Photo taken near Monument Valley, Utah

Friday, October 20, 2023

A Roundabout Journey to Hondo--and Something Unexpected

At Lone Star Corral Escapees Park, Hondo, Texas...

Coming back to Ranchito Hondo certainly had some enjoyable detours and something entirely unexpected that will turn out to be the surprise I mentioned in the previous post.

As we left the last of the mountains into New Mexico, I couldn't help but take a photo of this rock that reminded me a bit of the Sphinx in Egypt. It was a little sad that the beauty surrounding us all summer was coming to an end.

Our first overnight after leaving Colorado was the RV park at Cline's Corners, a well-known travel center on I-40, southeast of Santa Fe. They have opened a new RV park, and it is quite nice and reasonably priced for an overnight. They don't take reservations, but there's usually plenty of sites available.

From there, we overnighted at Bubba and LouAnn's home in Lockney, Texas (near Plainview). We moochdocked in their driveway, but not without a minor mishap when Bubba, who was directing my backing into his driveway, became distracted and failed to stop me before Phannie backed into his roof overhang. This bent Phannie's ladder and damaged some shingles on his roof. Naturally, he felt bad about it, and so did I, but stuff happens. The ladder has been replaced, and all is okay now. As usual, we enjoyed getting to spend a little more time with them and their family and the generosity of offering us overnight accommodations.

Our next stop was The Vineyards RV Park in Grapevine, Texas, where we took some time for an annual medical checkup and a visit with a close high school friend whom I hadn't seen in 50 years or so:

Danny, also a musician, roamed around with me a great deal in our high school years, and it was such a treat finally to see him and his lovely wife again.

After the doctor visits, which went fine, we motored down to my hometown, Nacogdoches, Texas, where we spent a few days visiting friends John and Pat and the publisher of my newspaper column, high school chum David. (You can see the nonsense I write monthly in, but you'll have to wade through a bunch of advertising to get to it. My column is usually between pages 18 and 32. There are quite a few columns, as I have been writing for the paper for over a year now.)

We hadn't been in Nacogdoches long until I received a call from the president of the Board of Directors at Bass Lake Christian RV Community near Tyler, Texas--a larger town not far from Nacogdoches. She told me a resident was selling, and that I might be interested in his place. We had been looking at this park for a number of years, but didn't find exactly what we wanted, so we jumped in the car and drove to Tyler, where we bought the new place on the spot!

The previous owners were very nice and left for us all the appliances and a substantial amount of other indoor and outdoor things at no additional cost!  So, for the moment, we find ourselves owning sites at Hondo and at Lindale--near Tyler, Texas. We will eventually sell Ranchito Hondo, of course, but this is the natural progression for us, we think, as we wind down the long trips in Phannie. The main attractions of this place in Lindale involve the large RV/Vehicle cover and the small house--about 1000 sq. ft.--that accompanies it. And so, the fulltiming to part timing cycle takes another turn. With this purchase, we will no longer be living fulltime in Phannie, but in the house. The great news is that Phannie will finally be under a cover again when unused--something we desperately missed because of the effects of the elements which, thankfully, appear to have been minimal. I've often written about what a marvelous motorhome that Tiffin built in the early 2000s, and I am more convinced of it than ever. To think she has come through eight years of fulltiming virtually unscathed, looking good and running perfectly--she is a wonderful lady. 

Even so, I think the long trips are over, as we are getting on up there in years. Besides, we have seen just about everything on our bucket list, all of which--thank God--we have recorded in this rag for the last 18 years. Of all the things we did, my beginning this blog on our first day of RV ownership was perhaps that for which we're most grateful. Our memories will fade, but there are about two million words and countless photos in this blog that will remind us of the adventures of a lifetime. We have also met some of our most cherished friends along the road--and they will remain so for the rest of our lifetimes. 

So, the new (to us) place in Lindale is the little surprise we teased you about in the last post; we will probably be moving in in November. This doesn't mean that RV travel is over for us, however. Our next RV trip will be to the Houston area, where we will spend Thanksgiving with our family. Phannie is perfect for trips like that now that we're older.

After purchasing our new digs at Bass Lake, we drove to visit RV friends Steve and Jackie, who have just finished building a magnificent RV barndominium northwest of Austin, Texas. The contrast between our modest little place and this palace couldn't be more stark. Take a look:

Built on two acres of land near the Texas Hill Country, the 2,000 sq. ft. beauty has everything. Notice the two large garage doors--one for their motorhome and the other for their two vehicles. Also notice they have added an RV pad with hookups for visiting RV friends. We were so honored to be the first! I wish I had taken photos inside, but we'll do that next time. With accommodations like this, who wouldn't want to visit? Here is a peek inside the garage, where you can see their motorhome, Jackie's car and Steve's pickup:

We loved this place and the quiet surroundings, and the weather was perfect for us to sit out on the porch and visit:

Look at the beautiful landscaping. There's a bubbling fountain in the center of the photo:

Not only did we enjoy a visit with Steve and Jackie (and pup Jill, of course), we finally got to meet and have dinner in San Antonio with Alan and Mary. I got hooked on Mary's blog, Reflections Around the Campfire ( years ago because it was so interesting and well written. As somewhat of a stickler for what I hope is good storytelling and especially accuracy in the mechanics of writing, I was impressed. I began to joke with Mary in my comments when I would find a very rare error in grammar, punctuation and the like. This was something I could never do with most bloggers or anyone else, for that matter, as they would be offended at my pointing out what is usually a plethora of errors. (Yes, it is an OCD thing of mine, but I try to control it in order to retain friends.) Mary was a good sport, however, and gave back as good as she got. However, such a dry revelry has a relatively short lifespan, so we now just enjoy each other's blogs without the good-natured harassment--well, most of the time

We met at the Fish City Grill, where we enjoyed a wonderful seafood dinner and much conversation and laughing. It's funny how it's really not so surprising to meet a longtime cyber friend; we felt as though we already knew each other!

Well, that's quite a lot to chew for one blog post, so I'll run along and admit that we will be quite busy for a while with the move from Hondo to Lindale. 

What do we have in the planning stage? Well, there will be Thanksgiving and Christmas with the kids, of course, then Branson in the spring, where we will be meeting up with more RVing friends. We're not sure about next summer but, in the fall, we will probably be doing the leaf-peeping thing in New England and up to Maine. That's the one place in the country we haven't really spent much time, but we'll fly there instead of driving Phannie.

So there you have it. As our friend Ed always says, "Life is Good."  

Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful life; please forgive me if I don't appreciate it as I should every day.

We don't stop playing because we get old; we get old because we stop playing. 
 ---George Bernard Shaw

"I get up every morning, and I just don't let the old man in." ---Clint Eastwood