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Southeast (Gulf Coast), Texas, United States

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Little Rock to Home -- UPDATED


We stayed in Little Rock until 3:00pm on Thanksgiving Day when we left for Victoria. 

We did eat turkey and dressing with Rachel and her parents before leaving.  It was good, and we had dessert afterward. 

In the last picture of the previous post, I inserted a photo of Rachel’s “bedroom”.  Here, it is repeated……..


…. And, of course, before we hit the road, we had to clean it up!!  Here is Rachel, with the bed back into a couch, and all of her stuff packed up for the trip back to her home!!


Before leaving their home, we got a picture of Rachel, and her parents, Deanne and Mike at the front door.


Here’s Rachel at the front door that she helped her Mom decorate for Thanksgiving with her version of a Turkey!!


As we departed Little Rock, we had a little over 600 miles to travel and needed to be home to participate in a 50th Wedding Anniversary party for a friend of Patsy’s, whose wedding she was a bridesmaid that was on Saturday.

We split the drive into 2 days of 300 miles each.  We overnighted in a Walmart parking lot in Palestine TX, and managed to “watch/listen to” the Dallas & Washington football game on the way.  It was a good one, and made the first 3—4 hours of driving more painless!!

We arrived home about 1:00pm, and began to decorate the house for Christmas while we continued to live in the Bus on the driveway……. since we are leaving again on Thursday or Friday to attend the Lone Star Allegro Club Christmas rally at the Conroe TX KOA campground.  That will be the subject of the next blog.

While working on chores around the house, I found some 40w LED’s to use under the Bus’ microwave (and above the stove) to replace the very low wattage non-LED bulbs that were there.  I wanted it to be brighter and I wanted LED’s to minimize power draw when boon-docking.  Here’s a picture with all other lights off and at night!


If any other Tiffin owners want to upgrade with the bulbs, here is a reference………..l


This is the bulb with the candelabra base.  An intermediate base is needed on the Sharp microwaves installed by Tiffin. I used an adapter…….


By the way, I did not purchase from either of the above sites, I found the adapters at the ACE hardware in Belmont MS while at the Tiffin factory service center, and found the bulbs at a local electric company!!  The references were only to show what was used.

Another post after this weekend’s Christmas rally!!


I uploaded this post too quickly, and forgot to attach the most important photo…………. me and Rachel!!


Also, since we arrived at home, we have received notification that more of her artwork is on line from her school.  Here is the picture……

Rachel's artwork #4

They sell some ‘cheap’ jewelry that some silly and proud grandfathers buy for grandmothers……. such as the heart-shaped necklace shown here…..


I bought Patsy the heart with the snowman insert last year for Christmas, and just ordered the penguin snap when this came out.  Probably not that neat……… unless it’s your granddaughter!!!


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Visit With Rachel and Her Parents in Little Rock

When I started blogging again, I missed one story….. my beard.  I let it grow for a month, and although I kinda liked it, I did not have the patience to wear it very long.



We left Red Bay about 9:30am and headed to Memphis (actually Southaven, MS) to get a new pair of tires at Discount Tire, Co.  The shop that we chose was just across a street from a Sam’s Club, so we stopped on their parking lot, left the Bus, and drove over to the tire shop to get our tires. 

With their Road Hazard warranty, I got a replacement tire for less than half of the cost of the new tire, and then purchased a second tire so that the tires on each axle had the same wear.

We were finished up by 2:00pm, and with a bad weather front coming through from the West, and since the Sam’s lot was large and nice, we decided to stay over here and drive the 140 miles to Little Rock in the morning.

In the meantime, we went to Sam’s and shopped, as well as a few other stores.  Just as the thunderstorm was arriving, we headed out to a local Carrabba's Restaurant for dinner.  It is one of our favorite Italian restaurants.

Patsy likes the fall leaf color changing, and she found a few trees on the Sam’s lot……..


On Saturday, we slept late, and did not arrive at the North Little Rock Riverside RV Park until about 1:00pm.  Our daughter, Deanne, brought Rachel over about an hour later, and she had packed for the six days of our visit. 


As a matter of information, Rachel was 5 years old on here last birthday in March, but she is every bit as intelligent as I thought she would be!  She is currently in kindergarten, and has a really large list of words that she can recognize.  We bought her a coloring book with an Activity book included. On the second day, I caught her doing a small crossword puzzle where the words were listed in a box on the page……. a good accomplishment for a 5 year old.  An unbiased point of view from an unbiased grandfather….. but proud!!

In short time, we gave Rachel the bracelet and other gifts that we got for her during our San Antonio Rally.  Here she is with the bracelet……


When Deanne left after about an hour, we opened up the Driver’s side couch into a (Queen size, they call it!!), and Rachel settled into her space.  Except for running out to Walmart for some stuff, including a DVD for Rachel, and stopping at Wendy’s for burgers, we spent the evening in the Bus.


Rachel watching her new DVD on the floor……


On Sunday, Patsy and Rachel did some crafts and artwork in the Bus, while I watched some football.  I have not liked the Dallas Cowboys for over 15 years, but Dak has made me a fan again!!  After the games, we went out to a local Cracker Barrel restaurant for dinner, and enjoyed it.


We thought we had the Honda ‘flat tire’ incident behind us, but we still had a “TMPS” orange light on the instrument panel.  I called the local Honda dealer, and made an appointment for Monday to bring the car in for a ‘reset’.   Rachel was patient with the wait………


The appointment was over by about 1:00pm, and we went shopping again, and then back to the Bus for a late lunch.  On Monday evening, we met Deanne and Mile at a local restaurant for dinner to celebrate Deanne’s birthday which was back on November 10……. we were in San Antonio on that date!!

On Tuesday, we took Rachel to the movie, Troll, and her mother met us at the theater.  She really enjoyed to movie, and afterwards, we went to her favorite restaurant, The Purple Cow……. a local hamburger and malt shop.  They even have Purple ice cream.

Wednesday was our last full day in Little Rock with Rachel.  We did a little pre-Black Friday shopping, and ended up at a Walmart where she talked me into buying her a Poppy the Troll doll……… it was easy!!


And back at the Bus…………


Also, for our last day, Patsy and Rachel wore their matching T-Shirts.


Lastly, Rachel was showing off her abundance of artwork that she has done over the few days that we were here.


As demonstrated by the last photo, it is clear that the three of us have some “housework” to do before we hit the road for home tomorrow afternoon!!  But, she had FUN, and so did we!

On Thursday morning, we will leave the campground and take the Bus to a nearby large parking lot, and leave it there while we drive to Deanne’s house for a Thanksgiving meal.  After that, Patsy and I will say goodbye to everybody, and start back to Victoria! 

More on Thanksgiving Day and our trip home later!!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Finishing Up in Red Bay


As stated in the last post, we arrived at Custom RV Paint, Inc. (also known as Bruce Deaton’s Paint Shop) on Sunday afternoon, and parked in the lot in front of the shop.  All campground sites in town were full!

Monday morning, we met with Bruce and he checked the parts that he had ordered against the damage on the Bus.

The damage was on the PS rear of the Bus.


He ordered both of the doors new, and planned to repair the remainder of the damage, including the strap seal between the edge of the side and the end cap. 

Due to a death in the family last week, they were a little behind, and did not get us into the shop until Tuesday. 

On Monday, I also drove over to the Tiffin Service Center to see if I could get a couple of jobs done, and as normal, I had to fill out the paperwork, and wait.  I needed some wiring to the rear signal lights and brake lights because I recently found out that I did not have any feed to those lights when the headlights were on!!! 

It was some kind of communication issue between Tiffin and Spartan, the chassis manufacturer.  They called me at 1:00pm and told me to be at the Mechanical Bay ASAP.  That was a nice surprise, and it only took them about 45 minutes to repair the lighting issue and to install the new wiper arms in response to a Tiffin recall. The best part was that the work was free!

On Tuesday about noon, we went into Deaton’s shop.  It did not take long to get started!  Here are some progress pictures:


On Wednesday, about noon, after eating lunch at the local Piggly Wiggly, we left in the car to head to Tupelo to pick up a new wheel that I had ordered from the Honda dealer. 

It was only about 45 miles from Red Bay to Tupelo, but we got off of I-22 to air up the spare tire that we were running on, and when I headed back toward the interstate, I made a right about 50 yards too early, and therefore missed the freeway, and instead found ourselves on a rural road, which for a while, looked like the feeder road!  I rationalized that we were still headed in the right direction, so I continued on. 

Well……….. not the best idea that I have had!!!  About 80 miles later and after driving a while on the Natchez Trace Parkway, which we stumbled upon (we left the GPS in the Bus), we arrived on the ‘other’ side of Tupelo.  We always liked travel on the Trace, and here are some pictures that Patsy took, all the while lecturing to me about my ‘not too soft head’ for refusing to turn around.  I just don’t like back tracking back over the same road!!!! 


None the less, the wheel was the correct one, and I also had to order a new Honda valve stem, because the TPMS system for the Honda is built into the valve stem!!  To save $50 on the new wheel, I had to turn in the old wheel as a core.  They said they re-melted the metal!!  Before doing so, I took some pictures of the damaged wheel…….


Before we left Tupelo, we visited a Sam’s Club and a Walmart to stock up supplies.  When we returned to Red Bay later that evening, we were already in the paint booth, and painted.  It, as I expected, was a good job.


After spending the night in the paint booth, we moved over to a 4-space campground that Bruce has built in front of his shop on Thursday.


We will stay here to rest up for the night and get repacked, and on Friday morning, we will head the 140 miles to Southhaven, MS (Memphis TN) to a Discount Tire Company to have a new tire put on the new rim, and buy a second tire to install on the other side of the axle.  I don’t like mismatched tires on a vehicle axle.  Even though the tire was destroyed, Discount Tire will still honor the “road hazard” warranty that they give on all tires!!!

After overnighting somewhere in Memphis, we will head for the North Little Rock Riverside RV Park on Saturday where we will stay until Thanksgiving morning.  This will give us a good visit with our Daughter, SIL, and 5 year old granddaughter, Rachel.

We have to be back in Victoria by Saturday noon because 50 years ago, Patsy was in a wedding of a friend and she wants the whole wedding party at the celebration on Saturday evening!!!

More on the travel to Little Rock and our visit with Rachel in the next post.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Fall Travels - Allegro Club Rally & Red Bay

We are on our first trip since I began updating this blog.  After Iron Horse RV in San Antonio, TX damaged the rear PS of the Bus (See previous post), I made an appointment with Bruce Deaton’s “Custom Paint Shop” in Red Bay, just outside the Tiffin factory, to make the repairs.  We were able to leave last Thursday morning and attend a part of our Bluebonnet Allegro RV Club rally during this past weekend as a part of this trip.

We arrived at the rally about 11:00am at the Travelers World RV Park in downtown San Antonio, TX, and got set up.


After visiting with some of the others in attendance, we all loaded up and headed down to the Riverwalk area for a dinner cruise on one of the river barges.  It was catered by the Casa Rio Mexican Restaurant.  I was surprised as it was good food and the cruise was extended and very enjoyable.  Here are some pictures:


When we returned to the RV park, we started our “pretty-much” regular poker game!   We had six players that night, but I did fair very well that night.  My money bag came home much lighter than it went to the game!! 

On Friday, we toured San Antonio with Ronnie and Kathy Woods, RV friends of ours……. including the old Pearl Brewery, now dubbed “The Pearl”, and mostly it turned out to be a variety of apartments and lofts converted from the old manufacturing structures.  There are a few shops and restaurants, but a lot less than we expected. Here are a couple of photos at the old brewery, with one having Kathy checking out the hanging dried meats at one of the restaurants……


We then went downtown to the Market Area, we I picked up some gifts for our granddaughter, Rachel, who lives in Little Rock with her Mom and Dad.  One of them is the puppet held by Patsy below.  We plan to see her for a few days prior to Thanksgiving…… she may even spend a couple of nights in the Bus.  There is also a picture of Kathy, Patsy and Ronnie looking at something on the wall!IMG_1488IMG_1495IMG_1499IMG_1496

We then went to Pappadeau’s Cajun seafood restaurant for a great meal. 


Prior to returning to the RV Park, we stopped and let the wives shop at the stores at the “Quarry Shopping Center’'. At the RV park, we got together for another poker game,  This time, it started out like the night before, but then my luck changed…… and I managed to end the night a nickel behind!  CHEATING is highly under-rated!!!!!

We decided to leave for Red Bay on Saturday at Check-Out time which is 11:00am, and that gave us time to visit the Farmer’s Market at “THE PEARL”.  The market is open from 11:00 to 1:00.  I had breakfast there, a sausage kolache, and it was excellent. Patsy and I also picked up some breads and a tin of Monkey Bread, which I had never had before, and it looked like a big cinnamon roll.with icing.  It tasted great as we broke it up and heated it up in the microwave as we drove down the highway. This was one of the better Farmers Markets that I have visited…….. at least in my opinion!!  There were a lot of vegetables and fruits, eggs and fresh meats (frozen), and baked goods and freshly made breakfast choices……. breakfast tacos, Asian equivalents of tacos, and kolaches.  It did not have the normal ‘flea market junk’ that we have seen in other farmers markets.


As we drove back to the RV park, I captured a picture of two of the most notable attractions in San Antonio…… the Alamodome stadium on the left and the Tower of the Americas from the World Fair on the right that was held in San Antonio in the ‘60’s.


We got on the road about 11:00am, and drove until midnight and we spent the night on a Walmart parking lot in Amite City, LA after driving a little over 500 miles. 

We had planned to be there at 10:00pm, but we had a flat on the Honda CRV that we were towing behind the Bus.  My tire pressure monitor system (TPMS) failed me, and did not signal a flat tire on the right front of the CRV.  I have no idea whether the tire blew out or just lost air slowly, but I do know that it went completely flat and I towed it that way for a while.  IMG_1636IMG_1620

You can note that the complete valve stem, which had my pressure sensor screwed on to, was gone!!

Although I had a spare tire and a good bottle jack, I could not change the tire because the car was sitting too low to the ground.  I called my road service, Coach-Net, and they sent out a mechanic to change it.  It did not cost me anything for the tire change, but did waste an hour while waiting.  While waiting, I managed to put all of the rubber trim back in place, and it looks good enough until we get home in two weeks.


Sunday travel went better, and we arrived in Red Bay AL at about 4:00pm, after driving nearly 1000 miles. 

More on the Red Bay visit, and the results of the tire blow-out in the next post,