Monday, April 01, 2013

No Longer Homeless

I know I’m skipping ahead by not telling you the details of our drive from Dallas to Mesa, AZ, but that’s not nearly as interesting as the fact that we bought a house today. We made the offer and it was accepted.

We’ve looked at several developments and found nice homes but nothing that WOW-ed us until we went to Crescent Run. We liked it almost immediately. The ambiance was beautiful.

The agent there showed us around the facilities before going out to see houses. Four ladies were playing Wii bowling in the lounge area. Others had just finished water aerobics at the pool. And the people were SO friendly!

We saw a  couple houses which just didn’t quite do it for us, but gave here an idea of what we were looking for. And then she took us to one listed by another realtor. WOW! Big WOW!

The owner lost her husband about a year ago and needed to sell the property. She came in and removed some of her belongings and left everything else to sell with the house. And it’s nice stuff, as you’re about to see. (A big plus since we did the same thing with our house in Florida and therefore don’t have any stuff!)

This is the front of the house with a double carport!


Here’s the living room and front entry. It’s got a good sized flat screen TV in there too. We wanted wood floors and here they are!


Here’s the kitchen. It’s got a gas stove which Julian really wanted.


There’s a dining room which I did not take a photo of, but the table and chairs are very nice, too.

Guest bedroom.


Master bedroom.


There’s a big walk-in closet off the master bedroom with tons of shelves and double rods.

It has a den which will become our office and possibly my craft area, too. We’ll have to figure out how that will all fit, but it could work.

Here’s the master bath. It has a big walk-in shower with 2 benches in it.


Look at this Arizona room. It’s got vinyl windows and even a shade on the back windows which face west. There’s even room for a hot tub!


And the storage shed is at least twice (if not three times) as big as any we’ve seen anywhere else. And look at all that storage. Julian’s in heaven!


It’s got a large capacity washer and dryer in a separate laundry room. There are two citrus trees in the (tiny) back yard, which will also provide some afternoon shade.

Check out the photos at the Crescent Run web site. Their amenities are head and shoulders above anything else we’ve seen here – very much like what we had at Royal Highlands. They have an RV storage area which is reasonably priced. They have six pool tables (Julian will use those), there are scrapbooking and Mah Jongg groups, water aerobics, shuffle board, just tons of activities. We even got free tickets for the party this next Saturday with a live band doing a tribute to the Beach Boys.

We’re SO excited. We could close as early as next Monday (4/8/13). We’ll take a few days to get moved in, but it shouldn’t take too long. Can’t wait.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Grand Kids

We left Galveston on Wednesday morning. We had to wait about an hour until the bad rain storm cleared and then we were off. We drove through Houston, which turned out to be no big deal in spite of late rush-hour fears. I-35 north to Dallas was not at all busy. But through Dallas, the traffic was a whole other story. It was rush hour there and very busy.

We got to the RV park and picked a site. It wasn’t as level as we’d hoped, but we got it handled. But sleeping was another story. The traffic on the road just over the fence from our bedroom was non-stop all night. Heavy trucks were a constant source of noise. So in the morning we looked at other sites and chose one further form the main road. It turned out to be more level, very quiet, and just what we needed.

On Thursday, we had lunch with some friends who used to live in Royal Highlands. We got to visit with them in their new home and enjoyed it all immensely. Thanks, Larry and Jeanne!

We spent the evening with Chris, Shadralon and the grandkids. What fun! Chrislon at 11 is barely a head shorter than me. He’s grown so much. Sha’Micah is 7 going on 30. She is so smart! We had a great time.

On Friday, Chris took us out to his work area at Love Field. He’d moved offices since we were there a few years ago. Plus he wanted us to meet some of his staff. Then we went to lunch with two ladies from his group whom we’d met when they were in Daytona Beach for a conference. It was fun seeing them again; they’re both so sweet.

Once the kids got out of school, we were back at their house. Then we headed out for dinner in Boyd, TX, an hour’s drive to the west. Chris wanted us to enjoy dinner at “gogo gumbo!”. Unfortunately, since there were six of us in our party we had to wait another hour to get a large enough table. But the food was really good and we totally enjoyed it.

We spent both Saturday and Sunday with the family. We ran some errands (we all needed to get some groceries). In the afternoon, we hung out with the kids. Chrislon showed his grandpa how he played his video games. Sha’Micah showed me her room, toys, and we watched a movie together. Grandpa and Chrislon played air hockey as seen in this fun photo.


Sha’Micah showed grandpa the book she’s writing. I’d seen it the night before while riding out to Boyd. It’s similar to “The Lion King” but in her own words. Plus she has drawn pictures illustrating the story on the page. I was VERY impressed.


Notice the sweatshirts and jackets! It was C O L D !!!! All mornings were in the low 30s when we got out of bed. Not good for us weenie ex-Florida people!

We went to dinner on Sunday evening at “Trail Dust Steak House” which just happened to be across the highway from our RV park. After eating, we all came back to our coach for desert. Julian makes great “Grandpa Specials”, made of ice cream, yogurt, granola, Oreos, graham crackers, whip cream or whatever else he can fit into the dish. It was the second night we’d done that and the kids loved it.

We managed to get a couple pictures of the family and us. Here’s one with mom and dad.


And this one includes the grandparents.


They loved Heidi, too. They are lobbying for a dog of their own at home.

We headed out on Monday morning. We’d sure enjoyed seeing the whole family and look forward to the next time. We love you guys!

Until my next installment: Happy trails, everyone.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Part Deux

We took another spin to the casino on Saturday morning, but had almost no luck at all. Some days are like that.

Then it was off to our next stop.The bulk of the day was spent on I-10 and I-12 across Louisiana. I have to say that these were some of the worst roads we’ve ever been on. Bump, bump, bump, bump… I don’t mean bump, pause, bump, pause, bump, pause. These were rapid and major, not great for driving your “house” down the road. We made it, though, and nothing was damaged.

At some point during the drive, Julian told me that we were officially going to have fun from here forward! No more problems! So far that’s been the case. I think getting out of familiar territory has helped us stop looking back and start looking forward to our new adventure. And hopefully all mechanical issues will be behind us as well.

So anyway, I had found 3 different Wal-Marts to spend the night at depending on how far we felt like driving. In the end we didn’t stop at any of them. Instead we chose an RV park in Sulphur, LA, just west of Lake Charles. They had cable and wi-fi, though neither were great. But it gave us electricity for TV and such.

Sunday was overcast making it cooler for the driving. We had a fairly short day, so weren’t in a big hurry to get going. And we still arrived in Dallenara RV Park on Galveston Island by about 2pm. This is a great park. We backed up right to the beach of the Gulf of Mexico. This is the view from our door.


Monday dawned with a lot of fog. We later found out that at this time of year, that is very common at the beaches. (It’s not completely gone, even as I write this in mid-afternoon.) In spite of the fog, we decided to ride the “Ducks” in Galveston. Once we moved inland and away from the beach, the fog was gone.

We traveled around Offats Bayou. These are a couple of the buildings that we saw.


The first is a restaurant that looked interesting. The second is someone’s home. That someone must be rich! We were accosted by these guys when we drove out of the bayou – almost ran over the biggest one.


Anyway, we progressed from there into town.  On the way, we passed several mansions. This one belongs to the Moody family – a name very big around these parts.


The downtown area is old and very interesting. It has great old buildings and architecture. Most house fun shops and eateries. Several had lines drawn on them indicating where the water level was after Hurricane Ike roared through a few years ago. While we were in the bayou, the driver stated that the bridge in this picture was completely under water then. (The water level was 16 feet higher!)


After the tour was over, we walked across the street to Fish Tales for lunch. Our waiter recommended the Shrimp Kisses. We found them on a seafood platter that we shared. The Kisses are shrimp stuffed with Jack cheese and wrapped in bacon, then fried. OMG, they were good… as were all the other items on the platter. Yum.

We’ll be here for another full day, but don’t yet have a plan. I’m sure we’ll come up with something to do. I’ll let you know!

Until then, happy trails to all of you.

Friday, March 15, 2013

And, So It Begins

Once again that old adage (it’s always something) has reared its ugly head. But at least this time, it wasn’t a BIG thing.

We were packed and ready to pull out of our site on Wednesday when I noticed that the steps had not retracted. Whaaaa??? Were they tired from not being used for 6 weeks?

Julian tried to get them up. When that failed he called the dealer for advice. Best he could offer was to disconnect the motor, pry them up, then wrap them till we could get the coach in to the shop. This was NOT an easy task, but we did get it done eventually.

It turned out to be a dislodged magnet. The steps didn’t know the door was closed, so wouldn’t retract. The dealer fixed that and we headed off… only to receive a call from the dealer saying that someone there noticed that our steps were not all the way up when we left. Whaaaa??

So we turned around – very fun in a 33’ coach pulling a car. Before returning to the shop, we saw decently priced gas and stopped to fill up first. Our various in and out of the coach caused the steps to retract properly. But not EVERY time. So we got to the shop and he says he doesn’t know what’s causing it and we should watch it closely. If they won’t retract, use another magnet to see if that will get them up. Not the most warm and fuzzy response. But it is something we can watch and hopefully keep ourselves out of trouble.

So instead of leaving at 8:30am, it was closer to 11am before we got on the road to start our big adventure.

We stopped a couple hours later, near Gainesville, for lunch. I took Heidi out for a much deserved walk. On my way back into the coach, I noticed that the rubber molding around the outside of the door was hanging down all across the top. As I tried to push it back into it’s track, Julian told me that the NuWave (our primary method of cooking) was not working… at all! This is all on top of suspicions that our ice maker is on the fritz. When it rains it pours.

So duct tape was installed to hold the molding in place till we can do it right. The sandwiches were heated in the microwave instead, leaving them a bit on the soggy side. And off we went.

The rest of the day’s trip was pretty uneventful, other than the constant head-wind across I-10. We arrived at our destination around 4:30 CDT. (We were glad to have the extra hour with all we’d been through.) The NuWave worked again, once on shore power rather than generator power used at lunch-time.

The park we stayed in  has a small restaurant – small in size but big on customers. We enjoyed a great meal for a very reasonable price. Then it was time for a good night’s rest.

Thursday morning dawned on the chilly side, around 40 degrees. But the sun was out and we were on the road by about 8:30am. It was an uneventful drive and we arrived in Pass Christian, MS, around 1:30pm.

Setting up proved to be a challenge. There was a constant drip in the water line, no matter what Julian did. In the end, we drove to a Home Depot and got a couple new parts for the water line. Once that was installed, it’s all good. But it took a couple hours to get there.

We got cleaned up and headed to the casino. After all, that’s why we planned the stop here. :-) We were home for dinner and a quiet evening of TV and early to bed.

It hasn’t been smooth so far, but we’re planning on much better days ahead.

Happy trails!