Friday, March 29, 2013

Settled in Louisiana

Well, winter came and went.  All week long we have experienced a gradual warmup, to the point where we left the windows open last night. 

We have told others how we have been “eating our way” through the south.  What better way to experience Louisiana than to dig into a local Crawfish Boil.  Heeere’s dinner:

If you are into seafood, they are not bad at all.

Today was another big move, less than 60 miles.  We are parked at our next NOMADS project site, the OWL, Outdoor Wilderness Learning Center, part of Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home (see for more information)   One other couple has also arrived today, with 3 more rigs expected here tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Yet Another “Small World” Story

Our 2-night stay at the Corps of Engineer facility outside of Wylie TX was extended to a 3rd night because of the high winds that were forecast.  Since we didn’t have to drive on Sunday, we didn’t.  Lake Lavon was grey and choppy all the time we were there.  By Monday morning the winds were still there, but not blowing quite as strongly.  Instead, they gave us a gentle tailwind on our way east, back into Louisiana again.  It is too early to go to our next project location (we will plan to pull in there on Friday). 

At the Texas/Louisiana border we stopped to consider our options and chose a state park southeast of Shreveport.  As we were getting parked and setup, we met our campground hosts, 2 couples from Minnesota.  As we chatted we learned that one couple was from Bob’s hometown, and the husband actually worked with Bob’s dad at the local farmers’ co-op in the 70’s.  Is this a “small world”, or not???  They have been spending the past 3 winters helping out at this park, and told us that winter was very pleasant until the past week.

Here are some photos from our walk down near the river earlier today.  The cypress trees and Spanish moss are so typical of Louisiana scenery.

Winter is making its last blast, with snow from Denver to Ohio, and cold winds down here.  We are seeing lows in the high 20s, and highs in the low 50s.  This should end tonight, Tuesday, with temps rising slowly all week long.  It’s about time!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Busy in Dallas

We have spent the past week in a northern suburb of Dallas, keeping quite busy.  We stayed in the parking lot of MCD Innovations for most of the week.  They make a dual roller shade system for RV windows that gets rid of the strings that were in our prior day/night shades.  Out with the old (just dumped out):

And in with the new

What is shown above is the black day shade about halfway down and the white night shade just slightly down.  It is quite cloudy out, so the glare reducing of the day shade isn’t really noticeable today.  We had them make these for seven of our windows.

We also got chips in our car windshield filled and got our 2012 taxes filed.  As if that weren’t enough, we also played tourist by visiting the Fort Worth Stockyards Historic District. 
This is the place where the cowboys began their cattle drives in the 1860’s moving lots of cattle from the Texas ranches to the rail roads in Kansas for shipping to the eastern states. 
Cattle drives stopped after the railroads and meat packing plants moved into Fort Worth.

We had a short drive Friday morning; less than 25 miles to our next campground.  We are in a Corps of Engineers park on Lavon Lake.  Winter is making a last gasp, where there is snow across Arkansas and temperatures about 25 degrees less than yesterday.  It’s cloudy and 50 here – a good day for Paige to make a meatloaf dinner.


Monday, March 18, 2013

Small World, All Over Again…and Again

Returning from a trip to the dumpster on Saturday morning, Bob saw a familiar name outside of a motorhome.  It was fellow Nomads, John and Eileen, with whom we worked last year in California.  They had pulled in the evening before and are parked only 4 sites away.  We spent some time at their place late in the morning and continued catching up over lunch at a nearby family restaurant.  A person might think we are off on our own, being away from home, without knowing anyone – NOT SO.  Disney was right, it really is a “Small World”.

Together, we all went to Sunday evening’s Ice Cream Social.  As newcomers to that weekly gathering, we were asked to introduce ourselves.  We both mentioned our Nomads connections and learned of yet another Nomads couple in the room – someone else to get to meet and chat with.

Today we are heading out to Dallas.  We have what are called “Day/Night Shades” on 7 windows in our motorhome.  They have strings in them that break – too often for our liking!  Re-stringing them is similar to wallpapering for a marriage (stress producing)!  We are going to a company that makes day/night shades that are on rollers.  The testimonies we’ve seen are very good so we’re planning on having our shades replaced with these this week.  This company has camping on site for customers so we’ll be there this week.  We need to get our taxes done and get the car windshield fixed as it has a ding in it.  Also, there is TV in Dallas – we’ve been without TV in Livingston, TX!!!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Escapees’ HQ

Tuesday we were on road for the morning, pulling into Rainbows End, just south of Livingston TX about noon.  Rainbow’s End is the home park and national headquarters of the Escapees RV Club.  The name comes from a “Special Kind of People” who are (mostly) Full-Time RVers.  We have been members since 2008, when we were still working, before we sold our house and hit the road.  There are many others, like us, who have no fixed “sticks and bricks” house, and live full-time in their RVs.  Some have been doing this for many years.  They are interesting people with a lot of stories.

In addition to many long-term and short-term parking spots, this park also has a unique CARE facility.  It is for members in need of some living assistance, when recuperating from health issues, or adult day-care help.  We took in a tour there on Wednesday and met many residents.

Just before leaving Mississippi, we had yet another issue with our day/night window coverings.  The strings have a way of wearing rapidly and breaking way too often.  Repairs can be made without outside help, but they are time consuming and often frustrating.  We have had enough of this, and have made plans to take a slight detour up to Dallas next week and have them replaced with a different type of shade.  It will take a couple of days, since the new ones are made to order, but we have a couple of weeks before our next project starts.

Spring is happening around here; the trees are budding and flowers opening.  The weather here is very pleasant – in the mid-70’s and sunny – so we’re enjoying being outside.  We even got in a scenic motorcycle ride yesterday.  We’re looking forward to getting some real TV reception in Dallas next week, as we haven’t been able to get anything except FOX TV since we got here!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Our Weekend in New Orleans

Friday morning we left Mississippi by mid-morning, going to Louisiana’s Bayou Segnette State Park, which is just southwest of downtown New Orleans.  This is the same park we stayed at 2 years ago.  It is quiet, roomy, and convenient to the city.  We just parked and relaxed, leaving only to get groceries.

Saturday we enjoyed the French Quarter, walking around and taking in the street musicians’ performances. 
Check out the drummer in this group:
He probably isn't 10 yrs old yet.

While waiting in line at CafĂ© du Monde, we chatted with 3 young ladies from Nashville who were in town for the weekend and traded information about places to go.  The Jazz National Park hosted an all-girl Brass Band who put on a very high-energy show that afternoon. 
A stranger had recommended a downtown restaurant, Mothers, where we had dinner before catching the ferry back to our car.

On Sunday we went to a local seafood market and got 5 lbs of fresh shrimp (so fresh it was probably in the Gulf yesterday).  After it was all cleaned and de-veined, it made for a great pasta dinner.

Monday we packed up and relocated to Western Louisiana.  We stopped briefly at the state rest area in the middle of the Atchafalaya Swamp.  While there, we saw a short movie at the visitors center.
Here is the view out our side window on Tuesday morning
The trees are budding and spring is in the air (at least this far south).

Friday, March 8, 2013

No Longer in Mississippi

Our 3 weeks in Mississippi ended yesterday with a full day at Darlene’s house finishing the vanity installation and associated plumbing.  We are not fans of remodeling old PVC waterlines.  A couple of old fittings broke when we were adding new lines, making for more work.  But the bottom line is that it is IN and Done.  It works and she is happy with it.  That counts more than how long it took us to do the job.  The mirror has yet to be installed, and some wall patching is yet to be done, but Stell and Jodi (2 other Nomads on that project who are staying in Mosspoint for another week) can finish that up next week.

We had a “going away” banquet last night at Caswell Springs UMC (our home for the past 3 weeks).  They had a report about the gumbo fundraising dinner and talent show we attended when we arrived.  Over $5,000 was raised for 3 different missions groups at that event and everyone had an enjoyable evening.  They had great food for us and we enjoyed saying our good-byes to everyone on the project and church members.

We hit the road about 9:00 this morning, headed west into Louisiana.  We will take the weekend off in New Orleans, similar to what we had done 2 years ago and then head into Texas for awhile.  It is still too early in the year to return to Minnesota, so we have agreed to lead another Nomads group in northern Louisiana during the first 3 weeks of April, and then head back to the north.  In the meantime, we plan to sleep late, recuperate, drink lots of coffee, walk the French Quarter, and eat lots of Cajun Food and more seafood this weekend.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Still in Mississippi

We are still here.  We’ve been busy working and not able to post messages here on our blog.  Last weekend we crossed the state line to the east and played tourist in Mobile Alabama where the big attraction is the WW2 battleship USS Alabama

We completed the 2 tours below decks, and came outside for the third tour as the rain came down.  Instead of getting wet, we jumped in the car and had lunch down the shore at a great seafood place.

On this week’s time off, we did a couple of tourist activities: Friday morning we visited the Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge, before going to lunch at The Shed which is a star of Diners, DriveInns and Dives and located nearby in Ocean Springs.  It is an extremely low-key BBQ & Blues place and a lot of fun.  On Saturday, we went back to Ocean Springs where we visited the Gulf Islands National Seashore, as run by the National Park Service.

Between these tourist weekends, we got quite a bit of work done.  The 2 rooms at Darlene’s house have new walls (taped and painted) and new floors (complete with subfloor, tile and baseboards).

A little electrical work and some plumbing is planned for the coming week, after the new vanity is finished.

Meanwhile, over at Eddie’s place, all of the ceramic floor tile is down, after a late day Thursday.  The grouting should be sealed and ready for baseboards and more doorway woodwork early this week.  Then we can get his stuff back to where he can use everything again.

Eddie wanted a photo of the work crew, so here is what he will receive tomorrow:
Just a group of Seniors giving back to society.