God Blessed Texas

Howdy folks, from San Antonio, Texas; home of the Alamo!  We can now say we have been there, plus the Wax Museum, Ripley’s Believe It or Not and a 4D show!  We spent a day being complete tourists, and had lunch at none other than Hooters! The funniest part was trying to find the place, when dad asked a couple of older ladies walking by, “How do we get to Hooters?” and they ignored him and moved to the other side of the sidewalk.

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What? Who me?

Here is my take on the sights we saw Tuesday, October 29, 2013.

The Alamo- Awesome that it’s free, massive history in one place but I was ready to move on in about 20 minutes.  I am just not a history buff, but it would be a great place for those who love to soak up that kind of thing.

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the three tourists

Wax Museum- Not very impressed, a lot of the figures didn’t look very real, and I think Sandra Bullock would be offended that they made her look manly. Wouldn’t go there again.

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I wont be back!

Ripley’s Believe It or Not- Tons and tons of interesting stuff and there are 3 levels to it.  It was really cool and you could probably spend days looking around and would still miss something.  I got restless after the 3rd hour.

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The world’s largest tire

4D show- My favorite of the four things we did on Tuesday.  It was two 5 minute shows but not only are they 3D, but with 4D the seats moved, they had air and mists of water shoot out at certain times and even fake snow.  It was super entertaining and lots of fun, and I don’t like real amusement rides.

I have to say that Texas has been pretty good to us so far.The price of fuel, which for Diesel we can get for $3.57 and are you ready for it, as low as $2.99 for unleaded!

Then the other night we had the most astonishing lightening storm we’ve ever seen.

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Mitch called it a strobe storm and I called it techno thunder.

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 It was AMAZING and lasted at least 3 hours.

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The temperature was 75 degrees at 11 pm, the rain was warm, the air muggy, and the sky was sporadically streaked with God’s awesomeness!

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We were happy as a clams taking as many pictures of the sky as we could with our iPhones. By the way, not the ideal tool for capturing the best photos, but we were just so grateful for the experience.

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Unfortunately, with that wonderful lightening show and warm almost November rain (yes, another song reference), we also found that there is a leak in papa’s camper.

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We just added it to the list of things to get fixed and are now in the process of finding a dealer of Livin Lite Campers here in Texas.

The speed limit on the I-10 in Texas is 80 mph, not that we did that speed with Willy and Way, but to know we could was cool!

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They also has some huge grasshoppers, so big they don’t hop; they just walk on the grass, so big they scared Milo when he first saw one.  The fireflies are amazing, there is nothing like seeing them sprinkle the darkness with spots of light.

On the other side of the coin, we have encountered some not so good parts. Papa has found it difficult to metal detect in Texas compared to other states.  You need a permit to detect in any state parks, and anything of historical value you have to turn over to the state; and we haven’t found a place yet.

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Astronaut Papa at Ripley’s

Mitch’s challenge has been the humidity, although tolerable right now, it wouldn’t be for him if it were summer time.  For me it has been those darn fire ants! They are small, stealthy and painful!  I can be standing near the grass for 10 seconds getting a bag of groceries out of the truck, and ouch!  I look down and the little booger has bitten me!

Mitch has taken up the Harmonica; we went and got him one for his birthday, which is on the 5th and he can already play a couple songs.  As I write this post his is mastering his new craft.

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Watch out Willy Nelson!

Suddenly Seeking Seventy’s

Although we were craving warmer weather, come find out; not THAT warm. Once we arrived in Lake Havasu City, AZ, and did five days boondocking, we realized that 91 degree’s during the day is just too hot.

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I’m sweating here, take me elsewhere!

Oh what to do, what to do.  Guess this is another lesson learned for us newbies, enjoy the good temperatures and don’t hurry to the next spot cuz it just may be to darn hot.  I don’t know where I’m going, but I sure know where I’ve been… seems to be the song that pops into my head lately  (thankfully I am not on my own, as he is in his song) when we are trying to decide which way to go and what to do next.

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Us and the cactus, just go any which way.

As of now we have decided to head east, go to Texas and see my friend Amy, then maybe shoot down to New Orleans.  We have found it difficult to stay in one place, knowing there is so much to see and so much we want to do.

On our way to Texas we stopped into Mesa AZ, Mitch’s friend Murry Cox from AHCC let us use his place to do some laundry and take much needed showers.  Now mind you, we had been conserving water, since we were dry camping, so it had been a good six days since I had taken a “real” shower.  Yes folks a record for me for sure.  Maybe that’s why there were so many darn flies bothering us when we were in Lake Havasu! Although it had been days, I found myself in no hurry to shower, so I piddled around out on their patio pulling some weeds and what not. It was just an off day and all the little things that should work out easily were being difficult.

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Everybody has those rocky days, asks these guys.

Once dad had finished his shower, I figured it was probably time, plus then I would see how much was a tan and not just dirt.I turned on the water, waited for it to get warm and put one foot in as I watched the clear water hitting my foot turn into a dirty brown stream running towards the drain. I thought to myself, guess that’s what happens when you only wear flip-flops all the time.  Next thing I know as I began to step all the way in, the pressure slows down to a trickle and stops. What? No way!  Maybe I just wasn’t meant to shower.  I check all the other faucets in the house and yep, no water.  Mitch says he saw some guys digging a hole by the front of the condos and maybe there was a water leak and they shut it off.  We waited, and waited a little longer.  Finally, there was WATER!  I was a bit apprehensive about hopping back in because I thought they might shut it off again, but by then, I was beyond ready to shower.  Once again, I turn on the water, anticipating the warm refreshing feeling of being clean.  After one round with the shampoo, I realize I needed two.  On my second round of hair washing, head completely lathered…the water shuts off again! I laughed, felt sorry for myself for a minute and laughed a little more.

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Is it just one of those days, or is there a dog on my head?

Hmmm. Well, guess I’ll just wait it out.  With this unexpected extra time I began pondering the real reason of why such a simple thing can become so complicated.  Is there some lesson about personal growth I need to learn? As my wise Kathy Jo would say,  “to grow as a person you must have challenging experiences.” So I made the best of it, used all the soap from my hair to shave my legs and tada… the water came on right afterwards and stayed on. Take that, potentially frustrating problem! I turned you around!

After an uneventful Casino nights sleep in Mesa, AZ we were off to Las Cruces, New Mexico.  We arrived ready and excited to have on demand water and power. We also used our new Passport America membership at the Coachlight Inn Motel and RV park, in Las Cruces, and almost made our money back from being members!

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Sunset in Las Cruces at the RV Park

This  (Las Cruces, not the RV park) is a place of variety, beauty, and splendor.  The things that the area has to offer are amazingly unique and inviting.  So far, it’s my favorite place when it comes to the desert lands.

Wednesday, Oct. 23rd we went to our first National Park, the White Sands!

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It is a place like no other, with miles of glistening pure white hills spotted with vegetation.

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  We arrived with no real idea of what it may be like and were so pleasantly surprised.

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The sand is so soft and inviting, when you walk on the edge of a hill and your foot begins to slide down deeper, the sand becomes cooler.

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To walk on this amazing creation of nature one cannot help but to be enamored by the greatness that is God.

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It’s better than any beach I have ever walked; it is so untouched and spectacular.

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 My Love and I had the most amazing time together, just enjoying the land and being mesmerized by its beauty as we walked the white sands.

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Especially in the fact that we were the only two people on the hills made it even more magical.

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If ever you need some spiritual revitalizing and to just be in awe of nature, this is a place to go.

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After our two nights in Lac Cruces, a super yummy Mexican meal at La Posta in De La Mesilla we were on our way to San Antonio, TX.

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Our plan was to stay a night at the halfway mark of our 600-mile journey, but being people who just love the drive, we ended up making it the whole way after 15 hours of driving.

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Meatball sub aint no good, unless you make a mess!

We arrived at Walmart 2 miles from our destination at 2:30 a.m. on Friday morning and slept in their parking lot for the night.  Thanks again Walmart! Based on the price of diesel along our travels, we have been burning up the pocket book.  We have decided to set some roots and stay a whole month here at the Stone Creek RV Park in Schertz, TX.  We are looking forward to enjoying the sights, the good weather and great company of friends.

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As the days grow longer since we have been on our journey, the self-exploration along with experiences of our travels, I have a new appreciation for the reality of dreams, greater than imagined and more difficult than anticipated.

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Towards our next journey we go, embracing every aspect as it is, not how we thought it to be.

Finally Boondocking

From the beach in Ventura to the dry hills in Lake Havasu AZ. It was a great trip getting to our next destination and with no truck troubles along the way, thank the good Lord for that! After staying the night at Walmart, we arrived in Lake Havasu on Wednesday and looked for a place to set up in the boonies. My great, loving wife and co-pilot did her research and found a boondocking site on Craggy Wash rd just North of the Lake Havasu Airport. We drove past a few other campers and about 3/4 of a mile further we knew this was the place to be. After setting up camp and getting a bit of down time in, I had to get the hiking blood out of me. I looked around and determined which hill I was going to climb and after loading up my back back with the essentials, I set off to tackle my first climb.

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My first climb

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It took only about 20 min to get to the top as my wife and pops watched from below. It was a rewarding feeling getting to the top and felt good to finally get some exercise in.
The view was spectacular and I could see for miles.

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A view from the top

I took some pics, yelled at the top of my lungs, “hellooooo” to my wife below and saw the next hiking mountain in the distance. (A much bigger task). After about 45 min basking in the glory of God’s creation, I headed down the hill. Once back at camp, I told Pops and Shawna of my adventure and couldn’t wait until I tackeled the “big one.”

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The big one

Realizing it was still early in the day, I had time to go again. I replenished my pack and I was off again. Once I got to the base of what appeared to be a mountain straight up, and of course catching my breath numerous times, I thought to myself, oh boy, I may have bitten off more than I could chew.

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A closer view

But I was so determined to get to the top and yell to my love below I couldn’t turn back now. I scaled the cliff to the next level and thought, huh, hope I can get down. I had only one chance to make it due to the crevasse that was below, and if I had slipped or tripped, doom was sure to be my demise.

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The crevasse

After a few more pics and a farewell video to my wife, I decided to go for it. Of course this was several minutes trying to talk myself into it. Up I went and after about 10 steps I looked up and it got much steeper. It really appeared that my next few steps would really make me or literally “break” me (in half). The good Lord got me this far and I was still breathing and only had a few minor scrapes, but could I do this? The wind was howling and I took two chances already to get to this point and made it, but how many more chances do I have? How much would it cost to have a Helicopter rescue me, I thought. I took another few pics and videos and asked God to keep me safe and after 15 more minutes I began my decent.

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From the middle of my climb

Defeated and disappointed, but not dead. The only way for me to get down and again past the hurdle that got me to this point was to jump about 7 feet to a small flat area. If I tripped or slipped, the crevasse on my left would have surely taken me. I prayed again, told my wife that I loved her In the video and made the leap! I made it and only a minor twist of my leg and a couple scrapes on my knees, but I was still alive.

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Bruised but not battered!

I took about a half hr and relaxed and admired the view that I thought I would never see again and was enamored at it once again. Made it back to camp and was very grateful to see my loving family once again. I had told myself that I have too much to live for and didn’t want to risk my life again for just a silly climb. So my climbing adventure was over (for now) and after recuperating for a couple of days, I was searching for my next big climb!

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Another beautiful view!

So back to boon docking; it was more of a challenge than we anticipated. Water and power are things you should not take for granted, because when you need to conserve, it’s a bit tougher than one may think. Having to maintain the level in our grey holding tank was a concern as we neared the end of our stay. Like rinsing out toothpaste and dirty dish water would sure too add to the level, but how much more can we go once the panel says that it’s full? So we will have to do some serious thinking about how to make it work for us in the future for longer than 5 nights in the sticks! It was a learning lesson and we will certainly know what we will need and how much the next time we venture into the unknown! After a few days we really needed to see the lake!

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Charlie swimming in Lake Havasu

It was hot and dry and I didn’t think they named the town Lake Havasu unless they had a lake. We took the dogs and pops and found the best spot to medal detect and just lounge a near the water!

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The oasis in the desert

Just across the London bridge were Palm trees, blue skies, and cool water! An oasis of solitude it was, after being in the hot, dry desert!

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The London Bridge
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the history of the bridge
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I was there for the historical event!

We will be heading to Mesa, AZ to take a hot shower and do some laundry at a good friends condo that he offered to us. Thank you Murry from AHCC!!! Off to New Mexico we go!

Sent from my iPhone

The Week of Firsts

It seems as if we have been full timing for months, not weeks, living this lifestyle.  Probably because we are actually having life experiences, and not doing the everyday grind that we are so accustomed to. We are now able to find stuff without having to search through the whole house, and things are starting to slow down.  Our week in Mojave, CA was full of first time experiences, good family time and the unexpected.

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A wonderfully relaxing day with Angela, just going for a walk!

It began with our first week of laundry, lesson learned; don’t pour fabric softener directly onto clothes at the beginning of a wash. We are so used to having a fabric softener spot in the washing machine we were just winging it.  One of Mitch’s favorite shirts now has splotches on the back. Also, from what we heard the prices to do laundry there was pretty good.  It cost $1.25 for wash and .75 cents to dry.

Along one of our walks out in beautiful desert, an unfortunate sight!
Along one of our walks out in beautiful desert, an unfortunate sight!

We also decided to try and take the dogs for a run while riding our bikes, which we had never done, and it went really well until Milo needed to take care of business right in the middle of the road.  Talk about stopping on a dime. I now have a poop bag dispenser that clips onto the leash that I got from the dollar store!  One of my best dollars spent I would have to say. Oh, do I love the dollar store.  Everything’s a dollar!  Speaking of dogs, I am now a member of marked territory.  Mitch and I usually take turns taking the dogs out in the morning, while the other one gets the coffee together.  It was my morning, nothing unusual, Milo had already laid claim to a couple trees, while Charlie, who pees like a girl hadn’t done his business.  Finally, he found his spot and Milo wanted to interrupt, I pulled him back to give Charlie some space. As I stand there waiting, I didn’t see Milo roaming about and thought how odd, then realized he was right next to me, but why is he standing so close?..  Oh my Gosh! He peed on me! Yep. Another first.

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Minutes after Milo marked his turf

I did some research and found that he is confused about who is the Alpha and was trying to establish dominance.  Since then we have done some work to ensure he knows that he isn’t in charge.

I had mentioned that we needed ball joints in our last post; unfortunately we didn’t get them from Les Schwab in Battleground, WA.  Had we, it would have been a couple hundred dollars cheaper and a lot less work trying to find a business we felt comfortable with.  Thankfully, Angela, Mitch’s sister who works for Service Master by Master and Sons, was able to talk with her boss who has a guy he uses in Canyon Country, called Tommy’s Auto.

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Thanks Angela for being our Angel!

They did a great job, we were able to get us in on Saturday October 12, on the day we called, and they had to stay open late,  just to get it finished. (They were BAD!) Unfortunately, due to the lack of time they weren’t able to look into the weird humming sound that we were having when Mitch would let off the accelerator at around 60 mph.  We were hoping that it would have gone away after they fixed the ball joints, but that wasn’t the case.  Arg, what was it? Well darn we said, guess we’ll need to get that checked out on Monday.  After 5 hours, and a super yummy burger at Brother’s Burgers in Santa Clarita and lots of waiting we had new ball joints and later, a dinner date with family.  We all met up at Jason’s house, Mitch’s nephew. We had a great visit over some pizza and soda, just catching up.  One of our conversations was about metal detecting.  I had tried to do some metal detecting with Dad at the RV Park we were staying at, and it was hard dirt, so hard you would need a pick to break it up.  I had mentioned to Dad about wanting to metal detect on the beach, and how easy the sand would be to dig.  What do you know, Jason wanted to try metal detecting too!  What a great opportunity to go to the beach and do just that.  It was only an hour and a half away, and we were all really excited about our first real outing! Plus we get to go to the beach!  Yahoo!  Sunday morning Mitch, Papa and I loaded up the truck with the dogs at 6 am to meet Jason and Angela at his house at 7. We were on time and things were going smoothly, in less than two hours we were going to be at Ventura Beach!  Jason, and his mom Angela drove in his car and we followed going down a beautiful and windy road called bouquet canyon.  Until we hear a weird whup whup sound when we went right on corners. We pull over, looking to see if a tire was rubbing, no, that wasn’t it.  Maybe it needs power steering fluid. We read the manual, it says to use ATF + 4 for power steering? Were we reading that right? Transmission fluid for power steering? Yep, that’s what we are supposed to use.  How odd we thought but ok.

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What could be wrong now!?

After two more stops, we go to back up out of a parking lot and we heard a loud pop. We thought that we had hit something, I get out to check and there is nothing.  Oh, boy, so we stopped into Mikes Tires, the place that did our alignment the day before (the mechanic we used contracts the alignments out).  They were able to take it for a test drive and determine within minutes that it was our bearings.  Miguel, at Mike’s Tires said that our bearings were the worst he had even seen, and when he heard the noise during the test drive he was about to jump out of the truck! What a blessing that the tire didn’t come off!  Once again, a close call and we listened to the warning signs! All those prayers for safe travels aren’t falling on deaf ears.

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I thought we were going to the beach!

After 3 hours, another delicious meal at Brothers Burgers and new bearings, it was Beach or Bust!  Finally we make it to the beach, after finding a parking spot and getting out of our cars we see “no dogs allowed on beach” sign. Oh, no way!  Seriously! What are we going to do? Thankfully, a guy that legitimately looked like a surfer dude told us there was a place just down the road that allowed dogs. Back into the vehicles and down the road we went, it was still Beach or Bust! We had made it!  Piling out, everyone’s hands were full of metal detectors, chairs, dog leashes, drinks and lunch, finally we trudged towards our destination. It turned out to be a great day at the beach.

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Mitch, papa and Jason, the great bald hunters.

Jason found the most money, enough to buy a candy bar.  Mitch came in with a quarter, a dime and a penny, and pops and me showed up with a bottle cap, an elastic bandage clip and soda pop top! But it was easy digging!  Guess we’ll find that diamond ring and treasure chest another day. Charlie and Milo had their first ocean experiences. Charlie loved swimming in the ocean with Mitch.  Milo wanted out the minute he got in it and ran away from the waves that came ashore.  Mitch and I took our first walk on the beach with the dogs.

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Us at the beach, without a beach in the background

It was also my first time at the beach ever with my Dad!

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Lets beep it again baby girl!
Me and Papa metal detecting

Angela and I mainly just soaked up the sun, and the experience! It was all that we had hoped for, aaaahh.  As our week came to an end at Sierra Trails RV Park it was time for us to truly venture off into the unknown.

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Wine, cigar and sister

Leaving the loving comfort of family and tackling the new adventure of boondocking was on our agenda.   Our Next destination is Craggy Wash in Lake Havasu City, AZ.