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.