Freedom and Liberty

Freedom and Liberty
I travel in Freedom but sleep in the security of Liberty (not only on the road, but in this amazing country of ours)

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Getting Caught Up

Location: New Rockdale RV Park; Mansfield, Louisiana

Wow, it's been over a month since I've made a post. Since I'm not traveling, I figured there isn't much that would interest readers so I've been putting off making a post. I've received several comments and emails asking if everything is OK. My lack of posting worried some readers and for that I'm sorry. Everything is OK. I've been visiting with family and friends with a little RV maintenance and doctor's visits thrown in for good measure. 

My last post was the day before the election. The political pendulum has swung the other way. As with each new president, we need to give them a chance to show the country and the world if they are up to the challenge of running this wonderful, one of kind, country of ours. Good luck, Mr. President (but remember, we will be keeping our eyes on you). 

Thanksgiving was great. All of my kids and grandkids were were here as well as future, past and present in-laws and one Ex. It was a good family get-together with everyone bringing pictures from the past to share. The food was very good with everyone pitching in to prepare it. It was a great day.

Pictures will finish out this post and I promise to not be so delinquent in posting again.


Olivia "the good witch" at Halloween

She's a cutie and those eyes are so expressive

Sunrise over the campground

Another picture of Olivia

My daughter making dessert with help from Olivia and Tucker

Some LSU girl

Olivia and her great Dad and my son-in-law
   
That is Tucker, Cooper and Olivia. I gave them my loose change from the last several months. I told them if they counted it and separated it into equal thirds, each could keep a third. Olivia got tired so she rested while the boys did all the work. Female in training??? LOL


Olivia showing me some leaves

Olivia thinking of the answer to a question I asked her about the leaves

Brandon and Olivia enjoying some snacks

Mother teaching daughter how to lick the beaters
Mimi giving Olivia decorations.

Olivia the tree decorator.

A little help

Help with the top

All done!!

Time for a post-decorating snack


Brandon and Sofie checking out the backyard



My daughter's 3rd grade class had asked questions about how bridges are built over water. Since I was familiar with the work, she invited me to talk with the class about it. It was a very enjoyable time with a couple dozen questions. The kids seemed to enjoy it too. :)

My Christmas decoration are up and yes, that is duck tape on the stocking sock. 
Merry Christmas Everyone

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.     

Monday, November 7, 2016

For The Grandkids

Location: New Rockdale RV Park; Mansfield, Louisiana

This post is not going to be about RV'ing or traveling, so those interested in that subject can stop reading now. 

I have always written this blog as a way to record the events in my life so as to allow my current and future grandchildren, the opportunity to know what I was doing and my beliefs in many subjects. I have mingled those beliefs into my past posts along with my travels. This post is a little different since it will not have a travel part to it. This is not a permanent change in the blog format, but simply a short detour so I can talk directly to my grandchildren in the future when they are adults.

Dear Grandchildren:
Tomorrow is election day, 2016, and I have a feeling it will be a dramatic turning point for our country no matter who wins. I will not go into the politics of this election cycle but let it be said, it was very nasty on both sides. Looking ahead to the years of your life, I truly hope the freedoms and liberties that I've enjoyed in my lifetime are still around for you. I've done what I could over my six decades to ensure they are passed on to your generation as intact as was possible. 

Always remember: America and the ideals behind her creation were divinely inspired. Along with that inspiration is human "free will". There have been people who took her off in directions that benefited themselves more than the country, but there have always been great Americans who have placed her back on the right path. I like to believe those great American were also divinely inspired. Please read and study the history of America and the world so you can fully understand that she is unique in all of human history. All governments before her looked upon their people as subjects, not citizens. America made our intentions clear to the world with the first three words of our Constitution; "We the people,,,". At the time of her creation, she was the only country in the world with a "representative republic" style of government. Even today, there are some countries that come close to our style of government but doesn't quite get there. Elections get messy with this type of government, but I guess it is just something that goes with the territory. Perhaps some day, maybe in your lifetime, the politicians will campaign on their policies and the direction they plan to take the country instead of attacking each other, but I doubt it. Whatever the politicians say or do, you must try to see through their BS and vote for the one who you think will either take the country forward or as in this cycle (2016), the one who will do the least harm to the country.

Be patriotic and a responsible American citizen in all that you do. America is the best country in the world, warts and all. Never hesitate to talk about her greatness but also never shy away from talking about her shortcomings. You will find that her greatness will always outshine her failings. Be cautious of anyone or anything that talks solely about her greatness or failings because those type of people and organizations are dangerous. I hope you learn early in life to see all sides in all situations.


If you enjoy sunrises and sunsets as much as I do, here is one for you from early November, 2016.
I'll let you try to figure out if it is a sunset or sunrise.

Ya'll take care of each other and I pray you find peace and contentment in everything you do. 


Saturday, October 22, 2016

Random Thoughts and Getting Caught Up

Location: New Rockdale RV Park; Mansfield, Louisiana

It's been a couple of weeks since I've made a blog post. I have no excuses, only reasons. Wow, that is a subconscious flashback. In the Navy, we were trained that there are no excuses for anything that happens; only reasons why it happened. An example would be if you show up late to work and say, "I'm late because there was heavy traffic" instead of "I'm late because I didn't anticipate heavy traffic on the way to work". See the difference? The first one blamed something outside of your control such as the traffic. The second places the blame on yourself since you are the one in control of yourself. It seems like it is a small thing and a play on words, but when looking back over a length of time, it helps put things into perspective.

And speaking of being on time, everyone should live by the rule - "if you show up 'on time', you're late. 15 minutes early is 'on time'."
Last view of the beach area on Bolivar Peninsula.

Ships heading into Galveston Bay on the way to the Houston Ship Chanel

Enough random thoughts for a minute. The main point of this post is to get caught up. A quick summary is that after leaving Galveston on the 7th, I stopped for 3 days in V-RV Park in Vinton, Louisiana. It was the closest campground, with vacancies, to Sulphur, which is where my oldest son lives. I wanted to see a flag football game in which my grandson was playing. He scored 4 touchdowns and is very good. He is a fast runner and that helps, but the main thing I noticed is that he is able to see a couple of tacklers (flag pullers) ahead of him at the same time he is avoiding being tackled. He isn't old enough to have been trained that way so it is a natural ability. I hope he comes to understand how special that is not only in football but also in life. It is like peeking into the future. 

Warming up for the game. That is my son on the right in the red shirt and my grandson is number 13.

The wild fans. In the picture is my granddaughter Olivia, son Brandon, x-wife Kathy, x-mother-in-law Lila and future daughter-in-law Jennifer.

Grandson Tucker (picture taken by my daughter)

That's Tucker, with the ball running away from a tackle while his teammate runs alongside for a future block. (picture taken by my daughter)

This was a good action shot of Tucker running with the ball. (picture taken by my daughter)


My daughter, granddaughter, son and X-wife came down to Sulphur to see my grandson play ball. They all stayed at my oldest son's house and my future daughter-in-law cooked a nice shrimp and rice supper which was good eating. The visiting was even better and it was the first time that all of my children, x-wife and I have been together since last Thanksgiving. We will all gather up again this Thanksgiving in Mansfield.
Future cousins, Cooper on the left, Olivia on the right


My daughter Brittanie taking pictures with my x-wife behind her trying to get the kids to smile
 
For lunch, I took everyone to my favorite fancy restaurant, Taco Bell. That is when I found out it was Olivia's first experience with such exquisite and exotic cuisine. For some strange reason, my daughter and her husband has deprived Olivia of such an experience.  
 

The campground I stayed at in Vinton was an old KOA whose owner quit the KOA a few years ago. The campground is going downhill fast. The only good thing, for the owner, is that she should be retiring soon and there is a large construction boom in the area which keeps her campground nearly full. It is evident that she isn't doing the necessary maintenance, but she will probably retire before it falls to pieces. The roads had potholes, the trees had low hanging limbs, there were enough dumpsters, etc. My Surge Guard protected me again. When I plugged Liberty into the electrical pedestal my surge guard warned that there was "reverse polarity and a faulty ground". I called the owner and told her about it. I don't think she believed what I was saying but she gave me another site which was apparently on a different circuit since the surge guard said everything was OK. I noticed later that evening that she had rented the site with the bad reading. The RV that was in the site didn't have a surge guard unless they had one hardwired inside. That is twice my surge guard has protected me from bad electricity. Buying it was a wise decision.
Campsite at V-RV in Vinton, Louisiana
I left Vinton on the 10th and went to a campground in Duson, Louisiana. I stopped there for 3 days while visiting my sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew. It was a great visit and besides eating out, my sister made some gravy, biscuits and sausage for breakfast one morning. It seems good eating and good visiting just goes together.
Campsite at Frog City RV Park, Duson, Louisiana. This is one of few times I've used by awning except when I dry it out after a blowing rain. There is some great boudin (the best I've had in a long time) at the next exit at a place called Don's. 

I left Duson and arrived here at New Rockdale RV Park on the 13th. 
That is Freedom and Liberty with dozens of vacant campsites in the background. I have a strong cell signal which means not only phone but internet connection. I will get sun most of the day which will be appreciated as the temperatures begin to fall at night.

I'll be here at least through Thanksgiving and possibly through Christmas. This is the same campground I stayed at when I was last here in Mansfield after Brandon's stroke. There are only a couple other RV's in the new section of the RV park and I like it that way. I have began preparing a list of maintenance items that I need to do on Liberty. Of course visiting with family is top of the list but I plan to play some golf with two other fat heavy-set husky non-flat-belly men. Also on the list will be a lunch with a few of my old previous co-workers. It should be some good visiting all around and still enough time for me to be as lazy as I want. 

I figure the blog posts will be a little boring while I'm stationary for the next few weeks. I'll continue posting so as to have a record of what happens. One of the main purposes of this blog is for the future reading by my grandkids and maybe great grandkids. It is a way for them to know what the old man did during this time. Oh well, enough rambling for now.
Olivia got thirsty at the football game so she and I walked to the concession stand on the other side of the field. It's times like these that are hopefully not forgotten too soon. 
Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.   



  

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Galveston, Oh Galveston

Location: Bolivar Peninsula RV Park (el 30 ft); Crystal Beach, Texas

all pictures taken with Nokia Lumia Icon 929 Cell Phone

Well, first off, I'm not in Galveston although I passed through it on my way here. I also passed through the middle of Houston at noontime on a Saturday and with the exception of a construction zone, I zipped through at 60 mph. Galveston is only about 15 miles from the campground and the short trip includes a very nice free ferry ride. I usually stay at this park when I'm in this area. It is a nice park with full hook-ups and a very fast wi-fi. It is also a Passport America campground which cuts the rate in half on Mondays thru Thursdays. 
It's a nice, well maintained park

Staying on the peninsula is a slower pace than Galveston, especially during the off season, which is just beginning. The ferry is one of the attractions for me. I'll be here for 6 days and will use the ferry at least 4 of those days to go into Galveston.
I saw a few of these while driving around the peninsula. An elevated deck with a place to park a couple RV's beneath. If a storm comes, you tow your RV away. I may be a nice way to have a base camp here without the expense of building a beachhouse. The beach is about 200 yards away from this one. 

The ferry ride is always nice.

Mostly, I'll just be relaxing while here. I did take a boat tour around Galveston Bay and toured the tall sailing ship "Elissa". Both of these tours are part of the Texas Seaport Museum and are reasonably priced. This is the second tall sailing ship I've toured with the first being in Erie, Pennsylvania back in 2014. I saw something on that ship back then but didn't get a picture of it and I hoped to find it again on the Elissa. I found something similar, but not exact. The thing I was looking for was "deck prisms". Each sailing ship, prior to electricity, had them installed in the deck of the ship. It provided light below decks by refracting the sunlight through the prism and broadcasting it below decks. The ones on the Elissa appear to be more modern. I guess I'll just have to go back to Erie to get a picture of the ones there. :)
The Elissa

Here are 3 deck prisms, although they seem much more modern than the other's I've seen.


The other ship I wanted to get a closer look at was the sunken ship, S.S. Selma. It is a concrete ship from the early 1900's. Nope, that doesn't mean it transported concrete, it means is was built out of reinforced concrete. Yes, concrete. Steel was hard to come by during World War I, so some people came up with an idea to make ships using concrete instead of steel. It may sound silly, but making concrete float isn't a problem. It doesn't matter what material you use to make a boat; it will float as long as it displaces an equal weight of water. It's all in the shape of the material, not the weight. The Selma was launched in 1919 as a tanker. In 1920, she struck a jetty in Mexico and was towed to Galveston for repairs. No one in Galveston knew how to repair a concrete ship so a decision was made to scuttle her in Galveston Harbor which was done in 1922. She has been there now for almost 100 years. You can see her from a distance while riding the ferry, but I wanted a closer look so I took the harbor tour. She has survived the salt water much better than a steel ship would have done under the same circumstances.

One of many dolphins that came by to say "howdy" on the harbor tour.

The S.S. Selma. Reinforced concrete tanker ship.

Port bow view of the S.S. Selma. Pretty good for being in salt water for nearly 100 years.

I will be here until Friday when I'll be moving on to Sulphur, Louisiana to visit family. 

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road. 

  

Thursday, September 29, 2016

West Texas in the Rearview

Tuesday's Location: North Llano River RV Park (el 1,700 ft); Junction, Texas
Current Location: Bastrop State Park (el 500 ft); Bastrop, Texas

All Pictures taken with Nokia Lumia Icon 929 Cell Phone

I left Balmorhea early Tuesday morning with a 260 mile tow ahead of me; mostly interstate. The morning temperature was a brisk 55 degrees and I started out with long pants but changed to shorts before hitting the road. A roadrunner bird came to see me at the dump station as I was emptying my tanks. It jumped on Freedom and gave me a look. As I was grabbing my phone to take a picture, it jumped down onto the pavement. Having just now checked the pictures, the color of the bird blended in with the pavement just as if he was wearing camouflage. 

The drive was uneventful and the scenery changed a little but not too dramatically. I stopped for gas at an Exxon station and immediately got a case of the "heebie jeebies". I checked the place out on Google Earth the night before in preparation to stop and knew there wasn't much at this exit, but when I stopped for gas, everything looked closed and grown up in weeds. Strange. I pumped the gas and kept my head on a swivel because I learned to just my instincts long, long time ago. Nothing happened and I didn't see anything unusual, but I was glad to be leaving exit #372.
Houses are separated by great distances in west Texas. This was the only one for quite a while. Too isolated a life for me.

The scenery changed a little from New Mexico.

I've noticed American flags have become more common lately than they were just a year or so ago. Every time I see one along the way, like this one in Sonora, Texas, it makes me smile and gives me a sense of "things in the country are going to be OK".

I will miss the open skies of the West. As I get farther and farther to the east, the trees along the road will close in tighter and tighter. 

Campsite at North Llano River RV Park.
I arrived at the town of Junction and checked into the campground. It is very nice and comfortable. You could tell the owners and workers took pride in their work. I didn't have a data signal in the campground or around the town. This is only the second time in my travels that I couldn't pick up a data signal. The other time was in Seminole Canyon State Park in extreme West Texas. I called Barney, a fellow RV'er/Blogger, since I knew he was camped in the area. We enjoyed some very good BBQ at a place called Lum's. I got the brisket and turkey; both were excellent. We visited for an hour or two before saying our "cya down the road's". Safe travels Barney, have fun.

I left Junction the following morning and arrived here at Bastrop around 1:00 p.m. This is a great little park from what I've seen and I'll be interested in exploring it and some of the area. I'll be here for only 3 days with some chores like laundry and shopping needing to be done.
Camped under the Loblolly Pines of Bastrop State Park.

You can tell you're really in Texas when you see the
Buc-ee's.
Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.