Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Laundry Day Halloween!

Jim has had his eye on this tree since the day we got here. Last night at sunset he took his Canon EOS Digital Rebel off to get the perfect shot. Since it looks pretty spooky to me, I decided it would be a good Halloween greeting!

Today has been one of those days I mentioned -- getting the house cleaned and the laundry done. I cleaned while Jim went off in search of a laundromat. He struck out on that, so he came back and used the small machines here at the park. Oh, yes, he does the laundry! He's always been willing to help out with what I call "pink" jobs, well, except for cleaning the bathroom and vacuuming.

I also put together a beef and broccoli recipe that cooked in the crockpot most of the day. We typically eat a main meal sometime mid-afternoon. That seems to work out best for us.

The other big activity of the day was a little job I volunteered for in the RV-Dreams chat room last night. Linda asked for some help coordinating the pot luck which will be on Friday evening of the RV-Dreams Rally next June. I agreed to post a message on their forum, asking for people to sign up to bring their favorite dishes to share. They are expecting up to 250 people (in 100 or so rigs). I got the message posted this morning.

And, a story about our mail... We are members of the Escapees RV Club, so we have the Rainbow Drive address in Livingston, Texas. Escapees forwards our mail to us upon our request. When we left Arlington, I had them hold our mail until I knew where we'd be. We decided to spend a few days near Temple, Texas, so I called them to request that our mail be sent to General Delivery. When I called, I got their voice mail, so I just left the message. I called back later to verify they got the message, and here's where my unease started. They missed the "General Delivery" part of the message. I'd also given them the street address of the post office, which was probably a mistake on my part. Anyway, they sent the mail to the street address of the post office in Temple on Friday, Oct. 19.

We'd made arrangements to stay in Temple until Friday, Oct. 26. Our mail still had not been delivered by that morning, a full week after it had been sent. Under most circumstances we would have changed our plans to wait until the mail was delivered, but our good friend, Karon, was going to be in the area for a few more days, so I made arrangements for her to pick it up for us. Now, to complicate the story, I had our next packet of mail sent on Friday, Oct. 26 to the Top of the Hill RV Resort, where we are now. Both packets of mail were delivered on the same day - Monday, October 29! We actually received the later packet first, since Karon was still in Temple. Her plan was to send it to us by priority mail, but she actually hand delivered it to us this morning, since they ended up leaving Temple a few days early and staying not far from here. It was nice of her to bring it to us this morning, and we got in a good visit. Thank you again, Karon!

Here's a picture of our rig at our site here in Boerne, Texas, taken from up the hill from us. There are several levels of this park, and we're on what I call the North Terrace. You can see I-10 in the upper left part of the picture. There aren't a lot of people here at this time, we are the only rig in our row right now.

We are going to settle in for a quiet Halloween night. I think tomorrow we may explore the Kerrville, Texas area.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Sightseeing in San Antonio

I've had several requests to post pictures of Mr. Bo Jangles (BoBo) and Jasime, our two "furkids", so here they are. BoBo has been part of the family for 7 years now, having come into our lives as a puppy. His big claim to fame is that he's been through several classes to learn the sport of agility. He even entered a couple of trials, but after refusing to climb the A-Frame in two trials, we backed off the competition. He's darn cute, though, sailing over those jumps. I'd love to continue to work with him, so I'm on the lookout for RV parks and locations where I can get him started again.

After a couple of years of begging, cajoling, and pleading, I finally convined Jim that BoBo "needed" a baby sister. Finally, around November of 2005, he agreed that I could begin the search for a second Mini Schnauzer. The result of that search is Jasmine, found through She showed up at our local humane society, listed as a stray. They assured me she was a Mini Schnauzer, but the first time I saw her, I thought of "Benji". After I groomed her, though, I accepted that she is a mini. She has not had the pleasure of learning agility, yet, but I think she'll be good at it when she does learn, as she's a smart little girl.

Here they are after a good, hard walk, with their little tongues hanging out, BoBo is the black guy and Jaz is the one with the pink, "bling bling" collar.

And, relaxing on THEIR couch. They will share it with Jim, if he's nice to them.

I carry a grooming table with us, plus all the tools I need to groom them myself. I don't do a "professional" job on them, but I figure since they aren't professional dogs, it's ok.

On travel days, they wear harnesses that are hooked into the seat belts on the couch. They each have their own crate, which they sleep in at night, and stay in if we're out and about to places it's not practical to take them with us. They are very comfortable and secure staying in their crates, and we don't leave them alone for more than a few hours. I feel better knowing they aren't running around the motor home, and we make sure the temperature is comfortable for them.

Today, our grand adventure was to visit San Antonio to see the Alamo and the River Walk. I had a hard time deciding which pictures to post, but settled on just these. I am thrilled to be wearing late summer clothes and seeing all this tropical greenery at this time of year. All of my life I've been preparing for great snowstorms right now, so this is my Halloween Treat!

This is a walkway on the grounds of The Alamo

We still want to see the other missions in San Antonio, time permitting. Jim remembers learning all about the battle from his school years.

These last two pictures are in the River Walk. We had lunch at a little Mexican Restaurant along the water, then strolled around for a bit. We did a little Christmas Shopping in some of the shops.

We were back at the motor home by mid-afternoon. One of the things we enjoy so much about this lifestyle is we don't feel pressured to see and do everything there is to do and see. We don't make a lot of plans, just take things as they come. We enjoy each day, whether we get out and do something, or stay at the motor home and read, play cribbage, watch a movie or nap. Or, you know, sometimes we have those household chores, like cleaning, dumping the tanks, minor maintenance, laundry and so forth. But we don't even mind those - much.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Lazy Sunday and Visiting Fredericksburg, Texas

Yesterday was Sunday. That is the day we usually rest and watch football. For Jim's birthday I got him the DirecTV NFL Sunday Package. He used to work shifts, which included nights, weekends and holidays. He always said one of the things he looked forward to the most about retiring was being able to watch football every weekend. I like the Broncos and he likes the Cowboys, but neither of them played yesterday. Oh well, he watched anyway. He can flip around to any game that is not being broadcast on a major network. We have the DirecTV moble service, which means we have New York and Los Angeles network feeds.

I walked the dogs a few times, baked a batch of reduced fat brownies and cooked a meal. I also visited with a friend back in Colorado on the phone, that is, I tried to. Even though our phones show we have good reception here, our calls keep dropping. Very frustrating.

We did take a drive, but it was late in the afternoon and we didn't get any good photo opportunities. In the evening I visited the RV-Dreams Chat Room while I watched some TV.

This morning we headed off to Fredericksburg. We walked the main street and looked in a few shops. Here's a picture of me, taking a little break from our walking.

One of the things we wanted to experience in Fredericksburg was a nice German meal. We came across this restaurant, Der Lindenbaum, where we stopped for lunch. The food was quite good, even though it was a little expensive.

Here's Jim, after enjoying his Schnitzel. Notice that satisfied look on his face, he enjoyed his meal!

After our lunch, we walked around a little more, and came to the Market Square, in the center of town.

This pole stands in the center of the square. I didn't see any information about it but thought it was worth a picture.

This paddle wheel is in the Memorial Gardens section of the Square, where flowers are still blooming and the roses smelled so sweet!

This interesting, 8-sided, building is a replica of the first public building in Fredericksburg. It served as a meeting hall, church and school, as well as a safe house during storms.

Tomorrow, the plan is to head to San Antonio for a taste of "Big City" life. At least, that's the plan. We'll see, sometimes plans are made to be changed.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

A Quiet Day and Texas Wildlife

I'm new at this sort of journaling, so I hope you will understand while I get the hang of this. We don't always have exciting events to report. Some days are just regular days. Our general routine is that we get up anywhere from 6:30 to 8:00 a.m. We enjoy fresh-ground coffee, so I hit the button on the grinder/brewer and head back for a few more minutes of shut-eye while the machine does its thing. As soon as I've had a few sips of that first cup of fresh coffee, I take the dogs, Mr. Bo Jangles and Jasmine, out for the first walk of the day. I'm trying to get back to walking at least 30 minutes every morning. Sometimes that is a challenge, depending on where we are.

After our coffee routine, we plan out the day. We enjoy going out and seeing the sights in the areas we visit. Cities, small towns, country settings, we like them all, so I will be describing a variety of places. If it's a travel day, the day's start is pretty much the same, but after coffee, the "pre-flight" activities begin. Did I mention we don't like to be out and about much on weekends? Since that's when many of the working people do their errands and activities, we find it more relaxing to do most of our "at home" tasks on those days. We also try to arrange our travel during the week.

Yesterday we scouted Boerne to find the local Wal*Mart, after I'd planned several meals. Over the past few months our focus has been elsewhere, so we haven't been doing much cooking at home. Now it is time to get back to a more healty routine, so I've planned a few meals to fix here.

I made the salad and potatoes while Jim grilled pork chops. He uses a "Smokey Joe" charcoal grill -- we don't even have a gas grill anymore. This little grill is a gem. We have a variety of wood chips that we like to add, this time we had apple. A few minutes before he lights the grill, Jim puts about a cup of chips in a container of water to begin soaking. When the coals are about ready, he adds the chips. That way whatever he's cooking gets a nice, infused flavor.

After our meal, I worked on the journal while Jim watched college football. Later on we decided to get out and take a drive. On our trip to town for groceries, Jim noticed some large deer that appeared to be in a fenced area and he wanted to see if he could get a picture of them. Well, here's what was in the enclosure when we went back.

Hmmm....that was a surprise...I think I will try to find out more about this place!

Today is Jim's daughter's birthday. Robin lives in Colorado Springs with her 9 year old son. Happy Birthday Robin! We wish you a very happy day!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

October 27 - Boerne, Texas

Even though we've lived in the motor home for a little over 10 months, we haven't traveled all that much. Until her death on October 11, we were responsible for Jim's mom and all of her care. Most of our time has been spent getting our house in Colorado Springs ready to sell and taking care of Mom in Arlington, Texas. After her funeral services in Childress, Texas, we spent a few days at Cedar Ridge Corps of Engineer Park near Temple, Texas. We enjoyed a restful time relaxing with our friends and doing a little sightseeing, including a drive to Crawford, home of the Texas Whitehouse. We didn't get a glimpse of the president though, other than a picture of him with Laura on a billboard, welcoming us to Crawford!

Below is a picture of Lake Belton, where the Cedar Ridge COE park is located.

Yesterday, Friday, October 26, we drove from Temple, Texas to Boerne, Texas. We are staying at the Top of the Hill RV Resort, just off Interstate 10, a little ways outside Boerne. It is on top of a hill, with beautiful vistas all around us. We'll be here for 12 nights, so we'll have the opportunity to explore the Texas Hill Country.

Our drive from Temple to Boerne was pretty uneventful, except for an inconsiderate so and so who was pulling a Montana 5th Wheel. He must have been in a very big hurry, since he shot past us just as the road narrowed from 2 lanes to 1. Luckily, Jim was able to maintain control of the motor home, but it sure could have had a bad ending. Is it my imagination, or are people really getting more rude on the road?

We arrived at Top of the Hill RV Resort around 3:00 p.m and were escorted to our site. We have a a panoramic view from the southwest around to the northeast. There aren't any trees near us, so we will have a lot of sun here. We chose to come to Boerne after hearing about the area from several people. After we studied the map, we decided this is a good central location from which to explore the Hill Country. We like to take pictures of sunsets, so I'll close with this shot from just outside our rig.

Getting Started

Several friends have suggested that I start an online travel journal of our adventures as full timers. I’ve kept personal journals off and on most of my life, so I decided to give this a try.

My husband, Jim, and I had a disastrous first camping trip soon after we were married. We swore we’d never camp again. It was 14 years later when one day I asked him if he’d consider camping again. His eyes lit up as he said yes! When I asked why he hadn’t said anything to me all this time, his reply was that he wanted to stay married to me! That day began our adventure back into camping.

We outfitted ourselves with tent, sleeping bags and all the accompaniments and spent a few weekends in the Colorado mountains. Not long after, we upgraded to a used pop-up trailer. Soon after that, a 25’ travel trailer graced our rv parking spot. It seemed like no time passed and we fell into a great deal on a 36’ motor home.

Next thing we knew, it was time to retire and do some serious traveling. At the time, we only planned to travel part time. No full timing for us. The summer I retired we spent most of the time on the road, visiting relatives in Oklahoma and Texas. By the time we returned to our home in Colorado Springs, we knew we wanted to sell the house and move into the motor home.

We had reservations for a Good Sam Caravan to the 2007 Rose Parade, followed by a month in Apache Junction, Arizona. On December 17, 2006, we pulled out of Colo. Spgs. a day ahead of a massive blizzard. We stayed ahead of the storm all the way across New Mexico and Arizona on the way to spend Christmas and New Years in California.

During our stay in Arizona, which we extended from one month to three, we spent many hours floating in the warm water of the swimming pool, planning our transition to the full time RV life. The plan was to prepare the house for selling and get it on the market by the end of April. Hoping for a quick sale, we wanted to be on the road in early summer.

We returned to Colo. Spgs. on March 15, 2007. Instead of moving back into the house, we parked in our RV spot next to the house, plugged in and settled in. For the next month and a half we worked on the house, getting it empty and ready to sell. We certainly went against convention by moving everything out instead of “staging” it. Our friend and real estate agent wanted us to use a company that provides renters who live in the house and use their own furniture to stage it for selling. We decided to try it our way for 30 days, then let this company find someone to move in. Good thing, as the very first person who looked at our house bought it. It wasn’t on the market even 24 hours.

The next thing we needed to do was find Jim’s mom a place to live in Arlington, Texas. We’d decided that since we were responsible for her care, it would be better to have her in a location we could get to even in the winter, and where she would be near other family. Since her sister lives in Arlington, that would be the place.

In May, we spent 3 weeks in Arlington finding her a place and getting things set up for her. In June, we arranged for her move and got her settled in. We took off for the road at last near the end of July. The plan was to visit friends in Missouri, Alabama and Mississippi, then spend some time on the South Carolina Coast. We’d been gone about 3 weeks when we got the call from Jim’s aunt saying his mom was sick and they were getting her to the hospital. We were in Springfield, Missouri at the time. The next morning we pulled out and headed back to Arlington. The diagnosis was not good – 3 brain tumors, only one of which was operable. We settled in at Treetops Village RV park and prepared for her care. Fifty eight days later, she passed away.

Our decision to go full time was influenced first by my sister and brother in law. They were full timers for about 2 ½ years. I loved hearing about all their travel adventures. On our first trip after retirement, we met a couple who had recently started full timing. She told me about Howard and Linda Payne of, and I started reading their journal, which led me to other online journals and other full timers.

Another factor in our decision was budget. With our retirement pensions we could live comfortably either in a house with all the related expenses, or in the motor home with all those related expenses. Doing both, however, would be a squeeze. The call of the road was strong. The call of the house and yard maintenance was weak. Obviously, the house lost, and here we are.

Who are we? A fairly typical baby boomer couple, in our mid-to-late 50's. We both had careers with Colo. Spgs. Utilities and both retired in 2006. We are a blended family with my 2 sons and his 1 daughter. Between us we have 6 grandchildren, the youngest of whom is 9. We enjoy fishing, photography, music, traveling, cooking (oh yeah, and eating said cooking), playing cards and visiting with friends and family. Jim loves to grill and try new recipes with chilies. He was somewhat of a star in our circle of friends with his home-canned, award-winning, salsa. He grew up in Texas, and I grew up in Colorado Springs. I mess around some with genealogy and have put together a little booklet of my family’s history. One of the activities I’d like to pursue on the road is further family history research.

We both hope you enjoy reading about our travels. We also look forward to meeting our online friends in person!