grandson mason

grandson mason

grandson jaxson

grandson jaxson

Sunday, January 31, 2010

25-31JAN10 - Kerrville, TX (& brookshire, tx & kinder, la)

On Monday, 25JAN, we departed Corpus Christi for Kerrville, TX, to visit with Dan’s sister, Sharon, and husband, Tim Tompkins. As you probably know we have visited them often since we started full time RV’ing in 2007. Check out the below BLOG entry for more on a previous visit:

As usual it was an very enjoyable time with home cooked meals and reminiscing about past family times. Unfortunately the area was experiencing record cold and rainy weather which prevented us from enjoying outdoor activities, and kept our propane heater running full time. In spite of the weather Dan was able to assist Tim in a renovation project by tearing down the ceiling of the covered patio. This was something Dan has told Tim he would do for the past two years, but finally did it. One evening Tim & Sharon took us to PoPo’s restaurant which is a very out of the way restaurant that has been famous for fifty years for their fried chicken and their massive collection of souvenir plates on the walls.

After a short but good visit we hit the road on Saturday to continue our return to Houma, LA. As we usually do we broke the return trip up into three days driving. Saturday afternoon we stopped on the west side of Houston. The RV campground we spent the day in had just finished having a chili and gumbo contest; so we were invited eat as much as we wanted of the leftovers. None were as good as Dan’s world famous chili, but it was a free meal!

Sunday morning, 31JAN, we continued west on I-10, enroute to Kinder, LA. Since we needed both diesel fuel and propane, we pulled into the nearest Flying J truck stop. If you have ever stopped at a Flying J, you may have noticed that they have dedicated RV lanes where RV’ers can get diesel, propane, fresh water and dump you sewage all in one place. Unfortunately, when we pulled in the propane tank was surrounded by numerous cars, all with many empty propane bottles needing fueling. Apparently many Texans have been using portable propane heaters to heat their houses/trailers during the colder then normal recent weather and now every one is running low. Since we were low on diesel & propane, we decided to wait in line to refuel. At the end of the day’s driving we stopped at Coushatta Casino in Kinder, LA. Readers of this BLOG know that we almost always stop there before we finish our drive tomorrow to Houma, LA.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

18-24JAN10 - Corpus Christi, TX

For a change of scenery and to escape what seems to be a never ending series of rain storms passing through Houma, LA, we decided to head west and south to Corpus Christi, TX. We decided on Corpus because it appeared to be having better weather than Houma, and to visit our friends Linda & Bill Wagner (another retired CG Captain). Our departure on Monday, 18JAN, was delayed when we discovered the right front tire was flat. Luckily it was an easy fix, and the tire did not require replacing. Because of the delay we only drove two hours to Coushatta Indian “Cypress Bayou Casino”.

After two more days driving we arrived at the RV park located on Corpus Christi Naval Air Station. NAS opened in 1941, by end of war was largest naval aviation training center in world. Currently basic flight training for all USA Naval, Marine & Coast Guard pilots is conducted here. Also NAS is home to the Corpus Christi Army Depot largest helicopter repair facility in the world. Unfortunately we could only get a RV spot for two nights and then had to move on Friday morning to a “civilian” RV park right outside the main gate of NAS. For the next few nights we would either get together at the Wagner’s or a restaurant to reminisce about our times together in the Coast Guard at Governor’s Is, NY; Ann Arbor, MI; Washington, DC; and lastly as COs in the 8th CG District.

Thursday afternoon Dan & Bill headed the USN LEXINGTON, CV 16. This WWII aircraft carrier is now a floating museum permanently moored Corpus Christi. Commissioned in 1943, she served longer and holds more records than any other carrier in naval aviation.

Friday we took the Toad and went on a driving tour (including one ferry boat ride) of the small towns of Port Aransas, Aransas Pass, Rockport & Fulton, TX. Regrettably most of these towns had no real town center to speak of, and consisted mostly of small strip malls selling beach trinkets and t-shirts. The most picturesque was Rockport; and there was the Tarpon Inn in Aransas Pass where the wall is covered in Tarpon fish scales with the name of the fisherman who caught the Tarpon (including FDR).

Saturday morning Dan took off on a picture taking safari of eccentric sites in the local area. Sites observed included a statue of Harmon Dobson who started Whataburger in Corpus; the demon of Corpus Christi; the dirty car statue; and the memorial to Selena recommended by Bill.

Selena Quintanilla Perez was a Mexican American singer from Corpus who has been called "The Queen of Tejano Music". The youngest child of a Mexican-American couple, Selena released her first album at the age of twelve. Her fame grew throughout the early 1990s, especially in Spanish-speaking countries. Unfortunately, she was murdered at the age of 23 by Yolanda Saldívar, the president of her fan club. As of June 2006, Selena was commemorated with a museum and a bronze life-sized statue (Mirador de la Florr in Corpus Christi, TX), which are visited by hundreds of fans each week. Supposedly you obtain good luck by rubbing the rear end of Selena’s statue (not that Dan believes in superstitions)?

Later that morning Dan & Corrie headed to the Padre Island National Seashore for the 1100AM beach walk with one of the Rangers. As always it was a highly informative presentation where we learned that the National Seashore is the longest (75 miles) undeveloped barrier island in the world. Dan thinks it is a good thing that the USA set this area aside for preservation, but a bit sad that other countries haven’t done the same and 75 miles is the “biggest” in the world remaining undeveloped? Corrie then joined Linda to tour restored houses in the Port Aransas area, while Dan stayed at the Seashore to attend another Park Service presentation on all debris that washes up on the beaches of Padre Island. Due to the Gulf currents that converge on Padre Island, objects (man made and natural) are found that have traveled down the Mississippi River and even the Amazon!

Sunday afternoon we got together with a classmate and friend of Dan’s from the USCG Academy, Adan Guerrero and wife Sylvia. Adan was Dan’s “last” roommate at the Academy their senior year until graduation day. Sadly after graduation their Coast Guard paths had not crossed, except on brief occasions. As always it was great to see old friends and talk about old times, and as always the time together was too short. Hopefully now that we have reconnected, we will have longer get togethers in future visits to Corpus Christi.
Trivia – Who was youngest Naval aviator to ever graduate from Naval flight training (hint – it wasn’t W)? What was the Blue Ghost? What family produced a father and son who graduated from US Naval Academy and became four star Admirals (hint – the grandson spent seven years in the Hanoi Hilton)? What is the difference between flotsam & jetsam?

Monday, January 18, 2010

01-17JAN10 - Houma, LA

The first two weeks of the new year have come and went with nothing really being accomplished! We return to Houma, LA, every year to see the kids, but also to get our annual medical and dental check-ups done. And as usual problems (thankfully minor) are found that require more tests and follow-up appointments. This invariably results in delays (ie wasted time) before getting the next appointment.

We (ie Corrie) have been working on remodeling the Rebecca & Raymond’s main bathroom. The project started by just removing the wallpaper, but that damaged the drywall. So the bottom four feet of drywall was removed. But to get the drywall out, we had to remove the vanity and toilet. It was then decided to get a new water saving toilet and tile the floor with the left over tiles from the kitchen remodel. One of the unique features of the house is that there is one inch by six inch planking behind the drywall; definitely over built!

Since we had over two weeks until our next medical or dental appointments we decided to fire-up the RV on Monday, 18JAN, and head to Corpus Christi to escape the torrential rains and visit friends.