9/19/05 - 10/24/05

10/24/05: Great weekend here in Hondo. Still eating more than we should and exercising less than we should - you know what that means!

Discovered I (Len) have a couple of cousins living nearby - one in Austin and another near Fredericksburg. We will have to try to connect with them before leaving the area. Made a trip to Uvalde this afternoon and ordered new spectacles for the pair of us - now perhaps we can find our way down the road!

Talked to friends in Naples, Florida last night. They had evacuated the park they were in and were staying in a local motel (on the second floor) and waiting out the storm. They were fixing up their place there and were going to put it on the market for sale today. Hope all is well with them.

10/20/05: Still here in the Escapee RV Park in Hondo. Have been busy helping Walt this week. Changed out a black water tank today up in Uvalde - talk about a crappy job. Still enjoying the high speed internet with the new dish. Even getting into posting some notes on the "DataStorm" user group site.

Talked with our friends in Grand Isle today and they are somewhat frustrated with the SLOW progress being made. The National Guard had used their yard to stage equipment and men after Katrina and when Rita came in they abandoned everything. Weeks later they finally got someone in today to start cleaning up and removing the equipment. They indicated there is now power and water restored to the island and the grocery store is even open for business! Expect we will be heading that way in a couple of weeks and see if we can assist.

10/16/05: We remain here at the Escapees park near Hondo. Have had a wonderful week here with Chris and Walt.

Received our new satellite internet system last Wednesday evening and had it up and on line by mid morning the following day. Quite a simple system to setup and operate.

Had a wonderful evening last night at a Wild Pig BBQ in the town (if you can call it that) of Tarply about 25 north of Hondo. It is an annual fund raiser for the local community and they cooked ten pigs and about 200 people turned up. All donations and eat as much as you can - pig, potatoes, beans, coleslaw, desert - all of it very good! We were joined by Walt, Chris and their friends Marianne and Johnny from nearby Utopia. Even a DJ spinning country music to dance. Wonderful evening.

Chow Line

Dancing the Night Away

DJ Dancing with the Kids


Exotic Pronghorn

10/10/05: From Waco we continued on down I-35 to San Antonio and then west about 35 miles to Hondo. This is where our dear friends Chris and Walt live. They also own a lot at the local Escapees RV Park and have graciously allowed us to use it while we are here. Had a great dinner with them Saturday evening at the Alsation restaurant in Castroville to celebrate their 34th anniversary. Following dinner we all went to a dance at the Quihe Rod & Gun Club.

We talked with our friends at Grand Isle (Butch & Betty) and they have indicated they would appreciate any assistance we can give them in their rebuilding efforts. We will probably venture on down there in 2-3 weeks.

I (Len) helped Walt with a couple of RV repairs today. One was on a large ranch (a few thousand acres) south of D'Hanis. Along the road to the ranch were several exotic game ranches and we saw many different kinds of "critters". Will try to venture back out and get some pictures later.

10/6/05: South on Interstate 35 to Waco, Texas today. Uneventful ride - traffic not too bad through Fort Worth. Camped at a Corps of Engineers park on Waco Lake. Nice campground but close to heavily traveled route 6 so lots of traffic noise.

10/5/05: Took a ride up to Guthrie (about 35 miles north of Oklahoma City) for lunch today. Guthrie was the original capital of Oklahoma and most of the buildings in old town Guthrie date from the late 1800s so this makes for an interesting town to visit. Lots of antique stores to browse and at least one good restaurant for lunch. About five years ago when we were here we had lunch at "Grandma Had One" and enjoyed a great apple dumpling for desert. Two years ago we returned for a second helping and were disappointed when they ran out. Today we called to ensure they had some before making the trip up there. Great lunch with Dennis & Mary!
10/3/05: Left Fall River this Monday morning and headed south to Oklahoma City where we are camped in the Tinker AFB FamCamp on base. Will get some much-needed laundry done, some commissary shopping and maybe even hit the Post Exchange while we are here.

Will also spend some time with our friends Dennis and Mary while we are here. Len & Dennis worked together at Tektronix back in the late 80s and early 90s. Always good to see them when we are in this area.

9/30/05: We departed Cimarron, Kansas last Monday and headed for Fall River, Kansas to meet our friends John & Donna from Alberta (who we met at Grand Isle in 2003) for a few days. On the trip over here we stopped in Wichita for lunch with Richard & Joanne (another couple we met at Grand Isle). They plan to be here at Fall River tomorrow so it will be Grand Isle reunion here at Fall River.

The campground here is a really nice Corps of Engineers park with full hookups (50 amp, water & sewer). Not a lot of spaces but not really crowded this time of year (see photo at right).

Fall River Campground

Beaumont Water Tower

We took a drive around the countryside today with John & Donna traveling to the towns of Fall River, Severy, Beaumont and Eureka. Had lunch at the Beaumont Hotel which is accessible by car or plane. Pilots land across the street on a grass field and taxi from the airstrip to the "Bent Prop Parking Area" near the hotel. They also have a fully restored 1885 wooden water tower - the only one left in the USA! (see photo left)

All in all we had a great weekend here with our Grand Isle friends. Lots of talk about how much damage the hurricane has caused and hoping we can all get back there sometime soon!

9/25/05: Arrived in Cimarron, Kansas two days ago for a brief visit with Jim & Emiko (an old Vietnam buddy). The day before arriving here we made a one night stop at a state wildlife area near Rocky Ford, Colorado. Nice quiet place for a layover and away from the noisy road traffic.

Have had a great visit and a feast of BBQ chicken wings, veggies and salad on Saturday and then I fried up some good old Washington walleye Sunday evening. We are going to have to stop visiting friends before we get even fatter!

9/20/05: We left the Rocky Mountain National Park area this morning and traveled south to Leadville, Colorado, an old (circa 1880) mining town. The majority of the original buildings are still standing and in use. The elevation here is 11,000 feet and the air is very thin. One has to take it easy and breath deep when walking around. We toured two museums and an old house here in town - all very interesting. Still lots of mining activity going on around this part of Colorado.

9/19/05: From Dinosaur National Monument we headed east to the Granby, Colorado area where we are camped at the Green Ridge campground just south of the town of Grand Lake near the west entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. The campground is located on the shore of Shadow Mountain Lake near the headwaters of the Colorado River. The campground is located at the right of the photo on the right.

While here at Green Ridge I noted our neighbors (Gordon & Marlene) had a satellite internet dish set up so made it a point to learn more from them. When discussing where we spent our winters they asked if we had ever met Bill & Laura Hewitt down there. What a surprise! Indeed we had and even traveled to New Hampshire to visit them. Turns our Gordon and Marlene had hosted in Arizona with them. Small world!

Colorado River Below Shadow Mountain Lake



Bull Elk in Rocky Mountain National Park

We took a ride over the "top" of the park to Estes Park on the east side of Rocky Mountain NP.

What a shot of a nice bull elk (left) taken by Sylvia from the truck!

On the right is a shot of the Horseshoe Bend area on the east side of the park.

While on the very top of the mountains at the Alpine Visitors Center I (Len) took a hike to the top of the 12,005 foot peak adjacent to the parking lot. Talk about a difficult time breathing - but well worth the view! And it was only a mile hike and about 200 foot increase in elevation.

Horseshoe Bend on East Side of Rocky Mountain National Park