Sunday, December 28, 2014

Mystery Structure Pt 2

I wrote about the mystery structure earlier this month and included a picture of it.  Link to previous posting   The structure is lighted at night with blue and green lights and looks weird sitting alongside of the road.  I promised Gloria that I would include a night photo of the "art" and we went out late last night to fulfill that promise.

The first photo has a white sign in front telling everyone to stay off the "art" and the flash from the camera made it glow.

Photo below was taken without the flash and contributes to the weird "art" out in the desert. 

We finally made it up to the Tucson Truck Terminal (TTT) for breakfast.  The TTT is a well known truck stop just east of Tucson and they serve up huge meals that are very tasty, but have an average of 2,000 calories per serving.  Well, at least they feel like 2K calories.  It was surprising to see so few people in the restaurant, but it was early in the morning.  Our favorite table was waiting for us and we were drinking weak coffee in a jiffy.  Gerry ordered the one egg special and I had the Denver omelet, hash browns, biscuits and gravy.  No dessert after that huge meal.  

A couple other groups arrived about the same time and the men all had on NFL football sweater, shirts, etc.  Eagles, Steelers, Cardinals and Redskins were featured.  We all got a laugh out of the different teams and were chatting with each group.  No fisticuffs were displayed.   The restaurant did start to fill up before we finished our meals.

That was the highlight of our day here in Tucson.  Was yours as exciting?


Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

Gerry and I usually go to the children's mass at church on Christmas day but decided to get a jump on the celebration by attending mass on Christmas Eve.  We left for church early and were quite surprised to see the parking lot & street parking all full of cars.  We thought the 5:00PM mass wouldn't be that crowded but we were totally wrong.

Usually the 5:00PM mass is over in about 50 minutes but we got our money worth on Christmas Eve.  It took well over 1hr & 20 minutes for the mass.  The church was decorated very nicely with a ton of red poinsettias and had a nice nativity scene at the entrance.

Today we went to the recreation center here in the park and joined about 100 other people at the Christmas dinner.  Gerry prepared a green bean casserole and we took a nice bottle of wine with us.  Ron K had saved us a seat and it was a good thing he did since all the tables were full of hungry people.  The park provided the ham and scalloped potatoes and the remainder of the food was provided by the attendees.  The selections were great and there was a surplus of food and even a couple small portions of dessert remaining.  Nobody went away hungry and it was a really festive occasion.

We hung around and chatted with some friends and then returned to the motor home and started receiving calls from our children.   Gerry's sister and bil called before we left for the dinner and we had a nice talk with them.   Larry Jr, Jane & Grant called and we caught up on their day and while we were talking to them, Barb & Henry called on the other phone.  I chatted with Barb & Henry and Gerry continued talking to Jr & family.  Gerry finished up with them and joined us and chatted for another hour or so.  Cassie, Jack, Elizabeth & Bella called shortly thereafter and we chatted with them for quite a while.  Cassie is having problems with her eye and voice so Jack had to interpret a couple times.  They had Jack's parents over for dinner and Cassie & the girls prepared a nice traditional meal. 

It was great talking to everyone and we wished we could have been there, but that was impossible this year.  Maybe next year.

We spent the rest of the night just lounging around the motor home in front of the fireplace and taking it easy.  It was a quiet Christmas evening for us and we enjoyed the day.

That was our day, how was yours?  

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Houghton Rd Christmas Tree

Rockefeller Center has a Christmas tree, the National Tree is on the Ellipse and we have one on Houghton Rd near the campground.  It isn't as large as theirs, but someone thought enough of it to decorate it for all to see.  Now if we could get some electric lights on the tree it would be complete.  What do you think?

When our daughters were very young we used to take them down to the Ellipse to see the National Tree and all the trees from each state.  They had some reindeer in corrals and it was always a must see for us.

There was a nativity scene on the Ellipse during the 50s & 60s and it was always a highlight to see it, too.  There have been numerous attempts to exclude the nativity scene over the years and I'm not sure if it is still included.     

 The Pathway of Peace around the National Christmas Tree is free and open to visitors starting the week of December 15, daily 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., through January 1. The pathway loops around the National Christmas Tree and features 56 unique Christmas trees to represent each U.S. state, U.S. territory, and the District of Columbia.

If we are ever back in the DC area around Christmas time we will surely make it a point to take the trip down there and see the trees and decorations.   

We attended the coffee and donuts gathering this morning at the clubhouse and arrived early, but not early enough to snare a couple apple fritters.  Evidently they are well liked and you have to get there at least 25 minutes early to get one.  Maybe next week.  We also participated in the "lucky buck" drawing but did not win again.  We've won it once in the 8 years we've been in the park.  

Gerry joined the "quilting ladies" at the clubhouse after coffee and made a lot of progress on her quilt.  She's been working on the quilt on and off for a long time and I'm looking forward to seeing the finished product.  

At the last minute we decided to have dinner at Argenziano's in nearby Corona de Tucson.  It's an Italian restaurant in the building of the old Road Runner Market.  The Road Runner moved to a new building nearby.  We both enjoyed our meals and wound up taking home enough food for lunch tomorrow.  

That was our exciting day, how was yours?

Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Party

Saturday was the date of the Christmas party at the park.  They had a gift exchange but we didn't participate in that since the motor home doesn't have any space to take on additional items.  Those who took part in the exchange seemed to have a good time so it worked out well for all of us.

Santa Claus stopped by and came in the back of a pickup truck rather than a sleigh, but that made more sense out here in the desert.  Sleighs don't function very well on the sand we have out here.  

There are a number of children in the park and most of them stopped by to see Santa and get their picture taken with him.  One elf had a list of who was naughty and who was nice and the look on the children's faces was priceless.  I don't like to publish pictures of children so I took some photos from a distance.

The little boy with dark hair in the photo below was so excited to see Santa that he could hardly sit still.  I think he was the first child to go up and talk to Santa.

 The young lady on Santa's lap had a big smile on her face and was surprised when the elf handed her a gift.

 Carl insisted on sitting on Santa's lap and was excited to find out he had been a good "boy" the past year.  Actually, it looks like they had to drag him up there and then hold him down.  He was a good sport about it.

After all the children visited Santa and the gift exchange was over they started taking pictures with Santa with whomever wanted one.  Ron K pushed us into getting our picture taken, but he chickened out and skipped the photo op.

The party was from 2-4 pm and once it was over we had to do some shopping in order to get ready for Christmas.  I thought it was going to be a $35 or so shopping trip, but it was about 3 times as expensive as that.   A dollar doesn't go very far nowdays.  We stopped at Panda Express on the way home and then unloaded all the stuff we bought and had to scramble to find storage space for it.

We brought the Christmas decorations out and Gerry put some up in the motor home.  We have more decorations to go up and hope to finish the task on Monday.  Pictures will be forthcoming.  When we had a house, decorating the house and tree was a 2 week affair.  Early on it took us a week to decorate the tree since we placed the old lead icicles about an inch apart on each branch.  Those days are long gone, but we did have a beautiful tree each year.

Gerry received some sad news today.  Her Aunt Mary passed away this morning after a brief illness.  She was 96 1/2 years old and was very active until the past year or so.  They are going to have a private service on Saturday.  It would be impossible for Gerry to make airplane connections so she will be unable to attend the service in Ohio.  Our thoughts will be there with the family.  

Friday, December 19, 2014

Fidel Castro & Cuba

Gerry and I were married in 1957 and moved to Washington, DC after we were hired by the FBI.  We wound up there because of my being too young to become an Illinois State Trooper.  I had applied for the ISP job and when they told me I had to wait until I was 21 to be accepted, I put them out of my mind.  A short while after this a FBI Special Agent came knocking on my door.  Oh Oh, what did I do wrong and how was I caught?  He assured my mother that I hadn't violated any Federal laws and was recruiting me to work for the FBI.  It sounded interesting.  Gerry and I both applied for a job with them.  Note, jobs were scarce in Central Illinois in 1957 and we had the wandering bug way back then. 

We both passed our security checks after three months or so and were offered positions in Washington, DC.  We packed all our belongings into a very small U-haul-it trailer, hooked it up to our 1950 Plymouth and headed for DC via Cleveland, Ohio.  Hey, it didn't look like it was that far out of the way at the time.  We visited with Gerry's Aunt & Uncle a few days and then continued on to DC.

We arrived in DC after dark and were totally lost except we knew the room they had reserved for us in a row house was on East Capital St NE.  We finally saw the Capital Bldg. and I turned down what I thought was a small road and found out it wasn't a road, but a sidewalk leading to a statue in front of Union Station.  I thought I saw an opening and continued driving and saw people looking at us wide eyed and moving out of the way quickly.  Then we went down 6-7 steps, across a sidewalk and back onto a street.  No problem, right?  We finally found the row house and then had to park the car and trailer for the night.  Yes, it was still there in the morning.

Move forward a few years and we were still living in DC and Fidel Castro came to visit the UN and wound up visiting in DC also.  A friend of ours down the street invited us to a party at his house and didn't tell us who was going to be there.  Imagine our surprise when we looked out the window and saw Fidel sitting on the hood of a car enjoying some chicken and throwing the bones on the sidewalk.  What?  This was the honored guest and the area around our apartment was crowded with people, press and a few FBI agents thrown in for good measure.  By then I had resigned from the FBI so I could have joined the party, but I had a good inkling what Fidel represented and didn't agree with his political views.  Later he came out and voiced his Marxist-Lenin views.

Now 54 years later Cuba is in the news with the President starting to renew relations with Cuba.  From what little I know about the situation the POTUS bailed Cuba out of a difficult jam.  Russia & Venezuela have provided support to Cuba all these years and neither can afford to prop up the present regime in Cuba any longer.  Was it a good move?  I don't really know, but time will tell and it will be interesting to see if they change their ways.  What do you think?

BTW:  I never was in a position of importance working for the FBI and never became a Special Agent.  J. Edgar Hoover was the director then and ran a tight ship and I knew I couldn't work under the conditions existing at that time.  I saw him on numerous occasions, but we weren't on speaking terms.  

Enough of my rambling about this but the recent events triggered these memories.   

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Aqua Hot Repair - 2nd visit

Once again we were up early and on the road to La Mesa RV to have the Aqua Hot heater worked on.  They ordered a new heating element and thought it would fix the problem.  We were at the check in for the repairs before 9AM and they took the motor home in quickly.  

Great, maybe we would have time to drop off Christmas cards at the post office and a quick trip to Costco before they called us.  All went well at the post office with Gerry completing the mailing, buying stamps and getting out of there in 5 minutes.  I don't know if we were lucky or the staff at the Cherrybell Rd post office is that good or it isn't used that much.  It is the main post office for Tucson so you would think they would be very busy.  In any case it was a welcome stop at this busy time of year for post offices.

Then it was over to Costco to take on gasoline at $2.19/gallon and then wait for the store to open at 10AM.  We made a phone call to Cassie & Bella and that took up a lot of the wait time.  It was a breeze in Costco since the hoards of shopper hadn't arrived yet.  Wow, this is looking good for us.

Back to La Mesa RV in time to get a free hamburger and drink for lunch.  No wait there since they weren't busy at all.  We took our time eating and then went over to the service lounge area to wait for the work to be completed on the motor home.  We waited and waited and I checked on the progress a couple times and there wasn't any progress.  Finally at 4:30PM the service writer came out and said there was a problem.  It seems the main control board is bad also and they have to order a new one.  Ooooopppss!!!  That wasn't good news to say the least.  Now they have to receive the new control board and we scheduled an appointment on January 5, 2015 to have the new board installed.  Yes, 2015!!!!  

The only thing good to come out of today with the motor home was finding out the Extended Warranty company is footing the bill for whole repair except for our deductible.  That is a big relief since this repair will most likely be around $2k by the time they finish the job.  We still have the diesel heater for hot water and the furnace, so we can function fine until the repair is completed.

We had a chance to talk to some of the people waiting for their repair work to be finished and had some interesting conversations.  I should say I talked to them while Gerry read an interesting book on her Kindle.  One gentleman has just purchased a motor home and was on his first trip to the Southwest and he also had a problem with his Aqua Hot heater.  Humm, am I seeing a pattern here with the system.

Another young couple had an older motor home and the high pressure hose on his power steering burst and he barely made it into the dealership.  They spent the night inside the fence at La Mesa RV and were taken in early this morning.  I don't know what all the problems were with his motor home, but it was an expensive repair from what I heard him say.  Enough that it must have ruined his day.  They left around 4PM and were heading for a boondocking spot west of town.  

Finally, we were on our way back to the park and were hooking up when Ron K came by and invited us to dinner.  We finished the hook up and joined him at a local Mexican food restaurant.  He goes there often enough that they know what he is going to order.  The food was great and we enjoyed chatting with Ron and when another Cactus Country rver came by and chatted with us it seemed like a nice homecoming.   Then it was back to the motor home to visit with Ron for a while and finally some relaxing tv watching and enjoying a glass of wine.

I received a nice Christmas present from Larry Jr via email today.  He has a good memory and proved it today with the email.  Thanks Jr., it brightened my day.

See, we do live an exciting life sometimes.  How was your day?   

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Aqua Hot Repairs

We took the motor home in to have La Mesa RV check out our Aqua Hot water heater system on December 9th.  It's more than a water heater system and is quite complicated to work on it, plus it's in an almost impossible spot to reach.  The technician pulled the unit and discovered the electric heating element was faulty.  I had an idea that since it would not heat on electric but ran fine on the diesel burner, it had to be the heating element or the board.   La Mesa said they would have to order the part and they would call us when it comes in.  At least we've had hot water the past month or so running the diesel side of the unit.

The problem first appeared when we were in North Carolina, but the local dealer said it would be January before he could work on it.  That is a familiar reply from them when I've tried to have them work on our motor home.  Always 6-8 weeks in the future, so that ruled them out.  Rather than run all over looking for someone to work on the water heater, I called La Mesa and made an appointment.

We got a call from La Mesa RV on Friday and now have an appointment for December 18th to have them complete the repair.  It will be nice to have the electric unit working once again since I really don't like to run the diesel burner all the time.

It started raining Friday night and rained all day on Saturday and we decided to stay around the campground all day.  I had ordered an air compressor on Amazon a few days ago and it came in Saturday.  The compressor is bigger than it looked on the order page and will do all that I need it to do, plus some.  It is an 150 PSI unit and is strong enough to air up the tires on the motor home.

Now I have to find space to store it, which may be difficult.  I guess I will have to work on the 3 cases of beer in the basement area and free up that space.  Why 3 cases?  Well, I like Yuengling Beer and they don't sell it west of the Mississippi river so I bring along enough to get me through 3-4 months.
Gerry decided since we were grounded by the rain, she would work on making Christmas cards for the family.  We still have to send out the cards this year and are running behind schedule due to arriving here later this season.
After church today we went on a search for some Crosse & Blackwell Mincemeat so Gerry can bake me a mincemeat pie for Christmas.  Safeway usually carries it, but they don't have any in stock.  Fry's and Walmart also don't have any in stock so this could get very serious.  None Such Mincemeat is available, but I don't care for the taste of it and prefer Crosse & Blackwell.  Picky, picky!

Those were our exciting last few days here in Tucson.  Throw in some shopping and a few restaurants for dinners and that's it for us.  Some blog posts are interesting and others aren't.  It depends on your taste in reading which category this one falls into.    

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Burkina Faso Coup d'état

I was transferred to West Africa in November 1982 and we had a short layover in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso (old Upper Volta) so Larry Jr. and I went into the airport to check it out.  Neither of us spoke French (local language) and while we were in the airport it became very tense with soldiers carrying AK-47s all over the place.  I decided it was time to board the plane and the soldiers stopped us from leaving.  Oh, Oh!  It got a little intense, but finally we boarded the plane for Abidjan and flew out of there.  I think Gerry was happy to see us since they were preparing to take off without us.  Welcome to Africa.

We learned later that they had a coup that night and everyone was nervous.  Thankfully, we were able to depart before it became really dangerous.

 The 1982 Upper Voltan coup d'état took place in the Republic of Upper Volta (today Burkina Faso) on 7 November 1982. The coup, led by the little-known Colonel Gabriel Yoryan Somé and a slew of other junior officers within the military, many of them political radicals, overthrew the regime of Colonel Save Zerbo. Zerbo had previously taken power just under two years prior to his own downfall.

 That was my first time in Ouagadougou and I traveled there a number of times after that.  It was an interesting place to visit but the poverty was unbelievable and the heat unbearable.  All in all, they had a coup about 4 times around the time I had to work there.  Of course, some of the coups were just means to get rid of anyone who may have threatened the leaders.  Dead enemies are much easier to control.

Well, they had another coup in Burkina Faso a day or so ago and it brought back some memories of the place.  I remember one trip when they had a 10pm curefew and they announced it by firing a machine gun down the road.  They did take their curfews seriously. 

On another visit I ran into Yassar Arafat at the hotel where he and I were staying.  Of course, he didn't remember me, but I do remember he had a lot of bodyguards around him who looked ready to shoot on a moments notice.  I didn't test them.  I moved on from Burkina Faso to Niamey and who did I run into there, but the same Yassar Arafat.  His guards did remember me and gave me the evil eye.

The best restaurant in town, Restaurant l'Eau Vive (or Water of Life) was run by Nuns and you had to stand for the blessing before the meal was served.  In typical French fashion, the restaurant didn't open until 8PM and I was the first person there.  After the meal the nuns sang a couple versions of Ave Maria and it was quite a memorable experience.  An added bonus was the real cold beer served during and after meal.

Flying into Ouagadougou was an interesting experience since you would expect more out of the capital of a country in the way of building and infrastructure.  This is what it looked like as you landed at the airport on the edge of the city.

It was one of the hottest places I've ever traveled and it was almost impossible to drink enough water to keep hydrated.  Temps exceeding 117 F were the norm on my trips there and I don't think I could have survived without a/c.  The locals didn't have a/c and surely were a hardy group.  My hat is off to them for living and working in a climate like that.

There wasn't a lot to see there, so it was usually a trip during the week and back home on the weekend.  They did fabricate some nice statues out of bronze and other metals.  I took a liking to them and brought back a couple each trip and wound up with 5-6 of them.  Thank God for diplomatic passports at the customs office in Abidjan.

Bronze statues video ( Burkina Faso) 

That was my experience in Burkina Faso and for the most part I loved it.  Maybe it is what prepared me for the desert out here in the Southwest, USA. 


Monday, December 8, 2014

Mystery Structure

We've been settling in to the park for the winter and running errands, catching up on our mail and some chores around the motorhome and car.  The car was filthy from road grime and it was given a bath on Sunday.  It looks a lot better now and you can actually see what color it is.  We vacuumed it and removed about 5 lbs of sand we picked up in South Carolina.

About 10 years ago Gerry bought me a 19.2 Volt flashlight and drill combo from Sears and it has served us well.  That is, until we got ready to leave the cabin this fall and the batteries were dead.  I tried to charge them, but it didn't seem to do any good.  It looked like the charger was toast so I picked up a new and better charger today at Sears.  It charged up the batteries in an hour and it looks like we are good to go again.  Of course now the batteries will start to wear out and that means about $60 for two new batteries.  Maybe I should have brought my old drill that is about 50 years old and still working fine along with us.  It even has a metal casing holding all the parts together.

We did stop at the two "Ps" restaurants today for lunch and dinner.  The Ps are Panera Bread and Panda Express.  We like both of them and stop by every week or so at one or the other.  I guess Montgomerys in Vail will be next on the list.

Tuesday morning the motor home goes in for a repair of the aqua-hot heating system and I hope we can get out cheap, but more than likely it will take a chunk of $$ to repair it.  The electrical heater part isn't working, but the diesel heater part does.  Keep your fingers crossed that it won't break the bank.

I have a mystery structure for anyone to identify and tell me what it is.  Dee, you are disqualified since I know you can tell me what it is.  Any guesses out there folks?  It has a blue glow at night and looks like a space ship.

As you can tell, it's been a slow couple days around here without much excitement. 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Rainy Day In Arizona

We had a 220 mile drive ahead of us this morning and took our time getting out of Deming.  Once on the road we made great time with very little traffic and no wind to speak of.  The sky was overcast all the way to Tucson and once we were in Arizona it began to rain.  We have been looking forward to the sunny weather out here and it rained the first day.  I hope we didn't bring it with us, but I imagine they would love to see more rain out here to help break the drought. 

The most exciting things we saw today were the numerous trains running on tracks alongside of I-10 through New Mexico & Arizona.  One train was about a mile long and had diesel engines in the front and rear pushing/pulling the cars.  The trains seemed be exclusively composed of car carriers, shipping containers, coal cars and a mixture of the above.  Shipping containers seem to be the most common cars on the trains out west.  Old boxcars seem to be out of vogue now with very few of them being moved.  I would imagine hauling these containers had been a financial windfall for the American rail companies.

We made good time and arrived at the park around 3:00PM and signed in for the next 4 months.  Our old site was waiting for us and we settled in quickly and sat outside enjoying an adult beverage.  A quick trip to Fry's for groceries and some pastries was in order.  Then it was back to the motor home to relax and hit the hay early this evening.

An old Geography teacher noticed I had Deming, NM located in Arizona in yesterday's posting and I corrected the error.  Then we found out she was feeling under the weather, so we took her and her hubby some pastries to help her recover.

We left our cabin on October 23 and put 3,100 miles on the motor home getting to Tucson.  We didn't take a direct route, but with a side trip to Concord, NC, Savannah, GA & Charleston, SC and then back to Concord, NC.  We traveled through 12 states to get here and enjoyed the ride for the most part.  Some days were a little long and some cities (Atlanta, Dallas area & El Paso) aren't the nicest places to drive through, but we made it without any incidents.  

That was our day, how was yours?

Friday, December 5, 2014

Welcome To Mexico

We had breakfast delivered to the motor home this morning and enjoyed the service.  The breakfast was tasty, but they used too much butter and old cooking oil for our liking.  After breakfast we took our time getting ready to leave since we were only going to travel 220 miles today.

As we drove along I-10 we received a txt message that said "Welcome To Mexico".  What?  Who was welcoming us to Mexico?  We were close to El Paso and figured out that we had picked up a Mexican cell tower, but weren't sure who the welcome committee was.  After several phone calls to Verizon ( a communication company ) with dropped calls, one way conversations, etc we almost gave up.  Then we pulled out our trusty AT&T phone and called Verizon to get an explanation about the message.  Yep, it was Verizon welcoming us to Mexico service. 

I always chuckle when I hear Verizon is a "communication company" selling phone and data services.  Just try and get an answer from them after you push all the buttons, get cut off a number of times, hear how important we are to them, etc.  If we were that important, they would hire more staff and not have us take an hour or more to get a simple question answered.

Many rvers take Loop 375 around El Paso and have to travel on some steep hills and two lane roads to make the connection west of El Paso.  We always drive straight through on I-10 and stay in the  center lane and never switch lanes.  It was slow going today but we made it through in fine fashion with only a few slowdowns.

Once we got into New Mexico we stopped at the National Truck Stop (NTS) for some fuel after driving over 700 miles on our tank full that we took on in Terrell, TX.  No $2.99 diesel today, but we did get it for $3.43 and filled the tank.  We are good to go for another 1,000 miles on this tankful so it will be next year before we buy diesel again.  The Texaco station across the road had diesel cheaper but it was bio-diesel and I've heard some bad reports what it does to fuel filters and we drove out of the station and stopped at NTS.

From there it was an easy drive to Deming, NM and our stop for tonight at the Dream Catcher RV park.  Friends Sharon & Don are Escapees and said this was a nice campground so we thought we'd give it a try.  It is a little close to the interstate but with the windows closed it won't be a problem with the road noise.  We did have to unhook our car to fit into the campsite and decided to try a Mexican restaurant down town.  It received great reviews. 

Well, the restaurant was ok, but the salsa and chips were beyond hot and I couldn't eat them.  The meals were ok, but not super great.  Service was great and the meals arrived hot and were quite large.  We most likely will not eat there again, but they will survive without us.

That was our day, how was yours?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Windy Travel Day to Van Horn, TX

We left the campground early this morning since we had a 440 mile drive to Van Horn, TX where we are stopped for the night.  It was an overcast day and quite windy for most of the drive.  Of course, the winds of 20+ mph were hitting the side of the motor home and wanted to blow us off the road, but we hung in there and arrived in one piece.  For those who don't know, wind is the enemy of motor homes and side winds are the worst case.

We made good time for the majority of the trip until we got to Midland, TX where there was a 5-7 mile backup and traffic was down to one lane.  That lane happened be the shoulder of the road.  Nobody in line knew what the problem was and which lane was closed.  As it turned out, two lanes were closed and there was a lot of jockeying at the merge point.  Luckily the crazies weren't out today except for a couple guys on motorcycles driving off the road to pass and then cutting over to the frontage road.  Gerry said how dumb they were and I thought if I could do the same, I would do it also.

That was the exciting part of the day and everything else was boring driving through West Texas.  Everything was brown and flat with some oil wells thrown in to break the monotony.

The KOA in Van Horn is our home for tonight.  We usually don't stop at a KOA, but this one is convenient.  Long pull throughs and easy in and out of the park.  In addition, they have a small restaurant that serves very good meals and Gerry is always grateful to not have to cook.  Plus, there aren't any dishes that have to be washed after dinner.   

We are still undecided on when we will arrive at CCRV.  The motor home is going in for some work on Monday and we may just come in late Sunday and then leave for La Mesa RV early Monday morning.  Hopefully, it will be a quick repair and we can settle down and get ready for a great winter with friends in sunny Tucson.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Diesel Fuel $2.999 - Terrell, TX

We woke up around 6:30AM and started to get ready to hit the road.  When we opened the blinds and saw that there was a heavy morning fog, we slowed down a little.  I don't really like to drive in the fog with the crazies out there on the interstates.  Finally, it cleared up a little and we ventured out into the morning rush hour.

I spent part of the time checking with to see what fuel prices were along the route.  When I saw it listed for $3.049 in Terrell, TX it made my day. 

For the most part I-20 is a fairly good road, but the bypass around Shreveport, LA is a terrible road.  It was thump thump thump for 17 miles and it was shaking the motor home so bad I had to slow down to 50mph or less.  Gerry wrote in the log book in big letters to never take that route again.  

It was an easy drive for the most part and we arrived at the QT station in Terrell, TX and saw that the diesel price had changed.  Yep, just that fast.  Now it was $2.999 and that really made our day.  Of course the trucks were lined up on the highway trying to get into the truck part and we were in the middle of it.  Once we got closer to the pumps, I saw the pump for auto diesel.  Nobody was there and we finally pulled up to the pump.  It was another $100 charge three times to fill the tank.  The auto pumps are slow and it took a while to fill up, but it was worth it.  Last year we were paying $4.00/gallon for fuel so we saved $100 on this fill up.  I could get used to that.

Then it was on to fight the traffic around Dallas/Arlington/Ft Worth during the rush hour.  It moved fairly well and I took my time and stayed in my lane while the others were bouncing around between lanes and exiting at the last minute.  I wonder how much time they save driving like that.  Of course, my former boss Bill Follen and I used to drive that way heading out of DC on  Connecticut Ave at the end of the work day.  It made sense then.  LOL

We finally pulled into a campground 50-60 miles west of Ft. Worth around dark and set up for the night.  It was a 365 mile drive today and I could have driven further but the closer we get to Big Springs & Midland areas the more difficult it is to find a campsite.  Now we have a 440 mile day ahead of us tomorrow.  If the wind is calm it should be an easy, but long drive.  Keep in mind that I only drive 62-65mph and it isn't like driving a car. 

Nothing much really to write about, but the cheap fuel triggered me into writing the blog.  

That was our day, how was yours?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

On The Road Again

Saturday night we all went to Sean & Taylor's home for " Pizza in a Box" and to see their Christmas tree.  They had driven up to the mountains and picked out a live tree.  It is a tradition with Taylor's family and they go to the same tree farm each year.  I love tradition like that and it looks like Sean and Taylor will continue on with this one.  They also surprised us with our Christmas gifts from them a little early.  BTW:  Box Pizza is Chef Boyardee pizza.

We visited with Larry, Jane & Grant on Sunday and went out to dinner with them at a local Italian restaurant.  The food was good and the company great.  

Then it was on to Barbara & Henry's to tell them goodbye until next year.  Barbara had to work on Sunday so we didn't get a chance to visit with them again, but I think we may have worn them out with our visits.  It's a case of feast or famine and we prefer the feast part of the visits.

Lowes Motor Speedway is all lit up for Christmas and they have a great light display.  We didn't take the tour due to rain and not enough time, but it looked great from what we saw.  They also had the trailers with NASCAR stuff on year end sale parked near the speedway.  Lots of activity around the track this past weekend.

Shawn (hubby of granddaughter Stephanie) went fishing this past weekend and caught a number of Stripers.  He was kind enough to stop by on Monday morning and drop off enough of them for a nice meal.  Thanks a million Shawn.

We hit the road early on Monday and stopped for diesel fuel in Gaffney, SC to take advantage of fuel for $3.09.  It wound up costing us $300.00 for a tankful and we were happy to pay it.   

We made good time and wound up spending the night at the Tannehill Ironworks State Park west of Birmingham, AL.  The road leading to the park was narrow and windy, plus a lot longer drive than we expected but we finally arrived a little before dark.  That was a good break because it is an old park and the trees are right next to the one lane roads there.  We managed to get setup and then found out the power box was broken.  The maintenance man came quickly and repaired the box, so we were good to go.

In the morning I scoped out getting out of the campsite and decided it would be better to back out of the site rather than pulling out forward.  The narrow road and trees would have made it very difficult to pull out the normal way.

Nice big site.

Small stream running through park

Narrow exit going forward
 It was confusing exiting the park since the exit wasn't clearly marked.  I had to put some air in a front tire.  While there I got directions from a park ranger and we were on our way.

It was another 340 mile drive today and we are presently camped near West Monroe, LA.  Easy drive with a few slow downs due to construction but overall a nice drive.  We arrived here just before dark and we setup in a few minutes.  I knew there was a cold Yuengling as a reward waiting for me, so that made it worth it.

We crossed over the Mississippi river near Vicksburg, MS and it always is a nice site since we know we are heading west and roads less traveled.

Wednesday will be another 380 mile drive to west of Ft. Worth, TX.  We have to get as far west of Ft. Worth since it will be impossible to find a camp site in West Texas until we get to Van Horn.  That will be a 450+ mile drive and I hope we don't run into a lot of wind.

That has been our past few days visiting family and moving on down the road.  It is great seeing them, but very difficult to say our goodbyes.  We know we will be back again next summer and look forward to the visits then.