A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: nancy.ambler

A trip across the Gulf Coast...Austin TX to Orlando

January 29th ~ Feb 27th Days # 205~234

January 29th ~ Day #205
Arrive for visit #2 with the Canduccis. More visiting, terrific dinner of shrimp with orzo beautifully prepared by Carol Ann, terrific wine and after dinner conversation… till midnight! (and we swore we wouldn’t stay up late! But…that being said, Jerry was at a dinner meeting so we had to wait for his return and stay up, so we could catch up…of course…)
Another wonderful day of R&R at Jerry and Carol Ann’s with our rig sitting IN THE ROAD in front of their house, which they assure us is perfectly OK. No sliders out, though,…sleeping in our bed, which takes up the whole bedroom when the slider’s not out, was reminiscent of the days in our old rig when we had no bedroom…just a king size bed.
Exiting the neighborhood, as we’d done before…proved problematic! It seems the local tree branches have actually grown this winter. We are now missing a vent cover and continuity in our rubber roof in a small section….more work for the hero of the rig!

January 31th ~ Day #207

Another repeat visit ~ today we’re back to Poche Fish N Camp in Breaux Bridge LA ..one of our Top Ten Camps. Great spot by the lake –no overhead trees…all the better for roofing work tomorrow. Tonight…..off to Poche’s Market and Restaurant, a fabulous local meat market that specializes in homemade local fare. I was treated to my first helping of crawfish Etouffee, a local favorite, along with a sample of the much-acclaimed boudin balls which were surprisingly delicious fried sausage and rice balls! Another local taste treat…you can’t hardly get them in New England!
February 1st ~ Day #208
Trace spent many long hours doing temporary roof repair so we’d be dry when it rains tonight! I was in charge of long walks around the lakes and a nice dinner! We both experienced success in our “assigned” areas of expertise.

February 2nd ~ Day #209

On to New Orleans!!! One of the US cities on my bucket list.
Our accommodations were, we later found out, in case we hadn’t picked up on it ourselves, in a very sketchy neighborhood. It was largely boarded up, closed, burnt out and generally about 20-50% empty. We were in a very tight campground nestled between the Railroad yard, a bright pink apartment building and some kind of a deserted business….charming. Our camp “landlord”, Curtis, was primarily toothless but very hospitable! Unfortunately my most noteworthy “event” of the day was, after returning from my trip to Winn Dixie when Trace greeted me to help with groceries I opened the (very high) truck door to almost catch the liter bottle that was leaping out!!! Back to Winn Dixie...cause who wants to have chicken drumstix and watch the super bowl without their vodka?
February 3rd & 4th ~ Days #209 & #210
A day in NOLA…
My check list included…a little iconic food, a little Jazz, some walking around the French Quarter, a tour of an old above ground cemetery, something Mardi Grasesque and definitely a tour of the Katrina devastation and rebuilding. It all took 2 full days but we got it all in. It was sunny and cold and occasionally sprinkled so NOT your hot, sweaty Bourbon St of summer nights but a sampling of all a couple of chilly winter days in New Orleans could be.

February 5th through Feb 7th ~ Day #211 - #213

Biloxi Mississippi ~ New territory
Biloxi was the scene of more Katrina devastation. The gulf coast is graced on the south side of route #90 by the beautiful turquoise water of the Gulf of Mexico & dotted with high rise casinos and buildings still in the process of being professionally demolished; finishing the work the hurricane started about 9 years ago. The north side of the road is nearly empty in many places… expansive lawns with trees at about the height of an 8 year growth and an occasional front walk to nowhere. Chain Saw artist Marlin Miller has created a garden of birds and fish from the trunks of destroyed trees...a magnificent testament to nature growing out of the median island between the north and south sides of the road.

Day #212 was an at home day for TBA and a completely fruitless day at the premium outlet mall in the rain for me in an abortive attempt to track down a MOB dress….(lots of time left but even a flicker of hope hasn't presented itself yet…)

February 8th & 9th ~Days #214 & #215 7 months on the road!

More new territory... After a quick stop at the interstate welcome center where we were greeted with fresh grapefruit juice and the overhead strains of Jimmy Buffett crooning Margaritaville, we arrived in Destin/Miramar Beach Florida, a territory found through several of my facebook friends, who simultaneously chimed in with “go to Destin”! So here we are. It’s kind of a bustling high end area, from what we can see arriving in town. A 10 min walk put us back on the main drag at beachside where one can walk endlessly above the beach and across from multiple (very) high rise condos on and across from the beach. Unfortunately the self-proclaimed Tiki Bar we saw seemed boarded up for the winter ..albeit a sunny brisk walking day with temps in the high 50s. alas, no margaritas! Our camping fees just jumped from a low of $18/night, maybe averaging in the mid 20’s to $60/night! Welcome to Florida in the winter (way up in the panhandle...but none the less)

A lovely warm day…but not a day to be sitting on the embankment next to the highway waiting for yet another AAA rescue to repair our THIRD BLOWOUT!!! Homemade broccoli soup and banana nut (flour-less) muffins helped to pass the time…. 2 hours later and we’re off!!! There will be 2 MORE new rig tires in our very near future!
Tire #1- bought! at local Wal-Mart so we do have a spare to carry with us our way to the Tire Mart!)

February 13th-16th ~ Days #218-221 O’Leno State Park (formerly known as Keno FL)

First stop: Tire Mart on the way out of town….we now should be cutting down on blowouts! The oldest tire on our rig is 2012…here’s hopin’!
Highlight of our O’Leno visit was a 4 mile walk along the Santa Fe River, a river which leaves this park UNDERGROUND at 900 million gallons an hour, goes underground for 3 miles and reemerges in River Rises State Park…magnificent park and outstanding Valentine’s Day walk. A day which started with a lazy sleep-in due to the fact that we have NO TV and no internet. Here we are nearly incommunicado again! We had time for a little morning backgammon, our long walk and a Tracy-prepared steak and cauliflower dinner, which I topped off with large chocolate dipped strawberries…Best Valentine’s Day ever!
Nearby Gainesville provided an opportunity to see one of the many Academy Award nominated films we’re trying to catch…12 Years a Slave………..haunting!
One more trip to the home of University of Florida, Gainesville, on Saturday produced a possible MOB dress- we’ll see how it works out.

February 16th -20th Days #221-224 Wekiva State Park FL E Curtis’ Birthday

Ahhh….”you’re a little early” says the ranger on our arrival at Wekiva St Park in Florida. It seems Reserve America has made our reservation for MARCH 16th! One hour’s worth of phone calls later we have secured ourselves a spot in the PARKING LOT for the night. Better than being told to move on… but we were without potable water, electrical connection or dump hookup, not to mention I was depending on getting onto my Kindle to order a new book tonight, we have only one paper plate blah, blah, blah…IT’s WARM, who cares! No TV, no book but a lot more together time…a long walk around a huge, sprawling camp (It’s a mile to where the campers and restrooms are located) gave us an appetite for some warmed up leftovers and …since we were alone in the parking lot without anyone nearby to be bothered by us- we turned on the generator for microwave use as well as 90 minutes to watch a DVD.
Next morning we moved to a campsite with full hookups that we negotiated at 8 AM when the rangers arrived and our new-best-friend Jordan, hooked us up ;-). A field trip to the Laundromat, hardware store, grocery store and a little wifi contact back in civilization and we were good!
Next day was a stay-at-home in the woods day. We took a grand bike tour of the park seeing its enclosed spring and swimming area, walked on the wooden boardwalk over the marshland in the woods and were intrigued viewers at a controlled burn of a large area of forest underbrush … and we without our marshmallows! Lakes, ponds and terrific scenery abounded!

February 20th ~22nd Day#224 -#226 Clerbrook Golf and RV Park

A completely new experience, as noted by the name of our campsie. An 18 hole golf course surrounded by over a thousand rigs and little houses made by stationary rigs with vinyl foundation trim and lots of landscaping...and LOTS of little yard figurines. The neighborhood made for some interesting walks. ..but I digress. Day #1 we landed during a very exciting women’s Olympic hockey game which was being televised and went into OT…we finally decided we should pull ourselves away & check on tee time availability since it was now about 2:35. Could we play at 3:00 o’clock Trace asked…”nope…shot gun start in 10 mins “ says the starter!!! ..and.. WE WERE THERE! ...yanked the clubs out from under the rig, threw on our golf sandals, found balls and gloves, found the golf shop, paid, got a cart and were thrown out onto the empty 10th tee all in about 11 mins! For the first few holes we were both on auto pilot scoring bougies and even a par …then…well never mind! It was finally gloriously sunny and we were in shorts, tee shirts and sandals...who cares? Oh.. and did I mention my first ball landed under some guy’s propane tank on the rear of his rig backed up to the first fairway side by side with about 18 other rigs flanking the fairway…it is warm, though!!

The following day we took what we thought would be a ½ hour field trip to The Mall at Millenia in Orlando for some MOB accessories…turns out it was about 2 hours round trip with all the city stop lights! we're RETIRED, remember? who cares?

And our 3rd and final full day at the "golf resort was for an hour walk through a newly discovered wooded path as well as another tour of our neighborhood, lots of reading (what’s retirement for after all?) and Trace had the luxury of keeping up with some long missed professional golf on television.

February 23rd-27th ~Days #226-#230 Thousand Trails Orlando

Arrived at our very long-planned jumping off spot for our annual trip to Puerto Rico. We very large, well equipped spot for northern snow-birds. We attended to packing, laundry, stocking up on golf balls and sunblock and generally readying ourselves to "abandon ship" for the entire calendar month of March. As I write we are 1 sleep away from spending the day in Orlando with our friends Bert and Susan playing golf and going out to dinner tomorrow. By the end of the day today we will have to be prepared for our pre-dawn pack up, winterize and storage of our rig and truck on Saturday morning the 28th. Saturday morning at 0700 will be our pick up by local driver Earl for our trip to Orlando Airport. Our scheduled departure for San Juan is at 1015. Next entry will be from Rincon PR!!!

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January 26th ~ 28th Days#203-204

Columbus Texas

Tripadvisor: the 3 best things to do in Columbus TX:
#1) visit the second (not the first) oldest live Oak Tree (not in the country) in Texas!
#2) visit a local dance hall..next time they’re open will be Feb 14t..alrighty maybe we’ll hang out another 3&1/2 weeks for THAT!
And…#3) go visit another local city!
Our 75 degree warmth ran out after our arrival day..day #2 afforded us a short amount of time for stocking up for the “big freeze” as well as for “my hero” to spend almost 5 hours alternating between being on his back doing head lifts with his arm raised over his head under the rig working on repairing our “busted” lift mechanism for our spare tire that we so desperately needed 2 days ago when we had a blow out on our camper..this alternated with THREE trips into “town”, a 16 mile round trip, for small supplies and proper tools! And in the end… JOB ACCOMPLISHED bring on the blow outs…ah.. no maybe not but this will be a good insurance policy that we won’t need the spare!
All the while I worked on “wedding stuff” on line and by phone along with making my hero a great dinner..the least I could do…OH and I got out the cocktail fixins’ when he finally came in about 5:45 in the near darkness!
Today in our, I should mention, enormously spacious campground surrounded by more deer that I saw in my years of living in CT, we awoke to the “nearly” ice storm we had been promised. Schools, government and Rice University all CLOSED. ..and worst of all?..no Today Show Instead, the local station remained on the air for hours on end following the near freezing temps and explaining how “bridges freeze before the land” which was, they said, already very cold…see broadcaster reaching down to touch the earth. Also in jeopardy, it seems, were metal outside tables which were freezing sooner than the roadways…HOURS OF THIS STUFF.. I guess we’re officially NOT in New England anymore.

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Dec 4th ~ Day #150 through Jan 26th~ DAY #200 +Lukenbach

SC,GA,AL,LA,TX, 3 wk vacation from retirement: San Mateo,, Carmel Valley CA,Ft Collins,Arvada and back to TEXAS

Heading for Wilson SC ~ actual uncharted territory for this trip!! We’re heading south and west…..California here we come! Wilson was unseasonably warm at about 80 degrees and afforded us the opportunity do the menial things of life like laundry and “house” keeping.

December 5th & 6th ~ (CORRECTED) Days #151 & #152 Florence SC

Warmth and short walks around “Swamp Fox Campground”…long walks would have lead us into Rte 10 and oncoming traffic which was speeding by our door….. but WARM!... did I say WARM? that’s what it’s all about, baby!

December 7th ~Day #155

Another brief hiatus from camping…a quickly planned trip to see our “old friends” and parents of Devon’s grammar school friend Mary Ellen Lambo ( the rose among thorns! 4 older brothers…4 younger brothers!) It was like we’d never skipped a beat with Gerrie and Pete. We caught up on all 13 of our collective children and I heard something I never, ever thought I‘d be present to hear from the mother of nine: “I really love being alone”. No kidding? Their home is lovely and it made me start looking forward to having a home again…but…not yet. We have a lot more to see and explore. We’re all already looking forward to our next visit to Greensboro GA though, so we can visit again and play golf!

Dec 8th Day #156 Stone Mountain GA Happy Birthday Brett! (5 months on the road)

A state park in the pouring rain! We’ll have to come back here to the beautiful park and actually climb Stone Mountain…a not-to-be-missed park.

Dec 9th ~ Day #157 and..Happy 35th Anniversary to us!

We had A lavish 5 star meal at Restaurant Eugene in Atlanta GA owned by Chef Linton Hopkins and his wife. Elegant food served lavishly in lovely surroundings…highlight of the evening was talking to chef Hopkins after our beautiful and beautifully served 3 course meal and “fancy martinis”

Dec 10th ~Day #158 Montgomery Alabama

Spent the morning at the Ford dealership in Stone Mountain, before we ever hit the road! New warning light indicating the Wilson Dealership had only completed HALF of the Ford recommended repairs to our exhaust filter!!! And then we were off to a warm RV park in Montgomery where we met, among other people, a family of 6 who were touring the country and home-schooling their children for a year.

Dec 11th~ Day #159 Touring downtown Montgomery

Started our touring with a brief stop at the Troy University gift shop to pick up gifts for brand new little Troy Joseph Johnson and his parents and grandparents. This was followed by an enlightening tour of the Rosa Parks Museum. Lunch was at Martin’s with iconic local fare of fried chicken, homemade cornbread & collard greens served to us by a “made-famous-by-tripadvisor- waitress”, who was as iconic as the food and the restaurant!

Dec 12th ~ Day #160 Mobile Alabama Bethingrath Gardens

Move to Payne’s RV Park in Mobile, Alabama in time for what seemed like Christmas in July. Actually warm days gave way to very chilly evenings. Old Mobile has a strong resemblance to the French Quarter in New Orleans, so strong that they were filming a Bruce Willis movie (set in New Orleans) just down the street from where we were taking a walk. Our evening was spent walking among the Christmas lights at Bethingrath Gardens complete with a live choral group performance and hot cocoa…kinda gets you in the mood for a Christmas that we still have no idea is coming!
Dec 13th ~ Day #161
An outside walking tour around the USS Alabama Battleship near Mobile including..the Mary Alice fighter plane and her “sister” plane, the Jane! Lunch was an outstanding example of local seafood fare at The Oyster House where I had Fried oysters (of course) and Trace had local gumbo and not surprisingly, 2 delicious local beers.

Dec 14th & 15th ~ Days #162 & #163 Poche’s Fish N Camp

And we’re off…landing at Poche’s Fish-N-Camp in Breaux Bridge AL...one of our definite Top 10 sites. Acres, and acres of lakes surrounded by a single row of RVs with lots of space, small trees and a little grass. We had plenty of room to walk and see the local fields of cows and mirror-like lakes. A great spot! Time for laundry, phone call and coming up to speed with our lives.

Dec 16th & 17th~ Days #162 & 163 Escapees Livingston TX

Finally to our “mailing address residence” a tightly packed but pleasant and huge campsite where we get our mail sent for forwarding to us wherever we choose in our travels. Attended a local meeting of residents and I, for one, have decided that this won’t be my next home!
Haircut, a tiny bit of Christmas prep and a couple of nice long walks…

Dec 18th ~ Day # 164 Curt and Susan’s

FAMILY! Lots of great food, catching up, walks in the beautiful neighborhood, an introduction to our new favorite beer, Shiner Boch, and an initial meeting with the 6-month old puppy “Buster”, as yet not too oriented to company ;) Hopefully a wet spring will help repair the divots our rig made in their lawn trying to back into their driveway! (Oh… and I managed to snag a great TJMaxx dress as a possible wedding shower dress!)

Dec 20th ~ Day #166 Canduccis’ in Houston

More FAMILY…yeh! So we stay up drinkin’ ‘til 4AM with Jerry after a great homemade dinner. Outstanding several days with Carol Ann, Jerry, Garrett and Irene (oh.. and their well-trained pup). Long walks in the woods, lots of attention to our dirty laundry, holey sweaters and other small repair matters…We slept in our rig in their very spacious driveway and took long, hot glorious showers in their spacious bathrooms, were treated to our first real sign of Christmas!! A beautifully decorated Christmas tree! Christmas really is coming..and soon, too!

Dec 23rd ~ Day #169

We never left Canduccis’ ‘til the eve of our flight to Brendan and Nicole’s from Austin TX. A night at the Marriott after saying goodbye to our rig for the upcoming 3 1/2 weeks (left at “Shoreline” RV Storage~ haven’t figured out what shore that is, yet!) Dinner at a “cheap & cheery” Tex/Mex restaurant next to our hotel and home early to bed to rest up for our long “vacation from retirement”

Dec 24th ~ January 12th 2014 Days #170 -189 “Vacation from Retirement”

Just a synopsis of our extended vacation…starting with 6 days of warmth in San Mateo CA with the Pomeroys as well as the Greens & being treated royally to gourmet meals by Bill and Nicole as well as some collaborative meals by all, hours and hours of playing with, reading to, walking with and best of all, waking up with Henry, the loquacious, every day! We had a tremendous Christmas gift luncheon at the BlueStem Brasserie and then were treated to our second Christmas gift of A Christmas Carole at a SF theater..SPECTACULAR DAY!, A movie night and an overnighter with ALL FOUR grandparents watching Henry while B & N celebrated their 7th wedding anniversary in SF ALONE. (the 4 of us grandparents together were able to successfully feed, entertain and bed little Henry..what a dream he is)
The Anniversary dinner, flowers and cards on the return of the happy couple were a fitting finish to a marvelous week. OH…. And the Save-The Dates for THE wedding have started to arrive! OK…that will put a lump in your throat, seeing that in print!!
Next we moved on via bus to Monterey…more warmth..where we were met by Alan Sokolow. Our 5 days there in the California Hills were relaxing and lovely…several walks (or rather uphill hikes), New Year’s Eve dinner with good friends of the Sokolows, a little touring around the village of Carmel Valley and a great walking tour of Carmel by the Sea which ended with drinks at Clint Eastwood’s bucolic, and rustic Mission Ranch on a marshy inlet with sheep roving about! Lest I forget…my first trip to Trader Joe’s in many a state afforded us the opportunity to buy great food for our Nancy Anderson’s shrimp and curry dinner for NYE and also to stock up on many of our favorites.
The 3rd saw us at a new airport and off to another state and another entirely different climate (no wonder our bags are so heavy and overpacked) the San Jose airport. Off to Denver where Devon and Patrick met us after weather (in the eastern part of the country) delayed our flight by about an hour and a half – more Shiner Boch! We greeted the bride-to-be with hugs and fresh flowers (“woops, I forgot to wear my engagement ring!”) cold weather (dog walking day #1 was THIRTEEN BELOW ZERO!!) sunshine, and hanging out, another haircut, trips to the dry cleaners, grocery shopping etc… Devon made us a terrific vegetarian meal (which the boys supplemented with scrambled bison meat) and Patrick treated us to several of his now-famous chop and grill meals! All works of love.
Saturday off to bridal dress “searching” for a dress Devon had already loved on line then tried on and she returned to the shop with Maeve and me for a fashion show…..I was fine, till she added the veil :’( Magnificent! Sunday was just the bride and her mother…icy cold and sunny. Devon treated us to every style they offered-full, straight, jeweled, plain, strapless, lacey, mermaid shape and sleeved and unsleeved!! The overall favorite was, of course… the first dress she ever tried on! Encore of Ft Collins, where we were, had nearly the exact same dress as the shop on day 1, for many hundreds of dollars less and a few added lovely details. WE HAVE A WINNHAH! Sunday evening was one of our nights to see Brett perform in Spamalot …brilliant work and an ever increasingly wonderful voice..and we get to see it again on the 11th!!
Monday night was Christmas at Brett and Amanda’s (without Patrick, unfortunately due to his work schedule)..Visiting with Brett and Amanda while they’re NOT working is something we rarely get to do. We had a collaboratively prepared salmon dinner and saw their beautifully decorated and cozy apartment where we spent the evening by the open stone fireplace.
Patrick and Devon left for Christmas at Dorion’s on Jan 8th (today is SIX MONTHS on the road….HALF A YEAR!) which put us in charge of Edora for a few day…I can’t say she consistently got the 3 one hour walks in the park that D & P give her but she did get exercised 3x/day . It was great bonding time for Nance, Trace and Edora! Monday saw “the 3 of us” in Estes park scouting out the wedding venue and lodging…..what a fun day. The View is rustic and lovely..PERFECT for Devon and Patrick to celebrate their wedding in a 100 year old lodge with views of the Rocky Mountains. I’m finally starting to feel the reality and excitement of the wedding after feeling very distant (as we were) and removed for a long time.
We were able to enjoy our two very special Christmas gifts from D & P during their absence; one was a night out at Choice City Deli for an awesome dinner and local brews from their aprox 50 tap selections! The second was an afternoon movie at a theater showing current academy award nominated films while you sip on MORE Shiner Boch on tap and eat freshly popped popcorn, does it get any better??? Great gifts. Both!
Sunday Jan 12th we drove to the Denver Airport (while Edora waited out D & P at Doggie Camp), left Devon’s car in a duely noted spot with keys hidden as agreed and took off to rejoin our rig in Austin after having been gone for nearly a month! And a terrific month it was!
Rig rendezvous was in the late afternoon and we settled into an Austin city campsite near the next city we’re going to check out. A few groceries and a little set up and we were “Home at Last” and happy to be there.

Jan 12th-14th ~ Day #190-192 Austin Texas and Gruene Hall

Arrive Austin,..spend first two days catching up and head out for a driving and walking tour of “The Drag” near University of Texas campus and a walk across the Congress Street bridge hoping to see a few late season bats fly out from under the bridge at sunset. It seems that in the summer MILLIONS of bats emerge from the bridge to feast on mosquitos. …an Austin sight we’ll have to catch on our return, some day. The highlight of our near-Austin visit was a day in Gruene (pronounced “Green”) TX, an old, old dance hall is the center feature of this neat spot which also includes great little shops (where we’ve already done a little advance Christmas shopping) We stopped into the dancehall for an early evening Shiner Boch (getting a theme here?) and some great guitar picking and singing..a signature of Texas!

January 15th ~ Day #193 Blanco State Park, Blanco Texas

Another Top Ten camping spot…found by a chance meeting with ”Jett” and her partner “Deb” in a parking lot in Chanute Kansas while negotiating our rig and truck purchases. …and who should greet us at check in but Jett herself! Beautiful, positively bucolic site backed up to an enormous cow/bull pasture in a sparsely populated 100 state park along the banks of the Blanco River. It would have been a 9/10 had it had full hookups at our site but we did have water and electric! ..more long walks along the river and around the small, quaint and within walking distance, town of Blanco. Not our best grocery shopping area yet at “Lowe’s (not the box home improvement store but a moderately stocked local grocery spot)..oh well, We did go out to The Old 300 for local fare one night. A sampler of brisket, the house specialty, and ribs with a little side of fries! Meat was delicious and the spot was oh so local, charming and cute!

January 18th ~ Day #196 Armadillo Farm- Luckenbach TX

A campsite described to us as “the other” local campground where musicians playing at local and legendary Luckenbach, TX stay and live their bohemian lifestyle. No group activities here, unless you count imbibing around the huge fire pit late into the night a group activity. Well it’s a simple, nearly empty of transient campers, site that has several more permanent residents off elsewhere, and a few weekend tenters. Day one was warm and lovely and I walked the .4 miles to “the town of Luckenbach” which totals about 4-6 old wooden outbuildings at the end of a 200 yard dusty road along a nearly dry riverbed. The iconic post office says est. 1890-1971. It’s now mostly a general store with a bar in the rear selling all things touristy and memorabilia of all sorts. There’s a small split rail fence behind the dance hall which gates off an enormous long horned cow, who is saddled up for rides..I took only pictures, no rides. The largest building houses the ubiquitous dance hall and stage, as well as “The feed Lot” for burgers and corn dogs and whatnot and then there’s the kiosk that sells… SHINER BEERS! And the focal point of it all is the “Picker’s Circle” which is predominantly outside near the picnic tables for the ever revolving local singers to gather and strum and sing…and that’s Luckenbach! I personally heard Jake Martin lead the Picker’s circle followed by Jimmy Lee Jones former traveling band member of local upstart Luckenbach performer, Willie Nelson…terrific voice and uber talented guitarist who was sporting a black tee shirt which read: “I won’t quit till willie does”. Round two of our first full day in Luckenbach was at the local KOA camp about 3-4 miles down the road where we personally invited to join the owners and campers around the campfire to enjoy another talented local favorite Thomas Michael Riley, who spends his winter in Fredericksburg camping and occasionally singing for the locals. Another Texas treat of singing by the campfire (NO Shiner alas…it was a BYOB)

January 19th ~ Day #197 Hondo’s

Our new friends, the Hickeys, whom we met in Rochester MA, after finding out we’d taken them up on their suggestion to “winter in Luckenbach/Fredricksburg TX” immediately took us under their wing when we told them we were actually heading here. (They were in New Hampshire seeing their 4th grandchild into the world! Pat’s first suggestion, after checking out “the bar at Lukenbach” was to enjoy Hondo’s on the Main St in Fredericksburg on Sunday afternoon & hear Melissa Weatherly and the Any Given Sunday Band…and we did. She has a wonderful voice and sang a lot of covers with her 6 member band that we could sing along to. Warm outside patio under the shade trees, more local beer samples and a great (and nutritious) lunch…life is good!

January 20th ~ Day #198 LBJ Ranch

A walking tour around Lyndon Johnson’s enormous ranch, and through his ” Air Force ½” (Air Force 1 wouldn’t fit on the ranch runway…) hanger, as well as the tiny shaded grave site where he and LadyBird are buried with his ancestors, was an historic first for us. (I did however as a young teen do a drive-by the Kennedy compound with my Dad when such things were allowed) We have lots of pictures of his one room school house, a reconstructed family home and the cattle, deer and Bison that now inhabit his ranch.

January21st ~ Day #199 Enchanted Rock climb

A beautiful day and an energetic climb up a 425’ rock (the insides of an ancient volcano that never erupted which has been exposed over the years due to erosion) to the top. Pictures of the summiting are available. That was followed by a picnic in the local park at the base of the rock…a highlight day!

January 22nd ~ Day KOA Fredericksburg

Moved to the larger more active KOA camp anticipating the arrival of our friends the Hickeys, Pat and Paul, with whom we’ve become quite the “pen pals” recently. They arrived next door as we stepped out of our rig to attend the evening “Pickin’ and grillin”event around the fire. Hugs all around, then they did the world’s fastest rig set up, grabbed their wine & joined us post haste. Pat got in on the Picker’s Circle for her first time after only a year on the guitar! The circle was rounded out by Thomas Michael Riley, another guitar playing couple and…Warren Burdett a man who coauthored Purple People Eaters, toured with Ricky Nelson and suggested the opening lyrics to Travelin’ Man for Ricky as well as touring and doing “a little backup singing” for Glen Campbell and…used to walk Gene Autrey’s horses for extra $ when he was younger. By profession, Warren was a chemist and now he’s the security officer here at the KOA!

January 23rd ~ Day ShaAnnie
Freezing cold, with light snow and mixed “precip” in the evening called for a trip down the road to the bar at Luckenbach for the intrepid New Englanders to see ShAnnie around an inside fire with some cocktails. I’m officially now a ShaAnnie groupie…we made it home to a frozen water line and therefore NO water…it will thaw out..no worries!

Jan 24th ~ (CORRECTED) Day #200 TWO HUNDRED DAYS ON THE ROAD!

Great work by TBA! We have water, a new water filter (to replace the one that cracked last night) and plenty of back up propane for heat!
. Tonight’s round #2 of ShanAnnie was at the Hanger Hotel in Fredericksburg. Turned out to be a very “grown up and lovely bar” where Shan played hours of “lounge music” by ear and Annie joined him for the occasional solo! The cost of our evening was our own drinks and a chocolate cream martini for Shan… A great night with Pat and Paul Hickey as well asTheir and our new, friends Lynnette and Gordon.

Jan 25th ~ Day #201 Luckenbach Blues Fest

We attended an all-day Blues Fest.. 10 hours for $25 each. We were entertained by some forty year old bands (Texas Tornados band of the late Freddy Fender “Until the Next Teardrop Falls”), the second runnerup from 2012 The Voice Nicholas David and another Voice contender and lovely singer Tameca Jones plus 4 others lasting into the night.
Trace was approached by yet another portrait painter, this time a roving artist …who, not surprisingly, seemed to be enamored (and who wouldn’t be?) with Trace’s eyebrows and terrific mustache…he sat for the work then left a little lighter in the wallet but he’s adorable on the wall (or will be when we have a wall again!) We had cheap, skinny hamburgers without rolls for dinner and tried to pass on the cheese stuffed fried poppers and curly fries! (I still need to work on fitting into my Mother-of-the-Bride dress.. which might end up being designed by “Tents by Peterson” at this rate!) This has been yet another highlight day on the eve of our departure from the “Adult Disneyland” of camping in the Luckenbach area.

Jan26th ~Day # 202 Depart Luckenbach/Fredricksburg

Warmer and sunny with a small group waving us out…Pat, Paul and friend Lynette saw us off with multiple requests to come back next year for a longer stay. One could do one’s self in going out 4-5 nights a week for singing, two step lessons, campfire entertainment, KOA BBQs, and maybe poker night every week for the whole winter…we’ll see.

That’s about 4-5 hours of catch up work on this blog…it’s now 3:30 PM….. time for some lunch!

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December 4th ~ Day #153

Wilson, South Carolina

Heading for Wilson SC ~ actual uncharted territory for this trip!! We’re heading south and west…..California here we come! Wilson was unseasonably warm at about 80 degrees and afforded us the opportunity do the menial things of life like laundry and “house” keeping.

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Nov 21th ~ Day #138 - Dec 3rd Day #152

"Vacation from Retirement" for 3 weeks. Thanksgiving trip

Headed off from Williamsburg after moving the rig to the campground storage area (for a fee of about $40/week) and basically head north on route 95 on a mild fall day… we did make one strategic error in that with pit stops, a quick phone call and queing for soup at the Chesapeake House we were about 2 minutes behind a motor vehicle accident just up the road….it resulted in a 60 minute engine-off stop which included a snack and a brief nap! Back on our way was smooth sailing till north of NYC where we encountered another horrific slow down…10 hours into a 7 hour trip we arrived at our friends the Tunderman’s where Tom had cooked us one of his childhood favorite German dinners with wine and fabulous leftover Julia birthday cake!
Julia swooped in from Denver about 10 PM for a brief hello, a short glass of wine and off to bed. We were able to scramble some eggs and make breakfast for Tom and Julia and then we were all off to our appointed rounds. ….us to visit Roz and Joe, say hi, pick up a Christmas swap gift, drop off our 2nd tin of Virginia peanuts and have lunch and a quick catch up session…and we’re off!
This time heading for Plymouth MA by way of Newington where we “dropped in to see the folks”... Curt, Maidie and Jackie’s gravesites, what we call the “thorn between 2 roses” (yes, Curtis is buried between his 2 wives!) We thought we’d take the “scenic” route to Plymouth to visit the Welckers and took a damn long time doing it! Never again.
Dinner with Denise and David at Tomatoes in Bourne (or maybe Sandwich) was fabulous and was preceded by our annual small gift exchange and wine at their home. Our “home” for the night would be in South Yarmouth at Healeys’ where we arrived about 10 to be greeted by the “sole survivor” at that hour…David. Now we could settle in for a few days and cease being vagabonds, if only for a while! Saturday was comprised of local errands, including trips to our storage facility to drop off a few excesses from our rig and pick up only a couple small items we could find in the 3 overstuffed units. Early Saturday morning was dedicated to getting FASTING routine labs drawn in preparation for my “Medicare physical, That evening was a night to both have a wonderful dinner with Dave and Marty and catch up with the English/Woods and the Lindquists … lots of birds with one stone! Sunday was a down day which included a winter walk on our favorite West Dennis Beach and then dinner at Soleil in Hyannis with Susan and Bert followed with a nightcap at a local, late night watering hole….topped off with more peanuts for our friends and another late night, this time with “our” lovely waterfront home to ourselves where we could awake to the sun coming up over the Bass River out our 2nd floor window…magnificent!
Monday and Tuesday were meant for more business including doctor and dentist visits for me and erranding for Trace. Tues lunch was tomato soup on the way out of town to Ryan and Christina’s. We arrived in North Kingstown as Dylan and the Family of Four were about to depart for Dylan’s first professional haircut. We hung back and met a business woman whom we had to sign papers with at a local Starbuck’s and all met back home for cocktails and Christmas wrapping, making a batch of Bailey’s, and generally getting ready for both Thanksgiving on Thursday and Henry’s birthday party on Friday as well as Christmas on Saturday!!!
Wednesday was another prep day where we never left the house but the west coast Pomeroys did all arrive early in the morning. THREE GRANDCHILDREN all in one place at one time! Thursday saw us all enjoying a tremendous Thanksgiving feast and washing dishes well into the night …..All worth it!
Friday we had the rare opportunity to celebrate for the 3rd year in a row with Henry and his SIX grandparents as well as his Great Gramma Pat ~ SEVEN GRANDPARENTS!!! We attended a farmyard animal themed Birthday party and dinner hosted by G Ro and Grampa Jack at their home where we also had the rare occasion to see and visit with several other local Pomeroys! A banner day all around!
Christmas came early to No Kingston…starting with a wonderful egg casserole which Ryan got up early to make and then assisted us in our waiting by custom making Bloody Marys. A wood fire in the fireplace, a newly decorated Christmas tree and Ambler/Pomeroy gifts beneath it rounded out our “Christmas afternoon”. Yet another late night with the night owl Pomeroys …I see naps in Gramma and Grampa’s near future!
Our vacation started to wind down with our final visit to Nancy and Steve’s starting after a 3 hour road trip to CT. Another holiday kick off day consisting of a tour through a local art and craft show where Trace ran into a friend from his very first days at Cross, Brodrick & Chipman! Rosemary (now a local artist in Essex) joined us all at the Essex Yacht Club for the Christmas boat parade and catching up with Trace….warmed by tasty spirits. Afterward we were gifted, as usual, with a fabulous dinner! In this case it was scrumptious short ribs served over paparadelli . We love being “guinea pigs” for Nance. Day #2 of our CT stop was a little shopping therapy for the Nancys and off to the boat for “the boys”. We treated the Anderfletts to dinner at a local eatery called Gabrielle which followed an afternoon at the movies.
OK... the party’s almost over…up early Tuesday , morning December 3rd for an excessively long trip back to Williamsburg VA. Dinner was at a terrific William and Mary campus pub called Green Leafe’s, for beers and burgers with John Degnan after our 11 hour trip was just perfect. Last night of our vacation spent at Degnans’ and off to rejoin our rig almost 3 weeks after we left “her” in the storage area at our Williamsburg campsite. Friends and family mean the world to us!

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