Are We Texians Yet?

It’s been too long since we posted, so we’ll try to catch up here without being too wordy.

On Monday we got the Subaru, Titan, and travel trailer licensed with Texas plates. It was a relatively simple transaction that cost in total about what the Subaru alone would have cost to renew in CA (including the one-time cost for out-of-state vehicles).

Now Sue is working on getting the registration removed from CA’s records … of course they don’t make it easy, and we’re in an RV park with marginal internet signals — online forms are a problem.

Monday also saw us working on some ‘administrative stuff’ — changing addresses with CalPERS, banks, credit card billing,, etc. Larry found the little check-box on CalPERS website to have it stop withholding for CA income taxes! Did some checking with health insurance options; highly respected hospital here in Kerrville as well as thirty (30) doctors that are ‘in-plan’ and taking new patients. So we are talking with some of our new local friends regarding doctor’s reputations.

Of course, the day after (Tuesday), Larry got his new vanity call sign from the FCC: WB6JVJ (JVJ = Jennifer, Victoria, John; his three children). If we had it on Monday we could have had vanity plates for the vehicles. In TX one can get amateur radio plates with one’s call sign – the plate actually says ‘radio operator’ on it. The same plate number (call sign) goes on all your vehicles (up to five).

Tuesday we drove around some of the communities and looked at the local real estate market. We looked at relatively newly constructed homes on 2 – 5 acres for the same value that we have in our house in CA.

On our afternoon walk with Buddy (our ChiWeenie dog) we met another couple who live in San Antonio. They, too are CA escapees from a couple years ago. Talk about a small world – his family is from Upper Lake, CA (Wagners) where Larry grew up. They know some of the same old timers from that area that Larry knows (the Griners, Vanns, Cartrights, etc.).

On Wednesday Larry purchased a compass for the Titan — there are no mountains here, just hills, and his internal compass is not reliable. It has been rather hot here above 95 each day, but it cools off in the evening.

Over the weekend Larry put up his 20M horizontal dipole antenna on the 15′ tripod and connected his HF radio. He made contacts in Louisiana, Oklahoma, and points north. Yesterday he put up the SteppIR Crank antenna and made successful contacts again but on 40M.

Today, Thursday, we are going to Fredericksburg, New Braunfels, and Austin. Mostly to check out the areas, but also to Camping World to get a replacement faucet for the RVs bathroom sink (one that is big enough to get your hands under).

Random thoughts: 1) The Nissan Titan looks like a Prius compared to the real trucks in the Tractor Supply parking lot. 2) In such a small RV (19′) why is it that after you sit down what ever you want is just out of reach? 3) Still looking for a cowboy had and boots. 4) One of the local hams told Larry yesterday that he needs to work on his accent!

Thanks for following us and stay tuned for more.

End of Good Week …

Well, it’s Friday and we’re still pleased with our decision and the progress. We got another offer on our house in Mi Wuk Village on Sunday. It was very low, but we countered and reached a deal that is satisfactory to us. Signed the agreement on Wednesday and escrow was opened then or Thursday.

Tuesday with two forms of ID we got a mail box. We now have both a physical and mailing address in Texas!

On Wednesday we found a nearby storage facility for the boat / antenna tower trailer. Checked in with the DMV (actually the County Tax Assessor’s office) regarding the steps to register the vehicle. Step 1 is to get them inspected, Step 2 is the Tax Assessor’s office with Safety Inspection Report, Insurance Docs, Registration / Titles, DMV Form, and Identification. Then we can go to the Department of Public Safety (DPS) and get Driver Licenses (you need to have a vehicle to get a license).

After that task, we checked out the park’s swimming pool. So refreshing! It is a salt water pool, warm but not too warm! Shaded by a great big Mesquite tree. Great way to spend an hour in the heat of the day.

Thursday we got the vehicles inspected – three of them passed. Before we get the boat / antenna tower trailer inspected I need to move the brake/tail light assembly from the back of the ‘tower’ and mount them on the trailer frame itself. A task for this weekend or next week.

We also replaced the water pump on Thursday. Two symptoms dictated replacement: 1) frequent cycling on for a few seconds every 5 or 10 minutes; and, 2) city water overfilling the fresh water holding tank. Both indicated a defective check valve, which is internal to the pump itself. We replaced the OEM FloJet with a SureFlow – more readily available and more reliable.

Today, Friday, we are going to do some exploring as we work our way to San Antonio in the car. In San Antonio we are going to have a burger with Samantha for her fourth birthday (and her mom, dad, and siblings). We’re driving the Subaru most of the time around here – not as many Subaru’s here as in Tuolumne County, CA.

This is a great park, lots of room. Several walking trails — from a few hundred yards to over a mile. An island in the Guadalupe River with access via a bridge. The weather is unusually hot according to those who know. We have had showers and some lightning two or three times here. Pretty normal for this area at this time of the year. We just have to remember to put away or cover things outdoors when we leave.

We miss you all (see how I slipped that in there?). Leave a comment and say Hi!

Menard to Kerrville, TX

After a great overnight in a wonderful county park in Menard, TX, we hit the road for our final (for now) destination in Kerrville. We arrived before lunch. At the park registration we met another refugee from California seeking asylum in Texas. They are from Ventura County and have been working on relocating since May. These pictures are from the County RV Park in Menard.

All set up for the next two weeks here at By The River Campground and RV Park in Kerrville, TX. Larry got on the local NET last evening (W3XO); he was invited to join a group of local hams for coffee at MacDonalds on Wednesday morning. It appears that hams the world over are alike!

This is a wonderful park. Some shade, but lots of exploring within the park itself. Sue too Buddy for several walks including both islands and along the river (Guadalupe). Buddy chased a duck down to the river, didn’t catch it.

We will be hear for about two weeks looking around. We may stay longer, but we don’t know yet. We are working on getting all our location information changed. We will be renting a mailbox today and working on driver license and vehicle registration in the next day or two.

Going to see the grandkids on Friday, Samantha is having a birthday party (4 years old). It will be nice to see San Antonio again and check out the country between here and there. Coming in to Kerrville we noticed how nice the hill country on Hwy 83 north of I-10 is; a lot of mesquite and oak covered hills; creeks and rivers).

Thanks for following, and stay tuned for more of our Grand Adventure!

Is it Beginning?

Muleshoe, TX … Interesting name. We didn’t have a chance to do much exploring or research regarding the name, we can only assume. Sue found us a free RV park … Ray & Donna West Free RV Park in Muleshoe. Yep, totally free including electricity, water, and sewer. Thank goodness for electricity — Air Conditioning! Right next to the RV Park is the largest mule shoe in America, about 20′ tall standing right next to the highway. The RV park is simply gravel with no shade, but the price is right. They ask for donations to keep it going so, of course we financially expressed our appreciation for the electric connection.

We were treated to a great electric show in the early evening off to the north-east of us. Here are some clips from one of the videos that Larry took.

But … about midnight a thunder storm opened up right over us. Close and loud thunder, pelting rain … woke us all up for about an hour. Good news – no damage at all.

We hit the road somewhat early (for us) about 8:30 AM bound for Menard. Somewhere around the Lubbock area Larry got off on the wrong highway. After a few miles Sue called him (we’re using HTs to communicate) with that news. After a short stop to reconnoiter, we decided to take a county road cross town to Highway 84, the correct one. About 5 miles out we blew a tire on the trailer (sorry no pictures of this either). It blew out in the tread, lots of tread depth left, too! I guess the saying is true: If you have an RV (trailer) the question is not if you will experience a blowout, but WHEN you will experience a blowout. Less than 13,000 miles on that tire! Putting the spare on Larry discovered that the 4T bottle jack he bought from Harbor Freight Tools is about 1/2″ too tall to fit under the axle when the tire is flat. Used a scissor jack to raise it slightly, then the bottle jack for the real work. Spare is on … now to find a tire shop with a trailer tire — 14″ — Did I mention that this occurred on Sunday? Found one (and I mean 1!). They have what we need! This was the first week where they were open on Sunday! I guess that god is watching out for us … we had a blowout, but it was not on the freeway interchange, but on a county road, the one shop in Lubbock open on Sunday had 56 of the tires that we need; and, we had lunch at Whataburger! While we were at it we replaced the 3 original tires, the 4th is new.

On to Menard, TX …

The Adventure Turns Interesting …

Thursday we drove to Williams, AZ and stayed Grand Canyon Railway RV Park. Very upscale park with a lot of spaces. The drive-thru that we got was long enough for both tow vehicles and both trailers without unhitching either of them. About 30 minutes after retiring for the night we realized why the name includes “Railway” as a train sounded its horn and barrelled past about 80 miles per hour … clickety clickety clickety!!! Fortunately only 3 trains went by that night – I counted each one. The fourth went by about 5:30 AM after we got up.

Friday, onward to Dancing Eagle Casino RV Park in Casa Blanca, NM. Little did we know what adventures awaited us on the way. Larry missed the first fuel stop of the day as he blew by it thinking the exit was one more mile up the road. On fumes, we cruised two more miles, made a u-turn and returned.

At lunch time Larry decided to pull of on a little used off-ramp / road (there was a reason). You fire fighters remember the ‘narrowing alley’ maneuver in driver training?! well, that was kind of our experience. The frontage road was two lanes with guard rails on both sides, about 1/2 mile long and then dead ended at a ‘turn-around.’ But, the turn around was really a wide spot at the gate made of recent soft fill dirt. Did I mention that it had rained that morning? Just as Larry was unhooking Sue’s car to pull him out of the mud, a Good Samaritan with a 1 ton Dodge Ram came driving up. He had seen our predicament from the freeway and decided to see if we needed help (it was pretty obvious as the truck was in the mud and the trailer jack-knifed tight behind it?). After he pulled us out we chatted briefly; turns out that they had just dropped their son at the Phoenix campus of UTI (our son, John, graduated from the Sacramento UTI campus). Lunch and on the road again!

Arrived at Dancing Eagle Casino RV Park. Space rental was $17.02 (why .02?). We took one space for each vehicle / trailer combination; the park was nice and did not charge us for the second space. So far, so good. Dinner at the highly acclaimed restaurant in the casino was kind of a bust. We had the soup / salad bar. Larry got some of the Ceasar Salad; however, it was premixed with the dressing and croutons all together. Probably made an hour or two before we arrived … lettuce wilted and bitter, of course the croutons were like eating mush. However, he survived on cottage cheese and canned peaches – yep at the soup / salad bar! We stood in line after we ate just to get our ticket from the waitress. Not our best experience …

Back to the trailer to rest. About an hour into our rest, Sue noticed water on the floor – never a good thing. Did I mention that it rained on us? After digging around the plumbing, removing inspection plates inside and outside, Larry was able to eliminate leaking plumbing; however, not yet sure where it came from. Oh well, the joys of living in a rolling earthquake.

We crossed from New Mexico to the Republic of Texas this afternoon and are now set up in Muleshoe … more on this tomorrow or the next day.

Stay tuned …

… On The Road (Again) …

Well, PODS was scheduled to pick up the first POD (which was blocking our travel trailer) on Tuesday morning and we planned to leave on Wednesday morning after last minute errands on Tuesday. However, one of the company’s drivers called in sick on Tuesday which threw the entire week’s schedule off, and they pushed our pick-up out until a week later. That was unacceptable to us; after some time on the telephone Sue was able to convince them to pick-up on on Wednesday. So, Wednesday morning the driver showed up and loaded the large POD that was blocking the travel trailer and hauled it to their facility in Manteca.

After running a few last minute errands we pulled out about 1:00 PM headed for Texas! We will miss the view from our back deck, but we won’t miss the policies and politics of California. While we leave many VERY GOOD friends behind, we can’t wait to spend time with our grandchildren!

We made it as far as the Safety Rest Stop on Highway 58 near Boron, CA where we stayed for the night. Larry pulled the travel trailer with our Titan pickup and Sue pulled the boat / antenna trailer with her Subaru. Can you say “Grapes of Wrath?”

Today (Thursday) we made it to Williams, AZ and are staying in the Grand Canyon Railway RV Park with AC (over 103 F coming across the desert today. We also hooked up the cable TV for the first time and get 25 channels! This evening we will plan our travels for tomorrow. We have discovered that Sue only needs to fuel up (Subaru Forester) every second time that Larry fuels up (Nissan Titan).

California in my rear view!
(crossing the Colorado River near Needles, CA)


Since Larry has retired (again) we have decided to start a personal blog. Here we hope to publish our adventures and activities that might interest our family and friends. Some events you may hear about here first, so stay tuned!

Our newest adventures really started when we visited with Jenny, Ryan, and the grandkids in Fort Polk, LA for Thanksgiving 2018. We pulled our new 19′ travel trailer down there from Mi Wuk Village, CA and parked it in their driveway for a week.

(This was not their driveway, it is the Alabama Hills near Big Pine, CA).

The ADVENTURE began when Jenny announced that Ryan was retiring from the USAF after 20 years (in June 2019). He retired, they moved to San Antonio, TX. Then John announced that he was promoting to a job at Peterbilt’s corporate headquarters near Dallas, TX.

You can guess what happened next! We decided to move to Texas, somewhere between Dallas and San Antonio.

Our house is for sale. Our ‘stuff’ is packed and loaded into 2 PODS. We take off with our trailer on Tuesday or Wednesday this week.

This will be a real adventure for us. Larry will pull the travel trailer with the pickup and Sue will pull the ‘tower trai’ler’ – a converted old Monkey Wards boat trailer, converted to transport the two-section 36′ crank-up antenna tower.

PRAY FOR US as we make our way to Kerrville, TX. That is our where we will land initially. From there we will shop around for a new home while we live in our little trailer.

More to follow as we blog our adventures – might even blog some interesting stories about our time in Tuolumne County, CA and fun times living and working in snow country!

Thanks for following along — please leave a comment, even if it’s just to say “HI!”

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