Getting Ready

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Tuesday was a rainy day, until late afternoon. Everything is wet. Anne spent the day on mail and paperwork. We got a mail “bag” from home. She was also working on NOMADS business. Max spent a good part of the day flushing our water heater, changing the anode and heating element and our filters. The water in Falfurrias was high in salts and really scaled up the heating element and tank. We knew it was a problem when the water heater started to make some strange noises the last week we were there. The area in the parking lot where the flushed water came out is now white with salts. Now all is well and no more weird noises.

What south Texas water will do to a water heater element
What south Texas water will do to a water heater element

Today was a sunny day and warmed up nicely. A jacket still felt nice for most of the day. We had lots of errands to run today. We made a stop at Harbor Freight and left with all our money in our wallet. Truth! We also went to Home Depot and still didn’t buy anything. There must be something wrong with us. We also went to the grocery store to purchase ingredients for our Valentine dinner tomorrow and to Target, Bass Pro Shops and Sam’s. All of those did take our money. We were suppose to go visit houses today but Daryl was busy with other issues and we are scheduled for tomorrow morning. Max worked on the new sewer system and the ditch that is still open today while Anne worked on getting paperwork together for next week and doing another prospective member interview. It was a busy day but a good day.

Max moved one of the new sewer connections to make it easier to use
Max moved one of the new sewer connections to make it easier to use

Back to Red Stick (Baton Rouge)

Monday, February 11, 2019

Leaving SFASPToday was a travel day. It began at 6:00 am with a dense fog advisory from Stephen Austin State Park all the way to Baton Rouge. We decided not to push to leave early, hoping the fog would dissipate. We pulled out about 8:30 thinking we would be behind the Houston rush hour traffic. Rush hour seems to be longer than your average hour in Houston. There was one wreck and lots of slow moving traffic. It takes forever to get across Houston. Thankful we don’t have to deal with that traffic everyday. Also I-10 from Houston to Baton Rouge is the worse interstate we have ever driven. People say you shouldn’t take your RV to Alaska because of the poor road conditions. That section of I-10 is worse than anything we drove in Alaska. We were tired when we arrived at Francis Asbury UMC about 3:15 this afternoon. However, by the time we arrived it was a glorious sunny afternoon and we traded our long sleeves for t-shirts. Nice!

 

We had a very brief chat with the construction coordinator and volunteer coordinator this afternoon and will be working with them preparing for our team’s arrival this weekend. There are two teams working here this week and the church did a dinner for them tonight and invited us to join them. Nice to share a meal with the volunteers from Michigan, north Louisiana and friends from the church. Looking forward to sharing God’s peace and love as we repair homes in Baton Rouge over the next several weeks.

Catching Up

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Don’t worry, we are fine! No problems. Four days ago it was warm, with a high of 81. Three days ago we were out walking when the cold front came through and unfortunately we were walking in T-shirts. We went from warm and humid to a cold north wind in a matter of minutes. Since the front came through we have had nothing but clouds and intermittent drizzle and rain. Oh well, we have had a great four days anyway.

On Thursday we also reprogrammed the pre-flight checklist in Fred's dash display
On Thursday we also reprogrammed the pre-flight checklist in Fred’s dash display

Thursday morning we did some more hiking and biking. Thursday afternoon we drove out to Fulshear, TX to Dave and Linda’s house. They have a beautiful home in Weston Lakes. Sam and his wife Jade and their puppy had already arrived and we immediately began catching up on everyone’s busy lives. Sam is still working in software development and told some interesting things regarding some artificial intelligence that is currently in development that will be very helpful. Jade, a physician will be completing her residency here in Houston in June and she and Sam will be moving to San Diego. So glad we had some time to visit with them before the move. Jade has a three year fellowship in San Diego and then they hope to return to Texas to be closer to family. Fortunately, Sam works from home so they can live anywhere. Dave returned home after he finished his day at the office. We were surprised to find that, although Dave has retired at least twice, he and three associates are back developing another business in the oil industry. We celebrated Dave’s birthday that was actually Friday but Jade was on call and was scheduled to be at the hospital all evening. Linda made a great Mexican casserole and German Chocolate cake. Fun evening of visiting.

Friday turned off cold again
Friday turned off cold again

Friday we stayed in the park all day. We met some of our fellow campers and got to share the NOMADS story with three different couples who seem interested in joining. They all have this year pretty well scheduled with camp hosting or trips to Alaska but seem genuinely interested in joining so that they could schedule projects next year. Hopefully at least some of them will join. We also again got to watch eight deer walk through our camp site with no concerns about us being in their territory. Lots of fun to watch. Anne also had some business to handle and NOMADS writing to do. She did another interview with a potential member who will hopefully be a NOMADS member in the next few weeks.

Saturday morning was more hiking and a good deal more NOMADS work for Anne. After lunch we went back to Dave’s and Linda’s so we could spend time with Tiffany and Juan Pablo and their puppy.  They came up from Austin where they live.  It was great to see them again too! They are expecting their first child which is due in May. They are glad that the baby will be here before Sam and Jade have to move, although Tiffany wouldn’t mind if it was about a week late so she can be with her fourth graders for their testing week. Always the teacher. The six of us went to Anthonie’s, a wonderful new restaurant in Simonton, a few miles away for dinner. Everyone was very pleased with their food. Anne had grilled shrimp with grits that was awesome and Max really liked his pork chop, too. Actually three of us had the pork chop and everyone like that choice. Dave had a seafood stew which look great. JP had a hamburger that he and Tiffany said was really good. So a 12 thumbs up from our group. We went back to the house to finish off the birthday cake for dessert. We were sad when we had to say goodbye to everyone but do hope we will see them all again, sooner rather than later.

Kim SonToday we decided to watch Lester Memorial’s service rather than find a church nearby. We miss our church family. They are such a good group. After early service, we headed into Houston to see Ross and Barb one last time. Today they wanted to treat us to something we had never done so we sent to an Asian restaurant, Kim Son, for Dim Sum. For those of you who have never had Dim Sum, you can watch a You Tube video. We had all sorts of food and apparently not everything you eat has to have a name.

We went to Ross and Barb’s home after lunch and spent some time visiting and enjoying their lovely home. Then, all too soon it was time for us to return to the park and begin packing up bikes and preparing for tomorrow’s travel day. It has truly be a wonderful two weeks of rest and relaxation and great family time. Hope we can stay in closer contact over the next few years. As Ross reminded Anne, we have to do it ourselves now rather than relying on our Mom’s to keep us up to date on everyone in the family. Hope you all had a good weekend and that we hear from you soon.

Wildlife And Ice Cream

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

The clouds are still pretty thick and it’s been pretty grey in the Houston area. We have had some moments of sunshine but not many. Still having fog in the mornings. Today it has been much warmer with a high of 81 and more humid. Tomorrow we are suppose to get rain and dropping temperatures and by Friday our high will be 46. We will be pulling the jackets and sweat shirts back out.

Yesterday we primarily stayed in the park exploring. When we first checked into the park here one of the rangers suggested that we should look for the local wildlife – deer and woodpeckers. We hiked and biked several trails and saw both. None of the trails here are very long but most of them have a way of connecting so you can get several miles that way. Unfortunately, a number of the trails are still closed from the flooding from Hurricane Harvey. The nature center here had between three and four feet of water in it and is still closed. They have the buildings cleaned out and have started the repairs but they still have a way to go on buildings and trails. We did leave the park long enough to find the Walmart in Sealy. It’s a small store but big enough.

Today we did a nice morning walk and then went to Brenham, TX, a quaint little town about 37 miles from the park. We met Linda and Dave there for lunch. We planned to eat at a restaurant they like called “Must Be Heaven.” Just our luck, they were closed today. We tried a restaurant around the corner named “Funky Art Cafe”. We all had different kinds of salads – they had many, and everyone enjoyed their choice. We visited for a while at the cafe and then decided to go visit the Blue Bell Creamery. Dave and Linda have been to Brenham many times but never been to the creamery so we all had a good time learning how they make one of our favorite ice creams. Today they were making Rocky Road. Unfortunately, they do not allow photos from the observation deck. It was really interesting to see.  After visiting the observation deck and having all our questions answered by a very nice docent, we went to the tasting room. We could taste anything and then purchase a large cup of ice cream for $1.00. If you ever happen to be in Brenham, it’s a real bargain. You don’t even have to go to the observation deck. You can just walk in and buy the ice cream. There were not many people there today so after getting our ice cream we were able to just sit and visit in the tasting area for a long while.

We noticed a nice looking meat market while driving to Brenham so we made a stop there on the way home. They had beautiful looking steaks and chops as well as all kind of smoked sausage, beef, jerky, turkey. We came home with some pecan smoked turkey we plan to used for sandwiches when we start back to work in Baton Rouge. This afternoon we did some more biking. It was another good day! It was great to see Dave and Linda again and talk about their recent travels.

Back To The Flatlands

Monday, February 4, 2019

It was cloudy all day today. No sunshine at all. No rain. And clouds aren’t all bad on a travel day. We might as well get use to the clouds based on the 7-day forecast.

Stephen F Austin State Park entranceToday we moved from Kerrville-Schreiner Park to Stephen F. Austin State Park in San Felipe, Texas. It is on the west side of Houston about 50 minutes out of Houston. San Felipe is really just a tiny town of 747 people and all that is really here are the historical sites of Stephen Austin, the park and golf course. Dave said something about us being out in the woods and seems he is right. Nearby towns that are larger but still outside of Houston are Sealy, Fulshear, (where Dave and Linda live) and Katy. We are still about an hour from where Anne’s cousin Ross and Barb live. We hope to see them again while we are here too. We had an uneventful travel day and we are settled in. We will see what tomorrow brings.

Two Out Of Three

Sunday, February 3, 2019

This morning was like most mornings lately. Cloudy! Don’t know if this is the norm for this part of Texas this time of the year but we have had a lot of cloudy mornings with the sun breaking though for a beautiful afternoon. We had a beautiful afternoon today.

We planned to do three things today. Church, riding the River Trail and visiting the Riverside Nature Center. We went to early service at Kerrville First UMC . It is a beautiful church that looks new. They have three traditional services in the sanctuary and one contemporary in the fellowship hall. We attended the first early service at 8:15. There was a good crowd, a very good message from the senior pastor (They have three), and communion. The senior pastor and the one associate pastor we spoke with knew about NOMADS. Yea – maybe the word is getting out.

Inside Kerrville First UMC
Inside Kerrville First UMC

After a late breakfast, we headed out to ride the River Trail on our bikes. Perhaps because we rode earlier today, there were fewer people on the trail today. It was still a beautiful and fun ride. We rode to the end and back. Today when we turned toward home we discovered there was a strong head wind we had to fight against. Made for a harder ride today, but still fun.

One of the parks along the trail
One of the parks along the trail
Shoulda checked those hours
Shoulda checked those hours

Unfortunately, we did not do our homework on the Riverside Nature Center. It’s closed on Sunday. Oh well, two out of three ain’t bad. It was still a great day. After some lunch we did a little more hiking in the park and then just relaxed outside at our campsite the rest of the afternoon. Tomorrow is moving day.

A Nice Day In The Park

Saturday, February 2, 2019

This morning was warmer than the past few. It was still very cloudy and an occasional drizzle. We haven’t been able to sit outside or eat outside much since we have been here due to the weather, so this morning since it was warmer we enjoyed having our breakfast outside. Kerrville-Schreiner Park was much fuller this morning since it is the weekend. Lots of kids out playing. Parents biking with their kids. Nice.

Today we decided to stay in the park and hike and do some geocaching. There are several hiking trails in the park that wind all over the 517 acres. Today we hiked 11 miles and both of us got over 26,000 steps. Think we will sleep well tonight. Some of the trails went through areas thick with cedar trees. You could smell the cedar as we hiked through. We hiked up to the highest point of the park where there was a beautiful view of the surrounding area. We had a great day in the park!