Wednesday, October 31, 2012

30th Tuesday: At coffee this morning I asked for volunteers to help push and pull the Hitch Hiker’s slide-out out. The whole gang marched right down the hill to my trailer and, after I’d disconnected the hydraulic hoses from the slide-out pump, got the slide all the way out into the fully open position.  What a blessing!  The root problem hasn’t been solved.  However, our living space is now as it should be and everything is sealed tight against the weather.

Monday, October 29, 2012

2012 October 22-28

            Monday 22nd  Did nothing.  Went nowhere.  Sat, read, watched TV and napped.  Practiced being retired. 

            Tuesday 23rd  Drove into Cedar Park to visit Arik and Jenny (and kids).  It was Jenny’s birthday.  We went in early so that we could do some Goodwill shopping before going to the kids’ house.  Along the way we stopped at a fast food place called (I think) Golden Chick.  I had chicken strips with mashed potatoes and country gravy.  They served it with an extra bowl of gravy on the side.  Ella had broiled chicken and fried okra.  Yeah, we’re not in Iowa anymore.
            We stopped at four Goodwill stores.  The first one was a used bookstore only.  We didn’t bother going in there.  We’re both avid readers, however we don’t want or need the extra weight and storage problems with collecting more books.  It is online reading or libraries for us.  The other three Goodwill stores were full of Halloween items.  We didn’t purchase anything except a digital scale.
            Shortly after we arrived at Arik and Jenny’s, it was time to pick up the kids from school.  Ella and I rode with Jenny to get the kids.  Then, before going to their house, we stopped for pumpkins.  The United Methodist Church near their home had a yard full of pumpkins for sale.  Sofia and Bekket really enjoyed picking out their own pumpkins.
            After returning to the house, Sofia, Arik and I went food shopping at the local H. E. B. store.  Arik used the shopping experience to teach Sofia the importance of starting with the best quality ingredients.  He showed her how to pick out steaks with the right amount of marbling and explained why it was important.
            While Arik prepared the food, Jenny hung party lights on the fence, I watched Bekket ride his bike in the alleyway, and Ella and Sofia did something together.
            Bonnie, Jenny’s mother, came over and it was now time to carve the pumpkins.  Sofia wasn’t sure at first what she wanted her pumpkin to look like.  After deciding, she drew a face and, then with Jenny’s help, used a little punch tool to make small holes.  After that, Jenny cut the top open and it was time to scoop out the insides.  Sofia was excited about this part because she knew that the plan was to save and roast the seeds.     Bekket did not want to touch the inside of the pumpkin.  After I appealed to the ‘boy’ in him by saying, “You need to reach in there and pull it’s ooey gooey guts out!”, he had no problem with touching them.  Grandma Ella helped him with the scraping of the inside.
            I helped Sofia with the actual carving and Ella or Bonnie or Jenny helped Bekket.
            My own pumpkin was green and warty.  I chose it originally because I envisioned it as a frog face.  However, upon examination, I saw that it already had a tiny face on the bottom side of the pumpkin.  All I did was remove a little of the skin to help others see what I saw.
            Soon the food was ready and it was time to clean up after the carving.  The food was fabulous, as you would expect from an executive chef.  The steak was three times the size I would eat for one meal (although I finished it all).
            After I spent some time wrestling with the kids … and loosing, I was dragged away to their ‘secret lair’ while the ‘grown ups’ cleared away the table.  I enjoyed the time with these grandkids that I’ve seen so seldom.  Bed time came and both kids were settled into Sofia’s room for the night because Ella and I were to sleep in Bekket’s room.
            Jenny had to leave or work early in the morning so she was off to bed as soon as the kids were down.  Arik visited with us for a little while before it was time for all of us to go to sleep.
            24th Wednesday.  I woke about 3:30 and was done sleeping.  I tried laying in bed but only lasted a half an hour.  So I was up at four and went downstairs and started some coffee.  Not all of the night’s dishes had fit in the dishwasher.  So, I hand washed those that remained.
            I truly like to wash dishes.  Really!  I know it sounds strange but the fact is I like the feel of the warm soapy water,  I like the progression from the soiled to the clean and I like the sense of accomplishment when the job is done.
            I was reading another chapter of an online book when Raja (their fourteen year old dog) awoke and came down stairs.  She seemed in need of petting.  After a while she also seemed to need to go outside.  So, we went outside for her to take care of her early morning routine.  Raja is one of the most loving animals that I’ve ever seen.  My daughter has said the Raja is the perfect dog for cat lovers because she is so docile and lazy.  And by the way, Raja is a pit bull.  She is so far removed from the stereo type pit bull as you could possible imagine.  He tail starts wagging right behind her ears.
            Jenny came down the stairs next, had some coffee and was soon out the door.  Arik had gotten up so that he could move his car out of the way for her to leave.  The kids came down dressed and ready for breakfast.  Bekket asked for the puppy food cereal which turned out to be some oat bran stuff that I thought only old folks would eat (folks older than me … I mean).
            I was soon time for Arik to take the kids to school so we went up stairs to wake Grandma Ella.
            After the family was gone, Ella went back upstairs to dress and pack our stuff away.  I fixed her some breakfast while she did that.  And then it was time for us to leave.
            Our first stop on our schedule was Sam’s Club.  However, when I saw the Lowe’s next door, we stopped there first.  I needed to purchase some pipe insulation to go around the water hose on the Hitch Hiker and a bucket to place over the hydrant for the water supply.  I’m told that is all I need to do to prepare for winter in Texas.
            Now on to Sam’s to pick up a few bulk items like paper cups and bowls.  Since there was a WalMart just on the other side of the freeway from Sam’s, we drove over there to shop.  However, when Ella pointed out that we would still need to stop at WalMart in Marble Falls, because that was where her prescriptions were, we decided to move on to our next destination, IKEA.
            I have this to say about IKEA … I will never go into one again.  I wasn’t halfway through the place and I told Ella to go ahead and look for the laundry basket that she wanted.  I was going back to the car.  Even following the “short cut” to the exit was taking me forever.  Now I know what a ‘catalogue store’ is.  It is laid out exactly like pages in a catalogue … except you have trouble turning to the page you actually want to look at.  Sorry, to all of you fans of IKEA but I’d rather be slowly dismembered with a teaspoon than shop in an IKEA.
            After a while, Ella came to the truck and woke me from my nap.  Now it was time to say good bye to Austin and Round Rock and head for Marble Falls.  The GPS directed us along a delightfully hilly, twisty two lane highway.  I thoroughly enjoyed the drive through the beautiful hill country of Texas.

            After pickup some RV supplies and lots of groceries at WalMart, we went through the self-check out lane.  After scanning and bagging everything it wouldn’t take my ATM card.  … Oh yeah, a safety feature of our credit union … we had spent too much in too many diverse locations … suspicious activity.  Fortunately, I could use the same card in ‘credit mode’ and make the purchase. 
Roof vent cover
            We got home, unloaded the truck and put stuff away.  It was too hot (96 by my outdoor thermometer) for me to crawl around on the roof installing the three roof vent toppers.  So, I took a nap.  By six it had cooled down enough that I climbed to the roof and got two of the vent tops installed.  Dusk was quickly approaching so I saved the third cover for another day.
- - -

            25th Thursday  We drove into Austin to visit with Heather.  Mike was at work so we didn’t get to spend time with him.  We had never been to their apartment before.  Heather was a little concerned about how their dog, Lily, would react to us.  Evidently Lily doesn’t like strangers and especially men with deep voices (me).  It wasn’t a problem.  No barking but a lot of licking and jumping.  She was so happy to see us it was if she’d known us all her life and couldn’t believe we hadn’t visited sooner.  We got a tour of the apartment.  It was not very big, but very nice.  They have been talking about trying to buy a house in the area, which is not very far from either of their works. 
        We visited there for just a short time before it time to go to lunch at Bartlett’s.  Ella and I had only been there one other time.  And that had been for a hot fudge sundie.  Heather and Arik are both chef/managers there.  Since Arik was working, he came over to say “Hi” and give us a hug.  We had expected to see him there.  However, we had not expect to see Jenny also.  Some friends were taking her to lunch in honor of her birthday. 

            Heather told us about a gluten-free menu that she had developed for the restaurant and how well received it had been.  She ordered her desert from the gluten free menu and we got to sample it.  It was inspired by a chocolate pie.  This, however, was served in a small bowl and had no crust.  It was like a mousse with some chocolately  liquor, topped with a huge dollop of whipped cream and candied orange peel.  It was very good (and I’m not a fan of chocolate). Follow this link to Bartlett's home page and see that they are talking about my two kids who are chefs.

            Ella and I shared a warm brownie that was more assorted nuts than brownie.  It was three or four inches square and was crowned by a huge scoop (about a cup) of ice cream over which a coffee/caramel syrup had been drizzled.  It was almost more than two of us could eat.
            After lunch we went back to the apartment just long enough to get Lily.  From there we went to a park where we could talk and Lily could run.  She is a high energy dog and the apartment is really too small of an environment for her.  Which is one of the reasons that the kids want to purchase a house with a large, fenced yard.  We stayed at the park until nearly four when I told Heather that Ella and I would need to leave around five so that we could get back to Shady Oaks before dark.  (I’m not comfortable with all the twists and turns and deer and cattle that roam the road, to be driving it at night.

- . -

            26th Friday we both had Coffee, I with the guys at 7:30 and Ella with the gals at 9:30.
            Shortly after sun up I was going to go to the roof and install the third vent cover.  However, as I opened the vent in preparation, it rained in my face.  I hadn’t realized that it was raining before.  What a surprise.  It rained off and on (sometimes quite hard) most of the day.  So no working on the roof.
            Since we were stuck inside on a cool and rainy day, I decided to bake some bread for the potluck.  We have potlucks twice a month in the rec hall.  I made a large loaf of potato bread which I baked in a skillet in the oven.  It turned our so well that we ate half of if before the potluck.  So, I baked another loaf and made some candied oranges slices also.  Ella sliced a bunch of our tomatoes to take to the pot luck also.

            27th Saturday was still cool but not raining so I was able to install the third and last roof vent cover.  This last cover was installed on a vent that had a fan in it.  Because of the fan, the screws that came with the kit would not work.  So I went to the closest hardware store.  I had driven past “Buchanan General Store” many times and not really even noticed it.  Once inside, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was just what I was looking for, a real neighborhood hardware store that had bin after bin of hardware.  I was able to buy the eight screws that I needed without having to buy a bulk package.  I’ll be back to this store, I’m sure.
            On my way out of Buchanan General Store’s drive, I saw the sign for another RV park.  Being in no particular hurry to climb back up on the roof, I decided to take a little drive and check out the park.  Excuse me, this was not a park, it was a resort.  I guess the fact that it had a swimming pool and hot tub made it a resort.  It was very nice and neat.  The prices were only slightly more than what we are paying at Shady Oaks.  I was surprised that there were so few people staying there.  Makes me wonder why people aren’t staying there.  Oh well, back to work on the roof.  It had been week since I had dumped the holding tanks, so I did that also.

            28th Sunday we returned to Cross and Spurs Cowboy Church for the service.  There was a baptism at the end of the service so we got to see that horse tank in use.  After the service we drove into Burnet (not pronounced bur-net, but pronounced burn-et) and had a buffet lunch at the Highlander Restaurant.  The rest of the day was spent relaxing, reading, taking a little walk, watching television and yes taking a nap.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

A tour of our present location

Sunday, October 21, 2012

2012 October 21 Sunday

            Saturday 20th started out overcast but by early afternoon it was all sunshine. 
When the sign reads, "Loose Livestock" this is what it means.
            I had called the Polk County Iowa Election Office to request absentee ballots for Ella and I.  They gave me the website where we could download the request forms.  We did.  They are completed and dropped in the mail.  I was told that they will mail out the ballots on the same day they receive the requests.  We just need to vote and mail them back so that they are postmarked the day before the election.
            Frankly, I’m not much of a political animal.  I’m thankful to live in a country where one person in the presidency can’t screw up the country too badly.  I do tire of trying to choose between the lesser of two evils.  Unfortunately, I don’t see that changing any time soon. The people who I would want to run the country are never likely to run and even less likely to win.  Pessimist / Realist?
This a part of the two mile drive between the highway and Shady Oaks
            The only glitch with sending the ballot request came when I had to print it.  We had purchased a printer/scanner before leaving Iowa.  We had not set it up or installed the software in the computer.  Saturday I unpacked the printer, removed the various pieces of tape, installed the ink cartridges, attached the power cord and loaded it with paper.  The next step was to load the software in the laptop.  Easy!
            Yep!  Easy!  The instructions were to insert the CD and follow the on screen instructions.  All was going well until I was instructed to attach the printer cable between the printer and the computer.  What printer cable?  It didn’t come with a printer cable.  It wasn’t missing … it doesn’t come with the printer.  I guess in this day and age that it is assumed that everyone has a printer cable.  Which we do.  Back in Iowa!
            Now that meant that we had to do a forty minute drive to the nearest town with a WalMart.  I love peace and quiet afforded by living so far off into the hills at Shady Oaks.  It does come with this downside also.  We are used to just running to the store for anything at any time.  Now, it requires a bigger commitment of time and resources.  The other day we drove thirty minutes to buy a 7 cent screw and a 14 cent nut.  Now we had to drive forty minutes to purchase a $15 item.
            Of course, we can’t go into WalMart and come out with just the one item (actually I could … but Ella couldn’t).  So, we ended up making other purchases also.  Now understand, we didn’t buy anything that we didn’t need.  I would just have liked to wait until next week when our bank account ‘reloades’.
            Another event that was triggered by the adventure with the printer is the TV is now functional.  When I was looking for a place to store the printer/scanner, behind the flat screen TV seemed an excellent choice.  The Hitch Hiker was manufactured in 1997 which was before the age of flat screens.  So the place designed for the TV is much larger and deeper than need for the TV alone.  The printer hides nicely behind the TV which sets on top of the DVD player.  That means the hidy hole designed for a big old clunky VCR is now an extra draw for hiding reams of paper, CDs and DVDs..
            Anyway … I attached the TV and the antenna cable and ran the auto search channel function.  Zero channels found.  Upps!  I forgot to raise the antenna.  So, after raising the antenna, I reran the auto search.  Still zero channels.  Oh yeah!  I forgot to turn on the antenna power booster.  After turning on the booster, I re-reran the program and Ta Da! we have three TV stations.
            The poor TV doesn’t get much use.  When we want to watch TV we watch it on our Droid Razor X smartphones.  Ella can watch what she wants (Bob’s Burgers?) and I can watch intelligent programming such as Doctor Who.  On those rare occasions when we both want to watch the same thing at the same time (America’s Got Talent) we use a HDMI cable to attach one of our Droids to the TV and rub the program through the larger screen.

            Sunday 21st  We attended “Cross and Spurs Cowboy Church and Arena” today.  The service is in a tent with folding chairs on the blacktop floor.  They have around 200 hundred members and I’d guess there were about a hundred and a half in attendance today.  One of the members sang four songs (Southern Gospel / Bluegrassy) and then one of the Elders (who was filling in for the pastor who is in Nebraska/South Dakota on a mission trip to some tribal lands) delivered the sermon.  It was similar to Union Park’s Saturday Praise Service in style and substance.  The service started a little after ten.  We arrived about nine fifteen and found about thirty vehicles in the parking lot already.  First order of business was Praise and Prayer Requests.  This took between half and three quarters of an hour.

Notice the babtismal / horse trough under the American Flag
            When we returned home, the navy beans and ham hocks was making the place smell really good.  While Ella changed clothes, I removed the hock and added some instant potatoes to the bean soup.  It was just a little too soupy for my liking.   After I had changed clothes, I removed the bone and rind from the hock and shredded the meat before returning it to the beans.   Yummy!
            Then it was time for a nap!  I had dozed in the recliner for maybe a half an hour when the air conditioning kicked on.  So, we closed up the windows and door and accepted the gift of conditioned air.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

2012 October 20 Saturday

            19th Friday – We stayed around home until late afternoon.  We took a walk along the South West edge of the park and found a nice spot along the river where they’ve placed a picnic table.  As we walk around I continue to marvel at the fact that we are, for the most part, walking on bare rock.  I don’t mean loose gravel.  I mean it is solid rock.  They quarry a lot of marble around here.  I’ll bet that it polishes up to be a pretty pinkish surface.  I guess I’ll start telling people that we have marble floors and staircases throughout the park.

            I think that I’d mentioned getting the slideout 2/3 of the way out.  This allows us to use the recliners.  Ella’s recliner had a really bad case of the ‘tilts’ to the right.  If it had been a ship, I’d have feared capsizing.  Since we now have that little bit of extra room, I upended the chair and found that it had a broken rivet at a hinged area.  To fix it I’d need to replace it with a flat-head machine screw, which I did not have.  So we went for a drive.
            Not being in a hurry, we took a drive through Inks Lake State Park.  It is a huge park with lots of choices for picnicking, primitive camping, RVing and cabins.  We picked up all sorts of information … but list the price list.  We also drove past the fish hatchery.  I’ve heard at the morning Men’s Coffee that none of the fish that are raised there go to waters in Texas but are all shipped out of state.
            We found a new way to get to Kingsland.  We knew how to find the Ace Hardware there … so that’s where we went.  A helpful Ace employee named George spent a lot of time with us helping us find just the right kind and size of bolt and nut.  The bolt was 14 cents and the nut 7 cents.  We also bought a patio block / stepping stone 16x16x3 that we placed below our bottom step so that the step from the stair to the ground wouldn’t be quite so far.  The block cost $7.99.  So all in all, we spent more in gas in our round trip than we did shopping.
            I was able to ‘sort of’ fix Ella’s recliner when we returned home.  It still leans to one side but not nearly as bad.  We’ll have to start looking for a replacement recliner.  Hello, Goodwill, Salvation Army, DAV and second-hand and thrift stores.
            I slow cooked some boneless pork ribs for supper and drowned them in home-made BBQ sauce, paired them with pork and beans and kettle cooked ‘tater chips, and then sat outside and ate.  Later in the evening we got a text from Jenny inviting us to their house on Tuesday to carve pumpkins and celebrate her birthday.
            A really great afternoon and evening.

Today … 20th is starting off overcast.  It looks like it could rain.  However there isn’t any rain in the forecast until early Monday morning and it is only listed as a ‘slight chance’.

Friday, October 19, 2012

2012 October 19  Friday
            It is hard to believe that we’ve only been at Shady Oaks for one week.  It seems much longer.
            Yesterday (18th) we went to Kingsland to the Ace Hardware and purchased some putty tape.  So, I was able to uninstall and reinstall the refrigerator side vent with the putty insuring a water tight seal.
            While we were in Kingsland we spent a little time exploring the town. It didn’t take long!  We had lunch at Dairy Queen.  I had the crispy chicken sandwich (southern style … with dill pickles and no condiments) and Ella had three tacos.  I’m not sure why, but tacos at Dairy Queen just seems somehow WRONG.
            We continued our exploring on the way back to Shady Oaks by taking a drive up the west side of Buchanan Lake.  We had heard that the Lake was very low.  However, since we’d not seen it before, we had no way of judging.  Until yesterday.  We crossed a bridge that had a sign reading, “No Fishing From Bridge”.  There wasn’t any water within a mile and a half of the bridge.  And judging from the size of the shrubs that were growing under the bridge, there hadn’t been any water there for several years.
            We drove through a state park which should have been on the water’s edge but no longer was.  It was a very nice park and had a small RV camping area with full hook ups for $20 a night plus the day use charge. That would make it inexpensive for day or two but not for a long-term stay.
            While we were out I took some more photos of the amazing landscapes around here.  I would love to be able to hike out onto some of these amazing rockscapes and get some close up photos.
            I had some success with the slideout today also.  I added a little hydraulic fluid to the pump and pushed the button.  The slide went most of the way out!  Unfortunately there is still about a foot to go before it is fully extended and sealed.  Before we get ‘some weather’ I’ll need to get it fully open or fully closed again.  Pray for us.
            We met some of our neighbors last night.  Victor and Martha have a permanent site just across from us.  This is the first time that they have been here since we arrived.  They have a house in town and only come out on the weekends.  We took some Iowa grown tomatoes over and introduced ourselves.  We had a nice visit.
            Ella also took some tomatoes to our neighbors right beside us.  They are also from Iowa (Quad Cities area) and had arrived just minutes before we did.  I had visited with Gary several days ago but I’ve not met his wife.
            Those four boxes of green tomatoes that we picked before leaving Cutty’s are all starting to ripen.  After picking through them, there is only about a fourth of them that are still green and about a fourth that are just a pinkish color … not quite ripe … but soon!
            The day hasn’t progressed enough to post about today.  It is only 7 a.m.  I will say that it is chilly this morning at 43 degrees.  For the next 7 days the predicted lows are in the 60s.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

2012 October 17 Wednesday

The pump that should move the slide

            Yesterday (16th)was another day of little activity.  I did get the roof vent installed and we (mostly Ella) did some more rearranging our living space to make it more functional.  Hillcountry RV called about 3:30 to let us know that the other vent has arrived.  We decided to not make a special trip into Marble Falls for the part, but to wait until we went to visit Heather and Mike.
The area around Shady Oaks
            Today (17th) is my youngest daughter’s, Heather, birthday. We had made plans to spend the day with her and Mike (until he had to leave for work).  However, I awoke about two this morning with diarrhea and vomiting.  I thought I was over it by five.  However, after I ate a half a bowl of oatmeal, it started over.  Heather had a managers’ meeting this morning, so I sent her a text letting her know what was going on and that we would not be spending the day with her after all.  I also called Mike to let him know what was going on just in case she returned home without reading the text.
            I went back to bed and slept until nearly 3:30.  I was feeling better (not good … but better) so we decided to go to Marble Falls and get the refrigerator side vent that had Hillcountry had called us about yesterday.  It is about thirty miles to get to any town from here.  Burnet, Llalo and Marble Falls are about equal distance and there isn’t much in between but ranches (and those are far between and well off the road). 
The area around Shady Oaks
            When we arrived at Hillcountry I found that they couldn’t sell just the door of the vent but the whole vent kit.  I was hoping to just got back to the trailer and fit the door in place.  I did try that.  However, the new door did not fit the old trim piece.  I removed the old trim and was relieved that the new unit fit the opening.  It is installed.  I will pick up some putty tape the next time I’m in a town with a hardware.  I will then need to uninstall, add the putty and reinstall.
            While at Hillcountry we learned that the model hydraulic pump that we have is obsolete.  Larry is searching for the pump model that replaces the old.  I’m still not entirely sure that the pump is the problem.  I hate the thought of spending the money (still unknown but I’m guessing around a thousand dollars) and finding that the slide still will not go out.
            After installing the new vent, I finally felt that I could safely eat something.  So, I fixed a couple of eggs and some toast.  I then went up to bed and watched something on my Droid TV.  That was probably sometime before six.  I woke up about nine.  I fixed some more toast (with honey this time) and a cup of highly sugared coffee with milk.  I normally drink it black.  However, I seemed to be craving the sweet stuff.
            I’ve been working on this blog since then and am thinking that I’ll go back to bed as soon as I’m done posting this. (it is now nine forty-five p.m.)  I really hope that Ella doesn’t get what ever this was/is.
the area surrounding Shady Oaks

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

2012 October 16

2012 October 16 Monday

            Being Monday, Ella had coffee with the womenfolk up at the rec-center at 9:30. (Every Monday and Friday).  And being as how it wasn’t Sunday, I had coffee with the menfolk at the rec-center at 7:30.  These will be reoccurring items on our schedules.  Another reoccurring event is the potluck.  I am not sure if it is scheduled for every other Friday or just for twice a month. 
            After our coffees we did very little except sit outside under our awning and be still.  The Lord (and nearly everyone else) knows we don’t have an overly active lifestyle, but it was nice to just sit in the middle of the peace and quiet.
            I had made a loaf of bread in the bread machine that was to finish baking at 1 p.m.  Ella couldn’t wait (or thought I couldn’t wait) until 1, so she fixe our lunch about 11:30.  We had some fried shrimp with garlic and herbs, sliced home-grown tomatoes and baked potatoes.
            After lunch we did some lite housekeeping (the slideout is still ‘in’ which means we are cluttered and cramped at the moment).  The bread finished baking and we ate a couple of slices of warm bread and ‘butter’ (Country Crock Spread).
            Around 1:30 we drove into Marble Falls (by way of Kingsland) to check on the refrigerator vents ordered through Hillcountry RV.  The side (rear of the refrigerator) vent that Larry had ordered turned out to be not the vent but bug screens to go in the vent. He had misread the catalog.  So he made a quick call and added the correct part number to his next parts shipment. We did purchase the roof vent for the refrigerator while we were there.
            From Hillcountry RV (Yes, that is how they spell it … all one word) we drove to Home Depot and purchased a 2”x112”x8’ treated board and had it cut in half.  I also purchased a 4”x10’ length of light weight PVC pipe to use for our sewer drain.  That is a camp requirement.  It was explained that the Texas sun rots sewer hoses too fast, so everything must be ‘hard plumbed’.  I also purchased a bow saw which I will use to cut the PVC pipe. (I didn’t bring and power or handsaws with me.)
            We went to Wal-Mart after leaving Home Depot.  We purchased a (very) few groceries, a shirt (top?) for Ella, and some toilet paper.
            We drove home from Marble Falls by way of Burnett which completed our rather circular drive for the day. (Maybe it is more of a triangle since there were three stops)
            Once arriving back at Shady Oaks, I hooked up to the Hitch Hiker and moved it forward four feet so that the boards could be placed behind the wheels.  I then backed up four feet and thus have the tires off of the gravel.  I also cut and installed the drain pipe.  It was late enough by now that I didn’t want to start on the roof vent.  If it goes simply, it should be an easy replacement job.  However, if it doesn’t go simply and quickly, I could end up trying to replace it in the dark on the roof.  So I left if for Tuesday’s list.
            For supper we had stew left over from when Arik and the kids were here.  Oh yeah, we also had more of the home made bread.
            My leg was aching, and because of the slideout situation we are unable to open the recliners, so I went up to lay on the bed about 7:30.  I laid there and watched several  Doctor Who shows on Droid TV before giving up and going to sleep.
            When I woke this morning (Tuesday the 16th) it was raining slightly.  This makes me glad that I didn’t start a roof vent replacement that I might not have been able to finish.  I have had my breakfast and had coffee with the men.  I’ve also finished this post.  So, until tomorrow … or until something semi-newsworthy … Bye!

Monday, October 15, 2012

2012 October 15 Monday

            10 a.m. I slept until nearly 6 this morning.  It is so peaceful here that I understand why it is named “Shady Oaks Riverside RV Retreat”  It is defiantly not a resort like Cutty’s back in Des Moines.  There is no swimming pool, tennis, miniature golf etc. Here you see the deer, squirrels, birds and butterflies as well as hear the breeze in the trees, owls and the quietness of nature. In short, it is a perfect place to retreat into your own thoughts and meditate on God’s goodness.
            Around 7:30 every morning (except Sunday) the men gather at the rec-room for coffee and visit.  Twice a week (Monday and Friday) the women gather at 9:30 and make plans on how to maintain their hold on domination of the world.
            I started a loaf of bread in the bread machine.  It should be finished by lunch time.
            I need to call Hill Country RV to find out when we will be able to pick up the two refrigerator vent covers.  And hopefully they will have information about price and availability of a hydraulic pump for the slide out.

Visits In Person and via Tango video phone

2012 October 14,2012 Sunday
            We had a stormy night last night.  High winds, hail, rain and lots of lightning.  We went safely through the storm with no damage.  We had taken the awning down because Ron had come by and warned us that there were tornado watches in the area.  Our Weather Bug app didn’t mention tornados but it did warn of high wind, hail and rain.  It also showed us that a large number of lightning strikes were occurring within 0.1 mile of us.
            We are not going to church today in anticipation of Arik bringing the kids out for a visit.
            We received a Tango Video call from Charlotte and Lorelia who are visiting their Grandma Cindy who had come down fromMinnesota to Des Moines.
            About 10:30 a.m. Arik brought Sofia and Beket out to visit today.  We ate the stew that I’d made plus some snack items that they brought with them.  Grandma Ella stayed at the trailer while the rest of us went to walk across the old highway 29 bridge acrossInks Lake.  The bridge is no longer an automotive bridge but now for pedestrian use.  Once we returned from the walk, we played games with the kids (catch and Hot and Cold)  We talked with Arik about what we are loosely calling our “plans” for the next five months.  He mentioned some the sights of interest that we might want to visit while we are here.  He also talked about Jenny and his plans to stay in this area and possibly move to a home with more yard for the kids to play in.  He also spoke about the possibility of going into partnership with his boss on an additional, smaller, different restaurant.  Mostly we just hung our and enjoyed each other’s company.
The Colorado River with Inks Lakes Dam in the background

Colorado River downstream from Inks Lake Dam

A portion of Shady Oaks Riverside RV Retreat as seen from the Colorado River

We were invited to attend here (which we will) however, with Arik and kids coming to visit on Sunday morning, we skipped this Sunday.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

This is where Home Is. Shady Oaks Riverside RV Retreat, Inks Dam, Texas

We Have Arrived at Shady Oaks Riverside RV Retreat

            We have arrived at our winter home, Shady Oaks Riverside, at Inks Lake Dam, Texas.
            The trip down was interesting and we spent nights in several different parks on the way to here. (See the video which is a compilation of the short clips I posted on Facebook on the way down)
            We did not arrive unscathed.  Hmm does that mean we’ve been scathed?  Now I’m gonna haveta look up ‘scathed’ in the dictionary. Okay now back on topic.
            We lost the outside vent behind the refrigerator on the way down.  We noticed that at our first stop for gasoline.  Ella stepped out of the truck and said, “Tom, there is a big hole in the trailer where all the gas stuff is.”  That scared the heck out of me until I saw that it was just a missing vent cover.  Somewhere along the way, the force of the air blowing into that open space also blew off the top refrigerator vent.  (They are both on order at a local RV store)
            Monday night we spent a free night at a campground that we located by using the book “Free Campgrounds”.  There were sites with water and electric.  Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that the site I’d chosen was not one of the ones with water and electric.  Oh well! We were only spending the night so that wasn’t a big deal.  Most everything we have runs on 12 volts from the ‘house batteries’ or on LP gas.  We discovered that the house batteries were weaker than I thought and ran out of power at night.  Without the electric power, the furnace would not ignite nor the furnace fan runs.  It was a cold, cuddle-up-close sort of night.
            Tuesday night we spent at Kaw Lake outside of Ponca Kansas.  We paid $18 although I think that since it was the off season, we might not have had to pay at all.  Wednesday morning we were closing up the trailer and getting ready of leave Kaw Lake. I had closed the slide out and then realized that the furnace was still running (it had gotten down to the upper 30s over night).  The furnace controls are on a wall that is covered when the slide out is brought in.  So, that meant I had to send the slide back out.  Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.  In fact, nothing happened except the noise of the hydraulic pump running.  The pump is supposed to open the slide, but it didn’t.  Nothing to do about it while on the road…so on the road we went.
            Wednesday night we spent in a Texas state park (sorry, I don’t remember the name at the moment).  We had a full hook up site (30 amps).  It was $28 per night plus $5 per person per night … $38 for those lacking math skills.
            Thursday we arrived at “Shady Oaks Riverside RV Retreat” at a few minutes to noon.  We were introduced to the park and its rules and then driven around to look at available sites.  We chose site 34 and I had Ron park the Hitch Hiker II on that site.  The reason I had someone else park the rig was because to get into the site it had to be back down a hill and around a corner into a somewhat tight spot.  I’ve been known to take half a dozen tries at a pull through spot.
            I plugged in the electricity and attached the water and sewer hoses.  Ella hollered from inside the trailer, “How do you turn the electric on?”  I told her that it was on.  She assured me that it wasn’t.  I double checked that the plug was secure and that the switches on the power pedestal were in the on position.  Then I checked the Hitch Hiker’s circuit breakers and reset all of them.  Nothing worked.  We hollered at Ron and he brought his multi-meter to check the circuits.  Hot to ground showed we had power.  Hot to neutral showed we didn’t.  Terry came to help and took the plug apart and said it looked okay.
Next he took the pedestal apart to verify that everything was okay in it. Then he opened the circuit breaker covers and checked all of them.  He determined that it had to be a broken neutral wire somewhere between the pedestal and the breakers.  We manually inspected all twenty five foot of the shore line cord.  Then after spending some time trying to figure out the route that the wiring took from the power cord to the breakers, He rechecked the plug.  Yep!  That’s where the problem was … in the first place checked.  The neutral wire had come loose from the terminal.  The terminal was rewired and everything worked.
            With that problem solved, these two men, that I had just met, spent several hours working to get the slide-out problem solved.  Rod had the phone number to NuWa (manufacturer of the Hitch Hiker) programmed into his phone along with the name of the service manager.  (I’d call that a God Sighting)  I called and talked to R.V. (yep!  He goes by is initials R. V. and works in one of the largest RV manufacturing plants) He had us check several things to determine if it was and electrical problem (it wasn’t).  And then had us switch the hydraulic hoses to see if pushing the “in” button would move the slide out (it didn’t).  His conclusion was that it was a bad seal in the pump.
            Terry had the name and number of a local RV repair and I called.  No one was answering which was probably by now an after hours call.  The next day a called and spoke with Larry and Ron at Hill Country RV.  I was able to order the missing covers for the refrigerator (remember those?).  And he is checking on the price and availability of a new pump.
            Well, that is enough for this posting.  I’ll post follow ups later.