Sunday, December 28, 2008

Meet my new Granddog, Jax!

Our son Brandon has been waiting until he was no longer traveling with his job to get a dog. He wanted to make certain he would be able to spend time with one and not have to leave it for long periods of time.

He began scouring the petfinder ads as we have always done rescue. There are so many animals out there that need homes and he was certain he would be able to find a suitable pet. He had already picked out a name, Jax. He found a dog, a lab mix, who was being fostered by a family in Melbourne, where he lives. It just so happens the dog's name was Jackson. He called the family who had him and arranged to go meet him. He went two different times and really fell in love with Jackson, now called Jax.

He applied to the Humane Society and he brought Jax home two days before Christmas. Jax and Brandon have a huge house to themselves and when it gets warmer, they will be swimming in the pool. Jax was on his good behavior when Brandon had friends over the other day. He did fall into the pool, but Brian coaxed him to the shallow end where he could easily climb the steps out. He and Brian get along well which is good, because Brian sometimes comes in to let Jax out when Brandon has to be gone for an extended time.

Brandon has taken Jax to a friend's house where he can run and romp with their two dogs and he enjoys the time there. But he seems ready to jump in the car and head back home. He sleeps in Brandon's room on his own bed.

We are glad Brandon has found such a perfect match for him and Jax. Hopefully Jax will provide many years of companionship and comic relief!

Yesterday Terry wanted to go to the flea market at Donna, so we invited Mom and Dad to go along as well. We treated them to lunch at Gonzales Burgers in Donna. They are huge, probably half pound burgers, which are super good. The restaurant is a famous one to the Winter Texans and I read where the locals don't go much during the winter but pick up when the Winter Texans go home in the spring. It is a family restaurant and just exceptional food. We went to the flea market from there and picked up a couple items, but not what Terry was looking for. On the way home, we stopped at Home Depot so Terry could get the rake he wanted.

Last evening we were standing out on our new pad working on our solar lights when a car drove up and someone yelled something about looking for some hicks from Indiana. I couldn't have been more surprised! It was Tab and Deanna from Ohio along with mutual friends Ken and Kathy Adams. We knew they were in San Antonio and in fact, Terry had called and talked with Tab earlier in the day. They were on their way down here to the RGV when Terry called. Course, they didn't tell us that, they surprised us by showing up at our place! Hah. We grabbed chairs and sat out on the new pad when we started seeing some lightning. Then it got worse and there was a lot of thunder. We decided to move over under Mom and Dad's awning and the sky really opened up and the rain started pounding down on us. It was so noisy and the wind started blowing and we all started getting wet, so we had to move into the house. Mom and Dad went back to the motorhome to sit with Bailey and Neal, which was a good thing because they get a little worried during storms. We all sat and talked for awhile and enjoyed the get-together while the storm continued outside. Eventually the storm died out and our friends went on their way. We plan to get together again before they leave the Valley, so that will be fun. We are looking forward to it.

Till next time. . .


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Not the answers I wanted. . .

Yesterday was my first session with a physical therapist in order to determine what is wrong with my hip/leg, etc., and to plot the best course of action to recover from the injury. I believe the problem started with a fall a year ago on the concrete here in Texas. I ended up with bursitis in my hip which is very painful. I was very impressed with Patty. She is the therapist the physiatrist recommended. A physiatrist is a doctor who specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation.

The therapist was very frank with me today and said she didn’t know if she could help, but we would try some things. She was amazed at my flexibility and ability to walk. Course, I had that month of chiropractic care and Terry and I were swimming every night until we got sick. She was in disbelief that the doctors have not honed in on the problem, but I told her, they never examined me like she did. She poked and prodded the muscles and had me push in order to determine what muscles I was using for what. The gluteus medius is torn according to the MRI and she said at this late date there is no way to recover it. It is shot. But we are going to try and “wake up” some other muscles to make them help me. She said unfortunately, there is no other muscle that does the same thing, but by using a combination, I might be able to keep everything status quo. She also said that what is likely “catching” is the ilio-tibial band. The glute muscle holds it in place and in certain squatting positions (like when I am helping Neal) the glute muscle does not keep the band in place and it slides over the trochanter and gets caught on the far side. At those times, I have extreme pain and cannot step down, but if I stand on my right foot and pull my left leg up and over, it releases. She agreed with me that injecting another epidural is not going to help this problem and I was correct in seeking a correct diagnosis and treatment. Since my session this morning, I have had more pain than usual, I suppose because of the resistance I had to do with the testing, etc.

Today was just evaluation, so next week we will be starting actual physical therapy.

In other news, Terry had gotten a really bad cold last week and is just now recovering. I took some steps to avoid getting it but apparently didn't do enough. It hit me full force yesterday afternoon. Man, I felt like I'd been hit by a truck. I am trying to drink lots of fluids and vitamin C and today I am considerably better. Yesterday I did not go to bingo and thought I might not be able to go to the Christmas dinner at the hall on Thursday, but if I continue to get better, I may be able to go.

Merry Christmas to all!

Till next time. . .


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Santa Claus is coming to town. . . .

And he went right by my house! I have the proof!

Yesterday was Sleepy Valley's Christmas Parade and they came through our park. It is always fun to see how everyone decorates their golf cart for Christmas. Some are quite elaborate, others are just simple, but they are all fun! Everyone has a good time!

Terry is feeling better. He got a nasty cold some time last week and is starting to come out of it, I think. Thank goodness we traded a couch for the recliners last year. It is easier to sleep in them when you are all congested.

The last few nights I have taken either Mom or Dad on the golf cart and gone to look at Christmas decorations. So far I think Pleasant Valley has the most. There are some very pretty decorations, but many fewer than I have seen here in years' past. The park is probably 80% populated, but Pleasant is closer to 95% I would say.

We are going to the hall for Christmas dinner. I have to fix a corn dish and I might take a chocolate pie. . . if it turns out. I made a pecan pie for Thanksgiving dinner that flopped miserably. Have no idea why. It still tasted good, but it was certainly a gooey mess. Course, Terry loved it.

Here's hoping everyone has a Blessed Christmas and a Joyous New Year.

Till next time. . .


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Watching concrete dry is boring!

That's what we're doing. . . watching the concrete dry and keeping it wet down. Ugh. We plan on moving Phaeton Place over on the new pad some time after Christmas. We do need to make a move over a couple feet now. We had moved over to allow the workers more space and the space between the shed and the motorhome is too narrow for the guys to use. Mom and I don't have any trouble. Hah.

News Flash: One thing longer than watching concrete dry is watching the Indianapolis Hoosier Dome implode! Set for 9 a.m. EST today, we watched for 35 minutes before it went. A train passing through town had to clear before they could do the deed. But it is now history. I'm sure you can watch the video again on the Indy Star website.

The last two days Terry and I finished our Christmas shopping. I went out alone on Thursday for about 4 hours. I only had Terry left to buy for, and I knew what I wanted. I went out early and traffic was tolerable. Then yesterday I drove him around for about 2 hours to finish up for me. He is not feeling well, having contracted a nasty cold. He thinks he may have gotten it in the doctor's office when he got his tooth pulled. At any rate, he is doctoring for it and will get through it. Today we aren't going to do much except maybe wash the motorhome. It is supposed to be 86, so it may be a good time to do it.

Wednesday for supper we went to the hall for a "street dinner." Each street puts on dinners for which they sell tickets. This is done to raise money for the park in lieu of having larger fees. I think that is a great idea! We had a lasagne dinner which was very good. On the menu was lasagne, tossed salad, fruit cup, breadstick, iced tea or coffee and homemade desserts. Really tasty.

Wednesday night we played Pegs and Jokers. . . a game a lot like Aggravation, but with some different rules. The game boards are designed so you can add extra panels and play as many as you want. That is really convenient because then everyone who shows up gets to play. We had "Robert" teaching us the rules and it went well. We will probably go back again. Then next Monday evening I start my French lessons. We have a large contingent of French-Canadians in the park and they have one member of their group teaching them English. He is starting French lessons for those of us who want to learn. Why not? Need to do something to keep my mind active. I think it will be fun. I have an acquaintance down the street who is French and she has told me we can "talk." Since she wants to refine her English, we will probably have to talk English part of the time, then French. Hah! I would really like to learn Spanish as well, but so far no one is teaching that here.

We are going up to the hall for Christmas dinner. It should be good. Thanksgiving was excellent. The ham and turkey really good, so I'm looking forward to this.

Well, must get going. Need to get something started today.

Till next time. . .


Monday, December 15, 2008

This really ROCKS!!!!!!

Moses arrived at 8 a.m. this morning to start getting the lot around the concrete ready for rock. He worked until about 10:30 getting the lot leveled out and ready for the rock. . . all 12 tons of it. When it arrived, he had the truck back up to the back of the lot and start dumping it. He had it spread out along the length of the lot. Cesar, the driver actually had to make a second trip because his truck would not haul all the rock we needed.

Once he left, Moses started moving the rock around. This man moved all that rock around with the tools of his trade. . . a wheelbarrow and a shovel. That's it. It is incredible that he was able to do it. I don't know how old he is, he could actually be younger than he looks, but he worked until 4:30, when he finished. He didn't work fast, but he didn't take many breaks. I kept him supplied with ice water and the rock truck driver brought him lunch.

Now the lot is basically finished as far as the base. We still plan to put up a canopy and another year we will add a Texas room on the one side. But things are coming along. It will be after Christmas before we can move Phaeton Place over on the new pad. We will be moving her over a few feet to give us walking room at the back. We had moved over so the concrete and stone workers would have more space.

Tomorrow Terry goes to have a tooth extracted. Normally this is a simple process, but with Terry, nothing medical is ever routine. So hopefully it will all go smoothly and we will be back quickly.
Till next time. . .


Friday, December 12, 2008

Still Working!

Well, we have been giving the new concrete a couple days to cure, spraying it down religiously, etc. The plan is to now get the trenches dug so Terry can finish re-routing the plumbing and electric.

I have noted Moses driving by slowly for 2 days. I know he wants to get the trenches dug. This morning at 6:40 he knocked on the door. Terry had already told me he wanted to see if he could find Moses today to get started, so he was glad he didn't have to wait.Terry ran off to the lumber yard across the expressway to get a few more pieces of conduit and electrical supplies, so Moses dug while he was gone. When Terry came back he told me that no one in the lumber yard spoke English, but he managed to get what he needed. He said he ended up pointing on the computer screen to what he wanted. So he is learning how to communicate without the benefit of a common language. I really want to learn Spanish. I feel strongly that anyone down here in business should speak English, but that is not the reality; and I would like to be able to communicate. Also, we have quite a large French speaking Canadian population in the neighboring park and several in our park. They are having English lessons to learn the language and are also offering French for those of us who want to learn. Why not? I am started those lessons Monday night. Anything to keep the mind sharp!

By early next week our lot should be finished except for the canopy. We will be getting more estimates as the first was way too high. We know what the contractor charged last year and even though material has gone up in price, he wants much, much more.

We won't be moving onto the new concrete until after Christmas, so I may get to start putting up the few decorations I have. I have not put any up as yet, because we have been moving and closing up slides as work progresses and they would just be in the way. Next year should be a breeze compared to the work we are doing this year. We had originally just planned to erect a canopy on our existing lot once we got down here. That quickly changed when we decided to try and buy the lot next door. That happened much more quickly than we had anticipated and things have actually gone quite smoothly since then. I just hate being in a state of construction. . . I could NEVER build a house. If I ever had another, it will be an existing structure. Hah!
Till next time. . .

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Concrete is Done!!!!!

Well, this is the fastest we have seen anything done down here in the Rio Grande Valley. Usually everything gets done . . . man-yana (forgive my spelling). The guys worked all day, having started at 7 a.m. and left about 3:40 p.m. In the pictures, anything you see with just dirt will be rock. Yep, we are planting rock because it doesn't have to be mowed as much!

We made a curve in the concrete, just to be different. The motorhome will sit right behind that curve. In the rock in front of the motorhome, I will put my cactus and my name rock, etc. In the middle where you see rock is where our current connections are. Terry intends to put those in a pit and the rock area will be the dogs' "yard." Terry left the area to the back in rock in the event we every have trouble with the sewer/water lines, we will have easy access to them without busting out any concrete.

So one big job is done and boy are we happy about that!

Till next time . . .


Work is Progressing!

We spoke with Oscar Flores on Sunday and Monday morning at 7:30 he arrived with his Bobcat to start preparing the lot next door for concrete. He scraped the grass and sandburs and then brought in a semi to haul it away. Today he came back at 7 a.m. with the Bobcat again and several workers who started prepping the ground for the concrete. They dug a trench so Terry could put down the sewer pipe under the new pad. When we relocate Phaeton Place, we needed a sewer connection on the other pad. We also met Moses who will be doing the gravel work.

I will continue to update with pictures today as the work progresses.

The concrete truck has arrived and the guys are working hard to get the concrete smooth. It is a non-stop process using several different tools, all of which I have seen before, but none of which I could name.

Till next time. . .


Thursday, December 04, 2008

No real news. . .

We have spent a couple days out "window shopping" for wood Terry wants to built our deck. . . which will be small, but will have a landing with room for a chair and a step down to the pavement. Out the other side will be the boyz' ramp so they can go up and down and we don't have to straddle the ramp on the motorhome steps. That will be nice and a good bit safer. By asking around, we finally found the lumber yard all the locals use and Terry was very impressed with "David" who was behind the desk at the contractor counter. Today, however, he has one other lumber yard to check out that is a wee bit closer to us here on the west end of Mission.

Lupe will come today to talk with us about our awning. It won't be cheap, that's for sure, but Terry wants a clear span and you can't skimp on materials when you are doing that. It does make for a much "cleaner" looking lot and will be less restrictive on what we do under it--not to mention easier backing the motorhome in under it. The ones we have seen that he does are very substantial and won't come down in the winds we have down here in the valley. Lupe is a contractor who works on commercial buildings and does the RV awnings on the side, usually on the weekends. However, when Terry called yesterday he said they were doing an RV awning at the time; so it may be that his other work is slow right now. That could work to our advantage in getting it done quickly. After talking with Lupe, we will be calling Oscar who will do the concrete work.

In other news, Terry saw an oral surgeon this week who will be extracting a tooth for him next week. He has to be off a couple meds for several days beforehand and the surgeon called Terry's doctor to get the okay. It actually is a wisdom tooth that has broken numerous times. It is not causing any pain, but needs to be removed.

And I continue to have trouble with my hip. It certainly is not as bad as before I spent a month going to the chiropractor before we left Goshen, but there is still something in there that is wrong. Interestingly, I finally got the MRI reports in my hand. Two doctors kept telling me there was nothing wrong with my hip and the MRI disputes that. Perhaps they think that there isn't enough there to cause me any problem, but they are wrong. Several things are mentioned in the MRI report that the doctors dismissed as insignificant. The MRI on my back shows all the same stuff I have had for years and they are all over that. I guess they think if they shoot up my back, I won't feel my hip. Hmmmm. Well, I researched physiatrists down here in the valley. That is a PM&R doctor, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, which my doctor had recommended I see. From what I read, they are kind of like a chiropractor with an MD degree. They work with muscles and bones, determining where exactly the pain is originating and attacking the problem with more therapy than surgery. I found two that interested me. . . one a man who has been in practice for several years. Went to his office and found the waiting room dirty and the building not very neat. They told me there is "always" a wait even when you have an appointment, so I told them I would think about it. Then we went to the other doctor, who is a fairly new doctor with a degree from Baylor and is a woman. The office was very neat and clean with an almost empty waiting room and the receptionist told me you won't wait for your appointment unless there was an emergency. They were willing to call my insurance and make sure their services were covered and made an appointment for next week. I am anxious to see what happens. At least I have my MRI reports to take to her and I have an x-ray on a DVD from the chiropractor if they can use that.

We have been swimming every night (except Bingo night). We go over at 7 p.m. at which time it is dark and I swim laps and relax in the hot tub. I am sure that is helping me walk better. It's a tough life. We are having cool nights and warm days. Hard to beat that. Yesterday was windy and there is some wind this morning. I always have to start out in long pants, but by noon I am in shorts. Mom puts on shorts in the morning so she doesn't have to change clothes. Smart gal.

Till next time. . .


Sunday, November 30, 2008

The "Before" Shot

I took a photo of Phaeton Place on our current lot. Next to her you see our newly acquired vacant lot. We are starting tomorrow to get things moving toward getting our new concrete pad poured and our canopy put up.

More pictures will follow as the work progresses.

Till next time. . .


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Work will start soon!

We have been here for two weeks and have been in negotiations for buying the lot next to us. It was our plan to put a canopy up over the motorhome and as we worked on those plans, Terry lamented on how nice it would be to have a little extra room. We have heard repeatedly that the people who own the neighboring lot had purchased the lot for their retirement and were not interested in selling. But one never knows. Even if this was true, situations change and we thought perhaps they would entertain the notion. They did and we came to an agreement on the price and yesterday we traded money for the deed. It is our intention now to add concrete and stone and move the motorhome over about 15 feet and put the canopy up. Eventually we will add a coordinating shed, but for now we will use the one already in place on our lot. So now begins the process of getting the permits and running services over to where we wish to park the motorhome. We are anxious to get started. I will keep updating as the work progresses.

We went with Mom and Dad to the hall for Thanksgiving dinner. We had a great meal and it was nice not to have a lot to clean up. We have been to Furr's to eat once, Gonzales Burgers once, the Starz drive -in once and the Crazy International Buffet once. Not bad for two weeks. We really are now trying to concentrate on eating out of the coach as we packed a lot of food into it from the "storage condo" before we left Goshen.

We are going to go to Mexico tomorrow and see what bargains we can find. I have a few things I would like to get for the "new" place, so we shall see.

Till next time. . .


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Decisions, decisions, decisions. . .

Terry was lamenting the main decision of the day late this morning. . .

whether to change into shorts or stay in jeans.

Such is the life of the retiree in the Rio Grande Valley. We have had cool evenings and nights, like you might need a sweatshirt and jeans on if you are outside. By late morning, it is considerably warmer. If the sun comes out, it will get hot. . . but the air is cool and comfortable. However, if it stays cloudy, it will remain cool. There are no wrong decisions, because even in shorts all day, you won't be cold. And if you get hot in your jeans, just step into the shade and all is well.

The tricky part is that when they are burning off the cane fields, you will have clouds, but they are very short lived. So you may be fooled into thinking there are a lot of clouds, but they are not the "weather making" clouds.

I won at Bingo tonight. I was the only winner in that game, so I won $10. I won last week as well, but there were 3 winners, so we had to split the winnings and I got $4 for that.

We are really enjoying the weather and our time down here. With Mom and Dad here, there is always someone to talk to and ask questions. Dad has had trouble with his rotator cuff for several months and he is now in physical therapy to help it heal. Let's hope that works because he doesn't want surgery. He does believe it is feeling better.

Yesterday we looked up our friends, Ron and Brenda Speidel who are camp hosting at Tradewinds RV Resort. They were lounging in the sun outside their rig, so we stopped and visited until we had to leave. They don't have too tough of a job and they have a nicely paved site and plenty of room to set chairs out and talk.

Tomorrow I have to bake a pie. I am taking pecan pie and sweet potatoes to the Thanksgiving dinner, so I am going to make Terry a pie first to make sure I get it just right. Hah. We are going with Mom and Dad to the park hall for dinner on Thanksgiving. It is always good. I will probably put my sweet potatoes together tomorrow as they can sit in the refrigerator overnight and then just bake them in the morning.

I'm sure after Thanksgiving the Christmas decorations will start popping up. It is nice that people in the parks don't rush into putting up their decorations and wait until closer to Christmas to decorate. I have been looking at things, but until we have a little more storage down here, I really cannot buy too much to put out.

Till next time. . .


Thursday, November 20, 2008

My Bad!

Okay. In one day I had two people complain I had not updated my blog lately, so I guess it's time to get to it.

We arrived in Mission, Texas, Restful Valley Ranch, on Friday last week. It was easy getting into our spot (as opposed to the site we had just left in Rockport, Texas) and were soon greeted by Mom and Dad. Getting to the park was a little more tricky because my parents had warned us not to come in off Expressway 83 due to road construction and some pretty good "dips" across the entrances to the park. Rather than even try coming that way, we came in the "back" way and fortunately we remembered correctly! We actually never got out to the frontage road until 2 days later and WOW! "Mess" is not quite the word for it. How fortunate we did come in the back way, because Phaeton Place, at 40' long, would not have made the drive across the dips in that frontage road. Anyone planning on coming in here needs to call us first so we can tell you how to get here. In fact, most days there is little work going on there and we really cannot tell just yet what they are doing and how it will be finished. Based on the other frontage roads, I don't think we will be disappointed, but they have really cut out a lot of dirt and it is going to be a big job getting it back to the level of the side roads.

Last winter when we left, they were working on a new Wal-Mart just west of us. The great thing about this is that it is just a few short miles down the road and we won't' have to fight the traffic going east toward McAllen. But unfortunately, they hit a snag. Friends tell me the store looks about done, parking lots in, etc., but they have had trouble finding water, so the store is not open. Grrr. No sign of when/if it will open.

We are going to be putting up a canopy over our lot here in the valley. The sun is brutal and we have to run our air conditioners during the late morning/afternoon/early evening even though it is only in the 70's. But that is in the shade, and the breeze is cool. However, in the sun, the temperature is set at "roast" and that is what it does. HOWEVER, I am not complaining. . . I love the weather here. No bugs, a slight breeze on some days, but we just want to get the motorhome under cover to reduce the amount of cooling needed. Anyway, we spent some time earlier this week in the golf cart visiting Hidden Valley and looking at canopies and talking with people about the contractors they used. Hopefully we will be moving forward with that soon.

Yesterday was Gonzales burgers day! We traveled to Donna to meet up with other RV.netters and had lunch at the famous, but hard to find, little restaurant famous for its burgers. If they are not a pound each, they have to be close. I ate half mine and brought the other half home. Next time we are going to split one. They are just too big to eat. The restaurant is really quite non-descript and operates strictly by word of mouth, no signs, etc. We were able to connect with "old" friends we met last year and met several new friends who frequent the forum. We all enjoyed lunch and visiting afterwards. What a great bunch of people!

Last evening we had dinner guests. I made seafood chowder for Mom and Dad. We also had salad and Texas toast (what else?). It was yummy. Mom and Dad have a new home here! They traded models and now have a park model in place. I knew they were thinking about it and since they were kind of quiet after they got here, I suspected correctly they were working getting a new place in order. It is not much larger, footprint-wise, but it is an actual park model and has higher ceilings and seems to be a lot roomier inside.

We still haven't got everything set up. Doing things just a little at a time. That way it's not such a chore. We are just enjoying the sun and relaxing, which is what we supposed to be doing!

BTW, just a reminder of why we are here. My sister Nita took these pix out her front door the other day looking toward Mom and Dad's house in Indiana. Brrrrrrr.

Till next time. . .


Monday, November 10, 2008

Stately Mansion - Oaklawn Manor

Friday was to be our last day with Gary and Jo and we took a few hours and drove over to Grand Isle. This is normally a very beautiful drive and Grand Isle is an island community, unfortunately in the path of several hurricanes over the last 4 years. This year was a double whammy with Gustav and Ike. I don't believe there are that many permanent residents, but they do have a school, so there are those who stay there year round. It seems on the south side of the island, the hurricane breeched the levee and drove beach sand up into the yards of the houses there. They no longer have grass under the stilts, but about 18 inches of beach sand. And everywhere is evidence that it is being cleared and hopefully redeposited out at the oceanfront. The Grand Isle State Park is closed and barriers across the entrance kept us from exploring. There are new power poles this time and it seems a lot of power has been restored. I have placed a lot of photos in a web album as there are too many to post here. We also drove down to Port Fourchon on the way to Grand Isle and took some pictures there as well.

We left Leeville and Gary and wife Jo on Saturday morning. It is always good to see them. We have fish and shrimp in the freezers now, so will eat well this winter. We drove about 120 miles to Charenton, Louisiana, and the Chitimacha Indiana Reservation and Casino. We aren't gambling, but they have a full hookup campground that is absolutely the best we have stayed in and it costs $10 a night.

Since Terry and I are both history buffs we decided to visit Oaklawn Manor, and antebellum home now home to a former Louisiana Governor. The home is gorgeous and the family uses it daily, retiring to the upstairs when guests arrive to tour. That was the only disappointing part. . . the $10 price was a bit pricey for a tour of 4-5 rooms and the grounds. The difference between this home and others we have toured is that this home is not a museum and is a current residence. After hearing the guide talk about the home's history and the current residents, I would have liked to meet the former Governor and his wife who live and maintain this home for the public to continue to enjoy. The stately homes in this area were not cotton plantations but raised sugar cane instead. The fields around the home and in this area are filled with cane and are in the process of being harvested.

One structure noteworthy is the aviary, which was built by Warner Brothers studios for the movie, "The Drowning Pool" which was filmed here.

We have taken it easy for a couple days and getting laundry finished up. Fishing with Gary is hard work and we really enjoyed the time spent, but are ready now to move on to Texas for the winter.

Till next time. . .


Friday, November 07, 2008

Another fishing day!

I tell you what. . . fishing is hard work. The worst part is getting up before dawn. Hah. But Captain Gary is determined to find you fish. I don't think he was as happy with the day's efforts as we were. Anytime you can throw your line into the ocean and catch fish is fun, even if they are not keepers.

Yesterday we headed out at 7 a.m. to what Gary calls the redfish rig. It is an oil rig and we anchored close to it and fished into the pilings. The problem was that a barge tied off to the rig had a dive flag down, so we couldn't go into the spot Gary wanted, but that couldn't be helped. We started catching fish like crazy. Gary was a little miffed because they were all catfish and he doesn't like catfish. He said these we caught have flesh the color of liver and they don't taste very good. We would have had our limit if they were good eating. Several times one of us would be waiting to have a critter removed from our hook because he was taking one off another. I think it's safe to say Gary hates catfish. Hah! And to those who are critical of us for not taking our own fish off the hooks, Captain Gary insists. Everything coming out of the ocean will either bite or cut you and he always removes the fish. Even the trout we caught have two fang-like teeth. Other fish we caught have "mouthfuls" of teeth. Gary said they have they best dental plan. We actually did catch a couple other fish at the rig which went into the box. We moved around a lot and caught a couple most places we went. Fortunately we didn't snag into the long dark objects which Gary thought might be drum, but turned out to be sharks about 5 feet long. They looked huge to me, especially the one that swam right by the boat.

We fished in the bay, Timbalier Bay. We fished "at the front" which is the term for fishing right before you would pass into the ocean. A cold front was to be coming in and rain and wind was expected. Seas were to be 2-3 feet and Gary said you always add 1 foot, so the possibility of 4-foot seas kept us in the Bay. No matter. The bay is huge and we actually lost sight of land all around. Gary, however, would point out landmarks which we didn't recognize, but he did.

Gary drove us by Pelican Island which is a rookery for Pelicans. He talked about the changes since Gustav and Ike came through and the island is much smaller as a result of the storms. In the spring there are many more birds than we saw today, but we still saw thousands.

We eventually came in and had some lunch, then went back out and fished the other side of the marsh in some canals. Brandon caught his biggest fish back there and I was fortunately to catch it on video. We continued to catch fish and we ended up with our freezer full and a large cooler for Brandon to take back to Florida.

On the way out in the evening, we passed by the bridges being built. The old bridge next to Gary and Jo's cabin is being replaced by a new bridge that really takes you completely over the marsh and eventually out to Grand Isle. It is a huge project, not unlike the bridges at the Florida Keys. The bridge at the camp now has a lift section for the big boats and the horn sounds 5 times whenever the bridge goes up and then down. In addition, the steel deck is very noisy every time trucks drive over it. The new bridge will be high enough it will not move and it will be much quieter here in the camp.

Just across the canal from the camp are some unusual items that are out of the water. They are actual crypts from a graveyard. One is solid concrete and not opened, so one must presume the remains are still intact. The others are brick and are broken open. They have been there for years. There is a lot of speculation as to where the cemetary was located and Captain Gary has taken many news teams (even the NY Times) over to the site to try to learn something of the crypts.

Some of you may wonder about how the hurricanes have effected Leeville and this area. They are devastating. Katrina did a lot of damage here and the camp was entirely flooded. Gary's building was not here then. Gustav pummeled it with 104 mph winds for 10 hours and his cabin almost looks untouched. The camp was covered with 8 feet of water and the travel trailers left in the camp rolled over on their sides and slid down the rows, knocking out the power and water pedastals. It is safe to say most of the camp was destroyed. However, most of the docks remain and houses on stilts made it through for the most part. A lot of cabins out in the marsh were destroyed, however. The tenants are moving back into the camp. We are not on an actual campsite as the ones which have services are back in service with their regular tenants. No other sites were available to us with services, so we are boondocking off to the side. Last night Brandon was watching TV as Terry and I were checking email on our computers with the Datastorm. The air was on. Brandon said, "So this is boondocking?" Yep, our style of boondocking anyway!

If any of you are looking for fishing and fun, Captain Gary promises and delivers both. He is very patient and very good at finding and catching fish. He is a former teacher and principal and is an excellent teacher who will gently instruct you in how to catch fish. His jokes keep you laughing and it is a most enjoyable experience. He has both a bay boat, which he uses in the bay and marshes and a Boston Whaler with twin outboards which will take you miles out into the ocean. He is licensed and certified and knows what he is doing. You are safe with him and the trip will be a memorable one!

Till next time. . .