About Us

Southeast (Gulf Coast), Texas, United States

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Dallas RV Show -- Thursday

The RV show opened at 1:00pm today. We had planned to attend with Skip and Pat Wade, who were going to drive up from Mexia, and we made arrangements to meet them at a local Pappaduex's restaurant for lunch before going to the show.

Patsy and I arrived at the convention site on Tuesday afternoon, and spent two nights in our motor home on the parking lot. We actually had a nice place to park.

We had a pleasant surprise when we entered the show. It was advertised as having a $10 per person entry fee, but on Thursday, it costs only $5 per person. It was a well stocked show, but there were no Winnebago 38's, or Allegro Bay motor homes. We did look at an Allegaro Bus, which was a 40' diesel. It was everything that Patsy and I wanted...... keyless entry, cummins diesel with side radiator, 3500 lbs CCC, and a great floorplan. Problem was a $200K+ price tag, and we need to think that over for a while.

We left the show at about 5:30pm, and got immediately into the Dallas freeway traffic jam. We did however, make it to Buda by about 10:30pm, so we could look at the Allegro motor homes at Marshall RV in Buda.

We spent the night on the local Walmart parking lot and went to Marshall at 9:00am. They had four Phaetons on the lot, but we learned that they did not handle the Allegro Bus. We looked over the Phaetons, but since they have a rear radiator, they are off our list.

We ended up going to the Crestview RV dealer in Buda, and taking another look at the Winnebago Adventurer 38T. In fact, we drove it on the interstate. Bottom line, we still like it, and we are still debating gas vs diesel. Luckily, we are on our way to the Perry FMCA convention in mid March, and will get to see a lot of motor homes and talk to the chassis manufacturers. I also intend to drive more motorhomes.

We got home on Friday at about 3:00pm. We parked the motorhome, and went to pick up our grandkids at daycare. It was a nice reunion, and we had them until about noon on Saturday.

We also got our Perry packet in the mail, so we are set up to go. Until then, we will be doing maintenance on the motorhome, car and house. We have washed the car, changed the oil and filter on both the motorhome & car, greased the motorhome, and started cleaning weeds in the yard and flower beds. We have a load of dirt scheduled for delivery on Tuesday. Patsy has toe surgery scheduled for Monday morning. We are going to be busy right up to the time we leave. Full-timing might be a good idea!!

Here's a picture of Pat and Skip in the Allegro Bus. More pictures of the Bus follow. Skip is a happy sort of guy!!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Fort Worth, Texas – Wednesday

Today, we wanted to go back to Vogt’s RV in Fort Worth and look again at the diesel pushers…… Kountry Star by Newmar and Phaeton by Tiffin. We are leaning heavily toward diesel. The Newmar is a 400hp Cummins engine on a Spartan chassis, which seems to be the more desired by RV’ers, and the Tiffin has a Cat engine on a Freightliner chassis. The latter has a rear radiator, and that is a big negative to me because of engine access and filthy air being sucked in from the rear.

After looking both over, we decided to go to the Stockyards area. We got there just in time for the cattle drive, so we took some pictures of “COWS” for Matthew, and we also noted that they had a plaque in the sidewalk to honor me……… at least it had my name on it!!!
Tonight, we plan to eat at an “Outback Steakhouse”, and then go back to the motor home to work on some comparison spreadsheets and study our brochures & other information to get ready for the RV show tomorrow. Skip and Pat Wade from Mexia are meeting us up here to go to the show. We will go out for lunch first. We ‘motorhomed’ with them and their small kids in 1980 while we lived in Benton, Arkansas……… so they are really old folks!!

Dallas, Texas – Monday & Tuesday

We left Odessa on Sunday night about 7:00pm and drove about 175 miles to Abilene, Texas, and stayed overnight in a Texas rest area. We had earlier stopped in one closer to Odessa, but the WIFI was not working. We then decided to drive another 60 miles to the next rest area, and when we got there, it was not working either, but we spent the night!

We dumped and filled up with gas and water at the Abilene (Tye) Flying ‘J’, and drove into Dallas. We had located the Pappasito’s Mexican restaurants while on Ron’s WIFI, and we headed to the closest one which was in Fort Worth. We had waited until almost 2:00pm to eat lunch, but it was worth it. We had really missed ‘tex-mex’ food!!

We then drove to Vogt’s RV in Dallas to look at both Tiffin and Newmar motorhomes. They did not have the Allegro Bay (gas) in stock that their website said that they had, but we looked at a Phaeton that we liked. We also looked at a diesel Kountry Star, and instantly regained our interest in the Kountry Star. Patsy is now on the “I want a diesel kick”.

After Vogt, we went drove up highway I-35E to Denton, where we dropped the motor home at a Wal-Mart parking lot and went to the McClain RV store to see the Winnebago 38T, again. They had one, and we decided that we still like the layout…. a lot! The salesman there told us about a diesel Winnebago Vectra that they had at their Rockwall store, about 25 miles east of Dallas on I-30. So, we picked up the motor home, and drove to a Walmart near Rockwall with the intention of going to see it on Tuesday.

Tuesday morning, we had breakfast in bed (Patsy walked to the nearby McDonald’s to pick up “hot cakes with sausage”), and then we drove to the Rockwall store. No Vectra (supposedly taken to the RV show), but we did see a 38T with dark wood. I also got to talk to a fairly knowledgeable salesman about my diesel vs gas debate going on in my head! Now I have more opinions to weigh the difference.

We drove by the Market Place Center, site of the RV show, and found the parking the same as last year, except for some repaving, so we moved the motor home there. We plan to park here on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, and, unless we need to stay another day to negotiate a motor home price, we plan to leave for Victoria on Thursday night.

We called our nephew, Clint, and invited him to go out to dinner with us. We decided on the Spaghetti Warehouse in the West End District in Dallas. We met him there, and had some good Italian food. Here's photos of Patsy and Clint at the restaurant and some general pictures of the West End area (the second picture is of the 'owls' outside the local Hooter's restaurant):

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Odessa, Texas -- Saturday & Sunday

We left El Paso on Saturday morning and headed toward Odessa. We arrived in Odessa about 5:30pm and met Carol and Ron, Patsy's cousin, along with their oldest son, Shane, at a Chili's Restaurant for dinner. Here's the family photo:

To get in more visiting time, we made plans to go to Carol and Ron's house on Sunday at 1:00pm and spend the afternoon. Patsy offered to bring some of our shrimp and halibut filets from Puerto Penasco. Ron fried the fish, shrimp and hush puppies on his outside grill, while Patsy and Carol put the rest of the meal together and chatted. Shane and I made good use of Ron's WIFI that he had set up in the house. I did everyting but update this blog, which was a mistake, because none of the rest areas on I-20 had working WIFI!!!!

Here's photos of mealtime:


I failed to mention a couple of posts back about my gifts from our traveling friends. Mike and Linda gave us a CD with a copy of all of their photos or our travels together and a photo taken by plane of our desert campsite in Quartzsite. Also, Bob and Linda gave us copies of their photos of the same time (took 3 CD's) period....... and Bob says it includes videos of Patsy and the 'ladies' dancing on the boat trip!! I also gave them a CD of our photos. Here's the loot:

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Headin' for Texas

With the Gypsy rally over, it was time to start our trek back to Texas. We hooked up and got on the road about 11:00am. We said our good byes to Bob and Linda and Mike and Linda. We have developed a great friendship over the past four weeks, and we will miss them. Here's the three amigos on the last day.....
Our plan was to stop at a Trader Joe's for one last 'stock up', and make it to El Paso, TX. We stopped at a Trader Joe's in Tucson and bought all the banana bread mixes that they had on the shelf (asked to buy a case, but they don't keep any stock at the stores). We also bought as much frozen stuff that would fit in the freezer with our fish and shrimp from Mexico.......... which is not much.

We made it to the El Paso welcome station at about 6:30pm, and promptly raided the freezer for the Trader Joe's shrimp fried rice and chicken egg rolls. I then tested the free WIFI connection and spent a couple of hours on line.

New Travel Plans

While hooked up to Bob's internet connection at the Gypsy Rally, I began searching for RV shows and Rallies. We had been to the FMCA rally in Perry, GA, and remember the great display of new coaches and the chassis manufacturers' displays. It was in 2005, and that is where we got our Brake Buddy for $800 complete with break-away and remote signal right before our Alaska trip.
So, as we drove along, we discussed going to Perry, and before we got out of Arizona, we stopped and called FMCA and got registered. We signed up for a site with electric, and are scheduled to go into the area on Sunday afternoon (18Mar07) Since the Tiffin coach is on our short list, we plan to stop in Red Bay and tour the factory on the way back to Texas after the rally. We hope to see the model we want to buy under construction. I like to see how the tanks and other 'hidden' items are installed and attached.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Gypsy Journal Rally -- Thursday

This was the last day of the rally seminars. This morning, Patsy went to a session on "RV Fire Safety", and then both of us went to a seminar on "RV Weight Safety". The latter was really good for us, since we are in the market for a new motor home. For me, it clarified the weight ratings that are available to assess the design of a motor home.

After lunch, we both attended the last two seminars. One was presented by the personal protection people and was titled "RV'ing the Heartland of America". It was a presentation of the central US states of North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and parts of Oklahoma and Texas, and the simple, but special offerings of each.
The last seminar was presented by the rally organizer, Nick Russell, and was titled "The Frugal RV'er". In the session, Nick discussed ideas to minimize the expense of RV'ing, whether full-timing or not. A lot of what he presented were things that we have been doing, but were good suggestions.

For dinner, our group decided to go to the local Chili's for dinner. It was the smallest Chili's restaurant that any of us had seen, and it took us the better part of an hour to get a table for six. In the picture above, you will see Linda and Bob Klyne at the front end of the table. They have a web site called: http://www.because-we-can.net/ . We met them at Quartzsite after contacting them through the web site. They ended up agreeing to go to Puerto Penasco with us, and then on to Organ Pipe Cactus Memorial National Park.

The couple sitting across from Patsy and I are Linda Oddo and Mike Desch. They have been organizing the RVA Quartzsite meeting for the past couple of years, and this year, also organized the arrangements for the Puerto Penasco trip. They also were a part of the group that continued on to Organ Pipe. We had met them last year at Quartzsite.

After learning that Bob and linda were attending the Gypsy Journal Rally, Mike & Linda and Patsy & I decided to join them. 'Spur of the moment' decisions like this are one of the benefits of RV travel.

With all of the travel, we have spent the past 4 weeks together. Tomorrow, we will go our separate ways. Bob and Linda will spend a few days in Tombstone before traveling to northern Arizona to work in the Petrified Natural Forest. Mike and Linda are heading to Yuma for a couple of weeks. Patsy and I will head for El Paso and Odessa to visit her cousin, and then to the RV show in Dallas next weekend.

We all plan to meet at Quartzsite for another, yet unplanned trip next year!!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Gypsy Journal Rally -- Wednesday

Today is Valentine's Day, and my birthday. We slept in late, and then exchanged gifts. I had purchased a perfect card for Patsy for Valentine's Day........... I thought!!! I found it at Wal-mart in Victoria before we left on this trip and hid it in the motor home. It was in the section for 'wife', and had the perfect message about 'always doing things to aggravate the person', and when you opened the card, the inside was printed upside down. Now the problem........ It said "to DAD"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

After a good laugh, we got up and went to a morning seminar on "Personal Defense using Pepper Spray". It was a really good and informative session. Outside, they did some demonstrations....
After the seminar, we had planned to have a Valentine's Day lunch with the other two couples that are here with us., and we walked back to the motor home. When we got there, we found "happy birthday" balloons on the motor home, and the lunch turned out to be a 'birthday lunch'. We ate lunch at a Mexican Restaurant appropriately named "Mi Amigo, Ricardo". Here are some pictures:
After lunch, we all returned to attend a presentation by the organizer of this rally, Nick Russell. Nick is a writer of RV and Travel books, and a periodical newspaper called the "Gypsy Journal". The title of the presentation was the same as one of his books.... "Highway History & Back Road Mystery". The book is a collection of special stories that Nick and his wife, Terry, uncover while traveling the back roads of the USA. It was a good presentation. Here's a picture of Nick making his presentation.In the evening, we attended a combination of entertainment. It started with a pizza dinner, which was followed by a 'beauty contest'...... the contestants were RV'ing men in drag!! Nick Russell was the Master of Ceremony.

After the 'beauty' contest, which further visualized the term 'trailer trash', we were further entertained with a 'white elephant' auction. This turned out to be an auction of items that people had in their rigs that they no longer wanted. Dispite the fact that the items were mostly discards, there were some good bargains. However, none that we wanted!!

There was also a 50/50 drawing tonight as well as last night. Last night, the winners take was $310, and tonight it was $254. None of our group won either night.......... but there is one more tomorrow night!

Gypsy Journal Rally -- Tuesday

Tuesday started off with Donuts. I got dressed and walked to the distribution location, while Patsy stayed in bed, and subsequently had breakfast (donuts) in bed!!

After, we went to different seminars. In the morning, Patsy attended a class on "RV'ing Women", while I attended one on "Awning Maintenance". In the afternoon, we both attended a seminar on "Personal Safety for RV'ers" and then we split up so she could attend "RV Tech for Women" while I went to a seminar on "Tire Safety".

The personal safety seminar was presented by a husband/wife team that we had heard when we attended an FMCA rally in Perry, GA in the Spring of 2005. He was an ex-police officer, and she had been a dispatcher.
In the evening, there was a complimentary showing of the movie "RV" with Robin Williams. Patsy and I had seen it before, but it was fun watching it in a room with 300 other RV'ers.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Gypsy Journal Rally -- Monday

When we came in on Sunday, we were actually arriving a day early, but that was the plan for our group. We are parked with two of us side by side, and the third is behind us. Also, the RV next to me drove into the space instead of backing in, so our awnings are facing. That gives us a nice area to meet and party.

Since today was 'normal' arrival day, we watched the other folks come in and get parked during the morning. We also walked around and looked the fairgrounds over and took some pictures. They have several buildings with murals on them:
In the early afternoon, we went to an orientation for the rally, and picked up our agendas. There are 185 rigs here and almost 400 people.

Here's our goup at the meeting..............

Earlier today, when Patsy and Linda of "Bob and Linda" fame, were doing laundry in town, another RV'er (Virgil) that was with us in Mexico, walked in! We invited them over last night and had a get-together:

Monday, February 12, 2007

Gypsy Journal Rally -- Sunday

On Sunday morning, we left Apache Junction at about 10:30am after taking on 45 gallons of gas at a Wal-mart store for $2.17 a gallon. That looked like a pretty good deal around here, and then we got to Casa Grande, and we found one place that had it for $2.05!!

The 45 gallons carried us from Yuma, AZ to Puerto Penasco and back to Apache Junction, via Phoenix with some generator use. That was about 12 days of living/traveling, so the RV lifestyle is not overly expensive.

While in Mexico, we talked to Bob and Linda and they were going to a "Gypsy Journal Rally" in Casa Grande, AZ. I asked what it was, and they told me that a guy named Nick Russell of ESCAPEE fame published a travel newspaper called The Gypsy Journal, and he was hosting a rally for 5 days for $99. We thought it might be fun, so we called and signed up.

We are parked next to Bob and Linda, and I am on the internet from his satellite. You can see the satellite on his roof in the bottom picture. There are also tumbleweeds blowing across the desert here:
I will post more pictures from the rally as time goes on. It is fairly layed-back. The agenda won't be out until Monday afternoon at 2:30pm. They are expecting somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 rigs.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Mesa Area – Friday and Saturday

On Friday morning, we went to the super Mesa Flea Market that people in our RV group had told us about. We made a couple of purchases: Patsy got a small purse to carry when we are traveling, and we found a ‘flamingo’ candle light to use when we camp with the “Boomer” camping club. Afterward, we mailed packages to Deanne and Rick & Laura.

While driving around the Apache Junction area, we found a Super Wal-Mart that had a nice section for motor home parking. On Friday afternoon, we moved the motor home to it, and stay until Sunday morning when it was time to move to the rally area. Here are a couple of shots of the Wal-Mart lot for RV’s.

After moving the motor home, I found a place to get some ‘free’ WIFI, and we updated our blog for Thursday. We also did some research for Saturday……… we found some RV dealers that were having shows on their lots on Saturday, and we got information on the Old Town area in Scottsdale, AZ. Then we went looking for another Trader Joe’s and bought some frozen shrimp-fried rice and egg rolls for dinner. Buy the time we got back to the MH, it was time to eat.

We got up Saturday and went looking at new motor homes. The local Newmar dealer did not have much, except for a 2005 Dutch Star that he would sell for $205,000. That’s a good price for a new Dutch Star, but it has been sitting for over two years, and I’ll bet a lot of stuff will give the buyer problems shortly down the road. We also looked at a 2006 Holiday Rambler Sceptor that had been marked down from $287,000 to $220,000. The salesman then told me he would give me $30,000 for mine, and that there was still room to bargain. We left, telling him we would think about it. It was a 40-footer with a 400hp Cummins in it. It is a good thing that we left, because about a mile down the road, I realized that there had to be reason that it was still on lot and they wanted to cut the price so much! We were close to walking into the manager’s office to see if we could deal!!!

After that excitement, the rest of the day seemed slower! We went to the tourist area in Scottsdale, and then drove around the Mesa area. In the first picture below, Patsy is standing by a metal palm tree, and the fountain in the last two pictures was listed in the Scottsdale brochure as "our famous Bob Parks Horse Fountain, one of the most photographed spots in Arizona":

We finished off the day with another dinner in the MH, after getting supplies for next week at the rally.

Tomorrow morning, we head to the “Gypsy Journal Rally” in Casa Grande, AZ….. about 40 miles south of here. It goes from Monday to Friday, and they are offering the rally, and camping with water and electric for $99. We then plan to start back to Texas via Odessa to visit Carol and Ron as well as Dallas to attend the RV Super Show.