Octagonal Bank of New Zealand banker's desk carved from Australian red cedar, Dunedin, circa 1883.

Octagonal Bank of New Zealand banker's desk carved from Australian red cedar, Dunedin, circa 1883.
Octagonal Bank of New Zealand banker's desk carved from Australian red cedar, Dunedin, circa 1883.

Saturday, October 31, 2020

A Great Driving Day - Friday, October 30, 2020

 At 8:30 a.m., with me at the wheel, we hopped on I-5 in Livingston, Louisiana. Traffic was light most of the day. Today, we saw more cars and pick-ups, but still quite a few semis as well. 

We didn't spend long in each state we went through. The most damage we saw today from Hurricane Zeta was in Biloxi, Mississippi. Almost every freeway exit sign was blown down, billboards were missing their advertising (just big holes in the signs), lots of trees down, and big business signs (like Waffle House and Lowe's) were either missing or dangling. 

When we were in Mobile, we had just exited the tunnel under Mobile Bay when the traffic came to a halt. There was an accident about one-half mile ahead of us. It was cleared up quickly and we continued on our way.

We made it to our campground at 12:30 p.m., set up the 5th wheel, showered, and then called Tom and Rosemarie. At 2:30, we headed to their place to enjoy the afternoon and evening talking about Hurricane Sally, which impacted their place, and what they've been up to since we last saw them. There was a small tornado that took down some of their trees and a few trees in their neighbor's yard. The tip of one of the neighbor's trees lightly brushed their 5th wheel roof. No damage to the 5th wheel. They were lucky!

For dinner, we had turkey chili, cornbread, steamed veggies, and ice cream for dessert. Thank you to Rosemarie for cooking! We will return the favor when we come back in a couple of weeks.

Tom and Bob, shaka bra'.

After dinner, Tom, Bob, and I went for a walk around the block. The distance was about 3/4 mi. Debris piles left over from Hurricane Sally lined the streets. We left about 6:50 p.m. so we could give Sunnie his insulin. 

Bob wanted to watch the Hawaii/Wyoming football game, but it wasn't on our TV lineup at the RV park. He found a sports bar where he could watch it. 

It was cold last night in Louisiana and it's clear and cold tonight in Florida. The moon is big, bright, and bold.

I will post photos of Tom and Rosemarie's fur kids once I get to a park with a powerful internet connection. They have a dog named Cocoa and a cat named Capuchin. 

Tomorrow, we drive 170 miles to Quincy, Florida. Oh, and apparently we need to keep an eye on another storm forming south of the Yucatan Peninsula. Oh, no, not again!

That's it for today. Have a wonderful weekend. Remember to set your clocks back one hour on Saturday night or early Sunday morning.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Today, Louisiana; Tomorrow, Florida - Thursday, October 29, 2020

A chill in the air and sunshine greeted us when we finished packing up this morning. After breakfast, we loaded the remaining toiletries, and the cat's paraphernalia, and left Travelers World RV Park in San Antonio at 6:45 a.m. That would get us through Houston around 10:00-10:30 a.m. when there is little traffic. Worked like a charm. 

Cars and pickups were practically absent from the freeway, but semi-trucks filled the void. The drive was actually not too bad for most of the day. 

Blue tarps in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Lots of blue tarps.

In Lake Charles, Louisiana, is where we saw the most damage from the 2020 hurricane season. One motel looked completely gutted. The debris field in front of it included mattresses, lumber, roofing, etc. A lumberyard roof had collapsed into the middle of the building. And there were blue tarps on the roofs of homes and businesses throughout the city. That was just what we saw from I-10. I can't imagine the devastation around the whole area.

We crossed the Trinity River, Sabine River, Lake Charles, and the Mighty Mississippi today. 

Lake Charles in all its glory.

Water tower for the Port of
Greater Baton Rouge.

Crossing the Mississippi River.

Mississippi River Bridge

Port of Greater Baton Rouge.

A great view of the Mississippi River today.

Our major problem on our drive was an accident on I-10 going into Baton Rouge. The back-up on I-10 east was nine miles long. We were stuck in traffic close to two hours. By the time we made it through Baton Rouge, I was tired. Our original campground for tonight, Fontainebleau State Park in Mandeville, Louisiana, canceled our reservation due to Hurricane Zeta. 

In the past, we have stayed two times at Lakeside RV Park in Livingston, Louisiana and really enjoyed it. It's 1.2 miles south of I-12 at Exit 22. We didn't have a reservation, but we decided to try for a spot. They gave us an excellent back-in site right on the lake. The last time we were here, we stayed in site 120. This time, we were in site 122.

After unhooking the 5th wheel and eating dinner, Bob took a walk two-thirds of the way around the lake. (The trail doesn't go all the way around.) He enjoyed getting out and walkng after driving for so long. We left home at 6:45 a.m. and pulled into the campground here at 4:00 p.m. -- a nine-hour day. He drove about six hours.

We watched the moon come up over the lake from our RV. An egret fished languidly along the edge of the lake and I could watch it from our dining room window. Ah, nature.

Bob told me that today is National Cat Day. I had no idea. LOL.

Tomorrow morning, we will leave around 8:00 a.m. and get into Milton, Florida, in the afternoon. Rosemarie invited us for supper. We're looking forward to seeing them and hearing their hurricane tales. I think Hurricane Sally is the one that they had the most trouble with. 

Have a great weekend! Over and out.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Florida, Ho (Plans Made in Jello) - Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Bob, Darren, and Susan in
Brackenridge Park on Sunday.

Okay, here's our current itinerary as Hurricane Zeta allows. We were supposed to leave Wednesday, October 28, but that's when the hurricane is set to hit Louisiana (which we will have to drive through). Soooo, our trip has been postponed one day and it looks like Thursday's weather in the afternoon in Louisiana will be nice. The state park where we're staying has told us they'll be open, so we're planning a beeline from San Antonio to the park. They asked us to call when we get close as they may have to change our site.

Since we have never experienced the aftermath of a hurricane before, Rosemarie, Bob's sis-in-law who lives in Milton/Pensacola area has been giving us info. There is the possibility of a gas shortage or a lack of power. When we get there we'll know more and try to keep a full tank of gas!

The latest Weather Channel info said the storm is moving fast. I think that's a good thing; however, it is hooking up with the Storm Billy coming in from the West. Billy is packing a lot of water and so is Hurricane Zeta. Thus, we will be on the alert for flooding, and downed trees, as we go. That is a bad thing. It will be an adventure.

We spent this afternoon and evening packing the 5th wheel because rain is expected in San Antonio on Wednesday morning. By afternoon, we should be back in the sunshine. 

I also spent the day cooking food to take with us. That will be good for the first few days when we are only spending one night in a location and I can just serve up the food. Today, I made egg salad for sandwiches, chili, and cornbread. Yesterday, I made a mixed berry dump cake. Tomorrow, I will make a huge green salad that will last us for three days. Tomorrow, I need to make another trip to the grocery store as I forgot some items the last time.

We are visiting a part of Florida we have not explored before: Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Daytona Beach, and Port Orange. In St. Augustine, we will meet up with our Volksmarch friend Patricia Thompson who we learned will be there at the same time as us. We will do a walk together, eat, drink, and be merry. Bob and I also plan to do about eight more Volksmarches in that area.

After we finish there, we are going to spend time with Bob's brother, Tom, and his wife Rosemarie in Milton, Florida. And we will also have time to meet up with our good friends, Iain and Tess in Destin, who moved from Hawaii about the same time we did.

Here's an update about our lame 5th wheel. As you recall, we broke down on I-10 about two hours from home. A mobile RV technician had to come out to fix a broken thing-a-ma-jig under the leaf spring on the driver's side. He told us we needed to replace all of our leaf spring shackles, bolts, and equalizers. We did that right after we came home and also had two of our trailer brakes repaired.

More blogs to follow about our progress.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Life in the Slow Lane - Wednesday, September 30, to Saturday, October 17, 2020

After all of our go, go, go, it has been nice to stay put in San Antonio for the past 2-1/2 weeks. After spending a day unpacking the 5th wheel on September 30, we have both enjoyed being home. 

Bob is working with his clients in the area, helping them with their quarterly statements, and other accounting work they need to have done. I have been my best-retired self and have taken care of grocery shopping, laundry, vacuuming, mopping, dusting, getting my car washed, and renewing the registration on my Escape. 

When we came home, the squirrels had completely destroyed my car cover. It was hanging in tatters from my Escape. Did I ever mention we have a squirrel infestation here in the park? They are a major nuisance! It doesn't help that we live under a huge, old oak tree and that acorns are plentiful in our yard. Did I ever mention that they ate every single peach off our new peach tree? We had nine peaches and they ate them before they were even ripe! Does anyone know how to keep squirrels out of fruit trees and keep them from digging in potted plants to bury their acorns? If so, I would love to know how you do it!

As I mentioned at the end of my last blog, it was great to be reunited with my BFF Susan Medlin. It was short-lived, however. We did one walk together and then SHE was off on a road trip to North Carolina to visit their son, Travis, and then to Jacksonville, Florida to visit their other son, Kyle. She is doing lots of Volkswalks on her trip. After she returns home next week, we have one week together to walk, and then Bob and I are off to Florida on October 28! Susan Medlin and I are like ships passing in the night.

The walk Susan and I did on Saturday, October 3, was in Bandera, "Cowboy Capital of the World." We started early while it was cool and had a great walk. The walking club had changed the route a little since the last time we did it, so we saw a few new things. 

Boy, you would never know there's a pandemic in the town of Bandera. They had all kinds of activities going on and very few people were wearing face masks. Our walking group wore face masks whenever we were around other people, and we social distanced on the walk.

Here's a sample of some of the events going on in Bandera today:

  • Farmer's Market
  • Bandera Cattle Company Gunfighters
  • Motorcycle rally
  • Rock 'n' roll concert at an outdoor venue 
After we signed in, we drove to a small park with restrooms to start our walk. This wasn't the official walk start but it was on our route, so we just picked up the walk where it passed by on Main Street. The Farmer's Market people were setting up when we arrived. 

A guy with a cattle trailer pulled in behind me at the curb where we had parked. It looked like he wanted me to move, so I went back and asked him. He said he needed to get his steer out and walk it to their spot at Farmer's Market. I moved my car to the lot behind the park. 

Susan Medlin took a photo of the cowboy
and his longhorn after he got set up.

Across the street from us was the Bandera County Courthouse with its clock tower. We passed by the Bandera Library which was hosting a book sale. It's a good thing we went by it at the beginning of the walk and not the end. We did not want to carry books with us for six miles. And both of us already have plenty of books to read before buying more!

Bandera County Courthouse (1890).

From Main Street, we immediately headed into one of Bandera's older neighborhoods. The Frontier Times Museum was on our route, although we didn't check to see if it was open.

Unique mailbox decor. 

We walked a couple of miles around Bandera's east-side neighborhoods. On the way back to Hwy. 16, we passed the Bandera Natural History Museum. Neither of us had known about this museum. I'd like to go back and visit it when I have a chance. 
Bandera Natural History Museum entrance.

Our REAL start for the walk was coming up on our left, the Bandera County and Convention Visitors Bureau. We stopped to talk to the members of the Hill Country Volkssportsverein who were staffing the start table. We also looked around inside the Visitors Bureau. 

Mural on Hwy. 16 as you enter
 Bandera heading west.

The walk continued past a shop with colorful yard decorations. Iron "claim-to-fame" decorations lined the streets instead of the banners some cities use. We were on a busy street for a block and then we turned off to walk past (we chose to go through) Bandera Park. It is so pretty and we wanted to walk along the river.

Bandera has a "SculptureWalk," but we did not do that today. That's just another reason to come back.

"Big Boots to Fill,"
by Esther Benedict of Texas.

Yard decor, or as we call it, "More stuff."

Medina River in the lovely Bandera Park.
Bandera Park.

The all-important rope swing.
Beautiful carving on
a big tree trunk.

We saw quite a few rope swings.

The walk meandered off to a historic cemetery and then came back to the Horseshoe Bend Disc Golf Course. We hiked on a trail through the disc golf course and were surrounded by snout butterflies. They migrate back and forth locally, unlike the Monarchs that migrate to Mexico. The snout butterflies really like the hackberry trees in this part of Texas.

After leaving Bandera Park, we spent a long time walking through a west-side neighborhood. We then returned to the downtown area. At this point, we were almost finished with our walk.

Saint Stanislaus Catholic
Church (1876)

Many of the buildings in the old center of Bandera date to the 1850s. Today, one of the streets our walk followed was closed to traffic because of a motorcycle rally. We walked through LOTS of parked motorcycles. There were a couple of open bars that were getting a lot of business. There was a line to get in one of them. We didn't see anyone wearing a mask at all outside. I can't speak to whether they were wearing them inside or not. 

Motorcycle rally in Bandera.
One of the open bars. 

Historic town center.

Line 'em up!

After a few more blocks, we were back at my car. Oh my goodness, the town was completely crowded. The Farmer's Market was in full swing and there was a traffic jam on Main Street. It took us a long time to drive through town to head back to Susan's house. 

One more of Susan Medlin's photos of the Texas longhorn steer:

Isn't this a magnificent creature?

On our way back to Susan's house, we stopped at Wendy's for lunch. Susan had one of the burgers served on a pretzel bun and she loved it. I had a dry baked potato and a Taco Salad. The Taco salad is served with a small chili. I put half the chili on my baked potato and a half on my salad. It makes for an amazingly good lunch.

Bob worked on both Saturday and Sunday, October 3 and 4. He had a lot of work to catch up on with his local clients after being on his two-month assignment in Gig Harbor, Washington.

Monday, October 5, Bob took the 5th wheel out of storage. He took it to Billy Bob's RV Repair to have all of our leaf spring shackles, bolts, and equalizers replaced, and to make sure it is road-ready for our trip to Florida at the end of October. While they were working on it, they inspected our brakes and had to repair two of the brakes. 

On Tuesday, October 6, I took Sunnie to the vet for his monthly diabetes glucose reading. All is good. Sunnie is doing great. His legs don't wobble or give out when he walks anymore and he can jump up on the bed again. He is a wonderful cat. 

I have been doing a lot of online jigsaw puzzles (jigsawplanet.com) and reading a lot of C. J. Box's Joe Pickett novels. Bob and I are eating more consciously in an effort to drop some pounds.

On Saturday and Sunday, October 10-11, Bob went bike riding with Susan's husband, Darren. I slept in both days! On Saturday, I baked a Pumpkin Crunch Dump Cake to take to dinner at Jim and Peri's house that afternoon. 

We had a great time catching up with Jim and Peri. They have a large motorhome which they keep in storage. 

After Thanksgiving, we will camp with them for five nights at Galveston Island State Park. Today, we planned the dates and made our reservations for the campground. We hope The Strand is decorated for Christmas. Moody Gardens usually decorates for Christmas and we're hoping that is the case again this year. We'd all like to go see it.

Dinner was very good! Peri made chicken fajitas with Spanish rice and a salad. We were full after dinner, so we played Sequence for a while and then had dessert. Thank you so much for having us over.

Wednesday night, October 14, our favorite show, Amazing Race, returned to TV after being off for almost two years. Both of us are glued to the TV for every episode. 

On Thursday, I finally had a hair appointment after not going for eight weeks. My hair was curling into a ducktail on my neck and I had done some trimming on my own. My hair was past due for cut and color. 

Today, Saturday, October 17, Bob and I did the San Antonio Japanese Tea Garden Walk sponsored by the Texas Trail Roundup Club. Mike and Kathy Schwencke did a great job volunteering this morning to get everyone signed up and out on the trails. We had perfect weather for a walk in South Central Texas: cool with light rain. 

This is the two-story rock pavilion where
our walk started in the Japanese Tea Garden.

We came down the steps from the pavilion into what was once a rock quarry. Now, there are koi ponds and a waterfall, not to mention beautiful landscaping and rustic rock bridges.

Koi pond, complete with a turtle. 
Beautiful petite purple flowers that
look like orchids, and orange seed pods.

Big, friendly koi.

Bob on bridge by waterfall.

Me at the base of the falls.
Looking back down into the garden.

From the Japanese Tea Garden, we walked down a shaded tree tunnel toward the San Antonio Zoo. The walk crossed the narrow-gauge train tracks and two rock bridges on our way through Brackenridge Park. 

The tree tunnel.

Two bridges to cross the river.

We passed a team of ducks
(or raft, or paddling of ducks).

The main road through Brackenridge Park.

Water lilies are in bloom now!
Water lilies.

A committee of black vultures.

A committee meeting on the playground!

We walked around Brackenridge Park and along the San Antonio River. Birds included Egyptian geese, domestic geese, ducks, and even more black vultures.

We did the Joske Pavilion Trail
and the Wilderness Trail.

An assortment of ducks and geese.

Joske Pavilion Trail.

A faux bois (fake wood/cement) bridge.

The faux bois art is historic in San Antonio.

San Antonio River near the zoo.

The Berlin Iron Bridge (1890).

People used to be able to swim in the river here, but not in recent years.

Next, our feet followed the Wilderness Trail. 

Long strands of Spanish moss.

The Wilderness Trail.

Metal sculptures of logs. You can bang
on them and make noise.

The first 5k portion of our 10k walk was just about over. At the Bombay Bicycle Club Restaurant, we will start our second 5k to Trinity University and the Monte Vista Historic District neighborhood.
This is one of my favorite
restaurant signs ever.

We made our way under the highway and visited Trinity University (TU). Their sports team is the Trinity Tigers and their mascot is LeeRoy, a Bengal tiger. So I think their COVID-19 mask signs are pretty cute. "Cover your muzzle."

We made a short pass through TU and exited into a gorgeous neighborhood, Monte Vista Historic District. I got carried away with home photos and Halloween decorations. So here you go...


HALLOWEEN DECORATIONS: People really get into the "spirit" around here. 

Skeleton and "ghost" cat.

Tooooo funny!

Kinda spooky!

I love the dragon.

Ha ha!

And there were a couple of very nice gates.

Funny political sign.

And then we headed back to the Japanese Tea Garden. It was a wonderful walk today. We chatted with Carol Obianwu from Austin's Colorado River Walkers and also caught up with Sherry Logan, Michael Marke, and Bob (from the Kerrville club). I'm not sure how many walkers showed up today, but it looked like a pretty big group, maybe 50?

The blog is now caught up with our most recent events. It is time to go back and write more blogs from this summer and our 2019 eight-month trip.

Enjoy your Sunday!