Friday, June 30, 2017

Spring in California

Post covers end of March through mid April 2017.

We decided to spend some time visiting with family and enjoying some of Southern California. Our first stop was Palm Springs. We have stayed at the Thousand Trails there before and made reservations again there. They are of course dog-friendly and we can set up all the fences so the babies can have a lot of freedom. The weather was great and spending some more time in the warmth was great. Vinnie is continuing to walk better but does occasionally have some balance issues but with all he has been through, he is doing great!

We got to spend some time visiting the different markets in the area. On Thursday evenings there is a nice street market in downtown Palm Springs that we visit every time we go to the area. We also found another market by the college on Saturday that has all kinds of items from craft vendors to fresh produce and lots of food.

Alan had some classes to teach in Washington and Oregon during this time and went from nice warm Palm Springs to snowy Wenatchee, WA for one of the classes. At least the other class was on the Oregon Coast and much better weather.

After about a week in Palm Springs, we moved over to Sweetwater Regional Park in San Diego to be closer to daughter Danielle and grand-dog Gucci. We have also stayed here before, right after getting the new motorhome last year, and really enjoyed the park and area. There is no issue with the dogs and fencing and being at a large regional park, there are great trails to take the babies for walks on. Also, the trails meander all over the area and Kim and I got some great walking in.

Grand-dog Gucci & Prada sunning

Kim had found a craft fair to attend with her business, Rescue Me Dog Treat Company, in San Marcos. She and Dani had made lots of fresh treats for the the fair. They had a great turn out at the booth and Kim was able to donate a fair share to a local animal rescue. This is the reason for her business, to be able to give back to rescues and shelters that care for the less fortunate four-legged babies.

We spent one day with Dani at The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch. It is an incredible display of flower fields. It was easy to spend hours walking around the area and enjoying all the displays.

After some great weather, spending time with Dani and enjoying the area, we had to leave for Reno and then will be moving on to Oregon after that.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Driving to San Diego

This post cover March 12 to 19, 2017

We left Galveston to head to San Diego for a visit with daughter, Danielle. Along the way we looked for a fun place to stay for Alan's birthday and decided on visiting Tombstone, AZ area for a couple of days.
The first stop after leaving Galveston was South Llano River RV Park & Resort in Junction, TX. We've stayed here before and the spaces are decent size and the babies have some places to walk right at the park. The park sits close to the river but no great access to let the babies wade in the water but we did get them out for a nice walk after getting settled in.

The next stop was at the Van Horn RV park in Van Horn, TX. Another quick overnight stop but they have nice size spaces and all pull through so made for an easy overnight stay (no unhooking the toad). The babies are welcomed here and there are chickens wandering around for the babies to yell at! Also, a little cafe at the park that has good simple food and is a good break from cooking after getting settled after a day of driving.

One more stop before getting to the Tombstone area. This one in Deming, NM at the Dreamcatcher RV Park. It's run by the Escapees and has wide spots and lots of places for the babies to go for walks. Also, the rates are about the most reasonable of any parks with full hookups. We didn't get a chance to do anything in Deming this time but we've stayed here before and even found a winery close by to visit.

We decided to stay in Benson, AZ to explore the area. Somehow I missed the Encore park here and we ended up staying at the KOA. While it is dog-friendly and no issues with setting up our fencing. The spots are tight and the park is in need of some updating.
We got to spend a few days here and visited Tombstone along with some other spots in the area. Kim took Alan out for a nice birthday dinner and we had a relaxing time while there. We visited the Kartchner Caverns State Park and took a tour of some of the caves. Kim got to try on some stylish hats as well! 

We left Benson heading for Palm Springs with an overnight stay in Buckeye, AZ (just outside of Phoenix) at Leaf Verde RV Resort. The park was still full of snow birds and they had a big party and concert planned for the night we stayed there. It was fun seeing everyone having enjoyed their winter in Arizona. We didn't partake much as we were tired when we got there and just took advantage of being close to lots of grocery stores to stock up and get laundry done while at the park. The weather was great and the babies (especially Prada) enjoyed sunning themselves.
Prada and Spella sunning in Arizona

Friday, June 9, 2017

Back to Galveston

Post covers Feb 12 to March 12, 2017.

So after spending the week at Matagorda, we decided to go back to Galveston for a longer stay. We  liked this area and wanted to spend more time there to see what we really think of the area. We are starting to consider finding a place we like to spend the winter months over the next few years. We don't want to just bounce all time. Both us and the fur-babies have decided we like a little more stability in staying places from time to time. We got reservations back at Stella Mare as we enjoyed our last stay there. They have reasonable monthly rates so we decided to go with a month long stay. We got a nice spot in the back part of the resort, the only issue with the spot was that it backed up onto a well traveled road but it wasn't too bad.

We took advantage of the time there to see some of the sites in the area. We had a great time visiting the San Jacinto Monument, Battleship Texas and NASA. Seeing the Johnson Space Center and taking the full tour was great. It does make one proud of what that agency has accomplished and continues to do. We of course took time to drive around and get to know the area better. We found Bolivar Peninsula just east of Galveston, across the bay, a wonderful place. The ferry ride across the bay is fun and the babies got use to being on a boat. The area had been devastated during Hurricane Ike in September 2008 but has done a good job of rebuilding. We saw that the area allows stand alone RV ports on most of the peninsula without having to build a house. Some of the ports are quite elaborate with large, raised decks, garages and some were even on canals leading to the intercostal waterway and had their own docks. The beaches on Bolivar were mostly empty while we were there and we were able to drive onto them and let the babies play to their hearts content.

The babies enjoyed the beaches and got to go there most days. Stella Mare is dog-friendly and besides allowing the pens to be set up, the people working there always say hi to the babies. Vinnie is doing great and continues to walk well with assistance and a little bit without assistance. The little guy is such a fighter and is exceeding what we expected him to be able to do all the time.

We had decided that after the month in Galveston, we would head back towards San Diego to visit our older daughter. We left on the 12th and spent a night in Junction, TX and another night in Van Horn, TX and then a night in Deming, NM before getting to Tombstone to spend a couple of days, more on Tombstone to come.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Matagorda Bay Nature Park

Post covers Feb 4 to Feb 12, 2017

After leaving Lawton, we decided to head back to the gulf coast. We had seen a House Hunter's episode on HGTV that featured Palacios, TX and it showed some great beaches so after looking up the area we decided to head to that area and check it out. On the way, we spent a night in Waco so we could break up the drive. We stayed at an Army Corps of Engineers campground, Speegleville Park. The campground was nice and open with large spaces. We were able to walk the babies and get them by the lake but it was bit too cold to let them get wet. We also took a drive to see Waco since neither of us had ever been there before. We thought it was a nice town but nothing special for us.

We left the next morning for the drive to the gulf. It was about a 4-1/2 hour drive to Matagorda Bay Nature Park which we had decided to stay at. The park is run by the Lower Colorado River Authority and is a nice campground with large spaces and full hookups. We found that we had good reception for both Verizon and AT&T, so getting work done was not a problem, also great satellite reception. I'm guessing during the summer the lack of trees would make it pretty warm but this time of year it was great to have sun and warmth. The campground sits at the junction of the Colorado River and Gulf of Mexico and we were almost on the river from our site. No issue with setting up a nice area with the pens for the babies to run around in.

We had great sunsets every day we were there!
Vinnie enjoyed napping in his chair with his own shade.
Spella loved having grass to play in every day.
We had easy access to the beach and got the babies there for walks every day. What we learned is that the House Hunter's episode forgot mention that while the area is nice and being on the gulf is great, there isn't a lot else to do in the area. After a couple of days we had run out of things to see in the area and there are not many restaurants in the area (the couple there are fun, local joints though) and there is one coffee and gift shop in town (Cat Tails), which also serves wine and has a friendly owner and staff. We took one day to drive to Port Aransas and Corpus Christi. We found that we liked the Port Aransas area and the beach there was white sand that the babies loved running across.

Vinnie has been doing great and is walking well with some support from a scarf under his belly. He's moving all his legs the way they are suppose to when walking. We couldn't be happier with the progress he's making and won't be surprised to see him walking on his own before long.

When we made the reservations to stay at Matagorda, we thought a week would be nice to have time to see the area. We stayed the whole week but staying for 3 or 4 days would have been about right. We took advantage of the time to catch up on some work and cleaning on the motorhome. While we decided that we weren't going to stay here any longer, we did decide we wanted to spend more time on the gulf. Since we had enjoyed Galveston, we are going to head back to that area for a longer stay.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Fort Sill and Graduation

Post covers Feb 1 to Feb 3, 2017

Once we left Austin, we headed toward Lawton, OK for our daughter's (Ally) graduation from basic training at Fort Sill. We are obviously very proud of her for accomplishing this and were anxious to see her again. We took our best guess to find a place to stay and reserved a spot at Buffalo Bob’s RV Park. This turned out to be an okay place to stay but of course being February in Oklahoma, there wasn't a problem having a space. The park was on the outskirts of Lawton and close to Fort Sill.

The babies weren't thrilled with the weather and neither were we. It was cold and windy the whole time we were there. Ally's basic graduation was split over two days. The first day was a demonstration of skills that the troops had worked on over their time in basic and was outside. You could watch all the families shivering in the cold, windy weather. Once this was over, we finally got to see Ally and sign her out for the day. We spent a nice afternoon visiting and feeding her real food!

The next day was the actual graduation. They did a nice job of the ceremony and there were lots of families there to support their soldiers. We were again so proud of seeing Ally complete basic training and once graduation was over got to spend the rest of the day with her before having to get her back to post so she could pack and head out for the rest of her training early the next morning.

We also headed out the next morning heading for Matagorda, TX with a planned stop over in Waco and hopefully warmer weather.

Fredericksburg and family meet-up & stop in Austin

Post covers: Jan 23 to Feb 1, 2017

After leaving Galveston, we headed for Fredericksburg, Tx to meet up with Kim's mom and uncle. They are a neat sister and brother combination. Each year they get together a couple of times and go on trips together in mom's trailer. This year they decided to head towards Texas, it helped we were going to be in the area and Kim's mom would get to see her. We made plans to meet them in Fredericksburg and spend almost a week with them. The drive from Galveston turned out to be windy and long (because of the wind). We got into Fredericksburg by mid-afternoon and met up with mom and uncle at Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park Campground. The park is right on the outskirts of Fredericksburg. It was strange that many of the sites are set up so that you park in front or behind someone else. It worked okay for us, since we were camping together but I wouldn't like to have someone I didn't know right in front or behind me. The park was dog-friendly and no issues setting up the pens for the babies. We found a couple of paths in the park that we could take the babies on but we had to be careful in the grass as there were lots of burrs that the babies got stuck in their paws ☹️

We found Fredericksburg to be a fun area to visit. The downtown area is nicely kept up with lots of shops and restaurants, as well as a few wine tasting rooms and breweries. One day we visited the Lyndon B Johnson State Park. While there we took in the visitor center where there is a short movie about LBJ and then went to visit the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park which is right across the river from the state park and is the site of LBJ's ranch. At the National Park, you can take a tour of the ranch house where LBJ and Lady Bird lived and learn a bit of history about both. On the site is also one of the planes used as LBJ's Air Force One when visiting the ranch. We had fun on the tour and talked with the guide, who is a volunteer, a bit afterwards about volunteering there and what they get in exchange (a nice RV spot right on site) and what he thought of volunteering at this park and others he's done it at. Gave us a nice perspective on volunteering which we are planning on doing in the future. We visited a couple of vineyards and wineries while in the area and found some nice wines.

After mom and uncle left, we headed over to Austin for a few days. We had heard good things about McKinney Falls State Park so decided to stay there. We did have to spend one night at a KOA just north of Austin as we couldn't get into the state park on the day we wanted to. We found the state park as nice as others have reviewed. Of course being a state park, it was dog-friendly and we were able to set up a nice area with the pens for the babies to play in and us to sit out in with them. The site have 50 amp service and water but no sewer hook-up. We were only planning to stay a few days, so that wasn't a problem and since we were near the showers (and they were nice and clean), we used their showers a couple of times.

The park has several nice hiking trails and we got some good hikes in and got the babies out for some good long walks. We visited Austin a couple of times but found downtown to be much more congested than the last time visiting Austin (many years ago) and not as much fun. We had a better time in the park and spending time in that area than visiting the downtown area. There is lots to do in Austin but it's obvious the area is growing fast and they aren't keeping up with the growth.

We left Austin and headed north for Lawton, OK and graduation. More on that in the next post.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Galveston and the beaches

Post covers: Jan 14 to Jan 22, 2017

After leaving Gulf Shores we headed towards Galveston. We hadn't been there before but had read good things about the area and this time I researched it enough to learn that all the beaches there are dog-friendly and require leashes (our favorite combination). We actually ended up making reservations at a different park than we first thought about going to, as the first one didn't have space for our entire stay. We stayed at Stella Mare RV Resort. It's a pretty new park and we got one of the back in spaces on the side of the park and this gave us a lot of grass behind us. The only negative we had was that the spaces are a bit tight but not enough to make us regret staying there. It is right across the highway from beach access, so it was convenient to go for walks there everyday. We also found that at most of the beach accesses you can drive onto the beach and park. Made it convenient for taking the babies for walks. The babies loved going to the beach every day and Vinnie is walking like a champ on the sand with some support from a scarf under his belly.

The staff at the park were all friendly and helpful. We set up the fences for the babies and while sitting out with them one afternoon, one of the staff came by and asked if she could take our picture with all of us so they could use for their brochures. So they are definitely dog-friendly but are strict about their leash policy, which we appreciate. We found that most people on the beaches followed the leash law, we only had one run in with someone who thought it was okay for his dog to be off leash and run up to others. We didn't have an issue with his dog but it was disappointing to find someone who acts like this, they can ruin it for all us quickly.

While in Galveston, we had nice weather. 60-70s during the day with some fog but little rain. We did a few touristy things and went to visit Seawolf park which houses two WWII era ships, the submarine USS Cavalla, and the destroyer escort USS Stewart. You get to self-tour both ships which was great fun and a good learning experience. We also visited Moody Gardens and toured the rainforest pyramid and did the Colonel Paddlewheel cruise on the bay. Unfortunately the aquarium was closed while they remodel it so we didn't get to see that. It was a fun time and worth the time and money to go see.

We had a great time in Galveston and already are planning on going back there. Maybe even this year before heading back west. But we had to leave for a planned rendezvous with Kim's mom and uncle.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Gulf Shores, AL

Post cover Jan 10 to Jan 14, 2017.

We left Tallahassee for Gulf Shores in Alabama and had a nice drive until going through Pensacola when we had a rock fly up and put a nice chip in our windshield. Oh well at least it is small enough so that we can get it repaired and not have to replace the windshield.

We pulled into Gulf State Park and were wow'd with the area. It is certainly one of the nicest state parks we have been to. The site we had picked out was as nice as it looked online. We were right across the road from the canal that runs through part of the park and had a pull through site. Off to our other side (passenger side) was a brushy / swampy area so it was nice and private. We also found that the swampy area was full of frogs that serenaded us at night. We had great Verizon and AT&T service and wide open sky for the satellite. There is no wifi in the campground. We paid the standard site rate since we were across the road from the canal and not right on it, so at $37/night it wasn't too bad for being in such a gorgeous spot. With having a nice large space, we were able to set up a large area with the pens for the babies to play in and us to sit in with them.

Some how when I started looking at this area to visit I misread the information on the beaches being dog-friendly. When we got there and start looking at all the beaches in Gulf Shores, we found none of them allow dogs. This was frustrating to say the least and it's hard to understand why the whole area would be so unfriendly to dogs. We found some other parks in the area that are okay to take the babies to but it's not the same. It was also frustrating as the beaches are gorgeous with nice white sand.

We did find that the island next to Gulf Shores, Dauphin Island, was dog friendly on all it's beaches. One day, we hopped on the ferry that goes from Gulf Shores to Dauphin Island and took the babies on an outing to the beach. It was their first ferry ride, Spella and Vinnie did great but Prada was her nervous self and was a bit unsure of what was going on. Once we got to the island, we found a few beaches that were nice to walk on and easy for the babies. Vinnie got a nice stroller ride and a few short assisted walks on the beach. The girls got to play on the beach and dip their paws in the gulf waters.
Vinnie enjoying his stroller view of the beach
 Spella daydreaming while she looks at the gulf!
After finding out about the lack of dog friendly beaches, we decided not to stay too long and made plans to head towards Galveston were we all could enjoy the beaches. We did like the area but found this part unfortunate.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Brunswick, GA visit

Post covers Jan 4 to Jan 10, 2017

After leaving Raleigh, we decided to head down to Georgia. We decided to stay new Saint Simons Island as it was an area we wanted to explore. We stayed at Coastal Georgia RV Resort for a few days and explored the area with the babies. I forgot to get any pictures of the resort but we enjoyed it and found the staff friendly, the campground was dog-friendly and they had no problem with us putting up pens for the babies. The space was adequate but no large. The park was quiet and all the neighbors were pleasant to be around.

We got the babies out to the beaches at Saint Simons Island a couple of times and worked on Vinnie's rehab. He is doing great and with assistance from a sling to hold up his rear legs, he is able to walk and play. We are thinking about getting him a wheelchair but will see how it goes for him.

We spent part of a day at Jekyll Island as well and toured the sea turtle rescue sanctuary there. These people do amazing work to rescue and rehab sea turtles. They try to release all the turtles they rehab but will care for ones that can't be nursed back to being able to survive on their own. It was nice to see the people that work and volunteer there being so caring.

While we were there, the area had a cold snap come through. Luckily we left Raleigh at the right time as they ended up with snow and icy roads and even northern parts of Georgia had snow. We were just cold for a couple of days.

After leaving Brunswick, we head for the Gulf Shores of Alabama but wanted to do the drive in a couple of days so spent one night in Tallahassee, FL. We ended up picking a park as best we could from reviews. We stayed at Big Oak RV Park. While the park wasn't bad, it was more of a permanent resident park with just a few overnighters. They were dog-friendly and we were able to put up our pens.

In the afternoon we drove around the area to see what was in Tallahassee and found a little BBQ place for a late lunch. After that we decided to have a relaxing night and plan on leaving early in the morning for Gulf Shores.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Christmas in Raleigh

Post covers Dec 23, 2016 to Jan 3, 2017.

After all the trials of making it to Raleigh, we were relieved to settle in to the Raleigh Oaks RV Resort. The staff was helpful as we checked in and the spot we got was towards the front but traffic noise on the county road in front of the park wasn't an issue. There is a train nearby but for us it wasn't close enough to be a noise issue. The only loud noise we experienced the whole time there was from a couple of Air Force cargo planes that must have been doing a low approach (made Alan recall some of his Air Force time). The park is a mix of permanent residents and travelers. All of the residents kept their spaces nice and tidy and there was none of the trashy look that some parks allow permanent residents to have. There are two fenced in dog areas and plenty of room to walk the babies. We had no issues with anyone else's dogs as everyone was respectful and kept their babies leashed when not in the dog areas. We were surprised to find that the resort had a small workout room with a couple of ellipticals, treadmills, stationary bikes and some free weights. We took advantage of this as Alan started working on some more back rehab. Also a nice laundry room and while we didn't use them, the showers / bathrooms looked nice and clean. There was also a nice looking pool, small mini-golf area and pickle ball court.

The resort is about 40 minutes from downtown Raleigh but was only about 20 minutes to our daughter and son-in-law's home. We looked at some other parks as we drove around the area and decided we made the right choice of where to stay especially to be close to family. When back in the area in the future we will probably stay here again. We had great Verizon and AT&T signals, the wifi was slow most of the time and we used our hotspot most of the time.
Yes, this big house is the office!

While in Raleigh, we not only got to spend a lot of time with Ally and Justin (daughter and son-in-law) and have Christmas with them, we also got to visit with Alan's nephew and wife. They had moved to the Raleigh area about a year ago so it was great to get so see them several times while in the area. We learned they are craft beer connoisseurs and went to a couple of fun breweries with them, our favorite being Deep River Brewing Company.

Raleigh is definitely a growing area and traffic is an issue depending on which way you are going at certain times of the day but got it figured out and other than trying to go to a mall right after Christmas managed to avoid most of the traffic.

The babies got to visit with their weenie cousin Copper while there. Copper grew up with our babies so they are all great friends and always remember each other every-time they see each other.
Prada & Copper sharing the couch
We spent Christmas eve and day at Ally and Justin's house with Kim & Ally having fun baking and such. Ally had just come back from basic training so was ready for real food and sleep! Christmas was a nice time with way too much food and presents for all.

The week after Christmas we took one day to drive to Wilmington and visit the beach. It was a gorgeous day, nice warm and sunny. We got in a good beach walk and Vinnie got to ride around the beach.Vinnie is starting to be able to support a little bit of his weight with his back legs but can't stand up by himself or walk without having a sling to support him. We knew this would be a long process but seeing that he is still happy and not in pain, we are glad that we didn't put him through surgery again.

The rest of the day in Wilmington we looked through some shops and had a nice lunch before heading back.

The rest of the time in Raleigh was visiting with both Ally & Justin and Chris & Jessica (Alan's nephew and his wife). We had a New Year's eve dinner at a Brazilian steakhouse and then went to spend midnight with the babies while the youngsters went out for midnight. Kim got to spend more time with Ally before Ally had to head back to Oklahoma to finish her basic training.

We got Vinnie in for the last of his laser treatments right before leaving and also for a follow up visit with the vet. She was happy with his progress but we know it will be a slow course for him and he may not get back to being able to get around on his own.

On Jan 3 we left Raleigh headed for Brunswick, GA.