Sunday, May 31, 2009

Back in Business

God bless the Geek Squad. After exhausting everything I knew how to do, we took the camera and computer to Best Buy. In less than a minute the young fellow had spotted a corrupted driver in the Canon Utilities and had it fixed. And no charge! What a relief. The blog without pictures while we tour such beautiful areas of the country was unthinkable.

So here's the Jelly Belly motorhome that pulled out this morning. The second picture is the red Jelly Belly in the driver's seat.

The next picture is, as promised, Donna, Cookie, Donna, Donna! We've been friends since kindergarten in 1950. We attended St. Bonaventure School K-8 and then Mother of Mercy High School 9-12. The last Donna and I then went to work at Procter & Gamble. I left to move to Michigan in 1981 and she retired in 2002 I believe.

You all know Ted washes the trailer every time we stop if he can and this time was no different. He paid particular attention to our picture window because we have such a nice view of the lake, our picnic table, a fire ring and flower garden.

Yesterday afternoon we went to St. Joseph's Church for 4:30 Mass. As we pulled into the parking lot Ted's sister Kath and her husband Mike walked by on their way into church. I got out to wait with them while Ted parked. We looked down the street and his brother Kevin and his wife were walking up the street. So all six of us went to Mass together with absolutely no planning!

Afterwards we went to the clubhouse where they live for dinner and were joined by his other sister Peg and her husband Dave. Their oldest daughter stopped by to say hello and after dinner we went to Peg & Dave's for some Graeter ice cream. So I managed to have some of that too without even trying.

I've been sleeping really well in this cooler weather. It's such a simple pleasure - a good night's sleep - but you don't appreciate it until you don't have it. Isn't that the way most things in life are? You don't miss it until you don't have it anymore.

There's a lesson in there somewhere!

Saturday, May 30, 2009


I tried to download a few pictures to share but my computer isn't recognizing the camera as a device. The camera seems to be fine. I can take pictures, erase them, view them and show them on the TV. So we assume the camera is OK unless there is some setting that accidentally was turned off or on. We used another camper's USB cord and it still didn't recognize the camera. So we are concerned about the two USB ports though it seems unlikely they both would go at the same time. I tried using my EOS Utilities, Picasa 3 import and just looking under Computer. No device shows other than the hard drive and disk drive. I put a call into my son-in-law to ask him the best way to check the USB ports and for anything else he can think of. If you have any ideas, send them along.

My first picture is of the Jelly Belly motorhome. The people are here for some shindig at Jungle Jim's. They have a car all painted with Sunkist candies too. Quite colorful. The lady gave each of us two packs of Jelly Belly candies. They were checking in when we were. Then I have a picture of Donna, Cookie, Donna, Donna - the four of us had lunch at LaRosa's yesterday. It was a three hour lunch and we'll be seeing each other Wednesday night when some of the grade school fellows join the larger group. I also learned my high school class is meeting every other month for lunch but I won't be here for that in July.

We weren't hungry for dinner so about 8:30 we went into Lawrenceburg for a United Dairy Farmer malt. Now my trip is complete. We've had Skyline chili, LaRosa's pizza and a UDF malt. Once I buy my Glier Goetta for breakfast, life will be totally good. Kara wants us to bring goetta to her but our freezer is pretty full because we have six pounds of Chappell Hill sausage for Rick and Brenda. I'll buy it right before we leave and just refrigerate it. Then Kara can freeze it ... so we can work this out. This is a very normal routine for Cincinnatians returning for a visit. They all go for Graeter's ice cream too but I'm a Blue Bell convert so I don't have to use valuable freezer space for that.

We're going to church at 4:30 and meeting Ted's family for dinner at 6:00. I hope we can get this download question solved because I can't imagine seeing all we have planned without sharing the photos with you all.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Stone Soup and Throwed Rolls

On Monday, the weekend warriors all started pulling out while we diehards stayed behind. Susan and Tommy are staying a week, Jay and Stella were leaving Wednesday and we were scheduled to depart on Tuesday morning around 7:30. We were surprised to have Dee and Rick pull in after spending the weekend in Cut N Shoot. Because Tommy had a premium site with a big gas grill, he told us all to bring our food there and we would pull another picnic table over and eat together.

Remember the story about the "stone soup"? We ended up with smoked sausage and sauerkraut, bacon wrapped sausage with peppers, chicken, hamburgers and steaks. There were home made french fries, corn on the cob, beans, sliced tomatoes and lemon cake. Everyone had plenty to eat. Tommy gave us two chicken breasts and a piece of smoked sausage for our dinner on Tuesday after traveling.

We left Tuesday morning with five minutes to spare and pulled into Bailey's at 9:30. They adjusted the chain on the bedroom slideout so it doesn't "clunk" anymore, cleaned the screen on the faucet (I couldn't find my booklet to see how to take it apart) and took the sail switch apart on the furnace and cleaned the contacts and it worked. We left there right at noon with two recipes from Mrs. Bailey. What a great family/company to do business with. We spent the night in Texarkana, AR as planned. Because we were in bed by 10:30 we were up and on our way by 7 a.m.

By 2:30 we were set up in Sikeston, MO and headed to Lambert's Cafe "home of the throwed rolls." This place is a poster child for portion control! I ordered a scoop of chicken salad, cucumbers and apples. Ted ordered chicken tenders. They have "add ons" they bring around and you can have as much as you want. They brought fried okra, fried potatoes and of course they "throwed" the yeast rolls to us.

My chicken salad was two scoops the size of softballs and Ted had six chicken planks. We ate all we could and then asked for a box and I told the waitress the cucumbers were fantastic. We left with two chicken tenders, close to one pound of chicken salad, a container of fried potatoes, a container of cucumbers and two 5-inch yeast rolls. All for $24. We will get a couple more meals out of the leftovers.

We're heading to Cincinnati in the morning and will stay for one week. Then it's on to Michigan to see the kids and grandkids.

No pictures yet. I didn't charge my camera battery or you would have had a picture of Lambert's and the kid throwing the rolls. P.S. Ted caught his but I "tipped" mine and he managed to catch it also. It's really quite a place.

Monday, May 25, 2009

No Sightseeing For A Few Weeks Yet

On Friday Ted drove the RV over to Rayford, Rebecca cleaned the house and I loaded up the Expedition twice and took it all to the campground. When I arrived the first time, Ted was under a trailer, in the middle of a road, laying on his back. A fellow had pulled in and ran over a boulder and drug it under his trailer half way into the campground. Fortunately, it didn't tear up anything but was hung up. Ted was holding the pipes up and pushing with his legs while the other guy pulled. They got it out, Billy put the rock back and the guy went to his site!

On my second trip the phone rang and it was my niece Jesse from Lafayette, LA. She and her boyfriend were coming to Houston and wanted to "crash on our couch." It wasn't convenient but I said OK. They didn't arrive until 6:30 pm on Saturday because they stopped to visit some friends. They had plans to meet some other friends later on. When they realized how far out we lived they decided to just stay with friends. Easy company! They met us at the campground, took a ride to the house for Jesse to see the trunk her great-great grandfather used to come from Germany in the 1880s. Of course Joe wanted to see all of Ted's "toys" and then they were gone.

Sunday we went to 7:30 am Mass and afterwards Ted took off for the Houston Gun Club to shoot in a tournament. I used the time to get my bills and things in order. I had lots of paper in my pouch and I needed to get it in order so I don't forget something important. In the afternoon Stella and I played Candy Bar Bingo and she won 20 candy bars. I was glad I didn't win! She has her two grandsons so the candy will disappear quickly.

The park served chili dogs indoors because rain threatened. Our group arrived before the downpour which caused us to miss out on some great desserts that came in later! We sat out in the breezeway for the rest of the evening. Most of the RVs will be pulling out today and we'll prepare for our departure tomorrow.

We have a 10 am appointment in Lufkin at Bailey's RV and then will travel on to Texarkana for overnight. Second night hopefully is Sikeston, MO and then we plan on arriving in Cincinnati on Thursday for a week.

We're with family and friends until June 14 when we arrive at the IRV2 rally in Mount Eaton, OH. This is Amish country so I promise to start taking pictures that will make this blog more interesting. Maybe I can get one like we saw two years ago - a horse and buggy at the hitching post of a Pizza Inn!

May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind always be at your back, and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

See Ya Down The Road

Tomorrow we will be taking the RV to Rayford for Memorial Day Weekend and then heading out on Tuesday morning. I know we'll be back and forth as we get things we forgot or bring back things we don't need. However, I KNOW somewhere down the road I'll be needing something and have to call home to have it sent or taken care of from here.

I played bunco on Monday for the last time until September but I didn't win. The weather has been so pleasant with our cold front (i.e., not in the 90s!) that we even had a table on the patio in Marleah's absolutely gorgeous yard. She does all the gardening and it is truly lovely.

Tuesday I never even got dressed until it was time to meet Terry & Carol for dinner. We met them at Saltgrass Steak House. It amazes us how hard it is for just the four of us to get together. They are leaving Sunday for Alabama and Florida for three weeks. One of their grandchildren is graduating high school. They'll stop to visit Kristin while in the Daytona Beach area. She'll be delighted to see them and show off all that has been accomplished in her new house.

Last night we attended Stages Repertory Theater's production of the musical Grey Gardens. They did a fantastic job. We were in the first row of what is an intimate theater and sometimes the actors talked right to us. We had dinner at, as the T-shirt says, "Beavers south of Hooters." I kid you not! Enough said. I had a Texas Trash Can Punch and Dave & Karen had Breckenridge IPA and Left Hand Sawtooth beer. That was different.

Today was the last neighborhood luncheon I'll be attending until September. We went to a Hunan restaurant and I had sweet and sour chicken that was very good. Afterwards our carload went to Pickett Fences and I bought a stand for a handmade pottery plate I bought a few years ago in Nappanee, Indiana. The stand I was using caused it to sit very precariously so I felt this one with longer legs would be more stable.

I'll try to keep my notes up as we travel. I also promise some interesting pictures. This journal is to document my day to day life so I include what is important to me. I appreciate your following along even when the subject isn't of particular interest to you. Hang in there, it's much easier to write when we're traveling and have great pictures to share.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A First For Us

We attended the memorial service for Sam at the First Baptist Church of Katy, TX. Neither of us can remember attending a funeral in a Protestant church. We've been surrounded by Catholics our entire life (until our move to Texas) and we are having new experiences. There have been two other funerals here in Texas at the Methodist church that we would have attended had we been in town. It was a lovely service and the church was filled to honor Sam.

We took the expressway to Katy but came home the back way through Waller and Magnolia. This is the route we take when pulling the RV west. It takes a little longer but is so much better on the nerves! We stopped in Magnolia at Las Fuentes for a very late lunch/early dinner. They have the best Mexican food around.

We were home in time to fix our appetizer, change clothes and go to Wind Down at Mary and Allen's house. He is an artist and their home is filled with beautiful paintings he has done. He also built a wonderful deck and arbor that was used by many throughout the evening. Ted had a few beers and I had two glasses of wine. We were both full from our Mexican meal and didn't even look at the food.

Saturday was another shooting day for Ted but he went to Conroe and not Houston. It was going to be a somber day at the Houston Gun Club I'm sure. There was a charitable shoot and Ted and his friend Pat shot a round for it. They each got a chance on a new gun. A little after 3:00 our phone rang and it was Pat saying that he had won the gun. Ted was so happy for him.

We had reservations for four at the Opry but in the afternoon Gloria called and said she was sick and had to beg off. We decided to go to church at St. Matthias in Magnolia, try the new Italian restaurant out there and go on to the Opry by ourselves.

It was a fantastic show. The entertainment quality has improved a lot since Joel purchased the theater. His wife Wendy sings so beautifully. You would never know she has five sons, helps cook the food for the cafe and then gets ready to perform. We were glad we decided to go and not cancel because Gloria and Al were unable to attend.

I'll be getting things together today to take to the RV. We have a fairly busy week ahead. My bunco group meets tomorrow, we are going to dinner with Terry & Carol on Tuesday before we take off for the summer, Wednesday night is the play Grey Gardens at the Stages Repertory Theater downtown with Karen and Dave and then my neighborhood ladies' luncheon is Thursday.

We have decided to load the trailer at Rayford rather than while it is parked in storage. The motorhome next to us is in at a bit of an angle this time and it's a tight squeeze. So Ted will drive the RV to Rayford and I'll bring the Expedition loaded down.

Because we have so much room, there are lots of things going with us to be delivered to family up north. And there is a garage sale during the IRV2 rally so Ted has a few items for that. We should be "lighter" when we head west once all these things have been disbursed.

As the minister told us at Sam's funeral, we should attempt each day to live our life with the "Lord as our shepherd" so one day we will "dwell in the house of the Lord." paraphrased Psalm 23.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Such Sad News

Today Ted learned one of his shooting buddies was killed in a tragic auto accident on Sunday. Sam and his wife Betty were two of the first people we met here in the Houston area when we arrived. Ted met them at the Houston Gun Club and I got to know Betty when I went to the club with Ted. Last Wednesday Ted shot with Sam and on Friday had sent him Dr. Ertan's name for his friend who is having esophagus issues. Sam was killed at 9:30 on a Sunday morning on his way to the club by a drunk driver. We will be going to Katy, TX on Friday for his service. He was one month older than Ted. This kind of stuff really shakes you up. Life can change in an instant. "No one knows when that day or hour will come-not the angels in heaven, not the Son, but only the Father." Mark 13:32

I played Canasta on Monday but didn't win. There were only seven women so the hostess' husband played. He didn't win either! Ted flew back home in the evening.

Tuesday was a "field trip" with Gloria, Gail and Ida down to Harwin. We all had a great time and they enjoyed themselves immensely. We hit the Mirage silk flower place first and everyone bought something; in fact, the back of the Expedition was filled! We've agreed to go back down before next Christmas.

Ted had the filters changed on the truck this morning and has driven down to Houston to visit the Chronicle. Hopefully this is the end of the many calls he had to make these past six weeks. Let's hope he has accomplished enough so he doesn't have to fly anywhere over the summer while we're gone. If a need arises, we'll assess where we are, the best way to get where he needs to go and take it from there. I've seen a few airports I wouldn't ordinarily see but it's all part of the overall experience of traveling throughout the country.

Nine days and counting.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Just In Case You're Interested

For those of you who follow along with our travels, here is a "blueprint" of our 5200 mile trip this summer. I've mapped it on Google but can't figure out how to download into this site. So here's the next best thing. How long we stay and where we stop exactly are always a question mark but this is a good outline of the route we intend to take. We often take detours and end up places we didn't expect so don't take any of this as gospel. That's half of the fun of RVing.

Spring, TX
Texarkana, AR
Dickson, TN
North Bend, OH (Cincinnati to visit family and friends)
Leonard, MI (Troy, MI to visit kids and grandkids)
Mount Eaton, OH (IRV2 National Rally)
Celina, OH (My family reunion)
Howe, IN (Visit Amish country and take RV factory tours)
Utica, IL
Amana, IA (Visit the 7 Amana Colonies)
Interior, SD (The Badlands)
Custer, SD (Mt. Rushmore)
Hardin, WY (Custer's Last Stand)
Island Park, ID (Yellowstone Park)
Provo, UT
Moab, UT (Arches and Canyonland National Parks)
Durango, CO (railroad to Silverton)
Pagosa Springs, CO (hot springs)
Sante Fe, NM (Canyon Road)
Albuquerque, NM (Old Town)
White Sands Dunes, NM
Carlsbad Caverns, NM
Alpine, TX (Big Bend area of Texas)
Burleson, TX (Texas Boomer Labor Day rally)
Magnolia, TX (storage for the RV)

10 Days and Counting

I'm amazed how quickly our departure date is approaching. We will spend Memorial Day at Rayford with Barb & Mike and Jay & Stella. Then we'll take off on Tuesday. Our first stop is at Bailey's in Lufkin to have the furnace looked at. It won't ignite so we either have a propane blockage or an igniter problem. No one seems to think it's a big deal either way. Then we'll travel on to Texarkana. We plan to arrive in Cincinnati on Thursday.

I did have lunch on Friday with Sue Anne as planned. We came back and visited until around 4:30 so it was a nice amount of time to be together. Ted was watching the golf tournament in the family room so she and I sat in what I refer to as my "dumb little room." It is a sitting area off the foyer that seldom gets used. It comes in handy for a fourth table for Canasta and when the kids are here, I move the square coffee table in there from between the two couches so they have room to play in the family room. Morgan likes to play dolls on the moved coffee table though but it gives Sam more room to be rambunctious.

Ted went shooting on Saturday, then we went to church at 5:00 and played Canasta as planned. It was a good group and I had a very nice time. I ended up winning for losing. I had the lowest score and won our $10 back. Two of the four games my partner and I had no wild card Canasta and that kills your score. The food and wine were both great and I'm glad we were asked to play.

Sunday was Mother's Day and we went out to breakfast. The restaurant was very busy. We were sitting with coffee waiting for our food and the waitress stopped and asked if we wanted our check. Ted said he would rather have our food first ... and maybe a coffee refill! We got a good laugh out of that. Later on she asked the table across from us if she could get them anything. Their response was the same as ours ... the food!

Ted left around 2:00 to catch a plane to Ohio and later on I went to Terry & Carol's for a dinner to celebrate our friend Dave's birthday. Last year he had a big bash at the country club that we attended. This year it was just seven of us but equally as nice a celebration.

When I came home I watched the finale to The Amazing Race on the DVR. I wanted the deaf boy and his mother to win but it didn't happen. I think they could have used the million dollars more than the two attorneys but they all played the game well.

Today I am playing Canasta again and Ted will be home this evening. I am taking three of my neighbors to the Harwin area tomorrow and before you know it, another week will have passed. Until then ...

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Getting Ready to Roll

I've been wracking my brain trying to plan ahead for what we'll need to have with us while we're gone. We have some reservations made and I'll need that info. Computer passwords to attend to business on line is another needed item. There's estimated taxes due mid-June and a credit card will expire. The plates for my car will come due. Some of our prescriptions will be renewed. I'm just trying to make sure I have all the info or pieces of paper with me that I need. I have a Woodlands Country Club pouch that works really great for carrying all these things. If I start now I may have it all together by the 22nd.

It's been a quiet week. Ted went to Dallas for a couple days and is back until Sunday when he flies out again but will be back on Monday. I've had to fill my time up in his absence. I finished my book The Winner which was very good. On Tuesday I made my second appearance at Continental Breakfast. That's a total of two for the year. Afterwards I went to the mall and picked up a few new tops for the summer.

When I arrived home I had two messages. One from Ted saying he would be home at 7 pm and one from Terry inviting us to a Cinco de Mayo celebration at the East Course of the club. I'm glad I heard Ted's message first because I was able to thank Terry but beg off since Ted wasn't here and I didn't want to go without him.

Wednesday was Happy Hour at the Palmer clubhouse of the country club. Where we only had a few people the last two times, this time we had 16 or so. It was very slow service and we were there longer than usual waiting for everyone to get their checks to sign.

Tomorrow I am FINALLY having lunch with Sue Anne for her birthday - 2008 AND 2009. We just have schedules that don't mesh and we've tried for 15 months now. Let's hope nothing pops up to keep us from getting together. We'll meet here and leave once Rebecca gets finished cleaning.

Saturday we're playing Canasta at Sherida and John's house. It's been a while since we've played as a couple. We dropped out of this group and just became subs because we were gone so much so it's nice to be asked occasionally.

We have no plans for Mother's Day. With Ted catching a plane in the afternoon I'm sure we'll go out to breakfast after church somewhere and watching Amazing Race alone will be my highlight except for the phone calls I'll receive from the girls. I know what my present is and I'm anxious to see it. I'll share a picture of it with you once it arrives. It's very special.