12/26/10: We are still camped at Jim's Bayou RV Park at Grand Isle. Jim's is nothing special but a great place to fish and Jim and his wife Dena are wonderful people. Fishing has been pretty good for the last few days but weather has turned cold again so fishing is on the back burner for the moment. Jim has been trying to get the entire parking area cemented to eliminate the accumulation of water and mud when it rains. He has an arrangement with the local cement truck drivers to drop of any excess on their way back to the plant. Typically it has been a yard or two only but twice last week they had nearly ten yards. Needless to say that is a lot of concrete so I have been giving him a hand getting is poured. He doesn't have but maybe ten more yards and he will be done.
Christmas day was very quiet for us. Sylvia has caught the cold I had last week so she is sniffling and feeling miserable. Daughter had sent several presents for our cats and Christmas Eve one of them decided to open them. Enjoyed watching them tear the wrappers apart - almost like watching the kids when they were little!
We will be staying here at least through the end of the year. Will decide next weekend if we will stay until the end of January. We are planning to take a short (without the trailer) trip over to Miss right after New Years weekend.
12/13/10: Has turned cold here at Grand Isle but the fishing has picked up. Caught limits of rd fish two days now (actually caught about four limits today but had to let most go). Here is a photo of the ones I kept today:
12/7/10: It has turned cold here with overnight temperature in the low 30s. The red fish seem to like it though with a limit (5) in a little over an hour this morning. Also a nice one yesterday along with a nice speckled trout.
12/4/10: We left Matagorda the 10th of November and headed on into Louisiana. After a brief stop in Kinder at the casino we continued on to Grand Isle. We had not been back here for two years and it is great to be back. Only exception is that the State Park no longer honors the Golden Age cards so we had to pay the full price for two weeks. After that we moved to a commercial site with full hookups for considerably less than we were paying at the State Park. We had looked at this place before but it was always a mud hole so declined but got to know the owners over the years. They now have it nearly all concrete so much nicer now and located right on a canal that is great for fishing (Elmer's Island bridge - for those of you who know Grand Isle). Known as Bayou Jim's RV Park & Bait shop. Here are a few photos:
Fishing has been fair and the freezer is slowly filling up. Caught a couple of really nice BIG redfish off of the pier at the State Park as well as a few speckled trout and flounder here and out in the marsh. Here are the two big redfish:
The first two weeks at the State Park we enjoyed the company of our friends Kent & Jan from Baton Rouge (formerly Minnesota). Kent and I have always liked to fish together and we managed to a fair amount of that. One trip out I put a minnow on one of my poles and cast it out into the water and laid it down on the grass while I baited the second pole and before I knew it, I fish had hit the first pole and it was GONE! Watched the handle bob around on the surface for a while and then lost sight of it. Went back later with the boat and found the pole but no fish - the one that got away!
We both continue to do great health wise. Sylvia is back to her old self with only an occasional raspy voice - probably when she yells at me!
10/23/10: Been here at Matagorda for two weeks now. Fishing has been good for sand trout but not much else. Hopefully it will pick up a little over the next two weeks before we leave. Weather has been great with temperature in the high 80s. Did turn a bit windy yesterday and today so we decided to take a day trip to Galveston today - wanted to make sure the road through Surfside had been repaired after the hurricanes two years ago. That is our preferred route to Louisiana from here because it bypasses Houston.
Friends from Hondo and Utopia were here with us for a few days. Great time with them as usual.
We were notified this week that our name has made it to the top of the waiting list at the Escapee park in Sutherland, Oregon so we decided to buy into the park there and are now (or soon will be) leaseholders on lot #82 there.
10/12/10: From Moab we continued southeast to Farmington, NM, Albuquerque, NM, Lakewood, NM and then on into Texas arriving in Hondo on September 26th. The new cooling unit arrived the following day. After installation we discovered it did not work properly (would not cool enough). Ended up returning it and ordering a whole new refrigerator from Norcold. Unfortunately, the new unit is four inches taller than the old one so required some significant carpentry work.
Other than working on the refrigerator, we enjoyed two weeks in Hondo with old friends before heading on to the Texas Gulf Coast at Matagorda two days ago. Weather is hot and muggy but expected to cool in the next couple of days. Got the boat in the water yesterday and caught a couple of fish but nothing to brag about yet.
9/20/10: After a final dermatologist appointment last week to remove a melanoma we moved out of the house and started our journey south last Wednesday. Feels good being back on the road again. In some ways it seems moving back into the house was a jinx on us this year. Lot of water under the bridge so to speak.
We traveled east from Madras via US 26 through Idaho and into Utah. Currently in Moab for a couple of days before continuing southward. Had initially planned to go farther east and into Grand Teton but our refrigerator decided to quit on us before we departed. Had to order a new cooling unit and it is supposed to be waiting for us in Texas when we get there. Bought a small apartment size unit to get us there.
Took a drive up Utah 128 today and then over the loop road through the Manto-La Sal National Forest. Very scenic drive up the river, through Castle Valley and then up and over the mountains and back to Moab. It was not a great day for taking photos but here are a few:
9/1/10: Great news yesterday - Sylvia's scan came back great indicating she is cancer free! What a relief!
So we are now getting ready to move back into the fifth wheel and head for places that will be a little warmer this coming winter. Expect to go east to Grand Teton National Park and then make our way to East Texas for a visit with friends near Tyler. At that point we will decide if Grand Isle is worth visiting this year.
Daughter and family are coming over for Labor Day weekend - should be a good time with them.
8/21/10: Once again it has been a long time in updating this and once again I apologize - it has been somewhat "busy" around here with special diet and just getting ready for the radio active iodine treatment. Fortunately, all went as planned and Sylvia had her treatment yesterday. Now we wait a week for a scan to ensure everything is gone.
We thought the month of getting ready for the treatment was going to be miserable for her but, much to our surprise, she did better these last two weeks than the previous eight weeks! Now if we can just get through the treatment without the side effects being too severe.
We have to keep at least five feet between us for the next five days plus use separate bathrooms and bedrooms. I guess they don't want me to see her glowing in the dark! Actually, she is radioactive and distance is just a precaution.
Flowers continue to bloom, albeit slowly and the greenhouse tomatoes are tasting very good!
7/26/10: Once again it has been a long time between updates but everything has been quite hectic around here.
First of all, Sylvia's surgery went well but we were shocked to learn it was papillary thyroid cancer. The surgeon thinks he got it all but she is still scheduled for radioactive iodine treatment in about a month. First we must go through a low iodine diet to get as much iodine as possible out of her body before treatment. She has recovered from the surgery fine (two and a half weeks ago) but has suffered from some severe anxiety attacks. Seems to be getting better now though.
We took a weekend trip to the Medford area this weekend for a visit with our daughter and her family. Grandkid fix helped significantly I think! Sure was a hot one down there though!
In addition to playing "caregiver" I have been quite busy around the house with fence building and gardening. Planted many rose bushes and dahlias this spring as we are beginning to see some blooms. Here are a few photos taken today after three days of near 100 degree heat:
6/29/10: Nearly two months since my last update here - sorry 'bout that! We have had a busy two months with working on the house, yard and farm. A new Pergo floor in he kitchen area along with new molding thruout ended up being a bigger chore than anticipated.
Did manage to spend a few days at Magone Lake. Sylvia remained at the house with intentions of joining me later. Unfortunately, we both developed bad colds causing me (Len) to cut the lake visit short. Sylvia is still batteling and now must undergo surgery to remove a lump on her thyroid next week. We are somewhat anxiuos about that!
Since returning from the lake I have been busy building and restretching fence around the yard and pasture. Like installing the gate opener earlier, it takes it's toll on an old body. Another couple of weeks of work and I should be done for this summer.
Bought a new motor for my boat. The eight horse that came with the boat just was not enough and only managed to get 5-6 mph. New Honda four stroke gets up to nearly 20! Just heavier than the older one by about 90 pounds!
4/26/10: We began our move back into our house on the 19th. Have been having "fun" collecting furniture, knick-knacks, appliances, etc. since we returned to Madras and it is now beginning to feel like home once again. Lot of minor repair items that need tending to and will keep us busy for many weeks to come. Biggest project is getting an automatic gate installed at the end of our quarter mile long driveway. We want to restrict access so that when we are not here people will not be tempted to drive up to the house if they are faced with a locked gate. Hopefully this will prevent any thefts or vandalism when we head south next winter! Sure has been fun planting posts (railroad ties) three feet into the ground - forgot what it was like building fences and those darn ties have put on a lot of weight!
Had a great visit from daughter and her family this past weekend. I think she had to come actually SEE that I was doing ok. Now that we are back in the house we expect to see them a bit more often.
4/16/10: After we left Petaluma we headed on north to the Medford, Oregon area for a few days with our daughter and her family. Had planned to stay a little longer but weather forecast for snow over the mountains forced us to leave a few days earlier. We arrived back here at our home near Madras on March 29th to some very cold and wet weather.
Probably a good thing we arrived when we did. Before leaving Texas I had visited the Emergency Room with some severe chest pain. The ER doctor suspected reflux so I began taking Nexxium and we left on our journey to Oregon. Upon arriving home our local doctor suspected otherwise and sent me to a cardiologist. Long story short, a week later (April 9th) they discovered a 95% blockage and inserted a stint. I now feel great and am back to normal activity. Angiogram and stint went in through my right wrist so very little down time involved - two days and back to normal activity!
We are now anxiously awaiting our move back into our house - probably starting tomorrow. Found some bargains on furniture at local estate sales and second hand stores. Enough to get us by for now.
3/19/10: From Tonto Basin we headed west to the small town of Salome, AZ where we connected with three other couples from our Magone Lake hosting days who have become lasting friends. Four wonderful days with them. Even managed to get in a day trip to Yuma to meet with two other couples for the day - great lunch and dinner there!
From Salome it was on west with an overnight stop near Barstow, CA and a two day stop in Hanford before arriving here at the Petaluma Coast Guard Station in the hills above Petaluma. Friends and family here will keep us busy for four or five days before heading on to Medford, OR.
Took a drive out to the coast today in beautiful 70s weather. Couldn't ask for a better day for a drive. Here are a few photos from Bodega Bay:
3/10/10: We continue our travels westward to Wilcox, AZ where we connected with friends Gordon & Marlene who we met in 2005 at Rocky Mountain National Park. Thoroughly enjoyed two days with them which included a drive through the countryside between Wilcox and Safford including the Mount Graham area - which was covered in snow! From there is was north to the Tonto Basin/Roosevelt Lake area to connect with Roy & Rita whom we met in 2008 at Matagorda, TX. Enjoyed a few days with them touring the Tonto Basin, Cliff Dwellings and a ride to Payson - once again into the snow country! Here area a few photos of the cactus around the Tonto Basin:
And a few of the area:
3/3/10: After two months on our lot in Hondo we decided it was time to begin our trip west last week. Stayed long enough to attend the park's annual membership meeting where we discuss park business, finances, elect new board of directors and vote on proposed new rules. Interesting gathering! We headed west on US90 to Sanderson, TX for one night and then on to Big Bend National Park where we spent two days at the old Stillwell Ranch just outside the park. Had hoped to catch a few cacti blooming but we were a little early I guess. From there it was on west on US90 to Van Horn, TX for a night and then on the big road (I-10) and into New Mexico where we are currently stopped in the small town of Deming. Took a day trip north to the City of Rocks State Park, an interesting cluster of rocks in the middle of the desert. Campsites are nestled in and among the rock formations. May have to spend a few days there sometime in the future.
2/10/10: We are still sitting on our lot here in Hondo enjoying friendships with others. I have been busy with the Co-op website - now just routine updates of upcoming events and photos of past happenings. Seems like we have made a habit of going to Pizza Hut for their weekly buffet special on Tuesdays - all you can eat for six bucks is not bad but it seems I always eat way to much!
I continue to play Texas Holdem once a week but have not been very lucky the last two weeks - oh well, it is fun and only two bucks. They also play penny ante several nights a week but I have yet to participate in that. We are still planning to remain here for another couple of weeks before heading west.
1/23/10: We have been back on our lot in Hondo for nearly a month now. Not much has been happening other than park activities. I have been playing Texas Holdem every week and have been doing fairly well - probably loose my tail now! Have had a couple of park activities that lend to passing the time - a golf cart race this past weekend where the driver is blindfolded and the passenger must guide the driver through and obstacle course. Fun watching them and there is a short (15MB) video here.
I volunteered to become the park's web site contact. Have totally revised the old site and added lots of new stuff. You can check it out at the Lone Star Corral. Appears as though the park members are now using the site more than they were before. All I need them to do is keep feeding me stuff to put on it.
Had a REALLY cold snap went through here a couple of weeks ago. Got down to 14 degrees - pretty darn cold for this part of the country. Several frozen pipes throughout the park.
1/9/10: Happy New Year to one and all! We are sitting here in Hondo and freezing! Temperature this morning was 14 degrees - pretty darn cold for this part of Texas. Looking at the weather back in Madras, the low this morning was 33! WHAT ARE WE DOING HERE???? It will warm up soon though (we hope). Until then, staying inside keeping warm!
We have been back here on our lot about two weeks now enjoying friends and neighbors. A couple we met in Colorado four years ago stopped by for a week long visit. Really great seeing them again - seems like we have been able to connect nearly every year since meeting them. One of the nice things about this lifestyle.
Had planned to do some upgrades to our shed here but have decided to wait another year (at least) and perhaps build a bigger and more functional unit. Instead I will keep myself busy (when it warms up) with a couple of projects on the trailer.