Grizzly at Mary Bay Yellowstone Lake

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

LA and MS Gulf Coast

We just completed a trip to the LA and MS coast. If you are an Escapees member and read the current magazine issue about Breaux Bridge, LA, that was one destination for us.
We stayed at Poche’s RV Park. This park is built around what was to be a crawfish farm. Now the ponds offer some good fishing for the RV’ers and their family’s.
We are 3rd rig from rightAs you can see the park was not very busy. We were told that in the spring and summer this place is packed with a lot of activities going on. Sounds like Cajun fun to me.
Enjoying the sun
Of course we ate way too much Cajun food. One of my favorite LA places is Mulate’s. Great food and live music. The next eatery was Poche’s Restaurant & Smokehouse. They have a market with all the Cajun sausages and spices that would be needed to prepare any mouth watering Cajun meal.
A huge Oak Tree downtown Breaux BridgeLarge Oak tree
Next stop Bay Hide Away RV Park in Bay St. Louis, MS. This park has obviously been rebuilt/refurbished after the hurricanes as it was in top condition with gravel roads and grass with picnic tables at each site. The casino in Bay St. Louis withstood the hurricane and has been fixed up and doing a roaring business.
As we drove through Gulf Port on the way to Biloxi we say a lot of boarded up buildings and empty lots in this area due to the hurricane. The restaurant in Biloxi where we ate lunch had a $1.00 up-charge per menu item because of the oil spill.
The white sand beaches are clean and are being cleaned of tar balls by crews. We never did see any tar balls so the oil must be pretty well gone and cleaned out at least in the areas we were in.
Crew Cleaning Beaches
Life is good for this Red Tail hawk (if I called that bird wrong Judy will let me know) was enjoying her morning meal of a rodent. I didn’t want to get any closer as not to disrupt her meal.
Click to enlarge
Next, over to New Orleans. With a stop at the French Quarter and the Cafe Du Mounde for Beignets and chocolate milk. A walk around Jackson Square has a lot of the same vendors & musicians as in past visits and of course the guy that wants to bet on where you got your shoes. Guess that scam will never get blown away by any hurricane. Next was to check on Pat O'Briens, hasn't changed any. Then a walk through the rest of the Quarter.
French Quarter
An enjoyable week with nice weather and good food. What more could a RV’er ask for?
Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Another Visit & Blogville

It was another quick trip back to Lewisville again to finish doctor appointments and visit family and friends.

We stayed at the Lewisville Lake Park again. It’s a nice city park that is close for all our needs while in town. Plus it’s $9 a night with the senior discount.

Lake Park Entrance

Randy of the Roadrunner Chronicles in his blog asked “where were you 365 days ago”. Dianna and I also attended the same Escapees boot camp as Randy and Pam attended a year ago.

What a surprise. Here we are today following each other with our blogs and a year ago we were unknown class mates with each other. Wish we could have spent some time together to compare notes and visit. Perhaps next time when we cross paths again.

Rick of Rick & Paulette’s RV Travels stated in his blog how he doesn’t belong to any organizations that require him attending meetings or volunteer his time for a club or cause. 

Rick, I hate to burst your bubble that you don’t give your time to any club or organization. You have unselfishly given numerous hours of education with your knowledge of computers and other geek talents to all of us that follow your blog.

The knowledge that you have given all of us here in Blogville is more than any “pay for” web site could offer. Please continue to not volunteer your time so that we here in Blogville can continue to be educated.

Thank you Rick for all that you do.

Please accept this cyber gold starStar from all of us.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

More on the iPad

The apps that are available in the App store seem to be what makes all of the ipod’s, iphone’s, ipad’s and any other ixxx’s thatfeatured are out there as popular as they are. One good thing about all the apps is if you have say an iphone and sync an app to it and you also own any other ipod, pad you can also sync the app onto that device, if it is compatible for that device.  It’s like one software license that’s good for all you computers.

Pidge of the Frugal Travelers asked about the cost of an ipad. We have the 16gb + 3G model. The basic ipad with wifi has 3 sizes 16gb,32gb, and 64gb. You also can get these 3 sizes with wifi plus 3G.

The 16gb with wifi ipad is $499 on the top end the 64gb with wifi + 3G ipad is $829. The cost of the 3G service is on a month to month charge. There is no long term contract.

Data per month Price per month
250mb/month

$14.99

2GB/month $25.00

As you can see you will want to stay in a wifi hot spot as much as possible. If you do use the 3G service you are able to monitor your usage with your ipad.

There sure is a lot to the Apple products. One thing that the ipad can’t do is run/use or even look at Live Writer. This is going to take some serious looking into for a replacement. Or, maybe it’s in the app called Pages?

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, November 8, 2010

An iPad For Us

Yes, we now have an ipad that will either be a very expensive toy or a gizmo that will be productive.

ipad-3g

After spending hours on the phone the past couple of weeks with Microsoft to get a virus removed that their own product could not find I said enough is enough. We are going to transition toward the Apple computer systems that doesn’t seem to get virus's.

I know the ipad will never replace a (computer) laptop but it won’t get a virus. As long as we have wifi or within AT&t cell service we will be able to email and surf the web and do ~80% what we do with a computer.

So far I am pleased with the performance of the ipad. It has fulfilled the web surfing and email task with flying colors. Now I’m looking into making it more productive. I want to start replacing tasks that are now a laptop function and turning them into an ipad function.

One big thing that Apple has going for them is the education. When you purchase an Apple product you can go to a Apple store and they will spend the one on one time with you to make sure your product is up and running properly. On top of that they have workshops on these products to help you learn more about it’s functionality. All this support is free and is explained in English. What a concept!

Any other ipad users out there?

Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

It’s That time Again

 

fall-back

As much as it seems to be disliked when we move our clocks back in the fall we are setting our clocks to standard time. That is the time it should have been all year.

For some history on the use of Daylight savings check out this web site. http://www.webexhibits.org/daylightsaving/

After reading all about it I still don’t care for it.

Thanks for stopping by. Will be here tomorrow in the next time zone.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Getting a Stronger WiFi Signal

We’ve all had the experience of a weak WiFi signal when at a park that has promoted WiFi. They may have a perfectly good and strong WiFi signal in the office or laundry room but not at the site you are parked in.

I have been looking into different solutions to improve a weak WiFi signal without a lot of expense, equipment and long term contracts.

After reading different blogs and forums I am going to try an Alfa external WiFi antenna. This is not the silver bullet nor anything new and exotic. It is a simple receiver that utilizes a 5db gain antenna to receive a WiFi signal and amplify it then send into your USB port.

The cost of this package was just under $37 through Amazon. I ordered a 15’ extension cable because the price was right and I might want to move the antenna around to try different places.

The driver installed flawlessly on my Windows Vista service pack 2 system. My “non scientific” test proved that a neighbors unsecure network that had a 1 bar strength went to a 3 bar signal and I was able to connect and get on the WWW. Yes I know, shame on me.

This is probably just one of the many fixes that I will have to have in my arsenal to get a strong WiFi signal.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Getting Ready For The Next Journey

You’ll have to excuse me for wondering off subject in the last couple of blog entries. I’ll do that once in a while.

Dianna and I are getting ready for our next outing with the RV. One of the things that is needed to be done is get the RV all clean from our previous trips. Since it had never been hand washed I thought it would be nice to get all the big chunks off and get it really clean. It was dirty!

All clean after a thorough washing.All Clean

In reading MtnAireTravlers blog Weldon has mentioned using a solution that Mark and Dortha are distributors of for an easy clean and getting a shine that has no comparison. After an email exchange with Dortha I ordered “The Solution” from http://www.super-seal.com/.

The hand washing allowed me to have a clean base before I applied The Solution to see how well it does.

Up on the ladder getting her all shinny.P1000654

While I was finishing the outside Dianna cleaned the interior and also cleaned the inside of the bay doors. What a gal!

Just about finished.P1000653

Yes it was hot, near 90. Where is the October weather? Now that we have a good coat of The Solution on the rig we will see how well it performs.

With a weekend trip to the Dallas area in a couple of weeks and longer outing later in the month we should have a good idea if all this work paid off.

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My Turn To Say Something

I read a couple of RV blog entries a few days ago about chipping in for their cause. After having read them I want to voice my feelings about the subject.

There are a lot of us who have worked our butts off all our working life to obtain what we have dreamed of.

The idea of asking fellow RV’rs to “Chip In” so they can continue living the RV life falls in the shadow of panhandling.

This type of activity does not belong in the RV community.

I have not seen the “Chip In” button before. I’m positive that the button was designed for causes that are meaningful and has a real purpose in the cyber world.

If you can’t afford the RV life style then park it and hang up the keys. It doesn’t make any difference how young or old you are there are numerous ways to work and earn enough to support that life style.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Mid Term Elections Do Make A Difference

4 Reasons to Vote November 2nd

#1.No relief in the unemployment for the last 2 years.

#1.Housing industry still in shambles.

#1.Middle East war – either win the war or get out.

#1. Cut the trillions of dollars from the deficit.

I’m sure each of you have priorities that can be added or taken away from this list. 

Your Vote Counts

In order to make a difference in 2012 we must start in 2010!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

An Old Friend

Our planned trip to the Dallas area was to be visits with family and a doctor appointment. Nothing special or would like to do was on the itinerary for this short trip.

We arrived at the Lewisville Lake Park campground and got our rig set up. As I was preparing to start cleaning all the bugs off the front of the RV a gentleman stepped out of the RV next to us. I looked at him and thought I know this person. As he turned in my direction I immediately recognized him and called his name. He looked at me and recognized who I was. Both of us were in total shock.

Next door to an old friend

It has been 10 – 12 years since we have spoken with each other. Both of us were active in Ham Radio in the Dallas area. We met each other in the mid 80’s and participated in many of the local Ham Radio activities.

That evening we spent several hours getting reacquainted and catching up on each others lives. The next evening we spent more hours talking about old common friends and our past experiences with those old friends. What a memorable time going back to those fun and adventurous days we enjoyed.

Before we left we exchanged contact information and promised to keep in contact with each other.

What are the odds of being in a RV park next door to an old friend that you have not seen in years? I feel extremely lucky and fortunate that I was able to meet Tommy again and to be able to continue our friendship.

 

Grandkids enjoying cake

At a family visit we enjoyed a nice dinner and Dianna got to spoil a couple of the grandkids.

One of things we did have planned was to go to the Farmers Market.

Fresh Tomatoes! And they were delicious!

 

Isn’t RV’ing wonderful?

Thanks for stopping by

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Hummer Festival – Rockport, TX

Dianna and I have said for years that we will go to the Hummingbird Festival. This last weekend worked out perfectly for our schedule. Little did we know it was the same weekend hurricane Karl had an extended visit on the part of the coast.

We arrived on Friday in the rain and left on Monday in the rain. We will be shopping for rain gear that will be a permanent part of the RV. The good news is that we had no leaks in the RV.

A major priority for us at the festival was to get on a tour that had a banding sight. Saturday morning we went to the Festival center to make a reservation for a tour. With as much rain that was coming down that day we opted for a Sunday tour thinking the rains will have moved on by then.

After signing up for a Sunday tour we went to the vendor area to see what we couldn’t live without. One of the first sites we came across was the Raptor display. They are always fascinating to see these wild birds up close.

Click photos to enlarge.Barn Owl Crested Caracara

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looks like the Barn Owl has been through many of these shows. The Crested Caracara and handler must have just had a serious conversation. If I have the name wrong for these birds I’m sure Judy the Bird Lady of Blogland from Travels with Emma will set me straight.

We saw a lot of humming bird jewelry, pictures, t-shirts and other hummer paraphernalia with the vendors. Of course we bought something, a cup for Dianna to use at work. Yes it has a hummer decoration on it.

My plan for no rain on Sunday went by the wayside as it poured all day. One of our priorities was to see the humming bird banding.

Banding A Hummer

Our tours first stop was the banding station for the day. As the bander gets ready to band the little bird his wife on his immediate left writes down all the data that will be used to identify this hummer. As you can see with all the umbrellas, towels and wet shirts it was a wet day.

P1000589

All the trapped birds were individually placed in these yellow mesh/net bags so as not to cause them any harm.

P1000591

Next we get some history and education about these birds. I think this is the point the bander asked the group for a guess as to how much a hummer weighs. I had no idea and was not going to stick my foot in mouth as this seemed to be a loaded question. One person did respond with a 2 ounce weight.

Getting Weighed

Onto the scale he goes. This guy came in at 4 grams. Now we all had to do some calculation if we just knew what numbers to use. The bander came to our rescue and said there is 28 grams in one ounce. All the birds they had been banding over the weekend were weighing 3.5 to 4.5 grams. Plenty of fat build up to make the flight south.

Getting Banded

Then the little hummer gets an identity. As you can see much care is taken on placing the band on the hummers leg. This must be one of the reasons the bander wears his magnifying glasses.

Uncontested meal

After being held for banding for a while the hummer needs some nourishment. We were told that this feeding will probably be the only uncontested meal the bird will get in his whole life. He was allowed to drink as much as he wanted without another hummer chasing him away from a feeder.

Lots of Hummers in this yard

At one of the homes on the tour we did get out in the rain to see the hummers feeding. The rain doesn’t deter these birds any at all. I wish I could get half the number of birds in my yard as they have here.

Another item we learned is that humming birds don’t have scouts. Each individual migrates on it’s own. There little brain is hard wired to migrate when it’s time. There is a theory that it is the amount of light in a day that triggers each bird to head north or south.

They are not a social bird they hate each other. That’s why you see them chasing each other away from the feeders. Their life span is believed to be 3 years. For us that is a short amount of time for the humming bird it’s life time.

Rising water

This photo was taken on Sunday afternoon. It was about 35 feet from the front of our RV. The water rose another 4-6 inches before the rain let up. The canal to the left of the fence and pole was to carry water out to the bay. Because of the rising tide and large amount of rain the water was backing onto shore.

We learned a lot about the humming bird this year. Hopefully we will be able to go back and learn even more. Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Market Day in Wimberley

A perfect day for a Market Day outing. Temperature was in the low 70’s in the morning with the high in the upper 80’s and clear skies. An ever so slight hint of fall.

We arrived just in time before the parking lot filled up and was closed. A good indication for a good day at the market. The cool weather brought the buyers out in droves. Weldon of the http://mtnairetravlers.blogspot.com/ was reporting similar conditions at Canton First Monday Sale in East Texas.

Wimberley Market Day Shoppers

For 3 years Dianna and I ran a booth here in Wimberley. At times we talk about going back into the Market Day biz. Then we recall those hot days like last month (see previous post) and those cold wet days when the buyers stay home to let the vendors have a Market Day.

We enjoy going back to see our old vendors friends. It’s always interesting to look at what is new and of course the same ole stuff that is being offered by the vendors.

More Shoppers

Our booth location was down this street next to the electric pole in the upper right corner of the picture.

Of course we came home with something. With some luck we will have home grown tomatoes for our salads this fall. The other was the conversation we had on the way home of missing the good days as a vendor on days like this day.

A special thanks to our new followers. Glad to have have you along.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Weather – Good News and Bad News

It looks like today is going to be one of those good and bad news days.

Todays Weather

The bad news - that 109 heat index will knock you down when you step outside. The 106 temperature sets another record breaking heat day.

The good news is the scattered T-storms for today is a front from the north that is pushing the high pressure system which has been sitting on top of us to the southwest. This will allow the daily temperatures  to get back to our normal Texas summer highs as seen in the Wednesday through Saturday forecast. The best part of this good news is today should be the last day the temperature will get above 100 until next summer.

This hot weather is nothing for people like my sister who lives in Bull Head City, AZ and other folks that are in the desert parts of the country.

You folks in the northern US, high mountains and the Canadians are probably relaxing in the cool air and feeling some hints of the coming fall weather.

Weather wise, between now and Thanksgiving is the best time of the year to be anywhere in this country.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sunday Day Trip

We decided that a short trip was in order for a Sunday trip. It was too hot to do much of anything outside. We chose to go to Round Top, TX. This little town (2000 census population 77) and other adjoining small towns host one of the largest antique shows in the world. They have this event twice a year. The numbers are staggering. They attract over 200,000 vendors, attendees and tourists at each of the shows.

No this week was not a show. Although we have been there when a show was in full swing. That 200,000 maybe a little small. This weekend it was nice and quiet with no crowds.

Directions

We visited several of the shops that offered unique and different items. Lots of antiques. That’s what this town is all about.

Store Front Patioo

When the shows start the local ranchers and farmers open (rent) their land that is adjacent to the main road for vendors to set up shop. When this happens there is literally miles of antique shops in this area There are many large buildings that house multiple antique shops.

Here are a couple of links to give you an idea of what this area has to offer during one of their events.

http://www.roundtoptexasantiques.com/

http://www.antiqueweekend.com/indexmain.html

http://www.roundtop-marburger.com/

Hope the weather cools down and we get our motorhome out of the shop soon so we can take a real road trip.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Good Sam July Winner!

Winner

What a surprise to see my name on the winners list.

Clicking that “Enter to Win” button daily on the Good Sam web site for the last several months finally paid off!

I have been contacted by a drawing official and I’m now officially entered in the Winners Listing.

I have no idea which model it will be. I hope it’s one of the ones with the air compressor. I’m sure it will be the Jump Starter only which will be just fine with me. I know it will come in handy sometime.

PS. I’m still going to keep entering the giveaway may win again this month.

The prize arrived! That was fast. Yes, it does have the air compressor as part of the unit. A perfect item for the RV. Thank you Cobra.

Monday, August 2, 2010

August Weather

It’s always interesting this time of year what the weather conditions are in the different parts of the country. This is evident with the RV blogs I read and follow. The folks due north of Texas along the Canadian border and in Canada are starting to feel the preparation of fall weather. Those in the Southwest are just plain hot. But it’s a dry heat. The Midwest and some of the Southeast are experiencing some flooding and severe weather this year.

For us we decided to go south to the coast. That puts us at the south central part of the US. The coast weather was a little hot but tolerable.  Our 200 mile drive to Aransas Pass with the destination of Ransom Road RV Resort was uneventful.

An early morning start the next day we took the ferry over to Port Aransas. It was early enough that wait time to board was only about 15 minutes. When we returned later in the afternoon the wait time to board a ferry for Port Aransas was an hour and a half. Glad we were going in the right direction.

Ferry Boats

Dianna always enjoys getting her beach fix when we are at the coast. It was relaxing and good time to cool off a little.

Getting her feet wet

All beach goers have their own way of setting up or claiming their spot in the sand. Some just spread out towels others pitch a canopy or tent and then there is the RV’er!

RV'ing on the beach

What more could you ask for? Water front site, palm trees and pink flamingos.

A lunch was now in order. We stopped at a restaurant that had seating next to the boat harbor. Kind of fun to watch the weekend boat warriors dodge each other.

Sorry Laurie & Odel I didn’t get the before picture that you always like to show. Guess we were just too hungry to worry about pictures. As you can tell by the look on our faces and the empty baskets lunch was good.

The expresion of the cat that just ate the mouse

Yup, ate the whole thing

 

 

 

 

 

After lunch we went to the park by the ship channel. Up on the observation deck we watched a large tanker going back out to sea.

Large tanker headed out to sea

Dolphins will sometimes play in front of ships. Sure enough they were playing in the forward wake of this big tanker. It took a couple of shots to capture them out of the water. Thank you Lumix…

Dolphins playing

The next day we took a trip to Rockport. We really like this town and enjoy visiting it every chance we get. Once in a while we drive by these wind swept trees. It’s a reminder how much the winds blow from the same direction and how much effect it has on the growth of these trees. Yes, the Gulf is on the right.

Wind Swept Trees

We will be back again. Until next time.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Forth of July Treat

The Panasonic Lumix ZS7 and ZS5 has been discussed on several of the RV blogs lately. I have been considering a new camera for a while. With all the blogging about these two models I decided to check them out. After reading reviews and the technical data about them I purchased the ZS5.

IMGZS5

I wanted a camera that was small enough to carry in a pocket or small pouch but still had some functionality of a  SLR. I also wanted was the ability to get close up pictures without special lenses.

 P1000016   P1000017

 

 

 

 

 

The photo of the coins was taken on the dinning table in the RV with just the light that was coming through the window. It passed the close up criteria I was looking for.

One of the things Dianna and I enjoy about Dallas is going downtown to the farmers market. We used go here every weekend when we lived in the big city.

MarketStand1

Those that have been there know what this market is like. It is large with many vendors displaying all kinds of fruits and vegetables.

MarketStand2

Many of the vendors sell locally grown produce. We love fresh tomatoes, squash, spinach and of course peaches. It was a good thing we had the RV with a big empty refrigerator to bring back all the produce we bought.

MarketStand3

Outside the vendor sheds are nurseries that sell all kind of plants, shrubs and trees. On a bright sunshiny morning the colors are vivid. We missed the sunshine by a few hours.

Nursery1

Hard to believe all this is in the shadow of downtown Dallas, TX.

Nursery2

The Lumix ZS5 is working out very well. Like anything new it takes some time before you know all the ins and outs of it. So far I am very happy with it and looking forward to getting many more wonderful photos from it.