Thursday, March 28, 2013

We're back at the old Martin Manor RV park

Backed in at noon today so we just opened up the trailer and had lunch there before starting the unloading process.  That unloading doesn't take long now that the traveling season is open.  Just the dirty clothes and fresh foods from the fridge are all that are brought in and with the fridge plugged in other items can stay for the next trip.

As we traveled east along I-44 we saw occasional small patches of snow remaining but after we got north of Eldon (30 miles south of Jefferson City) there were more and more white patches.  Our driveway was clear but there are some small piles of snow around the edges where the guys had cleared it probably Tuesday.

Two weeks from today, April 11, we head out on our next adventure.  This next trip is again to the south with a week in the Gulf Shores, AL area and a few days around Montgomery, AL.

Check back in a couple of weeks.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Back in Missouri

Today's drive was right up US 71 from Texarkana to Joplin.  This is a future corridor for I-49 and Missouri has completed their work for that conversion but Arkansas needs a lot more money for some big projects to bring theirs up to Interstate standards.  One of their big bottlenecks is the section through/around Bella Vista.

As we moved northward we noticed the change from green trees to brown and bare trees and as we got closer to Joplin we saw a few patches of snow still on the ground on the north slopes.  It is up to 61° here right now that we are set up and the overnight low is predicted to be 39°.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Birthday dinner

Since we will be on the road the next couple of days with tomorrow being her (official birth certificate) birthday and Thursday being her (celebrated for years) birthday I took JoAnn out for a Birthday dinner this evening.  We found a very nice restaurant nearby and it was very good.

Tomorrow we head for Missouri with a stop in Joplin.  With warmer temperatures in the forecast it looks like spring has finally made it and we can have a few days for laundry and restocking to then head out on our April trip in a couple of weeks.

Monday, March 25, 2013

2 day delay

That is how we have modified this trip so far and looks like that will be what it takes to get back to the ol' Martin Manor.  That gets us home on Thursday instead of Tuesday as planned.  The temperatures forecast for then are above freezing lows and 50s & 60s for highs.  Even with those temperatures the amount of snow in our driveway (as described by our neighbor) isn't going to disappear by then so I called our lawn service folks (that also do snow removal) and they are going to clear our driveway and RV pad between now and Thursday.

With overnight lows here at or near freezing our electric heat pump works fine during the daytime but we have to switch to the propane furnace for the nighttime.  I checked the tanks awhile ago and found one needed to be filled so now with that taken care of we should be good to go until we get home.

I lucked out this morning and found an opening in the tall pine trees to get our satellite connected which gives us a channel selection that we are accustomed to.  Each campground that has cable has a different line up of channels and the local programming time table is hard to decipher.  With our satellite we have known programming, just like at home.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Waiting for the thaw

We talked a couple of times today with our good neighbors back home and were reinforced in our decision to stay put for a few more days.  In the last call a little bit ago we were told that there was about a foot of snow in our driveway.

We did get out this afternoon to a local grocery for a few essentials only to find that they don't sell beer on Sundays, we did get the rest of the essentials anyway.  We picked up a Deli rotisserie chicken for dinner this evening and that was nice.  We have found that to be a very nice meal occasionally.  That chicken always reminds us of years ago when the kids were at home Jo would put a whole small chicken in the crock-pot and after the meal was finished there was only a skeleton left on the platter.  Now days with just the two of us there is still plenty of leftover bird for other meals.

Saturday, March 23, 2013


We are still in Texas, barely, we could toss a rock eastward and it would land in Arkansas.  Today's drive was cross country on Texas numbered highways most of the way.  We have found on this trip and in past trips that Texas local highways are usually very good.  The only drawback to not staying on the Interstates is that we do go through small towns with reduced speeds but that fits our travel plans quite well.

Looking at the Missouri weather forecast for this weekend and early next week we have decided to alter our plans and delay our return by a couple of days.  We had planned to be here in Texarkana for two nights but we have extended that to four nights and will keep looking at the weather near Martin Manor during that time and then decide on a final move toward that direction, it's nice to be flexible.

Friday, March 22, 2013

OK now we are on our way back North

We left the Rio Grande Valley this morning a little before 8:00 am.  Our time there was much more than our expectations because of the generosity of good friends.  We will watch the weather on the home front as we make our way back North.  Today was overcast so no direct sunlight which made the trip a bit cooler.  Tomorrow we head to Texarcana for a day of rest before we head to MO.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

South Padre Island

Our friends took us on a tour of the rest of the Rio Grande Valley toward South Padre Island and the beach of the Gulf of Mexico.  From Pharr where we are camped we followed the Rio Grande river valley and border of Mexico to Brownsville and then on to South Padre.  We had a good lunch in South Padre and it wasn't too crowded due to spring break is about over and most of the crowd is back in school.  The weather was quite windy so it wasn't comfortable on the beach so I only took a couple of shots before we headed back to Pharr.  We did stop at the Port Isabel lighthouse for a picture which is at the south end of the island.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Along the Rio Grande

This morning our good friends picked us up and took us for a tour of the area along the Rio Grande to the West of our RV park.  They say that tomorrow they will take us East to the gulf coast and South Padre Island.  It sure has been fun to have folks familiar with the area as tour guides.  Even though this area is extremely dry there still are many flowering shrubbery in bloom.  These pictures were taken at Los Ebanos, TX where there is a man-powered ferry across the Rio Grande into Mexico.  We had to use our passports to get back through US customs after taking these pictures.

Monday, March 18, 2013

A quiet relaxing day

Jo cooked up a batch of soup that we can work on for several days.  I warmed up the mandolin a bit this morning and then worked on April's trip reservations a bit this afternoon.  It sure is quiet here in this park so an occasional nap is never a problem.  There are no train tracks nearby but we are in the glide path for the local airport so once in a while we get a bit of a roar.

The one attraction that I found, an old house and garden, that looked like a nice tour wasn't open on Mondays so we will think about that on Thursday.  Tomorrow our friends are going to pick us up for a lunch out somewhere nearby and another guided tour of the area.  Wednesday they say they are going to take us over to South Padre Island to walk on the gulf beach there.  There should be some photo opportunities yet while we are here.  This hot (96°) air right now sure feels good on the old bones.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy Birthday Harold

Our friends, Harold and Dorothy, invited us to their house this afternoon to help celebrate his 75th birthday.  There were 7 or 8 couples there and most of them we had square danced with back in MO in years past.  It was a fun time with plenty of cake, snacks, and conversation.

Happy Saint Patrick's Day to all.  Everyone is a little bit Irish on this day each year.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Saint Patrick's Day eve

This RV park is a huge snowbird (winter Texan) park with hundreds of park models and hundreds of RV sites.  They have many organized activities including square dancing which is a big draw in this area.  This morning they had a St. Patrick's celebration parade of golf carts decorated in greenery.  We headed out to a grocery store just as the parade began so we couldn't get down the road to the exit until it was past.  There were many, many carts also an old Edsel, a smart car, and a lawn mower plus clowns and others walking throwing candy.

When we checked in yesterday they gave us directions to an assigned site but told us that if we saw something we liked better to just take it and then come to the office to tell them.  We did find one with lots of shade that we could drive into instead of back in so took it.  At this time of year there are many more departures heading north than arrivals.  Our friends from Centralia, MO are in a park just across the street from this park and they came over and took us for a drive around the area and a visit with another friend.  Tomorrow we are invited to their house for a birthday party.

Jo has a corned beef brisket in the crock pot for our celebration and I have a few Guinness for mine.  As an engineer I always celebrate St Patrick who engineered the snakes out of Ireland.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Now in the (southern) Tip of Texas

Arrived around 2 pm this afternoon and the first problem was getting our satellite connected to the television.  If that is our biggest problem then we are good.  As we were traveling south today all we could see in the northbound lane were RVs so we were thinking that we were headed in the wrong direction, the spring migration has begun.  We have a week here to visit with friends and to see the area attractions.  Currently in the upper 80s with overnight lows in the 60s so we think we can enjoy those numbers.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Now in Texas

This is our first night in TX for this trip.  Tomorrow we head south to the Rio Grande Valley to Pharr, TX for a week of visiting with friends and touring the area.  We have several friends that are "winter Texans" that we used to square dance with in our past life.  It will be nice to visit with them and I'm sure they will help us with the must see attractions in that area.  Tomorrow's high temp for that area are predicted to be in the 80s with overnight lows in the 60s.  I think we can put up with those nice warm conditions which is why we made this trip in the first place.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Nice day

It was a very nice day of rest and now we are ready to get back on the road tomorrow.  In the morning we head west through Houston to Columbus, TX.

This evening we did go out for a very nice Louisiana seafood dinner.  Jo had a big plate full of spice boiled shrimp, potatoes & corn on the cob.  About halfway through they brought her another big batch of shrimp as the special was all you can eat, they did fit in a to-go box quite well.  I had 1/2 dozen oysters on the half shell (they brought 7 and Jo tried one) and then a plate of crayfish etouffee with a big batch of fried crayfish tails, yum.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Eureka we have found it !

... warmer temperatures that is.  The jackets came off just before lunch today and while the skies were clear blue with bright sunlight it kept getting better the further south we drove down I-55.  It's in the upper 60s here in Baton Rouge with the forecast lows to be in the mid 40s tonight.  We have a day of rest from rolling/driving tomorrow and may just find some crayfish to eat before we head on west and south from here.  The azaleas are in bloom and we have noticed the trees are budding out with greenery.  It's a big change from freezing drizzle yesterday morning.

We did meet Maria and Mario last evening for dinner in Memphis and had a very nice visit.  This was our first time meeting Mario.  He is a fireman/first responder that wants to learn the guitar so there ain't nothing wrong with that.  The next time we visit we will just have to have some strings attached, pun intended.

Monday, March 11, 2013

First trip of 2013

Here we go with our adventures for 2013.

We left home this morning around 8:00 am in a light freezing mist.  That was a surprise as the forecast was for above freezing temperatures for the morning low.  We drove through that same freezing drizzle off and on until way south of Rolla with temps holding between 28 & 30.  Fortunately the roadway was not affected due to the warm temperatures over the past couple of days.  It didn't get above freezing until we were south of West Plains and then later in Arkansas the clouds began to breakup and by lunch time the temp was at 40 and it was a cool lunch in the trailer.  Here we are in our campsite just outside of West Memphis and have plans to join Maria in Memphis for dinner this evening.