San Felipe, TX
By Saturday, January 30, we had thrown all of our belongings into the rig and planned our departure from Shipshewana, IN. We were headed home to Texas! When I say “thrown”, that is exactly what we did. There was no time to put anything in its place as we had, understandably, grown weary of the whole situation we had found ourselves in and were more than ready to get “home”. And, after all, home is where the heart is, right? Besides, Bill and Kelly were passing through Texas on their way to Arizona and we certainly did not want to miss out on another opportunity to spend time with friends of a feather. After all, how many ‘plans’ have we already had to cancel since last summer while our lives were put on lockdown?
Our plan was to take 3 days getting home. We did not leave Shipshewana until around noon, and drove 8-9 hours the first day. The second day we drove 13.5 hours, and 4 hours the third day. The last day also included a stopover in Livingston, TX where we had our new home and the truck inspected, and the rig registered. We stayed in hotels along the way for the simple reason we did not have a bed to sleep in. Actually, we do have a bed but it was rendered unusable because it was heaping with stuff we had thrown on it when we threw everything in! Lucky for us, Lifestyle paid for our hotel rooms along the way!
Although our trip home was long, it was pure relief to be back on the road again. And even though we had a lot of work ahead of us setting up our new home on wheels, we were finally able to relax and take things… one day at a time. But not before we experienced this at a truck stop.
I was so overwhelmed with embarrassment for him that I had a conversation with Craig about whether I should inform him that he had a hitch hiker on his back… or not. Craig said “not”! So, I kept my mouth shut. But, I’m still humiliated for the guy!
We had reservations at our favorite state park in close proximity to family. Our original reservations were two weeks in my name, two weeks in Craig’s name, and the final two weeks, again, in my name. (A fancy way of skinning the cat, as they say!) Well, that was our original plan! As many of you know, state parks generally limit a stay for two weeks at a time, then you must leave for two weeks before you can return. That was not the rule in our case. The staff at this park have come to know us as not only past guests, but for the things Craig (mostly) does for others while we are staying there. For example, the park director was fresh out of surgery and back home when she noticed a leak in the house she lives in at the park. Craig was summoned to check it out. In no time at all, he had the leak fixed, preventing a major disaster. On another occasion, a park visitor had just arrived at the park for the weekend to celebrate her teenage daughter’s birthday when she locked her keys in her car. The park host (who was parked next to us) told the lady, “No problem. I know just who to call!” A short while later, Craig had broken into her car, retrieved her keys, and they were happy campers! “They can stay as long as they want”, the director told the entire staff. And that’s what we did. We ended up staying there for two solid months, and loved every minute of it.
Upon arrival at the park this time around, we had our work cut out for us. I was working on the inside while Craig was outside. Did I say “working”?
Soon, I began to overhear conversation. “Who in the world has he found to talk to already?” So, I stuck my head outside just to see a couple of familiar faces. It was Peg and Michelle whom we met at the 2014 Spring RV-Dreams Rally in Sevierville, TN! Yes, folks, it is a very small world! They were originally going to stay at another campground, but decided to go a bit farther down the highway and check out this park. When they parked across the street from our site, they saw “Lifestyle” on our rig and thought it might be us. Then they looked at our truck and decided it probably was us. That is when they walked over and I heard Craig chatting with them outside. Needless to say, I was shocked to see them standing there!
Now, the Class of 2014 (consisting of those of us who met at an RV-Dreams rally in Sevierville, TN and went full-time in 2014) has an unspoken rule of etiquette whereby if it is a travel day, dinner is cooked for the travelers by those they are traveling to meet. Not in this instance, however. It was obvious to Peg and Michelle that we were in over our heads and in no shape to even think about dinner, much less cook it. So, they offered to have us over for dinner. And it was de‑lish! Thank you Peg and Michelle for the scrumptious dinner and wonderful hospitality! (Sorry! I was too tired to even think about pics.)
Still plodding along, we only had 2.5 days remaining to get set up enough to welcome Bill and Kelly who would be visiting us for about 4 days. By the time they arrived, we were settled ‘enough’ to cook for them.
A couple of days later we all decided to check out Mardi Gras in Galveston, TX…
… and had a nice lunch together at Yaga’s on the Strand…
… just across the street from the Galveston cruise ship terminal.
The photo below is for the benefit of our inner circle. You see, our friend Greg has been “licking” things along his and Cori’s journey, so some of us will occasionally “lick” things for Greg’s benefit. This one’s for you, Greg!
It was great seeing Bill and Kelly, again, and catching up. So long, friends. Until we meet again…
During our two months back home, we had many opportunities to visit with family. Usually, we have as many of the family out to the park to visit so they can “experience” our lifestyle.
We were so very pleased that our nieces and nephews got so excited about camping that they came back the next weekend to camp with us; however, not before purchasing a tent, etc. on Amazon Prime. They were so excited that they cut their work day short on Friday to get to the park.
We were even home to celebrate my sister’s birthday…
… and Easter!
Each time we return home, it makes it just that much more difficult to leave. Especially this time around. Two months is a long time to be with those you love. In a GOOD way! I must say… I do not miss the traffic or the traffic jams! Give me a cornfield in the middle of Shipshewana, IN any day of the week!
A few days before leaving Texas Craig was having trouble pushing the handle to the black (sewer) tank back in. We didn’t think anything major was wrong… that it just wasn’t working the way it should. The day before our departure was a different story, however. While emptying and cleaning out the tanks, Craig found a 6” screw in the hose. OMG! So that’s what the problem was… or was it? The next morning as we were packing up and getting ready to lift the jacks and hit the road, we noticed the black tank was leaking. Oh, geez. What to do now…
As I was walking to the dumpster to offload the last bit of trash, I said a prayer. I told God that I just couldn’t do this anymore and asked for a sign, a resolution… something. We are so tired of the issues we have had over the past 9 months. Where do we go from here? Well, I returned to the rig, hopped in the truck, Craig put it in “drive”, and we were headed off. Where, we had no clue. Lo and behold, at that very moment a mobile RV tech pulled into the site directly across the street. Literally within minutes of praying, my prayers were answered!
Craig spoke with the guy about our issue. Turns out, he was the owner of the RV repair company. He said if we would go to his shop he would be there as soon as possible. So, we drove the 7.4 miles away and waited. And waited. And waited some more. Finally, he showed up, but had not eaten lunch. So after his lunch we were finally able to back into his shop to find out why the black tank was leaking.
While waiting in the truck, Craig decided to go into the rig and get us something to drink. The windows were down and we were “enjoying” the beautiful weather. Shortly thereafter, I heard Craig calling me with a panicked voice. “Dear, you need to come here quick!” I ran back to the rig to find out what was wrong. He said, “You’re not going to believe this!” I said, “What?” He replied, “Take a look at the refrigerator.” I did. The refrigerator had fallen backward and the doors were pinched opened slightly. WHAT??? Yep, the framing around the empty space at the bottom that supports the flooring (if you want to call it that) under the refrigerator had busted loose and the entire surface had collapsed, causing the refrigerator to fall backwards. Uh, REALLY? No way. Yes, WAY! The shop would look at that, too… maybe.
Getting back to the black tank issue, the RV tech crawled under our rig and began working on the black tank. As he was pulling the gate valve off the black tank he noticed something quite unusual. Something he had never seen before. Neither had we!
Yes, that is what you see! The other end of the 6” screw Craig found just the day before. A full-size screwdriver in the black tank!!! WHO in their right mind…? Oh, never mind! So, a new gate valve was installed prior to the final clean-out of the contents insulating the black tank.
Words cannot describe how very sorry we felt for the poor fella who had no idea what kind of $hitty job he would run in to that day.
There was just enough time to fix the black tank, but not the refrigerator. They did, however, prop it up enough for us to travel to our next destination, but not before someone’s knee used to push the refrigerator back put a big dent in the front of the freezer door. Having finished repairs for the day, it was already 5:30 by the time we left. And we still needed to fuel up. After a quick stop for fuel and fuel (pizza to go), we were on our way to Livingston. Luckily, the new section of the tollway had just opened a couple of days earlier, saving us at least 30 minutes in time, not to mention avoiding traffic all the way around Houston. Who needed that?
See. There is a silver lining to every cloud!