Big Lagoon State Park, West Pensacola, Florida - May 9, 2017

Big Lagoon State Park, West Pensacola, Florida - May 9, 2017
Big Lagoon State Park, West Pensacola, Florida - May 9, 2017

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

American Ninja Warrior Filming in San Antonio - Mon., Mar. 27, 2017

Of all the sports shows on TV, my favorite action sport is American Ninja Warrior. You will find my eyes glued to the TV watching the competitors trying to best the obstacle course. I'm in my seat trying to boost them over a wall, or going crazy hoping they'll hang on and be able to finish the course. 

When my best friend, Susan, told me that American Ninja Warrior (ANW) would be filmed in San Antonio, I knew Bob and I had to head downtown to see the action. We didn't make it on Sunday night, so we drove down Monday night after "Dancing with the Stars." We parked pretty close and walked about five blocks to the course.

As we closed in on the filming area in front of the Bexar County Courthouse, the first structure we saw was the one for the final part of the competition. There was no way to get close to the action here as the street was blocked off. Another couple had come from the other direction and told us the place for those who wanted to view the competition without tickets for the stands was around the corner to the right. That's where we headed. 

American Ninja Warrior obstacle tower
Walking downtown in a city at night is a whole different experience than in daylight. I love seeing familiar places lit up. They look so other-worldly.

San Fernando Cathedral - side view

San Fernando Cathedral - front view
The Riverwalk Plaza has an awesome trompe l'oeil painting at the entrance to their parking garage. It looks so good at night.

Trompe l'oeil painting at Riverwalk Plaza
But I digress. We walked around the San Fernando Cathedral and that's where we found a place to watch the competition.  It wasn't as grand as sitting in the stands being filmed watching and cheering for the competitors, but it sufficed.

The first competitor we saw. He is just left of center.

Competitor climbing a slanted pole

Hosts Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbajabiamila

The dreaded Warped Wall

The object here is to run across these balls
Watching the filming of a live TV competition is a lot of hurry-up-and-wait. After we saw one competitor, the course was re-set. No one came out for another competition for upwards of 20 minutes. We decided to walk around the perimeter to see if we could find a better spot to watch the show. 

The first stage of the competition 
At the RV park, one of our guests came in wearing an American Ninja Warrior 2017 T-shirt. I wanted to get one. We found the gift shop tent and made our way inside. I was shopping for my shirt when who should be right next to me but Drew Drecshel, one of the Ninja Warriors! Awesome. He was nice enough to let me snap a photo of him. I told him how much we liked watching him compete and he replied that he really enjoyed the competition. 

Drew Drecshel, Ninja warrior competitor
We made our way back to our viewing spot in time to see more of the competition. 


You need great balance to do this!

Lots of arm strength and momentum needed here!

Climbing an angled pole, then
transferring to a horizontal pole

Speedy Gonzalez running these



In the photo below, a competitor is gripping the top of the Warped Wall, getting ready to heave himself to the top.

The Warped Wall
Just to prove we were there, Bob insisted on a photo in front of one of the towers.
Me in front of a tower
Going downtown to watch the filming gave us a glimpse of how grueling the course is. Not only is this physically demanding, it is mentally demanding as well. They film all night long and there are long periods when clean-up and maintenance are done. The contestants have a long wait until their turn. 

ANW likes to film at night for the lighting they can achieve. I'm sure the athletes like filming at night because it's much cooler. They tape in intervals and change out the audiences about every two hours. They film at  8 pm, 10 pm, 12 am and 2 am. The last contestants for the 2 am filming don't finish until 4 am. Wow!

Tuesday from 2 am to 4 am was the last of the filming in downtown San Antonio. Now the crews have to spend a few days taking down all the metal frameworks and shipping everything to the next location. 

This was a fun date night. Travel Bug out.

P.S. No word on our truck. They haven't found it yet. We have to wait two weeks to see if it will be recovered. If it isn't recovered in two weeks, we can work with our insurance company for whatever amount they see fit to pay and we go about getting another truck before our April 29 trip with the 5th wheel. If they do recover the truck, an adjuster will look at it to see if it is salvageable. If it is, we will need to have repairs made ASAP. If it isn't, back to buying another truck. We'll see what happens.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Where Our Manufactured Home Will be Made - Fri., Mar. 24, 2017

Backtracking to dawn yesterday, my friend Susan, her husband Darren, and their son Travis and I did a 10k walk in Lady Bird Park along Salado Creek in San Antonio. After the walk, I showered then met other people from our RV park to go to an Open House and Tour at Lighthouse for the Blind, just 1/2 mile down the road from the RV park. 

At 11:30, we were ushered into a beautifully decorated meeting room and treated to a lunch of turkey croissant sandwiches, chips, cookies and soft drinks. Nancy Lipton, Director of Public Relations/Events, gave a talk about Lighthouse for the Blind, the jobs it provides, and the products that are manufactured there. She showed us a jacket that is made for the Army consisting of 100 pieces. Her talk was fascinating. 

Chris talked to us about purchasing office supplies, cleaning supplies and furniture from their catalog. A percentage of each sale goes to Lighthouse for the Blind to help them hire and train visually impaired or blind individuals, then help them to find jobs. 

When the lunch meeting portion was over, we were taken on a tour through the factory.


Mike, CEO, explaining new chin strap for helmets

Sewing new waterproof Army pants

A cadre of people sewing

Lining up fabric to be cut later
We had our tour leader take a photo of the group from the RV park. Unfortunately, it turned out blurry.


An Army outfit that is sewn here

Laser pattern cutter
Intently listening to our tour leader


High-tech sewing machines

Delia, Lee (hiding behind Delia), Lynda, and our tour
leader Nancy Lipton

Finishing up the tour
Our group headed back to Travelers World RV Resort. I then packed for our overnight trip to Athens, Texas, and made my way to the hairdresser for cut and color.

The hairdresser took way longer than I thought today. I didn't get to Bob's work until 5:35. (We had originally planned on me arriving at 4 pm.) That's when I found out our truck had been stolen. [See yesterday's blog for that story.]
After the truck was stolen yesterday, we made haste to Titan Factory Direct in New Braunfels, Texas, for our appointment with Vanessa, our Professional Housing Consultant. We went over the floor plan we liked and changes we wanted to make, then signed a contract for our new manufactured home. Earnest money was paid to Titan Homes to signify how committed we are to buying it. 

Tonight we will start our drive north to Athens, Texas. On Friday at 11:00 am we have an appointment to tour the factory that makes the homes.

Sunset over Titan Factory Direct in New Braunfels, TX



When we finished at Titan Homes it was sunset and we had to backtrack to Converse, TX, to fill out a police report on the stolen pickup. (The police department told us when we first called that all police were busy with a brush fire on Hwy 83 and we should come in later to fill out the report.)

Where we filled out the police report
At 8:30 or 9:00 p.m. we arrived at the Converse Police Department. It only took 10-15 minutes for an officer to show up to take our report. We then left a message with our insurance carrier who said we would be called back between 8-5 Central Time on Friday.

From Converse, we again headed north, past New Braunfels, on our way to Athens, TX. 

Austin, Texas is known for its heavy traffic and we bought a Texas tag so we could use the toll road around Austin. However, as we approached the toll road, a signboard showed travel time on I-35 versus Toll Road 130. The travel time was shorter on I-35. It was about 10:30 pm and it was the least traffic we've ever seen through Austin. We sailed through in record time and skipped the toll road. 

By 11:30 p.m. we were dog tired after our exhausting day. Bob pulled over in a small town south of Waco, Texas, and we spent the night in a motel. 

This morning, we had  breakfast at IHOP, then continued to Athens. What a gorgeous morning! Everything was so green. Bluebonnets were blooming along the road along with pink evening primroses and Indian paintbrush. We passed lakes, rivers, farmland and swamps.

A lady from our insurance company called us about 8:30 am. She gave Bob all the details about what we need to do.

I snoozed quite a bit on our trip to Athens this morning. We arrived at the factory a little ahead of schedule. That gave us time to figure out where we needed to go to meet Celous, our tour guide.

He took us through the manufacturing process step-by-step. We started where they build floors. 

The floor of a single wide manufactured home
We watched them put sheet rock on the walls


Attaching the sheet rock on the walls
Next, overhead cranes are used to put the walls in place. You will notice in the middle of the photo below there is a shiny substance on the floor. That is 3 mm thick plastic to protect the floors from the worker's boots, paint splatters, etc.

Wall being put in place by overhead crane
Cabinets and showers/tubs are installed next.

Cabinets being put into place
The photos below are taken from a catwalk, looking out over the manufacturing plant.
Working on the roof. You'll notice the
insulation is in the walls now too.

A park model (under 400 sq ft)

Park model on right next to manufactured homes on left

Putting on finishing touches at the eaves

Preparing a double-paned window

Celous explaining window wraps to Bob

Waterproofing and painting
The two photos below show how the manufactured homes are moved around inside the warehouse. In the first photo, you can see tracks on the floor. Under the home are wheels like on rail cars. The piece of equipment bottom center is a come-along which is attached to the frame and is used to pull the manufactured home along the track.


In the photo below, you can see rectangular cut-outs in the floor. Once the manufactured home is over those, the rectangles are raised up out of the floor to lift the manufactured home. That's when axles and wheels are added underneath. 

Note the rectangles in the floor...those raise up
under the manufactured home to support it
while axles and wheels are installed.
 Roofing and painting are next. This is quite a production!


After the tour we started toward home. We had lunch at Taco Casa, which we love. (There aren't any in San Antonio.) Big rainstorms crashed down on us just before lunch.


On the way home we did use Toll Road 130 to bypass Austin and avoid I-35, (which has the terrible traffic). On the toll road the speed limit is 85 mph. We made great time getting home!

Now it's late and it's time for sleep. We've had an exhausting two days. 

Tomorrow, we're doing a 10k walk in the morning and then going to Six Flags Fiesta Texas in the afternoon. Another full day is planned. 

Plus, we might go into downtown San Antonio tomorrow night to see the set of American Ninja Warrior. They will be filming the competition Sunday night, Monday early morning, Monday night and Tuesday early morning. (They like to film at night for the lighting, and I'd think also because it's cooler...our daytime temps are around 82 right now.) The show they film in San Antonio will air in late June.

Good night all!