Remember that when you leave this Earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received, only what you have given, a full heart enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage. -St. Francis of Assisi

Today...

Where am I today???

Traveling from south TX to Denver

TexasPlainsTrail.com

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Foggy New Years Eve

Mustang Island



It has been foggy for a few days.  The weather channel said the fog would burn off by 11am.  I waited until about 12:30 and walked to the beach.  Still foggy, I walked about 3 miles along the shore and took some pictures.  There were many RV's parked on the beach - pop up campers, van campers, fifth wheels and a class A.


there is a camper in the fog - click to enlarge photo





I wanted to ring in the New Year on the beach.  I should have planned better and picked up a permit to park the RV on the beach. I am nervous about driving on the sand, but the sand is packed pretty solid and there are a lot of cars and campers on the sand.



Last week I made a reservation for a campground near the beach. Tonight, I was going to walk to the beach at midnight, I hesitated because of the fog.  Around 7:45 I started out for the beach, thought I would celebrate with Australia (8pm here) instead of waiting around 'til midnight. Halfway to the beach, I turned back, I will celebrate the New Year sitting outside at the picnic table.


I'm not complaining, I am very thankful to be where I am.  I was not comfortable walking in the fog to the beach, I will definitely plan better next year. This is still a learning experience for me, I have been in my new home for about 7 weeks now. 





I don't make New Year Resolutions, I know what my bad habits and faults are and accept them for who I am. I do like to make plans and will post tomorrow or later this week about that.


If the fog is gone in the morning, I'll try to watch the sunrise, at the beach, on the first day of the New Year.


Happy New Year to You!!!
Wishing you a
 Happy and Healthy
2012

Friday, December 30, 2011

Generator fixed / Warranty covered

fog on the beach


When I purchased my motor home in April and they walked through it with me, they turned on the generator and I heard it turnover.  About 6 weeks later when I was visiting my daughter in Texas, I turned it on and it did not work.


When I returned home, I felt like I did not have time to take it anywhere to be fixed and I really didn't need it, so I waited.


On Thursday, I had an appointment at the Camping World in Texas near San Antonio.  At first, they were not sure what was wrong, they thought it may be the starter.  They needed to pull the generator out to work on it.  After several hours of labor charges they determined that the ground wire needed to be replaced.


My extended warranty company is Cornerstone, I purchased the warranty through Lazy Days RV Center.  They covered the entire repair except for "shop supplies" (less my deductible).  Camping World had no problems with the claim, they called and were told what to fax over and the warranty company approved all charges.


I stayed 2 nights in the Camping World service lot (along with several others) with an electric hookup.  When I made my appointment, it was for 8am, so they asked if I wanted to stay Wednesday night. I also stayed Thursday because when they finished it was later in the day than I like to travel.


*   *   *   *   *


Friday morning was a great driving day, sunshine and no wind.  I stopped in a few small towns on my way to the Gulf Coast for groceries and to mail a few items. I am going to be exploring the areas around Corpus Christi, Mustang Island and Padre Island. 




Thursday, December 29, 2011

Family Time

December 22 - December 28, 2011


Enjoyed a good week with my daughter, her husband,
and his family in San Antonio.

Good times, good food
and
Holiday Traditions
 Diane, Karl, Liv, and Seb, Jessie (Karl's brother and sister)
Walking around the San Antonio River Walk.


Madison and Zoe
Christmas Morning

Karl's nieces
Madison, Izabelle, and Zoe
D&K's dog  - Kash


Diane, Karl, Izabelle, Seb, Liv
Zoe and Madison (in front)


I should have taken pictures of all the good food. My family's Christmas Eve traditional Polish meal of pierogies, polish sausage, mushrooms and beets alongside the traditional Tamales from Karl's Texas family. Liv cooked a Goose with Oyster dressing and cornbread stuffing with all of the usual side dishes on Christmas Day.


We all stayed at Karl's moms house, Thanks Liv.  I parked in the driveway and it worked out great.







Sunday, December 25, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

Driveway Boondocking

I'm visiting with family, the nearest campground is $45 a night.


I decided to stay in their driveway instead, we had to get a "permit" from the homeowners association.  The first night I stayed parked at the curb because we needed to rearrange everyone's cars. I was inside the house most of the day and did not worry about electrical usage in the RV. My control panel showed that the batteries were fully charged.  When I went into the RV at night, I wanted to turn on a small space heater for about 30 minutes before I went to bed, I do not leave it on while sleeping.  I flipped the switch for the inverter and plugged the heater into the outlet marked "inverter".  The heater did not seem to have as much power as when I was plugged into electricity.  It took the chill out of the air (about 20 minutes) and I turned it off.


I looked at the control panel for the Inverter and it said low battery.





The other control panel said the batteries still had a full charge.





This electricity stuff is confusing to me.  The lights inside the RV work with the Inverter switch "off". I think I need to switch the Inverter on when I want to use that one outlet.  I know that the microwave and refrigerator will not work unless I plug into electric power or use the generator.  I did not have my power cord plugged into the outlet inside the electric cord storage compartment, would this make a difference?


I'm wondering why I was getting two different readings? I tried reading a book "RV Electrical Systems", but have a hard time concentrating on all of the diagrams and stuff written in this book.

I need sometime to come into the RV and say, "do this" and "don't do this" and "this is how this works".


I have an appointment at Camping World on December 29th to have some vent covers installed and to have maintenance done on the generator, maybe they will be able to give me some hints on how this system works.


I want to stay at Padre Island National Seashore this winter and they do not have electrical hookups.  I am not ready to have solar installed at this time, and I'm not even sure if there is a reputable company in Texas to do a solar installation.


I want to know more about how all of this electrical stuff works before I put out money for solar panels. 


I am now parked in the driveway..... and plugged in at the garage.





Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Beach, Desert, Forest or Mountains

 What do you prefer?


Right now, I vote for the beach. 

I moved away from the beach to a forest campsite for a week, 
and I am wishing that I was looking out over the water from my RV.

Although the warm weather
 along the Gulf is great,
 that's not the main reason.

The water and waves are soothing,
and I like walking along the shore.

I think it has something to do with
looking out over the water and
seeing open space and no end in site.

In the forest it is cozy,
but feels closed in.

I have always liked to be near the water.
Once looked into buying a lighthouse.
Thought I would end up retiring along
the shore of one of the Great Lakes.

Once we had a pontoon boat...
kept it at the Marina on the Illinois River.
Wanted to buy a small houseboat
but ended up with the pontoon.

Lakes, rivers, oceans doesn't matter.

I can't wait to get back to the beach.




Saturday, December 17, 2011

Lighthouse Beach RV Park and Bird Sanctuary

December 8 to December 14, 2011

Port Lavaca, TX - A city owned park with a long boardwalk around the bay. The site I was on, which was not considered waterfront, had a view of the Bay out my front window. There are 3 sections to this park, the area I was in had 8 long pull through sites at $116.00 week with a Good Sam discount. The regular daily rate without discounts is $30, so the weekly rate is a good deal. These 8 sites had a one week limit. There are other sites at the same price next to these sites, they were back-in, long term sites, with the sites backed up to each other, very close together. Camp hosts are on site.


The waterfront sites were closer to the beach, they are back in sites, wider lots and had a small covered picnic area next to each site - there is a drawback - if your rig doesn't have a back window you will be looking at a parking lot and the waterfront sites were more expensive, $131 a week with Good Sam discount. They also have monthly rates and senior rates.

Residents of the area have to buy an annual pass to use the area, many people come by in the evening to use the walking paths and to walk along the 2200' long boardwalk that takes you over the wetlands area. The park has a swimming pool, day use areas and pavilions.


There is a fishing pier that closes at 11pm, but the boat ramp is open 24 hours a day. One morning I saw a truck pulling a boat that had a bunch of "pots" tied to the back - mini versions of the crab pots seen on TV, maybe they were getting shrimp.

The park is right on the frontage road of the highway, I mention this because some are very sensitive to noises. It doesn't bother me, occasionally I would here the noise from a truck, but it was gone within seconds.

A restored lighthouse is now on a lot across the street from the RV park.
Halfmoon Reef Light Station


I liked this park, it was very clean and quiet. The laundry room had 2 washers and 2 dryers, and it was $1.00 for each machine and the dryers ran for almost an hour.  They were putting a new ceramic tile floor in the meeting room the week I was there.  There are a lot of city workers always doing something around the park, keeping it clean and updated.






Walmart is less than a mile away and a small shopping district (with touristy shops) in the "downtown" area is just a little over a mile away.  Walgreens, HEB, Radio Shack, Ace Hardware are all just down the road about a mile. The "Outpost" thrift shop is about 2 miles away. There are several restaurants along Highway 35.

Contact info:
 www.portlavaca.org  (some of the links on this website do not work)
 700 Lighthouse Beach Rd
 Port Lavaca, TX      361-552-5311

This park is part of Recreation USA - a discount park program
(www.campingandcampgrounds.com) member discount is $15 night/4 nights only





Friday, December 16, 2011

Bay Hopping



Tres Palacios Bay
Lavaca Bay
Galveston Bay
Kerman Bay
Turtle Bay
Chocolate Bay
San Antonio Bay
Matagorda Bay
Coon Island Bay
Copana Bay
Corpus Christi Bay
Nueces Bay
Aransas Bay
I'm sure there may be more,
these are the names I found while searching for places to visit.


Traveling along the coast, looking over the maps and planning where to go this winter. Texas is a big place and there are a lot of city, county and state parks along the Gulf Coast. I also hope to visit Padre National Seashore.



From now until the 27th,  I'm taking a detour from the coast.
Heading to San Antonio to celebrate Christmas with Diane and Karl.



Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A foggy day

Woke up to fog this morning, then it was sunny for a few hours in the early afternoon. I went for a walk around 4:00pm and it was foggy over the wetlands area near the shore.


The tide is coming back in and the wetlands are getting flooded. There were more birds around today. I wonder where they go during the low tide. The birds must be back to see what food came in with the tide.

I used my digital camera and zoomed in and cropped these pics,
so the quality is not that great.




I'll have to settle for these pictures
because I don't want to carry around a large camera.

Nothing exciting going on, just relaxing in the coach or walking around the beach and wetlands area. Enjoying the quiet and taking some time to get things arranged in the coach, figuring out the best place for everything and filling a box to donate at the Thrift Store in town. I'll drop it off on Thursday morning when I leave this campground to head North on my way to San Antonio.

I've been staying a week at each location, the rates are usually much better if you stay for a week.

After Christmas, when I head back down to the Gulf Coast, if I find a park that I like, I may stay for a month. I like to walk, so it has to be a location that has walking paths and is close to a town. 

Many of the State Parks are in the middle of nowhere and although they have a lot of walking paths, its not possible to walk to the nearest town from where they are.

I will look at the address of RV Parks and campgrounds on "Google Maps" and it shows the names of other places nearby, this has helped me to make my decisions about where to stay.

When I am in RV parks, I see others that have a car or truck and they are going somewhere in the car everyday, sometimes several times a day.  I am trying to avoid all of that running around.

I'm trying to avoid daily driving. If there is something I want to see, I make plans to stop along the way. The same for groceries, I make a stop at the store before getting to the park.

To accomplish this and make sure I see all that I want to see, I am moving along the coast very slowly, I may only drive 100 miles between RV parks. I do my sightseeing on the driving day between parks and then take a week to explore the area I am staying at.




Saturday, December 10, 2011

Bird Watching

Although this is not the prime time for bird watching on the Texas Gulf,
there are still a few birds here.

I was thrilled to get film of this guy flying.
I think it is a Heron.

These next ones aren't as exciting,
I think they are Sandpipers.

I guess I need to pick up a Bird ID Book.


If you can view this in full screen,
you will see that the smaller bird has black and white wings.





Thursday, December 8, 2011

Windows Movie Maker Program

Thanks to blogging friend "TexCyn" for her comment saying that she uses Windows Movie Maker for videos.

First off, I did not even know that the iPhone would take videos. Unknowingly, I hit the button to change from photo to video, I saw the red light and was wondering what was wrong.  Then I viewed the photos I took and saw that "arrow" in the middle of the screen.  Dah! Videos.

After reading the comment and looking at my laptop, I discover that Movie Maker is installed. I remember watching Stump do some of this stuff with his photos.  I opened the program and clicked on "add photos and videos" and added a video from "my documents".

I was able to turn the video around and add a title - WOW, this is great. I still don't know why these are upside down when I transfer them from my iPhone to my laptop. I contacted Apple yesterday and they emailed me a link to some instructions, but I have not read it yet.

Here are a few of the videos I took, don't be too critical. Remember, I didn't know I was taking videos at first and I also don't know a lot about the iPhone and computer programs. It's all trial and error.





Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Low Tide


When I looked out the window this morning I saw a few small islands in the harbor. It was low tide and I wanted to get out and walk around to see what was hiding in the sand.

It was cold last night, near freezing. The sun was shining this morning and the coach was warming up nicely from the solar heat. I braved the cold temps and went out to soak up some Vitamin D.


Are these Jelly Fish?
It was neat to watch them moving around in the shallow water.
Are the ones that are not in the water dead?
Or will they be ok when the tide comes back in?
These were just off shore from the public beach.
I wonder if they swim around with people in the summer.


I walked on the sand and mud that is normally under water. 



Walked around for about 90 minutes, then
I watched some "shrimping boats" go out.....and decided it was time for lunch. I walked a few blocks to the center of town and had shrimp tacos for lunch. The menu said 2 tacos on a platter, but it actually looked like 4, I ate half and took the rest home for dinner.

This tree was in the City Park.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Photo problems

When I plugged the iPhone into my laptop and transferred my photos and small video clips, most of them were upside down. I tried and could not change them.


I tried a 2nd time and clicked on the box to change them while transferring. Some of the photos changed but many were still upside down and the video clips were upside down.


If I plugged the iPhone into the laptop and used it like it was an external drive, the photos would transfer to the blog correctly.
I'm still having problems with the video clips. Do I have to upload them to "YouTube" first and then add them to the blog?
I do not have an account with YouTube yet - I guess I will have to set that up.


I was hoping to backup the photos to my laptop and then delete them from the phone so that I would have more space on the phone, I hope I can resolve this issue.


Another strange thing with the iPhone - I ordered an "Otter Box" cover for the phone from Amazon.com. The cover arrived today and I put in on the phone, I seemed to get better reception as soon as I did that. Is it just a coincidence or does it make a difference?


I figured the bad reception was because I've been traveling away from large cities. I have been looking at cell and Wi-fi boosters on Amazon and may order one after I check out all of the reviews. 


Today's Sunset


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Walking around the Bay

Saturday Afternoon
I could see some fishermen on a small peninsula,
across a small bay from the RV park.
 I walked out the back gate of the park
and passed by a boat yard before getting
over to that area.



No..... I didn't walk across this.




*    *    *    *    *

Friday Sunset



Friday, December 2, 2011

Little House on the Bay





playing with the iPhone again
I like the camera, one less thing to carry when I am out walking.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

RV Smart Weigh


The "Escapees" Rainbow Park in Livingston, TX has a RV SmartWeigh station. I set up an appointment for 8am on Thursday since I would be leaving the park at that time. When you make your appointment, they give you a CD with information about RV weights and tires.  They say that 57% of all RV's are overweight.

I am happy to report that my RV is underweight.

While looking over the information for my RV, I noticed that the sleeping capacity is for one person @ 154#. SCWR - 154# is the weight per person that the RV industry uses.
Since I am walking more and eating better (usually), I guess I will set my goal weight at 154, haha!

These are the Maximum numbers for my RV.
GVWR           14,050   the total weight full
GCWR           20,000   the total weight with towed vehicles
GAWR front     4,600   total left and right
GAWR rear      9,450   total left and right
                                                                                         
Front Left actual weight                               1,500                                                   
Front Right actual weight                             1,660
                                                                   3,160                  
                                                                  (4,600)               
                                       Underweight       1,440

Rear Dual Left actual weight                       3,680             
Rear Dual Right actual weight                     3,890
                                                                   7,570
                                                                  (9,450)
                                       Underweight       1,880

Total left side = 5,180    Total right side = 5,550
Total actual weight is 10,730
Allowed is                   14,050

They were not real concerned about the two sides not being exactly even, it's not a big difference, my gas tank, propane tank and fresh water are all on the driver/left side and I only had a 1/2 tank of gas, and the propane and fresh water were at 2/3.  I was always concerned about driving with a full fresh water tank, but now I know I can drive with it full without any problems.

Each tire is rated for 2,680 pounds. The tires are only a year old. My RV is a 2007 Ford E450, listed as a 2008 Winnebago Aspect. It had only 7,000 miles on it when I bought it, and the DOT tire dates are 4610. I'm so happy that Lazy Days RV Center put new tires on.

I could pull a "toad" of almost 6000 pounds, but instead I purchased a folding bike today. I will be storing the bike on the left side of the RV, this will help even out the weight.

When I left the Escapees Park this morning, to head down to the coast, I took a detour and stopped at the Camping World in Katy, TX near Houston.

I enjoyed my 2 week stay at the Escapees Park, I met a lot of people and had a nice Thanksgiving dinner with them.  I plan on visiting many of the Escapees Parks.  Two weeks/$171.00 = $12.21 per day. I paid $80 a week plus electric for a full hookup site. The electric for 2 weeks was $11.00 and I had the electric heater running a few times in the evenings and in the morning to take the chill out. My cat does not like the forced air furnace, she cries when I turn it on.

Thursday near Matagorda Bay, TX
my front yard for the next 7 days

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Overnight stays in these states:

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It is the sandstorm that shape the stone statues of the Desert. It is the struggles of Life that form a person's character ~ Native American Proverb