Sunday, November 30, 2008

We Move to Cedar Ridge

We were up and around, had breakfast, walked dogs and packed for moving by around 10 this morning. The only problem was, the people who were in the site we had reserved at Cedar Ridge had not left yet. Karon promised to call as soon as she saw them getting ready to leave.

By 12:30, we still had not heard from Karon, so I called her back. Finally, just as she answered the phone, the guy started wrapping up the electric and water. Ok, we’re on the way. We stopped at the dump station and got that little chore taken care of, and made the long drive to Cedar Ridge, not quite 7 miles from campsite to campsite.

We hardly missed a quarter of one football game! We were set up and settled in around 1:30. Karon came over to greet us and let us know she had white chicken chili cooking for dinner. We agreed that she would bring the chili over here at 4:30 for an early meal.

This is the view behind us toward the lake:
We have a little path to our picnic shelter:
Right on schedule, Karon brought our dinner and joined us for a delicious meal of white chicken chili, cornbread, tortillas, and banana pudding, yum!

We visited with her until she needed to get back home.

Pefect travel day!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Last Day in White Flint COE Park

Today was our last day in White Flint COE Park at Belton Lake, but not the last day at Belton Lake. Tomorrow, we'll make a big move, all of about 6 or 7 miles, over to Cedar Ridge COE Park. Karon and Dan moved today, but the site we have reserved is occupied until tomorrow.

We drove over there this morning to take a look at our site and make sure Jim knows where the turn off is. It's a bigger and busier park than White Flint. We'll be a little further from the lake, but it's still a nice park, and we're still next to the lake. The sites are very long, with an extra space for parking the car. Each site also has a covered picnic table, just like this park has. The COE parks in this area are really very well maintained and run. They have 50 amp electric and water. Cedar Ridge also has a laundry room, although I'm not sure how many machines they have.

We'll be there for the next couple of weeks, and then we'll be going to Burleson, Texas, just south of Fort Worth, where we'll stay until mid-January. Then we will be heading down to Rockport, Texas.

Today I also got the floors vacuumed and the tile floor mopped. I walked the dogs around the park several times and played on the computer while Jim spent the day in football heaven. I'm sure he's watched about 50 college football games over the past few days. And tomorrow - well, the NFL teams will take center stage!

I fixed hamburger packets for dinner tonight, gee, it sure seems strange to cook for 2 again! These are the same kind of packets we all learned how to make when we were kids in girl or boy scouts, with onions, a hamburger patty, potatoes, mushrooms and veggies. We didn't have a camp fire, so I just used our oven, but they still turned out pretty good.

All in all, not a very exciting day, but a good one anyway!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving and The Day After

Our Thanksgiving day was spent quietly. We talked to family and friends by phone in the morning. Karon and I walked our Schnauzer Brigade around the park. I made a broccoli slaw and crustless pumpkin pie.

Jim heated the brisket, and around 2:30, Dan and Karon arrived with their contributions of potatoes and pea salad. We enjoyed our dinner, stopping to give thanks for all our blessings, especially being together with special friends.

Missing was that overstuffed feeling, thank goodness! Karon and I carefully managed our portions, and were able to enjoy snacks later on. That felt really good.

Today has been another quiet day. Karon and I made a trip into Belton to check mail, pick up a few groceries and check out a couple of rv parks. While we were gone, Jim got our laundry together and made his own trip into town to the local laundromat.

While we were out, Karon and I did some exploring. She took me to the little ghost town of The Grove, known as a "museum town":

The general store:
The well was drilled right in the middle of the main street - either that, or the street was built around the well:

Looking out from the inside of the well cover:

Post Office and another general store. The doctor's office was upstairs:

This afternoon, Karon came over and trimmed my hair for me. She has some training to do this, unlike me. She was very kind in telling me that I've done a good job of cutting my own hair, there wasn't much she had to "clean up"!

We've taken our Schnauzer Brigade out for several walks around the park.

We're covered from both directions with our guard dogs:

And that's about it for the day!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Another Great Day at Belton Lake

Today has been just about as good as they get. The weather has been just right, not too hot or too cold or too windy. Not too much sun and not too many clouds. I can sit on my sofa and look out any window and see the lake, feeling peaceful and calm. I slept in and then Karon and I went for a great walk with our "Schnauzer Brigade".

I did my Wii Sports and Fitness, and got in a little practice with Guitar Hero.

Karon & Dan bought a brisket for Thanksgiving dinner, and Jim spent most of the day preparing it for tomorrow. He built a fire in the barbeque pit located on our site and put the brisket on with Mesquite chips to let it smoke for a couple of hours, then he put it in a roasting bag and popped it in our convection oven for another couple of hours.

Karon baked 2 pecan pies today, one with her own recipe (for Dan) and the other with Uncle Bubba's recipe (for Jim). She brought Jim's pie over this afternoon and of course, Jim had to do a taste test. I restrained myself, but Jim said it's very good! I'll bake a crustless pumpkin pie tomorrow.

We asked Karon and Dan to join us for dinner at Applebee's tonight, since I just felt like eating out instead of cooking. Karon and I both ordered Weight Watcher entrees and split the WW chocolate raspberry cake for dessert. Yum!

As we celebrate Thanksgiving tomorrow, we will be thinking of all the blessings in our lives, and realize that it really isn't about the food. Our family and friends are at the very top of our list of special blessings. We're grateful for the opportunity we have to travel and enjoy the company of friends along the way. We're especially thankful for our health and the health of our family.

And, as we give thanks for our blessings, we also wish each of you a very Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Full Day

I needed to be up early this morning to get ready to go to a Weight Watcher's meeting in Temple, Texas. Karon needed to drop her dog, KD, off at the groomer's before the meeting, we we were leaving early.

It was crispy cold when I went out with the dogs. There was a mist rising off the lake, I tried to get a picture of it:

We got KD to the groomer's and found our meeting. It was a good meeting, even though I had a small weight loss - but a loss is a loss, so I'm not complaining!

KD was ready at the groomer's after the meeting was over, so we stopped by to pick her up and came on back to the campground. Jim & I had lunch, then I put together a pot of lentil soup to start cooking for dinner.

Jim had a little fishing time with Dan, while Karon and I took a ride over to Cedar Ridge park to check out the sites we have reserved for next week. I wanted to see if I think we can get a satellite signal, and Karon was checking availability on sites for some other friends of theirs who were hoping to spend a few days there. No sites were available, good thing we made the reservations.

Later this afternoon, Karon and I took a walk down this road:

The soup turned out really good. It is a new recipe to me, and I wasn't sure how it would taste, but it's good, so that recipe is a keeper. After dinner, I got some time to practice Guitar Hero while Jim went to the back to watch - I'm not sure, could be football!
Maybe tomorrow will be a sleep-in morning!

Monday, November 24, 2008

White Flint Corps of Engineer Park, Belton Lake, Texas

I woke up early today and couldn't seem to get back to sleep, so I got up and read blogs for awhile. Jim woke up and noticed I was not there, so he got up too and we had our coffee and watched the sun rise over Belton Lake:

I had time to bake a batch of Weight Watcher's chocolate muffins before Karon and I took the Schnauzer Brigade out for our morning walk. We make a loop all the way around the campground. It takes us about 20 - 25 minutes to make one complete loop and we're trying to get up to at least 3 times a day.

Karon and I were planning a trip to Walmart to get the ingredients for our Thanksgiving dinner. Jim decided he'd like to go along so he would know how to get to Walmart, and off we went. We got our shopping done at both Walmart and HEB before returning to the campground for lunch and a short rest before walk number 2.

Jim wanted to get his fishing license, and he decided not to wait, so he went back to Walmart to do that this afternoon. When he got back, he had a surprise - he bought us a World Tour Guitar Hero Game for the Wii. It came with 2 guitars! I'd played Guitar Hero when I went to my Weight Watcher's gathering in late September, and it was so much fun! Now, if we can figure out how to get it working with the 2 guitars...

While Jim was gone, I took this picture of the lake out our side window. This is a very small park. There is only one loop with about 10 sites, plus a few shelters such as the one in the picture below. It is pretty quiet, although we do hear some traffic noise, and there is an army base nearby so there's an occasional helicopter flying by, but for the most part, it is very peaceful here.

Karon brought over brats and a low fat sausage for me to grill on the George Foreman. We had that plus salad, and leftover Hoppin John and rice for dinner.

Now we're all settled in for a night of football, and hopefully, a good night's sleep!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Travel Day to Belton Lake

Yes, it's true. We left Canton today without Dortha and Mark. I was kind of lost without that other Phaeton in front to lead the way! We had to find our own way, but we managed ok. We'll miss our friends a lot, but we know we'll see them again before long. Have I mentioned that one of the greatest parts of this lifestyle is how we love meeting and getting to know new friends and sharing great times with them?

We had such fun traveling together with Dortha and Mark. We saw a lot of beauty, enjoyed a lot of great food, and had a lot of great conversations with these wonderful people. We look forward to the times ahead, too!

And, another great feature of this lifestyle, is that when friends or family are in need, we're free to go to them and spend time helping or just being there. We arrived at White Flint COE park near Belton, Texas, and got set up next to Karon and her husband. They are happy we're here, and we are too. This is a very nice park, we have a view of the lake out our front window. We have 50amp electric and water. We've got a strong signal on our aircard and satellite reception. It doesn't get much better, now does it!

Jim has lit the fire in the grill, getting ready for the chicken:
Karon and Dan's site with us next to them:

There was a bad flood a couple of years ago here, so there are a lot of dead trees near the lake shore. I think this one has a lot of character:

Even though today was cloudy and gray, we enjoyed the lake view towards the bridge:

We're looking forward to spending time with Karon and Dan for the next few weeks.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Travel Day to Canton, Texas

In my last post, I said we were staying at the Paragon Casino RV Park in Marksville, Louisiana. I also said I would try to get some pictures, but the weather was so cold and windy yesterday that we ended up staying inside all day, other than a quick trip to Walmart and a couple of very quick dog walks! So, no pictures, but it is a very nice RV park. It's also a Passport America park, we paid $8.50 our first night and $11.00 the second night. They charge a little more on the weekend. I can't say we really saved much money on our stay though! Our first night there, we visited the casino and left some of our funds there.

We wanted to get an early start today for our journey to Canton, Texas, where Dortha and Mark wanted to visit their friends, Sandy and Weldon, who are at the "First Monday Market" here. They're vendors and will be setting up their booth for the market, which will be held next weekend.

We got underway just after 7:30 this morning for the 283 mile trip. Most of the way we traveled on Interstate 20. We got 8.6 mpg. The most exciting part of the trip was our stop at Flying J for fuel and propane. We paid $2.50 for diesel and $2.99 for propane. I think this is the first time we've paid more for propane than diesel! Getting in and out of the Flying J just west of Shreveport, LA, was an adventure in itself! We made it ok and got back on the road after about 30 minutes waiting and jockeying for position.

I missed the Texas state line sign because I was in the kitchen making sandwiches, so this will have to do:

We got parked and set up, then Dortha called Sherri and Joe, our friends from the RV-Dreams family. They are up the road from Canton at Wills Point this weekend, so they were able to join us for a late lunch at a local Mexican Restaurant.

Here are, from left to right, Weldon, Sandy, Dortha, Jim, Mark, Joe and Sherri:

Joe and Sherri (aka Speedhitch and Speedsgirl):

We had a great time visiting until time for the Texas Tech-Oklahoma Univ. football game!
Tomorrow's plans haven't been made yet, so we'll just have to wait and see...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Plans? What Plans??

You know how I always say our plans are set in Jello, well, this time they got so liquid we just poured them into a new mold!

We left the beautiful Rainbow Plantation and traveled with Dortha and Mark to Marksville, Louisiana today. We'll stay here 2 nights and then go with them to Canton, Texas for another 2 nights. Then we'll be heading to White Flint COE park at Lake Belton, not far from Temple, Texas.

A few weeks back, I got a call from our dear friend, Karon (Discovery Travelers). It seems her husband has had a heart attack, and they are waiting for tests to determine the course of action. I've felt a very strong pull to go be with her during this time, and finally, I could no longer wait, it's time to go. We were going to wait and leave Saturday, but then decided to go ahead and stay with Dortha and Mark for just a few more days while they are on the way home. We've had such a good time traveling together, we just couldn't quite let go of that yet, either.

So, even though we loved Rainbow Plantation, and had looked forward to meeting up with more new friends there, we made the decision to get back to Texas a little earlier than originally planned. We're very comfortable with the decision, and we are very glad we can be there with Karon and her husband for a few weeks.
Today we crossed the Mississippi at Baton Rouge, LA:

Yesterday afternoon, we enjoyed the experience of having lunch at Lambert's Cafe, the Home of Throwed Rolls. They also have what are known as "pass arounds", where wait staff go around with big bowls and pots of dishes such as fried okra, black-eyed peas, fried potatoes, and macaroni & tomatoes. In addition to those, yes, they do throw rolls! The meal portions come with 2 sides, and the servings are huge! I ordered a grilled chicken breast and they came out with 2 huge pieces of chicken! Needless to say, I used quite a few of my "weekly points allowance" at this one meal, but it was worth it!

There were a total of 8 of us at the table - besides Jim and I, we enjoyed the company of Dortha and Mark, Terry and Randy, who are RV-Dreams family members, and their friends Pat and Dick. We had a great time sampling the various dishes and visiting. Check out Guiler Travels for a picture of the event!

Other than lunch, we spent some time at the Tanger Outlets in Foley. We've been wanting to replace our old set of stainless silverware, and found a good deal at the Oenida store there. I also got a new pair of jeans and a shirt. When I buy new clothes, I need to get rid of old ones, so I'm often in the market to change out some of my wardrobe.

Jasmine has taken to perching on either the driver's chair or passenger chair in this position - she's such a character!

It was a good travel day, and we're safe and sound in the Paragon Casino RV Park in Marksville. I hope to get more pictures around the park tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Life in Summerdale

Well, first of all, what happened to the warm, balmy weather??? It's been pretty darn chilly for the past few days, not good beach weather for sure.

Yesterday, we decided to take a drive, maybe go to Fort Morgan, maybe go to Dauphin Island. Mark needed to get the tires rotated on their Jeep, as well as get the oil changed. We were ready to go shortly after he got back. We started out going down to Gulf Shores and stopped at the visitor center to pick up some maps and brochures.

We thought we could get to Fort Morgan by following a road near the shore, but alas, all we could do was drive to the end of the road and look at all the little beach cottages. We had to backtrack to get to the correct road.

Since it was close to lunchtime, and we were going right by it, we decided to stop at the Original Oyster House for a seafood lunch. We certainly enjoyed the meal, although we all agree, Uncle Bubba's in Savannah is better.

After lunch, we found the right road and made our way to the historic Fort Morgan, which played a part in the Battle of Mobile Bay during the Civil War.

Jim, Mark, and Dortha walk through the tunnel to the inside areas of the fort:

Inside the fort's walls:

From the fort, we could see this lighthouse in the distance:

We looked at the prices to take the ferry over to Dauphin Island, but decided to drive around Mobile Bay instead. Across the bay, we stopped to take a couple of pictures of the battleship, Alabama, although we did not tour it.

We got a quick view of downtown Mobile as we drove through.

We drove to Dauphin Island and took a look at the campground there. We also watched dolphins swimming, but weren't able to get good pictures. It looked like there were at least a dozen or more.
It was getting late so we headed back home. Another look at Mobile as we drove back:

This morning I made cupcakes (Weight Watcher friendly) to give to Dortha & Mark and Glenn and Sylvia, as they will all be on the road in the next day or two. Then Dortha and I went to our Weight Watcher's meeting. Congratulations to Dortha, as she reached her goal weight! Now she'll begin the 6 week maintenance phase of the program. I still have quite a few pounds to go, but I will make it! I'm happy that I've reached 15 pounds gone.
This afternoon, we prepared to have Sylvia & Glenn and Dortha & Mark over for dinner. The plan was to grill shrimp, but the weather was still too windy to grill, we had boiled shrimp. Dortha made a great dish of rice and veggies, and Sylvia made a beautiful and delicious salad.
I made a peach cobbler (modified to be lower in calories), and a broccoli slaw salad. It all tu.rned out great and we had an enjoyable time visiting. We'll miss our friends when they leave! But, we know we'll see them again before long.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Our "Mouse" is Identified - We Think

Yesterday was very windy with much cooler temperatures, so we didn't venture out much. Jim did go do the laundry while I did the usual house cleaning, though. I super-scrubbed the shower and shined it up with my Dri-Wash 'n Guard, which really helps keep the water spotting down.

Mark came by in the afternoon to see if we wanted to take a drive, so of course, off we went. We found the little town of Fairhope, but didn't get out to shop or explore. It looks like a great little shopping area though, so I hope to get back over there while we're here.

This morning was pretty chilly, but the wind had died down, so I got a good long walk with the dogs. They were happy about that, because yesterday they didn't get out much.

After our walk and breakfast, I went to Walmart and picked up a few groceries.

We believe we have identified our "Mouse". We think it is a mockingbird, and we have evidently invaded it's feeding territory. We see it standing on the neighbor's mirror and jumping at the window. Then it comes over here and does the same thing, except it seems to have taken a particular interest in our coach, and now spends most of the day on our roof, tapping away.

When I went outside to shoo it away, it gave me "the look" as seen below:

It will fly to a near-by tree if we insist, but as soon as we go back inside, it's right back to it's attack mode. This afternoon, Glenn and Sylvia stopped by to visit, and he mentioned he thought the people who were in this space before had the same issue. Hmmm....

So, I guess we don't have a mouse, but we don't know what to do with our bird!

Both dogs got a shower this afternoon and we got some football watching and visiting done.

That's about all the day's excitment at the Rainbow Plantation, just right for us.

Friday, November 14, 2008

We Have an Adventure

We woke up to rain this morning, but it didn't last long. The temperature has been pretty warm for the last couple of days, but from what we hear on the local forecast, we'd better keep our jeans and jackets handy because it's supposed to get cooler over the weekend.
Dortha and I went to Weight Watchers this morning, but there wasn't a meeting, the center was just open for weigh-in. We both showed a loss, so that was good. When we got back to Rainbow Plantation, the guys had gone to talk to Glenn and Sylvia. The plans were made, we were going to have an early lunch and go over to Pensacola to attend the air show, featuring the Blue Angels.

We found this little restaurant behind a local fish market. Sylvia knew it was there but they had not yet tried it. Ok, we're up for a new experience, so we tried it. It was pretty good, I had veggie stir fry and gumbo.

Jim and I went in our car, Glenn and Sylvia rode with Mark and Dortha as we headed east to Pensacola. Glenn helped navigate, since they'd been over to the Naval Air Station last weekend.

We got parked and began the long, long, walk to the main area where the show was being held.

The Blue Angels, based in Pensacola, were doing their last shows for the season here today and tomorrow. Before they took to the air, though, we watched several smaller planes doing acrobatic flying:

We could see the Blue Angel's crew getting ready:

Almost ready for take off is Captain Kevin Mannix in Blue Angels #1

But, before we see the Blue Angels flying, we got to see their huge cargo plane, called "Fat Albert", do some tricks:

Here they go, up:


Even upside down:

And with all five planes. These guys are amazing with their precision flying.

A wave from another jet's pilot:

And the show was over.

This lighthouse is on the base, but with security tight for the show, they had the road to it blocked, so we couldn't get very close.
We headed back home on the scenic route, right along the coast. A great adventure with great friends!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Kicking Back and Settling In

Yesterday morning, we took a drive down the main road that takes us to Foley and Gulf Shores. There are lots of shopping and eating opportunities along that road. And, there is also our Weight Watchers center to keep us mindful!

Our drive took us to the beach, and what a lovely beach it is. The sand is white and soft. It was quite windy and the waves were pretty high. But Dortha and I still walked the beach barefoot and got our feet wet in the Gulf of Mexico.

After our beach walk, we stopped at Walmart to pick up a few items and then came back home. We were looking forward to a quiet afternoon and nice dinner at home. But, Jim's computer had been giving him threat alerts for some time, and we were concerned that even though we couldn't find a virus, that something was going on. We had a phone consultation with Dortha's nephew, Ryan, who advised us to check to see if there were files waiting to be written to the cd, because the message we were getting gave us a file location on "D". Well, to make a long, complicated story shorter, it turned out that when we had his computer worked on by the Geek Squad in Rapid City, they left one of their super-duper cd's in his D drive. All is back to normal with that.

We had the opportunity later in the afternoon to briefly meet Randy and Terry, RV-Dreams family members who are staying here as well. They've been following our blogs and it was great to get to meet them! We will get together while we're here, for sure.

Since we'd made a trip to Best Buy in the afternoon, and Dortha's chicken hadn't thawed out, we decided to go out for dinner. We went to Applebees, which is Weight Watcher friendly, and then to TCBY for a yogurt soft serve. One more stop to browse a discount store and it was back home.

Today has been spent here at the plantation, visiting with Glenn & Sylvia and Dortha and Mark. We were all sitting here in the Castle this morning, when Mark mentioned he heard a noise that sounded like a mouse - in our ceiling! A little while later, we all heard the noise, which sounded like it was coming from the area around the kitchen slide out. Oh, no! They'd had a mouse in the ceiling of their Dutch Star and had been able to catch it with a sticky-trap by removing a light fixture, so we tried that, but there is no room to put a trap in the tiny hole under the light fixtures in our ceiling.

Suddenly, our guests decided they needed to get on with their day, and we were left to ponder our situation. Jim went to Foley to find some "real" mouse traps, since we haven't caught anything on the sticky traps we have in our storage compartments. He came back with six traps and has them set in various places. So far, no takers. I'm hoping what we heard was just a bird, as we had one yesterday who kept flying at the motor home and making noises that sounded similar to what we heard this morning. Stay tuned!

The major accomplishment today was making decisions about how long to stay here, and where to go next. We really love it here and have decided to stay until after the first of December. Then we'll make our way to the Dallas/Fort Worth area and stay there about a month before moving south. I think we have eliminated a visit to the Rio Grande Valley for this winter, due to time constraints and what we see as far as the costs of the places we might want to stay. So, the plan is to go to Rockport, Texas, for a little over a month before going to Kerrville, Texas on March 1.

I'm not a big fan of making definite plans or reservations, but because of the holidays and the fact that places tend to fill up in the south during the winter, we did make reservations at a couple of places.

Later this afternoon we took a walk. This is looking up "our" row - a very long one!

And we caught the sunset through the trees:

For dinner tonight, Dortha made a chicken stir fry with rice and I made a light peach cobbler, wonderful meal! Tomorrow is our weigh-in and then we'll see what the day has in store!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Travel Day to Summerdale, Alabama

We got a slower start today for a couple of reasons. First, we were expecting Pat and Mike McFall to stop by this morning with an order of Dri-Wash n' Guard for us. It was so nice to see them and get hugs and handshakes. What neat people! We are so fortunate to have met them, and hope to see them from time to time as our paths cross in this wonderful lifestyle. They are both in good health and spirits, well, Pat is still nursing a broken toe, but otherwise, they are doing well. They will be heading down to the Rio Grande Valley in the near future, and we wish them safe travel!

We knew we'd be changing back to central time today too, so we would gain an hour. And, we just wanted a slower day!
We pulled out of the Tallahassee RV Park right around 10 and headed to I-10 West. It was a pretty uneventful driving day, except that Jim's trip computer mysteriously reset itself when we stopped at a rest area and he turned the engine off. When he started the engine, the items he watches, trip distance, gallons of fuel used and miles per gallon, had all reset to zero. That happened two more times before we got here, so he is going to call Freightliner tomorrow to see if they can help him troubleshoot.
Here's that other Phaeton we keep following!

West of Tallahassee, back in central time!

This is for JoAnn and Doug, who lived in Panama City, Florida for quite a long time! We got an email from them this morning, asking for a wave as we passed the sign:

The Blue Angels are based in Pensacola, Florida, so the underpasses are decorated accordingly:
We're getting settled in at the Escapees Rainbow Plantation in Summerdale, Alabama. It's very nice and laid back here, I know we're going to enjoy it.

Dortha and Mark are a couple of sites down from us, we're in #35 and they are in #38.

Glenn and Sylvia are a couple of rows behind us, and Randy and Terry are here too, so it's nice to know we're among friends.
Almost as soon as we got parked, Dortha asked if we were ready to eat. She had planned to make WW friendly pizzas, so of course I said you bet! I threw together a salad and we went over to enjoy a delicious meal.
We all took a short walk this evening and are now settled in, enjoying a quiet night! Did I say how much we love this lifestyle?