Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Wind, Mustang Island, and more Wind

Location: Mustang Island State Park, Port Aransas, Texas

(click pictures to enlarge)

Yesterday was moving day and traffic was surprisingly light. There were stretches of 3 lanes of interstate with only a few cars in sight. I was glad of that because the wind was steadily blowing around 15 mph with gusts up to near 30 mph. When the gusts would hit us broadside, Liberty would just shake her booty while doing a little fishtailing. I would let off on the gas a little and she would quit that showing off. This heavy wind and low temperatures are a result of a cold front coming through. The ladies at the check-in desk said another is coming behind this one. I'm due to stay here for 7 days. If the weather is bad the whole time, then I'll think about extending for another 7 days just to have a few nice days to walk on the beach and see what can be seen. 

The landscape changed pretty quick to the coastal plains. It is very similar to the area around Galveston and the Bolivar Peninsula area.

Coastal Plain landscape started about 40 miles before reaching Mustang Island

This campground is just like the last one in that it is not much more than a parking lot with water and electric hook-ups. Although at this one, I have a picnic table with shade and a BBQ grill. Like I said last time, as long as I have at least electric and a water source close by I'm happy. I will have to keep a close eye on my waste tanks because 7 days is getting close to their limit. Liberty has four tanks. A 43 gallon fresh water tank, 38 gallon grey (shower and bathroom sink) tank, 38 gallon black (toilet) tank and a 38 gallon galley (kitchen sink) tank. I won't have to worry about fresh water because I have it available at the campsite. Some of the state parks in the north only had electric at the campsite and you would have to fill your fresh water tank up at a central location. I think that was to make it easier in the winter by only having to winterize one line. I use my water pump and fresh water tank all the time instead of using the city water connection. My water pump puts out 3 gallons per minute but my shower head is only rated at 2 1/2 gallons per minute. The calculation is simple: 38 gallon grey water tank divided by 7 days is 5.4 gallons per day. Round that down to 5 gallons per day means I can take a 2 minute shower per day. For those that haven't taken Navy showers before, that may seem small, but it is more than enough. I usually run about 1 1/2 minutes per shower unless it is the last day at a campsite and I have extra room in the tank, then I may splurge and go for 3 full minutes of extravagant, decadent, wasteful use of water. Since I use paper plates and plastic silverware there are very few dishes that need washing so the 38 gallon galley tank is rarely ever filled. That means if I need more room in the grey tank, I can catch the water from the shower head in a bucket as the water is warming up and use it the kitchen sink. This may sound a little complicated but it becomes second nature after a while. Most of the time I don't even think about it, therefore I don't write about it. That is why comments are important because ya'll have a different outlook to what I'm doing. So if there are questions, please ask.

While setting up Liberty, I got a little worried. I had already unhitched Freedom when I noticed how close the big slide was to the power pole. 
The potential problem is the slide coming out and hitting the post before it gets fully extended. I took this picture before un-hitching and it was at this point that I should have noticed it. But my mind must have been somewhere else, because by the time I did notice it I was already unhitched. When I saw it I said "Golly gee wiz, I may not have enough room". Of course I paraphrased what I actually said.

I have a white plastic "tattle-tell" about the length of the slide extension but I didn't use it here because I thought I stopped before the slide would interfere. It was that last 1 or 2 foot of extra backing up that caused it and I didn't think to measure the slide. If there isn't enough room, then I have to hitch back up and pull forward about 2 feet. I got my "tattle-tell" and measured but it was showing that the slide would be just hitting the power pole. I knew there was a little margin of error in the length of the "tattle-tell" but I wasn't sure the exact amount. I bungee corded the "tattle-tell" to the power pole so I could see if it moved through the window as I extended the slide. I started the slide out, and with about 1 foot to go I went outside to look. About a foot of clearance left and about a foot to go. I went back in and extended another 6 inches and went back outside. Same deal, it was going to be nip and tuck, but I thought I had the room so I went in and fully extended it. I didn't hear any scraping so I thought I was good. I went out to see how close. Just barely made it. It was my lucky day.
A little too close for comfort but I think it will do. I'll have to keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't rub as the wind rocks Liberty. In this picture you can see the assortment of campers here. Next door is a family in a "pop-up" and across the way is a couple in an "A-liner". Down the row are some more fifth wheels and big Class A's.

Before heading to Walmart to stock up on supplies, I stopped off at the beach to see how it looked. The temperature was chilly and the wind was blowing strong, but the angry surf and sky looked good to me. One thing I know for sure is that where ever I finally stop moving there has to be a body of water close by.
This is the beach at the park. Yes, that is a speed limit sign on the beach. If you feel lucky, you can drive on the beach for miles. 

Looking straight out at the beach. The poles limit the areas where you can drive.

Last beach picture, but I sort of liked this one.

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

Monday, December 29, 2014

Yep, Sick and Moving Day Tomorrow

Location: Goliad State Park; Goliad, Texas

(click pictures to enlarge)

I hitched up and left Blanco State Park with a threatening sky overhead and I was feeling poorly. I was pretty sure I was getting sick and hoped it would just be a 24 hour bug. By the time I got to San Antonio, the rain was coming down in spurts. One minute it would be raining pretty good and then the next blue skies.

My campground reservations are for 3 nights at Goliad and 7 nights at Mustang Island State Park. I checked out online what was available to explore around Goliad and figured 3 days would be enough time. Well, today is day 3 and I haven't seen anything. After getting Liberty set up Saturday afternoon, I was in full sick mode. I was coughing, congested, itchy eyes and throat. I figured I had a cold so I began by cold treatment. It consists of one Coricidin and Robitussin DM every 4 hours and lots of fitful sleep. From what I remember in the past, it usually lasts about 24 to 36 hours with at least a 24 hours recovery period. I'm in that recovery period now. I was hoping to find a nice lady to feel my head and tell me "it will be OK", but I wasn't lucky enough. That would have sped up the recovery time by at least half. It is tough being sick when you're alone. Those of you that have people around you when you're sick, don't take them for granted and be sure to show your appreciation to them. Thanks to those of you that texted, emailed and commented hoping I would feel better soon. It helped. 

I don't know if I will come back to Goliad on my way west or not. I'll decide that later. I could have done some exploring today but decided to just take it easy and get my strength back.

Tomorrow's move is only a little over 100 miles so I'll pull out of here around 10:30 or 11:00. The campground on Mustang Island is close to the beach so if the weather cooperates, I should be able to do some beachcombing. I need to check the tide charts and sun/moon rising/setting. 

Just a few pictures today. 

I took this picture of the campsite today, thus the blue skies. It is mostly a parking lot with electric/water hook-ups. It is ideal for my needs on a short stay and has been one of the cheapest sites so far.

The towing weather on Saturday. It looks worse than it actually was.

As I was driving to the campsite inside the campground, I noticed these two buzzards sitting in the tree. I thought with only two of them, they must not think I'm very sick

A little further down the road and the trees were full of buzzards. There must have been well over 100. 

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

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Moving Day, Sick?? and Assorted Stuff

Location: Blanco State Park; Blanco, Texas

(click pictures to enlarge)

It started yesterday. Symptoms: nose stopped up every now and then, especially if I'm sitting still, throat a little itchy but rarely coughing, eyes watering some but not a lot, sneezing about once every few hours. 

I don't get sick very often, maybe a cold every 5 years or more. I'm not aware of any allergies. The TV weather has been stating that there is "moderate mold and cedar spores". Uhmmm, maybe that is what is causing the symptoms. I don't know for sure but just in case, I took a half dose of Coricidin. 

Today is moving day and it's suppose to rain. It's not suppose to be a heavy rain so I'm not too worried, just as long as the wind gusts stay down. I don't have a choice to extend my stay here because the park is booked up for the weekend. I decided to head to the coast for a week or so before heading out west. I have reservations at Goliad State Park for 3 days, then on to Mustang Island State Park near Corpus Christi for 7 days. I don't know where I'll go after that.

Blanco State Park has been a nice little park to kick back with a few side trips to explore things. I also did a little Geocaching, which was somewhat new to me. I'll probably do a little more in the future. 

Here's a few pictures to end this post. I'm going to lay down for a little bit before I start the hitching up process.

My GPS says there is a Geocache somewhere in all that mess. I moved limbs and stones but couldn't find it. I stood on a stone and looked to the other side of the tree and then

It was a stick of wood with a hollowed center. The hider cut one end off so it was like a wooden container.

I didn't take or leave anything, but I did sign the log. It was a good find. One of the good things about Geocacheing is it gets me out and about on days when I'm not exploring.

I saw this pack of deer as I was driving around a Corps of Engineers park at Canyon Lake.

Some more showed up while I was sitting on the side of the road

Several ran off but his bunch must have been the brave ones or the ones that didn't care about running.

Last look at Blanco State Park

Freedom and Liberty are ready to roll, I hope I am too.

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

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas and Love

Location: Blanco State Park; Blanco, Texas

Christmas is the time we celebrate the birth of Jesus, our savior. God sent him to us so he could change us. Before Jesus arrived, our relationship with God was through others, but after Jesus arrived, we had a personal, one on one, relationship with God, through Jesus. It doesn't matter where you are or the day of the year, the relationship is always there.

To all my family and friends:

May you find Peace of mind, heart and soul.
May you Love and be Loved. 

with Love,

I can't define Love any better than the Apostle Paul did almost 2,000 years ago. This is one of my favorites:

If I had the gift of being able to speak in other languages without learning them and could speak in every language there is in all of heaven and earth, but didn’t love others, I would only be making noise.

If I had the gift of prophecy and knew all about what is going to happen in the future, knew everything about everything, but didn’t love others, what good would it do? Even if I had the gift of faith so that I could speak to a mountain and make it move, I would still be worth nothing at all without love. 

If I gave everything I have to poor people, and if I were burned alive for preaching the Gospel but didn’t love others, it would be of no value whatever.

Love is very patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud, 

never haughty or selfish or rude. Love does not demand its own way. It is not irritable or touchy. It does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do it wrong. 

It is never glad about injustice, but rejoices whenever truth wins out. 

If you love someone, you will be loyal to him/her no matter what the cost. You will always believe in him/her, always expect the best of him/her, and always stand your ground in defending him/her.

All the special gifts and powers from God will someday come to an end, but love goes on forever. Someday prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge—these gifts will disappear. 

Now we know so little, even with our special gifts, and the preaching of those most gifted is still so poor. 

But when we have been made perfect and complete, then the need for these inadequate special gifts will come to an end, and they will disappear.

It’s like this: when I was a child I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child does. But when I became a man my thoughts grew far beyond those of my childhood, and now I have put away the childish things.

In the same way, we can see and understand only a little about God now, as if we were peering at his reflection in a poor mirror; but someday we are going to see him in his completeness, face-to-face. Now all that I know is hazy and blurred, but then I will see everything clearly, just as clearly as God sees into my heart right now.

There are three things that remain—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13 
The Living Bible 

When Jesus was in Jerusalem, the Pharisees were trying to trick him with questions. One of my favorite answers is in this conversation: 

“Sir, which is the most important command in the laws of Moses?”
Jesus replied, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. The second most important is similar: ‘Love your neighbor as much as you love yourself.’ All the other commandments and all the demands of the prophets stem from these two laws and are fulfilled if you obey them. Keep only these and you will find that you are obeying all the others.”
Matthew 22 verses 36 thru 40
The Living Bible 

Peace and Love

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

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Pacific War Museum and Geocaching

Location: Blanco State Park; Blanco, Texas

(click pictures to enlarge)

I went to Fredricksburg, Texas yesterday. It was a busy place and full of tourists walking the sidewalks. It surprised me how many were there at this time of year. They were going in and out of the many shops and cafes along the main street. I wasn't there for either of those activities. I came to visit the National Museum of the Pacific War. Yep, a National museum in a little town in Texas. Part of the reason it is located here is that Fredricksburg is the birth place of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz. Fleet Admiral is a rank created by Congress during a time of war. There were only four created in World War 2 and Nimitz was the last survivor of that rank having died in 1966. 

The museum started out as a memorial to Admiral Nimitz in 1969 but was expanded later in 1991 to include the President George H.W. Bush wing. In the year 2000 it was official named the National Museum of the Pacific War. 

I have been to several museums around the country and this one is worth the trip. As former military, I got in for $10.00 and spent about 3 hours walking through the exhibits. They have planes, submarines, guns and even an Atomic Bomb. It is a well balanced museum that pays respects to all sides while at the same time presenting an accurate history of that bad time in the world. 

Flash pictures were not allowed inside the museum so some of the pictures I took didn't turn out. One young woman was teaching her small child how to disobey the rules by taking flash pictures. Just as I would be in the middle of reading something or watching a video in a darkened room, BAM, her flash would go off blinding everyone for a second. Bad, bad woman. I bit my tongue and didn't cause a scene by telling her she was breaking the rules. I thought about it afterwards and questioned myself if I would have mentioned it had it have been a man instead of a woman. I didn't come up with an answer, yet. 

The following are some of the pictures. The captions will explain more about them:
Typical Texas Hill Country on a beautiful day

Entrance to the Museum with a real ship's mast in front

This was the display about Pearl Harbor. There is a life-sized Japanese Mini-sub on display. The video is of the actual attack with sound. Very impressive. 

A B-25 Bomber. The kind that was used in General Dolittle's raid on Tokyo in April of 1942, just 4 months after the Pearl Harbor attack. 

A salvaged tank from one of the many island battles

An anti-aircraft gun on the left and a jeep on the right.

A picture of a LST from World War 2. This Landing Ship, Tank is similar to the one I toured in Muskegon, Michigan this last summer and the fore-runner to what I served on in the 70's  

A life-size replica of the "fat man" atomic bomb. A lot of devastation in such a small package. In the long run, by dropping the bomb, Truman reduced the total number of deaths that would have happened had we invaded the main Japanese islands.

There were 10 consecutive U.S. Presidents that served in World War 2. They go from Roosevelt to Bush the senior. These plagues honor them. Very nice display.

One of the many "memorial walls" where plagues to men, ships, units, etc are placed in honor to them.

The courtyard surrounded by more "memorial walls".

More "memorial walls" with the propeller from an Essex class Aircraft Carrier in the pool.

After I got back to the campground, I decided to take a walk. Before going, I looked to see if any Geocaches were in the park. I had heard that the Texas Parks were hiding several in facilities. Sure enough, there was one about 1/2 mile away along one of the trails. When I was planning my retirement, I planned to do Geocaching and even bought a hand-held GPS unit to use. I found it in one of the storage boxes and powered it up. My memory just barely remembered how to use it but off I went to find the cache.  

Geocaching is like a treasure hunt. People hide things, record their coordinates online, then other people use their GPS gadgets to find it. There is usually a log book that you sign and date proving that you found the cache. Some also have "take one-put one" things in the cache where you can take an item out if you put one back. The size of the cache can be as big as an ammo box or as small as a pill bottle. I have only looked for a few over the last couple years. It's fun, but I just haven't thought about it much with all of the other things going on. 

The trail towards the Geocache

Look what I found along the way. I needed another bench picture anyway. :)

This is where the GPS unit told me to look. I also confirmed that my cell phone agreed so I can use it in the future if I need to.

The Geocache before I opened it

The log book is on the left and trinkets are in the box as well as in the bag. I didn't take anything but I did leave my ticket stub from the museum today. It was an easy find and a nice walk.

I found this location along the walk. The mini-lake on the Blanco River was calm enough to act as a mirror for the trees. I liked the picture.

A cold front is blowing through today that is bringing rain and wind. I will probably hunker down in Liberty today and wait to see about the weather. I have to leave this campground this Saturday so I still need to decide which direction I'm going to go so I can make reservations. I hope I haven't waited too long and the campgrounds are full of New Year's holiday campers. 

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

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Lazy Day Around the Campground

Location: Blanco State Park; Blanco, Texas

(click picture to enlarge)

Yesterday was a lazy day. I thought long and hard for something to blame the laziness on, but couldn't think of anything believable. I guess it was just one of those days. Walking around the campground and going to the grocery store was the main activities of the day. I had a hankering for spaghetti when I went to the store but ended up eating a fried bologna sandwich last night.

I'm still very impressed with this park and area. The Blanco River runs through this town and there are a series of low water dams that creates mini-lakes. I've counted at least 10 using Google Earth. The mini-lakes have canoeing, bank fishing and swimming. This sort of recreation on a river this small would not be possible without the dams. Once you get downstream of the last dam, the river is small and meandering. All of the dams look like the one here in the park so I assume they were all built by the CCC. Such a small thing sure made a big impact on this area. 
This is another view of the swimming pool. It's amazing that it's 80 years old

Walking up to the Pavilion area.

The pavilion/picnic area. Also, 80 years old.

The fireplace in the pavilion for use on wintry days

Looking down at the river/mini-lake.

One of the "walking" trails. After the rain, it was very quiet.

Looking down the "walking" trail.

This alpaca? and her cub? lives in the field next to the campground

My Christmas decorations are up. 
It was sad to hear about the assassination of the two NYC cops. I guess it was just a matter of time before it happened somewhere in the country. When high profile leaders such as the President, Attorney General, Community Organizers??, and Mayors stir the emotions of a large group of people, it should not be surprise that someone, whose wiring is a little loose, will do something extreme. It's like shaking a can of pop and giving it to someone else to open. I just hope it doesn't happen again, but am doubtful.

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

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Remember the Alamo, Two more Before/After Pictures and a Selfie

Location: Blanco State Park; Blanco, Texas
(click pictures to enlarge)

I drove into San Antonio yesterday to explore the Alamo. It is about an hour from the campground and traffic was light. The weather was cloudy and cool with the temperature in the low 60's. It was a nice day for exploring.

The Battle of the Alamo was taught to every school child in the country up to at least my generation. I hope it continues, but have my doubts. Although Texas was not yet a state, the battle echoed the thoughts and values of the Americans. Without getting real deep into the historical events, here is a brief summary:

Year 1808: Spain wins its country back from Napoleon and France. 

Year 1810 to 1821: Mexico revolts against Spain, eventually winning it's independence in 1821. 

Year 1824: The first Mexican President General Guadalupe Victoria enacts the first constitution. One of the main principles is to guarantee the rights of everyone living on Mexican soil, not just Mexicans. Remember, Texas was a province/state of Mexico at the time. Stephen F. Austin had a thriving colony in what is now south-east Texas. Austin and his colonists considered themselves citizens of Mexico.

Year 1833: General Santa Anna comes to power in Mexico and voids major parts of the constitution of 1824. His goal is to rid the country of non-Mexicans and establish himself as Emperor. This made the Texans mad and they sent Stephen F. Austin to Mexico City to plead the case for the Texans. He is arrested and thrown in jail.

Summer of 1835: Stephen F. Austin is released from prison. During his imprisonment, he comes to realize the Mexican government will never treat the Texans as equal citizens of Mexico and revolution may be inevitable.

October 1835: General Santa Anna sends his brother-in-law, General Cos, along with 1,200 Mexican troops to Texas to disarm the Texans. He sets up headquarters in San Antonio and sends some of his troops to Gonzales to take back a cannon that was given to the Texans to help defend themselves from Indians. The Texans refused to give up the cannon, a fight broke out, the Texans won and they kept the cannon. This is considered the beginning of the Texas Revolution.

December 5th to 9th, 1835: Ben Milam and 200 Texans attack General Cos in San Antonio. They force Cos to surrender and he signs papers giving the Texans everything (property, supplies, etc). It was an unconditional surrender. General Cos and his remaining troops are allowed to retreat back to Mexico. 

Late December 1935: General Santa Anna is mad that General Cos lost San Antonio so he gathers an army of 8,000 men and head north. His plan is to crush the Texans totally. He gives orders to all of his generals that in this war, there will be no prisoners. That meant any Texans that resisted were to be killed, even if they surrendered.

January 17, 1836: General Sam Houston, high commander of the Texas Army, sends Colonel Jim Bowie (famous for the Bowie knife and other things) along with 25 men to San Antonio. His orders are to destroy the fortifications and transport the 24 larger cannons that were taken from General Cos back to the east where the main Texan army was located. After arriving in San Antonio, Bowie realized he did not have enough oxen and mules to transport the large cannons. He decides to keep the cannons in San Antonio and begins to fortify the Alamo against the Mexican army that was heading his way. This would also give Sam Houston more time to build the Texan Army up in size to meet Santa Anna's army.

February 2, 1836: Colonel William Travis and a small company of men arrive at the Alamo. Travis is only 27 years old and considers himself the senior officer in charge. Colonel Bowie doesn't agree and thinks he should be in charge. They compromise by placing the volunteers under Bowie's command and the regular army under Travis's command. The total size of the defenders is now about 130.

February 9, 1836: Davy Crockett and 14 men from the Tennessee Mounted Volunteers arrive at the Alamo. This is one of the reasons why Tennessee is considered the volunteer state. Crockett was already famous throughout the country. Besides his many exploits in the wilderness and the war of 1812 he had been elected twice to the U.S. Congress from the State of Tennessee. He lost his third run for office and in his last speech to his constituents he told them, "they could go to hell, he was going to Texas".

February 23, 1836: General Santa Anna and his army arrive in San Antonio and take charge of the city thereby surrounding the Alamo. He orders a red flag to be flown from a tower signifying that no quarter would be given to the defenders meaning they were all going to be killed even if they surrendered. Santa Anna begins an artillery barrage against the Alamo. The barrage goes on day and night for 12 days. During the barrage, the only reinforcements from the surrounding towns was able to sneak into the Alamo. They are volunteers from the town of Gonzales. The same town which refused to give up the cannon. The total number of defenders is now about 190. 

March 6, 1836 (Dawn): General Santa Anna begins the assault on the Alamo with a bugle call of the Dequello. The few Mexicans who sided with the Texans inside the Alamo tells the Texans that the meaning of the bugle call is to tell the Mexican troops that no one is to survive, no prisoners. After 3 attempts, the walls of the Alamo are breached and the Mexican army pours through killing all defenders. The losses on the Mexican side is 1,544 killed and 500 wounded. Santa Anna orders the Mexican bodies to be buried but the bodies of the Alamo defenders are to be piled up and burned.

April 21, 1836: Under the battle cry of "Remember the Alamo", General Sam Houston and the Texas Army defeats General Santa Anna at San Jacinto. The 18 minute battle is one of the most lop-sided wins in history. Mexicans killed, 630; wounded, 208; captured, 730. Texans killed, 9; wounded, 30. 

Santa Anna is captured and forced to surrender his remaining armies in Texas. 

Texas wins their independence.

I had some more old pictures with me. I knew one was of the Alamo but I didn't recognize the other one and hoped I would see it. I found both locations and stood close to the same spot my parents stood to take their old pictures. 
Before (about 50 years ago)

After (12/19/2014)

Before (about 50 years ago)
A memorial to the defenders of the
Alamo. It is located along the street
in front of the Alamo.

After (12/19/2014)

I bought a new hat from the Alamo gift shop.
I figure I'll need it as I travel out west to
help with the desert sun.

I took this picture to not only show the front of
the Alamo but also to show the sign for the
Crockett Hotel in the upper right corner. 

Nice tree in the courtyard of the Alamo

Another, even larger tree in the courtyard.

It was a good visit. There is no charge to enter the Alamo, but I had to pay $10.00 to park so I guess it evens out. It would have been nice to know the $10.00 was going to help preserve the Alamo, but I'm pretty sure the parking lot was a private company.

I need to be doing some serious planning as to my next move. My time here at Blanco is up next Thursday. I had thought about going to the coast for a couple weeks but am beginning to reconsider and may head west to New Mexico and Arizona. The weather in both places may end up being the deciding factor. 

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