Sunday, December 25, 2011

From Our Home to Yours…

We wish you a very Merry Christmas and the Happiest, Healthiest New Year!

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Gail & Rick

Friday, December 23, 2011

I ♥ Port Aransas

Yesterday, we drove to the ferry that would take us over to Port Aransas. It’s a very short ferry ride and it’s free.

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After exiting the ferry, we took a right hand turn and followed it all the way to this!

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When in Rome, err, I mean Texas, do as they do…drive the beach!

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This was one of my favorite things to do when we lived in TX way back when.

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I had no idea it was still allowed…

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But it is here :)

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Not only can you drive the beach, you can camp on it!

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You do need a permit…

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I have no idea what the fee is, but this fellow plans to stay awhile, I’d say. Check out all that solar!

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We also walked the seawall in the park; notice no railings.

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There were dolphins all over the place in that water. Do you think I could capture just ONE? Nope. Not fast enough :(

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The marina was pretty cool though.

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After all that, we had worked up an appetite, so we headed to Hooks Bar BQ and Grill for some good ole Texas BBQ. It was excellent. Rick had the brisket platter and I had the combo: brisket and ribs. Well, as luck would have it, I didn’t remember the camera until our plates had been licked clean :) Maybe next time :) We will definitely be back.

Our buddy here, wished us farewell as we lined up to take the ferry back home.

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It was a wonderful day! Thanks for stopping by. Turtle

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

An Awesome Christmas Present! Just a Little Early :)

I am beyond happy with my Christmas present :) I have been wanting to replace my camera with something with more zoom but was unwilling to give up the small pocket-size I had. Technology has advanced to the point where this is now not only possible, but affordable too.

Santa gave me a Panasonic DMC-ZS9 for Christmas. It’s 14 MP with a 16X Optical zoom. I love it!

See the kite?

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Here it is a little closer.

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Now closer, still.

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How about these guys on their perches?

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Now, can you see them better?

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The best part? Although it’s a little larger than my Pentax Optima, it still fits in my pocket :)

Thanks for stopping by. Turtle

Sunday, December 18, 2011

One First Week in Rockport

Our first few days in Rockport have been very pleasant. The temps were around 80° so we are happy campers :)

As we settled in and became familiar with our surroundings, we found the grocery, post office etc. Our campground is located midway between Rockport and Aransas Pass so we have 2 of each to pick from :) One day we can turn right and go to Aransas Pass, the next left and go to Rockport :) It's always nice to have variety :)

One day, we headed over to Beach Park. It was 80 that day and it just seemed like a good day to walk the beach, one of my very favorite things to do. We purchased an annual parking pass ($10/year or $4 for one day). That was an easy decision :) I know we'll be back many times.

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We parked on the far end of the park and started our walk.

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There were very few other beach goers/walkers that day.

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Fishing pier

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View across an inlet

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There were some very beautiful homes over there :)

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A couple of the “locals” giving us the eye :)

Thursday night, we joined some of the neighbors at the Rec Hall for "Popcorn and Movie" night. It was fun. We watched "The Blind Side" with Sandra Bullock. It was very good. They supplied the popcorn and everyone brought their own drink. This was the first time I'd ever seen a redneck wine glass! Have you seen one of those? I wish I had taken a picture, but it's basically a Mason jar with a stem :) I borrowed this photo from Amazon :) It was too funny.

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Last night, we tried a local Chinese Buffet, China A, and found it to be quite good. They had a large selection of food including shrimp, snow crab legs and, much to Rick's delight, oysters on the half shell. (Sorry, no food pictures) Everything was fresh and hot, just the way I like it. We don't go out to eat often and lately, we've been trying to eat healthier so we prefer to cook at home. But every once in awhile, we just get a craving for something that we don't have to make ourselves :) That's when we splurge. I think a long walk will be in order today. I'm still full :)

Have a great Sunday and thanks for stopping by.Turtle

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Getting Lucy Christmas-fied

We spent most of Tuesday getting into the holiday spirit around here. I found an "all Christmas music, all the time" station from Corpus Christi and that set the mood for the day :)

This little teardrop RV greets us as we enter the park :)

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I put up the tree, added some lights to Lucy's windshield, changed out the hand towels for Christmas towels, and added little holiday tweaks here and there :) Lucy's ears (mirrors) were sporting new Santa hats from Dollar Tree.

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I had purchased, approximately 30 years ago, a TX Christmas ornament that lost its identity outside the state of Texas. I finally found a chance to display it properly...in TEXAS :)

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Yes, it’s definitely beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here!

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Thanks for stopping by. Turtle

Monday, December 12, 2011

Estes RV Resort, Rockport TX

Our plan to leave Livingston early on Sunday morning and drive straight down Hwy 59 and through the center of Houston turned out to be perfect. Although we pulled out a little later than we had planned, we were on the road at 8:35 AM. It takes an hour to reach the north fringes of the city. Traffic was very light for a city of 2 million people and that's just the city itself. The entire metro area now encompasses 10 counties and totals +/- 6 million people. So, you can see why we were a little intimidated to drive Lucy through there. The Sunday morning plan was perfect and the trip went off without a hitch or a hiccup. Once we got on the southern fringes out by Rosenburg, we stopped for fuel and a breakfast sandwich.  We had completed 112 miles. Only 152 to go :) We normally like to keep our travels around the 200 mile mark but today, we were stretching that a bit.

Heading straight into downtown on Hwy 59

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Look at all those lanes! Look at all those empty lanes!

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We arrived at Estes RV Resort at 1:30 PM and were greeted by the host as we drove in. He saw us coming so walked out to meet us :) That seemed to set the tone for the entire park. He helped us park in our spot, #13, and then gave us our paperwork, told us to get all settled in and then come see them anytime later to pay.

That is exactly what we did. We got cozily nestled between the trees and got all set up. It was drizzling a bit so we didn't spend much time setting up the patio, but we leveled, put out the slides and set up inside. I switched our controller over to Cable from Antenna and scanned for TV channels. Big disappointment. Only 12 channels, all analog and of those 12, half were unwatchable. Oh well, a quick check found that we had ABC, NBC, CBS & FOX, so we were good :)

We walked down to the host site with checkbook in hand and paid for the month. They told us that a few of them were getting together at 5:00 to go to the local Chinese buffet and invited us to join them. We would have loved to, but we had a Green Bay Packer game to watch! :)  No problem. There was also going to be an informal meet and greet/coffee at the recreation building at 7:00 PM.

We watched the Packers make it 13-0 for the season, had a bite to eat and then joined everyone at the rec building. Everyone was so nice and welcoming and friendly, we felt right at home. I don't remember many names, but I hope I'll remember their faces :)

It was during a conversation there, that the *light bulb* came on and I realized my 12 channel Cable TV was operator error. They were all talking about the Food Network and I said, "you must have satellite. I know you can't get the Food Network here." At which point, they all looked at me with a puzzled look on their faces. Of course we get it here, they said. It's on channel so & so. Hmm. "Don't you get all 62 channels?", they asked. Umm, no. The ensuing conversation went from turning off the antenna amplifier to "are you sure you switched it from antenna to cable before scanning?" Of course, I remembered doing that! Then one of the guys said, "did you switch it on the TV too?"  Light bulb Wouldn't you think that after over a year in Lucy, I'd remember something so basic? Especially because I do it every time we move??? DUH!  Well, when we got home, I re-scanned and am happy to report that we, too, now have 62 cable channels :)

This is a very small park with only 28 lots. It's easy to see that we'll all get to know each other. It like having your own little private community.

Here’s a quick shot of our street.

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And here’s Lucy all snuggled in :)

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That’s it for today. Have a great evening. Thanks for stopping by. Turtle

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Road Trip to Houston and Lunch With Old Friends

Today, Saturday, we took a drive into Houston.  We wanted to see our old neighborhood. We had been told that it would be nothing like we remembered and that was certainly the case! We basically recognized nothing. We drove past our old house. It looked rather “tired”, to be kind. The area surrounding our old subdivision has been totally taken over by businesses up and down the street. Where we used to have trees, there are now stores and asphalt. Our old house was quite close to Bush Intercontinental Airport but the area between them and us was buffered by acres of trees. Today, those trees are gone and you can actually see the airport from the entrance to our old subdivision. 20 years brings much change, not all of it good. On the other hand, if you like to shop, you’d be in heaven :)

The other reason for our trip was to meet some dear, old friends for lunch.  When I mentioned that I was really looking forward to some good Tex-Mex food, they decided we should meet at Pappasito’s by Deerbrook Mall in Humble. There is no other place to get good Tex-Mex than in Texas!

We had a great lunch and spent a couple of hours catching up.

Here is L-R: Rick, Sandy, Matthew, Brenda, Albert and Stewart.

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Another shot of Brenda and Albert

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And one more group photo before we all left.

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Before leaving, Albert gave us a tour of his office. Albert is a dentist and many years ago, when he was first hired, I was his office manager. I eventually transferred to a larger office within the company, but we remained friends. Now, years later, his office is the largest and they are doing great.

Yes, the area sure has changed, but good friends remain the same. We’re all older and grayer but it took all of 5 minutes to erase 20 years. 

Tomorrow, we continue on our trek. We want to leave Livingston early so we can cross Houston before traffic gets too bad. We weren’t supposed to arrive in Rockport until the 15th, but I called them this week and found out our site was available now so we plan to arrive tomorrow afternoon.

Thanks for stopping by. Turtle

Friday, December 9, 2011

Livingston, TX

On Tuesday afternoon, we crossed the state line from Louisiana into Texas. In a way, it felt like we had come home. We lived in the Houston area for 10 years back in the 80's. We left in 1992 and this was our first time back since then!

We  stopped for the night in Nacodoches and, although it seemed really cold, we settled in for the night with no problems. The temp was around 40 when we arrived but the forecast was for 27 during the night, so we took on some extra water, then put the hose away for the night. No sense asking for trouble :)

Wednesday morning dawned cold but sunny! That made all the difference in the world to me as far as comfort level. We drove as far as Livingston, only a little over an hour drive, and checked into our first Escapees park. This was an interesting experience, I thought.

We arrived while the office staff was at lunch, so we followed the directions on the door, took a registration form, chose a site and got settled in. Once lunch was over, I walked back over to the office and turned in my form, preparing to pay. That's when I found out that I had taken the wrong form. Because we were Escapees members we should have taken the member form, not the non-member form. Well, I took the form that was in the member slot but I apologized for having the wrong one explaining that it was our first time and we didn't know what to expect or what color the forms should have been :)  No problem. As long as we were happy with our site, all I had to do was fill out the same paperwork in a different color :) Done! That's when things really got strange. I handed her my credit card to pay for the site and I was told that because I was a member, I didn't have to pay in advance. We should just enjoy ourselves and pay when we checked out. Huh??? That was a new one on me! Imagine, enjoy your service first, pay later. What a novel idea! :) Before I left, I got my "Escapee hug". I had read about this hug and didn't know how I'd feel hugging a total stranger, but...it was ok.

A couple observations:

It appears that the speed limit in TX is 70. It doesn't seem to matter what road you're on, it's 70... 6 lane, 4 lane, 2 lane... 70mph. We are parked backed up to a 70 mph road. Our nightly sound is...interesting and noisy:) I don't remember if everything was 70 when we lived here, but I do remember that Highway 59 was not! Especially around Patton Village where their entire annual income revolved around how many speeders were picked up going through the village on Hwy 59 in excess of 55 mph! :)

The second thing I noticed is that groceries here are much cheaper than in other parts of the country. In defense, I've only been in one grocery store so far, but the prices I found were considerably less than other places I've been.

We are excited to see our old friends here in this area and are looking forward to it!

More later...Thanks for stopping by. Turtle

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Journey South Has Begun. Finally!

We left Heritage Acres in Tuscumbia, AL on Thursday, December 1st. Our destination was Red Bay, 40 miles to the south. Well, technically, Vina, which is just outside Red Bay. We had an appointment at 7:00 AM the following morning at Custom RV. Lucy had a couple issues we asked them to check out for us. Not only did they check them out, the repaired every one of them, quickly, and we were on our way out of town by 11:15 that same morning. We were very happy campers :)

One of Lucy's issues was our kitchen slide that had become off kilter over the past several months. It was slanting lower in the front than in the back causing rain water to run toward the front and then it would migrate under the slide seal and inside the coach behind the passenger seat. BIG mess. We originally thought it was the slide seal at fault and had that worked on last winter. But the rain water continued to leak in. Our temporary fix for this was to keep our large awning out just past the edge of the slide. That kept the water off the slide and we had no more problems. It was not ideal, but it worked. Brannon and his crew adjusted the slide to near level again and we hoped for the best. I am an ecstatic woman today after experiencing 2 straight days of rain. No water inside Lucy!

There were a couple of other fixes done too, but I won't bore you with the details. Suffice it to say, we were very pleased with the work, the cost and the fact we were on the road so quickly. We drove as far as Grenada MS that day, spent the night and continued on to West Monroe LA on Saturday. The weather forecast was predicting rain, rain and more rain, so we checked into the Pavilion RV Park and settled in for the duration.

The rain appears to be over tonight so we'll move on tomorrow crossing into Texas for the first time since 1992. It'll be interesting to see how it's changed.

That's about it for this time. Nothing very exiting but thought I should finally check in :) Thanks for stopping by. Turtle

PS-I’d like to wish granddaughter, Lily, a very happy 12th birthday today! Birthday cake

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Family Thanksgiving, Franklin TN

It is not often that we are close enough to our children to share a Thanksgiving meal with them. This year, however, we were :)

Our Wednesday camp host duties don’t end until 5:00 PM, so we opted to wait until Thursday morning to drive the 110 miles to Franklin, TN. It was a beautiful sunny day and it was an easy drive.

We arrived to find them all huddled around the TV watching the Green Bay Packers beat the Detroit Lions :) We have our own little Packer cheerleader, Sabrina.

Family picture alert!

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The ladies of the house were busy in the kitchen during commercials. This is daughter, Carrie and granddaughter, Lily.

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Patrick and Rick playing with their toys :) Patrick is giving Rick instructions on how to play a game on his new Kindle Fire.

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Maggie and Sabrina showing off their gymnastic skills on the bed. Shhh, don’t tell their mom!

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This is what we’ve been waiting for :) YUM!

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Everyone filled their plates and found a spot at the table. Let the feast begin!

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Clockwise from the left: Carrie, Sabrina, Maggie, Lily, Dolores (Thomas’s mother) Thomas, Rick and Patrick.

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Everything was scrumptious! Boy, was there a lot of dishes though! :)

I think one of the nicest things about getting older is that your kids invite you, do the cooking and even the dishes :)

All that was expected of us, was to sit down with the kids and watch the movie “Elf”. It’s a favorite in their house and we had never seen it.

(Big surprise! We haven’t seen a LOT of things!)

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Around 9:30 PM, Thomas took the 2 oldest, Lily & Patrick out to do a Black Friday Extravaganza.

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Thomas is the shopper in this family. He loves a good bargain and the kids were beyond thrilled to be able to partake in this crazy ritual :) Carrie was more than happy to stay home with the 2 youngest and visit with her parents!We were all in bed by 11:00. The shoppers dragged themselves home around 2:30 AM, tired and shopped out :)

We headed back to Alabama Friday afternoon, leaving all the shopping to them. (They went out again!) I do little to no Christmas shopping these days. I left a check with them so they could do their own shopping :) I’ll pick up a couple things online or some gift cards and that will be it. Just the way I like it!

We both hope you had a wonderful holiday also. Thanks for stopping by. Turtle