Thursday, March 31, 2016

Didja see the flowers??

We are heading north in the motorhome, heading to the wedding of Joan's brother Rob and the lovely Sharon.  We were up early this morning, loaded more stuff into the truck, grabbed a quick breakfast at Whataburger, and headed to the storage unit to get the motorhome.

At the storage unit, we transferred stuff from the truck into the motorhome.  It was a warm, sticky morning as we headed inland.  A surprising development: once we got to the Expressway north of Harlingen, we had a (gasp) tailwind!  That lasted for about 100 miles... and then Mother Nature found out we were on the road.  Yeah, a quartering headwind, but it wasn't bad (single digit wind speeds).

Not much traffic on the Expressway...

Well, we did "play leapfrog" with this Mexican bus...

The Saritas check point.  The Border Patrol agent asked, "You don't have any hitchhikers you picked up along the way, do you?  (Smile)  Have a nice day!"

Profiling has its place.

Our plan for today: stay on the Interslab to San Antonio, then take US Hwy 281 from there.  All the times we have made the drive north and south, we have avoided 281 because it looks like there will be stop-and-go traffic.  This trip, we are hoping to see some blue-bonnets - this is the prime time to see the wildflowers along the Texas roads (according to the internet), and we picked this route because it runs through (according to the internet) where the flowers will be.

I tried about a dozen times to get some photos of the flowers along the side of the road...

That's about as good as it got; most of them were blurry.  No blue-bonnets, yet.  This route would take us right through the middle of San Antonio, on Interstate 37, before it turns to 281... mostly new territory for us.  Our timing was good - not a lot of traffic as you pass through town around 1:30 pm...

As I had suspected, Highway 281 has a lot of stoplights at the north side of San Antonio.  In typical Texas highway engineer fashion, the speed limit is 65... until you have to slam on the brakes for a red light.  Objects may have shifted while in flight.

You are definitely in Texas Hill Country - lots of trees...

And, hills (duh)...

We started seeing flowers along the side of the road and in the median.  I shot a couple dozen, but they didn't really show off the floral display...

I decided to pull over and get a couple close-ups of the blue-bonnets...

I'm not showing you the other 40 or 50 shots that are mostly a blur.  Joan took some, too...

Passing through Marble Falls, we drove by an interesting small RV dealer...

Not implying they don't sell a bunch of these, but they are "small RVs" - commercially produced teardrop trailers.  Not much more than a place to sleep, but some of them do have an outside galley when you open the back.  Definitely minimalist traveling, but would be fun with a sporty vehicle towing one.  For now, I'll stay with the comforts of home we have in the Aspect.

We did about 400 miles today, breaking our 2/2/2 Rule... but, the driving was pleasant.  We are traveling light this trip, not towing anything behind the Aspect.  We are down for the night in a Passport America park on 281, well away from civilization...

Little Izzy spent most of the trip on "her bed", sitting on top of our bed.  She was anxious to get outside for a walk once we were settled in...

Yep, this place checks out - cat approved.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

When the winter winds blow...

OK, spring winds.  Out of the south.  According to the weather weasels: "10 to 45 mph today."

Sorry, that still makes me laugh, giving a range like that.  The Weather Channel is calling it "SSE @ 18 mph" in the hourly forecasts.  That south wind is going to warm things up inland.  Here on the coast it is predicted to be a balmy 78º... it will be well into the 90s in the Valley.

Should be a good day... for a bike ride... getting the truck washed... getting the rest of our stuff together for the wedding trip this weekend.

And get this: the wind here tomorrow is supposed to be 15 out of the south.  Yeah, a tailwind.  Shhhhh - don't tell Mother Nature.


Joan did a search to see where the bluebonnets will be at their peak along our route - I think we'll be looking for the two-lanes instead of the Inter-slab.


On edit:

It was warm and windy.  The truck is all shiny.  And I did get a bike ride in... a bit humid out there.  The 3/4 light flickered around 18 miles, stayed at a solid 1/2 between 22 and 23 miles.  Sure do like that pedal assist going into this wind.  ;-)

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

It has been about two and a half weeks...

... since we got home.  You know what that means?  Yeah, it must be time to get outta here.  ;-)

Nahhh, just a little road-trip coming up.  One of Joan's brothers is getting married this weekend, so we are heading to north Texas for the wedding.  For clarity, the difference between north Texas and deep south Texas is... about a two-day drive.

Neither of us want to fly commercial if we can avoid it.  Neither of us can get excited about schlepping stuff in and out of a motel.  This is why people have RVs... and we are people... people who have an RV... and a cat... a cat who doesn't like pet policies in motels.  Today, we made a trip to the storage unit to plug it in, turn on the fridge, and put a few things in there, for the trip.  And, since we're going that way, lunch out and some shopping in the "big city"... if Harlingen qualifies as a big city.

You know that feeling when you've been away for a while - that feeling of anticipation you feel in your stomach as you get close to home?  Yeah, that's how I feel when we open the door to the storage unit and I see the motorhome.


Monday, March 28, 2016

That didn't take long...

We have had the e-bikes almost a month (seems longer); we are enjoying getting exercise.  Since we picked the bikes up, the front tire (well, the tube) on Joan's bike has been losing air.  Sometimes it will last a couple days, generally it is less than that.  I have not been able to find a leak on it; assume there is a problem with the valve.

I let the dealer know about it before we left Arizona.  They got right on it and... did nothing.  I stood there with the young lady from the parts department when she called the distributor and left a voice message.  I stopped in a couple days later, since we hadn't heard from them.  She called again and left another voice mail for the distributor.

I said, "Since he doesn't seem to want to return your call, why don't you give me his phone number - I'll get a response."

I am guessing he didn't like my message, since I got a call the next day from one of the "managers" at the dealership where we bought the bike.  Hey, all I want is a tube for those big-ass tires.  He assured me he'd get something on the way to us.

That only took another week for the distributor (yes, the same one who doesn't return phone calls) to send the dealer notice that an innertube was being drop shipped to us.  It only took another 5 days to get a tracking number for that shipment.  It was "scheduled for delivery on Friday, March 25th.  On Saturday, after the Post Office was closed, we got a notice in our mailbox that we have a package to pick up.  We did that this morning.  Yep, got my innertube.  Didn't take long at all.

It is an unusual size, so I think I will get a couple more on their way to us (on my dime this time)... just in case.

I didn't get to replacing the tube until after lunch.  We had a very nice lunch with friends Herb and Wilma.  They have a home in Port Isabel.  The past couple years, we have seen them more often in the Pacific Northwest than we have been able to get together here.  None of us stay in one place too long.  ;-)  It was good to visit and catch up with our friends.

After lunch, we had a few errands to run, then back to the house where I went to work on replacing that tube.  I thought I was going to bend or break the metal tire levers - that "monster tire" fought back while I was trying to pull it off the rim.  With some grunting, sweating, and swearing, I managed to get it off one side so I could get the old tube out.  No evidence of a leak on the old tube.  The new tube went right in, and getting the tire back on the right side of the rim was a lot easier than getting it off.

I put the tire back on the bike, checked the disk brakes, ran it up and down the street... all good.  Now, we'll see if there's still air in it tomorrow.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Where does the time go?

I can appreciate the wise old saying: "Life is like a roll of toilet paper - the closer you get to the end of it, the faster it goes."

It was around this time 10 years ago that we got the call from our realtor/broker up north: "Come back north..."

That was the beginning of our retirement.  The studio was sold.  House and commercial property sold.  The C-Dory was ordered and the Corsair trimaran had just sold.  Our lives were going to change.

Plenty of changes in the last decade.  Lots of miles under the keel of the boats and the wheels of the vehicles and RVs.  It has been a lot of traveling.  And enjoying almost every mile of it.  ;-)

Not that many people had smart phones in 2006; the first iPhone wasn't released until 2007.  Thanks to Verizon and Apple not playing nice together, I bought one of the first Droids.  We dropped land lines.  Our unlimited data plan had us using way less than a gig a month back then.  Oh, and that was before 3G.  You had to insert a data card into the laptop, and that was the only device it worked on.  The iPad?  Didn't exist.

We were making the change from being sailors to being powercruisers.  We had quite a few job offers those first couple of non-working years and said, "Thanks, but no thanks."

Izzy's predecessor, Molly the boat cat, taught me about walking a cat on a leash.  Before the book of that name.  The 3 of us went coast to coast to coast with the boat.  The Florida Keys.  The Pacific Northwest.  A trip to Yellowstone led to saying, "Yes," to one of those job offers.  That led to some interesting extended times in some great places.

We met lots of great people in our travels.  We lost some family members; miss them every day.

We got back into RV travel.  Motorcycles (for us) got smaller, eventually morphing into Honda scoots.

Spent more time in the desert, because that is where our kid and her husband are.

It has been an interesting decade for us.  These days, no one says, "You're too young to be retired..."  We have been able to get into 55+ parks, no questions asked.

Can't wait to see what's next.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Do you need a license for that?

Yeah, I took a day off from posting.  I did shoot some photos yesterday, just didn't find time to post 'em.  Just past the full moon...

Izzy and I spent some time out on the deck as the sun came up...

Yeah, any reason to put in a photo of her cuteness.

Today, we took the e-bikes out for a ride.  Getting off our island, the bridge was out, so we had a few minutes to wait...

We rode along the water on the north side of town...

The water in the background is the Laguna Madre, the bay between the mainland and South Padre Island.  It is nearly calm today - on Thursday, we would not have been riding in this area - the north wind had the water looking the color of weak coffee and the spray from that wind would have reached the street.

We try to avoid the main highway through town, but there is one bridge that you have to go over to get across town (which is technically on a couple islands, as well).  Traffic is heavy this weekend, so we covered that stretch as fast as we could.  Then, back into the Fingers area (another part of town that has canals)...

We decided on Italian for lunch.  Back across that same busy stretch... and it was even busier.  While probably not kosher, we chose to ride the sidewalk for a couple blocks to stay off the road.  We passed two individuals walking towards us - in each case, we stopped and walked the bikes around them.  Both guys, each of them wanted to know about the bikes.

"Those are SO cool - are they electric?"  There were a bunch of other questions.  The second guy had a very specific use in mind: "Do you need a license for that?"  I'm guessing he was without the benefit of a driver's license due to a DWI.  Yes, I patiently answered all his questions.

We pulled up to the Italian restaurant by the lighthouse; locked the bikes to a bench and went inside...

All the parking out front and across the street was full - I was expecting the restaurant to be very busy.  It wasn't.  They gave us a table by the window so we could keep an eye on the bikes.  Oh, and the food was tasty.

We had to cross the main road one more time to get to our island.  No traffic at all on the side streets.  It isn't a competition, but we did a sprint as we got close to home - topped 20 mph again.  In top gear, with the highest level of pedal assist.  Still pretty impressive on a bicycle.

Our neighbors, Randy and Cindy, were out as we came by - first we've seen them since we got back.  Nice to visit with them.  They were just getting ready to head out sailing with some friends.  Nice day for it: kinda gray out there, but a light breeze and the temp is in the upper 70s.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Alien abduction crime scene??

Is that black blood on that tarp???

No, that is where some of the roof sealant dripped onto the tarp.  This one small compartment has had a pesky leak since we bought this motorhome.  The dealer didn't do squat about a fix.  A stop at the Winnebago factory, and we thought it might have been taken care of.  Seems we didn't travel in driving rain with lots of standing water on the roads until our return home this last time.  Yep, it was wet in there.

The dealer "adjusted the door latch."  There was nothing wrong with the latch or the seal.  Winnebago did a very pretty job with some caulking.  Look at the photo above, and you can see the issue: that compartment is directly behind the rear dual wheels - at highway speeds, it is like putting a fire hose on that compartment.  If there is even a teensy opening anywhere underneath, water will find its way in.  I sealed every seam.  Every attachment point.  Every screw.  Then, sealed that side of the compartment on the inside, as well.

The black roof sealant is like working with 3M 5200.  Every boater knows what I mean: put one little dab of 5200 on a project, and soon you will have smeary white 5200 on your hands... and in your hair... and on your skin covered by your underwear (and jeans).  How does that happen? 

Fortunately, I was wearing rubber gloves.  And my "boat fixing" long-sleeve shirt (works for RV, house, and bike projects, too).  I pushed and smoothed the sealant carefully.  Doesn't matter.  Those big black blobs on the tarp are evidence that some of the sealant escaped from the underneath side of that compartment.  They were relatively small drips that turned to huge blobs when I tried to wipe them up.

"What's that red thing in the first photo?  Some kind of a paddle?"  Thanks for asking.  No, that is an LED light panel - great for projects like this; really lights up, and it is flexible.  I started out by putting it in the compartment, shut the storage unit door, then crawled underneath to see if I could see light anywhere.  Nope.  That would be too easy.  The light lit up the area on the bottom side of that compartment while I went after it with the black goop.

Next time we drive in the rain, we'll find out how I did.

No aliens were injured in the making of this post.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

To the island...

For some perspective, there is our island (where we live) and the island (South Padre Island).

After breakfast out at Manuel's this morning (definitive proof that we have settled in), we drove to the store (parking lot almost empty), then across the causeway to SPI.  Joan wanted to drive through Isla Blanca Park, where we usually go when we are getting some beach time...

There isn't a soul on the beach - oh, it is sunny and around 78º... BUT, the wind is out of the sound at 25 to 35 mph with higher gusts!  You would get "sand blasted" if you stepped out of the vehicle.  We decided to drive up the island to see if there were any crowds left... not much.  An occasional small pack of college age kids (they travel in packs of 5 to 8), looking like "Where' everyone go?"  There are vehicles in the lots of the motels, but Motel 6 is down to $59.99 on their sign - evidence that the spring break crowd has mostly gone back to school.

If the wind wasn't howling, it would be a perfect beach day.

We'll see if the Holy Week crowd moves in soon.  With the overlap with spring break this year, they may not come in as big numbers.

We were going to get out on the e-bikes today, but will probably take a pass on that, thanks to the wind.  One more day of that predicted tomorrow, when the next front moves in and changes the wind from south to north.  Looking pretty nice after that...


A friend posted this on Facebook today...


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Zen and the art of...

... bicycle maintenance.

Another windy day in the Tropical Tip, with lovely temp.  This morning, Joan said, "Do you want to take the bicycles to pick up mail, then ride to the Post Office?"

I'm in.  We haven't had the ebikes out of the resort since we got home.  It will be good to see how they handle this gusty wind... the wind that started around 10 and is now 20 gusting above 25.

We had a slip in our box, letting us know we have a package to pick up at the Post Office.  We rode directly there.  Joan went in while I waited outside with the bikes.  (We didn't bring locks.)  Just before Joan came out, the wind blew her bike over - I did mention that it was gusty.  Her bike was having an issue with shifting, and after the fall, it was pretty much stuck in 5th or 6th gear.  We weren't ready to head right back home, so we rode around town a bit.

Port Isabel is pretty much flat terrain, so even in 5th gear, with some pedal assist, Joan had no issue getting around.  I only shifted to 4th once, while going straight into the wind.  We rode on side streets we haven't been on in years.  Over the Port o' Call (more houses along canals), back down the street along the Intracoastal Waterway, across the main highway, north to North Shore, then down past the lighthouse.  We stopped at the raised cemetery for a photo op...

As we rode by Manuel's (our favorite breakfast restaurant - the one with the huge home-made tortillas), I suggested we stop in for a late breakfast.  "No locks."  Ohhhhhh.

When we got home, Joan pulled her bike up on our deck, I made a "work stand" out of a chunk of lumber (so I could move the pedals freely by hand), and brought out my laptop to learn about "Shimano shifter not shifting."  I was able to move the deraileur by hand to make it shift.  The shift lever wouldn't move.  I learned how to adjust the limiting screws - again, moving nicely between the gears... when I manually moved the shifting mechanism.  Joan OKed removing the lever pod on the handlebars, and I could immediately see what was causing the shifting problem - the back of the shift lever was jammed against the brake lever.  I moved it a bit, snugged the assembly down, and Joan took it out for a test spin... all good.

Saves us a trip to Brownsville or Harlingen.

Monday, March 21, 2016


Oh, what a beautiful morning...

Almost makes you wanna sing show tunes, huh?  That's the early morning view up and down our canal.  A cool morning, not much wind.  Nice change of pace.

Joan said, "Let's get to the store early today - we need fruit."  As I have mentioned over the past few days, you plan outings around spring break traffic.  Early is usually good, because the kids aren't up, yet.

So, off to Wally World.  A good sign: the parking lot was relatively empty.  Inside, the aisles weren't crowded.  We picked up a few things for the bicycles... Steph will be happy to know that we bought helmets.

On to the food.  College age kids were beginning to show up.  I'm guessing two distinct groups: those who are already here and need food for breakfast... and those who have been driving all night and just arrived.  I have to laugh when I look at what they have in their carts at checkout: 3 guys, 4 cases of beer, a dozen eggs, and a football.  2 guys, 3 cases of beer, a bottle of margarita mix, two dozen eggs, a bottle of hot sauce, and two pairs of flip-flops.  3 girls, two six-packs of beer, some fruit, two bags of chips, and two boxes of feminine sanitary items.

Yep, all the essentials.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Welcome, Spring...

The official start of spring - the vernal equinox.  The weasels here were calling this weekend "a cold front."  Well, it did only get up to 67º here today, but it was sunny, with a chilly wind.

We made a run to Brownsville - no jackets necessary for this "cold front."  Shopping, lunch out, then back home.  Traffic wasn't bad in either direction.

At home, little Isabella wanted to go for a walk.  I clipped her leash on and we explored around the house, down the street a bit, then back home.  Her first venture outside, other than some time with us on the deck earlier this week.  I like to see my little furry girl happy out in the fresh air.

I like the fact that it is light until almost 8:00 pm.  Another couple weeks and the crowds will slack off again.  Yeah, there will be more spring break crowds.  Some overlap with the Holy Week crowd (lots of Mexican nationals come to SPI for the holiday).  The winter Texans are looking to head north.  Along about April or so, it will be quiet for another month or so.


I was reading through a bike forum, looking for suggestions for a bike rack that will work for our fat bikes.  Here's one: Trail Rack... oh, even more solid: Sport Rack.  I read through the reviews - most good, a couple bad... "This rack scraped the paint off my carbon fiber frame..." and "Most solid rack I've ever owned..."

Then I came across some info on the manufacturer of those racks: Hollywood Racks.

Let me type in that for a search...


Saturday, March 19, 2016

Transition weekend...

Texas Week actually spans over two weeks, since not all schools are out the same week.  That means this weekend is usually the most crowded on the island.  Mother Nature has other plans...

Not going to be conducive for a party on the beach.  Shouldn't hurt the spring break clubs and bars (yes, there are "clubs" that are only open for spring break).

It has been a beautiful week... until the lightning and thunder rolled in last night.

Reminds me a bit of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally when we lived in the Black Hills: during that week in August, it was almost a guarantee that there would be a day over 100º and a day with rain/hail where it would struggle to make it to 60º.

That Mother Nature - what a joker.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Rack 'em up...

Yesterday, we picked up a bike rack.  Great premise: carry the bikes behind the truck, or the motorhome.  The rack folds down to give you access to the tailgate.

Here's what it looks like assembled...

Unfortunately, there isn't enough length on the down-tube (the bar in the middle) to fit across the bracket on the rack.  So, I fit it in that brace under the seat.  Yeah, that would work... except there are wires that run along the bottom of the down-tube.  The weight of the bike would cause a problem with those wires.

Alas, the rack will have to go back.  Back to the research.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Happy St. Patrick's Day...

Yes, I am Irish.  Well, half.  I guess I get that feisty stuff from my Mother's side of the family.  A bit of trivia: 33 million Americans report that they have some Irish ancestry (about 9 times the population of Ireland); but, 110 million people will head out to celebrate today.  That said, we won't be drinking any green beer or heading out for festivities.

Nothing says Erin go Bragh (Ireland forever) like a trip to Mexico.  We picked up some meds for the next season or two, and that was it.  Not even a margarita.  In and out.

On the walkway to the bridge...

A sign on the US side...

First view of Progreso, MX...

We used to go there frequently; have lunch, do some shopping, get some "international" time.  Today, we spent less than a half hour across the border.

The rest of the day was spent running errands.  We stopped to pick up a couple things from the motorhome, got a bite to eat, south to Dick's Sporting Goods to see what they had for bike racks, a stop at a bike shop, then a visit to Harbor Freight.  Then, back to our relatively quiet island.  Lots of traffic in town, mostly young'uns heading to SPI for spring break activities.

We are "supplied up" so we don't have to make a grocery run this weekend.

Social butterfly...

Joan was working on some food prep, I went out for a bike ride.  Well, a ride was the plan.  Before I could get my bike out, one of the neighbors stopped to visit.  Not that that is a problem - we have very nice neighbors, and it has been 3 months since we've seen any of them.

As that visit was wrapping up, another came by... tag-teaming!  I eventually got out on the bike.  And, it was a great ride.  The more time I spend on the ebike, the more I like it.  During my ride, I stopped to visit with another couple, who will be heading north soon.  Back to the house, and before I could get the bike put away, another neighbor came by to visit.

Back in the house, Joan asked how my ride was; when I told her about the various visits, she said, "Well, aren't you the social butterfly."

What can I say - it is a friendly neighborhood.  :-)

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

It's in there, somewhere...

A hazy sky kinda day in the Tropical Tip.  Not cloudy, but no blue skies.  It was windy, however.  This morning, one of the Valley weather weasels said the wind would be "10 to 35 miles per hour."  That's a pretty broad range.  If we still had a sailboat, that would be: from easy sailing to: maybe we better put in a reef or two, to: let's drop the sails and motor on home.  ;-)  Most places seem to forecast the high wind speed, or maybe the average... here, they just pick a broad range.

It was a bit humid, with the high temp around 79º.  Pretty pleasant.  After lunch, we did get the scoots out for a short ride (stopped at the Welcome Center to get new owner's stickers for them), then took the bicycles out for a ride around the resort.  I guess we are acclimating - the 86% humidity didn't seem oppressive... probably because it wasn't too hot.

If the weather weasels were to do the temperature like they do the wind speed, they could get by saying, "It will be somewhere between 50º and 100º today."

When we went to the local Italian restaurant for lunch, I expected it to be packed - there were no parking places left in front of the place.  Not sure where all those people from the parked cars were, but it wasn't in the restaurant.  The food was excellent, and we were able to get across the main drag, and to and from our island.

The predictions are for an increased Spring Break crowd.  I read one estimate of 250,000 people expected to be coming to South Padre Island during the month of March.  That would be a HUGE increase.  One tour operator reported being up 32% this year.  Cheap gas, continued cartel violence in Mexico (keeping some people away from their resort areas), and Panama City, Florida, banning alcohol from the beach - all reasons for people to come here.

Although we have been away from this area during March for the last 4 or 5 years, we know how to deal with the crowds: get out and about early, before the hung-over revelers get up.  Make sure you have enough groceries so you don't have to go out on the weekend either side of Texas Week (happening right now).

Not really that much of an issue on our island - while there are some families here for the week, it is still mostly us retired folks.  The rental pool on the island doesn't rent to spring breakers, but there are some who "come to visit Grandma and Grandpa."  ;-)

Monday, March 14, 2016

Yeah, I know: without photos, it didn't happen...

Big decision: make a run out to the motorhome storage or bring the motorhome in?  Either way, we have to go to storage.  We decided to just take a few things out there, and bring the rest of the stuff that needs to come back to the house.  The coach can stay there, and we'll go out sometime in the next week or so to give it the thorough bath it needs (after driving through all that rain).

On the way to the storage, we went by a guy alongside the road (typical thing around here) selling big Easter Eggs and giant Easter Bunny piñatas.  No, I didn't get a photo - we went by it too fast.  Thought we'd catch it on the way back, but he was gone.

My first thought was... what does that do to a kid's psyche to whack the hell out of the Easter Bunny, until he comes apart?  The Easter Bunny is supposed to leave the candy, not get whacked to pieces to get the candy.

Here's a file photo to give you an idea...


We got out on the e-bikes this afternoon.  The pedal assist works great for pedaling into the wind!  Pedal assist level 1, 6th gear going with the wind; pedal assist 2, 5th gear going into the wind.  Still doing a bit over 10 mph.  Wind blowing 15 to 18 mph... that would be a real slog into the wind; the assist made it about the same effort.


Happy Pie Day!  Well, π Day.  You know: 3.14.  Pi.  Also, March 14th.  That's a chuckle for my math-teaching daughter.  π - the mathematical ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter.  3 (as in: March), 14 (as in: today is the 14th).

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Be careful what you wish for...

When we were in the desert, with humidity levels in the teens or less, we both wished for more humidity.  Yesterday was a perfect weather day for our arrival back home: sunny, high in the mid-70s, and reasonably low humidity.  Today, the high got well into the 80s, sunny, windy, and the humidity is around 12,000%... of course, I am exaggerating - it is closer to 15,000%.

We convinced ourselves that the switch to Daylight Savings Time was insignificant, since we aren't on a schedule.  The sunshine has other ideas, as does Isabella when she thinks it is time for breakfast.

Joan made us a nice breakfast, then suggested we get the guitar room set up.  It was fun taking a moment to play each wood guitar, since the carbon fiber guitar is what travels with us.  Then, it was time to take on the cargo trailer.  Unstrap fat bikes, move other stuff, unstrap scooters, then set up the trailer for being the "mobile garage" while we are here.

Yes, I wanted to go play with the bikes or the scooters, but there is other stuff to get done... moving on to getting the deck set up.  Getting stuff out of the storage area under the house.  In the wind and humidity.  Any concern I had about "forgetting how to sweat" dripped away.  It is Spring Break here in the Tropical Tip - if there had been a wet t-shirt contest for the person who got their shirt the wettest, I am pretty sure I would have been a contender.  The only part of me not sweating was my teeth.  I think.

Joan then suggested that Big Red (the pickup) was in dire need of being washed.  We took it over to SPI and the new car wash there.  I was concerned about the traffic, but it wasn't bad.  "How about a late lunch?"

"Sure."  We stopped to pick up some chicken before heading back home.  Then, thankfully, a soak in the jacuzzi tub and a thorough scrubbing.  Interestingly enough, I don't think I was any wetter in the tub than I was while out working on the trailer.

I think it is going to take us a while to acclimate.  ;-)

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Home Sweet Home...

Leaving San Antonio this morning, we were greeted with blue skies...

The weather weasels were calling for fog in the area - we were happy to see that wasn't the case.  We were looking for blue bells (the flowers) along the way.  Not many, yet, but plenty of these orange(ish) flowers...

Thirty or forty miles down the road, the clouds lowered...

Then, really lowered...

About half way to Corpus Christi, the traffic thickened up a bunch...

This is the first day of Texas Week Spring Break - about half the state's colleges and universities are out this week.  Lots more elementary and high schools.  And plenty of those folks are heading for the beach.  We have driving this stretch of road many times - this is more traffic than we usually see.

At our turn to head for the Tropical Tip (about 14 miles outside of Corpus), the traffic dropped off a bit... some of the crowds will head for Port Aransas and Rockport, and plenty will be heading for South Padre Island.

It was a day without rain, a nice change.  It is apparent that this area (now, south of Corpus Christi) has had a LOT of rain lately...

Standing water everywhere.  This area of road construction is a mucky mess.  As we headed towards home, the clouds broke and there was glorious sunshine once again.  And greenery; after months in the desert, it is refreshing to see the lush greens all around...

It isn't a "heading for home" post without the palm trees in the median that start about 60 miles from the Tropical Tip...

We stopped at our storage unit, hooked up the batteries in Big Red - she fired right up.  Joan pulled the truck out and I put the Aspect inside.  I plugged her in while Joan put the slides out... time to start the unloading process.  The plan: get the food and some personal stuff out, swap the cargo trailer to the truck, and head for home.

We were relieved as we rolled into town that traffic was not backed up for miles - that is often the case on weekend afternoons during Spring Break.  The Laguna Madre looked great; the view as we came across the bridge to our island was welcoming.

I was backing the cargo trailer into the driveway around 4:00... Mike and MJ came over to say "Hi, welcome home," and offered to help cart stuff.  I wouldn't wish that unloading on anyone.  Mike had hosed off our walkways, so we were able to just get to work, getting the house opened up and our stuff inside.

Izzy walked all around the house and gave her approval.  Then checked to make sure her food and little box were in their proper places.  Joan put away food, I was the pack mule.  There will be more unloading to be done later (we'll probably bring the motorhome to the house, and the cargo trailer is loaded), but for now, we are settling back in to being house dwellers.

Yep, home sweet home.  And, I hear the jacuzzi tub calling my name.  :-)