Heading Home (November 10th - November 23rd, 2019)
Adulting is hard. I know. Luckily, we didn't do too much of it over the last year #poundwinning.
When we did adult on November 10th, our friend took Azlan and his boys for a day of museum madness so I could write the blog and Ted could get laundry done a little faster than usual. Unfortunately for my friend, we had a plethora of accumulated dirty clothes and two jam-packed weeks to summarize into a short story. Seven or so hours later we sat down at his table to a fantastic Korean meal prepared by his lovely wife. Azlan was introduced to seaweed snacks as we reminisced of our times living in Korea and making plans to whitewater raft through the Grand Canyon...Ted even volunteered to commandeer the groover boat. "What is a groover boat?" You ask? It is the boat that holds the groovers! Seriously though, a groover is a nickname for an ammunition can...and it gets it's name from the groove left on your ass when you sit on it to do number 2. That's right, when we go whitewater rafting in the Grand Canyon, we will be pooping in groovers and packing 17 days worth of about 15 people's number twos out of the park with us...and Ted will be in charge of that (should be interesting considering one of the issues you'll read about later in this blog).
The next morning we rolled out to Claude, Texas which is just outside of Amarillo. The drive was about 4.5 hours and pretty darn windy. Do you know why it's so windy in Amarillo? It's because New Mexico sucks and Oklahoma blows - ha ha. I like New Mexico, despite what some may think. Regardless, we arrive safely at the Triangle RV Park, conveniently located a few blocks away from our friend's house. We met these friends back in March at the Eagle's Nest RV Park in Mineral Wells, TX on our way out west. We all got along so well that we promised to visit them on our way home. Voila! Eight months later, here we are! They had cocktails ready and Chile Verde on the stove, a very welcome situation after a day on the road. Despite the freezing 15 degree weather, it was a great night. Somewhere along the way I have become ok with flushing toilets with jugs of water over the last year. It's not something we have to do often, but when the water freezes or the water pump breaks, it becomes necessary in the Glamper. In this case, the water was going to freeze in our tank, in the hose, and in the ground. While in Albuquerque, Ted got some advice on keeping running water during a freeze: Put a ceramic heater in the wet bay (the exterior compartment where you connect water and dump) and get an electric hose that you can plug into the wet bay. The hose is heated and with the ceramic heater in the bay, it keeps the water pipe from freezing - genius! Sometimes you have to get creative when you live in a non insulated house on wheels. We came prepared with the ceramic heater and hose, however the ceramic heater didn't turn on when Ted plugged it in - so no water for the night. The next morning, the temp had risen to 36 and we decided to try and run the water pump to our water tank...big mistake. Apparently something was still frozen because the water pump blew and we blew through two fuses. Crap! Without a water pump we cannot run water in the Glamper unless we are hooked up to a water source...and this one was frozen at the moment. No worries for now, we went to our friend's house around the corner and had the privilege of showering without having to turn off the water during said shower. It was delightful! I also went to Walmart in Amarillo to get a new ceramic heater so we could have water in the Glamper while connected during this cold snap. The ceramic heaters are only about 8"x5"x4" and come in red, black, and mint green. I pulled one off the shelf, plugged it into a column...nothing. I grabbed 3 of them off the shelf and walked over to the car center which was close by. The associates showed me a plug close to the ground that worked and started unwrapping and plugging. The first one did not work! The second one did not work! WTF?!?!? This has to be a user error or a faulty shipment from China. After doing some observation, some trial and error with positioning, I realized it was user error after all. There is a small safety button on the bottom so the heater will only operate when it is upright - if it falls, it won't start a fire. Makes sense...and the original one was probably fine too. Now we'll have running water in cold weather, yay! The remainder of the day was filled by Uno, Wahoo (like Parcheesi but faster and funner), Art Time, Ted's Baked Ziti and lots of laughs.
Wednesday morning we started off early (like 8am since "early" is so subjective) on an adventure to Palo Duro Canyon State Park. Palo Duro Canyon is the second largest in the country boasting an array of rock formations and colors reminding us of what we have seen in Yellowstone or Valley of Fire for example. Our families walked the 5.7 mile Lighthouse Trail, out and back to a cool rock formation. The elevation change is only 492', which is mostly to get to the rock formation and a bit of a climb up. We loved it! The guys carried the kids for only half a mile - the rest of the time they were walking with us. We sketched at the Lighthouse, that was a really nice time I got to spend with the kids while the guys went up a little more. The kids got treated to some ice cream, we got a sticker and some other things, and then headed back to get cleaned up for a nice steak dinner to celebrate a 21 year old! That evening, while we played Wahoo (it's our new favorite game), we listened to music...country music...and I didn't die. There were some fun songs and I actually enjoyed it. Don't get me wrong, I'm not going to pursue a collection of country hits, but at least it doesn't offend me as much as it used to anymore. Suddenly, our friend spots the wasp we have been waiting to reappear for 20 mins. It's on the glass globe surrounding the main kitchen light, sitting pretty, looking around...doing what wasps do. He took aim quickly and WHHHAAAAMMMMMMMMM!!!! WASP EXPLOSION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I mean this thing exploded like bombs over Baghdad, guts flew through the air spewing all over the kitchen - it was one of those crazy moments that you just look at each other and say "Did that really just happen?!?!? Did you see that?!?!?!?". It was EPIC! We cleaned up and kept on playing, ate dinner, sang happy birthday, and said our "see you later"s. Claude, TX was a wonderful stop where we got to reconnect with fellow RVers that we know will be life-long friends.
Here is the part I mentioned should be interesting: November 14th, as we were getting ready to roll out, I was inside doing all the moving prep, as usual, when Ted comes in. He has this expression of disgust - one I know well and have worn myself. Something had gone wrong with the black tank - that's the tank all toilet waste is stored in. He pulled the dump lever without the hose being connected...thank goodness the cap was still on preventing a total eruption of shit. No matter - it still seeped out, still made him gag, still was really really gross. Sucking! He cleaned up, we packed up and then headed out - but not before filling up my gallons of water so I can flush my toilet and wash my hands while we roll. Due to our lack of a water pump, we didn't want to Boondock (spend the night with no hook ups), so we stayed at Brownwood Lake State Park. This time of year on a week day we usually don't have trouble getting a last minute full hook up site. Once we were hooked up we ran outside for a walk along the lake, some pictures, and a game of freeze tag. It was a quiet night with a dinner of leftovers while we watched a movie.
Friday morning we said goodbye to Brownwood Lake State Park and hello to San Marcos, TX. We had a great site at the Pecan Park Riverside RV Park - corner site across from the river. Our friend and his girlfriend were waiting for us and as soon as we were hooked up and swept out, we went to Aquabrew for a delicious lunch. The afternoon was spent hanging out at his house, Ted cooked Chicken Cordon Bleu for all of us, Azlan played with his son, and we showered, yet again, without having to turn off the water #poundwinning! That night and the next ones we ended up staying at his house since it was like 20 mins to the park and he had a spare room. Azlan was pretty happy to have another friend to play with too!
The next morning, I took the kids to Kerby Lane in Austin to meet with another friend and her son for breakfast while Ted figured out dinner and caught up on some laundry. The kids all had fun together and we got a chance to catch up real quick. When I got back to San Marcos, another 173rd buddy had arrived and the boys were being boys. The afternoon and evening were spent hanging out, cooking, catching up and laughing as stories were told of the 'good old days'. I'm thinking our 'good old days' are right now! The next morning we went out to the Glamper to grab some things then to San Marcos Children's Park and Ivars River Pub for lunch. We polished off some leftovers for dinner, stole a shower and kidnapped some tupperwares to take on the road as well (thanks buddy)! On November 18th, after I finished cleaning the Glamper (which I won't be doing again on a moving morning), we hit the road to Boomtown USA RV Park in Vidor, TX. The Cracker Barrel in Houston was a quick stop for lunch to see a friend. Then, once arrived at our night-stop, Ted and Azlan explored the Lake while I practiced some Zumba. I need to get my ass in gear if I'm going to teach!!! The next morning, I took the first shift driving. It's been a long time since I have driven this 60' rig, and unsurprisingly it's still just as stressful. I get us into Louisiana, Ted takes over and then I finish the drive (stealthy switch total count: 4). Our site is at Fontainebleau State Park was probably one of my favorite sites so far. Plenty of space between campers, fire pit, grill, nice table, trees - just splendid! Not much time was spent there at first, we jumped in the Jeep and went to our friend's house for dinner - best flank steak we have ever had! Azlan had another little friend to play with and we all got to hang out and catch up some. Wednesday we indulged in a slow lazy morning, complete with eggs, bacon and a Moana puzzle. Subsequently, a trip to the store was required before we all hung out at the Glamper and made a fire, some Jambalaya, and some S'mores. After our friends left, Ted and I stayed up, star gazing and fire peeing to ensure no forest fires were started because of us. The next day the three of us went for a morning walk through the live oak trees to the lake, stopping off along the way to collect battle sticks and play freeze tag. That afternoon we abducted our friends' washer and dryer while I cooked up Crockpot Chicken Cashew for us. I got to take a very relaxing bath in a beautiful garden tub with candles and all. A great way to end our short stay in Mandeville, LA. Yesterday morning, we drove out crossing into Mississippi, Alabama, and then Florida. Y'all!!! Coast to Coast AND BACK AGAIN! We did it!!!! Oh, and then this happened: We filled up the Glamper with Diesel and didn't have to hold the nozzle in just the right place for a slow pump (insert happy dance here). Ever since we bought the Glamper, pumping diesel was a sluggish process due to a kink in the interior hose leading to the diesel tank. Hopefully when we drop it off for repairs on the 4th of December, it can get 100% fixed. When we arrived at the Hitchin' Post Corral and Campground RV Park, we were able to feed a horse and play outside - always much needed after a long day on the road. This morning our little trio went for a walk around the local lake, did some sit ups and push ups to get the blood flowing and then Azlan and I made Banana Blueberry Muffins from scratch. Ted made us awesome sandwiches for lunch before he and Azlan went down for a nap. As I sit here writing about our last two weeks, listening to the rain between Spotify jams, I am humbled with a feeling of gratitude. Gratitude for my life, my family, my friends, this trip - aka the biggest adventure of my life (so far). It's hard to believe that in 6 days, this first part of our Glamper trip will come to a close. To think that when we started this trip we thought we would have finished all 50 States and visited all the friends that asked us to within 6 months...HAHAHAHA....ROTFLMAO. Here we are, 14 months later, and only 33 States have been checked off, just over half our friends seen, and we've put just about 20,000 miles on our RV. Even though this trip didn't go as we originally planned, we adjusted, we pushed through the hard times, we enjoyed the hell out of the good ones and I am grateful for every moment. Stay tuned as we wrap up the last part of this trip!
Daisa, Ted and Azlan