Monday, March 30, 2015

Trying new things

I spent some time yesterday learning about Google Maps and Blogger and all the fun things one can do with them.  I'm working on making a map of our travels for this season on a new site I found called

I'm hoping to shake up the blog a bit with a new header and some other features, so if this works let me know what you think.

We leave today for Livingston and I'm not sure what the internet will be like there so if I drop off the face of the earth for a bit you'll know why.

Long Live the Traveling Queen

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Laundry done for another day

During our little rainy stretch here I took advantage of the down time to clean the RV and get all the laundry done.

Gracie helped by staying put in her box and watching the rain...all bummed out because she couldn't go outside to play.

Doing the laundry gave me a change to perform a random act of kindness.   One of the washers had a load of kids clothes in it, that I removed and set on top of one of the dryers.

Nobody came to claim it yet when my wash was ready to go into the dryers.  I filled up three dryers and there was one empty so I decided to finish up the load of wash for this young mother or father.

When I left the laundry room there was a pile of freshly folded jeans and shirts just waiting to be picked up.  I'm hoping that made someone's day to find it all done for them and that I could brighten someone's day with $1.25 and a few minutes work.

I can't wait to slide into those clean sheets tonight.  You know how good that feels!  This little chipmunk demonstrates it better than I can, so enjoy the short video below.

Long Live the Queen of Clean

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Enjoying the birds and the bees

Left Brain found this lovely refuge area while out biking and couldn't wait to share it with me.  There is a parking lot and a short walk over the bridge brings you to the viewing platform.

It felt refreshing to feel the breeze on my face and the smell of the marshland while I watched the egrets on the far side of the water.

This appears to be an egret rookery based on the numbers of them, many with nests in the trees.

I used to purchase these for my pond back "home" when we still had the house.  There had to be thousands of them here.

The flowers were sweet as I walked back to the car and I couldn't pass up snapping a shot of this spiderwort.

Then I started watching the bees going from flower to flower.

I almost missed this little buy hanging on the bolt of the guardrail.

He allowed me to get pretty up close and personal.

There's nothing like a dose of nature to make me smile.

Long Live the Queen of Birds and Bees

Friday, March 27, 2015


Since Galveston was only about an hour away we spent a pleasant afternoon driving down to take a look at it.

There is an amusement park on the beach that looked fun.

Finding these two rather large men sharing a surry style bicycle made me chuckle.  I think they're trying to look the part of a pair of bad boy bikers, but it's just not working.

We thought we could make a big circle on our way back, but the road ended.  While looking for a way to continue we saw a lot of huge ships.

But not to worry, there was a ferry to take us over the water and prevent a lot of backtracking.  Best part was it was totally free of charge.

Long Live the Queen of Galveston

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Downtime in Texas

After several days of traveling through Texas (it takes a long time) we are settled in for a week at the Turtle Bayou RV Park in Wallisville TX.  In the office was a black kitten with little white paws running and playing.  The lady is trying to find a good home for her and if we were not filled up with our two I could see her joining our family.

We were not able to be parked near the bayou (and the gators) due to the recent rain and flooding.  Our consolation prize was being put on a concrete slab near the office.  I can live with that since our stay here is more about resting, cleaning and catching up on laundry anyway. 

This lovely bush is blooming next to the laundry room.

The internet here is free and actually very fast...hallelujah!  Most of the park is inhabited by people working on the oil wells so they're gone most the day so it's pretty quiet.  We'll see what the weekend brings with them.

This bush is in our view behind us.

Our next door neighbors are a retired couple and the mother-in-law.  The ladies came over to say hi and she wanted to see what it was I was putting on the steering wheel.  She'd not seen a steering wheel table before so I invited them in for a look and demonstration.

She reciprocated with a tour of their 43 foot motorhome and handed me two slices of freshly baked, still warm, pumpkin bread with a glazed topping.  I think I'm going to like it here!

George and Gracie are thrilled to romp about on green grass again instead of sand, gravel and dirt.  Everything here is so green!  Such a shocker after living the life of a desert nomad. We are close to I-10 so there is a lot of highway noise, but it's like a white noise to us and I don't mind it at all.  I prefer that to sporadic sounds from trains.

We had an early supper of sausage and pancakes followed by two much needed showers.  What a difference it makes to be clean and relaxed.

More flowers near by.

The following day Left Brain took off for a nice long bike ride and I'm playing with the computer and catching up on my reading. I plan to clean out some things and carry the laundry over since it's right next door.

We'll probably take time to visit some family in the Houston area since it's only about an hour away and we'll take a run into Galveston for a visit sometime during our stay.

Full hookups and fast internet - I'm in Heaven.  Now if they just had pickleball courts.

Long Live the Queen of Texas (Yes's me...not you)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Rubbish Tuesday

This photo was taken at the Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins and I applied a photo filter to enhance the lichen growing on it.  Just one of many old pieces of machinery I don't understand but can admire.  Hey, why not!  I don't understand my husband either, but I admire him.

Long Live the Queen

Rubbish Tuesday

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Homecoming of Samuel Lake

I think I found a new favorite author, Jenny Wingfield, author of The Homecoming of Samuel Lake.

This story takes place in a rural setting  and features the immediate and extended family of the preacher, Samuel Lake.

It skillfully weaves the lives of all the family members with their individual dreams and fears and how they came together to assist a small child in a bad situation.  It's raw and dark and wonderful in a southern Gothic type of way.

I got this book on BookBub for $1.99 and my only regret is that I cannot find any others by her.

Long Live the Queen

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Our First Elks Lodging

We woke to the crashing and banging of a major thunderstorm in Fort Stockton, with the wind making See-More (our RV) do the shimmy shake.  My mind instantly wondered if a tornado was imminent, but then my mind tends to focus on the worst possible scenario.  It was just a good old-fashioned Texas thunder boomer.  George hid behind the bed and I tried to comfort him by placing my hand on his back.  But every time there was a loud BOOM!! my hand would flinch, so I'm afraid I wasn't much help.  Gracie just stared down the storm from the front windshield.

All that rain transformed our dirt yard into swirly mud with large puddles.  I'm so glad Left Brain handles the outside chores for the most part.  We had unhooked the car the night before so it would be all ready for the vehicle inspection; so right after a quick breakfast, we drove over to take care of this chore.

We were immediately turned away as their rules don't allow testing the braking system when it's been raining.  So we hooked up the car (that could have remained hooked up all along since we had a pull through site...grrrr) in the rain.  I get to join in the fun for this part, so both of us got wet.

I took the wheel for the first leg of our journey and after about an hour decided to turn it over to Left Brain.  It was starting to rain and with the severe cross winds I just wasn't feeling comfortable.  His driving skills are so much better than mine, but I do like to take my turn at the wheel to stay familiar with the task.

We stopped for lunch at a McDonald's and as soon as we were ready to depart, our RV had been pinned in by several trucks preparing to convoy to their next site.  

No one was willing to move an inch to let us out, so Left Brain maneuvered the RV very close to one of them and managed to break through.  I wouldn't have attempted it; it didn't look possible, but he can gauge distances much better.  I would have just sat back and read my book or worked on my knitting and waited for them.

We arrived at the Elks Lodge in San Antonio about 3:00.  There's only space for five RVs and we were number six.  Uh oh.  But then a nice man came out and said we could park along the fence.  Left Brain had just positioned the RV into place with another guy pulled up and said he'd move the truck that didn't belong there so we could take its spot.  Sweet.  Except the truck wouldn't start, so we had to still move the RV one more time.

It was at this point Gracie made a break for freedom,but thankfully Left Brain grabbed that long bushy tail and snagged her before she could go meet the dog running around loose next door.  She doesn't often do this, but with the rainy weather and long drives I guess had reached her level of cabin fever.

We ended up parked in front of the shed and we'll call this home for the next three days while we wait out the weekend and the rain that comes with it.  It's like having our own personal cloud hovering over us.

I filled out the paperwork and took my $45 inside to pay for our three day stay...not bad for paved parking that includes internet, electric and San Antonio.  I'd say that Elk membership of $73 for the year just paid for itself.  We're dry and comfortable and found a nearby theater to watch The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Left Brain finally found a vehicle inspection station that we can visit when we leave on Monday.  The rules are confusing as to when this needs to be done.  It's either the minute you re-enter Texas or within five days or something.  We're anxious to get it done, pay our money and cross it off our list of things to do.

Long Live the Queen of Dampness

Friday, March 20, 2015

Back Home in Texas

We started heading eastward on Tuesday back to the center of the US, but still staying south for warmth. The sides of the roads were littered with these bright yellow flowers.  Now that's MY kind of litter!

Our first stop was Las Cruces NM at a combination motel and RV park.  Translated this means parking in the back of a shabby rundown motel.  We only had electric and water hookups but with the Passport America discount it was only $11 a night, so we could live with that.  The first night was just settling in and seeing what we wanted to do since there was a misty rain.  They only have about 15 days of cloudy rainy days here and we got one of them.

The next day the weather was still not looking stellar…looks like we’ll be seeing two of those 15 days of icky weather so I found a rec center that had indoor pickleball and headed out for some play.  Left Brain was just as happy to spend the day with Gracie on his lap and a Kindle in his hands.  Although he did do a lot of research for our future stops and found a place to get inspected.  

Wednesday they had a double session of pickleball at the rec center, so for $2 I received four hours of total bliss slamming the ball around and visiting with people.  It was good therapy for me since I haven’t played since we left Mesa on March 8th.  I felt great going home but when I arrived at our site I could barely walk.  Seems I played a bit too hard and strained some things.

Since Left Brain hadn’t been able to eat due to the feline obstruction holding him down, we left in search of a late lunch in the old historic section of Mesilla.  My destination was La Porta, a restaurant I found online that has been in operation for 75 years.  It certainly has come a long way since it’s days as a stop on the Butterfield Stagecoach Stop.

The main lobby has a huge aviary with lots of brightly colored parrots and greenery overhead.  There were large fish tanks with piranha.  I made sure to keep my hands out of there.  
The rooms are decorated with in keeping with the old style and were just charming.

These stained glass areas made me miss my friend Beth who does fabulous glass work herself.  The food was probably some of the best Mexican food I've ever had. 

Thursday was spent mostly on the road for four hours with a brief stop at a truck stop for lunch and to stretch our legs.  We reached Fort Stockton about 4:00, having lost two time zones.  Arizona doesn’t follow the Daylight Savings Time, so when we hit New Mexico we lost one hour and then we lost another one somewhere in West Texas.  I was prepared for West Texas and had my knitting supplies ready.  By the time we landed for the night I had one dishrag completed and a baby cap started.
Our stop the night was the Parkview RV Park in Fort Stockton.  A charming location with dirt and gravel roads, lots of weeds and powerlines.  But again with Passport America the rate for full hook ups and decent internet is $11 for the one night we are staying here.  The view out the window might not be pretty but at least I’m comfortable in my own surroundings.  As long as it’s safe and the hookups work, we don’t care where we are during these trips through the area.

Tomorrow we will get to the vehicle inspection site nice and early and then head on to San Antonio.  There is an Elks Lodge there and now that Left Brain is an Elk member we are eligible to stay and we want to take advantage of this membership.  

We’ll probably just spend the night there since we’ve toured much of San Antonio already in past visit.  Then it’s on to Livingston TX where the Escapees headquarters are.  We need to get our wills redone to reflect our Texas domicile, something we’ve overlooked until this point.

From there I’m not sure where we’ll be…we just take it one day at a time.

Long Live the Queen of Texas

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Good Fences Thursday

Not a spectacular fence, but there was something about the sloping hillside and one lone tree that appealed to me.

Long Live the Queen

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Cochise Stronghold

There's lots of history in this area, especially if you were raised on cowboys and Indian shows on TV.

We decided to spend our last day in Willcox by going out to see the stronghold where Cochise is buried.

The road started out pretty good and soon became much bumpier.  Then it went to gravel.

It continued to get narrower and winding as we got closer to our destination.

I wasn't sure about crossing the water filled spots, but they weren't moving that fast and we could see a good rock base on the bottom.

There was a sweet little nature trail that we took a hike on to see the rocks and scenery.

We crossed this little stream.

You can see how clear the water was in this shot.

There were lots of benches to just sit and take in the smells and sounds all around us.

We met this group of young ladies out backpacking on the trail.  Some of the packs have to weigh more than the girls!

It proved to be a very nice outing for the day.

Long Live the Queen