So foggy even buzzards won’t fly . . .

9 Days and Counting . . .

We woke up this morning to such a solid blanket of fog that we could hardly see the bayou in front of us. We left the rig about 9:15, stopping by the park dumpster to drop off some garbage and do a little shopping while we were there. You remember Dumpster Shopping, don’t you?

Found this really nice painting that may end up in our granddaughter’s room,

Dumpster Painting

and this nice hanging plant that we decided to leave for another shopper.

Dumpster Plant

Heading down FM 517, we passed the vulture roosting area, only to find that the weather was so socked in that even they weren’t flying. They were just sitting around on buildings and signs in the area. Must be a real help to have vultures perched on the roof of your restaurant.

Vultures 1

Vultures 2

We got to the storeroom a little before 10, picked up the rental truck, got my mother’s washer and dryer loaded up and were ready to roll. I couldn’t find a place to take them, so I just put them out on the street before the trash pickup today.

And according to our daughter, everything was gone this evening when they got home. Gone is gone.

We were running short on time to get the rent truck back, so we immediately headed down to League City, stopping off at the Raceway to top off the diesel tank, and getting the truck back with about 20 minutes to spare.

Next up was lunch at King Food for a big bowl of Hot and Sour Soup, certainly the weather for it. We’re really going miss this place when we hit the road. Along with several others, as far as that goes.

Then we stopped off at a client’s to drop off about 4000 address labels for his next mail-out.

After that we went by HEB to stock up on some of their coffees to take on our travels this year.

Next was Office Depot to pick up some ballpoint pens, and a large file box to hold some of my mother’s papers that we kept out of the storeroom.

About 2pm we met Chris and Linda at the storeroom to finish transferring the last of my mother’s stuff into our other storeroom.

Finally we were heading home with only two more stops.

The first was the Holiday World RV Sales to drop off a stack of Gypsy Journals, and then Kroger’s for Lotto tickets and Starbuck’s Cinnamon Dolce Lattes from Starbucks.

A few minutes after we got home, Eldy and Jeannie showed up so I took over a bottle of Joint Juice for Jeannie to try, and a stack of Gypsy Journals for them to hand out as they travel west.


Thought for the Day:

The trouble ain’t too many fools, but that the lightning ain’t distributed right. – Mark Twain


Croissants and Armadillo Eggs . . .

10 Days and Counting . . .

Hot coffee and warm, flakey croissants started off this morning.

The croissants were from the gift we got from Brandi and Lowell at Christmas, a box of Williams-Sonoma Croissants.

These croissants are fantastic, so good, in fact, that they’re on the list of Oprah’s Favorites.


They come out looking like this, but they start as little frozen logs. There were two types in our box, plain and chocolate-filled. And both are delicious.

They’re shipped overnight, frozen in a Styrofoam container. You let them thaw out and rise for 9 hours and then pop them in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, or 13 minutes in our convection oven. They come out crispy, flakey, and fantastic.

After finally getting moving, we left the rig about noon heading back to the storeroom we’re trying to empty out.


We spent the afternoon going thru the last of my mother’s boxes of papers and photos, bringing back a lot memories at the same time. As we sorted thru things, we placed the stuff we wanted to save in plastic tubs for storage.

Between the consignment shop and Goodwill, we got rid of the last of the furniture yesterday. Then tomorrow we’ll take the washer and dryer to a used appliance store to get rid of them, and we’ll be finished, except for putting the plastic storage tubs in our other storeroom.

Finishing up about 3:30 pm we headed back to the rig, stopping off at Wal-Mart for supplies.

We got home a little before 5, just in time to get ready to go out for dinner with Eldy Tompkins and Jeannie Sparks. They’re parked two spaces down from us, and ended up here at Galveston Bay RV Park after reading about the park on our blog. We first met them last September when they were vendors at Nick Russell’s Gypsy Journal Rally in Elkhart, IN, where they were selling the line of Tastefully Simple products. We bought several of the dip mixes, and really liked them.

We had decided on T-Bone Tom’s, a local steakhouse restaurant that has been featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. We ate there several times years ago and never really cared for their BBQ. But after watching Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, we found out they’re really known for their steaks, homemade sausage, and their Armadillo Eggs.

Armadillo EggsArmadillo Eggs are about the size of a tennis ball, and are made by hollowing out a jalapeno, stuffing it full of sliced BBQ brisket, rolling it in two kinds of flour, and then breading it in panko crumbs. They are then deep-fried to order, and they are delicious!

For our entrée, we all had steaks. I had the rib-eye, Jan had the sirloin, Eldy had the T-Bone, and I’m not sure what Jeannie had. But we all thought they were great. Then even though we were all stuffed, we couldn’t resist their desserts. Jeannie and Eldy split the Strawberry Daiquiri Cheesecake, and Jan and I split the Homemade Bread Pudding. But by the time the dessert came, Jan decided she was just too full, so I had some and then we brought the rest home.

We had a great time talking and getting to know each other. We sat there talking for about two hours, and hope to be able to do it again before we leave. If not, we’ll be seeing them at the Gypsy Rally in Yuma, AZ starting the 7th of March.

On another note, we’ve got some really cold temperatures coming in the next several days. I think it was chasing Nick and Terry on the way to Arizona.

Tonight and tomorrow night the temperature is in the high 50’s / low 60’s. Then Tuesday night the low is supposed to be 27 degrees. And the next 3 nights are supposed to be in the high 20’s too.

Thanks a lot, Nick!


Thought for the Day:

"Except For Ending Slavery, Fascism, Nazism and Communism, WAR has Never Solved Anything."


American Coach Duesenberg Redux . . .

11 Days and Counting . . .

We spent all day working in the storeroom getting it cleaned out, and then all evening Landon-sitting while Brandi and Lowell were at a party.

We didn’t get home until almost 1am, so no new blog post today.

To make up for it, here’s a repost of our visit to the Fleetwood/American Coach factory in Decatur, IN, and the Auburn–Cord–Duesenberg Museum in Auburn, IN.

And yes, that’s where the expression came from.


It’s a Duesy!

Posted on October 30, 2009

Today was an early day…a VERY early day.

We got up at 5:30 AM and left the rig in our toad about 6 am on a 130 mile trip south to Decatur, IN.  We wanted to be there by 9 am to take the American Coach factory tour at their plant.  We left early because the weather was pretty bad, with a lot of rain and wind. With all the wind, I was glad we weren’t in the rig.

But before we hit the Interstate, we stopped off at McDonalds for a quick breakfast sandwich.

We got to the American Coach plant in Decatur about 8:45 am, right on time.

We were really surprised to see how full the parking lot was, considering the condition of the RV industry.

American Coach Factory

After filling out a form, a gentleman named Tom came by to be our tour guide.  Unfortunately we were not able to take pictures inside the facility, but it’s really amazing how the RV’s are put together.

In this case American Coach starts out with a pre-built chassis/engine combination from Spartan Chassis that looks like this.

Spartan Chassis

These are complete ready to run units just waiting for an RV to be built on top of them.

The floor and the walls are built up from welded aluminum tubing that form a single unit. Then the carpet / tile / wood flooring is added and the cabinets / furniture are installed. Finally, the roof is put on and the rig is moved into the paint area to be painted and striped.

It takes about a week from start to finish to build a rig and roll it out the door.  They are presently building about 30 rigs a week, around 1500 a year, and at this point business is increasing by about 5 more rigs a month.  Good news for the RV industry.

Our tour took a little over an hour, and after it was over, we drove over to American Coach Service to buy some parts for my coach.

Leaving there, we headed about 30 mile south back to Celina, OH where we were a month ago for the Gypsy Journal Rally.  We wanted to eat lunch at  La Carreta, a Mexican restaurant that we really enjoyed while we were there.

After lunch we started back toward Elkhart, stopping in Auburn, IN to visit the Auburn–Cord–Duesenberg Museum.

Founded in 1874, the Eckhart Carriage Company was a successful manufacturer of horse-drawn carriages. Frank Eckhart had not only the foresight but also the engineering ability to steer the buggy company into the “Age of the Automobile.” His Auburn Automobile Company prospered, particularly after E.L. Cord was brought in to run the business. Cord was both inventive and astute, and in 1929 created his own company, which, among other things, bought out the Duesenberg Automobile Co.

Despite the enthusiastic public response, sales were disappointing. The estimated production figure of 500 cars per year was never matched and eventually only 481 Model Js were constructed. Being extremely expensive, the Model J was popular with the rich and famous. Among the owners were many greats from the showbizz industry like Gary Cooper, Clark Gable, James Cagney and Greta Garbo. Various kings and queens were Model J owners as well. Part of the Duesenberg legend is based on the many famous owners.

Styling and engineering failed to overcome the fact that Cord’s vehicles were too expensive for the Depression-era market and that Cord’s stock manipulations would force him to give up control of his car companies. Under injunction from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to refrain from further violations, Cord sold his shares in his automobile holding company. In 1937, production of Auburns, Cords and Duesenbergs ended.

The building that now houses the Museum was the original Art Deco headquarters / showroom of the Auburn, Cord, and Duesenberg automobiles, and it’s beautiful in its own right.

ACD Building

And the inside is even more outstanding.

ACD Building 2 ACD Building 3 ACD Building 4 ACD Building 5 ACD Building 6 ACD Building 7

I won’t bore you with all the details. I’ll just show you pictures of these beautiful automobiles.


ACD 19 ACD 10 ACD 11 ACD 12 ACD 13 ACD 14 ACD 15 ACD 16 ACD 17 ACD 18

Leaving the museum we drove back to Elkhart through more heavy wind and rain.

And arriving back about 5 pm, we immediately headed out to dinner at Ryan’s with Nick and Terry.

Tomorrow we start getting ready to leave here on Sunday afternoon.

Thought for the Day:

“The hardest thing in the world to understand is income tax.” – Albert Einstein


VOIP and Allure . . .

12 Days and Counting . . .

This morning started out with coffee, and our friend Maria calling a little before 10 with a computer problem that took a while to figure out.

After that I packed up the 4 sensors that I’m returning to Doran in a Priority Mail envelope and did a online shipping label so it’s ready to go. We’ll drop it by the P.O. on our way to dinner tonight.

Next I spent some time talking with my new client, and the VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) company that they will be getting their phone service from.

A little later, I went outside and worked a while  on double-checking and touching up the caulking on some seams. I started on installing the check valve in the water pump line to prevent the shore water backfilling the fresh water tank through the pump, but ran out of time due to Jan needing to get her shower. I’ll try to finish it up this weekend.

We left the rig about 4 pm to meet our friends Bob & Beth at the Hibachi Grill up in Webster.

On the way we stopped off at Dues RV & Camper in Dickinson to drop off a stack of Gypsy Journals, and to buy a new shower hose inline on/off valve. They were happy to get the Gypsy Journals but they didn’t have the valve.

The Hibachi Grill & Buffet recently opened in the old Ryan’s building with a Chinese buffet and Hibachi grill. Thus, the name.

Once again, the ratings on turned out to be very accurate. It was really good with maybe one of the biggest selections of food I’ve seen. And everything was hot and fresh.

Saying goodbye to our friends, we headed home, stopping off at first Lowe’s, and then Home Depot, where I finally found my valve. The old one had been leaking and dripping for awhile, so this will take care of that.

Getting back home, I went online to rent a 16 ft Budget Truck (I wonder if I still remember how to drive something that short) to haul some of my mother’s furniture up to a friend’s consignment shop. Hopefully they will be able to take some or all of it off our hands so I can stop paying on this storeroom.

Then next I started ripping up the carpet and pad in the front area of the coach. I going to replace it with Allure laminate flooring. Allure, sold by Home Depot, is just the thing for RV’s since it is a thick, slightly flexible rubber laminate that looks like wood. The flexibility makes it perfect for the coach, and being rubber-based, it’s not bothered by water.allure

The carpet is so hard to keep clean, and has a few stains (cat barf – Thanks, Nick) that just won’t come out. Last year I rented a carpet steamer/cleaner that helped some, but this will take care of the problem permanently.

I’ve noticed the new coaches we’ve looked at all have either ceramic tile or laminate instead of carpeting in the living room. Now I know why.

That’s it for today. I’ve got more carpet to pull up.


Thought for the Day:

Live the life you have imagined. – Henry David Thoreau



Hooter’s and Cher . . .

13 Days and Counting . . .

We left the rig about 10:30 this morning heading out for a morning of errands and lunch.

Our first shop was Fry’s Electronics to check on some prices on CAT 5e cable and a wireless router for a client. Jan found some magazines so she was happy, too. Fry’s is one of my favorite places. I even got Nick Russell turned on to the Fry’s in Las Vegas.

Our next stop was one of our favorite places, Hooter’s. This is our first time eating at the Webster location since we got back to Houston this time, and they’ve completely remodeled it since then. As usual Jan and I both got our chicken XXX hot, which is the hottest they have. Jan gets the chicken strips and a salad, and I always get 10 wings with a side of celery and carrots, with ranch dressing. I always get my wings naked, and all drums.

Get your mind out of the gutter.

‘Naked’ means no breading, and ‘all drums’ means the part of the wings that looks like a little drumstick, not the wing tips.

Leaving Hooter’s, we stopped by a client’s for a few minutes, before heading for the Home Depot over in Kemah. I needed another tube of caulk for some seams on the rig that are leaking and some shims to finish mounting the drawer in the old TV cabinet.

Coming into the park, I stopped by the office to tell them we’ll be leaving on the 9th, and also dropping off a stack of Nick Russell’s Gypsy Journal Newspapers.

Getting back to the rig I put in a call to the Doran Tire Pressure Monitor people concerning 4 bad sensors I have. They gave me RMA and told me to send them in, no charge. I always get great service from them.

While I was on the phone Jan headed off to get a pedicure while I worked on the rig roof re-caulking some seams.

While I was up there I took these shots of the view.

Gal Bay Park 1

Gal Bay Park 2

Gal Bay Park 3

Gal Bay Park 5

We’ll really miss this park when we leave and we’re always happy to come back.

As I was coming down, our neighbors from two sites down came by and introduced themselves. Eldon and Jeannie Sparks had been at Nick’s Gypsy Journal Rally in Elkhart, IN last August, and will be at the next one in Yuma in March. Hopefully we’ll have a chance to spend some time with them in next few days.

A little after 5 pm we headed out to the movie. We had been wanting to see ‘Burlesque’ the Cher/Christina Aguilera musical, and this was the last day it was going to be at the theatre. Although the reviews weren’t too good, we like both stars so we gave it a shot.

And we weren’t disappointed at all. The musical numbers were fantastic, and the storyline was good, with a twist at the end. This was Aguilera’s movie debut and she did a really good job playing an Iowa farm girl moving to LA to become a star.

Cher had two good numbers, but Aguilera was really the star of the show. She has the best voice I’ve heard in a long time. Her range and power cannot be described. You have to hear it. One of her songs, “Tough Love”, was written and song by Etta James, and if you can hold your own with an Etta James song, you can sing anything.

Heading back to the rig we stopped off at the Monterey’s Little Mexico in Dickinson for a late supper, finally getting home a little before 10pm after another great day.

Tomorrow it’s supposed to be 70 and sunny. Really looking forward to more warm, dry weather.

See you back here tomorrow.


Thought for the Day:

Tyrants flourish only when they achieve a standing army, an enslaved press, and a disarmed populace.


Tea Rooms and Cinnamon Buns . . .

14 Days and Counting. . . .

We had another appointment this morning at 10:30 so the doctor could go over some test results. So we headed out about 9:45.

Thinks went quickly, so by 11 we were having lunch at the Texas Tea Room. And as usual, it was really good. They make a great sandwich.

Our next stop was one of our storerooms. This one contains my mother’s furniture and I’m hoping we can get it emptied before we leave in two weeks.

Then it was on to a client’s office for a few minutes, followed by the bank ATM drive-thru.

Next, after a quick phone call, we headed over to a possible new client’s office in the Ship Channel area. They setting up a new office and want someone to wire up it up for Internet and phone service. They’re interested in possibly using VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) for their phone system, which should be much cheaper, considering what a 4 lines from AT&T would cost every month, not even considering the phones themselves. We’ll see how it works out.

We got home about 2pm and were in for the evening. The weather was nice enough to actually get some things done outside for a change.

We topped off the evening with hot coffee and the last of Terry Russell’s wonderful cinnamon buns.

That was about it for today. More tomorrow.


Thought for the Day:

The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.


Eggs and Samsung . . .

15 Days and Counting . . .

This morning Jan and I both had our doctor’s visits, so we left the rig a little after 7am for our 8am appointments up in Friendswood. I had gone in last Thursday and had my blood draw done, so I just had to meet with Dr. Spuhler to go over things.

Jan however, being a new patient, couldn’t get her’s done early, so she’ll have to come back tomorrow to go over her tests.

Leaving the doctor’s office, we headed over to Webster to eat lunch at The Egg & I breakfast/lunch place. Although it was really lunch time, we both had breakfast. Jan had an enormous blueberry pancake with bacon, and I had scrambled eggs, 3 delicious turkey sausage patties, and an English muffin. I’ve had turkey bacon, but this is the first time I’ve had turkey sausage, and it was really good. As good as any regular sausage I’ve ever had.

After breakfast we drove over to Fry’s so I could pick up a new LCD monitor for Jan. She’s decided she wants her own computer, and since I have another computer, a keyboard, and a mouse, all I need is a monitor for her. I found this really nice Samsung for $99.99.

Samsung E1920XIt’s small at 18.5 inches, but it’s the perfect size for the dining room table where Jan will be using it.

Since Jan also had her final dental appointment this afternoon, we hung out at Brandi’s for awhile until it was time to head over there.

By the time Jan was out of the dentist, it was time to head down to Garcia’s for our pre-Bingo supper with Bob and Maria. Then, after dinner, I took Bob home, while Jan and Maria headed down to La Marque to play Bingo.

Getting back to the rig, I worked on client stuff until it was time to pick up Jan.

She did have a little bit of luck, winning half a $100 pot, the first one she’s won in several weeks.

We got home about 10:30, finishing up another long day.

More tomorrow…


Thought for the Day:

Character is defined by how we treat those who society says have no value.


16 Days and Counting . . .

Our day started off with good coffee from our daughter-in-law’s Christmas present, and then got even better.

About 12:30 Jan’s dentist called with a cancellation, so Jan will get her last appointment done tomorrow afternoon, instead of Feb. 16th.  So this means we can push up our departure date from the 17th to the 9th. Which means we’ve got 16 days and counting before we leave.


The hitch itch is getting bad, believe me.

Later we left the rig about 1:45 to meet our friends Bob & Maria at King Food up in Webster, our favorite local Chinese place. As usual we sat around just talking for a good while. We’ve known Bob & Maria since the mid-80’s and always have fun together.

Finally leaving King Food, we stopped off at Brandi’s to drop off some clothes for Landon that Jan got at Kohl’s yesterday. BabyDaddy Lowell was already home working from there when we stopped by.

As we were heading home, Nick Russell called about a problem he was having with his slides and levelers. Sounded like to me that he was right in thinking that his hydraulic pump system was low on fluid. He said he’d checked the level with the levelers down and the slides out. I told him that on my PowerGear system, the levelers had to be retracted before you can check the fluid level. His HWH hydraulic system handles both his levelers and his slides. Our levelers are hydraulic, but our slide is all electric.

Passing thru Dickinson, we stopped at the Sonic Drive-In to pick Jan up a foot-long chili cheese coney to have later for supper, along with some Ched’R Poppers.

We got home a little before 5:30 and were really glad to be in out of the rain. It started raining yesterday evening, and has pretty much rained ever since. All this rain we’re having is certainly not helping me get all the outside jobs done on the RV. Hopefully it will dry up soon.

Nick called back a little after 6 saying that his fluid level was low, and that adding a quart of transmission fluid had fixed the problem. Glad he got it taken care of.

Speaking of Nick, he and Terry have been heading west, hoping to find warmer weather. But so far, it’s not working very well. A couple of nights ago in Livingston, TX, it was 42 degrees. Last night it was 29 degrees in Abilene.

Tonight in Sweetwater, they’re expecting a inch of snow.

What’s wrong with this picture, Nick?


Thought for the Day:

“Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge even where there is no river. “


RV Wrecks and Joint Juice . . .

Last night Nick Russell sent me this article about an RV wreck near St. Augustine, FL. In fact it was about 10 miles north of the RV park where we stayed there in June 2009.

It especially hit home when I noticed it was an American Eagle like we have, but due to the size of the logo and the engine access door, I think it’s an older model than our ‘99.  It’s amazing, considering this rig is now a pile of kindling, that the driver escaped with only minor injuries, and apparently, his wife wasn’t hurt.

On another note, Nick just can’t catch a break. He and Terry left Florida, heading west and looking for warmer weather. But I think he’s going the wrong way.

Tonight in Livingston, TX where Nick and Terry were last night, it’s going to be 42 degrees. But in Abilene, where they are tonight, it’s going to 29 degrees.

Turn back, Nick! Turn back!

This morning started about 10 am when our son Chris came over to modify a cabinet he built for our rig. By the time he was finished it was time for all of us to head up to Webster to meet the rest of the family at Cheddar’s, a local favorite family restaurant of ours.

And of course, this produced the obligatory Landon photos.

Landon at Cheddars

Landon and Jan at Cheddars

Landon with Ring

Landon was fascinated by Piper’s earrings.

Landon with Pipers Earring

As usual, when the whole family is together, we spent a lot of time setting around just talking about family stuff.

After lunch, we all split up, with Jan and I followed Chris home so I could install the printer driver for Piper’s Christmas present laser printer.

Next it was on to Sam’s Club to pick up the Joint Juice they were out of when we were there on Friday. After that we stopped by Brandi’s to pick up some mail, and of course, Jan got in some more Landon time.

Then it was back over to Kohl’s, where with their sale and the 15% off coupon Brandi had printed out for her, Jan got about $125 worth of stuff, including a new purse, for about $50.

Finally we stopped off at Kroger’s for some groceries, and a Cinnamon Dolce Latte from Starbuck’s. We had thought we were going to stop by our storeroom, but decided to go on home after a busy day.

That about wraps it up for today.  More tomorrow.


Thought for the Day:

"The rush to be wrong first is just too hard for some people to resist."


Road Trip !!!!!

We left the rig about 8:40 heading to Livingston by way the Buc-ee’s on SR96. We stop there to  top off the toad with fuel and Jan with breakfast kolaches. Then it was on to I-45 heading north.

We got into the Escapees RV Park outside of Livingston about 11am and quickly found the site where our good friends Nick and Terry Russell were parked. Dennis Hill and his wife of the RV Driving School was kind enough to loan Nick and Terry the use of  site while he is out on the road. Dennis’ RV Driving School is where Jan took her driving course a couple of years ago, and they are much recommended. I was very impressed with how good her instructor was in calming her nerves and reassuring her.

After the hellos and hugs were out of the way, Terry further greeted us with hot coffee and some of her world-famous fresh hot cinnamon rolls.

After a couple of hours catching up and comparing notes, we jumped in Nick’s Ford Explorer and he and Terri gave us a tour of beautiful downtown Livingston, TX and its surrounding environs. Which took all of 15 minutes, maybe less.

Next we drove out US190 toward Lake Livingston. stopping at this boat launch along the side of the lake with a beautiful view of the lake and the bridge.

Lake Livingston

The first thing we saw was this Great Blue Heron in the bushes along side the boat slip. At first we thought there was a nest nearby, but it looks like he was just resting.

Lake Livingston Heron

A really beautiful bird.

Lake Livingston Heron2

Heading back toward Livingston, everyone agreed that it was time for supper. On the way out Jan had noticed this Mexican place called Pueblo Viejo, that even in the middle of the afternoon was pretty busy. Nick checked on his Droid and said it had 4 stars, so we decided to give it a try.

Pueblo Viejo

And the Yelp rating was dead on. It was really good. Great chips, a really hot salsa, and good food.

And even better company and conversation. We ended up sitting and talking for almost two hours before finally heading back to the RV park.

Before it got too dark we grabbed some photos of Nick and Terry,

Nick and Terry Lake Livingston

and this one of our two beautiful ladies.

Jan and Terry

After talking over routes and schedules for the next month until we meet in Yuma, and with Terry stocking us up with some of her great cinnamon rolls, we finally said our goodbyes and headed out about 7:15pm.

We got home about 9:15 after a great visit with good friends, and topped off the day with coffee and more delicious cinnamon rolls.

What a fitting end to an terrific day.


Thought for the Day:

"I didn’t kill him – He decided to stop breathing after I shot him…"