We've arrived at our sort-of home base for a couple of weeks while we get ready to fly to Honolulu and begin our cruise around the islands (perhaps with one exception, depending on what Kilauea is doing to the big island).
Our stop at the Tiffin Bluebonnet rally in Johnson City, Texas was fun; we really enjoyed seeing our club friends again. We took a little side trip to Canyon Lake and surprised fulltimer friends Karen and Richard, who are camp hosting at Cranes Mill COE Park right on the lake:
|Karen, Richard and Sandy|
Fortunately, we encountered no more awning or topper issues on our way here, and Phannie ran like a top, so we're happy about that.
This is the first time we've been back to the Lake Conroe Thousand Trails since the new section B opened. Here are some photos of the 70-odd new sites:
Okay, I know what you're thinking: "Are you sure this is Thousand Trails?"
Well, I had the same reaction, initially. It took quite a long time for us to buy in to the TT system, as it has, for years, seemed like a terribly neglected enterprise that was not exactly a top-tier attraction for most RVers (I'm being kind here). When we saw the improvements being made during the last couple of years, we decided to pull the trigger and buy an Elite level membership. There are several levels of these, but suffice it to say that Elite status gets you a stay of three weeks at a time for free (some parks charge a modest fee for 50-amp electrical service). When the three weeks are up, you can move to another TT park, if you like, and stay another three weeks, and so on. After the buy-in, which is several thousand dollars (less from an individual or broker), there is also a modest annual membership fee.
This suits our needs perfectly here in Conroe, and it won't be long until we more than make back our initial investment. The downside is that the new Thousand Trails owners cannot meet the vast improvement needs across the system very quickly; it will be a huge undertaking. The company has been around for a long time, but it had the misfortune of being bought, bled dry and then sold by unscrupulous investors on more than one occasion who skimmed the money and invested nothing in maintenance and improvements. Thankfully, that appears to have changed, but the catch-up investment is huge and, for that reason, will likely be slow. However, if the Lake Conroe upgrade is any indication, there are good things to come.
I need to mention a much-appreciated gesture from daughter Mindy and S.I.L. Tyler, involving some new-to-us chairs for Phannie's kitchen table. We had been struggling for some time with chairs that were just too low to be comfortable for the table height and for standing up after sitting. You younger folks may scoff at this but, as you get older and acquire fake knees and hips, arising gracefully from a low chair can be a problem. What we needed was a chair that was taller than a regular chair but lower than one that is the height of a barstool. Well, they don't make them; or, at least, we couldn't find any. The solution? Sandy bought a couple of used but well-built tall chairs that needed recovering, and our kids remodeled them--Mindy adding new cushions that she recovered and Tyler cutting the legs down to the height we needed. We love the finished product, and we no longer grunt and hang onto things when we stand up! Thanks to both of you!
If you've been reading this for a while, you'll remember that I have been touting the Strongback Chairs we use for outdoor seating:
The main reason we like them is their back support--something that's missing in others we've tried. We did have a slight disappointment in the chairs, however, as they come with a cupholder that fits a soda can but not one of the large Yeti-style insulated cups that we use more often:
It's not that the large cup doesn't fit, but that the holder isn't deep enough to keep it from tipping on its side.
Well, wouldn't you know that Strongback has introduced an accessory that fixes the problem. You can order one of these thingys that has a nice deep holder for your insulated cup, plus a pocket that's the perfect size for your Kindle or other electronic reader:
This accessory costs about 15 bucks, but it's well worth it, in my opinion.
You should know that I have no financial relationship with Strongback; I merely like their products and recommend them to others. However, because of my longtime status as a Strongback customer and their awareness of this blog and its readership, the company offers a 15% discount to me and to any of my readers who order from their website. Simply include "phannieandmae15" in the space that calls for a discount code, and voila'!
It's way too hot and humid here near Houston; we're looking forward to heading to the mountains after we visit the kids and grandkids and return from Hawaii. Hope you have a wonderful summer!
Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful life;
please forgive me if I don't appreciate it fully each day as I should.
You don't stop playing when you get old; you get old when you stop playing!