Today was another nice quiet day, complete with sleeping-in, turkey leftovers for lunch,  and a nap.

What more could you ask for?

Our daughter Brandi called about 2 pm, during nap time, so we didn’t call her back until around 4.

About 5 we headed out for dinner, and ended up at Monterey’s Little Mexico again, for their great Chicken Tortilla Soup.

After that it was back home tor Amazing Race and Desperate Housewives, at least for Jan.  I read in the bedroom.

More later…

A two movie day…

We’ve settled in here at site 80 at Galveston Bay RV Park in Dickinson TX.  This is the same site where we spent last year, and we have the same neighbors on each side.

And view out our front window is still spectacular!


Today was a movie day.  We picked up our granddaughter Piper at about 11 am and drove over to Friendswood to have lunch at the Charleston Tea Room.

After a great lunch, we stopped off at our daughter Brandi’s to feed her cat, since she’s been staying at Shawna’s since Thanksgiving.

Then it was off to the movies. Jan and Piper wanted to see the second installment of the Twilight series, “New Moon”.  Since it was about vampires and werewolves, I let myself be convinced to go along.

Turned out it was pretty good. Since it was the 2nd one, it took a while to figure out who was who, but all in all, I enjoyed it.

After the movie we dropped Miss Piper off at her house and headed back to the rig for a while.

Then about 5 we headed over to our friend’s Bob and Maria Sutton’s house for order-in Chinese and a movie.  After dinner we watched “The Proposal” with Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds. We enjoyed the movie, I mean, what’s not to like about Sandra Bullock?   Especially with a semi-nude scene!  And since Ryan Reynolds was also semi-nude, there was something for everyone.

One thing we thought was kind of funny is that about half the movie supposedly took place in Sitka, AK, where we’ve been. And it was obvious from almost the first shot that it was not filmed in Sitka.  I figured maybe somewhere on the Oregon or Washington coast, but it turns out that it was filmed in Rockport, MA, not Alaska.  Oh well.

More tomorrow…

Grey Friday…

For us it was Grey Friday because I only planned to get a couple of things at Radio Shack for our part of the sales day.

We headed out about 11 to first eat lunch at Monterey’s Little Mexico in Dickinson, one of our favorite Mexican places.  I love their Chicken Tortilla Soup, so much so, that’s usually all I have, along with the chips and salsa.

On our way there, Nick Russell called to catch up on things. They’re presently in Summerdale, AL, about 16 miles north of Gulf Shores.

After lunch we headed over to Radio Shack to pick up a couple of things on sale,  Then, after checking out the Walmart next door, we decided to give it a try.

Actually it wasn’t bad.  We weren’t  shopping the sales, we just had to pick up a few things.

Getting back to the rig, we let Mister out to roam while I set up the bird feeder Jan got at Walmart.

All in all, a very nice day.

More later…

It’s Turkey Day… and Ham Day… and Stuffing Day.. and…

We got up about 9 to get Jan’s world-renowned squash casserole (made with fresh squash) in the oven before we headed out to Shawna’s for Thanksgiving dinner.

We headed out about 11, stopping by Brandi’s to pick up the Honeybaked Ham we left there, since we didn’t have room for it in our rig fridge with the other stuff in it. We also stopped at a convenience store for a Houston Chronicle to get all the ads for tomorrow’s sales.

We got to Shawna’s in Katy, TX about 65 miles away, about 12:30 pm.  We have known Shawna and her husband, Jason, for about 15 years.  Shawna, my daughter Brandi, and I worked at the same place for a while, and we’ve been friends every since.  For a number of years now, at least once a year, either Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter, we all get together for a big meal at Shawna’s.

And then we walk in the door and everyone wants to know the sausage balls. Jan is also famed for her sausage balls, and everyone loves them, and all 8 dozen go fast.  There would probably be a mutiny if we showed up without them.

After a great meal and a nap on the sofa (when I fell asleep Green Bay & Detroit were playing. When I woke up it was Dallas & Oakland).

About 4:30 we waddled out (I told you it was a BIG meal) to the truck and headed home with a lot of leftovers, stopping at Buc-ee’s for coffee.

It was dark by the time we got back to the rig, so we were in for the night, still so full we didn’t even think about supper.

More tomorrow…


Thanksgiving Eve…

Today was a ‘get ready for Thanksgiving’ day.

We headed out about 8:15. I was dropping Jan off at Brandi’s to fix her Thanksgiving dishes and I was going to beat the crowd at the HoneyBaked Ham place.


When I got there at 9, the time they opened, there was already a line out the door and down the block. About 150 feet.  So much for early.

About 90 minutes later I had my ham and headed back to Brandi’s. Then after Jan was finished, we drove over to King Food for lunch. And it’s still great as always.

Getting back to the rig, I left Jan and headed back out.

I first went by the park office to settle up and then headed over to pay a visit to one of my clients who had called with a problem.

Finally got back to the rig about 5pm and we settled in for the night.

More tomorrow…

Home Again…At least for a while…

After spending the night in the Walmart parking lot in Breaux Bridge, LA, we pulled out about 8 am, heading for Houston.

I had been debating whether or not to fuel up before leaving for Houston.  I knew I was going to have to fill up before we parked in Houston, or Dickinson, actually.

We will be parked for at least two months, and, if possible you always want to park with a full tank of diesel.  It reduces the amount of condensation that forms in the tank,  which leads to water in your fuel, which is bad.

Anyway, I probably had enough fuel to make it home, but, when it comes down to it, it’s not something i want to take a chance with.  So I was looking for a place to fuel up in Breaux Bridge, but I wasn’t having much luck.

I circled thru two truck stops without finding a space.  All the semi’s were fueling up, and I really hate to get in the way of guys trying to make a living. So I decided to head on down the road a ways. Our ‘The Next Exit’ book said there was another place 18 miles down the road.

‘The Next Exit’  is a must-have book for every RV’er. It list what is at every exit on every Interstate in every state in the US. And it also shows who has diesel and ‘big-rig access” so we know we can fit.

This time we lucked out. The Texaco truck stop was not very busy.  Maybe because it had the slowest pumps I’ve encountered in a long time.  Usually truck stop pumps have a bigger nozzle and pump the fuel much faster than regular pumps. I mean, when you’re taking on 3 or 400 gallons like semi’s do, you don’t want to be there all day. It’s bad enough when I only need 125 gallons or so.

So by the time we pulled back on to the Interstate it was 9 o’clock. And we had traveled 18 miles. That’s 18 miles per hour! At this rate it’ll be after Thanksgiving before we get to Houston.

But the rest of the trip turned out to be a breeze. We turned off I-10 onto FM146 and cruised on down to Dickinson, taking a brief detour down on 96 to the Bucee’s to top off the tank before we parked.  And really, really wished I’d waited to fill up here. Diesel was 22 cents a gallon cheaper than in Louisiana. That’s over $26.00 cheaper!  Darn!

Anyway, by 2:30 we were parked in our same site as last year here at Galveston Bay RV park on Dickinson Bayou.

At 6:30 we met all the kids at the new La Brisa on I-45 in League City. It was really great to see all the family after nine months on the road.

It’s good to be home again…at least for a while.


Today was the first day of our two day trip back to Houston.  We left the Gulf State Park at Gulf Shores about 8:00 am, but we didn’t get far.  Only to the Cracker Barrel in Foley where we decided to stop for breakfast..

Finally, about 9 we hit the road…again. Being pretty much all Interstate, we had a smooth trip, all 300 miles of it.  About 2:45pm we pulled into the parking lot of Mulate’s here in Breaux Bridge, LA,  (pronounced ‘mu lots’) pretty much our favorite Cajun place.  There’s a place in Houston that runs a close second, but this one is the best.

I have been eating the gumbo here for almost 15 years.  From 1994 until 2006 I made the round trip from Houston to Birmingham every month to visit my mother.  And I always stopped at Mulate’s both going and coming.  It go so that I would just walk in and sit down and they would bring me my order…large seafood gumbo, extra rice, and Ice tea, and then bread pudding and coffee for dessert.

Actually, I’m starting to salivate just typing this. And I just ate there 5 hours ago.  It’s that good!  It was nice to walk in, have Tracey run over and give us a big hug, and then bring us our order.  Just like old times.

Right now we’re parked right down the street in the Walmart parking lot for the night.  Tomorrow we’ll make the 250 mile run to the Galveston Bay RV Park on Dickinson Bayou, where we’ll be parked for the next couple of months or so.

More tomorrow…

Last Day in Paradise…

Today is our last full day in Gulf Shore for a while. It will probably be this time next year before we’re back.

Today started just like yesterday with a call from Nick Russell. We talked about a problem he’d been having with the taillights on his van.  Seems they suddenly fixed themselves, after the problems he’d had last week.

Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, I always say.

About 11 or so we headed out to have lunch at one of our favorite places here, Lulu’s.  Lulu is Lucy Buffet, whose brother Jimmy is a little more well known.

Her place is right on the Intercoastal Waterway with a great view of passing boats and tugs.


And the food is great too!

Jan had the Jerked Chicken Salad Sandwich and I had the Buffalo Chicken Quesadillas. And we always save room for dessert.

And the dessert is great! Jan and I split the Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding, made, of course, with Krispy Kreme Doughnuts as the bread.  MMMMM!  MMMMM!  GOOOD!

After lunch, coming back toward the beach, we stopped off at Luxury RV Park to drop off a bundle Gypsy Journals.

Before going back to the rig, we decided to drive down West Beach to see what was new.

The first thing we saw was this sign.

Mouse Sign

What’s up with this?  Now we’re worrying about mouse habitat?  Don’t they sell traps for that?

Nearby we got these great pelican shots. They were all sitting on large pipe, paralleling a bridge, just feet from the road and the inlet bank.

Pelicans Gulf 1

Pelicans Gulf 2

If you haven’t figured it out yet, Jan is crazy about pelicans…and moose…and flamingos…and octopus…octopuses…octopi…whatever.

Heading back toward the rig, we stopped off to walk down to the beach.

Gulf Waves

A lot of nice waves due to the storm last night.

Getting back to the rig, I got the satellite dish set back. Hopefully no more high winds tonight.

Next I wanted to check the water level in the coach batteries. I tried to check them at least once a month, and the last time I’d done it was about a month ago while we were in Elkhart, IN.

Upon opening the compartment door I immediately noticed a problem with a battery cable.

Battery 1

The lead connected the two 12 volt banks was broken off.  At first I thought it had burnt thru.  But on looking closer I was able to tell that it was probably broken off by age and vibration.  Something similar happened back in June with a control wire on my starter solenoid.

Due to the remaining length of wire I could see I  would probably need to replace the entire wire. And this would be difficult on a Sunday afternoon.  And we would need the batteries tomorrow night when we Wally Dock in Breaux Bridge, LA on our way back to Houston.

Thinking about it for a minute, I decided to do this.

Battery 2

I used one of my jumper cable sets to temporarily make the connection until we get back to Houston and I can make up a new cable.  I think it should hold OK.

About 5:30 we drove back down the beach to DeSoto’s Seafood Kitchen. They always have great food, but we especially like one of their sides, Sweet Potato Casserole with Caramelized Pecans. You almost want to just order a whole plate of it.

Tomorrow we will start back toward Houston, stopping in Breaux Bridge, LA about 300 miles from here, so we’ll get an early start, probably about 8am.

More later…

Old memories are the best…

Our day started with a call from Nick Russell who wanted to know how much longer we were going to be here in Gulf Shores.  Nick and his wife Terry are presently in Titusville, FL and had decided to head over this way before heading back up to Elkhart, IN to, hopefully, sell their old bus conversion/RV.

They’re planning to leave Monday morning and drive straight through to the Escapees RV Park up in Summerdale.  But, unfortunately, we’re also leaving here Monday morning to head back to Houston, so I guess we’re going to have to wait awhile before we can get together again.

About 11:30 am we headed over to Pensacola, FL to eat at Sonny’s BBQ for lunch and then visit one of Jan’s favorite gift shops, Artisana.

Coming home we drove past one of my favorite childhood playthings.

Pensacola Train

When I was a kid I loved to play on this locomotive. Of course it didn’t have a fence around it then.

A little Googling tells me that #1355 was originally built in 1912 as a 2-8-0 Consolidated and operated mainly in Missouri.  In 1945 it was converted to a 2-8-2 Mikado and ran the St. Louis – San Francisco – Pensacola line until 1952.  It was stored until 1955 when it was mounted on what was then the main street into Pensacola.

I was always fascinated in these big machines. Up close, they’re even more massive.  I mean, these drive wheels are over 6’ in diameter.

Pensacola Train Wheels

It’s always good to see stuff from your childhood still around.  Makes you feel not quite so old!

Heading back toward the rig, we passed another series of the mascot statues.  We’ve seen pelicans in Seabrook, TX,  moose in Coeur d’Alene, ID,  mermaids in Beaufort, SC.

Here in Perdido Bay, FL they have more pelicans.

FL Pelican

Coming back to the park, I stopped off at the Park Office to drop off a stack of Gypsy Journals

Getting back to the rig I installed the new metal drain plug in my water heater. The old one was plastic and was leaking. Besides that, it had become rounded off so it was hard to get off and impossible to tighten.  The metal one works great.

About 5:30 we headed out for supper at Sea N Suds, a place we had seen here in Gulf Shores, but had never eaten at.  I guess we kind of figured it was just another bar on the beach.  But we saw a recommendation on Nick Russell’s blog and decided to check it out.  And boy I’m glad we did.

Not only was the food good, but looking at some of the old pictures on the wall, I discovered a picture that I didn’t know existed anymore.

It’s a picture of my parent’s motel here on the beach, circa 1955.


I know this is 1955 because that’s when we built the new bigger house/office and two more cottages on the back row. In 1956 we added three more cottages on the back row for a total of 10.  The pier at over 300 feet long was the longest one on the Gulf Coast at the time.

Here’s a picture of the pier during a storm.


It turns out that the Sea N Suds was built on the site of my parent’s motel. (They sold it in 1958). I had lost track of exactly where it was because all the old landmarks that I remember are gone. And it’s possible that the Sea N Suds building is built around our old “Tackle Shack”

Here’s what the area looks like now.



Here are some other pictures.  This first one was taken about 1954.


And this one, taken about the same time (Note I’m still wearing my favorite cowboy suit), shows me and my best friend, David Duddy, and gives a view of the cottages from the street.


This next one was taken in early 1951, a few months after we moved to the beach.


And this last one was taken in the summer of 1952.


Coming back from Sea N Suds we hit the the thunderstorm that had been building all day.  By the time we got back to the rig, it was pouring and blowing.   So much so that the satellite dish had blown over.

So it was reading and computing for the rest of the night.


Tallulah’s and Throwed Rolls…

Today we got a late start, leaving about noon to drive down toward Orange Beach and Tallulah’s, a must-stop gift shop there. It used to be called Tootie’s Yellow Broom and we’ve been going there for years.

Afterwards we drove down toward Alabama Point to check things out.  While we were down there I got this great shot.


Leaving the Point we drove up to Foley to have a late lunch at one of our favorite places, Lambert’s Throwed Rolls.  We both had the fried chicken and had plenty left over to take home.

After lunch I dropped Jan off to get a pedicure while I stopped off at Ace Hardware to get some hot glue sticks and a few other things.

Coming back toward Gulf Shores we took a detour down to our old house on the Bon Secour River.  My parents built it in 1958 after they sold our motel on the beach at Gulf Shores. They sold it when we came back from Colombia, South America in 1963.  It’s right on the river and was a really nice house.


On the way back to the rig we dropped by Books A Million to check out the new magazines, and then got cappuccinos at our favorite place.

Getting back home we sat out with the cats while enjoying the beautiful view right beside our rig.


Even Emma came out for a few minutes.


After sitting out a while we heading in for the night.

More tomorrow…