Thursday, December 20, 2012

Where Has December Gone?

It seems like just yesterday that we arrived here in Rockport TX for the winter. In reality, it’s been almost 3 weeks! Christmas is right around the corner and before we know it, we’ll be welcoming in 2013.

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The biggest accomplishment in the last week or so has been installing my new microwave/convection oven. Hallelujah!  I have a working oven again! It's was a long 5 weeks, I can tell you that. When the old oven first died, we had no idea it would be such an issue to replace it. We chose to stick with the same model knowing that the dimensions would be right and the mounting plate was already there. No one, locally, carries this oven, a Sharp Carousel. Either Home Depot or Lowes, I forget which, has the oven on their website but only in black. We were replacing a stainless model and I wanted stainless again to match the other appliances.

I finally found the unit online at AppliancesConnection.com. They carried it in stainless so I placed the order. I wanted to time it to arrive in TX about the same time as we did, so I ordered it on Black Friday. As a token of their appreciation for my spending a few hundred dollars with them on Black Friday, they gave me a whole $5.00 off! Wasn’t that nice of them?  I promptly took that $5.00 and spent it all in one place Winking smile

Fast forward 2 weeks, a week after I was hoping for delivery, and I’m notified that they won’t ship to my Texas address because that is not the address on my credit card. Aack!!! They couldn’t have told me that sooner?? A quick call to American Express added this address as an alternate shipping address and all was well once again. It took until the following Tuesday to finally arrive, but it made it all in one piece.

More importantly, it worked :) Rick and I managed to remove the old unit without killing ourselves…or each other. The sharp people even notched the packing box so once the screws were all removed, it would just tilt down and into the notched area of the box. Definitely a two man job though.

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We managed to get it onto the floor and somewhat out of the way :)

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Theoretically, the new oven was also supposed to sit in that notched box and then be tilted and lifted up. That’s when it became apparent that it was a 2 MAN job. I was next to useless lifting this thing. Our friend and camp host, CJ came to Rick’s rescue and the 2 of them completed the job. As I was just standing around not doing anything, you’d think I would have gotten a picture of the 2 of them hard at work, but I did not think about the camera until much too late. Sorry CJ.

Here is the old oven with a manufactured date of 2003. Tiffin must buy these things by the semi trailer load and keep them until they’re all used up as Lucy is a 2005 Bus.

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Here’s the new oven with a manufacture date of 2012. They are absolutely identical. Wouldn’t you think something would have changed in 9 years? It doesn’t even look like we got a new oven :)

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Guess I won’t complain. This one works :) I have to admit I missed being able to quickly defrost something and I really missed microwave popcorn! Also, it’s hard making Christmas cookies in a fry pan and/or crockpot :)

This week we’re just sitting back and relaxing and enjoying the season. Hope you are too. Thanks for stopping by. Turtle

Monday, December 10, 2012

First Week Winter Park, Rockport Texas

We spent the week getting reacquainted with Rockport, Aransas Pass and Port Aransas. Not much has changed since we left last April 1st.

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We got festive and put up a few Christmas decorations. We put our tree up outside this year. It fits better out there :) I substituted a nice Poinsettia for the inside.

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The day after our arrival, I did an HEB run, which to those who are not familiar is my preferred grocery store here and, in this case, the only grocery store here :) Well, almost. There is the IGA in Port Aransas which is very good and a Wal-Mart in Aransas Pass and Rockport.  I prefer to shop anywhere but Wal-Mart and HEB is a good choice.  Their prices are great and their HEB Plus stores, which are available in Corpus Christi, would give any Wal-Mart a run for their money. I came home with lots of goodies and we should be well fed for a few more days :)

We did our first beach drive. The weather has been in the 80's so heading to the beach is an excellent pastime here. This time of year, the beach is pretty empty except for a few fishermen. Just the way I like it! :)

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We met some of our new neighbors.  There are a few back from last year and a few more expected in the next couple of weeks. Everyone seems very nice and I think this will be a very nice group.

Rick purchased his Texas fishing license this year. He found a great deal on a salt water rod and reel when we were at Huntington Beach in SC  last month (thanks for the tip, Bill!) and thought he would try them out in the Gulf of Mexico. He’s gone out a couple times in the past week but so far, no luck. He did catch a bottom feeder one day that was a pretty good size, but he had no idea what it was. He said it was an ugly fish, but not a catfish, so he threw him back. I’m looking forward to a nice seafood dinner one of these days :)

I think the highlight of our first week was attending the annual Corpus Christi Holiday Boat Parade. Our park hosts, Jan and CJ, invited us and a few other couples to join them at CJ’s brother’s house in Corpus to watch the parade. It was awesome!

Our beautiful and very nice hostess, Cynthi

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The back of their gorgeous home where we all congregated to watch the boats cruise the channel…

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The group…

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And last, but not least, some of the boats that entertained us…

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What a treat! Another of those experiences we might have missed if we weren’t roaming this gorgeous country in Lucy :)

Thanks for stopping by. Turtle

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Another Texas Winter, Rockport TX

It took us awhile, but we made it to Texas and are now comfortably tucked in for the winter. The trip was around 1400 miles and we took 2 weeks to travel so that averages 100 miles a day. I like that kind of traveling! :) Of course, we didn't travel every day. We tried to spend a few days just enjoying the journey.

After a brief overnight stop outside Spartansburg, SC we arrived at R. Shaefer Heard Park on West Point Lake right on the Georgia/Alabama state line. This was a beautiful COE park with several First Come-First Served spots available. It was a shame the water level on the lake was low, but that did not stop us from enjoying the heck out of this park and lake :) We chose a 50 amp site (#5) and had most of the loop to ourselves.

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We assumed with Thanksgiving 2 days away, the park would fill for the weekend, but it didn't. We were joined by a couple others in our loop, but the majority of spaces remained empty.

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It was wonderfully relaxing and peaceful, right on the lake.

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It was easy to make the decision to stay through the holiday weekend. We were able to get in some kayaking, a lot of hiking, a campfire and even Thanksgiving dinner-without an oven :)

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Necessity brings out the creativity and we had a traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings, just a little differently than the traditional :) Most of  you will probably remember that our oven died earlier in November and we've been limping through until we could get to Texas and have a new one shipped. The new oven has been ordered and we're expecting it this week-yeah!

As much as we liked R. Shaefer Heard Park, we could not imagine finding another that we enjoyed as much, but we did, on our very next stop,. In fact, Gunter Hill COE, just outside Montgomery AL, has to be one of the top 5 campgrounds we've ever stayed at.

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It would have been very easy to stay the maximum time allowed, 14 days, if we only had the time available. Gunter Hill has 2 loops and the one we stayed in, Catoma, had recently been remodeled. What a job they did! All of the sites were spacious FHU 50 amp sites with exceptionally long, level concrete pads. There were plenty of trees for privacy but not too many to block cell or TV signals. Our site (#30) was a pull through with a nice view of the water. The campground is on the banks of the Alabama River. If you're ever in the area, be sure to put this park on your list. You won't regret it! Oh, I almost forgot the best part! This place is a bargain at just $22/night and if you have the Senior Pass, it's just $11! Amazing place, amazing value. We'll definitely be back.

After just 2 short days at Gunter Hill, we had to continue our journey or end up paying double while we slowly meandered down to TX. Our reservations started on December 1st so we needed to speed up a bit. Our next stop, I-65 RV Campground, outside Mobile AL was a short overnight stay and although it was an easy on, easy off Interstate stop, it had no other redeeming value. It was basically a run down park that needed a lot of TLC to bring it back to its glory. It did serve its purpose though, providing us with a safe place to spend the night, but at $33 it should have been much nicer.

Our next stop was Lafayette LA. I was anxious to stop at Acadiana City RV Park as the reports on RVParkReviews.com were mostly quite favorable. We were both very disappointed in this park. Maybe it was because it was Fall and everything was leaf covered, but this park left much to be desired. The sites were all small, unlevel and difficult to maneuver in and out of due to beautiful, large trees. I hate to complain about gorgeous old trees but they did make maneuvering very  difficult through this park. Had our adjoining spots been occupied when it was time to leave, we'd still be there. It took 3 spots plus our own to maneuver our way out of there. Big rig friendly? I don't think so! (no matter what they profess)  We stayed here two nights, then headed to Wallisville TX, east of Houston, for an overnight stay.

Turtle Bayou RV Park was a nice stopover. Nothing fancy, but friendly people and a nice place to spend the night. Not a destination, just a stopover.

We planned our trip to cross Houston on Sunday morning. We’ve always found it much easier to go through huge cities on Sunday mornings and that remains true. We pulled into Estes RV Resort at 2:00PM, unhitched the Jeep and backed Lucy into Site 4 where she will remain until April 1st.

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We hugged Jan and CJ, the hosts and settled ourselves in as well. The park hasn’t changed since last year but most of the residents have. Only a few couples have returned this year so we will be meeting lots of new people. Hope some of them know how to play Hand and Foot! :)

Thanks for stopping by. Turtle