Sunday, August 25, 2013

From the Mountains to the Ocean

When I log on to, it tells me my last post was May 28.....well that's not so long, really, is it?  Not yet 3 months since my last post!  Well,  yes, we've put a few miles on The Castle since then, that's true.  We'd just arrived in Colorado Springs then.  This year we were so priviledged to be able to attend my sister and brother in law's 40th wedding anniversary party.

Ann and Bob:

We also got together with Marilyn and Ed Dray, along with Ginger and Jesse Haman over at Mountaindale one afternoon.  Of course there was the routine medical stuff that goes on every year.  We also made a trip up to Fort Collins to see our Granddaughter Elyse, as well as a day in Denver to visit Cameron, Calib and Kellie, along with their Mom, Allie and step-dad Loyd.  What a great family, and all 4 of the grands have grown into such amazing young adults.

As soon as our Colorado visit was complete, we were due at the Escapade in Gillette, Wyoming.  Pat McFall and I were scheduled to teach line dancing, while Jim was assigned to the Customer Service and Transportation teams.

Jim was hard at work every day:

Whew!  What a whirlwind week that was.  Jim ended up staying on the job all day, every day.  Pat and I practiced and taught beginning through advanced line dancers for about 3 to 4 hours every day.  We were really ready for some down time after that week.  But we sure did enjoy visiting with many friends we haven't seen for awhile, plus making some new friends!

After Escapade, we made a visit to Janna and Mike in Montana.  This was our first visit to stay at their place, after being assured that Michael could help us get our 40' Phaeton up that  half-mile long driveway:

We arrived late in the afternoon on a rainy day, concerned that the driveway would be too muddy to navigate.  But Janna assured us it wasn't that bad, so on we went.  Michael was waiting at the bottom of the driveway.  We'd unhooked the car before getting to that point, so he sent me on up to the house in the car, while he got into the motorhome to guide Jim along the way.  Once up the driveway, the last task was to turn around so we'd be facing down the hill for our departure.  That all worked out just fine, and we really enjoyed our time visiting for about 6 days.

Idaho Falls to see nephew Bill and his wife Rhonda was next on our agenda.  They have a big lot east of town with a 50 amp electric hook-up and water, so we were set for a nice visit with them.  Bill is a fire captain on the city's fire department, but he had several days off during our visit, so we got to do some fun things, like floating down the Snake River in a drift boat one day.

One evening, they set up the portable trash can kilns and we got to do some Raku and Horsehair pottery. Rhonda used to own a pottery shop in town and still has several kilns and many pieces that can be glazed for the Raku and Horsehair processes.

While we were visiting them, I took Jasmine to a local veterinarian to have a lump on her shoulder checked out.  She ended up having surgery, so we stayed a few extra days to make sure all was O.K. - and it was.  The lump was not definitely identified, other than to make sure it wasn't anything to worry about.

We had a short travel day leaving Idaho Falls - all the way to Twin Falls, where we spent a few days sightseeing from our base of operations at Rock Creek County Park.  That's a lovely little spot for a few days with very nice walking trails and a great disc golf course.

Our next destination was Oregon.  We stopped overnight at the Caldwell, Idaho Elks Lodge before traveling across the Central Oregon Highway, #20.  That took us to Burns on for an overnight stop, then on to Redmond where we stayed at DeSchutes County Fairgrounds for a week.  Jim spent a couple of days completing the "Ale Trail" in Bend, while I provided designated driving duties for him.

We took some scenic drives, including one hair-raising trip over McKenzie pass, a very twisty-turny road that has some really awesome scenery along the way.

Next along the way was a a stop in Sutherlin, Oregon with a week's stay at Timber Valley, an Escapee's Co-op park, nestled in a pretty valley at the edge of town.  We got some sightseeing done, as well as visiting a few Oregon Wineries, with Jim doing the driving for me this time.

And at last, we've arrived at the coast.  We found a spot at Port Orford RV Village, about 2 miles from the beach.  We'll be here for about a month, doing some beach combing, along with relaxing and catching up on naps and reading!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

On The Move

After a fast two months in Amarillo, Texas, we've pulled up the jacks and checked the roundness of the Phaeton's tires once again.  Our time in Amarillo went by in a flash this year!  I think one major reason was that we got there early in April and winter hadn't quite finished up yet.  We spent a lot of time waiting for warmer weather.

I got involved with the Amarillo Senior Citizen's Center line dance classes, so that took up some of my time.  I learned several new dances, met some wonderful people, and had a great time.

We had several maintenance issues to take care of, mostly minor.  Somewhere along the way, our motor for our front electric shade went out, and we managed to get that replaced in Amarillo.  Our door entry handle broke, so Jim fixed that.  One day when I was getting ready to give the dogs a bath, I turned on the faucet, but nothing came out of the "hot" side.  I'd read in Judy's blog, Travels with Emma where a check valve in the hot water line had failed.  I mentioned that to Jim, and he was able to replace it within about an hour - hot water again!

The most important issue left to fix is our front air conditioner.  It started tripping the breaker.  Jim did some diagnostic work and got it sort of working, but it still needs some attention.  We have an appointment this week to have new batteries installed, and the techs will take a look at it then.

Besides fixing things and dancing, we spent time with our daughter, Robin, her son Jacob and husband, Paul.  They moved to Amarillo last summer and are doing very well in their new home town.  Of course there are many friends we like to spend time with there too, as well as friends passing through.  We got to spend a little time with Deb and Rod Kendall when they stopped by on their way to Colorado.  Lynette and Mac McHenry also came through to see their daughter, and we got to meet her when we had lunch with them.

Vickie and Don Crow are our hosts when we stay in Amarillo.  They have a full hook-up RV site on their property, and they invite us to spend our time in town camping at their "resort".  This year they got us hooked on the cable TV series "The Walking Dead".  That's not normally the kind of show I like, but after the first two episodes, I was hooked.  We ended up watching every episode of all 3 seasons on their Apple TV set up.  Fun!  Now we're waiting with everyone else for Season 4!

Today was our travel day; we got started a little after 8:00 this morning heading north to Colorado Springs.  We're settling in to our usual spot - the Colorado Springs South KOA in Fountain - right between the interstate and railroad tracks!  Even though there are other campground options in the area, none are as convenient as this location, so we keep coming back.  All we know right now is there are new managers this year, so I'm not sure what changes might have taken place over the past year since we were here, but it looks pretty much the same.  I think we've got a pretty decent site this year, at the end of a row, not too close to the interstate.

We'll be here for the month of June.  If you're coming through the area, give us a shout.  We need to be in Gillette, Wyoming on June 27 to get ready for the Escapees' Escapade - I'll be teaching beginning line dance and Jim will be helping with transportation.  While we're here, I hope to do some line dancing, and we also have a lot of friends and family to see.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Rockport Visiting

Once we got past the shoe-horn fit in our site, spent way too many hours fiddling with our little portable satellite dish, and got the Castle reasonably clean and organized, we were ready to get to the visiting.

This is our site, and yes, those trees are every bit as close as they look!  In fact, there is a branch just a few inches from the window behind Jim's chair. Yesterday, a confused squirrel evidently saw another squirrel sitting on a branch right in front of him and tried to jump over to join that squirrel on the other branch.  Trouble was, it was his own reflection, and he jumped right into the window.  Scared the squirrel - and Jim!

Our Amarillo friends, Vickie and Don, are still here, but will be heading back home Wednesday morning.  We've been spending quite a bit of time with them while they're here.  Yesterday we rode the ferry over to Port Aransas and met them for lunch and a little shopping.

When we got back home, Janna called and said Michael was awake and they were out for a ride.  They stopped by for a short visit, not nearly long enough, but we did make plans for them to come over for a dinner soon.  For my readers who don't follow their blog, Michael is working on an oil drilling rig construction project in Ingleside.  Janna is spending a lot of time working in her quilting studio which is set up behind their motorhome over at the Palms RV Resort.

Today was our day to get caught up with laundry, grocery shopping and more house cleaning.  I got in an hour or so of line dance practice as well.

There are other friends here at The Drifters, Pat and John from Colorado Springs.  Jim and I both worked with Pat at Colo. Spgs. Utilities and we all retired around the same time.  Now she and her husband John are full-timing and have spent the winter here.  We've visited with them briefly since we've been here;  I know we'll be getting together again before we leave.  I did stop and visit a couple of times today as I was walking the dogs.

This evening, we went back over to ICW RV Park to a shrimp boil hosted by Roy and Judy.

That's Roy standing, their friend, Tom in the blue hat, and Jim with his back to us:

Roy and Tom might have been watching the shrimp boats heading out for the night:

While we were waiting for this feast to be ready,

I wandered around and found some interesting things to photograph:

Judy and Vickie enjoying the conversation:

Buster was getting tired:

And the sun wast about to set:

So we said our good-nights and came home to rest up for another day of fun and visiting tomorrow.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Travel Days

Does anyone remember the game where you build some sort of structure and drop a little silver ball that rolls down a gutter, drops into something that knocks a thing-a-ma-jig loose that trips another little gizmo that swings a something or other and finally that little silver ball is supposed to end up in a little cup or something?  That's kind of how our travel day went today.

First, though, yesterday was a picture perfect travel day.  We left Bayou Segnette State Park  and traveled to the Gulf Coast RV Resort on the west side of Beaumont, Texas, no hassles, no problems.  We stopped for fuel once along the way and got in to Beaumont in time to have a restful afternoon and evening.

Back in Texas:

This morning started off just fine, we left at the right time to go through Houston after rush hour.  I'd researched the route through Houston and knew that we needed to stay in the left 2 lanes so we could transition to US 59.  No problem, traffic was not all that heavy and we made it though Houston right on schedule.

But somehow, just on the other side of Victoria, I got us navigated off the "right" road.  No biggie, it just added a few miles and minutes to our day.   Then we went through Refugio, and someone  pulled out right in front of us, Jim had to slam on the brakes to avoid smashing into him.  OK, we got through that, got to Rockport and got checked in at The Drifters Resort and drove to the back of the park to our assigned site.  Oh boy.  Talk about needing a shoe-horn to get us into the site!  We scraped a little black paint off our back passenger side slide topping cover, but we got in.  A couple of neighbors came over to assist with watching various corners of the Castle to make sure we weren't scraping anyone's pick-up trucks, and that we got into the site.  It required some maneuvering to get in between the trees to where we could put our slides out, but we're in.  We did have some evidence of "contents shifting" inside from our sudden stop earlier, but nothing major.

Satellite reception?  Nope.  Too many Live Oaks around us.  But by the time we got parked, it was time to get ready to go to Vickie & Don's place where they are staying next to other friends Judy and Roy over at LCW RV Park on Ransom Road, so we didn't mess around with trying to set up our little satellite dish.  Roy was frying up a mess of Red Fish for dinner.  We had a great time visiting, and dinner was excellent.  Vickie and Don have just purchased a new-to-them motor home, and this is their first outing with it.  They'll be here about a week before they need to get back to Amarillo.

Tomorrow morning, we'll set up our little portable satellite dish and see if we can figure all that out.  I'll also finish getting the Castle set up and do some house cleaning.

Our friends Pat and John are just across and down a few sites from us here at The Drifters.  Jim and I worked with Pat at Colo. Spgs. Utilities and they are now retired and full-timing.  We hope to spend a little time with them, as well as Janna and Mike, Rollie, and Vickie & Don and Judy & Roy.  I think we'll stay busy for the next couple of weeks here.  The weather was much warmer today, although a bit windy.

Hopefully, our little silver ball has dropped into it's place and we'll not have any further mis-adventure!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

French Quarter and Food

Bayou Segnette State Park is located on the West Bank of the Mississippi River, so going to New Orleans requires crossing the river.  There are two bridges, but there is also a ferry service.  We've been across both bridges, so yesterday we took the ferry, which is free.  Parking the car cost $5.00 for the day.  The ferry runs every 30 minutes from Algiers Point on the Westbank to Canal Street in the city.  Our mission for the day was to see the French Quarter, eat Beignets, and have a Muffaletta for lunch.

This is a view of the French Quarter from the ferry landing:

I confess we cheated on the Beignets, Cafe DuMonde is always packed with long lines, and were really hungry by this time, so we stopped at another corner joint for our treats:

From Decatur Street looking up one of the side streets, this is a good example of the architecture in the French Quarter:

And another beautiful building:

More street view

A few blocks more along Decatur, we came to the Central Grocery, where the "original" Muffaletta is sold:

With long lines typical here, the clerks and food preparers have a good system going.  The sandwiches are made so quickly the line moves fairly fast.  There is an area in the back of the store with stools and benches where you can eat.  We didn't see anyone shopping for groceries, seems most people just come in for the sandwich.

Here's a half sandwich.  I managed to eat half of this.  What's in it and why is it so special? I looked it up on, and this is what they have to say:

"Central Grocery is home of the muffuletta, one of New Orleans' great sandwiches. A circular loaf of soft Italian bread is sliced horizontally and piled with salami, ham, and provolone, which are in turn topped with a wickedly spicy melange of chopped green and black olives fragrant with anchovies and garlic."

Works for me, it was delicious!

Along Jackson Square, the day was warming up and more people were out and about:

We wondered what Vampires might find in this boutique?

We spent another hour or so wandering and shopping in the Quarter. Rosalie wanted us to visit her shop, and we'd pre-arranged for her to pick us up and take us to the warehouse where her shop is located:

The shop is the first one at the front of the warehouse where she has some light coming in for her plants, plus she'll get more traffic coming by:

She's packing up a gift I purchased:

We needed to get back to the dogs, so after our quick visit to the French Quarter and Rosalie's shop, she drove us back down to the ferry and we were able to get home and spend a couple of hours taking a break.  I got Mr. BoJangles and Jasmine out for our walk, they had their dinner; and we drove back to the city for a dinner at Elizabeth's with Rosalie and her brother, Rick and sister-in-law Viv.  We had yet another great meal and wonderful company.

Our visit to New Orleans is coming to an end for this time, and we are fixin' to head on down the road today.  We'll take two more days to get to Rockport.  Tonight's destination is Beaumont.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

New Orleans - Homes and Gardens

The first event today was to make our way back across the big river to have lunch at Rosalie's house.  On the way, we stopped to get some of the gunk washed off the car from yesterday's rainy travel day.  With our GPS, "DD" programmed and checked, we drove across the Huey P. Long Bridge and in just a few minutes arrived at our friend's house. The last time we visited was a couple of years ago, and she had recently moved into this house.  Now she's recently started a small business which involves a plant and gift shop stocked with "found" and "re-purposed" items.  She's quite creative in making something beautiful and artistic from almost nothing.  She repots plants into many different types of containers and sells them in her shop.  Her business, "New Orleans Green" is a certified green business.  She's having a lot of fun with it, but is still paying the bills with her educational consulting business.

This is a corner of her creating room:

Here she is fixing a soda for Jim - see the stove?  She bought that when she lived in California, had it shipped to this house in New Orleans.  She loves that stove!

This is one corner of her back yard.  Inside the brown shed,

is a supply of containers for her plants:

After we toured her home and yard, she served our favorite - her homemade Red Beans and Rice!  Absolutely delicious, as always.

After lunch, we left Rosalie to prepare for a meeting and took ourselves on a walking tour around the Garden District.  Driving along a New Orleans street:

Beads!  There were a lot of beads in many trees, but they really took over this one:

The streetcar on St. Charles Avenue:

We saw so many beautiful homes and took so many pictures, I had a hard time choosing what to share. This one is distinctive because of the fence - the wife of the original owner missed her cornfields so much that he had a fence built in the shape of cornstalks:

A close-up view of the fence:

 More gardens:
 An interesting wreath!

Beautiful home!  I'm not sure this house was even "on" the tour!

I loved this porch, it was so inviting, I almost walked up and sat down for a glass of iced tea.  I wonder if they would have minded?

We saw many historic homes, including the one in which Confederate President Jefferson Davis died, several houses owned at one time by author Ann Rice, Actor John Goodman's home, and so many more!

At the end of the tour is one of New Orleans famous cemeteries - there was a lot of action there today!  Seems they are filing an episode of the TV show, Vampire Diaries here.

The tour completed, we headed back across that big river again, and back to our own special home-for-now at Bayou Segnette State Park.

Tomorrow - more adventures planned!