Sunday, November 13, 2016

Moving right along

Once we left the Intracoastal Park, we drove on to Houston and stopped at Advanced RV Park in Pearland. We arrived on Tuesday and went to visit my cousin Jim.

Jim continues to recover from a cardiac event from a few years ago. He has started Scuba diving again and is looking forward to a trip to Cozumel in March to dive in open water. Good luck Jim. Hope that all goes well for you.

On Wednesday, we had a doctor's appointment for Terry with a new cardiologist in Houston. In the past four years, all his doctors/specialists have either retired or resigned, going into other lines of work. A really sad thing to have happen as a result of changes in the health care system. So he has all new doctors. None have known him  before and we struggle to make sure they know what is going on with Terry. But he had a good report and we are good for another six months.

Wednesday evening we headed out to Hobby Airport to wait on Mom's plane. Her plane was almost a half hour early in arriving, so we wanted to make sure we allowed enough time. I was able to get an NPE (non-passenger escort) pass, go through security and meet Mom at the gate. My niece Kellie flew down with her and saw to it that she had good help. Mom was surprised to see me there, and we all got a ride on a cart by one of the airport stewards and we got to baggage where Terry was waiting. Kellie had left us earlier because she had another flight to Las Vegas to catch.

We got Mom's luggage and walked to the car which wasn't far away and off we went. I had made some homemade soup that was waiting for us when we got back and we had a late supper, then off to bed.

The next morning we got up early and drove 300 miles to Edinburg, Texas. It's only 40 more miles to the park, but that would have meant setting up in the dark and I did not want to do that. So we spent the night and Friday we drove on in.

We got to the park in Mission at about 10 a.m. on Friday and worked the rest of the day to get things opened up and all systems running. We got Mom's water and electric and gas all turned on and she was happy to piddle around in her trailer. We carried over her luggage and the few things we had brought with us and she spent time getting things in order.

Saturday morning we left around 8 a.m. and went to Walmart to shop for groceries. Mom wanted to get stocked up on things so she wouldn't have to go for a while. We got a few staples as well.

The biggest challenge for Terry was the golf cart. A battery post had literally been dissolved on one battery. He had never seen that happen nor had anyone else. For 8 years he has gotten it ready to store and nothing like that has ever happened. So he thought it might require all new batteries, because replacing just one will lead to the others failing. But the batteries seemed to be fairly good. Terry got on the internet and found a YouTube video which showed how to "fix" the missing battery post. I took him out yesterday to get what he needed. He came home, performed the fix, and she ran! Best part was that it cost $4 vs $500 for all new batteries! Whoo hoo! O Happy Day! So we put it on charge all day and night and it's fully charged this morning! Hope it all holds. Mom has her wheels back and I am grateful for that.

We continue to whittle down our list of stuff that needs to be done. The Texas Room is in good shape and we are busy getting stuff out for the Thanksgiving season.

All is well here! Mom is happy in her trailer and we are doing well. Duchess has had many walks already. She is always willing to go. She remembers familiar things around here and she is certainly happy that Mom's trailer is occupied again!

Till next time. . .


Monday, November 07, 2016

Barge Watch!

It rained most of the night and into the morning. We were spending two nights here, so we relaxed and didn't do much except watch the barge traffic.

We are here at a county park at the Ellender Bridge on the Intracoastal Waterway. It is fun to watch the boats go by. We have a lot of barges traveling through this canal, both east bound and west bound. Occasionally you see one sitting back along the side waiting its turn to get through the bridge. In addition to the barges, we have seen shrimp boats and yachts as well as small fishing boats. There are two boat launch ramps in this park for anyone who wants to offload their boat.

The waterway is 1050 miles long and runs from Carrabelle, Florida, to Brownsville, Texas. It is an impressive structure and uses some natural waterways in the course of those miles. The canal is 12 feet deep.

This afternoon we left and went into Lake Charles to the Golden Nugget casino. I'm happy to report I did well. I won enough to cover Terry's losses and my losses from a couple days ago. Whoo hoo! And once I did that, I quit. We had played for about an hour and a half, which was quite fun.

Tomorrow we are headed to Houston where we will stay at Advanced RV Park. And on Wednesday we will be picking up Mom at the airport in the evening.

Till the next time. . .


Cajun Riviera!

We left the camp near Amite, Louisiana, in the morning and planned a stop at a rest area along I-10, but it was gone. So many rest areas have been taken out and GPS's and maps don't have the information yet. So we continued on.

We had a couple spots to stop for the night near Lake Charles, but first we had to cross that high bridge at Lake Charles! The first camp was a motel/RV park which gets really good reviews and we did go by it. It looked like a very nice park and we thought if the other spot didn't pan out, we would come back to that one. We got on down near Sulpur, Louisiana, and crossed over the lift bridge that spans camp the Intracoastal Waterway. We could see the camp on the far side of the canal, but we had to drive on around the curve to come back into it. It is a very nice county park with water and 50A electric for $12 a night. Whoo hoo! Terry's kind of park. There is a bathhouse, but it's not as nice as ours! We are parked right on the canal with steps that lead down to the water.

We can see all kinds of barges, boats, yachts, fishing boats, etc., going under the bridge. It only has to lift the deck when something extra high goes through, so most of the time, it stays down. It's pretty cool.

Yesterday afternoon Terry wanted to go down to Cameron, Louisiana, because he read really good reviews about a restaurant there. I looked up the venue and found it was basically a burger joint and all the fish/seafood was fried, which I don't care for. But we decided to go have a look. What a ride!

It was a bit reminiscent of the drive down to Cousin Gary's place at Leeville, except it was even more desolate and less populated. Water on both sides and marshy grasses. Most of the way was a nice two-lane highway with pull offs and parking areas for you to fish the bayous and canals. And there were a lot of people fishing. There were warning signs for alligators. . . no thank you! We passed through Hackberry, which was the last "town" we really saw that had a grocery/post office, before we got to Cameron.

We first came to Holly Beach, which is known as "The Cajun Riviera." We have heard of this before and were always curious about it. It is one fine beach. You can drive and camp on the beach. There are no high rises, but there are houses on stilts and lots of RV's. One person had rentals at one time and they got blown away by one hurricane, then another finished them off. So now he has some FEMA trailers in there and rents them out to tourists. He said he can't get insurance on any structures there anymore, so he went cheaper. All the roads are still there from before the hurricanes. From my research, the first hurricane to hit the populated beach was Hurricane Audrey in 1957. Next was Hurricane Rita in 2005, and then Hurricanes Gustav and Ike in 2008. Still there are about 300 people who live on this stretch of the Cajun Riviera. It really is an unspoiled bit of paradise where one could sit on the beach enjoying the sand and the winds off the Gulf. There appear to be many RV's on lots, some are rentals, but some may be owner occupied.

We decided to continue on to Cameron, even though we discovered we had to cross over an inlet by ferry! We couldn't remember the last time we were on a ferry! Perhaps the Yukon Territory? But we made it across, watching the dolphins play in the water. One was pushing straight up in the water, then he eventually made two leaps/flips completely out of the water! How cool. He was too quick for me to get pictures, but it was a thrill. We continued on to Cameron and found the "restaurant" Terry had wanted to eat at. We passed. . . I didn't want fried food and there were more restaurants on our GPS. . . . Yeah, we fell for that one. We continued the "14" miles which turned more into 35. The Harborside Seafood Restaurant was supposed to be in a small community on "Big Lake" but when we got there, we found only houses and no restaur
ant. Bummer. We were really hungry by now. We had decided to drive on up the east side of Calcasieu Lake (we are camped on the west side). . . how far could that be? Plenty far we found out. It was a LOOOOOOONNNNNNGGGGG drive and it got dark on us. It was even more desolate than the east side, but we still enjoyed the adventure. Once we got into civilization, we found a Taco Bell and ate a couple tacos before gassing up and making our way back to our camp. It was a FOUR HOUR ADVENTURE, kind of like what the "Minnow" took that fateful day. Ours had a much better ending, and Duchess was waiting on her supper when we got back. She opted to eat first, then go out. . . LOL.

Today we have our window shades pulled back so we can see the activity heading under the bridge. It's raining, as it did for the entire night, but it is supposed to stop later this morning, so it should be an enjoyable day. May head up to a casino later.

Till next time. . .


Sunday, November 06, 2016

Family time!

We moved on from Buccaneer State Park in Waveland, Mississippi, to the Natalbany Campground in Amite, Louisiana. We are here to visit cousin Gary and wife Jo. Normally we stay at their house, parking in the back yard. That wasn't possible this trip because three months ago, about August 20, this entire area in Louisiana was hit with over 30 inches of rain in a very short period. It was an "unnamed" tropical storm and it wreaked havoc on the entire lower part of the state. Gary and Jo woke up to three feet of water in their yard. Jo's office where she works on advertising specialties was full of river water. The house is built up off the ground on pylons three feet tall, so they were fortunate that they had no water in their house. The water lasted 36 hours and then receded. In addition to Jo's shop being inundated, their outbuildings and barns had nearly three feet of water in them and much of the equipment and tools stored there are probably ruined. Their Prevost bus in the backyard had water in the storage bays, but none in the coach itself, but the generator was flooded and it does not work. They worked tirelessly to get Jo's shop cleaned up and three weeks later she was able to get back in and work.

Today we toured some of the hardest hit areas around Denham Springs which Gary said left 55,000 residents with significant flood damage or homes totally destroyed by the water. Driving down through the streets of town, we saw piles of debris piled up on the sides of the road. In some subdivisions, only one lane was passable due to the debris. Gary said these were not the first loads set out by the road. People would haul ruined goods out, then when they started working on their homes, they would put out ruined dry wall and insulation, etc. So many of the debris piles were the 3rd and 4th piles of debris set out for the trash company to pick up. It was heartbreaking to see this. The Wal-Mart there was flooded and is still not open. . . three months later. Many businesses were closed and not likely to re-open. So much debris.

We visited a friend of Jo's and her husband. Gary and Jo's travel trailer sits in the back yard of their once flooded home where they have been living. When they first had to leave, they went to a shelter. They were moved to three different shelters. When Gary and Jo learned of this they took their trailer over and set it up for them. All their possession they were able to keep are on their covered patio. They were one of the lucky ones. They had flood insurance and insurance on contents, but it still hasn't been easy. They still have not gotten a settlement but are expecting one. While we were there, the gentlemen thanked Gary and Jo for their help and generosity in loaning them their trailer. He said one man told him he and his son had to move in with his sister and brother-in-law who is charging them $900 a month to live with them. And all he provides them for food is hot dogs and bologne while his family sits at the same table and eats steak in front of them. Gary told him they can keep the trailer as long as they need it, even if it's a year. This couple was very grateful for the kindness shown them.

Gary and Jo had barely cleaned up their place from the flood when they were in a terrible auto accident on I-12. I reported about this in an earlier blog Winding down, , ,, so I won't repeat it here. But they are recovering. Gary is able to drive, although his arm is still in a cast. Jo is still in a wheelchair because a broken bone in her leg needs to heal before it can bear weight. They seem to be doing well and are able to get around. Jo also has a motorized cart with which she can go out in the yard.

It was great to see them considering all their recent trials. We are glad they are recovering well and looking forward to the days ahead.

Till next time. . .


Thursday, November 03, 2016

Unfinished business

 We saw a flock of birds in the morning that were circling around above us. The were soaring and it seemed odd they would be doing that. A closer look revealed they were pelicans. They soared in circles for several minutes before moving on.

We had paperwork we needed to finish on the Flex. Our mail forwarding service helps us get our vehicles registered and I had a phone appointment with "Karen" to get that accomplished. She called right on time and we filled out the paperwork. Next up was finding a bank or a credit union where I could take money from my account in order to purchase a cashier's check. We have been surrounded by Wells Fargo banks coming across Florida and Alabama, but now that we're in Mississippi, they cannot be found. And we needed a credit union service center if there were no banks and there wasn't one of those either. So once I got everything ready to mail, we drove back east to Gulfport to a Wells Fargo, got our cashier's check, then went next door to the post office and mailed off the paperwork to South Dakota. Our stickers for the plate transfer should be to us within the week.

Getting back to Gulfport, we took the road along the beach, not sure what it's called. . .perhaps the Beach Highway. I took a lot of pictures. The water was so calm and the sky really bright blue. The sun was shining. . . oh my. . . I could live here, except during hurricanes! We stopped at Bay St. Louis and took pictures of the harbor and the Angel Tree, where some residents and one dog, a Scottish Terrier, took refuge from Hurricane Katrina and survived! It wasn't on the waterfront then. We crossed the bridge at Pass Christian and before long we were in Gulfport. It was a beautiful drive.

Till next time. . .


Wednesday, November 02, 2016

And on we roll. . .

I hate the process of buying anything big, and that includes cars. This particular deal was stressful just because the toad we  had was failing fast and we needed to make a decision and make it fast. And not only that, but it had to be something that could be towed behind the motorhome, the right weight, able to carry what we had, etc. We really wanted to buy another small truck, but none fit the bill. So we started looking at cars. The one main criteria was that we had to be able to put the spare motorhome tire in the back. It is 39 inches and very few cars have that kind of space.

But we found it in a Ford Flex. The one we found was even the right color. There are a few things it is lacking, but we actually can add those items on, so we are good to go. We didn't want brand new because it's going to be towed behind the motorhome and get dirt and rocks thrown at it, so we were lucky finding a 2014.

Today was the day. The mechanic had installed a base plate and did the wiring, so when we left the campground, we drove to his shop so we could hook it up. Everything worked! Lights worked, auxiliary brake, etc. So we started up and headed out. We drove about 80 miles to Waveland, Mississippi, and are camped at Buccaneer State Park. We have been here before and there aren't too many people here, but it is the middle of the week.

So we are happy to report that all is working well and the toad performed well. We ran over to the casino for dinner. Buffet for $27.95, but tonight was HALF OFF! Whoo hoo! So we ate and then played some slots. Nothing was happening for me. Terry was up a bit when we left, but we had some fun.

Till next time. . .