Getting ready to hit the road again…

I find it hard to get to my computer these days. We have been so busy. Honestly, some times I don’t turn my computer on for 4-5 days. Let me see if I can get caught up…

We got back to Texas, from our winter in Las Vegas, in February. On the way back we spent several days in Mesa, Arizona. I met up with an old childhood “best” friend, Angie Darzes-VanDaele. She now publishes a bridal magazine for the Phoenix area brides. It was so good to see her. I can’t wait till we go back!

We also spent a wonderful evening with my cousin, Spencer Wallace, and his wife at their home in Mesa. They have a very nice place there. Huge back yard with trees, grass and a pool! We enjoy traveling and getting to see family and friends… to keep in touch. People matter:-)

When we reached San Antonio we spent several days at Iron Horse RV getting our new water purification system installed in The Silver Bullet. We get tired of hauling around bottles of water… and filling them. Plus we like to use the water dispenser in the door of the refrigerator and the ice-maker. Now we have very close to bottle quality water.

I’m writing this on my iPad and can’t put pictures into the post. When I get back to my computer I’ll post some pics.

Back to San Antonio, we also enjoyed having dinner with friends of ours who live in New Braunfels. They are fellow RVers, just not full-timers. While at Iron Horse, we met a wonderful Canadian couple. They are Betty and Paul Sutton and they are from the Yukon area. They were in the middle of their USA tour and enjoying every minute of it. Things are considerably cheaper down here. They were in having a propane leak tracked down and fixed. We became Facebook friends. As we say in Texas, Betty is a hoot! (if you are reading this Betty, that’s a good thing:-)

Next stop was back to Teague and to the three granddaughters there. I did not realize we had been gone from them for 5 months. The 2-year-old was getting p_ssed!!! She was demanding we get HOME! N O W!!!

After sitting in Teague for 2 months, we were itching to get on the road… again!!!

So we went to Glen Rose, Texas to visit a Coast to Coast resort we had not been to before. We have decided to start visiting more of these as we travel, much more affordable. The resort was the Tres Rios RV River Resort. Again, I have a picture I’ll post when I get back to my computer. It was a very clean, level, and pretty park. On the fifth day we left for Denton, Texas. Our old hometown.

When I met Bob, the first weekend we met physically after emailing and calling for three months, it was the weekend of the Denton Jazz and Arts Festival. He informed me that he never missed it, but he was giving it up to see me. I’m so glad he did:-)

This was our first time back for the festival since we went full-time in 2008. The best act was The Original Blues Brother’s Band. They were outstanding!

Tonight we are spending the night in Katy, Texas. We went to the Hotze Health and Wellness Center today. Bob was due for bloodwork and we are working on our allergies. So we are spending a rare night in a hotel. Man, have they gotten expensive… yikes! Tomorrow we will be back in Teague. The grandkids are babysitting Capt. Jack & Jesse for the night. Those little doggies are in heaven with all of that attention:-)

On May 15th we will embark on a 2-month trip to Illinois. My parents are up there and we want to spend some quality time with them. Last year they sold part of their farm and moved into town. My mother is in love with her new-to-her-house. They used to spend 4-6 months every winter in Yuma, Arizona in their motorhome. (That apple did not fall far from the tree… think?) With their age and Dad’s health issues, they have not gone for the last two years. They hung up their “travel keys.”

As we were calling around trying to find a campground in their area that could accommodate our rig, we got offered a sweet job. We will be Camp Hosts at Johnson’s Sauk Trail State Park near Kewanee, Illinois. We will work three days a week in exchange for a full hook-up site. We’ll work Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. For us that works out great. I can go golf during the week and we can visit with Mom & Dad anytime. And best of all, we work right from our campsite. No bathroom cleaning, just sign campers up when they come in, let them know what there is to do in the area and collect their money. Kind of similar to the gate guarding gig, but only 7.5 hours a day and three days a week. We are signed up for six weeks.

While we are up there, Bob’s daughter from Iowa (and our grandson Tyler) will come with their trailer and spend a few days camping with us. We will also be visiting my aunts, uncles, and cousins who all live up there. I’m hoping to get some of my high school friends together for an afternoon… maybe we can pull this off!

While we were in the DFW area last weekend, we went to Whole Foods Market and stocked up on grass-fed beef, pastured pork & chicken, and organic produce. I’m ready to roll:-)

I recently read a tip for full-timers that we have decided to do. We have two credit cards we use to pay for almost everything now. We pay them off every month so we are not running up debt. One is a Cabela’s visa and the other a Discover. Both earn points.

Here is what is cool. While we were near Dallas, we went to Cabela’s to buy some summer gear–shorts, socks, shirts, etc. Our bill came to about $117 and our Cabela’s points payed for $94.63!!! Wow:-) And everytime I order from Amazon, I get to apply my accumulated Discover points. Not too shabby!

It all adds up…

I’ll post some pictures soon and will keep you posted on our travels.

Till next time,

Vicky

We just thought we’d have time on our hands!

Well, we’ve been back at our home-base in Teague for almost 4 weeks and just now coming up for air.

Don’t get me wrong, being back with our daughter Bobbi and our three granddaughters, Corynn-12, Katelyn-6, and Lily-2, has been a true blessing. They do keep us hopping though.

Bob and I went to Waco a couple of weeks ago and got new bicycles to strap on to the back of the Suburban (so we can ride on streets and bike trails as we travel). Exercise is a key ingredient to staying young so no better time to get more active!!!

So now we go into town and go riding with Lily and Kate. Katie is just learning to ride a big bike and she is doing awesome. Less than two days and she was riding on her own. She is absolutely fearless… who knew!*?@#??!!

Corynn has been accepted into the NAM (National American Miss) program for this year. At age 12 she is in the pre-teen program. She has a pageant coming up this summer… she is so excited! We all are!!!

Last fall we joined the RCI vacation system. We’ve been members of Coast to Coast for 20 years and love it. We decided to join the RCI program now that we are retired and ready to travel. We are working towards taking a catamaran cruise for a week in the spring of 2014. It will be somewhere in the Carabbean or the Bahamas. Bob is an avid sailor so this is right up his alley:-)

I’m not sure if we will do the snorkeling on our cruise, but they offer kayaking and we defenitely want to do that. Of course, the captain welcomes people to come try their hand at the ship’s wheel… they may regret that when Bob gets onboard. We have not owned a sailboat for several years so he is positively itching to get his hands on the wheel again!

One thing that looks like fun is the “noodle bar.” The first mate (also the cook) gets the adult beverages in a floating container and sets it up in the water. Passengers get on noodles or floating chairs and lounge around  drinking their favorite drinks… while in the water. I mean… does it get any better than that? I can’t wait!

I must say, at first learning all about RCI seemed like a daunting task. But, they have a wonderful organization. Thank goodness for the Internet… I can’t imagine what it was like before you could browse for vacations online. Everytime I call RCI for support, they are extremely helpful and friendly. I tell them I’m new and they simply say, “That’s what we are here for!” I thought customer service like that was all but dead. Thankfully, I was wrong.

We recently purchased and installed a new water purification system in the Silver Bullet. I’ll get a picture of the set up and post it here next. Before the new system we just used a high grade water filter (single unit) and a water softener. In many cases, especially in Cotulla and Las Vegas, we would have to recharge the softener every week since it was so small and trying to clean up such horrible water.

Now we can go for weeks and the water is so clear! I’ll give you more details next time. I wish we would have had this out in the oil patch!

Till next time…

Vicky

It’s good to be back, but not home yet…

Last night we arrived in San Antonio and checked into Iron Horse RV. We bought a new water purification system that we want them to install on the Silver Bullet, complete with a UV light. We like to have confidence in local drinking water systems and since we go everywhere, we figured this was a good idea.

We will be taking a long road trip this spring/summer so we decided it’s time to change the old house batteries. Last year we bought two new chassis batteries (yes, this behemoth is a battery hog). When we were out at the Nye ranch south of Cotulla last year, for three months, our chassis batteries went dead. So until we could get our gate assignment completed and get back to civilization, we had to keep a battery charger on them. Not fun!

We’ve noticed that our house batteries, there are 8 of them (ouch), are not holding the charge once we disconnect from shore power. So, before our big road trip we are replacing them. Can you say EXPENSIVE!!! And since our household refrigerator is powered by one of the two inverters, which uses 4 of the coach batteries, we better not let them die! I have that freezer packed to the gills!!!

You never know, we might decide to boondock somewhere along the way on our trip and we will need something to power our toys (iPhones, iPad, computers and other electronics) without starting the generator all the time.

We thought we would be back in Teague by the weekend, but the shop has had one guy out on funeral leave and another out sick all week. So, we will probably be here until Wednesday. I called Bobbi, my daughter, today to let her know we will be delayed. She said, “Oh darn!” To which I agree! Our two-year-old granddaughter, Lily, keeps coming up to her mom, hands on hips, head tilted down, and bottom lip out saying, “I want my Nana!” Oops:-)

Last night we joined our friends, Ralph and Karen Miller from New Braunfels, for dinner. We ate at Mammacita’s Mexican Restaurant. It was a great place to eat. Bob does not eat Mexican so he had hamburgers and steaks to choose from. And desserts were provided by the Cheesecake Factory. They were downright yummy!

In preparation for our road trip, we are getting new belts put on the Silver Bullet. We bought them two years ago when we bought the rig. We’ll keep the ones they take off in a box in the basement. It’s always good to have a spare:-)

We are so looking forward to a leisurely road trip. You see, we started our journey as full-time RVers in 2008. We worked for three years doing guest guides at RV parks. It was fun, for a while. As the economy tanked the fun left and it became a JOB! We met many wonderful business people and campground owners, as well as fellow RVers. Many of which are still our friends today.

Next we tried out gate guarding. LOMA was by far the best company to work for, but the job is dirty, you are amongst wild pigs, rattle shakes, “tame” bulls, and coyotes… not to mention illegal drug runners. Plus, you can’t leave or have any life together since someone must always be at the gate. And the industrial generators were wreaking havoc on our coach.

We’ve had two deaths in the family in the last year. Bob’s mother who was 98. And his brother Richard, who was murdered by his own son. We just finished a 2-month stint in Las Vegas getting his estate in order. These events have caused us to reflect and reevaluate our priorities.

For now, our plans are focused on our big road trip coming up. Somewhere down the road we may decide to work part-time again. And I’ll be investigating what there is to do for full-time RVers who want to do just that. But for now, my posts will be more focused on our trip plans and experiences.

So sit back and enjoy the scenery! If you want to chime in with comments or suggestions, I’d be happy to hear from you. I try to reply to my followers who leave comments.

Till next time,

Vicky

On the road back to Texas!

It has been a while since I’ve posted. When we left Texas on November 26th for Las Vegas, we thought we’d be gone about 30-days to take care of the details we needed to tend to for Bob’s brother who was brutally murdered. We ended up being in Las Vegas for 60-days. Our saving grace was Bob’s daughter Julia and her husband Chris, and of course our two grandsons, Austin & Ben. We went to shows, went bowling & golfing, and out to dinner a lot. So with all the bad came a lot of good.

Bob’s children all came to Uncle Richard’s funeral and that was a big help. We also enjoyed spending some time with our ex-sister-in-law Carolyn.

When we first arrived in town we were overwhelmed with all things we needed to do to get everything settled. We took it one day at a time and eventually got everything done that could be done at this time. Being there during Christmas and New Year’s delayed our ability to procure the legal documents we needed. That and some repairs on the rig made our stay stretch out to 60-days. We did get the new window made and installed (the first one did not fit so a second one needed to be manufactured). This was the window behind the couch that a rock totally shattered.

We had the annual maintenance done on our hydro-hot system and it took them three attempts to get that all right. It all worked great until they did the maintenance. Sometimes it get frustrating getting maintenance done! We had all the oil changes done and all the filters changed.

We bought a new vehicle… one we had been drooling over for some time. We bought a new Chevy Suburban LTZ at Henderson Chevy in Henderson, NV. We had some major problems with that place, not professional at all. The SUV is great but they were not. We would never buy from them again!

20130211-104851.jpg

We were blessed on many levels. The Las Vegas Metro Police were wonderful to work with. And they put the Victims of Crime in touch with us to help guide us through the whole maze of things to do and helped with expenses. Even in the darkest of times, silver linings do shine through. It’s amazing.

Our son-in-law, Chris, sells discount tickets on the Las Vegas Strip for Tix4Tonight. So we enjoyed a Christmas concert by Mannheim Steamroller (I have their CD’s). We saw the Country Superstars who are very talented impersonators… they performed Wynona Judd, Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw and Big & Rich. My favorite was their rendition of Big & Rich. Lots of energy in that performance. We saw the musical History of Las Vegas and it was great! It was kind of sad to see the original icons of the strip come down, like The Sands & many other historic casino/hotels. Lots of nostalgia in that show!

We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with Julia & family. Christmas Day we prepared a big meal. I bought a 26 pound pastured turkey at Whole Foods and we roasted it and had all the trimmings.

On New Year’s Eve we were going to cruise the strip on foot (they close the strip to auto traffic at 6:30 that night because there are so many people walking around), but Chris ended up in the ER with the flu and I had a nasty sinus infection. So at midnight we went outside our rig and watched the fireworks at the Stratosphere. Our campground is right across the street. Fantastic fireworks!!!

On January 6th, we bought tickets to see Penn & Teller. I’ve been wanting to them for two years. We almost got to see them that night… I don’t know if I got the flu or the Norovirus (both were making the rounds) but 5 minutes into the show I was in the bathroom going at both ends. After 20 minutes I told Bob we need to go home… NOW!

I spent the next six days in bed with nausea and other maladies. Finally, I got well.

We drove up to Mt. Charleston and ate dinner at the ski lodge. There was lots of snow up there!

Then, finally, on February 4th we went to Penn & Teller and got to see the whole show. It was fantastic. If you go to Vegas, the shows are great. I did a little gambling, but I found it boring and did not enjoy throwing money away. But we did love the shows!

We were afraid we would not get to see Penn & Teller before we left, they were out of town for the week before we left. When we got to Phoenix we realized why. We were watching the Dr. Oz show and there they were on his show.

20130211-115026.jpg This was up at Mt. Charleston.

Finally, on Feb. 6th we got to leave Vegas. We spent four days in Mesa/Apache Junction. The Mesa/Apache Junction KOA is a very nice park! I got to spend time with a dear childhood friend, Angie Darzes-VanDaele. She now publishes a bridal magazine for Arizona brides. We spent several hours together and even though we had not seen each other in probably 45+ years, it seemed like all that time just melted away. It was so good to see her:-)

We strolled through the Mesa Market Swap Meet one morning. I found a cute little powder blue golf bag that I just had to have. My current bag is a 25 year old style and weighs a ton. This one is nice and light weight. I’ll take it out to Big Cedar Country Club in Teague and go golfing.

Chris and I golfed at the Desert Rose golf course in Vegas. By the 13th hole I was getting very discouraged as I was majorly topping the ball and could not get under it to save my life. Finally, Bob suggested I take my glasses off. You see, I wear trifocals and they were messing up my depth perception. As soon as I took them off my game improved! Who knew!?!?

20130211-120124.jpg Desert Rose Golf Course

Bob is going to take a few lessons to see if his back will take golfing okay. Chris lent him a few left handed clubs. I sure hope he can do it!

In Mesa we found a quaint but very busy farmer’s market, recommended by the staff of the KOA. Superstition Ranch Market. I bought vine-ripe strawberries at 4 lbs for a dollar, big red peppers were 3 for 99 cents as were green and orange peppers. We bought vine-ripe tomatoes and raspberries, fresh cauliflower and sweet potatoes. I pressure cooked the sweet potatoes last night and they were so good. All of this stuff is grown locally and it shows. My freezer is stuffed… I prepared and froze all of the fruit & peppers. YUM!!!

The day before we left the Mesa/Phoenix area, my cousin Spencer and his wife Lois invited is over for a visit & dinner. They are RVers too. Remember, I came from a family of RVers! They love to take their two sons and go to the Dunes in California (near Yuma, AZ) and play in the sand on their 4-wheelers. We had a wonderful visit. Time went so fast… we were embroiled in telling old family stories about our grandparents, uncles, and cousins:-)

We really liked the Mesa/Apache Junction area and it was full of “snowbirds.” We may come back & spend some time during the winter months. You never know…

Yesterday, we left Mesa and headed out on Superstition Highway (60). It was a scenic route and very pretty. We even saw more snow, but not on the road… thank goodness:-)

Wednesday we will pull into San Antonio where we will go to Ironhorse RV and have a water filtration system installed, complete with a UV light and sediment filters. Since we go all over, it’s much easier make sure we are drinking pure water without having to haul bottles around and keep filling them.

Are we going back to the gate guarding gig?

Probably not.

20130211-121551.jpg

20130211-121600.jpg

20130211-121611.jpg
Mt. Charleston photos…

We did not realize the damage the commercial generators can do to a rig. We burned up two 50 amp Surge Gard surge protectors. Thankfully one was replaced at no charge since we took out the extended warranty on it in August when we bought the first replacement. Better to burn up those puppies than to fry all of our electronics! On the last gate we gained 30-45 minutes a day on our clocks. That is dirty power… megahertz are too high.

When we were in Vegas our washer/dryer would not work right. When the repairman came out he found many melted parts in our washer and the plug and outlet were scorched. So we had a new outlet installed and had to buy a new washer/dryer.

Also, our dishwasher never would work on the industrial generators. It would throw a fault code. But when we go to a campground or use our generator, it works fine.

Bottom line, our rig is our home and it is just not worth ruining it. I don’t miss the shifts, the bugs or the DUST… nor the coyotes, Javalina’s or the wild pigs. And thankfully, I never saw an illegal or a rattle snake… but I knew both were lurking out there.

I’ll keep you posted on what we are doing. In the last two months, I don’t think I had my computer out over a dozen times and that was not for very long. We put 1400 miles on our new Suburban in the time we were in Vegas. We were very busy getting things done and playing.

There are things we will miss about the gate guarding. It was a hard call for us to make. But when Richard was murdered, we decided life can be short… you gotta live while you have the chance. We are starting a new chapter now.

Till next time…

Vicky

20130211-135347.jpg

<;;a
Penn & Teller stage.

20130211-135637.jpg
The Las Vegas KOA at Circus Circus where we stayed.

20130211-135758.jpg

A tribute to a gentle soul…

I never had a brother… but I had the next best thing. My brother-in-law, Richard Heron.

Richard in Arkansas, September, 2012

Monday, November 26, 2012 is a date that has changed our lives forever. That’s the day we found out Richard had departed this world (way too soon).

Before I continue, I want to share something most of us feel pretty comfortable about. It’s that unthinkably bad things happen to other families–not our own.

I used to think that. I was wrong.

Several years ago we met a man who was just coming out of a tragic family situation. His brother suffered from undiagnosed bi-polar disorder and one day, he tried to kill his two sons. One died, the other one recovered. His brother is now serving time.

Our friendship grew because we listened to his pain and we  helped him through a very rough time in his life. Sometimes you don’t know why certain people enter your life, they just do. We like to think there are angels working all around us…

Now we know why this man came into our lives as we find ourselves in a similar situation. You see, my Bob’s brother Richard, was murdered by his own 32-year-old son, Richard Jr., on November 18th.

Las Vegas Review-Journal article

KTNV Channel 13 Las Vegas Richard Heron video and report

The cold-hearted brutality of this act was so unthinkable, that the story was on the front pages of Las Vegas newspapers and was the top story on the news broadcasts yesterday. I’m not going to go into detail here, you can click on the links above for that.

It is so sad when good, decent people are struck down needlessly. Richard was a gentle, quiet man. He always treated me like his sister. I never saw him raise his voice or his hand to anyone.

He was enjoying being a “grandpa” to his 8-year-old grandson, Evan. I know he enjoyed playing out in the yard with him when he came over to visit.

Richard was Bob’s younger brother by three years. They sort of drifted apart over the years as families sometimes do. That is until 1997. Bob took a trip to Las Vegas that year (just a week before we met) to see his brother and get re-acquainted. And from then on, their relationship was rekindled. They became very good friends.

Over the years we have gone out to visit with him many times and he has flown down to Texas to see us. In September he met us in Arkansas for the memorial service we were having for Ruth, their 98-year-old mother who died on July 4th of this year. We were so glad to spend time with him. Our two Chihuahuas, Jack and Jesse, were permanent fixtures on his lap. You know what they say about animals and children… they can tell who the good people are!

Richard was a gentle and kind soul.

You’ll be missed little brother. Say hello to Mom for us. We’re sure you are enjoying a Manhattan with her now for happy hour:-)

As I write this we are on the road in our RV (home on wheels) and on our way to Las Vegas. We have a lot to do to get Richard’s affairs settled. We left the oil patches of South Texas yesterday to begin this journey.

We will be spending Christmas with our daughter Julia and her family. They also live in Las Vegas.

Right now we are taking everything one day at a time. If feels so unreal. Loss leaves a deep hole that only time can fill.

Till next time,

Vicky

Gee… we were just discussing this & shazaam!

A funny thing happened this week and I want to share it with you and get your opinion…

A few days ago, Bob and I were sitting around & talking about the fact that there are so many “reality” shows on TV these days. Personally, we avoid them like the plague! It all started when we were trying to watch the Weather Channel. I used to love that channel when it came onboard the cable line-up back in the ’80s. It was all about the weather so you could tune in and find out what you needed to know and move on when you were done.

Now you have to wade through all kinds of reality shows just to get a glimpse of any weather information for your particular area. And successful shows eventually grow up and produce baby shows, called spin-offs. First came Coast Guard Alaska and then came Coast Guard Florida. We were members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary before we became full-timers so our hats are off to the members of the Coast Guard.

But, it all gets rather tedious and repetitive after a while. Just like the logger shows… and the fishing shows… and the inside-look-at-_______ type shows. Who cares!

Personally, I could not care less about Kim & her sisters & their personal discussions & dilemmas. The Kardashian family is phony in my opinion. Kim’s marriage to the basketball player last year was a sham. They ought to be ashamed of themselves… but they aren’t. In fact, they are making money hand over fist. I just don’t understand it???

I used to watch Deadliest Catch back when it started. I used to love to watch it in the early years… before it became a grind and the bickering became unbearable. I must admit, I was in tears during most of the season when Capt. Phil Harris was dying of his massive stroke. Although, with his high-stress load and chain-smoking, it was not a big surprise. It’s not a lifestyle or responsibility I’d want for sure.

I quit watching the season after Phil died. I tried to pick up on the next season, but it was just not the same. I don’t even know if it is still on anymore to tell the truth…

I tried to watch one of the spin-offs, “Hilstranded,” but it just seemed scripted and put on. Each episode was about different fishing adventures with Jon & Andy Hilstrand. I’m sorry, but how many fishing shows can I stomach! I like the Hilstrand brothers, but this was overkill.

I just Googled “Honey Boo Boo” tonight to see just who or what a Honey Boo Boo was? I watched a few clips of interviews with the pint-sized, overweight starlet-wannabe and her mother and was instantly very sorry for doing it. Apparently Alana Thompson is Honey Boo Boo and she is originally from the reality show Toddler’s and Tiara’s. Really? You could have knocked me over with a feather on that one! My first impression was that someone needed to turn her over a knee and teach her respect and manners. I can only imagine the kind of teenager, and then adult she will become.

I digress on my rant…

So Bob and I were talking about how we were surprised that they did not have a reality show about full-time RVers. Especially one following gate guards. There could be lots of drama in that one.

We both agreed, we have a nice quiet life as is and we want to keep it that way. I have no aspirations about sitting and chatting with Jay Leno, wearing a dress that sticks to me like it is three sizes too small. I recently saw Kris Kardashian-Jenner on tonight and she was constantly holding down her dress when she sat down so she did not give a surprise showing of what was underneath:-) You know, it’s refreshing when you see a star come out dressed appropriately and comfortably. And, they don’t look like a plastic blow-up doll. (But that’s another rant I won’t go into right now.)

It wasn’t two days ago we were having this conversation. Then, yesterday we were perusing through the Workamper News daily Hotline that comes to our email and what did we see?

>>>ANNOUNCEMENT

RV Owners: Major TV Network Wants to Hear Your Story! 

Major Cable TV network is currently seeking RV owners for an upcoming pilot. If you live in any type of home-on-wheels and love the open road, we want to hear from you! Seeking all personalities and lifestyles. Whether you have a unique story to tell, or have an RV like no other, please tell us a bit about yourself by emailing XXXXXX@XXXXXX.XXX

 Thank you!

Casting Team<<<

OMG–Here’s the next population segment they are going to exploit. This ought to be good!

I wonder if we will see anyone we know… Hmmmmm?

I can say with ABSOLUTE certainly, it will NOT be us!!!

Would you be on a reality show about RVing? What are your thoughts?

Till next time,

Vicky

On being thankful… tis the season!

As I sit here tonight, I’m struck with awe that I have an Internet connection that is not konking out every 5 minutes!

Seriously, I have many reasons to be thankful. We have a good way to earn extra money to supplement Bob’s retirement income. Especially since I cannot draw my checks for 4 more years. Granted, doing what we do is a grind at times, but it’s still a lot better than  cleaning toilets for a parking spot or minimum wage!

I’m thankful that I was able to meet the love-of-my-life on the Internet in 1997. Think back to that time, dial-up (broadband was not even born yet) was not 56K yet, I believe it was 33.5K (or something like that). Match.com, eHarmony, PlentyOfFish.com, ChristianMingle.com (and about 10 variations thereof), FarmersOnly.com, and the latest trend for seniors, SilverFishing.com did not yet exist. The only way you could fish or surf for a prospective partner was to locate personal ads. Imagine trying to do this without Google or Bing or MSN!

You’d have to know my Bob to appreciate just how miraculous it is that we met at all. You see, he is a very shy & quiet person. Once you get to know him he has a refreshingly unique sense of humor and a cozy, loving nature.

So, back in January of 1997, I decided to try to find the kind of person I was looking for in the Houston area. That’s where I lived back then. So I trolled the online personal ads. I met a couple of frogs in public places, and resolved that if I was going to find my ideal match, I would need to cast a bigger net… so to speak:-) I never once doubted I would meet the person I was looking for… I just did not know where… yet…

I included Dallas and San Antonio in my searches. I knew I was looking for an RVer and a boater. He needed to be less than 10 years older than me and be good with kids since I still had my daughter living at home. I also had my first grandchild on the way.

One week I had sent out several inquiries/responses to ads. Out of those I received one reply and I could tell he was not the one.

One week later, I received an email profusely apologizing for taking so long to respond to my inquiry. And who was this weird person (just kidding Honey)?

Bob. Up until this point no names had been mentioned so I had no clue what he was responding to since it had been at least a week prior.

Long story short, we corresponded via email and telephone for two months before we actually met in person.

We agreed to meet at the Cross-Eyed Seagull in Houston at 8:00 pm on an agreed upon night. Well, we were tested from the git-go! Bob was living in Denton, Texas at this time. The night he came down he did so during the worst rain storm I’d seen in a good long time. Remember, we did not have our handy cell phones in 1997. Bob had to periodically pull over to a pay-phone and find out the conditions he was driving into.

Finally, I-45 was flooded so I had to guide him into town using the Hardy Toll Road. At that time it had recently opened up. Our good fortunes were holding.

With all of this inclement weather I figured he would be at least 2-hours late.

To this day I don’t know how he did it, but he arrived with a goofy grin on his face and 5-MINUTES EARLY! The goofy grin was because he was extremely nervous. (And I wasn’t?)

And the rest is history… we got married in March of 1998.

How did I know he was going to be such a good match for me?

Easy… he worked for an RV dealer and he owned a boat. Cha-ching! We had things in common. He was also divorced and the father of two girls and a boy, and I had two boys and a girl. Brady Bunch!

We went on to become full-time RVers in 2008. And today we have 10 grandchildren. 5-boys and 5-girls. Funny how that worked out :-)

And we are gate guards in South Texas.

We are in good health as are our families. And for all of this, we are thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving y’all:-)

Till next time,

Vicky

All quiet on the gate… Whew!

Alas, my prayers are answered… no swine visitors tonight!

After last night’s tense situation with wild pigs just 20-30 feet from our front door, we decided to turn on another light on the light plant. This one shines behind the rig so at night I can see if there are any illegals, snakes, wild pigs, or coyotes lurking about.

I don’t like surprises in the darkness of the night!

Switching gears, I’ve been out and about two days in a row… what a wonderful break. Tuesday I went to the HEB in Pearsall. Yesterday I went to Cotulla and had lunch with my friend Lynette, a fellow gate guard.

It was great to catch up on the last few months in each of our lives. We ended up talking for nearly two hours. That certainly flew by!

After we went our separate ways, I filled water jugs at Lowe’s, picked up a package we had sent to the Ace Hardware store. These people are so nice to provide this service for gate guards. As a full-time RVer and especially out here in the middle of nowhere, I rely on online ordering for so many things. Since many places will not ship to a PO Box, Ace Hardware in Cotulla plays a critical role in helping me get the things I want and need. And they are so cheerful about it!

Today I asked if they had Christmas rope lights. The office girl informed me that they don’t stock them but they can order anything I want and have it delivered to their store.

Now that’s customer service!!!

They are using a very good principle here, if I do something for you, you will feel obligated to do something for me.

Many times when we go to pick up packages, we end up spending money in their store. Today I needed a couple of buckets, a funnel, Christmas lights and a few other things. We always seem to need something they sell at their store.

One thing I’ve noticed is Ace Hardware seems is reinventing themselves. They are a great alternative to Lowe’s and Home Depot. We’ve noticed the customer service is diminishing at these two “big box” stores while Ace is really ramping up their cheerful faces and helpful attitudes.

When we stay at our resort in Canyon Lake, we find excuses to go to the Ace Hardware up there. They are so helpful and have so many things available.

Kudos to Ace… in this time of economic distress, they have their act together and may just survive to better times. (I hope better times are ahead–and soon!)

We just found our GG company is bringing us BBQ turkey tomorrow for Thanksgiving… WooHoo!!!

Big thanks for the thoughtfulness:-)

Till next time,

Vicky

Roll call please…

I just noticed that my blogroll is almost wiped out. I think I did that when everyone sort of went dark earlier this year.

I’d like to promote your blog on my blogroll. If you want to be listed, just send me a link to your blog and I will add it ASAP!

Thanks!

Vicky

Lions, Tigers, and Pigs… OH MY!!!

Wait a minute…

From the Wizard of Oz, wasn’t that phrase: Lions, Tigers, and Bears… Oh My!

Yes, it was… but here in the oil patch (in the heart of the south Texas brush country), I changed it to PIGS, as in wild pigs.

I went to Pearsall for groceries yesterday and on my way back I saw a big wild boar on the side of the road (alive). He panicked as my car drove by so I slowed way down. Those fellows can do major damage you know!

Then, this morning at about 4:30 am, my motion detector inside the gate area (where we reside I might add) started going off. I put my jacket on and headed for the door.

No one there. No truck… nothing.

So I went back to doing dishes. The alarm went off again. And again, no one was there.

The third time this happened the pranksters appeared… wild pigs. Last year I saw Javalinas so I know these were not them. I started hyperventilating and broke out with goosebumps.

You see, I grew up on a farm in central Illinois. And we had pigs. Even though they were domestic pigs, I still learned a healthy respect for these guys. When I was 4-years-old I somehow took my toy baby buggy to the pig yard and left it there. Don’t ask me who was not watching me, I have no idea.

Long story short, those dirty pigs totally destroyed that toy buggy. I think they were new mammas and that is a very dangerous situation.

So even though I grew up on a farm, it doesn’t mean I’m brave when it comes to animals… wild or not. I don’t like the cows that come around our rig either. One almost wrapped himself up in our flag yesterday.

Thankfully, I have not heard any coyotes. As you all know by now, these guys REALLY FREAK ME OUT!

You’ll be glad to know I’m fine now. I took a chill pill (really, I took a B-vitamin-Inositol which is a calming vitamin) and I feel better now. Much!

Perhaps I should switch to decaf???:-)

Does the local wild life unnerve anyone else? I know Bob B. is totally unnerved by snakes and Debbie B. is an arachnophobia sufferer (add me to both of those lists :-))

What about it… what are you afraid of? I’d like to know I’m not the only coward wearing a glow-in-the-dark vest that screams, “Here I am… come and get me!”

Till next time,

Vicky