Sunday, May 27, 2007

San Antonio to Lewisville (Dallas) May 16-19, 2007

Wednesday, May 16th, was the 1st anniversary of our full-timing adventure!!!  It has been a good year of seeing beautiful parts of the country and having the freedom to stay in our own home (the 5th wheel trailer) while we visit with family in Texas.
(Just the cutest kid in the universe! That from his Grammy) :) :) :)

Wednesday, May 16th we left Admiralty RV Park in San Antonio for a beautiful 111 mile drive with fields of wild flowers bordering the highway.
Indian Paintbrush and cattle:

Blue Bonnets & yellow flowers:

We arrived at Fort Mason City Park, in Mason, Texas about 1:15 pm. This is the kind of day we like when we travel. Leave about 10am and stopping after no more than three or four hours of driving.
Fort Mason City Park is a pretty little park with about 25 sites nestled under a grove of pecan trees. Adjacent to the park is an 18 hole golf course. The fairways and greens don’t look like they get a lot of tender loving care. We don’t golf so we aren’t able to provide more info about the course.
Beautiful campsite under the mature pecan trees at the city park:

Mason is a very pretty town & county with a population of about 2200 & 3800 respectively. We dropped into the Chamber of Commerce office and picked up magazines, maps, and brochures with excellent visitor information about the area.
Mason is the county seat for Mason County, so in the center of the town is the county courthouse & square. Surrounding the square are two or three restaurants, several shops, a bank, antique store, etc. Mason, Texas web site:
As we usually do in these small towns we look for interesting restaurants to eat lunch at, and we were not disappointed in Mason. After we arrived Wednesday, we ate a late lunch/early dinner (about 2pm) at Cooper’s Bar-B-Q. The way they serve the Bar-B-Q is different. When you walk up to the restaurant entrance, there is a sign saying stop here at the large iron smoking pit and select the meat you want to eat. The pit master then carries your selections in the restaurant where you select your side orders, beverage, etc and pay. I don’t know if this is a new trend, or just how they have always served Bar-B-Q in Central Texas. We also experienced this kind of service at a Bar-B-Q in Brady, Tx. There is usually quite a selection of meats available. Of course the usual smoked brisket, sausage & chicken, but also pork chops, prime rib & goat.

On Thursday we had a great lunch at the Willow Creek Café. The lunch special was chicken fried steak, baked potato, vegetable, desert, ice tea or coffee for $7. Needless to say we left stuffed and had to take a nap. I have no idea why it is hard to lose weight, or keep from gaining weight!! :)

One of the brochures gave detailed driving directions to three tours in Mason County to view the wild flowers, beautiful ranch land and old ranch homes, some of which were built in the late 1800’s. Many of these old homes are still occupied by descendants of the original settlers. Some of these county roads are gravel, and in places a little rough where the roads drop into low water crossings.

Green Heron at Beaver Creek:

A rock ranch house built in late 1800’s:

Moving on toward Lewisville Friday:

We spent two nights in Mason and left (very early for us) at 7am. We left early so we could stop at Dan’s Machine & Welding shop in Brady, Texas.

A sidebar about why the stop at Dan’s Machine & Welding Shop:

In late March this year while spending the night in Brady we discovered we had a broken leaf spring on our 5th wheel axel. Due to errors in information from NuWa (the manufacturer of our HitchHiker) and lack of diligence from the owner & worker at Dan’s Machine, the incorrect length leaf springs were ordered and installed on the trailer. (OOPS)
While in San Antonio in April, Al realized the wrong springs were on the trailer.

The thing (equalizer) in the middle should be level instead of one side higher than the other. This is caused by one spring being longer than the other.

Close up view of the equalizer:

In San Antonio we took the trailer to Southwest Wheel and they installed the correct length springs and adjusted the trailer brakes. My hat is off to Southwest Wheel. They did a superb job of replacing the springs, aligning the axels and adjusting the brakes. All the work was done with a friendly smile, a helpful attitude AND at a reasonable price! :) :) :)

We arrived at Dan’s about 10 minutes before they opened at 8am. We spent about 1 ½ hours discussing the problem with Dan and getting a refund of half of the cost of replacing the springs. Dan is really a very nice and seemingly honest person. It was an unfortunate set of circumstances which caused the incorrect springs to be installed. A lesson learned by Al is to inspect all work done before leaving. Then we could have corrected the problem then and there. Of course we would have cooled our heels for another several days in Brady waiting for parts and the work to be completed. The camping facilities available in Brady don’t appeal to us to spend more than over night.

Then it was on to Copperas Creek Corps of Engineers CG on Proctor Lake a few miles outside of Comanche, Texas. We arrived shortly before noon and thought about maybe driving on to Sarita’s in Lewisville, an additional 145 mile drive. However the last 40 miles would be driving though Fort Worth and Dallas traffic. This meant, with stopping for lunch, we would be arriving about 4pm and still have to back the trailer into Sarita’s back yard. Due to the configuration of her driveway it takes us about 30 minutes to back the trailer in. The problem is that the driveway has an 18” by 18” brick post on one side of the entrance to the back yard, followed by an iron gate, the then to top things off, there is a dogleg to the left starting just after the gate. This gives us about 2” clearance on each side of the trailer when going past the brick post and through the gate. I am going to have to create a post about backing the trailer into Sarita's drive way, one of these days!

In the end we decided to spend the night at Copperas Creek CG. It sure is nice being retired and to not have to rush to some place because we are short on time. It is a hard life. :)

We had a pleasant campsite under some shade trees with a pretty view of a cove and the lake in the distance.

Morning view from the back of the trailer:

That evening we were sitting outside enjoying happy hour about 6pm. Down the way from the back of our trailer, was a family with a boy about 9 years old, fishing and feeding two or three ducks pieces of bread. Suddenly we started hearing a loud honking coming from the water a little to our left, but out of sight. At first we though it was the ducks giving out a loud quacks, but then shortly we saw two geese swimming across the little cove to where the duck were being fed. While the geese were swimming across the cove they continued to honk. From prior experience we know how aggressive geese or any wildlife that have lost their fear of humans can be when people are feeding them and you run out of food or just want to stop feeding them. Geese can and will start biting your legs or any other part of your body they can reach. In the case of children, geese are large enough to reach up to the arms, hands and maybe even the face. Sure enough once the family stopped feeding the geese, the geese approached to within a foot or two of the adults and demanded food. Fortunately these geese weren’t bold enough to actually attack the humans. All’s well that ends well. 

Just about dark three cars pulled into the campsite right next to us. Out piled 6 or 7 “Yutes” (“Yutes” comes from the movie “My Cousin Vinnie” and is Brooklyneese for “youths”). Oh boy we thought, here comes noise through out the night! :( :( They did play the radio and did talk until after 2am, but they were quiet and well mannered. :) :) We knew they were up until after 2am because both Sharon and Al usually wake up for a few minutes in the 1am to 3am time period. Before we left in the morning Al thanked them for being polite and quiet the night before. We called this group “Yutes”, but this is from our perspective being in our 60’s. They were in the early 20’s to early 30’s age group. Not exactly teenagers.

Saturday: Took our time as usual, packed up and left shortly after 10am. Took us about 3½ hours to go the 145 miles to daughter’s. There was an extra half an hour delay in there because of some stop and go traffic in Fort Worth and Lewisville. So much for light traffic on Saturday! :(

Pictures at our Daughter's  house in Lewisville.

Front yard:

Back yard:

Our trailer in the back yard:

Future Itinerary
We will be staying our daughter's back yard until mid June. Then we will head into the mountains around Santa Fe, NM for three or four weeks. We will probably spend most of late July and August in the mountains in South Central Colorado. We have an appointment at the NuWa (pronounced New Way) factory, in Southeast Kansas, the last Tuesday in August to have a window installed at the head of our bed in the trailer. Right now we have a small window on the right and left side of our bed. We spend a lot of time in places w/o electricity for air conditioning and want the window for extra ventilation. Also we like to be able to lie in bed and look out the window at night and in the early morning.

We plan on being back at daughter’s for Labor Day weekend and then back in San Antonio the first week in October or earlier to be on hand for the birth of our second grandchild, due in late October. We are planning on spending the winter in San Antonio again.

That’s all for now.

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