About Us

Southeast (Gulf Coast), Texas, United States

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Going Home -- Friday, Saturday & Sunday

Mark and I had talked about leaving El Paso around 6:00am on Friday morning, and I happened to wake up at 6:02am, so I got up and got ready to leave. Seeing no activity in his rig, I called him at 6:20am and woke him up……….. sweet revenge for all the early ‘wake up’ calls that he gave me during the trip.

We were on the road by 6:45am and made good time. We stopped at a McDonalds in Van Horn for breakfast. Then we drove continuously until we got to the last rest area before our Hwy 290 turnoff to head to Austin via Fredericksburg. We all stopped, and Patsy made a quick fairwell lunch. We agreed that we had a good trip, and all are looking forward to early March, when we plan to head to Perry, GA for "THE RALLY". We said our goodbyes, and Mark & Sue took off for Lake Charles.

Patsy and I stayed at the rest area while I used the free WIFI, and she picked up the Bus and rested. It was after 6:00pm when we finally left, and headed to Fredericksburg. It was raining, and it took us a while to get to Fredericksburg. When we finally arrived, we dropped by the motorhome of Bob and Linda to give them a ball cap that a mutual friend, John Randall had left in our Bus during a visit at Casa Grande. Bob and linda plan to meet up with John and his wife, Judy, later in March.

We finally got to Austin about midnight, and attempted to drive the Bus with toad around the downtown University area to find the wedding site. After finding ourselves in several neighborhnood with low hanging tree branches over the streets and narrow streets with parked cars, we gave up and headed south to find a Walmart to spend the night.

We got up Saturday morning, and checked into McKinney Falls Texas State Park, which is located just south of Austin. After unhooking the car, and parking the Bus in the campsite, we took the car into Austin to find the wedding site.

We easily found the wedding site in the daylight and with the car, and after checking out parking, we returned to the Bus. As we entered the park, we saw a large wild turkey walking around the gate area:

We mainly rested and got dressed for the wedding, and headed to the wedding site at about 3:00pm to make sure we could find parking, and avoid heavy traffic. The wedding was for the son of Patsy's cousin, Linda Hearne. We had visited Linda and her husband, George, in Dalton, GA last year.

The wedding was nice. For family, here are a few pictures. The first is Linda, with her parents, Uncle Elroy and Aunt Ann along with Linda's grandsons Pierce, and the new baby boy:

The following picture shows George with his sons, Brandt on the right, and Barry, the groom, on the left (Barry was one of the happiest grooms that I have seen!!):

After the wedding, we went back to the Bus, and slept well. On Sunday, we were slow to get up and move. It was only 120miles to our home in Victoria, but we did not arrive until 3:00pm. I did stop in Lockhart, TX to pick up some bar-b-que. I think they have the best in Texas!!

Now, we have to clean up the Bus, work in our yard at home, complete our income tax return, and a lot of other chores before we hit the road again in about 3 weeks. We will be going to Perry, GA with our friends Mark and Sue.


Friday, February 15, 2008

The Rally Is Over For Us -- Thursday

Thursday morning, Patsy and Sue went to a seminar, while Mark and I starting breaking camp and getting ready to hit the road. About 10:30, we hit the road after stopping down the road at Eloy, AZ at a Flying ‘J’ truck stop for fuel.

When we entered New Mexico, Patsy was driving, and I was playing with some mapping software that Mark had loaded on my computer. I found an Outback Steakhouse in El Paso, and I called and asked about reservations since it was Valentines Day. They did not accept reservations, but they did accept ‘call aheads’. They explained to me that a 'call ahead' would not get you a table right when you showed up, but it would moved you up the list. It was 4:30pm, and we had just entered New Mexico, show I got a ‘call ahead’ for 8:30pm.

We got to Texas at about 7:15pm and filled up at the Flying ‘J’ at Anthony, TX, and were about 32 miles from the restaurant. We got there at 8:05pm, and we did get moved up the list, but still waited about 40 minutes while others were waiting an hour and fifteen minutes. So, it worked………… somewhat!!

We had a good Valentine’s Day dinner, and then parked in a nice level lot near a movie theater for the night.

The Rally “Day 3” -- Wednesday

Today was not a big day for seminars that we were interested in. Patsy went to a seminar on “RV Tech Tips for Women”, but she did not stay long. When she came back to the motorhome, we went to lunch to use the coupon that I won on Monday night. We drove all over town before we found Rubio’s Fresh Mexican Grill. I got fish tacos and Patsy got a salad…………. It was OK, but nothing to brag about.

In the afternoon, I went to another Nick Russell seminar called “The Frugal RV’er”, which was about traveling on the cheap! It was interesting mainly because Nick is pretty funny.

In the evening, the six of us went to a local steak house called “Barney’s” for my Birthday tomorrow. We went tonight, because Patsy and I are pulling out this morning to head to Austin for a wedding.

Here’s a picture at the restaurant:

When we got back to the rally site, the famous “Cactus Queen Beauty Contest” was in progress. This is where some of the men dress up like women and compete for most ‘beautiful’. Here are some pictures (not to be viewed while eating or with a weak stomach):

Tomorrow, we pull out and head for Texas!!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Rally “Day 2” -- Tuesday

Tuesday was the first day for Seminars. Patsy had already taken the “hands-on” driving school, and on Tuesday, we went to Dick Reed’s ‘Driving Tips and Techniques for Motor Homes’ seminar. Here is Dick presenting the presentation and Patsy’s driving instructor, Frank Piccolo, looking on:

Later in the day, Patsy went to a seminar called “RV’ing, The Women’s Perspective” while Mark and I went to see Nick Russell’s “Highway History & Back Road Mystery” seminar. Nick likes to take the smaller roads and discover tidbits of ‘unwritten’ history. Here he is presenting the presentation:

During the day, I called our motor home insurance and got approval to get a windshield nick fixed. It is now scheduled for Wednesday morning at 9:00am.

While visiting the vendor area, I found a bracelet for Patsy for Valentine’s Day. Here is a picture of one of the Vendor area rows, and a picture of Patsy wearing the bracelet at the vendor’s table:

For dinner, we congregated in Greg and Mandy’s Phaeton, and enjoyed lasagna that Mandy made. Patsy brought salad, and Sue made a peach cobbler.

At 7:00pm, we went to the main building, and attended the door prize drawings. Two of us hit; Mandy got a coupon for Quizno’s subs, and Mark won a gift certificate for accessories for the Pressure Pro tire monitoring system.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Rally Begins -- Monday

The rally offically began on Monday with an opening meeting. Mark and I had volunteered to work on the parking committee in a discussion with a coordinator on Sunday night. He told us to show up at 8:00am at the main building. We got there at 7:45am, and they had made all the assignments.......... so we weren't needed. He even told us we were 'late'. We felt like we had been fired on our first volunteer job!!!

The rally has a good turnout. There ar 249 rigs here, compared with 185 last year. Here are some pictures of the opening meeting (the first picture is our group of Patsy, Mark, Sue, Mandy and Greg):

Here's the overall view:

Here's a picture of Nick and Terry Russell, publishers of The Gypsy Journal and organizers of the 2nd Western Gypsy Rally:
In the evening, our group convened in Mark and Sue's trailer, and we had Jambalaya. After dinner, we went to the nightly door prize meeting, and I won a free meal at Rubio's Fresh Mexican Grill.

Tomorrow, the rally seminars will begin.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Slow Day at the Rally -- Sunday

On Sunday, we mostly rested. Mark and I ran into town to buy me some shorts, since I did not pack any, and it has been in the mid to upper 70's the last couple of days.

Mike Nix, AKA Mike #2 from Quartzsite fame, called and came by early in the morning to visit. It turned out that he and Kathy were at a resort about 1 mile from the fairgrounds.

At about 10:30, Greg and Mandy Faure called to say that they were about 10 miles away. They drove up from Yuma to attend the rally................ and to spend time with Mark and I!!! Mark and I, although not officially on the parking committee, set up for them to be in a 'muddy' site almosts directly across from us. That was not good enough for Mandy because she wanted to be closer. This morning, a trailer that was parked across the street from us moved on, and we moved them in there! Here's a picture from inside my front windshield (Their Phaeton motorhome is the black one behind the white van):

The rest of the day, we just visited and walked around the rally grounds. At 6:00PM, Patsy made spaghetti and meat while Mandy and Sue made other stuff to go with it, and we ate dinner in the Bus.
More later.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Driving School at The Rally

Saturday was a "School Day" for Patsy and Sue. They were signed up for Dick Reed's (now Dennis Hill's) RV Driving School. Sue went in the morning, and Patsy in the afternoon. While Sue and Mark were away with their tow truck and trailer, they attempted to park someone in their site next to us. After they moved to the next site, Jim pulled out a "toy" that they had, and Patsy and I got a chance to experience riding a Segway vehicle. It was fun and easy!

Here's Patsy getting her lesson from Jim while his wife looks on. It is 'her' toy!

........ and then riding:

Right after lunch, it was our time for RV Driving School. Patsy had driven about 350 miles on I-10 in West Texas on the way out here, a little more on I-8 in Arizona, and then on the old Wal-mart parking lot, so she did really well in the training. Here are some pictures of her and Frank doing the training:

After school, we returned to the rally site and rested.

Friday – Casa Grande, AZ

We arrived in Casa Grande on Thursday night, and spent the night on a parking lot near a laundromat because Mark and Sue needed to do laundry before we hit the rally.

On Friday morning, while Mark and Sue did laundry, Patsy practiced driving the Bus on an old Wal-Mart parking lot that was next door. We used the parking space lines and the concrete planters for turning and parking practice.

With laundry done, we left to go to the rally area at the Pinal County Fairgrounds nearby. We got parked and went into town to the ‘real’ Wal-Mart to do some shopping.

Back at the fairgrounds, we met our neighbors for the next week, and also met the instructor that will be teaching Sue and Patsy to drive our RV’s on Saturday. They are attending "Dick Reed's Driving School", which is highly rated. Here they are with the instructor, Frank Piccolo, at the rally grounds:

Here are our rigs at the rally:

Friday, February 8, 2008

Tombstone -- Thursday

We got up Thursday, and the plan was to check out of the campground, and take the RV's and the car to Tombstone, so we could tour at our leisure. We parked the RV's in the designated lot, and took the car to tour the town.

We toured the town, about 5 complete blocks of tourist shops with a western theme. Some were claimed to be original. There were horse riders and stagecoaches in the road:

We also went into a saloon/restaurant that had a downstairs area via a winding staircase. In the men's restroom, they had a long urinal overfilled with ice, with the sign in the second picture above it:

We eventually spent the money, and took an 'authentic' trolley car tour of the town. Here is Sue and Patsy in the trolley car:

Afterwards, we walked around town looking for a place to eat lunch. I caught Mark and Sue standing in the street taking a picture, so I took their picture, but not before they saw me and took my picture of me taking their picture.........confused?!!?

As we walked down the sidewalk, I was acosted by a hot tempered 80 year-old French-Italian woman, who insisted that we eat at her restaurant....... Nellie Cashman's Restaurant. She even came by later to make sure that we made it. See Mark's blog for picture, since she was picking on me, I am sure Mark published it!!:

The restauranjt was a good choice. We had burgers, and they were big! After lunch, we walked the rest of the town. Here are a bunch of photos:

Before we left town, we visited Boot Hill cemetary, and took these pictures. The concept of Mark in Boot Hill is an interesting one!!!:

After Boot Hill, we hooked the car up to the Bus, and headed north to Casa Grande. We are going to attend the "Second Annual Western Gypsy Gathering Rally" put on by Nick Russell, publisher of 'The Gypsy Journal" RV newspaper next week in Casa Grande. As part of the rally, Sue and Patsy are scheduled to take driving lessons on Saturday.

Nogales -- Wednesday

Patsy and I left the Cummins Service Center on Tuesday night, and headed toward Tombstone. We called Mark and Sue, who were 'freezing' in Bisbee, AZ, and made arrangements to meet at a campground near Tombstone on Wednesday morning. We did meet.......... we arrived at the gate at almost the same time, with me just a little bit earlier, as always!!

We got 50amp sites that were side by side, and then made our plans for touring. The campground was really nice........ even though it was in the desert. Very well layed out with large sites and clean. We decided to head to Nogales and cross the border for lunch. It was only about a 55 mile drive. When we got to Nogales, TX, we stopped at the tourist bureau for information, and the lady behind the counter told us about a good place to eat in Nogales, MX, so we went there. It was the La Rocha Restaurant, and it was built against a rock and partially carved into the side of the rock. She also gave us coupons for free margaritas, as you can tell by looking at Sue in the second picture!!

Here are some photos at the restaurant (the woman on the left was just coming out of the restaurant and got into my picture):

The following are photos from the Nogales, MX market area. The first is a picture of Mark and the second picture is a donkey...... in case of mistaken identity:

We looked for a stained glass piece so we could cover the kitchen sink window in the Bus, but we could not find anything close to what we wanted. We left Mexico about 4:00pm, and got back across without any problem....... I guess because we did not have Mandy with us!!!!

We went back to the campgound and rest.