The Deer Whisperer . . .

My main chore from my To-Do list today was to flush out our rig’s water heater. Normally I do this before we leave Houston for the year, but just ran out of time this year.

The first step was to turn off the water heater. In this case, the electric switch. Next I turned on the hot water in the lavatory and let it run until the water was cold.

Leaving the water running, I went outside and turned off the water to the rig, and then removed the drain plug on the water heater, as shown at the bottom of this photo.

Water Heater 1a

I left the faucet open inside the rig to release the vacuum and make it easier to drain the heater. After letting most of the water drain out, I hooked up my cleaning wand to a hose, turned the water on, and inserted it into the drain hole.

Water Heater Wand

Using the wand I flushed out the inside of the heater, noting how much trash and gunk comes out. And in this case I didn’t see a lot of stuff, which made my job a little easier.

If I had found a lot coming out, I would have put the drain plug back in, removed the T&P valve located above the drain, pour in about a pint of vinegar, fill the water heater with water, and then turn the power back on and let it set for a couple of hours.

This would dissolve and remove a lot of the crud. At this point I would start over with my flushing until the water draining out was clear.

In this case I just put the drain plug back in, turned the water back on to the rig, and then waited until water was running freely. At this point, I turned the heater back on, and I was done.

If you do this for yourself, be very careful to not accidently turn the power on to the heater without any water in it. It will burn out the heating elements in just a few seconds.

Later, about 2pm, Jan and I headed out for the afternoon to run some errands over in Boerne, about 25 miles away. Our first stop was Home Depot to pick up couple of things for my rig projects, and then a few blocks later, Radio Shack for some new test leads and connectors.

Then it was on to Wal-Mart, and then HEB for a couple of things that Wal-Mart did have.

Coming back to our park, we were passing a ranch and looked over to see a bull elk,

Bump Gate Elk 1


and a cow.

Bump Gate Elk 2

Never can tell what you’ll see on a Texas back road.

Coming back into Lakehills, we stopped at Cowan’s on the Creek, a local restaurant that really good online reviews. Based on them, we were looking forward to a really good steak. Unfortunately the reviews didn’t seem to know about the empty lake and the lack of business, and the fact that the place had shut down their full kitchen two weeks ago. So we had our choice of burgers, chicken fried steak, or the lunch special, Meatloaf, Cheesy Potatoes, and Green Beans.

Jan and I both agreed it was really good, but it wasn’t the steak we were looking forward to. We did have a nice talk with the owner about RV’ing, and also about the missing lake. She said the real reason the lake was dry was that due to the drought, San Antonio was pumping so much water from the river that supplies the lake at the dam, that none was left to spill over the dam and keep the lake filled.

Getting back to the rig about 6:30pm, Jan got out to feed the deer, and was soon surrounded.

Deer Whisperer 1

Deer Whisperer 2

At one point I counted almost 50 of them crowding around her. They were so tame you could just hold out your empty hand and they would come up and nuzzle it.

Deer Whisperer 3


Nice Rack!

Medina Deer


Thought for the Day:

If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, you’ve likely misread the situation.


I’m sorry, but I dabbled . . .

I didn’t mean to. It just happened. I got bored and started back on my To-Do List. Mostly just a bunch of small things that had been hanging around on the list.

Tomorrow I’m going to drain and flush out the water heater for this year. Normally I get it done before we leave Houston, but I ran out of time this year. But now it’s bubbled to the top of the list, and its time has come.

About 1pm I got the slow cooker out and started up a batch of Chicken Tortilla Soup using the chicken breasts that I poached yesterday. Two boxes of chicken broth, two poached chicken breasts, two cans of Rotel HOT Diced Tomatoes with Habaneros, one can of black beans, two diced fresh jalapenos, and a handful of chopped fresh cilantro. And of course, shredded Monterey Jack Cheese on top, as well as a generous supply of tortilla chips.

On another note, a while back when I did several posts about “assault weapons” and “high” capacity magazines. One of things I mentioned was the fact that banning so-called high capacity magazines was useless.

I mentioned that I could change a magazine out in about a second and several people took issue with that. They said that most people couldn’t do this.

Well, check out this video demonstration put on by an Indiana Sheriff with an experienced male shooter and an inexperienced female one. Check out the link below.

In a couple of cases they both were actually faster on the smaller mags, probably because they were easier to handle. So much for a “high” capacity magazine ban.

Tomorrow we’ll probably make a run over to Boerne to pick up some things I need for my projects.


Thought for the Day:

Arbitrary power is most easily established on the ruins of liberty abused to licentiousness. – George Washington


Beautiful Lake Medina . . .

or not.

Today was our first “do absolutely nothing” day in a good while. I even resisted the temptation to dabble on my To-Do list. Jan and I just sat around the rig and caught up on a lot of our DVR’d stuff.


Lake Medina Site

Medina Lake TT is pretty nice, with almost 400 sites, some heavily treed, but many others with good satellites views.

Unfortunately the coveted lakeside sites leave something to be desired.

Like a lake.

This used to be a boat launching ramp.

Beautiful Lake Medina 1

Due to the recent drought, this manmade 5,426 acre (18 miles by 3 miles) lake is empty, and has been since last year.

Beautiful Lake Medina 2

People are even driving out on the lake bed.

Beautiful Lake Medina 3


One thing I noticed while I was reading through the park literature is the fact that it cost to receive a package here, $2.50 for each and every one. I’ve never seen this at any RV park before, much less a Thousand Trails park.

Hope this doesn’t spread.

After lunch I got out the slow cooker and poached a bunch of chicken breasts for soups and other dishes for the rest of the week.

For dinner we made ground beef taco salads, using this seasoned hamburger meat we buy at Wal-Mart.

Texas Chili Beef Chili

It comes refrigerated, but freezes well. And it really tastes good. But it also keeps from smelling up the rig by cooking hamburger inside, or dragging out the grill and doing it outside.

As much as I like eating at the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, 19 inches of snow would certainly dampen my ardor.

Amarillo Snow

Really glad we’re about 500 miles south of there. Even so, it’s supposed to be 38 degrees here in Lakehills tonight, and that’s cold enough for me.


Thought for the Day:

All that is required for evil to advance is for government to do "something"


Blowin’ in the Wind . . .

Jan and I headed over to Gina’s about 9:30 with a quick detour by Subway for breakfast sandwiches for everyone. And after getting Jan settled in, I headed back to the rig to get us ready to head out this afternoon.

A little after noon I drove back over to Gina’s to say our goodbyes to Gina and bring Jan back to the rig. Coming back into the park I stopped at the office to settle up for a weeks worth of electricity, which turned out to be $16.10.

We pulled out of our site, got hitched up, and hit the road a little before 2pm, later than we normally would leave, but we’re only going 68 miles so it shouldn’t be a problem.

But what did turn out to a little bit of a problem was the wind. All the forecasts said it would be pretty windy last night, a little less this morning, and then drop off in the afternoon.

But instead the wind just blew harder as the afternoon wore on, which made for some interesting driving. But since we were staying on state roads and seldom getting above 50mph, it wasn’t a real problem

We got into Boerne (bur nee) about 3:15 and made a stop at the Wal-Mart to pick up some supplies. I had already scouted out the location on Google Maps and Street View and knew I wouldn’t have any trouble getting in and out.

About an hour later we were back on the road heading for Lakehills, TX and the Medina Lake Thousand Trails Resort. But we did have a small bobble (well, maybe a little larger than small) along the way. Our GPS had us taking a short cut on a rural back road, which although narrow and a little rough in a couple of places, was OK for the 10 miles we were going to be on it. What was the problem was that I missed a turn. Well, not really a turn, more like a curve, where I went straight instead.

So for only the 2nd time in 5 years we had to unhitch the truck so I could turn the rig around and get us back on track. Since we were only about 8 miles from the park, Jan just followed me the rest of the way.

We got into the park about 5:15, got checked in, and found us a nice space with a good satellite view. And as it turns out we’ve got good Verizon 3G also. So far it seems like a really nice park.


Thought for the Day:

Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else. — Frederic Bastiat, French economist (1801-1850)


Movin’ On . . .

Today is our last full day here at Canyon Lake. Tomorrow we’ll make the 68 mile run to the Medina Lake Thousand Trails west of San Antonio.

Brandi, Lowell, and Landon came by the RV park a little after 10am to meet up with us for lunch. Jan was hoping that the deer would come out so Landon could see them, but no such luck. I guess by this time the deer had gone back into the woods to stay cool.

About 11am we all drove over to Milagro’s to have lunch. We were able to get a table out on the patio so we could watch Landon entertain himself in the play area.

Here he’s working on the pipes under the sink. He certainly seems to have the pants thing down.

Landon's New Occupation


Landon at Milagro's 1


And of course Landon always seems to attract the young ladies where ever he goes.

Landon at Milagro's 2

After lunch we all headed over to Gina’s to spend some time visiting before Lowell, Brandi, and Landon headed back to Houston a little after 1pm.

About the same time I came back to the rig for some more To-Do list chores. I got the new understep light installed with an LED bulb that will last longer and be less susceptible to vibration, along with repairing the shower door latch, reinstalling one of the grab handles by the door, and a number of other small things

About 6 I drove back over to Gina’s to pick up Jan and head back to the rig, but on our way we decided that Rudy’s BBQ sounded good for supper. Since we also wanted to pick up another bottle of their BBQ sauce to take with us this year, we used this as an additional reason to drive to New Braunfels’ location.

After a great meal of brisket, ribs, and jalapeno sausage, we headed back to the rig with a quick stop at Buc-ee’s to pick up some of Gina’s favorite Strawberry/Cream Cheese kolaches.

Tomorrow we’ll get together with Gina for breakfast before we head out for Medina Lake.

Brandi sent over this picture the other day of Landon at the Butterfly Museum in Houston. She said he had a great time with the butterflies landing on  him.

Landon at Butterfly Museum


Thought for the Day:

“I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.” – Winston Churchill


BBQ and Bird Feeders . . .

After checking in with Gina, we headed up to Driftwood, TX to have lunch at one of our favorite BBQ places in the world, Salt Lick BBQ.

One look at this pit, one of three they have, gives you a clue why it’s so good. In fact it’s so good that it’s where Brandi and Lowell had their wedding reception dinner in 2010.

Salt Lick Open Pit BBQ

As usual, we got the Family Meal which means all the Beef Brisket, Pork Ribs, Sausage, Potato Salad, BBQ Beans, Cole Slaw, and Bread we can eat.

Landon at Salt Lick 1

And we had to end it all with a shared bowl of their combo Blueberry/Peach Cobble, ala mode, of course.

After lunch, we let Landon work off his big meal by letting play in the Kid’s Ranch play area.

Landon on Salt Lick Slide

Landon on Salt Lick Swing

We worked off our meal by watching him run around.


After a nice drive through the Texas Hill Country we ended up back at Gina’s for the afternoon. Landon had a great time playing in the treehouse next to her house.

Landon on Gina's Treehouse 1

Landon on Gina's Treehouse 4

Landon on Gina's Treehouse 2

Landon on Gina's Treehouse 3

In contrast to the beautiful weather we’re having here in Texas, Jan’s sister Debbie sent over this photo of the birds flocking to her feeder at their home in southern Illinois.

Debbie's Bird Feeder

Tomorrow we’ll all get together with Gina and hopefully be able to have lunch or dinner with her.


Thought for the Day:

"There is nothing more terrifying than stupidity in action." – Chuck Taylor


Deer and Diodes . . .

After our morning coffee (Texas Pecan), Jan and I headed over to Gina’s for the day. A little later I drove over to the Subway to pick up breakfast sandwiches for everyone. (Black Forest Ham, Egg, and Cheese on 7 Grain Honey Oat)

Then it was back to the rig for me and back to work on my To-Do List. First up was to finish my taillight upgrade. I was rewiring them to use separate bulbs for towing, rather than using the regular bulbs through steering diodes, which made them dimmer.

So after installing the new bulb socket in the other lens, I installed the bulbs in the sockets and wired it up. This was easy because I was able to just unplug my steering diode assemblies and then plug the wires into the new sockets.

I used a 12v power supply to feed voltage into the wiring harness plug at the front of the truck and found that everything was working fine. So I buttoned it all back up and the job was done. Another checkmark on my list.

Next up I took down and cleaned the AC filters and the exhaust fan screens to get rid of all the dust and cat hair that had accumulated. About this time I noticed some deer around so I put out some food for them. And they really seem to like the Creep Feed.

Lake Pointe Deer 5

I even had one that would come up to me and eat out of the bucket in my hand.

Then I replaced the 12v socket in the bedroom with a new one like I did up front yesterday, since that one was also a little flakey.

Last up I spent some time going around oiling all the squeaking cabinet hinges that have accumulated recently. It’s certainly a lot quieter now.

About 5 I headed back over to Gina’s for a while. She didn’t really feel like going out, so about 7:30 Jan and I drove over to Milagro’s, a local Tex-Mex place that has probably the best chips I’ve ever eaten. Can’t really describe what’s different about them, but they sure are good. And so’s their salsa.

For dinner Jan and I both had their Taco Salads with Ground Beef. For the dressing Jan just used salsa, but I always get their Blackberry Habanero dressing. Again, really, really good.

Tomorrow, Brandi, Lowell, and Landon are coming up from Houston to spend the weekend here, so we can all get together. Hopefully we can make it over to Salt Lick BBQ while they’re here.


Thought for the Day:

What does not kill you . . . can sometimes damage you QUITE severely.


Subs and Biscuits . . .

We got over to Gina’s about 9:30 after Jan had fed the deer here at the park. Then about noon I drove over to the Subway to pick us up some sandwiches for lunch. Later, coming back to the rig, I got back on my rig To-Do list.

One of the things I did was replace on of the 12 volt sockets on the dashboard. This one, the one that powers my Brake Buddy Alert Receiver when we travel, had become flakey and intermittent. Luckily I found one at an auto parts store that was a direct replacement so it pretty much just plugged right in.

Later I started changing the way my truck taillights are powered from the rig when we are towing it. Originally I set it up so that the normal truck lights were powered directly by the rig through steering diodes. But the voltage drop across the diodes dimmed the taillights somewhat, even when the truck was not being towed.

So after checking out my taillight lenses to see if I had enough room, I decided to add separate new sockets and bulbs to the lenses.

Here’s how it looked before I started.

Taillight 1


And here’s how it looked after I drilled a hole in the lens and mounted the new bulb socket.

Taillight 2

I ran out of time before I got any further, but next I’ll remove the diodes from the system and then plug the wires from the connector on the front of the truck directly into the new sockets, which should finish things up. I’ll post a follow-up when I’m done.

About 5pm I headed back over to Gina’s so we could head down to San Marcos to have dinner at Red Lobster. Along the way we stopped off at Walgreen’s to pick up some prescriptions for Gina

Dinner was really good, especially the Cheddar Bay Cheese Biscuits, which I think Jan could just eat along with nothing else.

On the way back to the ranch, I made another quick stop at an auto parts store for a couple of more project items for my To-Do list.

Tomorrow, I’m at it again.


Thought for the Day:

Seen on a bumper sticker –

Why do I need a gun? Because I can’t throw a rock at 1155 fps.


Oh Dark Thirty . . .

Well, it looked like Oh Dark Thirty, but it was actually about 8:30. But the day was so dark and dreary when I got up this morning that it looked like it was about 6. And it stayed that way all day.

But at least getting to spend some time with our friend Gina made up for it. We got over to her house about 9:30 so Jan could spent the day with her while I ran some errands for her and Jan.

My first stop was at the feed store over in Sattler to get some deer corn so Jan can fatten up the many deer here at the RV park. At least I thought I was going to get corn. But someone suggested that instead of corn, I should get Creep Feed since it had a lot more protein and was better for them. And even better, it was $2 cheaper for a 50# bag.

Creep Feed is used to feed nursing calves to help transition them to solid food, and is made up of food pellets about a half inch in diameter and an inch long.

My nest stop was at the PetSmart over in New Braunfels. I was looking for an aquarium air pump valve for Gina’s Oxygen Concentrator. She wanted to be able to run one line into her bedroom and another one into the living room, rather than dragging portable tanks back and forth.

When she ask the oxygen company about doing that, they said they didn’t know anyway to do it. But in looking it over, the tubing was the same size as used on aquariums so I thought I might try a valve like this.

Aquarium Valve

It’s all stainless steel with no rubber or gaskets to contaminate the oxygen flow.

Next up was a stop at Home Depot for a few things for the rig, and then after a quick stop at Buc-ee’s for a coffee/cappuccino, I headed back to Gina’s

I spent a while getting the air system set up and it looks like it’s going to work fine. I will have to increase the concentrator’s output a little to offset the longer length of the living room line, but that should be no problem.

About 6pm we all headed over to the Cypress Creek Café in Wimberley, one of our favorite local eating establishments.

Cypress Creek Cafe

The food is always delicious, and  it didn’t disappoint this time either. And we had such a great time talking that we didn’t get home until almost 8:30. But it was certainly worth it.


Thought for the Day:

“Is it just me, or does anyone else find it amazing that during the mad cow epidemic our government could track a single cow, born in Canada almost three years ago, right to the stall where she slept in the state of Washington? And, they tracked her calves to their stalls. But they are unable to locate 11 million illegal aliens wandering around our country. Maybe we should give each of them a cow.” – Larry the Cable Guy


So Far, So Good . . .

Well, our first real travel day of the beginning of our 6th year of Full-Timing got off to a great start. We pulled out of our site back at Galveston Bay RV Park about 10:30, and made our first stop about 8 miles away.

We have a tradition that on our way out of town every year, we stop off at the Monterey’s Little Mexico in Dickinson for one final bowl of their Chicken Tortilla Soup before we hit the road.

There is a large parking lot right next door so there’s plenty of room to park. In fact this is where we normally hook up our toad before we eat.

We were on our way by 11:45, heading up I-45 and then west on Beltway 8 to hook up with 1-10 West. Our first stop was at the Buc-ee’s in Luling, about 3 hours later, another of our travel traditions. We headed back out with hot coffees for us, and a bag of cherry kolaches for our friend Gina who we’ll be visiting for the next week.

We pulled into our destination, the Lake Pointe RV Resort in Canyon Lake, TX about 4:30 and got set up.

Lake Pointe RV Park 2

Lake Pointe is a Passport America park so we can stay here for two weeks at $12 a night for 50 Amp, Water & Electric. Sewer is not a problem for us since they let you drain your drain your gray tank on the ground, and we can go for two weeks on our black tank. And there’s a Honey Wagon available if you need it.

A little after 6pm we headed over to Gina’s place, about 10 minutes away, to visit for a couple of hours. We haven’t seen Gina since Thanksgiving so it was good to get together again.

Finally heading back to the rig, we stopped off at the Italian Garden Restaurant in Canyon Lake for supper. Jan loves their Meat Ravioli, and I had the Grilled Chicken with mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, asparagus in garlic-olive oil sauce. Really good.

Tomorrow I’ll be running some errands while Jan stays with Gina, and then we’ll all try to grab some dinner later.


Thought for the Day:

The real reason that we can’t have the Ten Commandments posted in a courthouse is this — you cannot post ‘Thou Shalt Not Steal’ ‘Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery’ and ‘Thou Shall Not Lie’ in a building full of lawyers, judges and politicians. It creates a hostile work environment! – Larry the Cable Guy