April 29, 2012

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Don't know how this is going to work, but Google just revamped its blogger format.

We spent the week in Thackerville, Oklahoma and enjoyed the peace and quiet. We had to check out the WinStar Casino, though. Neither one of us could remember being in a larger casino (and we've been in many).   It went on and on, like a chain of various casinos all on one level, each room having a different name (Bejing, Rome, etc.).

WinStar Casino outside of Thackerville, Oklahoma

The WinStar Casino (this one taken with cell phone camera)

Nice sign for such a small town

We drove a couple of hours on Saturday to get to Oklahoma City. We wrote about our stay here in our last blog (2010) and our visit to the Oklahoma City Memorial at that time. We are not visiting the Memorial this time. 

We are staying at the same place we stayed at last time, The Twin Fountains RV Resort. It's one of the nicest parks that we've stay at in our travels.

I guess that these are the "Twin Fountains." 
(The rock around here is red, so you are seeing red fountains.)

Last night, our NOAA radio would not stop going off trying to warn us about the terrible weather facing Oklahoma City, with tornadoes in the area. The rain was very heavy at times, lots of lightening and thunder that just wouldn't stop rolling on and on. I'm from the Midwest (Minnesota) and I just don't remember the rolling thunder like we've experienced in Texas and Oklahoma so far on this trip. Of course, Chanti has a really hard time dealing with all of this.

Luckily, the rain stopped this morning, just in time for this city to pull off its 10th Memorial Marathon Run, the proceeds going to support the Memorial. Jerry, having run 6 LA Marathons in a row, still has a great interest in marathons, so much so, that he got up at 6 a.m. today to position himself on the 9-mile marker area to see the run and capture pictures. 

Just some of the 15,000 runners who participated 
in the Oklahoma Memorial Run this morning.

We were also able to hook up with Barbara, a former neighbor of Jerry's in Reseda, California, and her husband, Rob, who took us to a fantastic restaurant called Stella for brunch today. What a nice couple! We really enjoyed our time with them. 

Rob and Barbara

Of course, Jerry enjoyed the fact that the restaurant lets customers
make up their own bloody marys.

Jerry, Barbara and Rob outside of Stella

Jerry was able to catch up this afternoon with a high school classmate, Allen Badgett, who also lives and works in Oklahoma City.  
Even though rain is still in the forecast, we are planning on leaving here tomorrow and continuing our trip northward. It should be one of those long days of driving.

Have a great week, everyone.

April 22, 2012

Thackerville, Oklahoma

Finally -- out of the big cities with all of their congestion, traffic, noise and pollution and back into the country.

Photo taken while driving past downtown Houston, Texas.

Photo taken while driving past downtown Dallas, Texas.

Spend Monday and Tuesday at Taylor Automotive Repair in Houston to get our in-dash air conditioning system working again. Seems like the guys in San Luis Obispo who fixed it in January didn't do a good job. They connected a 1/2 inch hose to the 3/4 inch hose we have on the coach. So, when we turned on the air conditioner, the pressure going from the larger piece to the smaller piece blew a hole in the system, draining our Freon. It is now fixed and Jerry is trying to get some of the money back from the first fix that was defective.

We had planned to stop in and visit Jerry's cousin in Sherman, Texas, after leaving Dallas this week. But, when he called the number, the phone was disconnected. On further inquiry, his sister, Linda found out that Bob (his cousin) passed away on April 4. Had this weird feeling all along that something was not right. So sorry we didn't get to see him. 

As we travel, we listen to the local radio stations instead of XM. In the Dallas area (actually, we spent a couple of nights in Plano, Texas, which is close to Dallas), we discovered one of the best classic rock stations we've come across. It is Lonestar 92.5 for those of you who want to check it out on the internet or on your smart phone.

We are now in Oklahoma, just five miles from the Texas border, in a small town called Thackerville, population 400. If this RV park were filled, there'd be more people in the park than in the town.

We will be here for the whole week.

We are looking forward to a relaxing week here - they even have a jacuzzi.

Last night, we were entertained all night long with a Nightengale. Every time I woke up, he was still going strong. I was fascinated with all the different trills and sounds he made. I counted 20 different variations. Quite a treat.

Have a great week, everyone.

April 15, 2012

Victoria, Houston and Galveston, Texas

Hi 'ya all. We've been in Texas long enough to have picked up a new accent. (Gotta get out of here.) We were really glad to escape from Rockport with its caterpillar infestation. It took Jerry nearly three hours on Wednesday to completely scrub down the RV to get rid of them. He said that he washed hundreds of them from the undercarriage of the RV. Yuck!

From there, we headed out to Victoria, Texas, with a very clean coach, and stayed at the Lazy Longhorn RV Park. What a nice park!

The Lazy Longhorn RV Park in Victoria, Texas

We actually went 20 miles out of our way just to go to a restaurant in Victoria recommended by our friend, Marijean. The restaurant was called The Pumpstation, a converted water pump station located on the Guadelupe River. The food was excellent. Jerry had the pecan-honey-crusted chicken as Marijean had recommended and he loved it.

Pecan-Honey-Crusted Chicken at The Pumpstation

We sat outside along the river. This was our table.

Traveling these back roads of Texas does present us with a few hazards. 

Try coming up on this when you are going 60 miles an hour 
in a 16 ton RV towing another 6,500 pound vehicle.

And lots of beauty!

On Thursday, we headed for Houston. Actually, we are staying right outside of Houston in a small town called League City. The RV park is close to the Space Center, and guess what, it is called the Space Center RV Park. With paved sites, it is really not bad. 

On Friday, we took in the Space Center. Had a fun time learning about our amazing space program. We (the USA) are now participating in the International Space Station located 250 miles above the earth. 

Here are some of the things we saw at the Space Center in Houston.

The Moon Land Rover

The Space Capsule 

Inside of the Space Shuttle on the Training Simulator

Shuttle Controls of the Training Simulator

Training Simulator (Adventure) and a Shuttle Engine

There was so much to see and experience. We watched an IMAX film about the space program, touched an actual rock from the moon, stood in a multi-image presentation of a launch (including smoke vapors entering the room mirroring the image on the screen) and took a simulator experience of a blast-off, docking at the Space Station and returning to earth. We also both tried to land the shuttle in a simulator and, sadly, both of us crashed our shuttles. We learned a lot of interesting facts, such as, that the astronaut's spine increases two inches within 48 hours after blast off.  It was well worth the visit. By the way, there were lots of kids there.

Today, we took a trip to Galveston. Who knew Galveston is an island? Guess that's why we are taking this time in our lives to learn a bit more about this wonderful USA. And, we were lucky to stumble across a Raggae Festival going on in Galveston. Being on an island, there was lots of water around.

An 1887 tall ship with a modern cruise ship in the background. 
Lots of cruise ships come in and out of Galveston.

We spent quite a bit of time driving around the island. The weather was 81 degrees, overcast and muggy. (A large storm is about to hit the area and both Galveston and Houston are expecting heavy rains for the next two days.)

 This is an actual restaurant set up out in the ocean. 
I wouldn't want to be in that place when the storm hits.

We were suppose leave here tomorrow, but with the storm coming, we decided to stay for a couple of more days. Besides, after we leave Texas, we will be going to Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. With all of the tornadoes happening in those states, we feel it is better to slow up our trip a bit.

Also, Jerry has an appointment tomorrow morning to have the in-dash driver's air conditioner checked on the RV. We had it fixed (or so we thought) before we left the California, but it has gone out again. Bummer! We can't drive with this uncomfortable weather unless it gets fixed again.

Have a great week everyone!

April 8, 2012

Rockport, Texas


We are near the Gulf of Mexico in a small town called Rockford, Texas, about 5 miles from Corpus Christi. The Bay View RV Resort is sort of remote and, in a way, we feel that we have gone back in time. No Verizon! Our cell phones are on roaming and nearly every call we made or received since arriving here on Wednesday was dropped along the way. We get on the internet only with the park's free wi-fi system since our Verizon MiFi doesn't work either. Not often that that happens.

See what I mean?

First, let me tell you about a book that I just finished reading. It is not often that we discuss books that we have read, but this one impressed me. It is called The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell.  It is a well documented book by a scientist whose premise is that major diseases, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and various autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis, can be prevented, stopped, or reversed when eating a plant-based diet. Granted, there are issues with some of what he says, but overall, his message is corroborated by other research in the area. Anyway, I'm a believer and it supports my decision to stay on this diet. Jerry, in fact, is making some very delicious meals with using only plant-based foods and is loving it. He, however, is still eating the standard diet in between the veggie dishes he makes for me.

When we arrived here, the host informed Jerry of the existence of a certain caterpillar bug indigenous to this area. They live in the trees and eventually turn into moths. That is why she put us in an area that she described as "out in the open." I don't like to do this, but I will show you a picture that Jerry took of one this morning.

I guess it's nature. It's called the Tussock Moth Caterpillar.

Took this picture out of the window while driving as we reached the Gulf. 
We saw miles of oil refineries.

And as we entered Corpus Christi.

There is a pond in this park with a sign "Beware of alligator."
We haven't seen him or her yet.

Took these pictures while driving around the place a couple of times.

What we found interesting is that all of the houses along 
the Gulf are at sea level.
A local person told Jerry that there are many lawsuits over recent new 
construction that continues to be built at that level.

This area is on a bay as opposed to the Gulf.

If you can make it out, there are blades from a windmill lodged in the tree. 
It happened in 1919 during a severe storm and is still there.

We leave here on Wednesday and start heading 
towards Houston and then Dallas. 
Have a great Easter Week everyone.

April 3, 2012

San Antonio, Texas

Well we made it through the desert with its potential for high winds and dust storms without incident. We arrived in San Antonio, Texas, on Saturday after another long days' ride. Going forward, we will be able to slow up a bit and stay longer at each place. We just wanted to get the desert behind us.

Parked at the Alamo KOA in San Antonio, Texas

Now that Jerry has discovered how to keep everyone informed on Facebook of our whereabouts, this blog will continue to give more detail of the locations we visit. So, our first trip was to drive to Austin (nearly an hour and a half from here) to see the Lyndon Baines Johnson Museum and Library. That was on Sunday. Jerry called ahead to make sure that it was open and they told him that they only close on Christmas. But, they didn't tell him that most of the exhibits were closed due to extensive renovations. Of the ten floors in the building, we were only able to see the 1st and 10th floor. All of the rest were closed. So glad we decided to drive the Tahoe instead of taking the motor home and staying there for a day. Guess we will just have to come back for another visit at another time.

Bust of Lyndon Baines Johnson at the lobby.

The Oval Office as it was during President Johnson's term.

One place Jerry really wanted to see was the Alamo here in San Antonio. First, here is just a little history review -- Texas was once part of Mexico. San Antonio and the Alamo played an important part in the Texas Revolution. On the morning of the 13th day of battle on March 6, 1836, Mexican soldiers surprised the Texas army volunteers who had taken residence in the Alamo (a mission) with an early attack by rushing the Alamo. It was over in an hour and one-half. The Alamo was taken by the Mexican soldiers. Today, the names of the dead volunteers are listed on plagues. It was surprising to see volunteers from Germany, England, Ireland and Scotland listed with the many names from Tennessee, Arkansas and Texas. Though Texas lost the fight at the Alamo, they regrouped and "remembering the Alamo" fought with more determination to win the war shortly thereafter. Because the Alamo is regarded as sacred grounds, no photographs were allowed inside. Here are pictures we took of the outside grounds.

After touring the Alamo, we found the River Walk in downtown San Antonio. What a beautiful place! It must be nice to work in downtown San Antonio and be able to relax along the River Walk or eat lunch in one of the many eating places along the walkway.

Boats with tourists travel up and down the River Walk.

We've enjoyed our stay here even though the weather has been a bit warm for us -- mostly in the 80s. Tomorrow we head out to Corpus Christi where we will be spending Easter.