Our route towards Houston circumnavigated the city of Dallas. We arrived there with about 4 hours on the clock, so it was time to stop. We had a choice – stop Mid-Dallas-ish (there was a Walmart in the town of Plano that seemed a good candidate), or drive a little further. We chose the latter because it would give us a little less driving to do to make it to Rush in Houston AND because the next Walmart on our path (in Ennis, Texas) had a DQ adjacent!!!! This turned out to be a fortuitous decision indeed!
So, you could say that ICE CREAM SAVED OUR LIVES and you would NOT be exaggerating!!!
As we settled in to the Ennis Walmart, cooked dinner AND WALKED TO DQ for dessert, the weather alerts started. SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS on the way. Then Tornado Watches. THEN TORNADO WARNINGS!!! For Central and Northern Dallas – INCLUDING PLANO!!!
The tornados that actually did happen, and which caused extensive damage in the Dallas – and Plano – area would have been RIGHT ON TOP OF RV WHERE YET if we had stopped at the first Walmart we considered!!!! Instead, we had DQ and Waffle House (also next door) in the morning. So, you could say that ICE CREAM SAVED OUR LIVES and you would NOT be exaggerating!!!
Our visit to Rush Bus Center in Houston was uneventful – windshield replaced — CHECK; Thanking Trish, the Parts Angel, for shipping parts to us all over creation, including Alaska – CHECK!. We do have a windshield issue that may eventually become a problem tho – one that even Trish cannot address. The rubber gasket that holds the windshields in is NO LONGER AVAILABLE (though windshield glass is readily so). Our’s is getting stiff (as 40-year-old rubber will do) – could not properly seal around a couple spots anymore. We needed to use some silicone to get a good seal, and we HOPE we don’t need to replace glass again.
One wonders if that was an accident, or awareness of an impending close approach?
After visiting Rush/Houston, we moved on towards our eventual Bus Maintenance Appointment (yes, I know, ANOTHER APPOINTMENT) near Mobile Alabama. Taking us through Louisiana, we thot to take the chance to visit friends. One, LC Cambre, who hosted us for Mardis Gras a couple of years ago and more recently for a Tab Benoit Appearance, just happened to be out of town as we passed by. One wonders if that was an accident, or awareness of an impending close approach?
Anyway…we kept moving until we reached Ponchatoula, LA, where Patti and Steve Gureasko live. Fellow Bluebirdbrains, like most they are always willing to park another bus besides their own and provide an electron or 2. While there, Steve showed me his Man Cave while Patti showed Liz her She-shed. I cannot speak to the latter (Liz mentioned something about Quilts and bags and all sorts of cool stuff, but NO MEN ALLOWED, so I will never really know!), but the former was WAY COOL. A HUGE Quonset Hut full of classic cars in various states of restoration. One (Steve called it his weekend driver) was an Edsel!!! WAY COOL!!!
Since visiting, I have been online researching Quonset Huts – there just might be one in OUR future….
After Ponchatoula, we next imposed upon Bluebirdbrain Friends Daniel and Linda Bishop. They live in Long Beach, Mississippi in a beautiful new home. And they are soon-to-be EX Bluebirdbrains…or what we call “SOBs.” TO be clear, “SOB” stands for “some other bus,” not what you might be thinking! They are in the process of selling their Bluebird, having managed to reacquire an old Airstream Motorhome that they had previously owed!!! They had sold it years back when they bought their Bluebird, became aware it was for sale again and decided YOU CAN GO BACK!!!
Anyway, it is a WAY COOL vehicle – WAY DIFFERENT from a Bluebird but WAY COOL!!!
We had a bit of fun at the expense of Ed Badeau and Leah Dippold while we were at the Bishops. You might recall we have loosely traveled with Ed and Leah since Montana – most recently at the Balloon Festival in Albuquerque. We were surprised to learn that Ed and Leah were BUYING THE BISHOP’s Bus!!!! So we told them we were visiting ahead of them, and just might steal they bus out from under them. I think they thot we were serious – they sent a deposit check to the Bishops IMMEDIATELY! Truth is, we don’t get bus envy – we LOVE our ride and would not exchange it for another. But still, tongue in cheek, it was fun to pretend!
We spent a couple nights in the Bishop’s driveway, enjoying a beautiful meal and fantastic conversation. The meal included an introduction to a Liqueur composed mainly of Bourbon that Daniel called “Cajun Crack.” He served it over ice cream and Apple Pie. I found the whole combination HIGHLY addictive!
Our memories of these days will last for some time, at least in part because their SUPER FRIENDLY Great Pyrenese’s white hair thoroughly covers our clothes still, and will linger for quite awhile! All good, though – Liz appreciates that I occasionally get to pet someone else’s dog, which temporarily mitigates my desire to get one!
After Long Beach, we moved onwards towards Gulf Shores, Alabama. Our intention there was to get a general Preventative Maintenance done on RV WHERE YET at our friends, Lazzari Truck Service in nearby Daphne. Prior to the Bus’s appointment with destiny (and Val, Vic and Mike), we decided to spend a long weekend at the MAGNIFICENT State Park in Gulf Shores.
We stayed at this park in 2017, shortly after we hit the road. It was in Gulf Shores that we had our first breakdown on the road (and the folks at Lazzari helped us out then). We also experienced our first Close Tornado Approach – spending an afternoon in the Ladies Bathroom as storms and tornados swirled all around us! Despite THOSE memories, we also GREATLY ENJOYED the park then – enuf to spend a few more days there. Bike trails galore, a pool, the ocean beaches – all at a very reasonable price!
This pass thru we AGAIN spent one afternoon watching the Weather as tornados AGAIN swirled around us! Fortunately, they stayed a bit north and west – ONLY A BIT, THOUGH — in the area near Mobile, Alabama, but still! Tornados are pretty rare in late October, and not especially common on the Alabama Gulf Coast. And yet we are two-for-two with our visits. And if you consider the tornado(s) that just missed us in Dallas – we were feeling a bit stalked!!
They say it is NOT paranoia if it is true!
Anyway, we survived the near-miss, and would gladly return to this area in general, and Gulf Shore State Park in particular – it’s a GEM!
And RV WHERE YET more than survived its visit to Lazzari – a $2,500 bill is VERY REASONABLE after 10,000+ TOUGH MILES in Alaska, Yukon, BC, etc.
And, part of that bill was to replace the Starter, which was starting to act funny, BEFORE it left us stranded somewhere. And while at Lazzari, I FINALLY fixed the Turn Signals and Hazard lights with the Parts Trish had provided!
So, We and RV WHERE YET are ready for the next phase of our adventure – once we figure out what that is, we’ll let you know through these posts!