We had a great time with the newlyweds, Andy and Natasha, during the Ohio leg of Christmases. Before we went to the tour of the Tabasco factory in Louisiana, Gary talked to Andy and told him we would be going. Andy related that he really likes Tabasco’s Chipotle brand hot sauce. He says he uses it on everything including as a salad dressing. He asked us to look for the bigger six-ounce bottle for him as every time he went to buy it he could only find the small two-ounce bottle. Well, we hooked him up. Not only did he get the bigger bottle, he got the half gallon bottle – sixty four ounces. And with that purchase also came a six-ounce bottle of their new Buffalo Wings sauce. We hope these bottles will last him for awhile.
Saturday, December 29, 2012
So here we are ready to head from Columbus, Ohio to our next destination of Indianapolis, Indiana and what do we have -- a new fresh 2 to 3 inches of snow to deal with. It should stop shortly here so hopefully the roads, all interstates, will just be wet. At least by Sunday we will be turning south a bit.
Friday, December 28, 2012
Michigan down – Ohio and Indiana to go. We spent over a week in Michigan for a doctor’s appointment, car service, shopping, visiting family and friends, and attending two Christmas dinners. My sister made an amazing Christmas dinner for our immediate family. And I helped my Mother a bit with her gigantic Christmas dinner that included many Aunts and Uncles that I would not otherwise have had the opportunity to see. My jalapeno pie went over very well. Alley cat is getting at least a little sleep in all of these motel rooms. She even got in a little nap time with her Daddy. I’ve already had enough snow and cold weather and am looking forward to returning to Texas soon.
Friday, December 21, 2012
We had a great plan for heading north to the Midwest for the holidays. On our way out of Livingston we would obtain our annual State vehicle inspection of our motor home. Then we would drive the motor home 75 miles north to a paint shop in Nacogdoches, Texas. The motor home would stay there for some paint work and we would go on in the car to Detroit, Columbus, and Indianapolis and pick up the motor home on the way back for wintering in the South of Texas.
Immediately in the morning on the way to the inspection, the motor home started sputtering. We finished the inspection, but this shop was not able to look at diesel engine systems. Gary drained some fuel from the fuel filters and it didn’t look good at all – many black specks in it. We called an RV shop and they said they could not look at us until the following week. We called a diesel repair shop and they said they could not look at it until the afternoon, but even then we would have to get the owner’s permission for them to look at it as they didn’t usually work on motor homes. So we sputtered over to their shop to wait for the owner to come in after lunch. Meanwhile Gary went to NAPA to buy some new filters. While there he asked it they knew anyone else who could work with us. A customer in the store mentioned a shop they all agreed could be an alternative. Gary drove by in the car and they said they would look at it and change the filters right away. So we sputtered over to that shop. When they drained off some fluid they indicated we likely had bacteria in our fuel.
Gary headed back to NAPA to get some kind of biocide for the fuel in the tank and a spare set of new filters while the technician installed the set of filters we already had purchased. NAPA didn’t have a biocide for this situation. Gary called a friend who recommended a product but the nearest source for it was an hour an half in the opposite direction we were going. And NAPA couldn’t have another set of extra filters for us until the next day.
The filters we had purchased were installed by the time Gary got back, but then it was decision time. We really could not stay another day and maintain our schedule for driving north and appointments we already had made. We either had to drive on with new filters, but with no treatment of the fuel and no extra filters, or take the motor home back to the campground, leave it there for the three weeks we would be gone and cancel our appointment at the paint shop.
We went on a 20-mile test drive and then went back to the shop. He drained off some more fuel out of the filter and it looked very clean. The bad fuel had not overwhelmed the filter in that amount of driving. But would it work for another 75 miles? We decided we would take the risk even though it could leave us stuck on the side of the road if the the filter loaded up. Fortunately, we made it without a hitch.
We didn’t get to the paint shop until the end of their work day so we just stayed in their lot and checked in with them the next morning. Before Noon we were on our way in the car with Alley Cat in tow and made stops in Arkansas and Kentucky before we arrived in the Detroit area. Our motor home is where we wanted it to be for the holidays and Gary made his doctor’s appointment. We are visiting family and friends here through Christmas day and will then move on for two more gatherings. And we are also buying some biocide and extra filters so we will have them when we get back to the motor home.
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
It seems all my bragging was warranted about the Escapees Trolley I helped decorate. We heard today that the Trolley was judged “Best In Show” at the Livingston Christmas Parade!
We said farewell today to all our fellow Escapees at the daily social hour. Tomorrow we start moving north and eventually to the Midwest for the Christmas Holidays. After some amazing weather with temperatures as high as 80 in December, an Alberta Clipper finally has caught up to us. Temperatures fell to the upper 20’s last night and will stay there for at least a couple more days. We will be leaving the motor home at a shop while we travel so Gary drained the water system and blew out the water lines so that we won’t risk it freezing up while we are gone. Alley Cat is ready for the cold of the northern states with her newly grown winter coat.
Sunday, December 9, 2012
Last night was the Christmas parade in town. We didn’t know quite what to expect. Livingston is a town of about 6,000 people, but there are more than 40,000 in Polk County. Back in Michigan our local Christmas parade was a daytime event. We had not been to one at night. One thing you might expect in a ranching/farming region is there would be no shortage of trailers and vehicles for floats and there wasn’t. Seems every “float” had a generator and a ton of lights. It was actually a super impressive production. We enjoyed it a lot. The Escapees trolley that I helped decorate was brilliant all light up with its many lights. Unfortunately, I tired several different camera settings and even when the parade was over I still hadn’t found a good one; I was left will almost all blurry pictures.
There was also an area of arts/crafts and food vendors. Although we have eaten so many local delicacies across North America, we just couldn’t bring ourselves to sample some of these. Chicken fried bacon and deep fried Oreos anyone?
Saturday, December 8, 2012
What have we been up to? Oh, not a whole lot, just enjoying our home campground and a bit of small town East Texas. We are taking it a bit easy before our huge trip north and back in the car for Christmas in the Midwest. In addition to Livingston, we have been to the towns of Conroe, Huntsville, and Cut and Shoot.
I did volunteer to help with the decoration of the Park’s Trolley as it will represent Escapees in the Livingston town Christmas Parade. Below you can see that on the back of the Trolley is a portable generator that is going to light this thing up like a Christmas Tree. A lot of the other decorations will be put on at the last minute as the Trolley first has to be driven a few miles into the town of Livingston for the parade.
Monday, December 3, 2012
Neither Gary’s nor my families are spread out very far. Most of Gary’s family is in Indiana and the Midwest where he grew up and most of my family is in Michigan and the Midwest where I grew up. But there is the occasional “stray” such as Gary’s niece who we visited in Birmingham, Alabama and who will soon be graduating with her nursing degree – and moving back with the rest of the clan in Indiana. Here in Texas, it was my turn. I have a cousin , Marla, who lives just north of Houston. We drove down there on Sunday and all went out for what else – an Italian dinner. I hadn’t seen her in a number of years so it was good to catch up.
Sunday, December 2, 2012
It seem likes a worthy undertaking for a guy to grow some facial hair during the month of November to call attention to men’s health issues and specifically to prostate and testicular cancer. But in Gary’s case, I am very suspicious that it was just an opportunity to grow a beard without me complaining too much about it. He didn’t know anything about Movember until his son said something about it this Fall. Further, the real Movember growth is supposed to be a mustache, not a full beard. And he sure hasn’t raised any charitable contributions by growing it. And my final suspicion is that it is now December and there haven’t been any signs that the Movember growth is coming off. But if he really thought I wasn’t going to complain about it, he had and still does have another think coming.