Final Leg South

Good morning.  We went to sleep last night with the bedroom window open listening to the waves hitting the shore.  How cool is that.  It is 61 already this morning, but it’s not supposed to get as warm today as it was yesterday.  The high is forecast to be only 64 with possible showers and high winds.  It doesn’t look like a beach day to me.  That’s ok, there is a lot to see here on the island.

Day 75.  We were up and ready to get on the road for our final leg of the journey to South Padre Island by 8:30 am.  A Murphy’s gas station was just across the Walmart parking lot, where we went to fill Winnie up.  Gas was $2.34 a gallon, which we thought was high until we went further south and found that the price had jumped to $2.49 a gallon.  It’s a good thing we won’t be needing to fill her up again for another month.

The drive was uneventful with moderate traffic and some construction along US 77.  We saw palm trees, cactus, cattle, a few wind turbines and even the boarder patrol along the long stretches of open land.  We stopped at the Harlingen Travel Information Center to stretch our legs and walk Patty Pepper.  This was an easy on and off the highway stop, with plenty of space for us to park.  While we were there we decided we should have lunch (pb&j sandwiches) so we weren’t starving when we got to the campground.

We passed through Port Isabel, crossed the 2-mile-long causeway which was named Queen Isabella Memorial Bridge and arrived on South Padre Island.  A total of 162 miles.

After checking into Isla Blanca Park and setting up we were ready to take a short walk down to the beach and check it out.  The temperature was perfect in the 70’s, but a bit windy.  The red flag warning was out.  We are hoping for some nice weather beach days while we are here this month.  I didn’t see any shells.  Perhaps this won’t be the beach for collecting any. I did read that if you wanted any shells you needed to walk the beach early in the morning.  We will see.

This park is the complete opposite from the Corp of Engineering campground in Waco, Texas we just left.  The sites here are so close together – “Reach out and touch somebody’s hand . . .” . Just sayin’.  This is a first for us.  We’ve stayed in campgrounds that we thought were a bit too close together, but none compared to this campground.  I’ll let you know how I feel after a few days.

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Our site #C443

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Our site #C443

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View from our couch window

What enticed us here to this area was the warmer weather, close to the ocean with sights to see and things to do. I’m looking forward to exploring the area.

Until next time,

Kathryn

 

 

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Corpus Christi

Good morning.  Last night was the first night in a very long time that we opened a window for sleeping.  I love the fresh air.  We shouldn’t even need a coat or sweater today with a high around 80.

Day 74.  We got on the road yesterday about 8:30 am.  There were a number of different routes we could have taken to get to our destination, South Padre Island.  I decided to take the western route, which was mostly expressway, going through the major cities.  I chose to go this way because I figured on our way back north we would be taking the eastern route and I want us to see as much of this beautiful country as possible.

This route was not fun and exciting.  We went through construction areas with the concrete barricades, which are extremely stressful, all along I-35.  Taking this route we went through Austin and San Antonio and all of the towns in-between.  It was heavy traffic all most the entire day.

We didn’t find a rest area/picnic area until a little after 1 pm.  My poor husband was starving and the break was greatly needed to relieve some of the stress from the traffic and construction.

Once back on the road the drive was much better; no construction and a lot less traffic.  We stopped again to fill up our propane tank which should last us the entire month of February.  It was $3.09 a gallon! That’s the most we’ve had to pay per gallon yet.  Gas prices are back up too.  Ugh.

We could tell we had finally made it south.  The temperature was warm enough to open our windows.  We also saw our first cactus and our first oil rig.

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Cactus

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Oil Rigs

After 312 miles, we made it to our destination for the night at 4:15 pm.  That is later than we like to stop when setting up someplace, but when we stay in a parking lot it is just right. We are staying in the Corpus Christi Walmart parking lot off I-37 & US 77, exit 14. We were happy to get a spot that was along the grassy edge of the parking lot.  It makes it so much nicer to be able to have the bedroom slideout out.  We were later joined by 3 other campers.  A trucker had arrived before us.  We like it when we are joined by other overnighters.  I guess there is safety in numbers.

As I mentioned previously, we like to shop at the places where we stay overnight for free and we had a few items on our list to get.  Patty Pepper is not happy to be left behind and lets us know.  Just look at that sad face below.  We also are far enough south that our palm trees are back.

Our drive today should only be about 3 – 3 1/2 hours.  Then fun in the sun and on the beach.  I’ve got to find myself a good book to read.  Loving this lifestyle.

Until next time,

Kathryn

Great Blue Heron

Good morning.  It looks like we are supposed to have another warm day around 70.  The down side is the forecast is calling for rain all afternoon.  The up side to that is, we plan on watching football this afternoon.

Day 63.  I like taking my camera with me wherever we go.  You just never know when you might see something interesting to share and remember.  I’m not a proficient photographer like my sister Barb.  I just have a nice camera that is easy to use and does the thinking for me.  I can still mess up, but it’s not as often or as hard.  I bought my camera just for our full-time lifestyle to capture and document our travels along the way.

Don’t you just love the cameras we have now.  I can take as many pictures as I want to and not have to worry about changing the film or waiting to get them developed before you can see your pictures. I just need a decent size memory card and a computer to download the pictures onto.

I take a lot of really bad pictures and that’s ok because there is a little bucket picture on both my camera and my computer that I can place those into.  Every once in a while I take a picture that I really like.  It’s not because I did it with skill.  Nope, just luck and good subject matter.

My favorite subject matter to take pictures of is wildlife.  I’ve always enjoyed finding and capturing everything and anything in nature; from bugs and frogs to deer and sandhill cranes we had in our yard when we were homeowners.  So yesterday when we came across a really large bird I was thrilled.  We determined it was a Great Blue Heron by comparing my pictures to those on the web.

Until next time,

Kathryn

 

Short Travel Day

Day 60.  Good morning.  Well, we made it through another very cold night.  The temperature is 13 right now.  This has been by far the coldest night we’ve ever spent in Winnie.  I just hope she hasn’t sustained any damage.  We took some precautions again last night; heat on higher than normal, cupboard doors open, hot water tank on, disposable water tank filled.  I don’t know what else we could have done.

We’ve gone through a 1/2 tank of propane in the last two days.  That is fine by me.  We’ve stayed warm and protected Winnie.  It’s a small price to pay.  The hard part is finding propane.  If you have small removable tanks that isn’t a problem.  You can find places to fill or swap out tanks easily.  Finding places that have large propane tanks with employees knowledgeable in properly and safely using them is a not easy.  Another issue we have when we do find a place is do they have room for us to pull in with a large motorhome and do we have to unhook the toad. We will be on the lookout again today for a good place to fill her up.

Today is a travel day.  We have reservations at Airport Park, a Corp of Engineers campground near Waco, Texas.  It is only supposed to be a 2 1/2 hour drive from here, but you know how that goes.  No matter, we aren’t in any hurry.  We will take our time, see the sights and get there when we get there – as long as it’s before dinner.  Us old people don’t enjoy driving in the dark or through rush hour traffic.

Until next time,

Kathryn

 

Sightseeing the Dallas Area

Day 52.  Wednesday was my birthday, which we spent with our friends Gary and Gale.  They treated us to a fun-filled day of wonderful company, sightseeing and good food.

But, first things first.  We got up early, put down Winnie and headed over to Tractor Supply for propane.  They opened at 8 am and we were there right at 8 am.  They were very nice and safety conscious, which we appreciated.  This was one of the few times we were asked to turn off anything using the propane and exit the motorhome while the tank was being filled.   The propane tank was easily assessable but had we had the toad with us, we would have had to unhook it.  We were just grateful to find a place to have our tank filled, as it is supposed to be cold for the next few days.

After returning to the campground and setting Winnie back up, we headed over to Gary and Gales where we boarded their van and went to breakfast at a quaint restaurant that serves only breakfast and lunch.  We love going to non-chain restaurants.

With our belly’s satisfied we started our tour of the Dallas area.  First we start with sports.  Lots and lots of sports.  How nice to have so many choices so close to home.  And, we found out there is a light rail system that can take you downtown for a very reasonable price.  So no need to worry about parking.

 

 

We also drove by Southern Methodist University and several high school stadiums.  One thing we noticed was that the high school stadiums were as nice as the college stadiums.  Football is very big in Texas.

As teenagers in the 60’s, most of us remember where we were and what we were doing when president John F. Kennedy was shot.  I was in home economics when it happened.  That was November 22, 1963 at 12:30 p.m.

 

JFK was riding in a Lincoln convertible through Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas.  The 3 shots Lee Harvey Oswald allegedly fired came from the 6th floor of the Texas School Book Depository Building. The 6th floor is now a museum.  46-year-old JFK died a half hour later at Dallas Parkland Hospital.

It was nice to be chauffeured around and shown the sights.  We would have never figured out where to go or what we were seeing without our guides.  We also don’t like driving in the heavy traffic or the 5 story freeway we went over.

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Our next stop was to see the Southfork Ranch where the TV series Dallas was filmed from 1978-1991.  We took the tour and learned so much.  The crew was only allowed to film outside, which they did in the summers.  No one was allowed in the home, as a family was residing in it.  The inside scenes were done in Hollywood.  The family that lived there sold their home and moved out after JR Ewing was shot.  Too many people invading their privacy.  The home had two other owners after them.  The last owner made it into the tourist attraction it is now.

 

Gary and Gale then took us to the Flying Fish for dinner.  It is an interesting place with pictures of fishermen and their catches all over the walls.  They also have those “Billy Bass” that move and sing framed on the walls.

 

We ended our busy and fun day at Gary and Gale’s to enjoy birthday cake.

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A big thank you to them for a great day.

DSC_0204Until next time,

Kathryn

 

 

Manipulating the Electric

Days 47 & 48.  The sun was out and the temperature is a bit warmer.  These were good days to explore the area.  We took a ride through the park, checking it all out.  It really is a pretty park.  The lake is huge, much bigger than we thought it would be.  I can see that this would be a busy park in the summer.

There aren’t many campers here right now.  There are a few 5th wheels and motorhomes, but what surprised us both is there are two campers in tents.  We still can’t figure out why this park doesn’t have any showers.  We do have full hookups-water and sewer, but those in tents wouldn’t utilize those perks.  So, where do they shower?

Today we took a ride into the town of Wylie.  We found the laundromat for next time and did our grocery shopping at Walmart.  We also found a place to get propane.  They are open Monday – Friday until 4pm.  I just hope we don’t run out before Monday.

We are learning how to manipulate the minimal electric we have here.  It seems to vary in strength.  Sometimes it is better than others.  Usually I would think it would have to do with the number of campers using it, but we have very few people here right now.  Last night we had to wait for the furnace to turn off before we could pop the popcorn.  Minor inconveniences.

Until next time,

Kathryn

Oh,What a Day!

Day 46.  Oh, What a day!  We had a decent nights sleep at the Flying J.  It was a bit noisy with all the truck traffic coming in and going out all night long.  This was an extremely busy Flying J.  We were just glad they found a spot for us and they let us stay all night.  We were on the opposite side of the gas station from the truckers and even with the generator running all night you could still hear the truck engines. It really didn’t bother me at all, although I’m sure it would some people.  City folks like city noise to sleep by, country folks like the sounds of nature to lull them to sleep.  I’m not particular, either is fine.  I just have a hard time with loud people noise, the inconsistent sounds.

We had decided the night before that we would fill the propane tank up before we left in the morning, after we had used it all night for heat.  We were ready to leave a little after 8:30 a.m. and pulled up to the propane filling area.  Posted on the gate was a note that said they were all out of propane. Oh boy, I guess we will have to find somewhere else.

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We stopped at the Texas welcome center which was less than 3 miles from the Flying J.  We gathered up some information for areas we would be passing through or staying in for the next couple of months.  It will be fun going through the brochures to see what will be of interest to us.

Our next stop was a Pilot gas station that from what I had read online said they had propane.  NOT!  Another major boo-boo made by my dear hubby.  He pulled in and thought he could pull around the back of the station to see if the propane was there.  Well, guess what.  It was a dead-end.  Remember, we can’t back up with a toad.  To his credit he didn’t lose his cool.  He unhooked the car, turned the motorhome around and re-hooked up the car.  To top it off, there weren’t any propane tanks at this station and the gas pumps were too close together for us to get gas.

Down the road a little farther we decided to stop for lunch.  Usually we stop in a rest area and make our lunches, but we were out of bread and I needed to grocery shop.  We chose an exit that had a number of restaurants and fast food places to choose from.  Clyde wanted to eat at Long John Silvers but he passed up their driveway.  We turned at the next light thinking we could either drive behind the row of restaurants or park a little bit away and walk to it.  The road lead us to Walmart, where we were able to park easily.  After assessing the distance to Long John Silvers and taking into consideration the extremely cold temperature we opted out.  Our next choice was Sonic, which was close to where we were parked.  Problem; there was no eat in space.  This one was a car-hop restaurant only.  Strike two.

We ended up walking across the parking lot and getting our grocery shopping done in Walmart.  I then made our lunch which we ate before taking off again.

I still couldn’t find any place that had propane, but the Murphy USA gas station was right next to the Sonic and they had a pump that was an easy in and easy out for us to get gas.  Nice!

The drive the rest of the way was pretty uneventful.  We never did find propane.  We passed a rest area that had covered tables for shade and on top of the roofs were little oil derricks. They were so cute.  I wanted a picture but didn’t get my camera out in time.

After driving for about an hour off the expressway, we got to the Lavonia Corps of Engineering Campground.  The roads are rough but our site is on the water and the view is amazing.

The woman who checked us in said they were without power last week.  When Clyde plugged us in the amps were under 30. A little power, better than none, but not good.  We were hoping to use our electric for heat and save our propane.  Not going to happen.  We are having problems just using lights and TV.  I’ve had to put the refrigerator and the hot water tank on propane, along with the heat.  I made Quiche for dinner and continually blew the circuit.  I’m not sure how we are going to make it work here just yet.  We will figure it out.

One more problem is the bathrooms here.  The water is turned off and there are no showers, which means Clyde will have to take his showers in Winnie.  I like showering in her, but he doesn’t have enough elbow room to maneuver comfortably.

So, to sum up our day, what we thought was going to be a 3-4 hour drive turned into a 7 hour drive.  We drove 172 miles and got here about 3:30 p.m.

Tomorrow is another day.

Until next time,

Kathryn