person for a two hour trip. It is well worth the price. Very good information given by the guides, many facts I had never known. At the end of the tour we had a great lunch that Barb had prepared for us. It was great to see families eating at their cars and picnicing getting away from all the tour stuff and concessions. It brings back memories of my dad stopping along the way and all of us piling out of the car and sitting on the back of the station wagon having cold fried chicken my mom had made along with a glass of Koolaid.

A swimming Anhinga

Looking out over the wetlands
Brother Bob was determined to get me stand next to an alligator.

We finished the afternoon stopping to see the famous Florida photographer, Clyde Butcher. He has dedicated his life to photographing the Everglades. Very good work. I would love to have one hanging in our house.
Turtle taking in the sun.

A celebratory dinner that Barb fixed for us. It was a wonderful roast!

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Day At The Beach

Took the morning to sleep in until 6:45. Got up and did my exercise. Took a long walk around the rv park here at Club Naples. I did a complete inspection of all the rigs here. Nothing old, nothing new and nothing out of the ordinary. I did see one Hi-Lo 28ft Towlite.

There are quite a few park models set up at the end of the park and many are pretty cool. Each has their own special touch, design, yard animals and flowers. Everyone here is very friendly and it is easy to strike up a conversation. I really haven't spent much time here at the park and that really wasn't the idea. Brother Bob has really been a great host and has taken me out showing me the sights of Naples. Last night we went out for dinner in Old Naples. Looks like tourism is down. Many restaurants were empty, unfortunately. I hope it picks up soon.

Today we took off for the beach. We headed out about 10 a.m. First I stopped by the office to see about staying two more days. So I will be taking off on Wednesday. Bob and Barb want me to stay longer. I know I could but I still have some things to take care of in San Antonio before heading home. Plus, it will take me a couple of days to get there. We will be back though.

The beach was pretty packed. We got there early but the sunbirds were already there. Lots of youngsters playing in the sand, older couples under their umbrellas, eating lunch, reading. We took a couple of walks, talked a lot and I did some reading too.

Tonight Barbara is fixing a roast with mashed potatoes. So I am off for happy hour. Bon appetit!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Corkscrew Sanctuary Naples Florida

I got up early Saturday morning, had my coffee, showered and bolted out the door to meet brother Bob for our trip to the sanctuary. As I said earlier, Bob volunteers there two days a week. Birders from all over come to the sanctuary and as you can see by some of the pictures below, good reasons to do so.
I hope brother Steve sees this. If you do, "eat your heart out"! We headed out in a truck with four birders in back with a guide. Everytime they saw a bird or wanted to stop the guide would knock on the top of the truck. I had the opportunity to learn more about birding from my brother and spend some time catching up on what is going on in our family and our lives. One of our first friends was this barred owl.

Driving down the road about halfway through the tour, we heard another knock on the roof and I grabbed the binoculars hoping to see a new bird. Instead, people were whispering and pointing to the front of the road. There they were, two bobcats in the mating season. We stopped dead in our tracks and began to take pictures. I took quite a few but the ones below are some of the best. I thought for sure we had scared them off but they began to walk towards us. Again, thinking they would dart off into the swamp, closer they came and eventually started their mating calls and playing a bit rough.

Before the tour, the guides gave us a brief explanation of the sanctuary, where we were situated, size of the sanctuary and the parcels they were able to buy as this was previously farmland. Some neighbors still have cattle that wonder into the sanctuary from time to time.

This is the swamp vehicle that was behind us on the way down the path. It too was full of birders. That's my little brother Bob in his uniform and tour gear.

Here is some information from their website regarding the boardwalk.

A 2.25-mile raised boardwalk takes visitors through four distinct environments: a pine upland, a wet prairie, a cypress forest, and a marsh. Interpretive signs along the boardwalk and a field guide and Children's Activity Book available at the admissions desk in the Blair Center allow each visitor to take the self-guided tour. Benches and rain shelters are along the trail. For those who do not wish to walk the full 2.25 miles, an optional trail shortens the walk to one mile. Volunteer naturalists are usually on the boardwalk to answer questions.

Unfortunately, we left the camera in the car for the walk along the boardwalk. It was a gold mine as it has been dry here and the water is low. All types of herons, alligators, even a raccoon gathered at some of the watering holes to feed on the readily available fish swimming in the shallows. We were on the boardwalk for about 2 hours and could have literally sat there all day and seen bird after bird. This was a real experience for me and I can't wait to come back and spend more time.

I would like to acknowledge my brother Bob for his volunteer work. He also gives guided tours to elementary students which keeps nature in their minds. We need more work like this so that future generations can appreciate the wonders of Mother Nature and all she has to offer us, reminding us that we too are a part of this big picture and our actions wiill affect what happens next in some way. Thanks Bob and all the other great people who work at the sanctuary.

Here is a list of birds we saw in just one day trip:

parula warbler barred owl grackle black vulture turkey vulture

wood stork swallow tailed kite white ibis glossy ibis yellow crowned night heron

roseate spoonbill little blue heron great blue heron prairie warbler

palm warbler cardinal anhinga wood nuck cedar waxwing gold fince

painted bunting (?) double breasted mattress thrashers black and white warbler

Brother Bob and Naples, Florida

Wow, I have been so busy visiting my brother and sister-in-law that I haven't had time to update the blog. Let me start by saying that Florida is a beautiful state. After crossing Pensacola and heading down to Ocala, the scenery takes on a dramatic change. The pines are everywhere and the early morning air is crisp and most of all fresh.
Naples is booming this time of year with snowbirds. I chose an rv resort on line before coming based on its proximity to my brother's place. Club Naples RV Resort is packed like sardines. But the place is everything I had hoped for. The pool and club house are nice as are the sites. Cable is included in the price with the full hookup. A bit pricey this time of year, but what the heck. I'm on vacation.
My first 10 minutes at the resort brought out the best of rvers. The guy at the entrance led me with his golf cart to my site, helped me get backed in and out came the neighbors. Everyone was eager to find out who was pulling this trailer with Mexican plates. A few jokes were passed around about me and Mexico and then the serious talk about who I was and what I do. They were happy to know that I'm an English teacher.
After I was settled in I made a dash for my brothers house and off to dinner we went. All the snowbirds, tanned, in shorts and T-shirts all sitting outside the restaurant having cocktails. This is where we need to be. We are almost there!
We spent the night talking about old times, politics (of course) and all around b.s. which my brother Bob is especially good at. Sorry but we didn't take any pictures.
Yesterday was an adventure of a lifetime as Bob took me out to the Corkscrew Sanctuary where he volunteers two days a week. My brothers are birders and we are slowly getting on board. So it was also a great learning experience for me. More on that next.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Pensacola to Ocala

I will be updating later today. Lake Waldena rv park has funny rules. The office closes at 4 pm and you can't get an internet ID except in person. Worse news, the office doesn't open until 10 am. Beautiful park, but stinky service unless you are a long-term Winter resident.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Lafayette to Pensacola

Great day today! I got up early this morning to take pictures of the KOA and to do some exercise. I had my morning coffee first, took out the trash and off I went. As always, the main purpose of my exercise when on the road is to check out all the rvs in the park. Today was a good one, I came across a Damon Tuscany with six slides. The minute I got back to the rv I looked them up and fired off an email to a dealer who had a new 2009 and he offered it for 155K, knowing I could get the price down lower. It was a great daydream!

I took off around 9:15 and continued East. Louisiana is a beautiful state and I enjoyed the drive. As I passed through New Orleans, I was reminded of what had happened. Lunch hour and very little traffic for starters. Then I passed the dome where it really got bad and continued on the I-10 seeing lots where there once stood homes, stores, shopping malls and on and on. So much that has yet to be cleaned up. Even some of the fencing still had trash and brush from the flooding trapped up against it. Such a tragedy.

KOA in Lafayette.

Ducks walking by my site.

The lake at the KOA in Lafayette, with lots of snowbirds.

Watching the Comedy Channel last night and updating the blog.

I crossed Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and into Florida today. One interesting thing is that the Southern states are lined with either highway patrol or sheriff department patrol cars. Today I changed my driving habit and reduced my speed to 62 mpg, took off the cruise control and disengaged the tow-haul option. No fishing, and I improved my mpg by 20%. One big boo-boo. I replaced two tires in San Antonio before leaving. I forgot to raise the rear tire pressure and that may help even more.

I passed several big cities and now I have to think and look at the map to see just where I was. I know I could have saved some time going around New Orleans but it was worth it. I think I found the place where I can buy some of the best petit fours in the world and may stop there just for that.

Here is downtown Mobile, Al.

The dome in New Orleans.

Isn't there an expression, the cat's in the bag! Lil' Bit got bored today.

Beautiful Louisiana Scenery.

Biloxi, Ms.
Passing through the tunnel in Mobile, Al
I'm a big fan of van dwellers. I like small spaces and love to see what people can cram into a van. This guy passed me with a Sprinter. It had a large picture window on the side as well as the back. I could see inside and see that he had a small kitchen. But more interesting were the two 5000 btu air conditioners attached to the back. Imagine, one is quiet and two really keeps you cool in the Summer heat. A "cool" idea. Would still love to have a Roadtrek with diesel engine and 4X4. I could go where no rv has gone before.

Let the truth will out. Now we know that the pork barrel projects are coming from both parties. However, one party put in their pork barrel projects and then they will vote against it knowing it will win. They then get their money but can say they vote no. What a bunch of chicken shits!


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

San Antonio, Tx to Lafayette, La

I headed out this morning from San Antonio around 8:30. I didn't sleep to well last night. It appears the cats ordered a pizza and had a party. Actually, I guess I had left the food out and Lil'Bit was up and down. Missy was in the carrier and was sound asleep. I took my melatonine but I still woke up. I went back to sleep but it wasn't good sleep, along with the fact that I was dreaming quite a bit.

I took the infamous I-10 through Houston, stopping at Walmart to fix lunch and take a short cat nap. It was enough to get me here to Lafayette. It was a fun trip today even though I was by myself. The cats keep me occupied along with lots of talk radio. Boy, the crap they are spreading on the air waves, you would think we are headed for a revolution. Could very well happen if the likes of radio talk show hosts keep it up.

I-10 as you know is pretty non-descript but it still has its beauty as well as oddities. I stopped off at the Louisiana visitor's center to pick up a map.

I started looking for an rv park around 5:30 p.m. I had wanted to stay at a casino but I had a bad start today and decided to treat myself. Wow, some treat. I went to the intersection of Hwy 45 and I-10 and went to the supermarket. Remember that the rv had been in the repair shop for three weeks and I don't know why, but I didn't stock up in San Antonio. Life here in the U.S. is definitely different from life in Mexico. For one, those pesky little machines at check outs that you "swipe" your card through. I can't for the life of me quite figure them out. Yesterday at HEB the check out clerk was a bit irritated as I kept cancelling the transaction and I didn't even know it. Why do they have those anyway? Do they really save time? What about customer service.

So I headed back to Exit 97 where I had seen a KOA. Wowie wowie! I should have just stayed at the Hilton downtown. They nickel and dime you to death and then there is no one there after 7 p.m. and I can't see squat without my glasses. I couldn't figure out the form and there were no instruction other than pay and drop. I got to my site, which is very nice. It is next to the little lake. It is a very nice campground but when you have boondocked for 10 years it stings a bit. I will be paying less in Naples than here in Layfayette. In Naples, I don't mind. It is in a pricey upper-class area. Here I am off the I-10 and the park is almost empty.

But I shouldn't complain. It has been a great day. I love rving and being on the open road.

Passing the Igloo factory in Katy, Tx.

Way off in the distance you can see a crop duster. Click on the photo.

Gas wars on the road. I stopped outside Beaumont and the Pilot was $1.73, the Valero $1.71, Shell $1.76 and the Flying J at $1.74. Talk about competition.

I'm watching cable that cost three bucks and the Comedy Central is pretty funny. I had to change Fox, it was too brutal. Okay, enough complaining and politics, tomorrow is another fun day on the road.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Lake Georgetown - Austin, Tx (or there abouts)

Roc, I hope this helps, if not, email me for more info.

Last week after we looked at folding trailers, we got a heads up from the owners at Princess Craft Manufacturing about a Corp of Engineers campground. Here are the things we liked so much about the place and will certainly return some day soon:

Our site, number 44 sits right along the cliff overlooking the lake.

1) to get to the park you pass through a well-groomed residential neighborhood

2) the park is in tip top condition, clean, well-kept

3) all the sites are marked, level, have a palapa with picnic table, fire ring, and a grill (many of which are new)

4) the place is very quiet and all the rvers there, I am supposing, are Winter folks who are spending some time there

5) price is 18 dollars a night for a site with water and electric, dump station is at the exit. I don't know if they offer a weekly or monthly rate but it sure doesn't look like it.

6) excellent washrooms with hot showers, very clean!

Spring has already sprung here in Texas!

Getting there is easy from the I-35, from Georgetown, take FM 2338 (I think it is exit 261A) west to Jim Hogg Park Rd on left.

Tre Trattoria - Witte Watercolors

Being lazy and not posting on the blog. Shame on me. I have just been relaxing and doing some odds and ends to the trailer getting ready for my Southern Gulf tour starting tomorrow which will take me to Naples, Florida.

While here in San Antonio we like to catch up with friends, none of which are rvers. Sad thing, I think they are missing out but to each his own. Over the weekend we went to the Witte Museum for a watercolor showing. My friend Rickie is an artist and she invited us to see what watercolors were all about. We had a great time, met some wonderful artists and hob knobbed with some of San Antonio's art elite.

James, Polly, Sam, Juan, Myself, John and Rikie

They served wine and great hors devours but we had a bigger agenda to fill and we went next door to the museum to the Boardwalk which is a collection of eclectic shops and bistros located on Broadway at Hildebrand. The food was fantastic. We ordered as a group, 4 entrees and 4 veggies, lots of wine and I had two vodka martinis. A good time had by all and I actually slept in until 7 a.m. which is not my routine. The restaurant has a wonderful atmosphere and the service well worth the price.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Aliner Pflugerville, Tx

I came to San Antonio on Monday and took care of some business. I now have some free time to dedicate to what I love to do, rving. Yesterday we drove up to San Marcos to see Hi-Lo travel trailers. I have always been a fan of low-profile travel trailers and we had owned two Trailmanors previously. The Hi-Lo just didn't fit the bill for what we were looking for. I like the size and the motorized lift mechanism but I just wasn't convinced with the insulating values in terms of noise. We tried several different models and found them all to let in quite a bit of outside noise. Again, it is a great unit, but I am a very light sleeper and need a quiet place to hang out for naps. I may have been convinced if the bathroom was made with folding walls like the Trailmanor.

We headed on up to Pflugerville and were well-received at Princess Craft Manufacturing. They are a Texas dealer for Aliner and Chalet A-frame rv products. I fell in love with the new Aliner Ease. It is roomy, has a folding bath that folds down to make great counter space, has a large and comfortable sofa on one end and a dinette on the other. The sofa and the dinette make into beds, and the counter systems are all flush hiding the range and sink under glass covers. The fit and finish look pretty good and I opened and closed several units to prove that it can be setup in 60 seconds. Take a look:

Some of the added features are the built in 5000 btu air conditioner which I know will run up to 14 hours on our Honda 2000. Also, on both sides of the sofa are cushioned seats and next to those are on each side are flip up counter tops, just great for a plate or a cocktail.

After all the driving around yesterday, we headed out to the Corp of Engineers site, Lake Georgetown. What a beautiful campground! 140 sites all with electric, water, covered picnic areas, campfire rings and grills. The bathrooms are clean, and have showers and and plenty of hot water. The roads are well-maintained and the sites level. It was an evening of peace and quiet and at only 18 dollars for the night.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Financial Experts - Where Are They Now?

I posted the message below on the but it was deleted as they considered it too political. Although it has a direct relationship to rvers and reforces their need to boondock more and more as ever-rising park prices coupled with fuel and reduced pension and retirement incomes.
Okay, so where are the big shots now. Why haven't they bellied up to the bar to offer their wonderful advice to the current administration to help us recover from an economic failure brought on by their greed? Where are the senators and representatives who made promises and held secret their solutions to help the economic recover? Overall, the brightest most elite group, graduates from Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, Cornell, etc. who got us into this mess to begin with?
How many people are now suffering because (even though it hasn't hit home yet) they have to continue working until 75 years of age or beyond as they have lost their pensions, retirement funds and or incomes, and had looked forward to those wonderful years that we all had such high hopes of taking advantage of. Rving, fulltiming, enjoying and reaping the fruits of our labors.
All of it is lost now, the stock market continues hitting an all time low. Where are they now with more of that great advice?
As a side note, this is not the verbatum I had posted. A warning to anyone who posts on a forum that has moderation; save copies of all your posts. This one was one of my best and it was lost to a deletion by I have recommended on several occasions that provide some type of automatic deletion message with coding that would provide reasons for the deletion along with the post. I have now established a file for all of my posts that I copy and paste.