Monument, Colorado

Hello from Monument, Colorado!

Half way thru summer! We have been busy, not with RVing so much, but many other things.

We arrived in Black River Falls late May with no big incidents from the Florida pan-handle. Tried our first Wal-Mart camping in northern Alabama, no troubles, but very interesting to say the least.

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Eric, Molly, Shawn & Alex

Early June, we spent time in Minnesota for our great-niece’s, Molly, high school graduation, and had a great time, quite a few family members were also able to attend.

July found us helping Elmer & Leota, Mark’s parents, close on the river house and move them to temporary housing until the new housing unit in Black River is completed.

Elmer & Leota at the River House
Elmer & Leota at the River House

On to Connover to visit a couple of friends from Kay’s Cub Food Store Days. Becki & Paul have been kind enough to host us and Lee & Kathy’s visit.

Kay, Becki & Kathy
Kay, Becki & Kathy

And now we are in Monument, Colorado visiting Kay’s sister Jan & her husband Jim.

Colorado is such a beautiful state with the Rocky’s as a back drop. We have had a chance to visit a few area’s, Old Colorado Springs for the farmer’s market, monument2

Kay & Mark at the "Broadmoor"
Kay & Mark at the “Broadmoor”
Momma deer nursing at the "Broadmoor"
Momma deer nursing at the “Broadmoor”

 

lunch at a local brewery gave us a chance to sample a cold one. Kay’s sister, Sharon and her daughter Kim joined us for lunch at the Broadmoor, an old famous hotel/resort here in Colorado Springs dating back to the early 1900’s.

Sharon, Kim & Kay
  Sharon, Kim & Kay

 

Church on Sunday July 20, 2014 - Monument, CO
Church on Sunday July 20, 2014 – Monument, CO

Until later…

Mark & Kay

Destin & beyond

Destin & Beyond!

 

Destin has always been a favorite area for us before we started the full-timing. We started visiting Destin in the mid 90’s with the kids. Beaches are the sugar sand, beautiful white and the water is the deep blue that says come, swim!!destin110

 

We camped at Henderson Beach State Park. We had made our reservations 11 months earlier, via Reserve America. Fourteen days, moved to Topsail for one night, and then returned to Henderson for the duration of our visit.

 

The beach was a short walk down a nice board-walk. The first week, a lot of ran fell in the pan-handle. We had around 12 inches within 36 hours. Pensacola had 19 inches during the same time period and was featured on the national news. (Thanks for the calls and concern. We were not in the path of severe weather, just wet!) We worked on the tan once the weather broke.

 

We made a trip to see a practice of the Blue Angles in Pensacola. They are amazing to watch. We sat in awe!!!destin51

up, up & away!
up, up & away!

 

We visited with the Zimmer’s and spend time at their condo. Jim’s niece and her husband, Mag’s & Steve, along with Billy & Jodi were also visiting, so we were able to catch up with old ( not “old”, but long-time) friends. A lefse bake with Jim, Linda & Greg Zimmer rounded out our Destin stay.

Kay & Jim at the lefse grill
Kay & Jim at the lefse grill

 

Monday, May 19th found us on the road heading to Wisconsin for the summer. We will be in Minnesota in June, northern Wisconsin in July, and working on the calendar for the next 12 months…

Bruce relaxing with a cold one!!
Bruce relaxing with a cold one!!

 

Summer is always busy, so until we find more to write, enjoy your summer!!

 

Mark, Kay & Bruce

 

Grayton Beach, FL

We’ve spent the last two weeks at the Grayton Beach State Park located about 20 miles east of Destin. We had our first tire blow-out on the trailer about 20 miles from our destination. It was on the drivers side towards the I-10 interstate side so we decided to call Good Sam’s for some help. Got set-up at the state park before dark and walked around the park to get our bearings.

Grayton Beach
Grayton Beach

 

Tuesday, we drove into Destin and met our friend Jim for lunch at the Boathouse, of course Oyster’s are served!

Boathouse - Boardwalk Destin
Boathouse – Boardwalk Destin

Thursday evening both Jim & Linda joined us for dinner at the campground.

Jim & Linda
Jim & Linda

Grayton Beach is kind of an old funky little village on the gulf with beautiful beaches. We spend time on the beach and just hanging out. We stumbled upon the Hurricane Bar which welcomed Bruce to join us for happy hour. A dozen oysters and 5 beers for $13 bucks! What a steal!

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Bruce at Hurricane Bar
Bruce at Hurricane Bar

 

 

The following week on Tuesday evening we meet friends Tim & Geri from Milwaukee at a place called “Stinky’s.” We had planned to have dinner, but the wait was over an hour, so we went next door where there was live entertainment. Turns out the band consisted of John a fella we new from earlier visits to Destin along with a few other band members. As we sat visiting, we discovered that one of the other band members was John’s brother from Muskego. What a small world!!

John & his brother Jeff
John & his brother Jeff

On Easter Sunday, we drove with the Zimmer’s back to Fairhope, AL to join Jeff & Suzanne at the Frog Pond to listen to two bands. The Frog Pond is an old farm that the owner has built a stage for various start-up bands to perform. Everybody brings a dish to pass and BYOB along with your own chairs. Two bands performed that afternoon, Willie Sugarcapps and the Mulligan Brothers. Very fun!

The Frog Pond
The Frog Pond

After our maximum 14 days at Grayton Beach, we moved to Henderson Beach State Park.

More later…

Alabama

 

We arrived at Bay Breeze RV park just outside of Gulf Shores, AL late Monday afternoon. al48

As we were leaving Mississippi, Kay noticed a low tire on the camper. Upon a little investigation, we found we had a screw in the tread. As luck would have it, a truck tire repair place was just up the road, so we were able to get the tire repaired right away. Bay Breeze is right on Mobile Bay with the Gulf of Mexico over our shoulders. The park is a little snug, but the owners are very helpful getting you into your site, and the views are well worth the effort!

Pier at Bay Breeze - Gulf
Pier at Bay Breeze – Gulf

 

We had made arrangements to get together with Jeff and Suzanne Zimmer. They visited the campground Wednesday late afternoon with their son James.

Jeff, Suzanne & James
Jeff, Suzanne & James

Later on we joined them at ‘LuLu’s’ to have drinks, dinner and listen to the band Sugarcane Jane. LuLu’s is told to be owned by Jimmy Buffet’s sister. A fun evening!al27

Mark & Kay @ LuLu's
Mark & Kay @ LuLu’s

 

Friday 4/4 we drove to Fairhope, AL to visit with Jeff & Suzanne at their home on Mobile Bay and have lunch and again listen to an entertainer by the name of Lisa Mills. She has written some of her own songs and was delightful to listen to. As she was playing, she was mussing about her ‘promo’ case was not open, so Mark, the gentleman he is strolled up to the stage to help and open her case to display her promo cd’s, etc. Of course being it was 4/4, Kay hollered up to the entertainer and mentioned it was Mark’s B-day, which of course was then celebrated by all…

 

We meet all kinds of nice folks at Bay Breeze that we spent enjoying sunsets off the pier.

Sunset - Gulf Shores
Sunset – Gulf Shores

 

Wednesday we had to make a trip to the library to print off a few things,

Kay & the Frog @ the Library
Kay & the Frog @ the Library

then off to Wayne’s Barber Shop for a trim job and Kay found a little shop for her hair too. Wayne himself had highly recommended the ACME Oyster House for lunch, and they of course had oyster’s on the half-shell.

more oysters...
more oysters…

 

Thursday, we had found out about a ‘free’ concert in the park. After the concert, we went back to Acme Oyster House to try the Char-grilled oyster’s…al46al45

 

The two Sunday’s we were in Gulf Shores we attended the Gulf Shores United Methodist Church. The first Sunday they were celebrating 50 years as a congregation. It is quite a church, with three services split between the main large traditional church, and the expansion hall, which is the anchor of a strip mall across the parking lot from the main church.

Gulf Shores UMC
Gulf Shores UMC

 

The rest of the time at Gulf Shores was spent hiking on some of the trails and of course a little beach time!

Shadowy images...
Shadowy images…

The owners of Bay Breeze RV Park were very helpful as we left on Monday 4/14

Jerry, Paulette, Mike & PoahBear
Jerry, Paulette, Mike & PoahBear

to head to the Destin area, our final area for the next 6 weeks before heading North…

Louisiana

Made it out of Texas without a drawl! We’ll see what happens to us in Louisiana after a week…la23

We moved on Monday to a little Parish (county) run park on the intercoastal riverway just south of Lake Charles, LA.

Intercostal Park
Intercostal Park

Our camper was backed right up to the waterway beneath a drawbridge. The barge traffic was fun to watch, and every once in a while a larger, taller vessel would come by and the bridge would have to be raised.

draw bridge - Intercoastal
draw bridge – Intercoastal

That usually took a half hour, so the traffic would be backed up. Late one afternoon we say the bridge keeper pull up and hike the steps to the control room, sound the horn and raise the bridge. We keep watching for this large vessel to come by, but it turned out to be a sailboat with a tall mast that stopped the traffic as he slowly meander under the raised bridge. We had planned to move Wednesday morning, but as we sat having coffee and looking out the back window, a pair of dolphins decided to entertain us, so we stayed another day.

Thursday, we moved to Layfatte, LA to a place called Poche’s Fish-n-camp. la61

They had 5 ponds on the property, so we practiced our casting, not catching! A couple we meet in Houston had recommended Poche’s and had told of us about Poche’s store just down the road that served a plate lunch that the locals eat. We had to give it a try. Mark had the BBQ beef and Kay had a plate of the crawfish effique (spelling??), both were delicious, and wetted our appetite for more crawfish!! Later, we took a trip to Avery Island and toured the Tabasco bottling plant. They put Tabasco on everything, including ice cream!!

Avery Island
Avery Island

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Saturday, we had a mission to find crawfish. The guide magazine we had suggested a place called Crawfish City. Very large restaurant with a concrete bar, a very rushed wait staff and kind of a ‘cold’ atmosphere, so we moved on going to downtown Breaux Bridges. A little like Galena, IL, artsy, craftsy, old downtown area.

Breaux Bridges, LA
Breaux Bridges, LA

We stumbled into a French café looking for lunch. We looked over the menu, and it looked average. The waitress asked for our order, and we explained that we wanted something with crawfish. The waitress said ‘just a minute, I get mama’ who was the ‘chef’ to come over which started the whole thing… What are you interested in she inquired in her ‘french-cajun’ dialect. Telling her of Kay’s desire for crawfish, she said she would whip up some type of dish that had crawfish stuffing, then she looked at me and suggested that I should have a gator dish of her doings, and off to the kitchen she went, returning about a half-hour later with two fantastic meals made from scratch. She insisted on a piece of 7 layer chocolate cake to finish off the meal. What a find! On the way out we asked to take a picture with her. She insisted that Mark make himself comfortable on her lap!!

Jacqueline's Cafe
Jacqueline’s Cafe

 

Sunday, we moved to Bay St. Louis, MS to Buccaneer state park which was right on the gulf.

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Only a few miles from a little town called Kiln.  la65

heading toward Alabama!
heading toward Alabama!

Monday we make our way to Gulf Shores, AL for a couple of weeks.

Houston

We moved last Monday from Port Aransas via the ferry to the Advanced RV Park in SW Houston. It rained most of the trip, but had let up as we were setting up. Nice modern park with a nice pool and clubhouse. Tuesday Pete & Carol Westerfield, Mark’s uncle and aunt stopped for a visit at the park.   We made plans to get together the following Saturday at their house not far from the park. They had many good suggestions for touristy things to do.

Wednesday, we did a little touring downtown Houston making a stop at the Houston Astro’s ball park.

Minute Maid Park
Minute Maid Park
Houston aquarium
Houston aquarium

The ball park tours were sold out for the next week, so we weren’t able to see much there. On the way back to the RV park, we stopped by Bass Pro Shop, and had a sinful appetizer of venison stuffed mushrooms. Diets will be starting soon…

 

Thursday, we visited Galveston Island. Galveston is about an hour from Houston, depending on traffic. We found a little coffee shop on the Seawall where we had a coffee and an order of beigets. Haven’t had them since our last visit to New Orleans. Very interesting community regarding the hurricanes, rebuilding, shipping, immigration port and all. We toured the Moody Mansion, had a very interesting tour guide from the Boston area. She did a fantastic job of sharing her knowledge of the Moody family heirloom and history of the island.

Moody Manion - Galveston
Moody Manion – Galveston

After our tour, we had a recommendation from Carol for some good seafood gumbo at a place called (what else) ‘the Gumbo Bar’

Galveston
Galveston
fresh gumbo
fresh gumbo

The gumbo was full of all the creatures from the sea, crab, oysters, crawfish… YUM! Finally, we toured a mock set-up of an off-shore oil rig, houston3m

Bruce at Galveston
Bruce at Galveston Sea Wall

and watched cruise ship leave Galveston.

Friday was a pool day as the temps increased and the sun was shinning!! Saturday, the park hosted a pancake breakfast. We meet another fulltime rv couple who has been on the road for 13 years. We shared our experiences and they made a recommendation for a stop in Lafayette, LA. Later that afternoon, we drove to Pete & Carol Westerfield’s. We had a great visit with Amy, Aaron and their families. On the ride home, we both looked at each other and said, ‘no pictures!’ Oh well, it was great to get together with cousins; Amy’s chicken fried steak was fantastic!!

Sunday, we attended a Methodist Church just around the corner from the RV park. Later, we decided to take in the Houston Rodeo,

Houston Rodeo
Houston Rodeo

with Zac Brown preforming at the end of the rodeo.

"selfy" at Zac Brown!!
“selfy” at Zac Brown!!

houston1k

Zac Brown concert Houston Rodeo
Zac Brown concert Houston Rodeo

We had seen Zac Brown back in Milwaukee before they made it big. Fantastic rodeo and the concert was great! Lousy seats but the price was right!

East to Louisiana…

Oysters!

Last Thursday we arose around 5:30am and hiked to the wharf area in hopes of catching a sunrise.  As the sun rose in the east as it normally does, we realized a large condo complex was able to view the sunrise better than us.  Poor planning on our part!

early am - Port Aransas
early am – Port Aransas

 

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Later that afternoon, we found a place called the Back Porch that allowed dogs, and their owners could grab a cold one.

Back Porch
Back Porch

 

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As we were enjoying an adult beverage, a lady from Michigan and her mother listened to our story of getting up for sunrise.  She had a great suggestion, the sunsets are also lovely, and at a better time of the day!  We also became aware that if we would have waited a few days, the time would have changed!!  So much to learn…

Bruce at the beach...
Bruce at the beach…

Friday was a gorgeous “sun” day, so we adjusted our plans and spent the day at the beach, electing to go to Fulton for the oyster festival on Saturday.  We arrived in the town of Fulton just as the parade kicked off.

port26port27

We positioned ourselves at the end of the parade route, where two gals were mixing Bloody’s.  Great site!!  After the parade, we went directly to the oyster tent to get ½  dozen oysters.  port30

keep em coming!!
keep em coming!!

Mark got to have two before the rest were swallowed by the other team member!!

Later that week, our new friends we had meet in Mission made it to Port Aransas.  We meet them at Virginia’s (where we watched the Mardi Gras parade) for dinner on Thursday evening.  There again, Mark was able to get 2 of the ½ dozen before they were finished.  If you are counting, Mark has now had ½ dozen oysters and is actually enjoying them!  Wonders and taste buds are changing!!

The week-end weather was a little iffy, so we kinda laid low and got ready to move to Houston.

More later from Houston…

The End of February 2014

The month of February is in the books!  We finished our time in Mission last Sunday by saying good-bye to a couple from Iowa we had met at the First United Methodist Church.  After church, we meet Grant & Donna along with Gary & Barb at Diaz’s diner, downtown Mission to say good-bye to them.  Finally, we enjoyed a picnic under one of the Palapa’s  with friends we had meet over the past month at Bentsen Palm Resort.  Plans for Alaska and other adventures were floated…

Picinic at Bentsen
Picinic at Bentsen

bentsen1b

Temps went from the 90’s Sunday afternoon to rainy and 50’s Monday morning as we departed Mission and took a course for Port Aransas on Mustang Island.  We arrived mid-afternoon via the ferry.  Bruce had a some reservations, but we all made it across the pass safe and sound.

port7port8

Do you think this thing will float?
Do you think this thing will float?

We got set-up and relaxed for the remaindered of the afternoon.

Tuesday was a Mardi Gras parade right down-town Port Aransas.  The weather again was not what we came to Texas for, so we took cover at ‘Virginia’s’ on the waterfront.  We were in luck, they served cold beer and oysters, oh and the parade went right by us!! Beads galore!  New Orleans has nothing on these folks here in Port Aransas!

Fat Tuesday!
Fat Tuesday!

mardi14-6

Beads & all!!
Beads & all!!

Wednesday, we drove back into Corpus Christi and toured the USS Lexington, a WWII vintage aircraft carrier which is permanently anchored in the bay.  It was a very nicely laid out self-guided tour and we found it very interesting.

Gunner get ready!
Gunner get ready!

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"One Question Honorable Sir..."
“One Question Honorable Sir…”

Later, we attended Ash Wednesday services  at the Island of the Son UMC here on the island

As they concluded the announcements on the USS Lexington, THAT IS ALL.

Last Sunday, we attended church here in Mission.  The afternoon was spent on the banks of the Rio Grande at picnic hosted by the park, hot dogs, brats, chips.

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A golf driving contest to hit the balls across the Rio Grande into Mexico.  Not much of feat, since the river is fairly narrow here.  Not long after,  the border patrol zipped by in their patrol boat.

At 4pm, we went back to the church for a country-gospel sing. Texas seems to have 2 types of music, country And western…bentsen61

The Rio Grande birding center is right next to our park here in Mission.  We have been there a couple of times.  The center is on the banks of the Rio Grande also and has a lot of land to host migrating birds.  bentsen34

Mark keeping an eye out for the birds!
Mark keeping an eye out for the birds!

 

Kay has been busy keeping herself fit by attending exercise class here at the park.  You can see she has been working up a sweat!  bentsen52

Bruce not so much…bentsen49

Grant & Donna had told us about a hamburger joint in Donna, TX named Garcia’s.

Grant & Donna, and their friends meet us at Garcia's
Grant & Donna, and their friends meet us at Garcia’s

It was an old grocery, and the story goes that the kids would stop after school looking for a snack, so they started grinding burger, and frying it up.  The grocery has since closed, but the burger is still ground daily, and when they run out, they shut down.  The line is out the door to get these burgers, but they are well worth the wait!!

Yum!!
Yum!!

Thats all the news for now,

Mark & Kay

 

 

mid february report

I think we are going to enjoy this adjustment to our life-style…

We meet up with Grant & Donna Zinnecker last Sunday.  Turns out their lot is next door!  We had breakfast with them last Sunday after church at the Diaz Dinner downtown old Mission and then spent a few hours Sunday afternoon catching up with them and learning the ins and outs of the full-time lifestyle.  They left the Milwaukee area 22 years ago and have been enjoying time on the road since.  We are hoping to gain lots of knowledge from them!

Mission is actually a city of 77,000 and is right on the border.  We have a lot of border patrol activities in the area, in fact Thursday evening the border patrol had the chopper hoovering just outside the gates.  We feel very secure even with the activities around us.

Thursday we went to Mexico to have that experience.  The hawkers were promoting the Valentines Day ‘purple pill’ along with just about every other medication you might want at a very good price.  No prescription needed!bentsen15bentsen14Downtown Progresso, MX

Tuesday the park here has a jam session with the campers.  It was a cool day, so we took in the event

camper jam session
camper jam session

Later that evening, we meet up with Sam  in the town of Alamo at Wille’s Bar-B-Que joint, just a little hole-in-the-wall joint, but the Bar-B-Q was delicious and pretty reasonable, like $9 for your choice of bar-b-q, and three sides.  We had to wait for this table to open, but the wait was worth it…

Kay & her other man
Kay & her other man

Saturday evening, the park hosted a Country local singer Roland Garcia.  Grant & Donna along with their friends from Michigan joined us for the evening.

Bruce has also been adjusting to this lifestyle.  A fenced in dog park is here in the park.  He knows the way!

Bruce anticipating a trip to the dog bark!
Bruce anticipating a trip to the dog park!

 

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Looking forward to another busy week here in the valley…

Mark & Kay