Top Ten Pictures of 2013

I’m not a fan of the year-end blog review where bloggers recap what they have done for the past year. I totally get why people do it, it is a nice record of your year, but I have read your blog all year so it’s nothing new. Of course that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write one, I am very happy to peruse the pictures, ignore the story and wait for your next blog 🙂

However I did enjoy a blog written by Adventure Dog where she posted her favorite pictures of the year. I commented that I loved the idea and thought I would do that with my blog as well, and she replied “You’re very welcome although I’m not sure if you’ll be thanking me once you try to pick photos”, and wow was she right! I have been going through our pictures since the beginning of our travels making sure they are named correctly and thinning them out. Since I was doing that, I thought I would choose my favorites at the same time.

I decided I would limit my choices to our top ten pictures for each year.  I really thought 2013 would be easy because we didn’t start traveling until November 21, 2013, but I manage to come up with twenty-two favorite pictures. So in comes hubby to help wheedle it down to ten … it still wasn’t easy, but here they are 🙂

Feel free to ignore this blog; I won’t be offended … although FYI the rest of the years will follow every Monday over the next four weeks!

I’m pretty sure this is a Blue Heron

Blue Heron, Poche’s Fish-n-Camp Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. Picture taken 10 December 2013[/caption]

Louisiana Sunset

Of course there has to be a sunset in the top ten! Poche’s Fish-n-Camp Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. Picture taken 10 December 2013[/caption]

River at end of boardwalk

Suwanee River, Suwanee County, Florida. Picture taken 16 December 2013[/caption]

Pretty Bobcat 🙂

Bobcat, Homosassa State Park, Homosassa, Florida. Picture taken 17 December 2013[/caption]

Great Horn Owl … he would not wake up for the picture!

I’m not sure what type of owl this is and when I asked hubby his response was “sleeping”, yup no help at all! So … Sleeping owl, Homosassa State Park, Homosassa, Florida. Picture taken 17 December 2013[/caption]

Squirrel, Homosassa State Park, Homosassa, Florida. Picture taken 17 December 2013

Waldo the alligator, Homosassa State Park, Homosassa, Florida. Picture taken 17 December 2013

Two friendly pelicans, Marathon, Florida. Picture taken 24 December 2013

If I am still blogging in another ten years, and I hope I am, I will probably do our top ten photo’s of the decade for my own records. If you want to vote on your favorite for 2013, feel free to do so in the comments … it would sure help me out, since we can’t come to an agreement on our favorite.

Until next time …

Wind = Mega Fuel Usage :-(

Our drive along I-40 from Oklahoma City to Amarillo, Texas was through fields of cotton, abundant yellow wildflowers, red dirt, and along side the old Route 66.

The road you can see in this picture is part of Route 66.

The only real downfall to the day was the strong winds! A north-westerly wind pushed us all over the road and sucked up fuel, but we made it safely to Amarillo.

Along our drive hubby kept seeing signs about the 72oz steak at the Big Texas Steak House in Amarillo. At one point he noticed a billboard that mentioned it was near the Amarillo Ranch RV Park, so guess where we had to stay tonight! Now I don’t think the 72oz steak was ever in hubby’s plan but the fact that the RV Park provided a free limo ride to the steak house was in his plan.   And seriously we spent so much on fuel why not spend more on an RV Park and dinner out 🙂

We had a great dinner and the food was awesome … way better than last night’s steak dinner in Oklahoma and a lot cheaper! We finished it up with a visit to the hot tub … yes we enjoyed our time in Amarillo, Texas!

Until next time …

Five States in One Day!

Yesterday we traveled through Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and into Texas … Wow!

In order to do all those miles we had to fill up twice, once when we entered Louisiana and again when we arrived for the night in Texas.  When we filled up in Texas we got our cheapest diesel yet.  So for us Canadians, with the exchange rate, this works out to $.866 per litre for gasoline and $1.017 per litre for diesel!

After filling up we headed off for dinner at the Black Eye Pea restaurant where we had some southern dishes; fried green tomatoes, Cajun catfish, red beans and rice, and black eye peas, which I thought were really yucky, but the rest of the meal was very good!

Today dawned overcast but warm as we headed out.  Hubby was anxious to get through Houston … if you remember, our trip through Houston on the way out was not fun and he was not looking forward to it.  This time we were taking I-10 right through which we hoped would allow us to avoid toll roads and overpasses.  The overpasses in Houston are actually a work of art and we think it must take some extreme engineering to build them!

I don’t think Houston really wants tourists to visit because in order to exit I-10 you need to pay a toll, however if you are heading straight through you do not need to pay a toll.  On the west side of Houston we did notice this sign …

So there is one road that you can exit on for free … or maybe not!

The exit for Texas 99 😦

In Luling, Texas we filled up the tank for $3.429 per gallon, which works out to $.996 Canadian per litre of diesel!!

We had a long drive today, almost ten hours, but we wanted to get the drive between San Antonio and Fort Stockton done today as the temperature is suppose to drop down to 32F, 0C tomorrow and rain in this area.  This was the section we had the most trouble with when we headed east because of low temperatures, freezing rain, and icy roads and neither one of us wanted to go through that again!  The weather is much better from Fort Stockton west tomorrow so we should have a good drive.

Until next time …

Adios Texas, Here Comes Louisiana!

We didn’t do much in Houston yesterday; it is just too big and to stressful to drive in.  As I mentioned the population of Houston is 2.1 million and the population of Vancouver, British Columbia is 2.3 million but the difference in the roads is amazing.  According to Wikipedia, Houston’s freeway system includes 575.5 miles of freeways and expressways that are heavily traveled and often under construction to meet the demands of continuing growth … and we certainly witnessed this!  One thing that amazed us was driving over on and off ramps where we were often 90 to 100 feet up in the air with many ramps winding below us.  I tried to get a picture but they didn’t turn out.  Vancouver on the other hand has one freeway entering it, but that’s it.  I definitely find it much easier to get around Vancouver than Houston.

Before we left Houston we manage to get our Christmas reservation completed.  We will be spending December 20 to December 27th at an RV Resort in the Florida Keys, now we will pray for good weather!

On that upbeat note we left Houston and headed to Lafayette, Louisiana.  On our way out of town we drove through Kingwood, which was very lush, green, and pretty.  We also drove over a long bridge crossing a river that was full of white egrets … I later found out they are called Great Egrets.  Further on we drove through farmland and terrain very similar to British Columbia’s Fraser Valley.

We had lunch at a rest stop just after we crossed into Louisiana; it was the nicest rest stop we have seen so far.  If it had been sunny and warm we would have spent some time walking around.

We arrived at our RV Park just outside of Lafayette, Louisiana and were impressed … it is a really nice park and only $18.00 a night with our Passport America discount.  Once we were set up in our site I had to take some pictures to show you.  I’m glad we decided to stay here for two days:-)

Awesome view from inside Maxx!

Great Egret … and he even posed for this picture:-)

Every time I looked out the window I could see a Great Egret either flying or walking by.


Until next time …

Goodbye San Antonio … Hello Houston

We waited until 1000 hours to head for Houston so that the roads had a chance to warm up.  There was freezing rain again last night but the temperature is forecasted to be warmer today than it has been, and will be for the next week, so we thought we would take this little window and head on to Houston.  The roads were dry as we were travelling but they obviously weren’t that way last night.  There were more than a few cars sitting in the grass off the interstate and most had body damage.  Also many of the guardrails on the bridges had significant damage and all the bridges still had sand on them.  Unlike the earlier bridges that went over dry washes, we are now in an area of Texas where bridges actually cross rivers with water in them.  The land here has green grass and trees and reminds us of Northern Alberta, in the summer:-)  As we were driving along we wondered why there were so many tire tracks going off the interstate onto the side roads that parallel the interstate … well our question was answered when we came up to a major accident, everyone drives across the grass and speeds up the side road to get past the incident.

 Five hours later we arrived in Houston and drove over our first toll road.  Holly (our GPS) directed us onto the Sam Houston Tollway to get to our RV Park in Porter (just outside of Houston).  We drove through two collection booths at $5.25 each but the alternative was to drive through downtown Houston and we didn’t want to do that with the trailer.  Houston is the fourth largest city in the US and has a population of 2.1 million and we found it a challenge to navigate even with Holly … if we had to do it with just a map and road signs this would have been the end of our trip and I think we would have been headed for divorce court:-)  We arrived at the RV Park in Porter where we took one look and decided we would only stay one night … by far the most disappointing park of our trip, and it looks nothing like the pictures on their web site!

The weather has warmed up to 44F (7C) but it is dry.  We spent the rest of the day researching RV Parks in Marathon, Florida and tomorrow we will try and make reservations for the week of Christmas.

Until next time …

Life In San Antonio, Texas

We decided to stay two nights in San Antonio because the weather tomorrow is suppose to warm up to 50F or 10C so Sunday should be a good day to drive to Houston.

Despite the cold we decided to drive into downtown San Antonio for some sight seeing.  Our first stop was the Alamo, which was interesting but way to much history for my mood today:-)

The Alamo

We also walked around the 2.5 mile River Walk.  The River Walk is a public park lined with restaurants, stores, and other attractions.  It is beautifully landscaped and would be so much fun when the weather is warmer … we will definitely come back.

San Antonio River Walk

Until next time …




I’m Not Having Fun!

First a note to sis and sis-in-law … you don’t need to tell dad and mom the details of this blog.

Last night we had dinner at the restaurant in our RV Park because hubby didn’t want to stand out in the freezing rain, wind, and cold to BBQ the steaks I had taken out … and I couldn’t blame him.  It was a great dinner and very reasonable but the best part was talking with everyone in the restaurant about the weather.  Our waitress said this was very cold for Texas and very unusual for them, a normal low would be 60° (16c).  So as a friend suggested, we hunkered down under the covers with the fire going and watched TV for the evening.  The Big Chill is expected to last a week so rather than head down to Corpus Christie and Brownsville we have decided to carry on towards Florida and visit those cities on the way back.  There isn’t much appeal in spending time on the Gulf Coast when it’s too cold to go to the beach!

Friday morning dawned overcast and cold.  We waited until 0930 hours to head out hoping the roads would warm up a bit.  The interstate was clear and dry so we thought we were good to go … and we were for about 100 miles.

The roads look good and the view is pretty.

Then we noticed slush starting to form on the sides of the road and it just kept getting worse, then the bridges started to ice up and the maintenance crews were sanding them.

Road all of the sudden gets scary!

The carnage during the next 50 miles started off with evidence from many overnight accidents; a pick-up truck who flew past us and we later passed him spun out after he hit the side of a bridge and damaged both his truck and the guard rail; a semi in the ditch on the other side of the interstate; and yes we were almost part of the carnage.  Despite the sand on the bridges and the slow speed we were going, we crossed a bridge and both the truck and trailer went sideways, I honestly thought we were done but hubby was amazing!  He didn’t overreact, despite me tensing and grabbing handles to hang onto, he just calmly corrected the skid and had us going straight in no time … and he did that with a 35 foot trailer attached … I just can’t say enough about how impressed I was with his skill, and how thankful I am to be travelling with him.  We pulled off at the next city hoping to find an RV Park and stop for the night.  We stopped for fuel and when we got out and saw the ice on Maxx we knew it was the right decision.

This looks like slush but its solid ice, all the landing gear was encased in ice!

Cool ice sculpture on Maxx’s hub cap.

Unfortunately there was no room at the inn (it is that time of year) … what to do?  We had spoken to some people at the gas station who were heading in from San Antonio and they said the roads were only bad for another 15 miles, so with a heavy heart, and many prayers, we decided we had no choice but to carry on.  The only other option was to spend the night in a hotel but we can’t let Maxx sit overnight with no heat without doing some major damage.  We headed back on to the interstate and found the roads clear of slush and very safe, other than the bridges, but as long as we slowed right down and coasted over them we were okay.  We were still passing accidents but they were all vehicles that had spun out while crossing the bridges.

I should explain the bridges and why there are so many.  They are small bridges covering washes, which are there in case of flash floods.  There are a lot of them so travel was slow but after seven hours (for a four hour drive) we arrived safely in San Antonio and the sun was breaking through the clouds.  And the best news was all the ice had melted off of Maxx and his landing gear so we were able to set up with no problems!

Until next time …

Holy Wind Batman … Or Holy Cold Batman!

We spent last night in Vado, New Mexico, which is between Las Cruces, New Mexico and El Paso, Texas.  It may not have been the best park we’ve been in but it definitely had the best natural view from Maxx’s front window and it was only $19.00 a night with full hook-up.

It was still really windy when we arrived at the park but with the landing gear down on Maxx we no longer felt like we were on a ship in heavy seas, of course I’ve never been on a ship in heavy seas, but you get the idea!  We woke up to rain this morning and the temperature was down to 48° (9c) but fortunately the winds have died down a bit.

Nice view from Maxx’s window

Even better view from Maxx’s window

Hubby’s pre trip plan had us spending the night in El Paso but for some reason, right from the beginning, I didn’t want to stay there.  Maybe it was because of a TV show I watched based in El Paso that made me wary but I was happy we stayed in Vado.  I was prepared to reconsider my opinion when we drove through El Paso this morning but other than seeing a really nice outlet mall, that hubby wouldn’t let me stop at, we didn’t see much of the city.  Our GPS (hubby has called the GPS Holly from the day our first GPS was installed in our old truck) sent us on a loop road around El Paso and we only saw the city from up high on a mountain pass.  The loop road took us straight up into the Franklin Mountains and then straight down to the outskirts of the city.  The little bit I did see didn’t look too bad.

Climb up Franklin Mountain

Almost at the top, stopped to take pics of El Paso

Where we are heading

It rained all day and there really wasn’t much to see on our morning drive but we did have a little excitement, we went through a US Border Patrol station about 100 miles after we passed into Texas.  They asked if we were US citizens and when we said we were Canadian they asked where we were going and then sent us on our way.  Around noon we stopped at a rest stop for a leisurely lunch but it was so cold, now down to 32° (0c), that we quickly made our lunch and got back in the truck to eat it. We are once again worrying about the water lines freezing … what a difference from a day ago!  The afternoon was spent driving through heavy rain and fog with limited visibility.  The speed on the Interstate in Texas is 80 miles per hour but believe me nobody was driving that fast!  There was slush on the sides of the road and a half-inch of ice covering the front of Maxx by the time we finally arrived in Fort Stockton, now 29° (-2c).

Ice on Maxx … picture doesn’t do it justice

I know -2c doesn’t seem cold to our family and friends back home but remember we are living in an RV, towing an RV, and only have summer clothes … give us some sympathy cause we feel for you back home!  We have had enough driving so we found an RV park for the night so that we could turn on the heat to warm Maxx, and us, up.

Until next time …