What We Did on our Summer Vacation

Well, it’s been too long since we updated the blog. A lot has happened – here’s a little bit about a lot of happenings!

We added a fence around the side and back of the house. It was something that was needed when we bought the house. Initially we toyed with the idea of fencing the entire lot (3/4 of an acre); but that proved to costly; and, would have created problems that we didn’t need to deal with. We fenced the NW side to the property line, about 3/4 of the back yard (W) and a small part of the SW.  We put in a cedar ‘good neighbor’ fence, but since we footed the entire cost, all the good side is facing us or the street. Now Buddy can go anywhere he wants in the back and side yards, although the stickers have kept him close to the deck!

Remember the ham radio antenna tower that Sue towed all the way from California to Texas on that old boat trailer? Well, we got it up and working. We engaged a contractor to dig a hole and build the base and foundation for it. Once the concrete cured we had an “antenna raising party” with about a dozen ham operators from around Bastrop and Lee Counties. We started at 10 AM on a Saturday and stopped in time for BBQ’ed burgers and dogs for lunch. A great time, and a successful event. At this time Larry has on the tower: 2M ground plane antenna for IRLP Node 7770, 220MHz Yagi antenna pointed at a repeater in south Austin, a Tram 1481 dual band colinear antenna for 2M and 440MHz, and a ‘stand-off’ with a pully system now being used for an end fed random wire HF antenna. ON THE AIR, baby!

Larry has a new call sign – W5JVJ – he liked to previous call sign (WB6JVJ) but with a ‘6-land’ call sign the first communication consisted of a question: What part of California did you come from? So, he broke down and got a vanity sign with ‘5’ – the JVJ suffix is for his kids: Jennifer, Victoria, John.

Our first outing with the trailer for the summer was a long weekend to the Houston area. As we started packing the trailer in preparation, the refrigerator quit working. It wouldn’t work on either gas or electric. Larry did some trouble shooting, but could not identify the issue. Sue called a mobile RV service from Smithville who came out the next day. After a few hours of troubleshooting they identified the problem as a faulty circuit board. The tech told us that they could order a replacement and come back out in a few days to install it, and charge is for that – or we could buy one and replace it ourselves. We chose the latter option. Ordered a new updated replacement board on Amazon.com, it arrived two days later. It took Larry about 10 minutes to R&R the PC board and button everything up. Works like new. Then off to the Houston area for a  long weekend of sun and fun!

As you may recall our new house sits on 3/4 of an acre. It is mostly grass and weeds, with a small, but deep ditch/creek in the back. A few Loblolly Pines and several oaks of differing variety. Mowing the lawn and weeds has been a problem. Initially we bought a new battery operated walk-behind, self-propelled lawn mower with one battery. Got about 30 minutes of mowing, about 1/4 of the lot. It takes a few hours to recharge the battery. Picked up a second battery and could get about half the work done. Then we purchased a small battery operated chainsaw for trimming limbs – it uses the same battery as the mower. We now have three batteries. Still can’t complete the entire lot mowing. Got a fourth battery and that just about does it; however, it takes 2 or 3 hours to finish. By the time Larry finishes it seems like its time to start all over again. So, we broke down and picked up a used riding mower (Craftsman lawn tractor) with 150 hours on it. That works like magic – finish the entire lot  mowing in about an hour. AND with an attachment it can be used to move the utility trailer around when necessary, pull Sue’s wagon with tools, rocks, plants, etc. This lawn tractor is made by Husqvarna and most of the parts are interchangeable.

Sue’s family – a little background: When Sue was just a toddler her father left the family. He never contacted her after that. When she was 18 she located her grandparents (her father’s parents) in Barstow, CA. She visited with them then for a short time. Subsequent to that she lost all contact with that side of her family. Recent research revealed a 1st cousin living in the Waco, TX, area. She contacted him, and he put her in contact with their Uncle Clint in Ohio. Last year Sue contacted Uncle Clint. He invited us to visit him, so this summer we journeyed to Grafton, OH. We hooked up our little trailer and commenced the trek.

The second night found us at Cook’s Lake RV Park in Memphis, TN. The next morning we drove through a true downpour for several miles and about an hour. During this day the trailer brakes began to work intermittently (or fail intermittently, depending on your perspective). Larry was able to rewire the entire brake electrical wiring (after about 4 hours of troubleshooting and online research). That appears to have fixed the problem as the brakes have given us not problem since then. Fortunately, the new pickup is heavy duty and the trailer is relatively light, so towing without brakes is (was) do-able.

While near Peebles, OH, we took the opportunity to see and walk the Serpent Mound. Took some pictures and climbed the viewing tower also. What a magnificent effigy mound.

While visiting with Uncle Clinton & Aunt Dianna we stayed at American Wilderness Campground & Event Center, about 1 mile from their house in Grafton, OH. We spent two wonderful days with them learning about the family, Sue’s father, cousins, etc. Sue’s father, Haskell Littlefield, was a decorated Korean War veteran. Uncle Clint had the flag from the interment services – he gave it to Sue. Haskell is buried at the Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery. Uncle Clint & Aunt Dianna drove us there and we located his headstone, spent a few somber moments and took some pictures.

We are now making our way home. Temperatures at home are well into the triple digits, so we are taking our time. The goal is to NOT get home until August has expired. We’re spending a lot of time in the swimming pools as well as expressing sincere thanks for the air conditioner in our little trailer. Yesterday, Larry met one of the sons of the former Fire Chief of St. Louis, MO, who will be 95 years old on January 1, 2021. He also met some inexperienced amateur radio operators and talked to them about building a go-box (hammo-radio). Little things that we noticed include when the clerk at WalMart was checking us out with some groceries and sundries – she place the yellow squash on the scale, looked around confusedly, then asked Sue what they were! True story!

That’s it for now. Check the pictures …

Sand Burr stickersTowerHole-1IMG_5284TowerHole-2TowerHole-3TowerFoundationTowerSafetyBriefingTowerSafetyBriefing2TowerCustomizingTowerTram1481Pointing AntennaSerpent Mound CampsiteTrailer Wiring FaultSerpent Mound 1SerpentMound2Serpent Mound SueOhioWesternReserveNationalCemeteryEntranceVA LogoHaskell Littlefield headstoneSue@HaskellsGrave2UncleClintsFamilyGrandfatherLittlefieldLonedell MO Campsite

Texas Tornadoes

Well, we had some excitement here on Tuesday. A typical Texas thunder storm moved through, but this one brought wind with it. Several funnel clouds touched down near Smithville, which is about 12 air miles from our house. Here is a YouTube video of some of the activity While there were a few places with damage, we sustained no damage. We are all safe and sound. Wind at our home never got above about 10 MPH; however, we did get almost 3″ of rain in 10 hours.

The Corona virus has had some impact here (our hair is getting long and unwieldy); however, we’ve had no serious adverse effects. We are both healthy and in good spirits. Texas is beginning to reopen its businesses and economy. The biggest impact so far is that we have a load of trash in the back of the pickup from cleaning the yard; but, none of the transfer stations in Bastrop County are open. Travis County wants $96.00 to dump, so it is just staying where it is until the local transfer stations reopen! Bastrop is a county of almost 90,000 residents; 120 confirmed cases, 37 recovered, 2 deaths. We are cautious, but not in panic mode.undefined

We enjoyed visits from the grand-kids just before the COVID-19 panic set it. Ryan and Jennifer brought Parker, Felicity, and Samantha for an overnight visit. We really had a fun time with them all. Watching the grand-kids play in the yard, building a fort from sticks, was such a joy. John came down from his home in Lewisville (near Dallas) for Super Bowl weekend. We are so pleased that we decided to move here. Having them close is a true blessing. Now we need this isolation to ease up so we can travel to them with our trailer and spend more time!

In other news, we purchased a new-to-us pickup. It is a 2019 Ford F-250 Super Duty, 4WD, 6.7L Diesel, 6 speed automatic transmission. We also sold the Titan to our neighbor who acquired it for his son. We hooked up the trailer and towed it around a little to get the feel of it. This setup will be much better, safer, and easier for towing the trailer than was the Titan. The Titan served us well for 12 years, but it was pretty close to capacity towing the trailer, lots of power, good braking, but the suspension was close to the limit. We had to add running boards so we could get in. Larry installed one of his amateur radios (had a bit of consternation trying to attach an antenna to the aluminum roof) and a dash cam. He also installed a latch to fold down the 60% rear seat back that Ford decided didn’t need to fold, and added an ‘across the bed’ toolbox.

For you amateur radio folks, Larry will be selling some of his equipment over the next few months. Stay tuned if you are interested. He did get his DMR HotSpot and IRLP Node (7770) up and running, after we convinced AT&T to install high speed internet at the house.

And, NO, we didn’t block you on FaceBook!
Both Larry & Sue decided to get out of the social media business. Too much time wasted, BS, emotions, misunderstandings, poor communications, etc. All the accounts have been deleted. You will have to contact us in other ways, like the old days. We still love you all, just not on social media.

Until next time … !

The Joys of Home Ownership and Other Sorrows

Sue has found a nice little yarn shop here in Paige, of course. The Yarnorama has yarn of all kinds, as well as ‘get-togethers’ monthly for the knitters in Central Texas. Through those connections we have met some very nice Texans who are working with us to become real Texians

Larry has made good progress on his radio shack. Bedroom No. 3 is acting as a radio shack as well as an office of sorts. Still to come is the antenna tower that they dragged out here from California. No building permit requirements here, just put it up and make sure it doesn’t fall on someone! The radio shack includes a Yaesu FT-8900 quad band for local and repeater comms (Alinco DR-620 for backup), a Yaesu FT-450 HF rig, along with HRD and Digital Master 780 for digital comms, and a scanner (which is not much use here as all the emergency services on digital trunked systems); and of course, a handful of HTs.

Weather Station

Larry & Sue set up the personal weather station on a back corner of the property and it is now online. When their son, John, was visiting, he and Larry improved the guying system and then Larry added some yellow warning covers to the guy wires so he doesn’t run into them when mowing the weeds. You can follow minute-by-minute weather in their back yard with either WeatherUnderground or the PWS Monitor app. The station ID is KTXPAIGE33.

While having some recall work done on the Subaru, Larry & Sue visited the Texas State Capitol in Austin. Did you know that permit carrying is not only allowed, but encouraged at the Capitol, both on the grounds and in the Capitol itself. Well, Larry & Sue were encouraged by the State Trooper who was checking visitors at the metal detector … he demonstrated how the LTC (License To Carry) system worked with Sue’s license, swiped her card and her name and information popped up. He encouraged us to carry at all times … not like what we experienced on the left coast …

Furniture & Appliances

All of the furniture shopping is done. The master bedroom set is completely new, with a country motif appropriate for Central Texas and the home design. The living room furniture is all here now. Larry & Sue ordered a round ‘cocktail’ (coffee) table; however, the salesman ordered a rectangular table – special ordered product. When it was delivered Larry refused acceptance and sent it back. The salesman told Sue that her table had been delivered to another customer by mistake. Larry did some research regarding the product numbers that the salesman used and documented that the salesman ordered the wrong table, and lied to us about it. He told Sue that it would take 3 – 4 more months to get the correct table. She told him to refund her money. She found another store – Lazyboy – that ordered the correct table and had it in 3 weeks. Larry & Sue will never set foot in any of the Star Furniture stores again – and they encourage you to also boycott those stores. When the sales staff outright lies to customers …

The house came with a laundry room about the size of a closet, with a door to the inside and one to the garage, so space was very cramped. In fact it was so cramped that the owners installed stacking washer / dryer setup. Sue was not pleased with this setup, partly because the dryer door opened the wrong way, and the washer door hinges were broken. They had a plumber re-route the plumbing into the garage and Larry re-routed the electricity and dryer vent. Now Sue is using her nice Kenmore washer and the dryer in the garage. The previous laundry room will become a ‘mud room’.

Next, the dishwasher quit working. With a home appliance warranty in place they called for a repairman. The Sears Repairman showed up and analyzed the problem as the drain motor and ordered a new one. When it arrived he came back out to install it and discovered it was the wrong part. He researched it and discovered that the correct part is no longer made (the dishwasher is only 3 years old) or available. The warranty company cashed out Larry & Sue for partial payment on a new dishwasher. The repairman said he makes more repair calls on LG and Samsung products than any other — and those are the two brands we have throughout the house! He gave Sue a few recommendations for dishwashers that he does NOT make repair calls for. So, now a new dishwasher is in place!

The Adventure Continues …

Still liking it here!

A lot is happening in what seems like a short time; however, when I look at the calendar I can hardly believe that it has been almost 7 months since we escaped from CrazyFornia on August 12, 2019. Since arriving here we have been to Annapolis, MD, to visit Victoria; Waco, TX, to visit with John; and San Antonia, TX, to visit with Jenny, Ryan and the grand kids. We are starting to feel at home here, connecting with the local fire chief, home owners association officers, ham radio club members, knitting group (Sue, not Larry), and others. Several Texans have invited us to dinner and we have graciously accepted, as part of our indoctrination experience.

— Texas and 2A —

Both of us took the necessary training courses, applied for, and received our License To Carry (LTC) in Texas. Texas is a “shall issue” state; as well as an open / concealed carry state. Local businesses have some flexibility with proper signage to restrict; however, generally speaking, carrying open or concealed (with an LTC) is permitted in most places, including the state capitol in Austin and all public meetings.

Settling in …

We also updated the vehicle registration addresses, then followed up with new Texas driver licenses. With these updated documents, We filed the homestead exemption (similar to California’s homeowners exemption) as well as Larry’s senior citizen exemption for property taxes. The senior citizen exemption freezes the property taxes at today’s rate for qualifying old homeowners like me (Larry).

Next on the list was to get a specialty license plate for the pickup with Larry’s new vanity call sign. In Texas these plates are free, can be issued for up to three owned vehicles, but only on vehicles registered to the amateur radio operator and only if there is an amateur radio in the vehicle. Now, just waiting for them to arrive in the mail.

Keep Texas Red!

Now we are getting ready to vote in the Texas primary elections. Texas is, and has been a very red state; however it is in danger of being over-run by blues, so we are doing what we can to keep it red! Here one has to be not only registered to vote, but one must also show ID at the voting booth. Imagine that! ‘Ballot harvesting’ is prohibited, and vote by mail is restricted to voters with valid reasons why they cannot physically get to the polls. Even with these controls, voter fraud is likely in the larger cities like Dallas, San Antonio, Houston, and even Austin, the Capitol.

Up next — The Joys of Home Ownership (subtitled: Sometimes Renting is Better)

We’re Back …

It’s been quite a while since our last post and we have a lot to catch up on. So, let’s get started.

I guess the most important new development is that we have purchased a new home here in Texas. Although the address is in Paige, it is closer to Bastrop than the town of Paige. Bastrop is near Austin, the Texas State Capitol. The house is in an area called Lost Pines because the area is in a Loblolly Pine forest that stands all alone in this Central Texas area. For our California friends, you’ll be interested to know that in 2011 Texas’ most destructive wildland fire burned through this area destroying 1,673 homes and killing 4 people, so California isn’t alone. The fire scar is still visible in many areas, although replanting is starting to take hold now. Our home was owner built in 2016, after the fire, it is 1,600 square feet. The four-bedroom home is on 3/4 of an acre. It has stained cement floors and 11′ ceilings throughout.

Our belongings were delivered from the PODS facility in San Antonio to our home the day before Thanksgiving. For the last few weeks we have been busy un-boxing our stuff. It quickly became apparent that our stuff from the home in California wasn’t going to work in this home, so we have new furniture in most of the house, and are slowly but surely eliminating most of the furniture that we brought from California. Things are starting to get organized and Larry is now doing some maintenance on the house like replacing bathtub stoppers and burned out flood lights.

Thanksgiving was 3 days after we closed escrow and got keys to the house. As our life and living conditions were in quite a turmoil at the time, Jenny’s mother, Diana, and step-father, Dennis, invited us to spend Thanksgiving with them in San Antonio. What a great time we had with them, especially three of the grandkids, Parker, Felicity, and Samantha! (Shout-out to Jenny: “Thanks!”).

John, who lives in Lewisville and works in Denton (near Dallas), was in San Antonio last week for work. Since he was there, along with Jenny, Ryan and kids, we decided that we would go to San Antonio also and have a kind of early Christmas. It was the first time that John had seen his (half) sister, Jenny in many years. He had never seen his nephew, Parker, or the two nieces, Felicity and Samantha. What a great time, capped off with dinner on Friday night at Landry’s Seafood Restaurant on the San Antonio River Walk, with Diana, Dennis, Jenny, Ryan, Parker, Felicity, Samantha, and John!

Back to our home — the fourth bedroom has turned into a combination radio shack and office, while the third bedroom has become Sue’s ‘sitting room’ with a hide-a-bed for visitor’s use. The radio shack is temporarily ‘on the air’ with a tripod mounted antenna just outside the window and one VHF radio and a battery with maintainer; Larry’s HF rig will get set up soon with the CrankIR antenna that he won as the door prize at PacifiCon 2019. The rest of the radios and antennas will come along soon (although getting the antennas up will require some engineering and hole-digging for the 36′ two-section crank up tower that we brought with us from California).

Larry has connected with the Bastrop County Amateur Radio Club (BCARC) and meets some of the hams at the daily lunches and weekly breakfasts. BCARC owns and maintains a VHF repeater (K5OQ) near Smithville, with the antenna on a tower well over 100′ feet up. It is an active group of about 100 hams. Like TCARES, it participated in Field Day last summer; and it plans to participate in the Winter Field Day in January!

Sue has been working diligently with the new electric stove / oven baking bread and other goodies. She has just about mastered the technique for breads in the ovens (one conventional and one convection). It took a little work, considering the dual impact of elevation difference from the Sierra Nevada mountains coupled with an electric convection oven. Larry has been the happy recipient of her trials!

What’s up with the grandkids (and kids) …

Before we kick off coverage of our journey to the East Coast, we thought we’d share some local happenings with the grand-kids. After spending time with Felicity at Grandparents day, we went to the same function for Parker (5th grade). What a great idea for the school to engage grandparents in the education. Here we are with Parker at the event for his class.

Ever been to Rudy’s? You don’t know what you are missing! It’s typical Texas BBQ – order, find a seat, and they bring it to you, family style! Great time with Jenny, Ryan, and the kids! Rudy’s are all over Texas, this one in Leon Springs is between where we stay and Jenny & Ryan’s apartment.

One of the benefits of being within an hour and one-half of the grandkids is that we can easily spend time with them. Last Saturday and Sunday we did just that! We watched them while Jenny was in a beading class (Ryan is working 12 hour days on Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays). We wore them out in the swimming pool right after lunch, then veg’ed a bit.

Tuesday we hit the road for Annapolis, MD, where we will spend a weekend with Victoria. She is now a Petty Officer 1st Class in the US Navy, Recruitment Command. We are so proud of her! Can’t wait to see her next weekend and get a tour of the US Naval Academy. Stay tuned for more of our adventures as we make our way to the East Coast!

Thanks for following along on our adventures. Don’t be shy – post a comment! — Larry & Sue —

Why We Chose Texas … Grandkids and Kids!

In case you didn’t know it, Texas was an independent Republic for a few years after its war for independence from Mexico and before becoming a state of the US. Washington, Texas, near Brenham and College Station is where the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed. The drive to San Antonio took us through miles and miles of Texas backroads and small towns like Round Top. Round Top seems to go on and on … it is saturated with antique stores and dozens of temporary very large tent structures for rent to vendors and antique sellers. These structures and even the old buildings seems to go on for miles – kind of a curious setting for such a small town 60 miles from anywhere. It makes us curious regarding where the customers come from?

From the Brenham area we moved on to San Antonio itself on Thursday afternoon. We arrived after dark at Blazing Star (not Saddles) Luxury RV Park, selected because of its proximity to Jenny & Ryan (and the grandkids). We have learned that the first thing (after spotting and leveling left/right) is to connect the electric service to get the AC going! This evening we only hooked up electric and water, sewer waited until the morning! Leveling left/right was unnecessary, only needed to level front/back. Nice level concrete pad with quite a bit of shade. Unhooked the pickup because we needed it for the next day!

Friday morning we went to the Great Hearts school for “Grandparents Day” with Felicity’s class. Felicity is in the 1st grade … seems like just yesterday that she was a tiny toddler! We had a great time spending a few minutes with you in her school environment. She even introduced us to some of her classmates. In this blog, I’m going to put all the pictures at the end … so you have to at least scroll to the bottom.

Friday afternoon saw us headed back to Kerrville and our home base for now, By The River RV Park. We got our old spot back, Space #13 right on the Guadalupe River. After traveling so much we spend the rest of Friday and most of Saturday relaxing. The pool is being re-plastered so we couldn’t swim – it will be ready for swimming tomorrow! Saturday night as Sue was taking Buddy for his evening walk she was treated to the beautiful sight of fireflies – a marvel that we have never seen in California! It was cool enough to leave the windows open and we were treated to this marvelous display until we fell asleep.

This morning we went to church at the Kerrville Bible Church. It’s kind of difficult to select a church here, there are so many to choose from. The pastor preached a sermon (not a message) from Matthew 5. We sang some hymns (real hymns) and also some songs that I don’t know. Very friendly crowd, although it is a little large compared to what we are accustomed to in Tuolumne County. We probably won’t pick a ‘home’ church until we buy a house and know where we are going to be living.

After lunch we scoped out five RV parks in various areas that offer monthly rental opportunities. The one we settled on in on Johnson Creek. Lots of shade, concrete pads, in the country away from highways and cities. We also looked in the Comfort area; however that particular park didn’t look too inviting, even though the location would be better for where we are looking now for our new home.

A quick update on our home in California. It has sold and should close escrow this week. We are signing the final documents tomorrow morning and the buyer is signing tomorrow or Tuesday. Then it’s just a matter of the title company completing its work. Once we finish that project, we will be looking more seriously for our next home; however, first we are going to make a trip to Annapolis, MD, to visit with Victoria. She is a USN Recruiter now (shore duty) which is better for scheduling visits than when she was assigned to ships and getting sent to sea. We will be pulling our travel trailer with us – so if you have any recommendations on places to see or things to do between here and there, or when we get there, please tell us!

I don’t feel old
until the barber asks
if I want my eyebrows trimmed!

How’s John (and other stuff)?

We start this blog post with a drive from Kerrville to Waco. We picked Waco because its about half-way between Kerrville and Lewisville (near Dallas) where John lives. It was a nice drive through some of the great Texas Hill Country and then into the Prairies and Lakes of Texas, including Dallas, Fort Worth, Waco, and College Station. There are lots of long straight roads in Texas, through what Californians would call rolling hills, tree lined in most areas, wide open spaces in others. Rivers run consistently through this part of Texas (Hill Country & Prairies and Lakes) – lots of green.

We set up in the North Waco RV Park, in West, Texas. selected because most of the many other parks we called were full for the Labor Day Weekend. This park is crossed off of our list to ever visit again. Check in at the office which smelled of cat piss and cigarette smoke. It was advertised with WiFi, CATV, and laundry. The WiFi signal was weak and without internet access. The CATV was non-existent, it looked as if someone had cut the cable with the lawn mower and not taken the time to repair it. The laundry building was falling down, all the washers were disassembled with hoses and parts everywhere. When Sue took our dog for a walk she was threatened by the owner’s kid’s large dog who was always running free in the campground. The owner came by and pruned a tree, then left the pruning AND tools laying on the ground for the next several days (still there when we left); this was consistent with what we saw elsewhere – tools, equipment, etc., left lying around the campground. This was obviously a KOA in its previous life (several remnant KOA signs). We’ve stayed in several KOAs – none as bad as this … If we had the opportunity we would have relocated; but it being a holiday weekend we decided to stick it out.

John drove down from Lewisville on Saturday to spend the day with us. We had not seen him since the spring time in Washington State before he moved to Texas. We spend the morning at the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame and Museum. What a great place. We will go back there again and admire the hard work that the curators and volunteers have put into it. Highly recommended if you are visiting Waco, or even just passing through.

Followed this with lunch on the Brazos River at Buzzard Billy’s – frequented by both tourists and college students from Baylor University. Great food, friendly staff, and easy on-off from the I-35 freeway. We watched turtles and kayakers enjoying the calm waters of the Brazos River!

After lunch we drove out to the Waco Mammoth National Monument. Larry was a little disappointed that his ‘old man’ Golden Pass was worthless there. They said it only applies for gate fees and parking, which they don’t charge for; however they charge an tour fee which it does not cover. You have to go on a paid tour in order to see the bones, which they’ve not ensconced in a climate controlled building. All-in-all worth the price of admission, even though some of the tour guides information was clearly opinion and not science.

We finished the day just catching up with John and what his new job entails. He is still working for Peterbilt, now in its corporate headquarters in Denton, Texas. He is developing curriculum and training Peterbilt technicians across the US and Canada. Great job and he loves the work. He gets to travel some. In fact he will be in San Antonio in December; when we hope to get together with him and Jennifer (and Ryan and the grand kids).

We woke up Sunday morning at dawn to the sound of gunshots just north of us, then within minutes more gunshots south of us. It was a little unnerving until we realized that it was the opening day of dove season there. Not so unnerving, but still a little obnoxious and disturbing for an otherwise quiet Sunday morning. This went on until about 10 AM, then resumed about 6 PM until dusk, and repeated on Monday and Tuesday. I must say that there are either millions of doves within a few hundred yards, or these hunters are terrible shots – hundreds of shots within probably 1/4 mile every morning and evening!

There was some good from staying at the Waco North RV Park – Larry met some volunteer fire fighters from the Brenham, Texas, area. As usual Larry picked their brain about their department. All volunteer, some tax $$ support, but most of the revenue comes from one or two primary community fund-raisers. Quite a different model than what those of you in California are familiar with. He had a good visit and left them with a challenge coin apiece. He also me a man who retired from the Tulsa, Oklahoma Police Department.

On Monday Sue wanted to see the ‘famous’ Magnolia Market at the Silos, so Larry tagged along. Pretty nice market – and popular also. Sue was ‘not impressed’. It reminded Larry of an overgrown and overpriced Pier One, Pottery Barn or Home Goods store.

Next on the itinerary was lunch … On our way to the Dr. Pepper Museum we found a little Mexican place called Hecho En Waco. Great Mexican food (first time since we arrived in Texas, if you can believe that), very busy on this holiday Monday at lunch-time.

On to the Dr. Pepper Museum! I did not know, but now I do, that Dr. Pepper was invented in Waco! The museum included the history of not only Dr. Pepper, but also soft drinks and sodas as well. Three stories high of history! Another good place to visit if you’re ever in Waco. My oldest brother, David, is a Dr. Pepper fan, so we picked up a little something for him and sent it out today. To answer your question, ‘no one knows where the name “Dr. Pepper” came from.’

After the Magnolia Market at the Silos, Sue wanted to visit the Spice Village. It is a complete second floor, one block long and 1/2 block wide of vendors selling all sorts of cool things – but no spice to be found. While Sue was exploring the vast shopping opportunities, Larry went downstairs to the bar. After perusing over 150 beers on tap he settled for a simple Coors Light! First beer in 6 months and probably last beer for six months!

I’m writing this from the Brenham area where we are exploring now. We came down Highway 6 through College Station, home of the Bush Library and the Texas Aggies. After a couple days here we head home to Kerrville by way of San Antonio for Grandparent’s day at school! We have seen some fantastic countryside and lots of rural! Still pleased with our choice to leave California in the dust and expand eastward! Every day another news story appears about California that reinforces our decision. We’ve got the retirement thing taken care of as well as health insurance; however, we still need to select a primary care physician, dentist, and vision office.

More soon …

A Trip To Waco …

This week we take a short trip to Waco, Texas. You know, home of the Branch Davidians and the BATF failed raid … but first some tidbits before we left Kerrville for Waco.

Larry replaced the bathroom lavatory faucet. The original faucet was white plastic with a VERY short spout that you could never quite get one hand under, let alone both hands. Camping World had single handle faucets on sale (with longer reach spout). We picked up a polished chrome one only to discover that the bathroom accouterments are brushed nickel. This led to a trip back to New Braunfels and Camping World, only to discover that the brushed nickel faucets were all sold out. So we now have a chrome faucet in the bathroom – I guess that we will have to change out all the other hardware to match!?

On Sunday, August 25, 2019, we had a great dinner for our 18th wedding anniversary at Po Po restaurant in Welfare, Texas – yes there is a town called ‘Welfare’, just up the interstate from Comfort! Homestyle cooking; Larry had a chopped sirloin steak wrapped in bacon while Sue had southern fried chicken. Blackberry and peach cobbler for dessert!

Brackets arrived for the boat / tower trailer brake / tail lights. Sue and Larry ‘lifted’ the antenna tower off of the trailer. Larry then moved the brake / tail lights and license plate light from the outriggers on the tower and mounted them permanently on the trailer itself. On Monday he took it to a local tire shop for the obligatory Texas safety inspection required of all vehicles being registered in Texas for the first time. Passed without a hiccough. Then to the Kerr County Tax Assessor’s Office to register the trailer. Now all of our vehicles are registered and have Texas plates! One major step accomplished! Oh, and he met the vice president of the local ham radio club while standing in line.

As you may know, Larry is a licensed amateur radio operator (ham). For those other hams out there, interesting factoid. He was licensed originally in 2011 for ten years, expiring in 2021. When he upgraded from Technician to General, his expiration date did NOT change, even though, arguably, he demonstrated additional knowledge of the hobby and rules. Just this month he applied for and received a vanity call sign – WB6JVJ – just by asking. No testing required. However when his new vanity license was issued it came with another ten year validity – expiring in 2029. There must be a good reason for this?!

On to Waco for the week preceding and the weekend of Labor Day. In a decent park in the small town of West, Texas, called Waco North RV Park, because if they called it West Texas RV Park no one would be able to find it. Good price for a week long stay. We will be here through Monday night. The park is about ¼ full, so we have no nearby neighbors. Our spot is on the ‘hill’ and in the sun most of the day. It has been so hot here that the metal frames on the door and windows gets hot to the touch on the inside. We have a tree on the east side that shades us in the morning and the awning shades the refrigerator side the rest of the day until the sun moves past the apogee. Thank goodness for air conditioning and park provided electricity!

Sue’s grandparents on her father’s side are buried in Lorena, Texas, just south of Waco. She only met them one time when she was 18 years old. So, we headed to Lorena on Wednesday.

We found the cemetery and looked for an office for help finding the grave site. We could not find an office, but while driving through the cemetery we stumbled on their graves! The headstone listed the full name of her grandfather, which she did not have before. It also listed the dates of both of their births and deaths as well as their wedding date and the children’s names.

Armed with her grandfather’s full name the internet now provides a plethora of information that was not available before, especially when using marriage dates and children’s names as confirming information. A somewhat emotional event; but also very satisfying in many ways. We are now working on putting together as much information as we can in a genealogy application. Sue is also preparing to attempt contact with some cousins that she has never met and is not even sure that they know of her existence! Pray for success and good times!

As always, thanks for following us and stay tuned … next up, Larry might take a motorcycle ride this weekend!

Larry & Sue

You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.

It might have just happened. Last night we were treated to a magnificent electric storm — Lightning, thunder, and rain; lots of each. It started about 11:30 and lasted for 2 hours, nonstop. We stayed awake with Buddy (our ChiWeenie) who did NOT like the noise at all. The Guadalupe River has risen and is flowing fast and muddy this morning.

Larry got a cowboy hat on Thursday in Fredericksburg and a pair of boots yesterday (Friday) at Billy’s Western Wear here in Kerrville. I guess that we have almost assimilated. Once we get the accent down, it will be done!

New brackets arrived at the mailbox yesterday for the boat / tower trailer. Larry spent the afternoon moving the brake / tail light assemblies from the end of the antenna tower to the trailer frame itself and connecting the wiring. Next for this trailer is the Texas safety inspection ($7) and then to the County Tax Assessor for Texas plates. That will be the last of our vehicles for Texas plates!

We have been here, in this park, for two weeks come Monday. We will probably head out Monday with the trailer. Probably going to Waco for a few days and then up to the Dallas / Fort Worth area for the weekend. We want to spend some time with John who lives near there in Lewisville. Since we have a PO Box here in Kerrville we will probably come back here as a ‘home base.’

Our house in Mi Wuk Village has sold; well, it’s in escrow, should close about September 13. We will probably continue to “RV” it for a while as we get our feet under us, and continue to look around. Probably going to explore around Llano and Johnson City next. We are very happy with what we see as far as housing availability, quality, and cost.

Again, thanks for following us – we miss all of our friends and really enjoy reading your comments!

Larry & Sue

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started