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 ūüôā

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 ūüôā

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

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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 ūüôā 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¬†ūüôā

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 ūüôā

Till next time,

Vicky

Play time is over… Back To Work!!!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted and all I can say is sometimes life can get hectic… even when you are semi-retired!

After we left the oil patch in August, we went to Teague to visit the¬†granddaughters there, and then on to¬†Katy, Texas to pick up Bob’s mother’s belongings at the personal care home where she passed away (in July)¬†at the age of 98… and to pick up her remains (ashes) at the Funeral Home.

Next stop was on the road to Mountain Home, Arkansas to scatter Mom’s ashes in the White River as per her request. We stayed at a campground along the White River that was aptly named Blue Heron Resort. Imagine that ūüôā

Bob’s brother came from Las Vegas as well as Bob’s three children… each from Iowa, Missouri, and Nevada. It was a beautiful, clear morning for Ruth’s memorial service. Bob’s daughter Heather bought a bunch of red roses so we could toss the petals into the water after scattering her ashes. I wish I could post a picture of the rose petals floating in the water, but my connection is too slow. It was a very nice touch… thank you Heather! By the way, red roses were very appropriate since Red was Ruth’s favorite color. From jewelry to shoes to coats, Ruth had a lot of red in her closet.

Heather also brought me a load of tomatoes and peppers from her Iowa garden. I froze every bit of it for cooking and for smoothies. In August I finally got the Vitamix I’ve been wanting, like forever. Now Bob is enduring all kinds of healthy concoctions. He sure is a good sport!!!

We left Mountain Home for our new location, Hot Springs, Arkansas. VACATION!!! There we enjoyed a new treat… a salt water pool at a new resort, Catherine’s Landing. Let me tell you, after swimming in that saline water, I never want to step foot in a chlorine pool again. Yuck! The salt water did not make my skin all dry and my hair didn’t feel all stiff.

While there, we bought some pure, homemade soaps, ate yummy pancakes at a local pancake house on Bath House Row, visited a local winery (yes, of course I got some delicious wine), and embarked on a dinner & dancing cruise aboard the former¬†paddle boat, now¬†motorized, “Belle of Hot Springs.” We also enjoyed a birds eye¬†view of the Hot Springs National Park from the observation tower located in the park.

On our cruise around Lake Hamilton aboard the Belle, we learned that the city of Hot Springs is actually part of the Hot Springs National Park. They just dropped the last two words for the city name. But they count every visitor to the city as a visitor to the national park.This was my 4th visit to Hot Springs and I’d never heard that little tidbit before.

Next stop… Teague to visit the granddaughters for a couple of weeks. Then on to Iron Horse RV in San Antonio for some upgrades we wanted to have done. First upgrade was to install a Dish HD unit on the roof. Now poor Bob does not have to put up the portable dish and line it up everytime¬†we move. We just turn the unit on and it props itself up, searches for the three satellites needed for HD and parks itself when it is done! How cool is that!

Then we replaced the two remaining tube-styled television sets with flat screens. Now I have more storage behind the TVs. Bob is building shelves for me behind one of them. We have more we want to do on this rig, but all in good time. Iron Horse does great work!

We began our wait with our new gate guard company on October 1st. We knew we would not be first on their list since we were new to them. Over the next five weeks we kept in touch with our contact and finally on November 5th we got the call. At this time we were at our membership RV park, The Summit, near Canyon Lake. So out of three people they called we could¬†get there the quickest… translation… we got the gate.

We arrived in the Millet/Cotulla area on Monday afternoon, November 5th.

We were glad we¬†finally got a call since we had been waiting for about five weeks. But in that time we’ve been having fun in the San Antonio area. We went to Whole Foods about four times (woohoo) and country dancing at the Wild West club. We also got new western boots with slick soles for dancing.

I normally wear Ariat Fat Baby boots when we are working and they are so comfortable, but they have a non-skid type of sole. Definitely not good for dancing.

We have a nice pad to park the Silver Bullet on. We have good equipment with plenty of horses to power our rig and the attached light plant… and our guy Brad said I could also put up all the Christmas lights I wanted. Hmmm–I think I’ll do that this year!

I have a question I’d like to ask other GG’s… Does anyone else have a dishwasher in their rig? If so, do you have a problem with running it on these industrial generators? The reason I’m asking, is at our first company we thought we blew the circuit panel in it. We replaced it for $240+. Long story short–turns out the dishwasher works fine on shore power and with our Onan generator. However, it konks out on these industrial generators. Just wondering if anyone else is having this problem???

I HATE washing dishes ūüė¶

I must say, it is still plenty warm for November, but we are in Texas afterall.

The drilling rig moved in the day after we did… on election day. They have been “rigging-up” all week. It was nice to have a night to get on our schedules and get set up without interruptions.

Since we’ve been in Teague, Canyon Lake, and San Antonio since early August, I’d like to catch up with everyone. Is there a ladies or mens lunch in Cotulla anymore?

As I write this I’m struck by the holiday shows and advertisements flooding the channels already!

Is it my imagination or does the Christmas season start earlier each year??? I’m watching the Hallmark Channel tonight and it is jam-packed with Christmas shows… and Thanksgiving isn’t even here yet, Geesh!!! And now I hear some stores are announcing their Black Friday specials. Waiiiiiiiiit a minute… I’m not ready for this just yet*&^^$$#^*@

Today is grocery day. Gotta go get ready to get out of here… for a while anyway!

Till next time,

Vicky

Bob & I enjoyed breakfast one day at the Colonial Pancake & Waffle House in downtown Hot Springs.

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This post was supposed to be more than a picture, and I just don’t know what happened the first time around.

My laptop computer hard drive crashed so I’m down to my iPad or iPhone right now.

As I write this..

We are enroute to San Antonio for the next few days to week. We are doing another round of upgrades to The Silver Bullet. After this week, no more old-fashioned tube TVs. Flat screens will replace them and storage behind them. I really need that!

Talked to LOMA and we will be hooking up with them as soon as we are finished at Iron Horse RV. If you need any repairs, painting, or upgrades made to your RV, we highly recommend this place. The owner, Daryl, owns a Monaco Dynasty himself so he is very in touch with RVers. He also knows of the special demands we place on our coaches out in the oil patch. They get you in & out and do the job right the first time!

They also have a guy who comes to their shop and washes (and waxes if you want) RVs. He’s reasonable and does a very good job. He will also do the roof for a little more $$$. We did it last time we came up from the oil patch and it sure was good to get all of that red sand removed from the coach exterior. And the roof was a MESS!

I’ll catch y’all up on our Arkansas trip when I get my new laptop… probably tomorrow.

Till then,

Vicky

Womens & Mens Luncheon schedule update…

Last week I posted a poll for the location and for the date of the next Gate Guard Ladies Luncheon. Normally I think we usually meet on Wednesdays, but since that falls on July 4th this time (not sure that makes much of a difference out here in this job) I decided to give everyone an option.

The overwhelming majority voted they wanted to meet on July 3rd, Tuesday, 1:00pm at the Cotulla DQ.

Sounds good to me. I just love my Cappuccino Heath blizzard!

And since Susan and Bob Alton will be heading to San Antonio today because Bob landed a great job opportunity, looks like I’m heading up the guys luncheon plans… at least for now. My Bob does not blog so he can let me know what the plans are with his gender group and I’ll pass it along here. Right now, the next Mens Gate Guarding Luncheon will be on Wednesday, July 11th, 1:00pm at the Cotulla DQ.

I’ll also post plans in Andy & Miss K’s¬†MyOldRV.com forum.

Have a great weekend! We will miss you Bob & Susan… Good luck in your new adventure!!!

Vicky

P.S. If you want to be on a luncheon announcement list (for details of future luncheons) please use the form below to send it to me and put Mens List or Ladies List in the subject line.

We escaped… they can’t get us now!

Seriously, we finished our first assignment as south Texas gate guards in the Brush Country near Cotulla & Artesia Wells, Texas. It was an eye-opening experience to say the least. Now, when we hear about pipeliners, fracing (everything from Frac to Finish you might say), we know exactly what is being talked about. Been there done that.

First, this job was supposed to be a 3-day job. March 28th marked our 3-month mark on that job and we were finally released (they closed the gate) on April 3rd.

One thing we will not miss is the 9.2 mile caliche road from the highway to our gate. That got old. In fact, our first stop after leaving the ranch was the San Antonio KOA. While in SA, we went to Firestone and put new tires on our soon to be 3-year-old car. They still had some tread life in them, but they did take a beating on the roads, plus we needed a front end alignment. Like the new tires much better, they are not so noisy.

We took advantage of being in civilization and treated ourselves to a belated anniversary celebration at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. Man, they do have good food there! I found my new favorite wine too… Movendo Moscato, Italy. I usually like Moscato wine, but this stuff has a sparkling kick to it. YUM!!!

Bob and I at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in San Antonio, Texas. Celebrating 14 wonderful years together!

We left SA on Monday after getting some repairs done on the Silver Bullet, at Iron Horse RV. We’re visiting my best friend in Katy, Texas tomorrow so we are staying at a nearby campground in Brookshire, Texas. That whole west Houston area has grown so much since I move away in 1997. It’s amazing!

Then Thursday we will mosey on up to the Lake Conroe/North Houston KOA for a few days. My son James and our two granddaughters, Bree & Aidree, live in an apartment across the street. Looking forward to seeing them. It’s been a while.

Saturday we will head on up to our home-base in Teague. We plan on heading back to the gate guarding lifestyle around the end of May/early June. Yes, it will be hot, but then again… it’s hot all over Texas. What else is new?

Update on Captain Jack: As I wrote about earlier, one of our Chihuahua companions, Captain Jack, developed epilepsy recently. He has been on Phenobarbital for a month now and is doing very well on it. We had our vet in Mexia (Dr. Bennett) call in a refill on his medication to the Katy Walmart today. We did not want to risk running out of his medication as that would probably bring on more seizures. I’m so glad we can get his medication on the road.

I’m going to Whole Foods in Houston tomorrow. The store in San Antonio sells out of their grass-fed beef as soon as they get it in. So I’m getting to the Houston location on Wilcrest & Westheimer tomorrow morning… they get their shipment in on Wednesdays. Grass-fed beef is actually quite healthy for us to eat. Much better for us than grain-fed beef, and God-forbid… the pink slim we’ve been hearing about in the news!

That’s a wrap for now.

Till next time,

Vicky