We spent some fabulous time in Texas, as disclosed in our last post. I probably owe Texas at least a little bit more press, so here we go!
OK. There is nothing more to report!!
Well, maybe a little…
We enjoyed the weather, our neighbors and new friends (Steve and Debbie) and time with old friends Carole and Jack. We ESPECIALLY enjoyed leaving Texas for Basketball in Spokane. But, by Mid February, we were DONE with Texas and began our exit.
Which, due to the size of Texas, takes several days and several hundred dollars worth of Diesel. Our exit was complicated by a storm front we had to fight – with 50mph headwinds! You might have noticed from previous pictures of RV WHERE YET that we are not the most streamlined vehicle…we could not get the bus to move faster than 45mph at times (which equates to a 95MPH headwind). But exit we finally did!
Although we have physically moved on as I write this, before I move on with the diorama, we did have a fun week in Texas with visiting College Friends Dick and Tyra Stubbs. Tired of Snow and Cold, they drove from Boise to South Padre and stayed for a week.
As befits a last-minute trip of this kind, Dickie “selected” a hotel advertised as “near the beach” (which should ALWAYS be a warning sign when the destination is 2 blocks wide with beaches on both sides) because “the price was reasonable.”
When he got here, we also realized that in other travel sites, the hotel was advertised as “South Padre Island’s premier LBGTQ Resort.” All together, this resort was NOT going to be like your Father’s Holiday Inn, for sure!!! And, it was, “Quirky” which included a bar full of over-served locals and some EXCELLENT Live music, which we could watch from the balcony outside Dickie’s room.
Music seemed to be the “theme” of Dickie’s visit, along with Gonzaga Basketball (3 games on TV).We found a sports bar for one of the games, which offered us a corner table with a virtually private TV.
As luck would have it, the bar also had “Live Music” if you can consider the Karaoke Singer/Aerobics Instructor named “Danika” who performed in a very animated, indeed fully aerobic manner as the game’s sound track. And, another had the “spectacular” Nebraska Bob!
And, while we are on the subject of Basketball, we had an awesome time (and saw an awesome game) AWAY FROM TEXAS — in Spokane. The energy in “The Kennel” begins with students sleeping in tents outside the arena the night before in order to get into the game.
We arrived at the arena 90 mins before the game, and the students were already in good form, spurred on by the Cheerleaders. I am actually amazed that the stands under the student section can withstand the rhythms and energy evident. GLAD we went to a home game during Chet’s time in school!
Quite a serious incident…
We also had some time with my sister and brother-in-law, including An apparent flagrant foul incident, complete with instant replay… David got stranded in the AIRBNB’s elevator!! Fire Department and Elevator company responded on Sunday evening. Owner of the building said he was going to charge us for all of that (double time because it was Sunday) because David “Jumped” in the elevator, causing the safety system to kick in. Or so, they said, the elevator video showed…
Now, I KNEW that was not possible … David is 7’ tall – he could NOT have jumped in the elevator without getting a concussion from impact with the ceiling. I asked to see the video. Sheepishly, the next day, they called me and said, “Upon further review, the call on the floor is reversed!” (David had apparently NOT jumped after all!).
Following Spokane, we had a quick visit to Chicago – to see Docs and eat weiners and burritos.
And, I need to say that our flying experience (6 flights on 3 legs) was EXCELLENT, despite all news to the contrary. Flites ALL on time (or early). We even got upgraded to First Class once!
There WERE a few other events that happen in Texas…One windy (and somewhat cold) day, there was a Kite Festival…
The Kite festival included a SPECTACULAR synchronized Kite Performance…
How cold was IT? So cold that the Drive-thru Frozen Daquiri Place (You cannot make this sh*t up) was closed because the machines froze. (or that sh*t, either!)
And, of course, a visit to the SpaceX Launch Facility at Boca Chica…
A visit to Nuevo Progresso for a Mariachi Breakfast
And, the Bus got a bath!
Finally leaving Texas, our path was directed towards the Bay area, with the excuse being a couple more Gonzaga Basketball games. But, with that “reason” for movement, we were able to slot in a BUNCH more fun stuff.
For example, we made a 2-night stop in Brenda Arizona to see friends Kathy and Bob Purcell. We met them in Alaska – actually, we met them once in Alaska in 2019 and then we stalked them (or they stalked us!) throughout that summer and even until today! We knew they were hanging out on our way west, so we programmed the stop! Those two nights were a beer-enhanced blast, for sure!!
Next on the way west was a couple nights at Palm Desert. There, we met up with fellow Bluebirdbrains Peter Haggins and Susan Camillari and spent a couple days dining, perusing Trailer Sales (which is the snowbird version of Garage Sales) full of un-needed and useless stuff, Hot Tubbing in the mineral water and just catching up.
Peter and Susan, you may recall from previous posts, may have saved our bacon, if not our lives on the road. Peter not only did not seem upset when we broke down upon arrival in his driveway (when we were still barely acquaintenances), but helped me repair the problem. Or, rather, HE repaired the problem while I watched and learned and provided beer. Now you could argue that he KNEW if he did not facilitate that repair, we would REMAIN stuck in his driveway (maybe to this day!). Meanwhile, Susan was the right mentor at the right moment in Liz’s journey to master-Knitter/Crochet-er.
Also while in Palm Desert, we had the chance to drop in on other friends. Mary and Mark Partridge from our Dance Club in Chicago were in residence at a rental house, so an afternoon of conversation was available and thoroughly enjoyed. Also in the area was Miff Ardell – a former client of mine – with whom we have connected a few times over the years since retirement…always a most enjoyable conversation.
We have come to organize our route according to the most “accidents per mile”
I will say that these “accidental” meetups with friends, fellow RVers, clients, Dance Partners, college roommates, high school friends are no longer accidental. We have come to organize our route according to the most “accidents per mile” (accidents without insurance implications) that can be orchestrated. FUN for us, and I hope for the folks we drop in on! By way of proof – though we ostensibly were heading to San Francisco to see basketball games, we knew several people in the bay area with who we could “Accidentally” meet. The next post will disclose and discuss most of these, but there are a few more notes about our trip westbound.
For example, we fueled to the top at the last opportunity before entering California – where diesel is IMMEDIATELY almost $1/gal more expensive. Little did we know that $4.50/gal upon entry to CA would soon seem a BARGAIN. I calculated that we could get ALMOST all the way to all our stops and back out on a full tank. That “Almost” is gonna cost a boatload, though, at $7.50/gal. And the situation will not improve once we exit CA!
Our first target in the Bay area was the Marin RV Park, just North of the Golden Gate Bridge, and just around the corner from College Buddy Mark Morris’ place. The GPS plotted a path for us that first found us traversing the Grapevine. This stretch of I5 northbound out of LA is VERY STEEP – 10-15MPH-in-First-gear steep-for RV WHERE YET. We have done this before in MUCH HOTTER weather conditions, where the grades had us using every trick in the book to avoid overheating. This time, the temp was MUCH cooler, and we had no difficulties and no drama.
Our GPS had us driving trough the middle of San Francisco, where 19th Ave and the approach to the Golden Gate Bridge was under substantial construction. I have come to realize that you can tell how thoroughly “retired” someone is by their reaction to urban, stop-and—go-construction-traffic. I NO LONGER CARE! Gives me more time to enjoy the world around me!! And, driving across the Golden Gate was worth any residual aggravation that might have been there!
When we arrived at Marin RV Park, we had our first “Zen and the art of RV Travel” moment in a while! As we were getting established in our site, I noticed something hanging down underneath the bus. Closer examination showed it was the remnant of an engine belt. And the faded number on it disclosed it was one of a pair of Water pump belts.
I had heard a “weird” sound as we bounced through San Francisco, but noticed no evidence of a problem. FORTUNATELY there are 2 belts on the water pump, and ALSO FORTUNATELY the broken one remained for me to discover instead of falling out on the roadside. A single belt operated the water pump just fine for the 20 miles or so we needed it to…but if I was not aware of its singleness it would have broken for sure and left us stranded somewhere.
So, in the cosmic scheme of problems, we averted disaster, but still had a problem.
“You cannot leave unless you fix that, right?”
Problem no. 1 was the park’s CLEAR rule – “ABSOLUTELY NO VEHICLE REPAIR ON PREMISES.” I could fix the belt. I had a spare on the roof, and the nearby NAPA could get replacements overnight, but if I couldn’t actually secure permission to affect the repair… I took the broken belt with me to the office and put my most sheepish look on .. and asked if I could bend that rule. I PROMISED it would not be a messy repair, that I would not make any noise, etc. The manager dispensed with all that irrelevance and said to me: “You cannot leave unless you fix that, right?” “Yep,” I answered. Faced with that prospect, she IMMEDIATELY gave permission to make the repair!!
Which turned out to be quite straightforward –and $0! ANy repair less than 4 digits is a GREAT day in a Bluebird!
Meanwhile, we had a couple of days to eat drink and be merry with Mark Morris and his lovely wife, Tracy. This included a several meals and a basketball game — the Zags were playing University of San Francisco, and we had arranged tickets through Chet’s largesse. On game day we met my sister at a Brewery/Restaurant near the campus for dinner, and wandered around a bit before the game – ALL of THAT was fun!!!
Next, we fired up the newly-fully-belted RV WHERE YET and headed around the bay to Alamo, where friends Karolyn and Dan Ray reside. We had negotiated a parking spot in their cul de sac for a week or so, to include lots of conversation, comestibles, bike rides, another Basketball Game.
AND, a boatload of Bocce Ball (our hosts have a BEAUTIFUL court in their yard!) ! We weren’t too worried about imposing on the Rays – we’ve known them for years and a couple bowls of Gelato is all it takes to stay in their good graces.
We did have to consider the other 3 homes on the cul de sac, though, so we hosted a Margarita Happy Hour one day. Hopefully (likely) we would be welcome there again if we allow enuf time in between!
While at the Rays, another Zags Basketball Game occurred. Or, maybe more correctly I should say that BECAUSE of a Basketball game, we were induced to and the Rays were induced to allow us to park! Anyway, we all (including Karolyn’s Brother-In-Law Harvey) went to the game at St. Mary’s, where the Zags were cold as ice and ended up losing. Since they don’t lose often (and hopefully won’t again this year, as the NCAA tournament is one-and-done), the episode was even MORE memorable than can only be attributed to Bocce.
Once the St, Mary’s game was behind us, the “Basketball” phase of our Bay Area visit was over. We moved down to a GREAT State Park just South of San Francisco at Half Moon Bay, where we planned to Bike, Hike and see more friends!
HMB State Beach is one of the FEW affordable things in California – even LEAVING California is expensive beyond measure! And beautiful, to boot!
More on THAT in the next chapter!