Category Archives: Texas

Is It Time to Change Rooms?

That is a question that has no easy answer. Every 6 months, or so, we ask our selves, “Where are we going next?” We’ve met some great people along the way and some not so great. We’ve had fun places to park our RV and some not so fun places.

While in West Virginia last winter, Carol received a call from a that was interested in us coming to Austin, TX and working in two of their RV parks. Discussions centered around the usual topics such as work involved, compensation, and when do we need to be there. After a few phone calls, they offered to fly us to Austin to look at the properties so we would get an idea of what we would be doing. We did that in early April this year.

Based on this contact, we made the decision it was time for us to move back to Texas – the land of great smoked brisket, great sausage, fantastic Gulf seafood and family. I’ve been somewhat reluctant to pick Texas as a destination because Texas is hot in the summer. Spending summers in areas further north, where highs in the 90’s are unusual, has been enjoyable. By moving back to Texas in the late fall, we would be able to acclimate to warmer temperatures gently.

We also considered getting a gate guarding  job in Texas. With the Eagle-Ford Shale drilling operation growing and getting larger, there is a huge need for gate guards on ranches where the drilling takes place. Gate guards can make a lot of money and the work is not hard. It generally requires a 24/7 commitment meaning someone has to be awake at all times. We would have to split our sleep and work schedule. I would not be working as Handyman. We would be registering vehicles in and out of our gate assignment. The length of time on a gate can vary from a few weeks to a few months. We began talking to a couple of gate guarding companies about this work. This looked promising.

So here we are just a few months away for our time at Manchester KOA to come to a close and we do not have a firm commitment from Austin. And we’re not 100% sold on the idea of gate guarding. So, what do we do? We pray, asking God to reveal to us what He wants us to do and where He wants us to go. And He spoke.

I really love what I do as Handyman. I’ve always enjoyed that work. People tell me I am good at it. Next week, we are going on a cruise to Alaska to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. Our kids have come together to give us this trip of a lifetime. I jokingly post on Facebook a comment about asking the cruise director if I could apply for a job as Handyman on the ship. That would be way cool, but highly unlikely. Realizing the options of being a Handyman on a cruise ship would be a stretch, I asked a couple of my real estate friends about working with them as Handyman. Just about all realtors use them.

One  realtor said,  her husband does that work for her. The other basically said, “I can keep you as busy as you want.” We asked and God spoke. He said, “This is what I want you to do!” No not literally with words. He spoke to our hearts. Carol and I were in agreement that this is what we would do. She would handle the business side of our new work, while I would do the project stuff.

After spending 20+ years in Corpus Christi, we know lots of people there. This is where our realtor friend, Brenda Marshal, is. But there is a problem. Corpus Christi area is a winter Texan destination spot. We know from previous experience, that it is difficult to get a long-term monthly RV site anywhere in the Corpus area especially in October. We called a few places we were interested in parking only to be told they had no spots available. Only one said they had a waiting list.

On Monday 7/31, Carol called them and found out that Sea Breeze RV in Portland has a temporary space for us through December. After December, we may have to move to a different site, but they will have a long-term space for us after January. Carol worked out the details and called me from my work to let me know we need to give a deposit for our site. This means making a firm commitment to do this. After a few question, I agreed and said, “I don’t know how this is going to work out but I am trusting God to work out the details.”

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “ Jer 29:11 (NIV)

Affirmation

Later than night (7/31) I was checking my email and found one from Rachel Dekker. I never get an email from Rachel Dekker. She is the oldest daughter of Ted Dekker, who is one of my favorite Christian authors. They have my email address from an on-line Bible study I recently completed, The Forgotten Way. Her email describes a scenario where she needs to step out of her comfort zone (room) to complete a task at hand.  I am hoping she will give me permission to share her message in a future blog post. Trust me when I say, her email was a huge affirmation of our decision.

Then this morning (8/4) my daily inspirational message said:

I declare Faith over fear.
Isa 41:10-13
‘Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

One Sure Thing

When God speaks, He is clear. Affirmations surround us and help us stay focused on completing the task set before us. Initially, Carol was not convinced Corpus Christi would be the destination. Once God settled that in her heart, we knew this was our next calling.

We certainly do not know all the details yet, but we know who holds all the details. God’s timing is perfect as are His plans. We place our trust in Him and not our own understanding (Prov 3:5-6).

For us, it is time to changes rooms. I appreciate the support and encouragement that comes from family and friends. Please continue praying for us as we prepare to make this change.

Thanks for stopping by, y’all come back now.

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The Journey Continues

I left you in Louisville, KY. And now I am finally telling you about the rest of the journey, three weeks later? What’s with that? I have no excuse.

After two days of driving more than we like, our trip today would be light and easy. Sunday driving normally offers light traffic until later in the afternoon when weekenders are hurrying back from their busy weekend away from their homes. Since we only had 141 miles to travel to our destination, we took our time getting going. Traffic was light as expected on I-65 South. We pulled off I-65 at exit 104 as instructed by GPS. We were looking for Nashville North KOA. Signage for many KOA parks is generally pretty good. Many have signs on the interstate exits and at intersections that help guide travelers along the way. I thought it was odd, that we saw no KOA signs leading us home for the night. Nashville North KOA is not a typical KOA in that it does not have the common A-frame office. This park (formerly known as Nashville Country RV) recently joined the KOA family. About the time I started to get a little concerned that our GPS had led us down a dark hole, I saw the familiar KOA sign. Home was in sight.

We registered and we given directions to our site – a PUB (pull in, back out) site. That was a first for us. The only stipulation was we had to get Cramalot Inn and the small cargo trailer completely off the road. I was more concerned about that than back out of the sight. We managed to get everything nestled in place.

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Not only did we have a short trip and a cool site, we were back in Central Time Zone. Having lived in Central Time Zone all our lives, our body clocks have difficult adjusting when we are in other time zones.

I took the fur babies for a walk around the park and found this place pretty full. The park was clean and people were friendly. The interstate was close by but not so close that highway noise would be a problem. I liked the 10 x 16 wooden patio which would make it easy to keep mud and rain mess outside. The only dislike about this park was the dog run. It seems like many RV parks place their dog run in the least desirable section of the park. The dog run here was very narrow and very long, placed along a creek trail. I know dogs don’t mind where they do their business, but their people do. We’ve encountered a few dog runs that were easy to find and will kept – this one was clean but pretty rough.

After a short nap, we decided to head to Hendersonville for dinner. We picked a place called The Lost Cajun. This is a regional chain that started in Colorado and is spreading its wings. (For our Texas family and friends, there is a location in Odessa, and will soon be locations in Midland and San Antonio.) Food was good, facilities are clean and staff are friendly and knowledgeable about Cajun style foods.

After a good meal, it was time for a restful evening. Monday we would have our windshield replaced.  Monday morning we enjoyed a home style breakfast at Liz’s Kitchen. We thought about taking a shuttle into Nashville for the day but since we did not know just when the glass folks would be out to replace the windshield, we just hung out for a lazy day at the rv park.

The glass guys came out and had no problem pulling the old windshield and getting the new one installed.

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Our installer arrived with struggled a bit with the old windshield. Our pull-in, back-out site did not make it easy for them as they had no spot to park the work truck in front of the RV. I loaned him our ladder so he could climb up to get to the top of the glass. After removing the old glass, he and his buddy fixed a rust area at the top of the window frame. Apparently this is a typical spot for rust and leaks in RV windshields. Their work was quick yet thorough. After getting the new windshield installed, they cleaned up around the RV and headed to next stop. Thanks fellas – you done good.

We made dinner plans to meet my nephew and his family at Barefoot Charlie’s in Hendersonville. The place had an island/beach sorta of decor. We enjoyed our short time with my nephew and the girls enjoyed their ‘drink’.

yummy

Carol keeps her focus and Carlotta’s eyes tells the story.

We enjoyed the conversations and short time with family. It was time to call it a night as i was beginning to turn into a pumpkin. (That happens to me around 9PM). After taking the fur babies out for their nightly walk before bed, we crashed. Tuesday would be a long day (83 miles).

We opted for a light breakfast Tuesday morning. My neighboring RVer watched me back out of our sight and gave me a thumbs up as we headed our way. I guess he was amazed that I could back a 38 foot motor home with the 8 foot utility trailer attached. We left late enough to miss the morning rush hour traffic in Nashville, and arrived at our target destination around noon. Because our back-in site had a privacy fence in the back, we disconnected the trailer before backing into our site.

Next we returned the unloaded trailer, and stopped for lunch at Subways. When we got back, we spent the rest of the day getting the RV nested into our site. The park owners took us to dinner at Logan’s Roadhouse where we had a ‘get to know you’ chat.

Wednesday, I hit the ground running since the fella I was replacing was leaving on Thursday. I’ll tell you about our work and the park on a follow-up post. Meanwhile, here is our trip recap.

Car

Cramalot Inn

Miles Driven

763.00

920

763

Avg MPG

24.75

24.8

6.4

Avg $/Gal

$1.96

$/Mile

$1.45

# days

7

Fuel $

$307.93

RV Park $

$145.68

Food $

$296.93

Moving Exp

$356.40

U-Haul Trailer

Trip $

$1106.94

By not adding the trailer cost into the mix, our average $/Mile would be $0.98. Since we began this journey in 2012, our average cost/mile has been $0.75 with the fifth wheel and $1.00 with Cramalot Inn.

Thanks for stopping by, y’all come back now.

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It Only Took 18 Minutes

In 1823, Stephen F. Austin received a grant from Mexico to colonize along the Brazos River. In 1824, Mexico changed to a republic form of government. The Constitution of 1824 failed to define rights of states within the republic including Texas. Over the next several years, Texas settlers grew dissatisfied with the policies of the government in Mexico City Mexico also began restricting immigration into Texas from the US.

In 1832, a group of Texas settlers met to establish resolutions regarding tariff reforms, lifting immigration restrictions, school funding and formation of a separate state of Texas within the Mexican republic.

Almost before the Mexican Republic had a chance to rejected the resolutions, Texans met again in 1833 to add a Texas Constitution, similar to the US Constitution, to be presented to the Mexican Republic.

Fearing a rebellion from the Texans, the Mexican Republic attempted to disarm the settlers. The talking stage developed into the shooting stage in October 1836 at the Battle of Gonzales. The Texans had held off the Mexican militia.

The battle flag used by the Texans at the Battle of Gonzales

By March 2, 1836, Texas declared independence from Mexico, approved a Declaration of Independence, and established an interim government for the newly created Republic of Texas.

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The Alamo as it sits today in San Antonio, Texas.

Four days later, Mexican President Santa Anna led a force of 2000 soldiers to the Alamo just outside of San Antonio. A small Texas force of less than 200 defenders held off Santa Anna for 13 days before Santa Anna overran the Alamo.

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Colonel James Fannin Memorial
Goliad, Texas
Colonel Fannin and his men, who were brutally executed by Santa Anna, are buried here.

At the end of March 1836, Santa Anna order a cowardly execution of 400 Texas prisoners who were being held in La Presidio in Goliad. The Texans were led away from La Presidio and given the impression they were being released.

At selected spots on each of the three roads, from half to three-fourths of a mile from the presidio, the three groups were halted. The guard on the right of the column of prisoners then countermarched and formed with the guard on the left. At a prearranged moment, or upon a given signal, the guards fired upon the prisoners at a range too close to miss. Nearly all were killed at the first fire. Those not killed were pursued and slaughtered by gunfire, bayonet, or lance. Fannin and some forty (Peña estimated eighty or ninety) wounded Texans unable to march were put to death within the presidio under the direction of Capt. Carolino Huerta of the Tres Villas battalion.

This led to a general retreat of the Texas forces to San Jacinto. On April 21, 1836, the small band Texans (about 750 militia) resoundingly defeated Santa Anna and his army of 1500 soldiers. That battle took 18 minutes. As the Texan militia charged Santa Anna’s men, the battle cries, “Remember the Alamo” and “Remember Goliad” could be heard from the charging Texans.

Santa Anna attempted to retreat but his escape route was cut off before the battle began. On April 21, 1836 General Santa Anna surrendered to General Sam Houston. The Texans had prevailed.

From 1836 to 1945, Texas remained an independent state. Texas officially became a State within the United States on December 29, 1845. Of all the states in the US, Texas is the only state that was an independent nation (1836-1845). Texas is the only state to enter the United States by treaty instead of territorial annexation.

IMG_2634And that is why I proudly fly my Texas flag along with the US Flag every day.

Thanks for stopping by, y’all come back now.

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Cee’s Odd Ball Challenge

As I was catching up on my blog reading, I hit a road blog on Cee Nuner’s blog. A good road block. She posted a photo of her new heat pump in her weekly Odd Ball Photo Challenge section. How odd indeed.

Since I was in a blog funk, I thought about some strange photos I had that would fit her Odd Ball Challenge.

Cees Odd Ball In October 2012, we were in Boerne, Texas and had stopped at the Dodging Duck Brewhaus and Restaurant for lunch. Before we left the restaurant, I thought it would be best to make a visit to the bathroom. I am not sure why, but I was captivated by the hand painted tiles on the walls in the men’s bathroom.

It is not every day that you step into a public bathroom and find some photo worthy items(s) that are captivating. Not only does the Dodging Duck Brewhaus and Restaurant have cool tiles in their bathroom, they have pretty good food and brews from their micro-brewery also.

Thanks for stopping by, y’all come back now.

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Home At Last

We left Amarillo, Texas on Tuesday March 31, heading East on I-40. 6 days and 1530 miles (2,400 KM) later, we pulled into Harrisonburg/Shenandoah Valley KOA in Broadway, VA.

The last leg of the trip from Salem to Broadway, Virginia was a short one (130 miles/210 KM). We decided to grab breakfast rather than fix something. The Omelet Shoppe sounded pretty good so that is where we headed. The restaurant looks like a converted Waffle House. Food was OK but nothing to write home about.

IMG_2573If we were just taking the car, parking would not be a problem. Parking a 38 foot motor home is a bit more challenging especially when pulling a small trailer. We found a spot in the Exxon gas station next door. (That is Cody, our Golden Retriever, up on the dash board. That’s his guard spot.)

IMG_2574I-81 traffic was pretty heavy this morning. It was moving but sometimes at a slow pace.

IMG_2596For our last segment of the trip, we, turned off I-81 and are now on Route 608 (Mauzy-Athlone Rd). After about 4 miles (6.4 KM) of a winding two lane road, passing a few dairy farms and a turkey farm, we arrived at the entrance to our new home.

IMG_2607After exchanging greetings and filling our motor home’s propane tank, we backed into our site and started getting our site set up.

IMG_2634We made good time on our 1530 miles (2,400KM) trip. Yes, we endured a couple of big storms along the way and one obstacle on the highway in Memphis, but overall, we had a good trip. It is not unusual to see an RVer broken down on the highway or worse, an RVer involved in an accident. On this trip, we saw neither. We enjoyed the company of good friends in Bluff City, Tennessee and had great food in several places especially Blues City Cafe in Memphis.

It was sad leaving our friends behind in Amarillo, Texas but it is good to have a chance to meet new friends in our new location. We have a fantastic site and look forward to many campfires. Tomorrow I will post more photos of our campground.

Thanks for stopping by, y’all come see us now.

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