Photo taken near Monument Valley, Utah

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Breaking Camp and Heading South

At The Lagoons RV Resort, Rockport, Texas...

Having added some local support for Mindy's entry to nursing school, we decided to get out of her family's hair and continue with a little winter vacation of our own. But first, we made a quick trip in Mae back home to collect a month's worth of mail and take care of a few chores around the house. (For those who gave up the demands of your stick house in favor of fulltiming, you can gloat here.) On our way back to Phannie, whom we left forlornly at Rayford Crossing, Mae decided it was time for us to visit the Old Mexican Inn, a favorite restaurant in Corsicana. So she suddenly veered off I-45 and drove through downtown and out highway 31 to this wonderful old Mexican food emporium operated by the Flores family since 1941. We're glad she made the sudden diversion, as Sandy and I enjoyed a collection of favorite dishes, including tacos al carbon, enchiladas and queso, and they were, as always, delicious. I absolutely recommend this place as probably the best stop you can make if you're hungry between Dallas and Houston.

A couple of days later, we departed Rayford Crossing and began the 217-mile leg to Rockport. This required me to make a choice between using the tollway around Houston and going straight through downtown, where it is necessary to transition to U. S. 59 toward Victoria. I really don't like going through downtown, because the traffic is usually heavy, and being in the correct lane at the right time is crucial. This is not all that easy in a motorhome pulling a toad, and it is made worse by Houston's legendary hateful drivers. To give you an idea of how boorish they can be, I was minding my own business earlier in the leg when I turned Phannie onto the I-45 service road. Two drivers in the next lane honked and gave me the middle finger for no apparent reason. I gave them a long blast with Phannie's air horn, which obviously startled them and caused one of the drivers to jerk his steering wheel, almost hitting the car alongside him. Pity he didn't.

Since it was midday and a less busy traffic time, I decided to go through downtown, the argument for that choice being the shorter driving time--it's a long way around the loop--and the money to be saved in tolls. It would have cost more than $25 to get Phannie around the beltway to U. S. 59. Even with the time of day being ideal, the trip through downtown was still harrowing. There was one place where we wouldn't have been able to move into the correct lane except for a courteous driver who made room. Thankfully, it was not one of the guys who earlier showed me the naughty digit.

Phannie purred smoothly all the way to Rockport, and we pulled into The Lagoons RV Resort just before they closed the office at 5:00 PM. Lagoons is a very nice and friendly park, well-maintained but restricted to 55+ travelers. We sorta lucked out getting a space there, as they had only one left. Reservations anywhere in the Rockport area are not easy to find in winter. Seeing the palm trees below and noticing guests dressed in shorts and flip flops tells you all you need to know about the attraction this part of Texas has for snowbirds. 

We asked the desk clerk about favorite restaurants in the area, and she quickly mentioned Shempy's, a little seafood place that we decided to investigate.

The little place was packed with customers, but we soon got a table and placed our order for a seafood platter that Sandy and I would share. Below is a photo of the gigantic platter. By the way, the crab cake was huge, with more crabmeat than I had ever seen before in one of these.

Shempy's is obviously not a place where you need to worry being underdressed. Although I didn't confirm, I assume the guy in the t-shirt below is Shempy, as he seemed in charge and was speaking loudly to everyone. When he came to our table, however, it became obvious that his elevated speaking volume was used because he was hard of hearing. By the time I screamed my order to him and he screamed it back to confirm, everyone in the restaurant knew what we were having.

So, if you decide to go to Shempy's, be prepared for good food and friendly people. But for goodness' sake, don't go overdressed!

Okay, in keeping with my intention to share a few more personal details, here are some that probably will not interest you at all:

We are not morning people. Frankly, I fail to understand why some retirees insist on rising before the sun does. There's no reason for it that makes sense. Humans don't have very good night vision, and they tend to bump into things when it's dark. I know I do! Sandy and I try to get up by 8:00 AM unless, well, we don't want to.

Our sleep needs differ. Sandy is an eight-hour sleeper; I rarely sleep more than five. I often offer her my hypothesis that bright people need less sleep than, well, the unbright, but then she offers her own hypothesis that a frying pan could make a good hat for me.

We are very picky about our bed. Sandy and I really struggle to sleep well if we find ourselves on a strange mattress. For this reason, we duplicated in Phannie our pillows and the favorite iComfort kingsize mattress we use in our house; that way, we can't tell any difference. In fact, we sometimes awaken and do not immediately know whether we are at home or in Phannie. That's not a bad thing.

Thank you, Lord, for the wonderful life you have given me. Please forgive me if I do not appreciate it enough every day.


  1. Naughty Houston drivers?..we have them here too and sometimes you get the double naughty digit!
    Sure hope you never have to wear the 'frying pan as a hat'!

  2. We try to avoid any city. I've had Jim drive many miles out of our way to avoid a city. What I want to know is why with all that beautiful seafood do they put those yucky frozen fries on the plate. Why not some decent fries or none at all. I may get up about 7:00 but I sure don't want to be functioning before 9:00.

  3. Isn't it terrible when a car takes you where you really hadn't planned on going. Unless Mae was high-jacked by one of those computer hackers that was causing it to stop at all those eateries.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  4. We thought of you two last night as we had a delicious late dinner at El Tequila (family owned, I think) in San Antonio, just off I-35. Steve's Carne el Pastor was amazing. Very inexpensive too. We had to split the margarita it was so big. My barbacoa was tasty. Glad you gave 'em the ol' air horn!

  5. I have a 12 " cast iron Lodge fry pan if Sandy would like to borrow it. So hapy to hear about your air horn use in Houston! That route was a huge nightmare for us.

  6. I completely agree with your sleeping habits. I used to have to get up at 5am to go to work. First day of retirement, I slept until at least 8am. Some of my friends say that they still naturally wake up at 5am after retiring and sit around drinking coffee and reading the paper. The latter is best done after 9am. I keep telling them that they have a curable disease, but they don't want my doctor's name for some help!!!

    Regards the horn...... go for it. I use it a lot. It really aggravates me when I have my blinker on for a long time to change lanes and nobody gives me the courtesy of letting me in!! I now understand why trucks often just bully and crowd their way in. If you miss an exit, it can be a long 'recovery drive'.

    Enjoy Rockport and the Lagoons. We like it too. Our grandkids like the heated pool in the winter.



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