Sunday, January 21, 2024

Trip Wrap-up, Home Tomorrow

 Location: Rayburn Park COE Campground; Pineland, Texas

Tomorrow is moving day and I'll only have about 100 miles of towing before getting back the Heart of Haynesville RV Park in Mansfield, Louisiana which I have recently been using as my home-base. I'm still doing some extra weather watching because rains are predicted to begin at 1:00 pm tomorrow and last for 3 days. My plan is to empty my tanks at the dump station and then pull out around 9:00 to arrive around 11:00. I'll be setting up in the same campsite that I left from a week ago. I put markers out so I can hopefully put Liberty back in the exact same spot. The location was perfectly level so I could put my boards under all of the wheels to avoid the tires resting on gravel for a long time. We will see. 

The original purpose of this short, one week trip was to escape the cold weather. That was a success. Although it got down into the low 20's a few nights, the day before and after was well above freezing so there was very little worry about anything freezing up. The cooler temperatures had a positive effect on the trip.The temperatures for tomorrow morning are predicted to be 47, all good. 

Although I hadn't planned on it, a secondary purpose became available. It was to deal with some memory demons that had started playing with my mind at the end of last year. This purpose only materialized when the memory demons unexpectedly ran away the instant I saw the Gulf of Mexico. That sort of surprised me but also made me aware of the chance it gave me to put them away in a more secure location. This secondary purpose was also a success, especially at my current campground. 

This COE campground has been almost perfect for what I needed. It is isolated, so no explorations were planned. The weather was chilly but warm enough for daily walks. There have only been a couple of other campers in the campground. The campground is eerily quiet due to the cooler weather and the other campers remaining inside. The sunsets were reliable. It was just a great, kick back, relax and thinking campground. I'll definitely be back because it is full of good vibes.

This is the only sunrise I've seen since being here

Some fishermen enjoying their day.

Yeah, I know this is the second time I've posted a picture of this picnic table. I want to make sure I can find it in the posts about this campground in the future because something emotionally special happened there. 

This was Day 3's sunset. Due to the overcast skies, I doubt there will be a good one this evening.

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

Friday, January 19, 2024

Great COE Campground

Location: Rayburn Park COE Campground; Pineland, Texas

I left Galveston in the late morning while there was still a nip in the air and heavy fog. By the time I finished hitching up, the fog had burned off but the sky was still overcast. Looking at the Gulf of Mexico on the drive down Bolivar Peninsula showed her to be in a somewhat angry mood. As usual, when I turned north at High Island, I was sad to see the Gulf fade away in my side mirror.

Anyone who's taken the Bolviar Ferry recognizes this place as Seawolf Park. You can explore a Naval Museum and Navy ships there. 

I liked the flag flying with Galveston in the background.

This is what is left of Rollover Pass on the Bolivar Peninsula. The pass used to connect the Gulf of Mexico with the bay. It was constructed back in 1955 to improve fishing, etc. It was filled in a year or so ago because the plan didn't work. My father used to talk about fishing "the pass". 

The Gulf was a little angry as I was leaving. Hey, maybe it was mad because I was leaving. :)

The tow was to be a little over 4 hours with a stop at Walmart and a gas station. The Walmart stop was not only to stretch my legs and use the restroom, but to get some groceries. The campground I was headed to and am now staying is kind of isolated so I needed enough food to last the 4 days of my stay. I don't plan to do much exploring due to the cool weather and lack of anything that really caught my eye. 

The campsite is everything I was hoping it to be with a great view of the lake. When I arrived, there were only two other campers here with a fourth one that showed up today. I've mainly been kicking back, relaxing, walking around the campground and visiting with the neighbors. I sure like being in campgrounds like this during the off-season compared to the middle of the summer. It is some much more relaxing. I got a text from my cousin that lives in Silsbee and he is familiar with this area and mentioned a decent cafe only about 5 miles from here. I'm thinking about trying their lunch tomorrow. I don't know though, I surprised myself today and made a pretty good shrimp gumbo but a greasy cheeseburger from a small cafe may be just the ticket.

The campsite in the early evening of day one. It is like it was in Galveston, the cool weather and overcast just adds to excitement. 
The overcast cleared enough for a nice sunset on Day 1.

This is not a thinking bench but it sure was a "thinking picnic table" for me today. It is the turn-around point for my walk in the campground. Very good. 

The view out my back window while I'm sitting at my computer desk.

The streetlight is almost on, time to head back to Liberty.

Sunset day 2

The sunset afterglow of Day 2. 
'Night ya'll 

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

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Weather Has Improved; Time to Move

Location: Galveston Island State Park; Galveston, Texas

 Today is the 4th and last day here at Galveston. It has been a nice, restful and mostly peaceful stay. In a weird way, the winter weather added to the "nice-ness". The decision to come here was the correct one. But, the cold weather has now passed and it is time to head on back to North Louisiana for a couple of doctor's appointment in the next few weeks. Since it is still a little chilly back there I've decided to break the return trip up by staying four days at Rayburn Park which is a little more than half way back. It is a Corps of Engineers campground on the north side of Sam Rayburn Reservoir. It is a very isolated campground with the nearest decent sized town about 20 to 30 minutes away. The campsite I've chosen has what looks like a great view so I plan to just kick back and relax. That may prove to be a bad thing and if it does then I'll just hitch up and head on back to Mansfield. This entire trip continues to echo the fulltime RV'ers adage of "My plans are made in Jello". For non-RV'ers, that is a play on the words 'plans made in stone'. The jello part means the plans can easily be changed. 

I haven't explored anything new since I've been here and have mainly re-traced steps from some of the many previous trips I've made to Galveston. It is a town that seems to bring instant peace when I get here. One of the places I re-visited was Walmart. Yeah, I bought groceries but I also said hello to the spirits of the children who died in the Great Storm of 1900. The store is built on the site of the orphanage where the children lived. You can read about the Nuns using clothesline in hopes of saving the kids and how strings of Nuns and kids were found for days after the storm because they became snagged on fences and other objects. Stories are told of toys mysteriously being found in the middle of the toy aisle and children laughing when none are around. You can read my old post here>>>>

I guess the best way to document the stay will be by captioned pictures.

In the years to come, whenever I look back on this picture my memory will immediately relive the wet and windy chill of that day. 

The view out my back window overlooking the bay.

One descent sunset in the four nights here. 

Just like my campsite at my base camp in Mansfield, I can see the sunset through from my door.

A nice statue representing the lives lost in the Great Hurricane of 1900. 

I took the ferry back to the Bolivar Peninsula because it is the best place to drive on the beach. There were a few RV's camped on the edge.

The temperatures had improved, but with heavy overcast skys. 

The ships in the background are waiting to enter the Houston Ship Channel

I can see these houses from my campsite. It is a reminder how some others live their lives. 

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

Monday, January 15, 2024

Warmer Weather, RV Fire & Memory Demons Flee

 Location: Galveston Island State Park; Galveston, Texas

I pulled out of my campground in North Louisiana early yesterday morning. I was hitching up in 33 degree temperatures with a nippy wind chill. The 4 day forecast was for a little more than 60 hours straight of below freezing temperatures with a low of 14 degrees. If I had stayed, chances were very high some of my pipes would freeze and possible burst creating a mess and a giant pain the a$$ to repair. My two choices were to winterize Liberty or leave for a warmer area. I chose leaving and chose Galveston Island as the best place for me. The forecast here is for about 6 hours of below freezing temperature and a low of 26. That's not a problem, at all.

Hitched up and ready to "get out of Dodge" as the temperature is falling.

This is the obligatory travel pic. It is on US 96 in East Texas heading south.Those streaks on the road is salt brine pre-treatment that TxDot is putting out in preparation for the winter event due to hit as soon as I leave the area. 

Another travel pic of the Coastal Plain between Winnie and High Island. 

As I've mentioned in some of my other blog posts, when near the coast and you go over the Intracoastal Waterway, always time it so you can slow down to take a picture. It is the highest thing around for miles.

Coming off of the ICW bridge. The Gulf of Mexico is a few miles, straight ahead.

This first sight of the Gulf after turning at High Island. It is always a great feeling. That barrier rail on the left is new since I was here last.

That seagull in the middle of the picture is the one who flew off with my memory demons. (It's OK if you think I'm touched in the head, I already know it)

Waiting in line for the Bolivar/Galveston Ferry. I got lucky with a picture of the gulls

I have used the ferry to inspect the top of my RV's for several years. There is a nice observation platform that is right above Liberty. I can zoom in and inspect for cracks or defects. 

This is about the only picture I took from the ferry other than of Liberty. I was distracted by a crazy ole lady with purple hair who was asking about my RV. Her plan was to buy one and move to New Mexico. She said she was a Tic Tok star but her much younger friend was behind her shaking her head NO. It was still a nice ferry ride, as usual.

Campsite 123 at the Bayside section. Nice view out my rear window and I can see the sun set out my door. Good deal, Lucille

I arrived around 3 in the afternoon with temps in the mid to upper 50's. Excellent weather to set up camp. When I checked in at the campground office, they advised me the water would be shut off today in preparation for the low tonight of 26. I told them that didn't bother me as I use my freshwater tank and water pump, year round. There are some campers here that will either do without any water, other than bottled water, or they will fill their fresh water tanks for the first time in a very long time. There is no telling what is growing in those tanks since they used them last and really not much time to sanitize it properly. As I'm typing this post, it is 37 degrees with a brisk 25 mph wind and sleet predicted to arrive in 30 minutes. Still not a problem, I have no place to go, although I will ride into town this afternoon to see what I can see. 

The night before I left North Louisiana, I heard what I thought was fireworks. I didn't think much of it at first until I raised my blinds and looked out the window. A few campsites away, an RV was fully engulfed in flames. From hitch to bumper, it was totally on fire. About 15 minutes into the fire, the fire trucks arrived and began spraying water, but the fire was already almost out. As I was hitching up yesterday, a Sheriff's Deputy was making his rounds through the campground and I asked him if anyone was hurt. He said no one was home when the fire happened, which was good news. He didn't know what caused it. The RV next to the fire was scorched real good. That will make you think twice when you're staying in tightly spaced RV parks. That evening, I found my second fire extinguisher on a shelf at the foot of my bed and moved it to the night stand next to the head of the bed. If fire happens in the middle of the night, I may be able to use it to fight back the fire enough to escape out the door instead of trying to climb through one of the 3 emergency windows in Liberty. I'll also do a little more recent research into fire blankets. Like the Boy Scouts, Be Prepared.

It only took about 30 minutes to burn everything. Shocking

This is the next morning. I took it on my way to the dumpster before hitching up.

For those of ya'll that are interested in how my memory demons are doing, they all ran away when I saw the Gulf of Mexico. Almost like magic. Now that they are gone for a while, I can plan a better defense when they most assuredly will return. It's like war, "know thy enemy". I believe everyone has them, in both small and large versions, but a lot of us were trained from childhood to not talk about them. We usually learned to put them away in a dark corner at the back of our mind in hopes they would only surface occasionally and briefly. That works pretty good when you're younger and your mind is occupied with activities of life. When you get older and your mind wanders because you don't have all of the life stressors that you had when you were younger, your demons come out to play. These are just my beliefs. Some people may think I'm crazy for even talking about it, but at my age, it doesn't bother me what they think.

This is not the best sunset, but a sunset none the less.

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

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Running from Weather and Demons

 Location: Heart of Haynesville RV Park; Mansfield, Louisiana

I've been following the weather closely because my new RV is not as freezing weather friendly as my old RV. I've been through enough cold weather to have a clear understanding what Liberty can handle. She is fine if the temperature drops into the low 20's but only if the daytime temperature before and after is above freezing. The weather forecast I saw this morning indicates about 50 to 60 hours of below freezing temperatures next week with the lowest predicted to be 12. With that kind of forecast, I have two choices. I could winterize Liberty by draining her water, blowing out the lines, and adding antifreeze, but that is a pain in the behind. Plus after the weather passes, you have to reverse the process. 

The second choice is better. Since I don't have any doctor appointments or grandkid events during this cold weather period, I thought maybe I would just head south for a week to let the cold weather pass. One of the places I thought of was Galveston Island which is about 5 to 6 hours from here. I checked the forecast for the island and although the freezing weather will make it to Galveston, it will only be for one night with 40 degrees before and after. After getting the OK from Accuweather and the National Weather Service, I checked for campsite availability at Galveston Island State Park. Bingo, one vacancy in the Bayside section. I took that as a good sign for me to go, so I jumped on the reservation page and booked it. 

Galveston Island State Park has two sections. One is called Beachside because it is within easy walking distance of the beach and the other section is called the Bayside since it is near West Bay which is the bay between the island and the mainland. The campsites in the Bayside are smaller and closer to together but I'm fine with both of those things. It will be my first time to stay at Bayside. 

After waiting out the weather for four days at Galveston, I decided to split the return trip in half and stay 3 days at Rayburn Park on Lake Sam Rayburn. I've stayed at other Corps of Engineers campgrounds on this lake and they are pretty good, but this campground seems to the the best of the bunch. I've reserved a shoreline site with what appears to be a great view. It is a little isolated, but I'll be fine with that. The total trip will be seven days beginning on the 14th and ending on the 21th.  

So, the one week trip to avoid the weather will also allow me some emotional healing time as well. Some 20 year old, unresolved emotional issues have surprisingly re-surfaced with a vengeance and have been kicking my butt since I've been back. Seven days of traveling and staying in new-to-me campgrounds should help. Heck, it can't hurt. Hopefully, I'll find a way to put those demons in their place to where they quit bothering me.

Got to have at least one picture per blog post. This is the sunset from New Year's Eve. The last sunset of 2023. I'm standing in the door of Liberty while taking the picture. My campsite has a nice view for sunsets.

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