Friday, December 25, 2020

Wintering in Texas-the Beginning

Site: G-31    High: 62  Low: 37 

We are settled in Lake Conroe Thousand Trails RV Park and campground for three weeks, FREE with our membership in the Thousand Trails program. This is a very nice park in the Thousand Trails system. There are 300 sites, a big lake (22,000 acres), fishing ponds and you are close to civilization. (Which, for Sparky, is Hobby Lobby, Michaels, and Joann Fabrics) Hey, now, it's crafting season/holiday gift giving season, and Sparky has to be ready! 

There are many good sites to choose from, but many of the pull throughs are very close, side to opposite side. There are some shady sites but many are taken with the seasonal rentals. 

The amenities are closed for the most part due to Covid, so we can't take advantage of them, but they are doing some limited activities outdoors and with masks.

This particular park has updated amenities--a beautiful pool which is UNHEATED all year, so you take your chances if you want to swim in the cooler, make that COLDEST months of the winter. Sparky stuck her hand in the water, and it was FREEZING! No swimming for this gal! Phooey!

It's December, and we've had quite a few nights in the 30's, with daytime highs in the 50's to 60's. Tomorrow it's supposed to get into the low seventies. The pool is gorgeous, the bath house adjoining the pool is terrific, there are VERY nice basketball and tennis courts, nice playground, swings, a dog park, a boat launch, propane, paddleboat rentals when Covid is not prevalent, a fitness center, fishing (catch and release), mini golf, laundromats and a couple of pickle ball courts as well.

This park has lots of cabins of varying sizes, park models and a park model residential portion if you are interested in seasonal or annual living options. They have added a new section with VERY large concrete patio sections/sites with both back in and pull throughs. You would think a park this nice would have decent interior roads, but NOPE! They are terrible, and every time it rains, the roads wash out and become even worse. It's been raining quite a bit while we are here. They do try to grade the roads after storms, but the gravel and patch jobs aren't keeping up with the destruction of the roads. You can't ride bikes around the park without dodging severe potholes and washouts. 

Sparky's daughter and grandson live in the area, so they are here in a cabin for a week. We've made a gingerbread house outdoors (those kits are terrible-the frosting is so hard to work with and what a mess we made!) But we had fun.

Sparky attempted to make ginger molasses roll out cookies from an old family recipe, but that was ALMOST a fail, because she accidentally measured five HALF cups of flour instead of five full cups and wondered why the batter was so runny. She figured it out and on we persisted. Had some trouble with the propane oven maintaining accurate temperature and cooking evenly, but hey--they turned out decently. Plus, Sparky had a little help from her grandson.

We shot a few baskets.....Eldo used to coach sports teams and Sparky and grandson got some good tips today....

Sparky's grandson got to play a little golf with Eldy...He's wearing a Buc-ees tee shirt. Buc-ees is the largest convenience gas station in the US and they have locations all over Texas. He looks so festive! And cute. He made it through 9 holes and then got a tummy ache. We think he was tuckered out!
Everything is bigger in Texas, right? We saw this license plate on a cute VW.  "Texas Golf Cart"..haha... Cute!
Sparky does a LOT of walking around the park, she was hoping for a rails to trails or great hiking, but not when you are this close to Houston. No biking on city roads, thank you. Lots of places nearby for shopping and groceries and hobbies. (insert HUGE smiley emoji)

We hope your holiday was a peaceful and safe one. Blessings to you in the coming year. Thank you for following us along our journey.

Happy holidays, and Happy New Year! from Sparky and Eldo

Thursday, December 10, 2020

On the Move!

 Peace River, Wachula, FL.    High: 63, Low: 46.    Site: H-2, corner

After a great stay at Thousand Trails Peace River for three weeks, we were ready to was getting more and more crowded at this park, and just navigating around the roads to bike or walk, was getting harder and harder with all the people and traffic. Peak season is definitely coming to all Florida RV parks. Some start to fill up in December, and peak season is from about now till March.

Sparky participated in a craft fair one Saturday morning, and sold couple of bracelets and quite a few ornaments in just a few hours that morning. There were only two other ladies participating, but we all sold a few things, so that was nice.

Here is one of Sparky's wrap bracelets that sold....Sparky still has an Etsy shop called JeanBeanGifts.

Her inventory has had to dwindle now that she doesn't have a dedicated craft room any more, but she will be adding more items in the future. (And craft supplies, sighs Eldo.) She already has the bathroom linen closet claimed. It's pretty big. And a screen tent....but the storage shed in Bradenton is EMPTY! WOO-HOO! Hey, that's progress! Goodwill got a TON of terrific craft supplies, thanks to Sparky's reduction in supplies efforts. (But the packages are still coming in the mail, sighs Eldo. Next she'll be claiming the truck rear seat. Wait a sec--what are all those plastic boxes in the back seat?And that box that says "stamping supplies"?????? Ummmmmmm....well, you see, they were too heavy to keep adding weight in the bay, and we had room in the truck....SIGH.....

After Peace River, it was time to get ready to go to Texas, with a couple of stops along the way. Sparky is getting excited about seeing her little grandson, who is growing like a weed. We will be three weeks at Lake Conroe in Texas, another Thousand Trails park that will be a free stay. We like those "free" stays with our membership!

In case you were wondering, here's what we do to get ready to move to a new location. It's not simply a matter of pulling in the slides, hitching up, and pulling away...oh, no....You have to remember that your rig is basically a captive earthquake on wheels. EVERYTHING is going to shake, rattle and roll severely going down the highway. We've had overhead lampshades come unscrewed, cabinets empty themselves on the floor, a pillow get squashed in between a slide, a coin jar get crushed and fridge contents come crashing down when the door was opened. NOW, that doesn't happen any more (Are you sure about that, Sparky? wonders Eldo) Yep, because Sparky now uses LOTS of bins in the fridge and pantry and closets and even scrap cardboard dividers in the pantry as a "front" to prevent forward movement.

The night/day before: stow all loose belongings on shelves, pick up all area rugs, roll up and stow on ottoman and bed. Dump black and gray tanks, and use treatment chemicals-(helps with digesting waste and odor), put away bathroom scale and secure shower door latch, place shower head on the floor on a washcloth (so it won't get scratched moving around on the shower floor.) Why do we put the shower head on the floor of the shower? Because it has been known to shake itself right out of the holder it sits in while we travel down the road!

The morning we leave: Lock shower door, fasten all closet doors (they have snap straps to keep them from sliding back and forth while traveling), stow bathroom essentials in sink so they don't roll around, stow scale in the closet, tape craft drawers closed so they don't do this:

Clear floor of all items that are normally stashed beside the bed. Unplug fans, tablets, and stow on the bed. Put away coffee maker, turn off ice maker in fridge, stow appliances under sink. Stow sofa pillows so they don't roll on the floor and get in the way of the slides when they go back out. (AHEM!) That was Eldo. Turn off hot water heater. Check fridge and pantry for loose items not contained in baskets or bins. Lock the fridge. (It flew open one time before we started locking it, and the mess it dumped wasn't pretty!) Turn off AC/heat pumps. Bring in the slides. And that's just the inside...then we move to the outside...

We unhook the water, clear the water from the hose and stow it. We retract all the jacks and raise the front ones just a little. We back the truck up close to the hitch, and then we fine tune the hitch height. Once the hitch height is good, Eldy backs in the truck the rest of the way to get connected. We plug in the lights, connect the safety break away cable, then do a little pull test to make sure the truck is securely hitched...the rig moves forward just a couple of inches. Back to the front jacks...raise them up the rest of the way, stow any wood leveling blocks and chock blocks and finally unhook the electric. We save the electric for last to keep power going to the rig while jacks are retracting. Once we are all hitched and ready to go, Sparky checks the tire pressures on the rig and we both do a walk around to make sure all bay doors are closed securely. And then....(WAIT! cautions Eldo. Aren't you forgetting something?) Possibly, which is why Sparky generated a type written list of steps to follow, pretty much what we have written here. So, CHECK YOUR LIST AND RECHECK IT, because after sitting for 3 weeks, Sparky forgot the sequence of hitching up and Eldo had to remind her. AGAIN... Hey, Sparky is 70 years young, and the memory is just not quite as good as it used to be, but Eldo understands and is very patient.

And we were off.....first day, we spent the night at A Stone's Throw RV park in Lamont, FL. Quick and easy self-serve park about 350 miles from Wachula. there is a LOT of road noise from the highway so sleep with ear plugs or white noise machine going. We use a fan every night. Gravel sites, level, it really was easy in and out. McDonalds is within walking distance of the park, so easy quick breakfast the next morning and off we went again. Eldo wanted to do a BIG driving day. When that man wants to move, he wants to move BIG TIME! He and Sparky did a 500+ miles trip today, and here we are for one more night at Cajun Palms RV Resort in Beaux Bridge, AL.

This is some park! We spent 40.00 for one night here, and wow, what a park! When Covid has left us behind, this is one park we will definitely return to. All concrete level sites, an AMAZING pool, tons of activities, a bar and grill, and much much more. Most of the activities are shut down due to Covid, but you definitely can still stay here and mind your P's and Q's at your site.....

We were in a portion of the park with mature trees, on site 100. It was really pretty. This park is HUGE but newer sections are rather sterile with no trees to speak of, or tiny ones waiting to grow. There is some road noise but it is quite far removed from the highway, yet it was very  easy and convenient access to get to the park. We definitely will return. It looks like a really great park with TONS of amenities. Tomorrow, we have about a 4.5 hour drive and we will arrive in Spring, TEXAS! Yay! (Can you tell Sparky is getting excited to see her daughter and grandson?) Yippee! Yessiree! See you later!