Friday, October 27, 2017

Back to Texas -- Final Chapter

We left Shreveport dodging rain drops around 10a on Sunday with a short trip in mind.

About 45 minutes closer to New Caney, TX, I was feeling so good I wanted to go further.  Made a couple of phone calls, drove straight through Houston and ended up in Rockport, TX for the night.

Next morning, we ran over to Aransas Pass to check on the buggy.  It was fine!

It was a heartbreaking drive to and from.   Thought I was ready to see the destruction of Hurricane Harvey, but once you see it in living color, it's so different.

We had seen videos that people had posted on YouTube, but to smell it, touch it, see it was just different.

I don't want to dwell on it, but it will keep coming up.  It's been two months since the Hurricane came ashore here in the Coastal Bend. Every day is another benchmark for someone, somewhere on their timeline to recovery.  It's heartbreaking.

Later Monday morning, we gathered up our things and headed on the Ferry to Port A.

Sloopy and Tangy out each window.  Can you tell the difference?

Got parked in the site at Pioneer RV Resort and began the process of making it our home till the Spring.

Happy Girls!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Back to Texas -- KY/TN/MS/LA leg

We left Caesar's Creek Thursday morning.  Kind of dreary and rainy.

Arrived at Elizabethtown Camping Center around 3p ET.  Park was OK, town attached to it was pretty neat.  Lots of shopping choices, restaurants, etc.  Even though it was an overnight stop, we'd come back here to do a little exploring.

Friday morning we left for one of a few familiar stops on this trip -- Two Rivers Campground in Nashville.  Started a theme question of "how many times have we been here?"  I'll get to that in a bit.

 Got there early enough on Friday to settle in then catch the shuttle down to Broadway.  Can't remember being down there on Friday night, but it was hopping.  Really couldn't bar hop a lot because most were full.  We did get dinner at Margaritaville, a few pops at Bailey's Sports Bar and Two Fiddles.  Like always, we had a great time, saw some good bands, and great people watching.

Took the girls out to a great dog park in Nashville, Two Rivers Dog Park.  It's huge, and a great place to exercise not only your dogs, but yourself.

Saturday evening, we went to the Embassy Suites in Cool Springs to watch the Buckeyes play Nebraska in the company of the Middle Tennessee Ohio State Alumni Club.  Great group of folks, food was good, outcome of the game solid.


 Sunday we left for another of our favorite spots:  Tom Sawyer's Mississippi River RV Park, in West Memphis, Arkansas.  This stop was designed for a relaxing time, and it was just that.  Did our laundry, some grocery shopping, caught up on work and watched many, many barges work the river.

Stayed 3 nights here and just relaxed.

Wednesday we were off to Vicksburg, MS and another familiar park, Ameristar Casino RV Park the first of two straight Casino Camping experiences. 

We started chatting about being to this park before, and indeed upon some research, this was our third time.  Got us to digging so that we could figure how many nights we've stayed where.  Started doing the legwork on that, and we're good back to 2013.  Going to work on 2011 and 2012 when I get the chance and publish it.

Looked for restaurants to go to as neither of us felt like cooking.  Ended up going to the 10 South Rooftop Bar and Grill, located on top of a bank building 10 stories above the Yazoo River.  What a view!  

Final stop on this leg was in Bossier City, LA.  Previously we stayed at the KOA, but this time we decided to try Diamond Jack's RV Park.

Had a little drama getting here.  Missed the turn and tried to get turned around in a neighborhood.  Bad idea.  Streets were tight, and fell off into ditches.  Balked at each of the corners until I got to the end of the street and had no choice.  Tried turning left, didn't like it.  Some of the neighbors came out to help guide me.  Tried turning right, and while I was keeping the truck out of the ditch, the rig started down -- like the jack touched the road.  Not good at all.  Got it backed up, straightened up and tried turning left again and this time we got it done.  Shook some things up in the rig, some of the cowling at the hitch that were broken from our very first unhitching broke, but otherwise, we could have been a lot worse off.

Decided to splurge and do the Casino's Seafood Buffet featuring Crab Legs.  I'll leave you with that.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Back to TX -- the Ohio Leg

We left Timber Ridge Campground Monday to begin our journey back to Texas.  Really enjoyed our summer there.  Had lots of "Davis time" this summer and are so appreciative our their generosity over the summer.  Will miss those smiling faces.

Drove down to Columbus and stayed a night at the Cross Creek Camping Resort.  Since we were there last, they instituted a "no pet fence" policy which sucked, especially for Tangy.  We were going to go the ignorance route and put it up any way, but with just a one night, we figured we'd fight that battle on another stay.

We went to the Winking Lizard Westerville to meet with our friends Craig and Sandy, Dave and Jean and were surprised by Connie's cousin Lisa and her friend Wendy.  Had a great time, even though the Indians (a theme) lost AND I forgot to take a picture of our table.  Great catching up, they've been such good friends.

Tuesday, we headed to the hub of the universe, Wilmington, OH.  Stayed in our normal spot at Caesar Creek (saw a lot of deer!), went in to visit Connie's Dad Oz and his wife Betty.  Surprised them with a visit from Bethany and Kingsley.  Went out for pizza at Generations Pizza before retiring back to the rig and K's first overnight "camping" experience.  All went great except it rained hard around 3a and the vent window didn't automatically close when we went to bed.

Wednesday, we got moving slowly, but ended up at Frisch's for brunch with Oz and Betty, then back to the rig before Bethany and Kingsley had to take off for home.  A great time.

We headed out late Wednesday afternoon to check out an RV park for our Ohio Heartland Rally next August.  Looked like it's going to be a winner, and I hope to finish up details with the managers today.

Finally, it was off to the Little River Cafe in Oregonia.  It's owned by a Barb and Todd Holmes.  Barb and I were in homerooms together since Junior High, and Todd and I lived in each other's back yards.  Was a nice place with a live band, fireplace (which we needed!), and good food/drinks.  Met with Rich and Kim, Randy and Shelley, and even Barb made time to come out and see us.  Again, great catching up and experiencing their place.  Got home to watch the Indians lose.  😩

Today, we leave Ohio for the last time in 2017 and will make our way to Elizabethtown for an overnight, a couple of nights in Nashville before three nights along the mighty Mississippi.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Back from our cruise and updating our migration to Texas post Harvey

We went cruising just as Hurricane Harvey was making landfall in Texas right at our winter home.  It was a real roller coaster, and quite honestly, dampened a bit of our enthusiasm and focus on our cruise.

We still had a great time.  I'll be blogging about it for the business soon at this link.  Connie wore out a few times, but overall her latest treatment with the epidural and Gabupentin have really helped with her pain.

Finished today readjusting our plans for going back to Texas.  Going to push things back about 3 weeks, take a slightly adjusted route (skipping Paducah, KY and Santa Claus, IN) and rolling down to Nashville.  After Nashville, we'll head over to West Memphis and resume our original route.

We'll leave now October 10th from Timber Ridge and hopefully arrive at Pioneer RV Park on October 23rd if they can accommodate us.  If not, we'll find someplace west of Corpus that can until we can get back to Port A.

Here's what our adjusted map looks like:

Here's a link to see the actual sites.

So we'll be here a little longer.  Have a few more fires.  Get the heaters out.  Enjoy Buckeye Football and pumpkin & Oktoberfest beers.  Life is still good.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Medical Update

Well, remember the epidural shot?  The pain was fixed-----temporarily. 😩

So now, we are back to the drawing board.  Doctor reviewed my scans again and thinks he sees what the issue may be.  Need to have another CAT to confirm.  Initial thought is that some of the cement from the kyphoplasty srayed and is very near to & impacting the nerve.

We will weigh our options once we get the results from the scan.

In the meantime, he has prescribed Lyrica and scheduled another epidural.  Unfortunately, my insurance would not approve the Lyrica.  So, we wait for an alternative.

Thanks for all the love and support.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Some closure in Amish country

Connie had her PT session on Thursday, which meant she was a) going to be tired and sore and b) she was going to score a lunch out of the deal.  We need shoes for our upcoming cruise.  Me because mine got ruined last January in the couple trips back to Ohio.  Connie because, well, they're shoes.  Me:  "hey, there's a place that has Buy One, Get Half Off 2nd pair shoes".  We go there.  Result?  She walks out with two pairs of shoes, I have none.

We went to lunch at Brown Bag Burgers, which we'd always passed and never gone in.  Not really a lunch type of place, was more for 4p drinks followed by some gourmet burgers.  Connie said the wings were good, my chicken breast was very good.

Made a 2p appointment with the local guy from Edward Jones, so in the interim I could go somewhere and buy some shoes.  The small amount we were going to be investing wasn't really enough for him to mess with and he was a super nice guy, but he did give us a good idea about CD laddering.

Last Friday was a day I was dreading, and a day I was looking forward to in equal parts.  6 months had elapsed since my mother passed away, and it was time to close her trust.  The part I dreaded was dealing with FC Bank for hopefully the final time.  Man, I had nothing but problems with them.  It was my Mom's local bank, the only one in her little town, and just a pain.  I looked at their locator map and saw that Shiloh, Ohio was the closest branch to me.  I was looking forward to it because my time as executor was about to be over.

I get up Friday morning and took the hour drive through Amish country.  Passed a couple of buggies. GPS said I was there, but I was at an Amish market.  Yep, sure enough, FC Bank had an office in there.  Girl who closed out the account couldn't have been nicer, AND I got to score some Amish cheese and some Amish butter.  Bonus.

Then, I had to drive to the nearest PNC Bank on my way home which was in Norwalk.  Another great run through farm country.  Amazingly, there were no detours, no construction along my route.  I'm thinking the Amish buggies don't tear up the roads too much.

Get home and start looking over CD rates.  Best rates are at the First Internet Bank of Indiana.  (It had kind of a cult name.  Kind of like all those dodges to get religious breaks, like the First Internet Church of God.)  But, after some research and phone calls, we decided to go that way.  Better than the 0.1% APY PNC bank offers in my savings account.

Sunday, I smoked a pork butt.  Been awhile, and never in this smoker.  (Not one of Connie's favorites, but Bethany loves pulled pork).  You can follow it along here.  Result was one of my better efforts.  The process was awful.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Our kind of Mexican food

Connie had a treatment this past Friday.  We put a window air conditioner in their "in laws" loft which worked spectacularly!  Was nice to sleep in temperatures under, um, 80 something?

We had a great weekend in with Bethany and Kingsley while James was out of town, but we were wiped out afterwards.

Today, had to take the truck into Spitzer's for a recall and to have a TPMS changed.  Took awhile and they gave us a brand new 2018 Chevy Silverado as a loaner.  Well played, Spitzer's.  Well played.

Tonight, we made another in the long line of Mexican dishes that are only based in Mexican food.  Spend any time around Connie and I, and you'll know:  nothing spicy, nothing "hot".  Don't ask.  But, there are a great amount of Mexican dishes that we can leave out the "hot and spicy" items and make them Southwest (Ohio) dishes.  Tonight, I made Chicken Kinda Enchilladas.  Here's the recipe that it's based on.

I grilled two chicken breasts, then used my brand new Cave Tools meat shredders.  They were a little overkill, but shredding the chicken was the perfect call.

Connie and Sloopy waited patiently while I cooked. 
In a medium bowl, I mixed a can of Campbell's Cream of Chicken soup with a ½ cup of sour cream.  I pulled out 1 cup of that and put it with the shredded chicken, ½ cup of CoJack cheese and a healthy sprinkling of Fajita seasoning.  I mixed that all together and spooned it equally into 5 tortillas.  Roll the tortillas together, kind of tightly, then I put them in my greased stainless steel 8x8 pan.  (Love that thing).

I added just a splash of milk to the remaining soup/sour cream mixture, just enough to thin it a little.  I poured, spread that over the 5 tortillas.

I put that in my Brinkmann Table Top grill on indirect heat at about 375 degrees, turning it every 8 minutes for 40 minutes.  (Really love this grill, not sure how I'm going to replace it when it eventually leaves us.)

Really happy with the way they turned out.  Served with a little sour cream to dip.  Yummy.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

A Weekend of Bands

 We left Saturday morning, dropping Sloopy and Tangy off at the Animal Watchers Pet Resort in Vermilion around 9:00.  After a quick fuel stop in Sandusky, we arrived at the Miller's Ferry in Port Clinton.  Judging by the parking, the island was going to be REALLY hopping.

The ferry is basically a car ferry that they put people on, but there were only about 6 cars on our ferry and probably a few hundred people herded in.  Had a few sprinkles after driving through rain the whole way there, but that was the only rain of the day.

The shirt I was wearing, got lots of love all day at Put In Bay

 We got a taxi to downtown from the Ferry and walked over to the BoardWalk Restaurant, one of our faves over the years.

The city dock was hopping which was a welcome sight from past years.  We've been coming to this island since the mid-90's and have seen it where they were rafting 5-6 wide, you had to get there by Thursday to even think about having a spot for the weekend.  Boats from Cleveland, Detroit and Toledo would fill the entire space.  While this wasn't to that magnitude, it was still great to see boating marginally coming back.
Our friend, Karen, joined us at the Boardwalk along with two of her friends.

 We've always had their lobster bisque, especially when we've been there in the fall.  Connie noticed before arriving that they'd added a couple of things to the menu:  Mashed Garlics with lobster bisque and french fries covered with lobster bisque, which was perfect "lunch" for her.  I was able to upgrade the side that came with my Western Chicken sandwich to have the mashed.  Lord, was it good!

We went over to the Tiki Bar at Mojito Bay to put our feet in the sand and have a cold beverage then it was on to the Beer Barrel for the first band of the day.

We've been following Wally and the Beavs for probably 8-10 years.  They play good music, play it well, have a great stage presence and they're all "somebody else" for their day job.  

 Stayed there through most of the first set, picked up a cab and headed back out to pick up the 4:00p Miller Ferry.

It was Christmas in July on the island,
so Connie and I dressed fairly

Coming back was just such a smooth lake.
 After leaving Put-In-Bay, and the Miller Ferry,

After leaving the Miller Ferry, we left for the Motor City.  About  an hour and 40 minute drive to the Holiday Inn Express Woodlawn.  Got there are 6p and had to hustle to get an Uber to take us to our next gig.

This whole trip started the Monday before .  We were going to take our daughter, son in law and grand daughter out to the island, but seeing Wally and the Bears was the key.  We contacted the Beer Barrel and they said, because of Christmas in July, they weren't allowing anyone on the premises under the age of 21.

Kind of bummed at that, then we were listening to Radio Margaritaville with J.D. Spradlin hosting.  He mentioned something about the Detentions, Mac McAnally and Michigan this weekend.  We looked into it.  Couldn't find anything about Mac, but saw on the Detentions website that it was around Detroit.  Now, we're interested.  We got two of the last tickets for sale for the fundraiser that Mac was doing (with the Detentions leading off), then we got information about the block party (Drowned Liver Fest) that the Detentions were playing.

We've been listening to The Detentions since they broke out with Coast on Radio Margaritaville a few years ago.  Not only are they Austin TX based, a lot of their writing is about our winter home of Port Aransas Texas.  Pretty natural fit.  We met Dan and Chris at the Pirates and Poets festival this past February in Port A, so seeing them only a couple of hours from where we're staying this summer didn't seem like a big deal.  It was all predicated on Connie feeling well, which she has been.

We were a little leery about the address.  It was just a street in Trenton, MI.  Once we got close in the Uber, we knew that we were in the right place.


This is the third 'Drowned Liver Fest'.  It's basically a neighborhood block party.  The Detentions have played there 3 years.  Imagine a tent in an undeveloped field with a Honda generator providing power and a stage with some tables and chairs under it.  Across the street were a few tables put together with food and a tiki bar in a guy's front yard.  That's pretty much what we saw.  It was great.

The Detentions were terrific.  Tight vocals, good guitar playing, mix of their things and a few covers, with great stories in between.  Just a really great night of music (much better than the pics below)

Connie started running out of steam just as they were finishing up, so we got an Uber back to the hotel and called it a night.  Great, great Day 1.

We checked out of the Holiday Inn Express after breakfast and watching a bit of the Open Championship.  Went to St. Clair Shores after going through Yelp looking for ideas.  Mike's On the Water was perfect.  Located at the end of a marina with a view of Lake St. Clair with a good menu was great.

Unique theming in the bar section.
People placed 5x7 or 8x10 pictures
of their boats.

I had a Mike's Burger which had cheddar cheese embedded in it, while Connie had a Lobster Roll.

Kind of weird, on the way out, we saw our server leaving.  Then some other employees.  Weird time for a shift change, since it wasn't that long after 1p.  Then we saw the sign:

We were lucky they didn't pull the plug earlier, we would have missed out.

Took the short ride to the Holiday Inn Express Roseville where we relaxed a bit before heading to the Selfridge Air National Guard Base for the evening concert.

We headed out for Selfridge around 5p for our concerts.  Guy in front of us got instructed to pull into the lot by the gate guard.  "He must not have been on the list."  We hand over our ID's.  "I don't have either of your names on our list."  Uh-oh.  Pulled over into the lot, called the head of the concerts as instructed by Guard guy.  Car behind us, same deal.  They're going to need a bigger lot.

Shortly, though, someone came to lead us through.  Judging by the size and scope, Selfridge used to be a big hitter in the past.  Right now, a National Guard base, judging by the rows of now vacant housing, this base used to be gigantic and I'm sure a lot of servicemen passed through these gates.

The setting was drop dead beautiful.  The stage's background was Lake St. Clair.  It started as a beautiful day, boats on the water.  Excellent.  Dinner was included and, other than the soy burger, was great.

 It was a small, crowd by design.  Only 120 tickets available, plus any of the Selfridge group were there.

 Detentions started things off.  Met up with them prior to the show and chatted about their night and day in Detroit.  Great guys.  


Mac McAnally (along with Eric Darken) were the headliners.  Mac's been writing #1 hits since 1980 (he played a short medley of "his daughter's college fund hits").  Second time we've seen him without Jimmy Buffett.  He tells great stories behind the songs he wrote, how they go to where they were, and some pretty good inspiration.  Huge supporter of the Wounded Warrior Project.

Mac told a great story about "Down the Road", a piece he did with Kenny Chesney.  Got a call that Kenny was going to cut a Mac song "and he didn't care which one."  Got to the studio, and there was Kenny, his producer and "that guy" (Eric Darken).  3 run throughs, 45 minutes later it was in the can and a huge hit was about to go live.
About three pieces in, just before dusk, the wind started blowing and everyone started preparing for the jog to cover but it never did rain.  What it did do was blow in the bugs.  Couple that with the stage lights and it was a protein fest.  Mac and Eric did a sensational job of persevering through the swarm.  For the encore, they just switched the lights to an amber and that helped.

Not rain in the light.  Bugs.

Best "story" (it's all about the "stories") was the two girls (upper 20's we're guessing) that were ecstatic we lent them our bug spray, then were nice enough to walk with Connie to the port a johns.  Shortly after they got back, they went over to the guy next to me and started going on and on about how they loved listening to him on Radio Margaritaville, and thought he was just great, etc.  Guy was very thankful to them, very gracious.  Only thing was, I could see J.D. standing behind the stage talking with Dan and Chris.  I got their attention.  "Um, that's not J.D."  Dude was kind of dressed like him, but it was dark.  So, they went back over to their seats a little dejected, and I grabbed them and said follow me.  We went back stage and I introduced them to the "real" J.D. Spradlin and the Detentions.

Got a little lost on the way out of the base.  Was waiting on the flashing lights to escort us out of there, but nope.  Just kept driving the Perimeter Road (aptly named) until we finally found a way out of there.

Another terrific night.  Spent the morning in the hotel, catching up on work (doing this blog) then we're back out of Detroit.  

Terrific weekend.  Terrific.