Friday, November 30, 2018

Day 118, Friday, November 30, 2018 - Matagorda Bay Nature Park, TX, Day 6

Kite Weather!
Friday, November 30, 2018 - Matagorda Bay Nature Park, TX, Day 6 - 0 Miles, 6,681.5 Miles for the Trip

A very nice day with plenty of sunshine, at least until the late afternoon when we had light rain. The river & weather were good enough that the kayak paddle on the river took place this morning.

I drove to Bay City for pie ingredients, and while they had fresh blueberries, which I prefer, they were $.50 per ounce, and I needed 4.5 pounds. So, it was a 5 pound bag of frozen HEB blueberries. While I prefer Wyman's Frozen Wild Blueberries for pies, the store didn't have any. The HEB blueberries are huge, but unlike the large berries I grow at home, don't seem to have much taste, at least compared to the smaller wild ones. In any case, they will do.

Back at the campground, I decided rather than baking both pies in the trailer oven, I'd dig out the toaster oven. It was 77°F out, and warmer in the trailer, so the toaster oven saved heating up the trailer. It also seemed to work better. I'm not sure what is going on with the trailer oven, but first it wouldn't get up to 450°F, which I use for about 10 minutes, then when set for 350°F, my normal baking temperature, ended up at 250°F. I finished off the trailer baked pie in the toaster oven after the first pie was done. So, we now have two blueberry pies for tomorrow's pot luck.

After cleaning up (and turning my gray tank blue) I read for a bit, finished the Harbinger series by Jeff Wheeler, and started a new book.

Dinner was at the Waterfront Restaurant. Very slow service, but it was crowded, and the catfish dinner was both huge & good.

Until Tomorrow -

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Day 117, Thursday, November 29, 2018 - Matagorda Bay Nature Park, TX, Day 5

The Beer Exchange
Thursday, November 29, 2018 - Matagorda Bay Nature Park, TX, Day 5 - 0 Miles, 6,681.5 Miles for the Trip

I got my usual couple of phone calls offering "a Final Expense Plan" and "Pain Management Plans" early this morning. The pain management calls from a number of different callers didn't start until after I got a prescription for Celebrex. I wonder who told?

My current Verizon cell phone was my landline phone number up until last July, so I get lots of spam calls even though it is a cell phone. It never bothered me at home because the ringer on the bedroom phone was turned off, but my Verizon cell phone is often plugged into the trailer radio and sits in a cradle next to the bed about 1' from my head. Both the phone & the radio ring. Since I'm a time zone west of normal, the calls start early. Of course, all the calls have a spoofed originating number coming from the 315 area code (my hometown code) and usually in a nearby town. It will be worse when I hit Arizona with two time zone changes. Unfortunately, while I don't get as many on the AT&T phone, which has been a cell number all its life, I do get some. I read the other day that is will soon be possible using software to determine if a calling number is spoofed, and prevent the phone from ringing. Couldn't happen too soon!

Last night, after I posted the journal I went to the beer exchange. Since I left upstate NY in August, most good beer left in the trailer that long would be getting pretty bad by now. Last year my Adirondack Bear Naked Beer was pretty bad by the time I reached the Quartzsite rally, so this year I didn't bring any. I enjoyed talking with some of the participants, an offered Alamo beer, and some snacks.

This morning was the first official day of the rally. The "Protesters" moved from the parking lot to their sites, another Scamp 19 arrived, and the park is looking like a fiberglass rally. There are still a few stick built trailers & Class A's, but most of the sites in the south campground are fiberglass. There are three Casitas in the north campground. Light rain off & on, with heavy clouds.

There was suppose to be an organized Sunset Kayak program this evening, but the rain and cloudy sky seemed to have canceled it. Since the rain has been cycling off & on, during a somewhat dry spell I wiped down the front of the trailer, trying to remove the 4 months of road dust & bugs. About all is did is smear it all, making a bigger mess, and, not enough rain so far to rinse it off.

Around 6:00 I headed to the Sip & Dip, a get together with snacks & drinks. Photos of everything, including the beer exchange are at today's LakeshoreImages page or the Matagorda Madness page.

After that it was back to the trailer. I had enough snacking that the chicken patty sandwich I had for a late lunch was plenty.

Until Tomorrow -

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Day 116, Wednesday, November 28, 2018 - Matagorda Bay Nature Park, TX, Day 4

New Arrivals
Wednesday, November 28, 2018 - Matagorda Bay Nature Park, TX, Day 4 - 0 Miles, 6,681.5 Miles for the Trip

Last night was interesting. Instead of cooling off as usual, it got warmer throughout the night, reaching 62°F by morning. Unfortunately, it didn't get much warmer throughout the day. Fairly heavy clouds, but no rain. A good day to sit outside wearing a light jacket.

I made a couple of rounds of the campground with the camera. Lots of Casitas arrived; makes sense since they are made in Rice, Texas. A couple more Escapes, and an Oliver. It is starting to look like a rally!  More photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

After the last round of the campground, I headed inside to download the photos, and decided it was too gloomy to sit around outside. Too early for dinner, so I did some reading. I also started a web page for this year's Matagorda Madness Rally, basically a collection of photos from my journal.

Dinner was a chicken patty & some left over rice from yesterday.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Day 115, Tuesday, November 27, 2018 - Matagorda Bay Nature Park, TX, Day 3

A Shrimp Boat Heading Home
Tuesday, November 27, 2018 - Matagorda Bay Nature Park, TX, Day 3 - 0 Miles, 6,681.5 Miles for the Trip

the good - the wind finally died down to only 5 - 10 MPH. The bad, it cooled off quickly, going down to 41°F overnight. I've been to many places where they say "if you don't like the weather, wait 10 minutes", and Matagorda Bay is definitely one of them. 76°F for a high yesterday, 62°F today, and 79°F predicted for tomorrow. Other than a bit cool, it was a beautiful, sunny day. I spent most of it sitting outside in the sun. I've been finishing the Kingsfountain series by Jeff Wheeler, the author I've been reading most of last week. The Harbinger series still has 2 books to go, but the next one won't be released until March. I started the Kingsfountain series awhile back, but never finished it. 2 more to go. I have to admit they (both series) are addictive. Not a lot of killing and almost no sex, so neither compares to the Game of Thrones series, but they are good, quick reads.

I wandered around the park, taking photos of some of the early arrivals, and drove to the parking lot for the "Protesters". Also caught a couple of shrimp boats cruising up the Colorado River. There are a couple of shrimp stores along the road into the park; I suspect you can get pretty fresh shrimp after the boat gets home! More photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

I checked my spare since I'm lending it as a spare to the guy who had 2 blowouts for his drive to the tire store where he is getting all the tires replaced. Good thing I checked - it was down to 40 pounds from the 50 I put in it before I left for this trip. I dug out my Viair 12V compressor & topped it off. While I've only had to use the compressor a couple of times in the 8 years I've had it, it is one of the better 12V compressors, and worth the extra cost over the $25.00 junk. I did modify the output hose with quick connect fittings so I can use it with an adapter to blow out the trailer water lines if I run into freezing weather on a trip.

Dinner was a grilled chicken thigh, Vigo Yellow Rice, and asparagus with a glass of Kendall Jackson Chardonnay. Not a bad way to end the day!

Until Tomorrow -

Monday, November 26, 2018

Day 114, Monday, November 26, 2018 - Matagorda Bay Nature Park, TX, Day 2

Monday, November 26, 2018 - Matagorda Bay Nature Park, TX, Day 2 - 0 Miles, 6,681.5 Miles for the Trip

A couple more arrivals during the day - a Scamp 19 and an Escape 19 here in the park, and an Escape and two Casitas in the parking lot at the end of the road. I suspect they are the same group that labeled themselves as "protesters" two years ago and avoided paying the $5.00 per day per person entry fee by camping in the parking lot until the last couple of days of the rally.

I did check the cell service here at the park. AT&T provides a 3G, 1.6Mb download & .7 Mb upload with a -107dBm signal. Yesterday Verizon was providing 1X service (no data), but today there is a -98dBm 4G LTE signal that is providing 10.2 Mb download and 6.2 Mb upload. While there is a park WiFi, and it works for reading mail & web pages, it wouldn't let me upload my page to my ISP or Google, all I get is test errors when trying to check the speed. In any case, no problems with cell data here at the park.

A very windy night. I started to hear a intermittent "clunk" when the wind got strong (gusts up to 30 MPH) during yesterday afternoon, but couldn't tell where it was coming from. Before dark I got out my ladder & check to make sure the solar panel bolts were still tight - they were. I couldn't find the problem, so ignored it, mostly because the wind died down. It started back up around 11:00, and the clunking was driving me crazy. It was very intermittent, so when I moved around the trailer trying to locate it, it would stop, then start again when I got back in the bed. I finally decided it had to be the cap for the sewer connection - the only think I could think of that was loose, but couldn't blow away. It has a hanging strap to keep it from getting lost. So, at 11:30 I'm outside with a flashlight using a bungee cord to tie it down. Evidently it was the problem; the noise went away.

Back to today. I decided to wait until after my 3:00 eye drops to do a load of laundry. They have home type front loading Kenmore washers & dryers - you pay $4.00 at the visitor center per load. They worked fine, but I made the mistake of choosing the "Heavy" cycle, which runs an hour and 45 minutes. By the time I got the clothes out of the dryer, it was 6:45.

I did my usual shower during the drying cycle - quite cool in the bathroom, but they had an overhead quartz infrared heating strip on a timer. Only problem is the knob was loose on the shaft so you couldn't turn on the timer. No problem as long as you have a handy Leatherman! There is a large drying room with bench (where the heating strip is focused) for the three shower stalls, each shower with a very small drying area, three clothes hooks, and a 6" shelf. High pressure, low volume permanent showerhead. The water temperature kept going from hot enough to lukewarm, feeling like you were running out of hot water, but then getting hot again. Maybe an on demand water heater? In any case, it worked out OK. Fairly soft water, but no where near as bad as that at City of Rocks State Park in New Mexico where you spend twice the time rinsing that you do washing.

I also ate dinner during the dryer run. I microwaved the last of my frozen containers of left over chicken stew.

Until Tomorrow -

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Day 113, Sunday, November 25, 2018 - Matagorda Bay Nature Park, TX,

Site 42
Sunday, November 25, 2018 - Matagorda Bay Nature Park, TX, 29 Miles, 6,681.5 Miles for the Trip

A short 29 mile drive from Bay City to Matagorda.  I stayed at 60 North RV Park long enough to take a shower, then headed out.  TX 60 goes between Bay City & Matagorda, so there wasn't too much for the GPS to do getting me here.

While all sites are full hookup, there are 3 price levels - RV full hookup - $27, RV preferred - $32, RV waterfront - $37 and RV pull through - $37. The standard full hookup sites are along the road. Since the road ends 500' past the campground entrance, traffic noise isn't a problem, but they were all booked when I went to Reserve America 6 months ago. I'm in site 42, a preferred site 2 rows back from the waterfront sites. There is a $6.00 reservation fee, and a $2.00 per day park entrance fee (discounted from $5.00 because I'm over 65). So, with all that together, the daily cost for the week is $34.86. Level (all directions) site with a concrete picnic table & fish hanger. No grills or fire pits.

After setting up I walked to the office to register, and found a sign stating registration was at the visitor center at the opposite end of the campground. The bathrooms & laundry still have the same door codes they had 2 years ago. I walked down to the visitor center & paid my $14.00 entrance fee (not collected by Reserve America). The cattle drive went through last week, so I missed it. Here is a link to the one 2 years ago. Fun to watch!

After finishing setting up I got out the grill, planning to do a Beyond Burger cheeseburger for dinner. Not sure that is going to work - it is very windy. The sun popped out for a bit, but most of the day was foggy & cloudy. Temperatures are not too bad - a high of 75°F & 72°F right now at 4:00.

I'm the first fiberglass trailer to arrive. The park was full over the weekend, but many left today. Still a number of "sun blockers" spread out across both sections of the campground (there is a South & North section with the bathrooms & laundry in between them; I'm in the South.

I found an NPR station based out of Houston. So far, appears to be a news & talk station, but the weekends are hard to tell formats. Not sure why I couldn't pick it up in Bay City since that was closer to Houston, but I'm not complaining.

The wind died down enough to cook a Beyond Burger, so that, with applesauce was dinner. As I finished eating, another Escape 21 pulled in. They did not have a good trip getting here - 2 blowouts on the trailer!

Until Tomorrow -

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Day 112, Saturday, November 24, 2018 - 60 North RV Park, Bay City, TX, Day 5

Saturday, November 24, 2018 - 60 North RV Park, Bay City, TX, Day 5 - 0 Miles, 6,652.5 Miles for the Trip

Not only did my on the road deliveries take a turn for the better yesterday with the Walmart delivery, but when I stopped at the post office this morning, my general delivery letter had arrived. My trailer now has the 2019 sticker on the plate & current registration. By the way, the Escape 21 registration fee for NY is $62.50 per year - I believe it still goes by weight.

Another warm day, although the weather report predicted a sunny day, however there were fairly heavy clouds throughout. I finished the last of the baked ham in a sandwich for lunch, then goofed off for the rest of the day. I did set up the new Ubiquiti NanoStation & it is working as expected. I was never able to reset the old one to see if I could reconfigure it - I suspect that it is dead.

I'm in the middle of the second book of Jeff Wheeler's Harbinger series, Mirror Gate. As mentioned, a bit different than the usual science fiction I read, but I'm still reading. After my afternoon eye drops I hooked up the trailer, shut down the tank drains & packed up the sewer hose. If it is raining tomorrow, I only have to crank up the jacks, unhook the water & electric, and I'm off to Matagorda. According to Reserve America, someone will be in my site tonight, so I don't want to arrive too early while they are still packing up.

Dinner was an Amy's Chile Relleno Bowl. Not made like real Chile Relleno where a Chile is stuffed, but a bowl with cut up pieces of Chile, along with what would have been stuffed inside. Not bad for a quick microwave meal, although I far prefer the real thing at Chope's in La Mesa, NM.

Until Tomorrow -

Friday, November 23, 2018

Day 111, Friday, November 23, 2018 - 60 North RV Park, Bay City, TX, Day 4

Friday, November 23, 2018 - 60 North RV Park, Bay City, TX, Day 4 - 0 Miles, 6,652.5 Miles for the Trip

I'm definitely not having much luck with deliveries. First, the replacement for my Ubiquiti Nanostation that was expected today was postponed to at least Monday, and my general delivery letter that was scheduled to arrive today wasn't at the post office. They said today's mail was in, so unless it makes it tomorrow by noon, it will also have to wait until Monday.

The trip to the post office was about it for the day. I did a fair amount of reading - current Kindle book is Storm Glass by Jeff Wheeler, the first of at least a 4 book series. Not my usual type of book, but society & politics are interesting so far. A laid back, peaceful (I'm 3/4 of the way through the first book & no one has killed anyone yet) Game of Thrones.

Well, I have to go - seems my delivery from Walmart, promised on Monday, came in a few minutes ago! I got both an email & text message.

Back from Walmart. The pickup was easy. I used their app to tell them I was on my way, and the package was at the front of the counter. It would be really nice if the general delivery letter came in tomorrow. I still have to make one trip from Matagorda to pick up blueberries for making a pie for the pot luck, but that should be later in the week.

It has been a warm day. Not quite enough to want the air conditioner, but it hit 79°F outside this afternoon. A mix of sun & clouds.

I had a turkey sandwich for a late lunch (unfortunately, it wasn't leftovers with cranberry sauce & stuffing, but Oscar Mayer Carving Board cold cuts). In any case, I'm just going to snack cheese & Ritz crackers for dinner. One note - why do they put an uneven number of crackers in their short packages? I guess some only use one cracker per snack, but I like to make a sandwich. Oh well, the mysteries of packaging!

Until Tomorrow -

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Day 110, Thursday, November 22, 2018 - 60 North RV Park, Bay City, TX, Day 3

Thursday, November 22, 2018 - 60 North RV Park, Bay City, TX, Day 3 - 0 Miles, 6,652.5 Miles for the Trip

Happy Thanksgiving! Unfortunately, no turkey dinner here. The last time I cooked a 24 pound turkey with all the side dishes for Thanksgiving was 3 years ago, although I've been doing a "Thanksgiving in July" the last two years. My favorite July "Thanksgiving" was the year Don & Anne brought their visiting Chinese student, who experienced a turkey dinner for the first time. The problem with Thanksgiving in July, other than heating up an already hot house is it is impossible to buy a Plainville fresh 20 - 24 pound turkey except at Thanksgiving. Plainville turkeys are raised without antibiotics, and non injected with water/sugar/salt/anything. Tastes much better than the typical Butterball. I did once find a 12 pound Plainville turkey in a grocery store during the summer, but somehow that doesn't really say Thanksgiving. While a 24 pound turkey is pretty big for just two or three, I usually had a couple of students that were not able to go home for Thanksgiving, and often had friends over for the meal.

So, today it was honey cinnamon glazed ham, mashed potatoes, and asparagus. A fine meal, but not the traditional.

Other than an early dinner, not much happening. We did get two new arrivals here at the RV Park, and one leaving, but that was all the excitement for the day.

Until Tomorrow -

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Day 109, Wednesday, November 21, 2018 - 60 North RV Park, Bay City, TX, Day 2

Wednesday, November 21, 2018 - 60 North RV Park, Bay City, TX, Day 2 - 0 Miles, 6,652.5 Miles for the Trip

Very light rain off & on overnight, clear skies in the morning, then rain off & on during the afternoon. I ran some speed tests on the various internet connections: AT&T -80dBm, 4.5MB down, 10.9MB up, Verizon -56dBm, 48MB down, 8.3MB up (the winner) and the campground WiFi .2Mb down, 5.6MB up. The campground WiFi varied quite a bit with the time of day.

Speaking of the time of day, a bad time to head to Walmart was 3:15. Long waits at almost every traffic light in town. When I got back to the trailer, the NPR station (in Phoenix, but probably the same here) stated that according to AAA, the heaviest traffic of the week would be at 3:00 today. I believe it!

I picked up a Stanley socket set. I didn't really need it since I already have one and a couple of 3/8" drivers, but the storage of the sockets is all tossed in a metal box. Makes it hard to find the one you want, particularly since I have both SAE & metric sockets. So, just for the fitted case, I bought another one. That was about it for Walmart.

I hit the showers in the campground bathroom. Quite nice - very clean, large showers with a standard showerhead, shower curtain, and a lip to keep the water out of the drying area. 3 individual rooms, each with a shower, toilet & sink. No bench or hooks, but there is a chair to set stuff on.

Not much more happening for the day.

Dinner was a frozen HEB Pad Kee Mao Gai dinner. A bit hotter (spicy) than I prefer, but OK.

Until Tomorrow -

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Day 108, Tuesday, November 20, 2018 - 60 North RV Park, Bay City, TX

Site 62
Tuesday, November 20, 2018 - 60 North RV Park, Bay City, TX - 108.9 Miles, 6,652.5 Miles for the Trip

It warmed up overnight, hitting 52°F by morning. I packed up the trailer, stopped at the bathroom & met a couple of the park maintenance crew photographing the vice grip hot water handle in the shower. The original handle disappeared last week. When they asked for the money to buy a replacement handle, someone said why? So, their plan was to email the photo to the money people.

A quiet drive to Bay City on US 59, TX 111 & TX 35 plus a short stint on TX 60 to the 60 North RV Park. A fairly typical city RV park, although more room between sites. No grill or picnic table, but level concrete pads, a full hookup back in site (#62) for $36.00 per day with a Good Sam discount. I'm here for 5 days, after which my site becomes available at the Matagorda Bay Nature Park & the Matagorda Madness rally.

Anne sent my trailer registration & Medicare card care of General Delivery here at the Bay City Post Office. I hope it arrives before I leave, but if not, is is only 30 miles or so between Bay City and the Matagorda Bay Nature Park. I already have to come back after Monday; an order I had shipped to the Bay City Walmart was suppose to arrive on Friday, but I just received a notice that it is delayed until at least Monday.

After setting up, I headed to HEB for some supplies & the lowest gas prices in town ($2.21.9). I'm still getting used to putting over $50.00 at a time in the tank - 23.7 gallons today). Still, I go a long time between fill ups, so overall, while the average price of gas is up compared to last year, I'm getting better mileage, so it isn't all that much more, just more at a time...

I made a ham sub for lunch, so dinner will be just a salad.

Until Tomorrow -

Monday, November 19, 2018

Day 107, Monday, November 19, 2018 - Goliad State Park, Goliad, TX, Day 2

Presidio La Bahia
Monday, November 19, 2018 - Goliad State Park, Goliad, TX, Day 2 - 0 Miles, 6,543.6 Miles for the Trip

Heavier rain off & on overnight, and still quite cool. Today's high was 49°F. No rain, but very damp & heavy.

I decided to tour some of Goliad's forts & missions. Not great for photography with the heavy, gray skies, but I needed something to do. I started with the Presidio La Bahia & the Our Lady of Loreto Chapel which is part of the fort, then stopped at the campground office & the Mission Espiritu Santo, which is part of the park. More photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

After that it was back to the trailer. I have a new neighbor that has 4 large dogs. No leashes, but they seem well behaved - they stay behind their trailer & don't roam the campground, unlike a stray that was running around yesterday. They are in a relatively small (24' or so) trailer - must be crowded; probably even more so in the truck they use to tow the trailer!

I decided it wasn't going to get any warmer, and while there was heat in the bathroom, not much, still, I needed a shower. As to the shower (only one), a couple of benches, 2 hooks, a window sill that served as a good place for my soap dish & shampoo, a high pressure, low volume showerhead (although the design that actually produces a usable spray), a shower curtain & low wall that kept the drying area floor dry, and no light so you didn't see what the condition of the shower walls & floor were in. Lots of hot water once you learned how to turn it on with the campground provided vice grips (missing faucet handle). All in all, not too bad, although a bit cool getting dry.

I had a late lunch or early dinner (at 2:30) of left over chicken sandwiches & creamed corn. I'm still looking for succotash with no luck. About the only canned vegetable I like, and one that I miss. I check every supermarket I visit for it, and creamed corn is as close as I get. I did once find frozen succotash, but somehow the canning process blends the beans & corn much better than the fresh frozen variety.

Real dinner will probably be cheese & crackers a bit later.

Until Tomorrow -

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Day 106, Sunday, November 18, 2018 - Goliad State Park, Goliad, TX

Site 21
Sunday, November 18, 2018 - Goliad State Park, Goliad, TX - 108.4 Miles, 6,543.6 Miles for the Trip

Very light rain off & on all day & all the way to Goliad. I'm in an electric & water back in site next to the bathrooms, site 21, for $20.00 per night plus a $3.00 daily entry charge. A parking lot with the utilities on the back edge, along with a shaded picnic table & grill. Only three other trailers in this section of the park. The full hook up section is about a mile away, and is a bit more crowded.

It is cool at 50°F and a light rain or heavy mist, and the predictions are for it to remain about the same for tomorrow. After setting up, I drove to the local grocery store, and picked up a few items.

Dinner was half a roasted chicken & applesauce.

Until Tomorrow -

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Day 105, Saturday, November 17, 2018 - Tejas Valley RV Park, San Antonio, TX, Day 3

Saturday, November 17, 2018 - Tejas Valley RV Park, San Antonio, TX, Day 3 - 0 Miles, 6,435.2 Miles for the Trip

A cloudy day, but warm enough - into the 70's. I headed out to Best Buy for a 4TB portable disk drive to replace my full Time Machine back up drive. I'm still amazed that I can buy a 4 TB drive for $129.00. I know I'm old, but I do remember paying close to $2000.00 for a 20MB drive for my first Mac. Of course everything I had fit on it, while one photo from my D850 would be more than twice the drive's capacity.

I stopped & got the truck washed on the way back to the RV Park, even though rain is predicted. I wanted to get rid of at least one layer of road grime.

That was it for the day. I probably should hook up the trailer tonight since rain is predicted for the morning, but I guess I'll just get wet.

Dinner was a ham & cheese sandwich & a salad.

Until Tomorrow -

Friday, November 16, 2018

Day 104, Friday, November 16, 2018 - Tejas Valley RV Park, San Antonio, TX, Day 2

Site 50
Friday, November 16, 2018 - Tejas Valley RV Park, San Antonio, TX, Day 2 - 0 Miles, 6,435.2 Miles for the Trip

Reasonably quiet for a RV park in the city. The road construction stopped around 5:00, and the traffic calmed down around 8:00. Lots of lighting - my back window glows, even with the shades down!

I drove to the Apple store, waited 2 hours to get an appointment with the Genius Bar, and discovered that there is nothing wrong with me Ethernet adapter or the Mac's ports. The reason it didn't work has to be a problem with the Ubiquiti NanoStation. I stopped for gas on the way back to the campground - about the cheapest of the trip at $2.18 per gallon, and some grilled chicken for dinner.

As I noted, a bit tight, but typical of city RV parks. Most of the sites seem to be fairly permanent with porches, decks, etc.

I did laundry here at the park - $2.00 each for wash & dry, and took a shower next door while the dryer was running. Plenty of hot water, good shower head, difficult to adjust control, 1 hook, a shower curtain, but water ran into the drying area anyway. There was a bench. I guess I'd have to call it average...

As mentioned, dinner was grilled chicken.

Until Tomorrow -

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Day 103, Thursday, November 15, 2018 - Tejas Valley RV Park, San Antonio, TX

Thursday, November 15, 2018 - Tejas Valley RV Park, San Antonio, TX - 181.2 Miles, 6,435.2 Miles for the Trip

A much warmer evening, plus I had hookups, so the electric heater was on. In fact, I woke up around 3:00AM, found it was 69°F in the trailer & turned it down. I prefer to sleep with temperatures in the low 60's.

I stopped on the way out of the campground to dump the tanks. A strange hose system - a long hose, but on the door side (passenger side) of the trailer, so you have to spray water all over the place after you open the valve & run around to the dump (driver's) side of the trailer. In any case, the tanks were at 2/3rds full and are now empty.

An uneventful drive down US 90 to San Antonio, and the Tejas Valley RV Park. Lots of construction on Potranco Road, the entrance road to the park, with traffic backed up in both directions. I'm in site 50, a full hookup site for $40.50 per night with the Good Sam discount. Very tight sites, although I do have a picnic table near the back of the site. Level enough that I wouldn't have needed to unhook, although since I am heading to Ford for an oil change & Apple to check the laptop, I unhooked anyway. A large park, and the bathrooms & laundry are at the other end from my site.

While there is AT&T as well as Verizon coverage, the AT&T speed is slow enough to be unusable (at least at dinner time). Verizon is showing 1.3MB download & 2.8MB upload. The campground WiFi has lots of nodes, but is very slow. I stuck with the Verizon Jetpack.

After setting up, I drove to McCombs West Ford for their quick oil change & tire rotation. While not standard, as it was with the Tacoma, I asked for & got synthetic oil. I prefer that when towing since it seems to hold up better under high loads & temperatures.

No site photo until tomorrow since it was dark by the time I got back from the oil change. I do hate city traffic (as well as city RV parks) but that is where I needed to be to get my current projects done.

I called the Matagorda post office to see if they do general delivery (Anne is going to mail me my new Medicare card & the trailer registration) and the answer is sorta. All the other places I've done general delivery just had you address the mail to me C/O General Delivery, but the post master (well, mistress) wants me to mail her a letter with my ID before she can accept a general delivery letter. I may try Bay City, although it is a bit further away from the Matagorda campground.

Dinner was a microwaved El Monterey Chicken Enchilada dinner.

Until Tomorrow -

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Day 102, Wednesday, November 14, 2018 - Seminole Canyon State Park, Comstock, TX,

Site 31
Wednesday, November 14, 2018 - Seminole Canyon State Park, Comstock, TX, 219.4 Miles, 6,254 Miles for the Trip

Last night was the coldest of the trip, maybe even the coldest I've had in the Escape 21. It was down to 32°F by 11:00PM, and during the early morning hours, 23°F. Around midnight I turned up the furnace thermostat to 60°F to keep the pipes from freezing. I guess it worked - the water ran OK in the toilet & sinks. It was still below freezing as I packed up the trailer at 9:30AM, and didn't hit 50F until well down US 90, heading to Del Rio. Once I had phone service, I called the Ford dealer in Del Rio (Cecil Atkission Ford Lincoln), and left a message with the service manager asking for a first service on my F 150. Unlike my previous vehicles, the Ford gives you a percentage until needing an oil change, and mine is at 10%, the point where Ford suggests you start looking for a dealer. Unfortunately, they didn't call back. If I don't hear from them, I'll see if I can stay an extra day at San Antonio and find a dealer there. The plan is to get my laptop checked at the Apple Store in San Antonio. When I tried to use the Ethernet connection, it didn't work. Either the adapter or both thunderbolt ports are bad & I'd like to find out which while it is still under Applecare.

I stopped for the day about 30 miles from Del Rio at the Seminole Canyon State Park in Comstock, TX. $20.00 for an electric & water site plus a $5.00 per person entry fee for a total of $25.00. I'm in site 31, an almost level pull through (I didn't have to unhook). It is on top of a hill, with great views in every direction If the skies stay clear, it should be good for star gazing, although it is expected to get down to 34°F overnight, so I might not spent too much time outside.

Fast, but weak AT&T coverage, both phone (2-3 bars) & data (-111dBm with amp). No Verizon connection, either phone or Jetpack. I did discover a strange message on my Verizon phone when I checked it here in the campground. "Your LTE voice has been disconnected". It might have appeared there on the drive to the campground, along which there were a couple of towns with Verizon coverage.

Dinner was a chicken pot pie.

Until Tomorrow -

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Day 101, Tuesday, November 13, 2018 - Big Bend National Park, TX, Day 10

Rio Grande Hot Spring
Tuesday, November 13, 2018 - Big Bend National Park, TX, Day 10 - 0 Miles, 6,034.6 Miles for the Trip

Not quite as cold as predicted, but a long way from a warm, cozy night. By 8:00 the furnace started cycling (set at 56°F), it was down to 36°F by morning, and only 48°F at 2:00PM. I finished Wilber Smith's Men of Men, and started Rick Riordan's Widower's Two-Step. So far, so good.

I decided to make use of the clear skies (on the solar panels) and microwave a Tai Pei Orange Chicken meal for lunch - I'll have a sandwich for dinner. Even after the 5 minute microwaving, the batteries are full at 2:00.

I decided to recheck the hot spring along the Rio Grande, mostly for something to do. Not much different from the last time a couple of years ago. There are a bunch of buildings near the parking area that, at one time was a resort. The park service is restoring them, although very slowly; not much has changed since the last time I photographed them. I'm glad the hot spring is hot - the air temperature was in the high 40's but it was full of people. I'm also including a photo of the clouds at sunset over the mountains behind the campground. More photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

As mentioned, dinner will be a sandwich.

Until Tomorrow -

Monday, November 12, 2018

Day 100, Monday, November 12, 2018 - Big Bend National Park, TX, Day 9

On the Way to Panther Junction
Monday, November 12, 2018 - Big Bend National Park, TX, Day 9 - 0 Miles, 6,034.6 Miles for the Trip

I lied about the chicken patty for dinner - instead it was left over pizza, no better than it was the day before, but now it's gone.

I emptied one of my 20 pound propane tanks yesterday, so this morning's project was to get a refill. The campground store sells propane, $21.25 to refill a 20 pound tank. at 4.6 gallons, not the least expensive I've run into by a long shot, but the nearest next location for propane is about 80 miles away.

The weather prediction for tonight is "interesting" - 30% chance of snow & tomorrow's high around 34°F. Sure hope it is wrong, but right now at 11:00 it is 55°F and going down rather than up! At least I have full propane tanks and, by the end of the day, full batteries.

While paying for the propane, I remembered that I was reading my last book, and since the Kindle is not downloading books, I'm in trouble. They have a small book kiosk at the store, and there were three books by Rick Riordan, a "Texas style author". I've read one of his books - Big Red Tequila, and while I don't remember it, it wasn't on my "Don't buy any more by this author" list, so I bought all three. It may be awhile before I get to them since I'm in the middle of a 700 page Wilber Smith book - Men of Men, the second book in his Ballantyne novels, but I love his books, and they read pretty quickly. I would have preferred to read all 4 of the series in order, but since I've already read the third book, The Angels Weep, that isn't going to happen. If you are interested in historic novels about Africa or Egypt, I highly recommend his work.

Other than that, it is a pretty much "sit around the trailer" day. A mix of sun & clouds, with enough sun to warm up the trailer, but too much wind, and a little too cool to sit around outside.

I took a break from just sitting, and headed to Panther Junction (20 miles from the campground) to mail a couple of postcards to my grandkids. As long as I was there, I also decided to head to Chisos Basin just because I was within 10 miles of the store. I did find some large bowls at the store, something I was out of back at the trailer.

By the way, the description of the temperature differences during the winter between Chisos Basin & Rio Grande Village is that the Basin is actually warmer because the cold air drains off the mountain into the valley where Rio Grande Village is located. Maybe it isn't winter yet - it was 34°F at the Chisos Basin store, and 55°F at my campsite.

Maybe the chicken patty will be tonight's dinner...

Until Tomorrow -

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Day 99, Sunday, November 11, 2018 - Big Bend National Park, TX, Day 8

Sunday, November 11, 2018 - Big Bend National Park, TX, Day 8 - 0 Miles, 6,034.6 Miles for the Trip

Not much going on today (as usual). The big news is it got cold enough last night (44°F) for the furnace to kick on for the first time here, maybe for the trip. Other than that, a relaxing day. There was intermittent sun & clouds, so the batteries are almost full. I am going to wait until later to try to post yesterday's (and today's) pages, hoping they get the internet connection back together.

Dinner will be a grilled chicken patty.

Until Tomorrow -

Day 98, Saturday, November 10, 2018 - Big Bend National Park, TX, Day 7

Saturday, November 10, 2018 - Big Bend National Park, TX, Day 7 - 0 Miles, 6,034.6 Miles for the Trip

I must have hit the laundry at the right time. The wind yesterday knocked out power to the campground (and the rest of Big Bend) for at least part of the day. No gas, propane, or internet (or washers & dryers). I never noticed - one of the advantages of dry camping. I am down quite a bit on the batteries. I was planning on baking a pizza from the store in the oven, but they only sold them in pairs, and I don't have room in the freezer for one. So, I made enchiladas. That required about 10 amp hours of Microwaving, but they were good. As of 3:00, I'm still down23 amp hours and it is partly cloudy, so I'm only getting 8 amps of charging from the solar panels. When the sun comes out, it jumps to 16 amps, but that isn't often enough to get me back to full by the end of the day.

I didn't do anything other than read, and take a couple of walks around the campground. The wind died down to minor gusts around 9:00 last night, and while cool at 57°F, it didn't get much cooler overnight. Unfortunately, it also didn't get much warmer until late afternoon - it is 69°F at 3:00.

Well, I'm at the store, and it seems the internet is still down, so I won't be posting tonight. I'll try again tomorrow. By the way, the campground is fuller than I've seen it during my stay. There are still a few shallow sites left, but most have RVs or tents. A few have tomorrow as their exit day, but others are here during the week. Lots of tents, most small backpacker styles.

As to dinner, I made enough room in the freezer to hold the second pizza, so it looks like a frozen pizza for dinner. It is "no name" brand, so it might not be worth the effort, but I'm running out of ideas out of the refrigerator. So, all the 2 piece, 12" pizzas are gone. I don't know if they thawed with the power outage, of all were sold after 4:00 yesterday, but I suspect the former. I do wonder about all the other frozen microwave meals that were ( and still are) in the freezer next to the empty space for the pizzas. In any case, they did have some Geno's pepperoni 14" refrigerator pizzas still in the freezer section, so I bought one. Hopefully, it won't kill me!

Until Tomorrow -

Friday, November 9, 2018

Day 97, Friday, November 9, 2018 - Big Bend National Park, TX, Day 6

Friday, November 9, 2018 - Big Bend National Park, TX, Day 6 - 0 Miles, 6,034.6 Miles for the Trip

Well, what ever warmth was here at Big Bend, it's gone. Not only is it only 56°F at 2:30 PM, it has been very windy. The weather posting said to expect 30MPH winds; they are at least that. A few tents blown down, and everyone huddled (including me) inside their RVs or vehicles. I feel sorry for those in motorcycles. While most have tents, they are small; it can't be much fun.

I spent most of the day reading. After my 3:00 eye drops, I'll head over to post this page & maybe do a load of laundry & a shower. It depends on how many others have the same idea - there are only 2 or 3 machines covering both campgrounds. While the dry section is pretty empty, the full hookup section is near full.

Well, I'm here and all the machines are empty, so the laundry is underway. I'll do my usual shower while the clothes are in the dryer.

I haven't decided on dinner, but it will be something that can be cooked inside, but not in the microwave. I'm still down by 20 amp hours this afternoon, and with the heavy clouds, only making around 2 amps from the solar panels. While I haven't fired up the furnace, I do expect it will be running later. The wind makes it feel even cooler than it is, both inside & out.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Day 96, Thursday, November 8, 2018 - Big Bend National Park, TX, Day 5

A 79 Minute Exposure Star Circle
Thursday, November 8, 2018 - Big Bend National Park, TX, Day 5 - 0 Miles, 6,034.6 Miles for the Trip

A warm overnight - only down into the mid 60's, and still in the mid 70's at midnight. I set up my tripod & dug out the D800 for a star circle photo.

By the way, Amy's Mushroom Risotto Bowl is delicious! The only problem is it requires microwaving, and with last night's run, by morning, after toast & coffee, I was down 50 amp hours, at 78% battery capacity. It was also a bit cloudy this morning, so I was wondering if I'd be able to make it up. The sun came out around 11:00, and when I left for Chisos Basin for dinner (around 2:30) it was only down 3.5 amp hours.

As mentioned, I drove to Chisos Basin for an early dinner. The restaurant lunch service ends at 4:00, and dinner doesn't start until 7:00, so I went early. Dinner chosen from a fairly limited menu was a couple of soft fish tacos with rice & beans. Not bad, but with tip, $20.00, more than I usually spend even at restaurants. The dinner menu was entirely more different, with more substantial meals (and more substantial prices).

I took a couple of photos of the Basin mountains on the way out. I also stopped at the campground. It was now listed as full, and sure looked like it. Photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Until Tomorrow -

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Day 95, Wednesday, November 7, 2018 - Big Bend National Park, TX, Day 4

Balanced Rock
Wednesday, November 7, 2018 - Big Bend National Park, TX, Day 4 - 0 Miles, 6,034.6 Miles for the Trip

Another warm day & cool (52°F) night. While it has been close, I haven't run the furnace yet here at Big Bend.

After breakfast I headed to Grapevine Hills Road & Balanced Rock. A gravel/dirt road in good shape that I followed to the campgrounds at the end (all were empty, but many closer to the highway had RVs or tents). I parked at the trailhead for Balanced Rock, filled my water bottle & headed out. A 2.2 mile round trip with only 80' of altitude gain, most of which was a bit of scramble at the end (and, which I did a bit more of than necessary when I took a wrong turn). The rest was a wide gravel or sand path. Lots of interesting rock formations along the way.  Many more photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

After the 7 mile drive back to a paved road, I headed back to the campground to process the photos. I'll head to the store to post them & the page a bit later.

By the way, one big difference between my winter (December & February) visits to Big Bend are mosquitoes. I never noticed them on the previous visits; this time they are pretty savage! Both mornings & evenings (around dinner time) they are feasting. While they haven't looked like a blanket on my legs like they did at Matagorda, there are enough that you are continuous slapping them, often more than one at a time. The flies also seem to be more numerous, but at least they don't bite.

So far I have not needed to tilt the solar panels. I've been down as much as 40 amp hours by morning (after listening to the XM Radio & making a pot of coffee, but made it up by early afternoon.

Dinner will be an Amy's Mushroom Risotto Bowl.

Until Tomorrow -

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Day 94, Tuesday, November 6, 2018 - Big Bend National Park, TX, Day 3

A Roadrunner
Tuesday, November 6, 2018 - Big Bend National Park, TX, Day 3 - 0 Miles, 6,034.6 Miles for the Trip

I spent most of the morning sitting outside reading, then decided to take the Boquillas Canyon hike. I took a bunch of photos, got back to the trailer, and while Lightroom Classic CC let me download the photos, it would not go into the editing mode. Of course I didn't have an internet connection at the campsite, but according to my subscription, I should be able to go for 90 days without a connection before it stops working. A window pops up that tells me I don't have an internet connection, suggests going to Adobe help, which, of course, requires an internet connection! I finally drove over to the store for their connection to edit the images. Not sure what is going on since the store connection is very slow & doesn't seem to be able to connect to Adobe's help forums.

Anyway, more photos from the hike are at today's LakeshoreImages Page.

So, I'm posting this a bit early. Not sure what dinner will be, but something simple. My stomach rebelled at last night's meal, keeping me up part of the night.

Until Tomorrow -

Monday, November 5, 2018

Day 93, Monday, November 5, 2018 - Big Bend National Park, TX, Day 2

Monday, November 5, 2018 - Big Bend National Park, TX, Day 2 - 0 Miles, 6,034.6 Miles for the Trip

Just an interesting note - Knowing I was heading to the Rio Grande Village Campground, with its one pump (well, 2 - it also has diesel) gas station, I topped off the tank at Marathon at $3.35 per gallon, knowing it would be more expensive at the campground. Checked the pump at Rio Grande Village, and it was $2.93 per gallon. Oh well, it was only $20.00 worth.

A warm night, although the morning got down to 52°F outside & 59°F in the trailer. I had the furnace set for 56°F, so it never came on.

It warmed up quickly, and by noon, was in the 80's. I spent most of the day finishing setting up the campsite, trying again to get the NanoStation to work (no success), and reading. After my 3:00 eye drops, I dug out some shrimp from the freezer to thaw, then headed for a shower & to post today's page. The campground is still less than half full, with people leaving & new arrivals.

Dinner will be shrimp Alfredo.

Until Tomorrow -

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Day 92, Sunday, November 4, 2018 - Big Bend National Park, TX

Site 72, Rio Grande Village Campground, Big Bend National Park, TX
Sunday, November 4, 2018 - Big Bend National Park, TX - 146.1 Miles, 6,034.6 Miles for the Trip

An uneventful drive to Big Bend National Park. I stopped at Alpine to pick up some water & ice cream. It reached the 70's on the way to Big Bend, and is now (at 5:30 maybe, since my phones say 4:30 and think I'm back in Mountain time) 81°F. At Panther Junction, all the campgrounds show available sites, even the parking lot with hookups at Rio Grande Village. While I'd like to be as Chisos Basin, the sites there are pretty small for my 21. They have a 20' limit on trailers, and while my 21 is actually the equivalent of an 18' stick built trailer (fiberglass manufacturers include the tongue in the measurement while stick built only include the body), I remember that most of the sites barely fit my 17.

I drove to the Rio Grande Village dry campground. Lots of open sites. I'm in site 72, a pull through dry site for $7.00 per night with the Senior Pass discount. Close to the bathrooms, but around 3/4 of a mile to the store, showers & laundry & WiFi. No cell service (or FM radio) here at the campground, so my entertainment will have to be my XM Radio (and, of course, books).

I tried setting up the NanoStation (a WiFi relaying radio) and while it did connect to the store WiFi, it is too far away through the trees to make a usable connection. I will still have to walk over to post pages.

After the frustration of trying to set up the WiFi system, I decided dinner will be simple - a chicken sandwich & salad.

Until Tomorrow -

Day 91, Saturday, November 3, 2018 - Davis Mountain State Park, Fort Davis, TX, Day 3

The Milky Way Over the Trailer
Saturday, November 3, 2018 - Davis Mountain State Park, Fort Davis, TX, Day 3 - 0 Miles, 5,888.58 Miles for the Trip

Much warmer overnight - only down to 51°F rather than Thursday's low of 31°F (which froze my water line for a couple of hours). I went outside last night around 10:00 to try for some star & milky way photos, but the traffic on the main road into the campground & my next door neighbors made it difficult - headlights, taillights & flashlights. It is also not the best time of year for the milky way. Too edge on so you don't get the full impact. I included a few photos anyway.  The other two are at today's  LakeshoreImages post.

I decided to go to the park restaurant for dinner. A nice adobe building that is also a lodge with many rooms. Only problem is it is only open until 2:00PM & I arrived at 5:00. No problem, I'll head to town only 4 miles away. There are about 4 restaurants in town, and guess what? They all close at 2:00. Doesn't anyone visiting Fort Davis eat dinner? What's more, one of them had outside tables with people drinking wine & eating cheese, but no one came to seat me & no one seemed to be in charge.

I headed to Porter's Thriftway, the local grocery store hoping they had fried chicken or other prepared meals, but while they were open, no fast food. I settled for a frozen packet of Tastee Choice Orange Chicken (a meal for 2, complete with rice). Actually, while I've never heard of it before, it wasn't bad. A bit too much sauce for the amount of rice, few Chinese vegetables, but plenty of chicken, and enough for 1 1/2 people.

I'm not driving back to the top of Skyline drive to post this, so you will have to wait until tomorrow when I drive through somewhere with cell coverage.

I'm now in Marathon, TX, found a good Verizon signal, so I'm posting yesterday's page. Who knows when the next post will be - no cell service at Rio Grance Village other than WiFi at the store.

Until Tomorrow?

Friday, November 2, 2018

Day 90, Friday, November 2, 2018 - Davis Mountain State Park, Fort Davis, TX, Day 2

Friday, November 2, 2018 - Davis Mountain State Park, Fort Davis, TX, Day 2 - 0 Miles, 5,888.58 Miles for the Trip

As those of you that saw yesterday's post, I did drive into Fort Davis to get a haircut & post the page. I did find that if I left the Verizon connection up long enough, mail came through, although slowly. It still would not do web pages or stream radio, both of which worked fine off & on on the campground WiFi.

I headed to the showers after my 3:00 eye drops. Looking over the posting from the last time I was here, I complained that the showers were OK, except the water never got more than lukewarm. Plenty of hot water today, in fact, my only complaint was too much water pressure. A standard shower head, but the pressure was so strong that it hurt to stand under it. I guess I'll find something to complain about, no matter what!

Dinner was one of my chicken stews out of the freezer.

I'm going to drive the skyline drive to see if there is a better Verizon connection at the top. If not, this post won't happen until tomorrow.

I'm up at the viewpoint, and have 3 bars of 4G LTE service (-87dBm) compared to -116dBm at the campsite, so I have posted the updates.

Until Tomorrow -

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Day 89, Thursday, November 1, 2018 - Davis Mountain State Park, Fort Davis, TX

Site 40
Thursday, November 1, 2018 - Davis Mountain State Park, Fort Davis, TX - 84.7 Miles, 5,888.58 Miles for the Trip

A short drive to Davis Mountain State Park at Fort Davis, TX. I'm here for three nights in site 40 at $26.00 per night in an electric & water site ($20.00 for the site & a $6.00 park admission fee). Enough front to back slope that I needed 7 Lego blocks under the tongue jack to level the trailer. Other than that, the site is OK. I was originally assigned site 41, a more level site, but there are tent campers in the site that are waiting until the last minute to leave, so I asked for the move. Reasonably close to the showers, although from what I remember the last time I was here, the hot water is only warm, and since it is only in the 50's, I'm not sure how much I'll be using them.

Strange connectivity. No AT&T, and while I have a 2 bar, 4G LTE Verizon connection (with the amplifier), no data. The park WiFi provides slow access to web pages, allows radio streaming, but not mail. It doesn't look like Dreamweaver is able to connect to 1&1 (my ISP) so no posting from the campground. As I said, strange. Davis Mountain is between the campground and Fort Davis, so I will haul the computer & my hotspot to town when I go for a haircut later today and see if the connectivity is any better.

So, if you don't hear from me tomorrow or the next day, (or maybe today) I'm still here, but didn't drive to find a connection.

If the weather holds, dinner will be a Bubba burger & Bush Bourbon & Brown Sugar beans.