West Texas Rally

We rolled into Alpine, Texas last Sunday, March 12th for the West Texas Heartland Owners Club rally. We had a great turnout. There were a couple rigs already in before Sunday, and others filtered in during the first part of the week.


Our site at Lost Alaskan RV Park

We visited with those that arrived on or before Sunday, then relaxed outside during the evening hours. On Monday, Malcolm worked most of the day and Val worked on some of her sewing projects. On Tuesday, Malcolm worked up until lunchtime, then we headed to downtown Alpine to wander around town and to eat lunch.


One of the many murals downtown

We had lunch at a restaurant called Reata. It was a little pricey, but good food. Early in the week, there wasn’t much else open downtown for lunch. We wandered through a few shops before heading back to the trailer.

On Wednesday, our Heartland neighbors across from us invited us and several others over to have hot dogs for lunch.


Impromptu Hot Dog Lunch

On Wednesday evening, many of the club members loaded up in vehicles and headed up to the McDonald Observatory near Fort Davis. We didn’t get any reservations and Val didn’t feel too well, so we decided to stay back at the park. The others said it was a very good program.

On Thursday, Malcolm worked in the morning, then we headed north to visit Fort Davis (both the town and the National Historic Site). We had lunch at the Fort Davis Drugstore and Hotel. The food was really good. We ate our meal in relative quiet in the upstairs dining room.


Downtown Fort Davis

After lunch we shopped for a bit at several of the stores along the main street, then we headed over to the Fort Davis National Historic Site.


Fort Davis

We arrived just in time to see a demonstration on different firearms that would have been used in the 1800’s.


Firearms Demonstration

After the demonstration, we wandered around the grounds and checked out some of the buildings. We also stopped and talked to this gentleman about the mounted cavalry and their lives.


Mounted Cavalry

After visiting Fort Davis NHS, we stopped across the street and had some excellent ice cream treats from Herbert’s Caboose.


Time for Ice Cream

On Thursday evening, several of the club members drove out to the Marfa Lights viewing area to see if we could see any of the Marfa Mystery Lights (see sign, below). We didn’t see any while we were there, but it was a nice outing.


Marfa Mystery Lights Sign

We headed downtown to Alpine for a short while on Friday afternoon and did a little looking around. On Friday evening we had a rally meet-n-greet pitch-in and got to sit down with a lot of friends, both old and new.

On Saturday, we headed downtown to Alpine again. We stopped at the farmers’ market. There weren’t many fresh vegetables or fruits, but a lot of homemade items. We also stopped by a thrift store we had seen as well as walked through a couple more neat stores we missed the previous visits.

We ate lunch at the Holland Hotel in downtown Alpine. The actual restaurant is The Century Bar and Grill. They were only serving bar food for lunch, but it was great tasting food.


The Holland Hotel

After lunch, we met a group of rally-goers at the Museum of the Big Bend on the campus of Sul Ross University in Alpine. There were many neat and informative exhibits about the area. One place we did not visit and probably should have was Big Bend National Park, about 100 miles south of Alpine.


Museum of the Big Bend

After the museum visit, many of us traveled over to the other side of town to visit the Big Bend Brewing Company. We took a brewery tour and Malcolm sampled some of their beers. He said they were pretty tasty.


Big Bend Brewing Company

After the brewery tour, it was back to the campground to get ready for a tasty dinner of smoked bar-b-que meats from the grill. The food was great. After the dinner, many prizes were given away or auctioned off. We won a big outdoor collapsible trash can. After all the food and prizes were spoken for, we headed back to the trailer. Malcolm had some emergency work (overtime!) he had to take care of and we made sure we had everything packed up to hit the road on Sunday (today).

We stopped by the rally hall and grabbed some breakfast pastries and visited with those that were there and said our goodbyes. We hit the road this morning and are stopped in Junction, Texas for the night tonight.

We had to change plans a couple days ago as Malcolm had a crown on one of his teeth pop off. It appears to be in good shape, so we put it in a baggie. We’re heading back to Wetumpka so that Malcolm can go to the dentist in Montgomery and have it put back on. We’ll head back out from Wetumpka next week to attend the Louisiana Chapter Heartland Owners Club rally.


Westward Ho

Current Location: Riverbend RV Park, Luling, Texas

Let’s see, at last count in the blog, we were getting ready to leave our lot in Florida. Today, we’re in Texas. Allow us to recount the last several days for you.

We left Florida on Sunday of this week and traveled the entire distance to Wetumpka to stay at Fort Toulouse. We ran errands there on Monday, including stopping by our storage unit and grabbing about eight totes and a shelving unit. We took those all back to the rig and packed them all into the basement of the trailer.

We will stop back through on the way back to Florida after this current trip and pick up more totes and another shelving unit. We’ll use one of our storage sheds in Florida to put them all in. We’ll eventually release the storage unit we’re renting in Alabama once we clear it out later this year.

We left Wetumpka on Wednesday, which was also our 31st wedding anniversary. Before hitching up the trailer to leave, we stopped by the local Dunkin’ Donuts to grab some breakfast.


Anniversary Breakfast

As we were driving around Montgomery, Alabama, we were passed by a pickup truck carrying a bed full of junk. An aluminum screen door laying on top of the pile blew loose and headed straight for our truck. Malcolm swerved away as much as was safe, but the screen door hit the truck and flew underneath where we ran over it with all the left-hand truck and trailer tires.

We pulled over to assess any damage. The other pickup truck slowed, but went on up the road (they were actually going to the next intersection to turn back around and come back). We didn’t see any damage and headed on up the road, giving the pickup driver a thumbs up as we passed. We didn’t find the damage until we stopped for lunch. It’s pretty minor, just scratched paint on the front bumper. We’ll get some touch-up paint and fix it later on.


Scratches on the Bumper

We stopped for the night in Biloxi, Mississippi. We took care of some laundry but otherwise just relaxed in the trailer for the evening. Malcolm took the truck around the corner and filled the fuel tank.


Our un-scenic site in Biloxi

We left Biloxi on Thursday morning and headed to Westlake, Louisiana (near Lake Charles). On the way, the truck indicated it was time for an oil change and for new fuel filters. We stopped for the evening at Whispering Meadows RV Park, where our friends Andy and Joanna Grimes are currently staying. Andy brought their two dogs – Rowdy and Kaydee – down to our site to visit until Joanna got home from work.


Malcolm’s Two Buddies

We invited Andy and Joanna to share our anniversary meal with us. They drove and picked a great restaurant for us. We had a great time.


Whispering Meadows

This morning, Malcolm headed out early to the Ford dealer to get the oil changed and fuel filters changed. They had him in and out in about an hour. He headed back to the trailer and we hitched up and rolled out by 9:00 in the morning.

Today we drove from Westlake to Luling, Texas where we are currently staying for the night. We have two more days before we arrive in Alpine, Texas where we are meeting several friends for a rally sponsored by the West Texas Chapter of the Heartland Owners Club. We’ll be there all next week.



Well, One More Catch-Up Post

Current Location: Fort Toulouse Campground, Wetumpka, Alabama

We got busy and had fun traveling and visiting folks and let our blogging lapse once again. We’re sure it won’t be the last time. So, what have we been up to since we left our friends in Burleson, Texas?

From there, we headed back down to Lake Conroe and stayed at the Lake Conroe KOA for an evening. From there, we headed back down to the Houston area then across I-10, stopping in Scott, Louisiana for two nights.

While in Scott, we had dinner out with our friends Nick and Sheila. We dropped by their place and give them some anniversary gifts that we had found through the year while traveling. The next day we drove down to meet Nick and Sheila for lunch near Nick’s office. From there, we headed down to New Iberia and the Conrad Rice Company to pick up some rice and other items. We went to Nick and Sheila’s for dinner before heading back to the trailer to get ready to head out early in the morning.

On Thursday, we were on the road by 7:00 am. We drove the entire 446 miles from Scott, Louisiana to Wetumpka, Alabama, arriving around 4:00 pm. We would have been close to an hour earlier except for a couple of long backups on the interstate.

Our plan was to stay here in Alabama through tonight and head out tomorrow morning towards Clarksville, Indiana to our trailer’s selling dealer. We were scheduled for a wheel bearing and brake check as part of the (free) “Warranty Forever” program included with our trailer. We had also purchased another aftermarket extended warranty when we purchased the trailer, as well.

When Malcolm called our dealer today to verify that we had an appointment on Thursday and that they would be able to get us in and out in a day, he didn’t get any warm fuzzy feelings from the service person on the phone, who indicated they’d “do their best” but he couldn’t guarantee anything since they only had two technicians scheduled to work that day and that they were pretty backed up.

We made the decision to forgo the “free” warranty by not having the service done at the dealer. After looking at the costs to drive up to Clarksville and back, along with campground costs and the cost of the service, we would be out about $700-800. Definitely not a free warranty at that cost. So, we’re staying here in Wetumpka probably until mid-November. Malcolm will do the brake and bearing service on the trailer himself.

So, now that we’re here for a while, we’ll be settling down so that Malcolm can work more or less full-time for most of the rest of the year. We will probably only travel from here to see David around Thanksgiving, then back here for the remainder of the year.


Catch-Up Post – Texas Campout

Current Location: North Texas Jellystone, Burleson, Texas

We’ve been so busy having fun and traveling, and Malcolm has been busy working in-between, so our blog has not gotten a lot of attention lately. This should be the third and last of a few posts to catch up.

We left Chattanooga on Sunday, September 25th and headed down to Wetumpka, Alabama to our old stand-by, the Fort Toulouse campground. We were stopping in to town to go to a baby shower for the daughter of some of our good friends in the area. We had a nice time at the shower, then headed back to the trailer for the evening.

On Monday, we left Wetumpka and headed south, stopping at another old stand-by, Cajun RV Park in Biloxi, Mississippi. On Tuesday we headed west and stopped in Westlake, Louisiana (near Lake Charles) and visited with our good friends Andy and Joanna Grimes. We went out to dinner with them and with another Heartland Owners Club member – Marti Camp.

On Wednesday, we moved from Westlake to the KOA near Conroe, Texas. After getting checked in there, we drove over to Livingston, Texas to get our mail, then returned back to the trailer. On Thursday, we left Conroe and headed to Lake Brownwood State Park near Brownwood, Texas. We were meeting up with three other couples from the Heartland Owners Club for a campout for the weekend.


The group photo

We had a great time getting to know each other, sharing meals and campfire stories, checking out each others’ rigs and the modifications we’ve done and generally just having a relaxing weekend. There was no set agenda except for lunch out on Saturday at Underwood’s BBQ and Cafeteria.


Underwood’s BBQ

The campground at Lake Brownwood was really nice. It was great being out so remote. The sky was just full of stars each evening. The Milky Way was also very visible out there every night. Malcolm took advantage of it and grabbed some photos one night.


Milky Way

We even had some great sunsets.


Lake sunset

This morning we all said our goodbyes and headed our separate ways. We headed east to Burleson, Texas, just south of Fort Worth, to meet some friends that Val had gotten to know through an online bible study. We had started sending their boys postcards some time back and it was fun to get to meet them in person. We all went out to Olive Garden for dinner, then they followed us over to the campground to see our trailer and how we travel around.

Tomorrow we head back down south the way we came from and will end up back in Alabama by the weekend.


Happy Fourth

Current Location: Westlake RV Resort, Houston, Texas

It’s been almost a week since we posted. Malcolm worked Monday through Thursday of this past week and had Friday off. We spent Friday running errands, mailing packages and shopping for a few items.

Today we headed up to the Lake Conroe area to spend the day with our Heartland Owners Club friends Andy and Joanna Grimes. We visited in their trailer for a while then headed out to eat lunch at a nice little seafood restaurant. After that, we headed back to the campground and met up with George and Lucy. George is another Heartland owner.

We visited in George’s trailer for a while then headed out to have dinner at Fajita Jacks restaurant. The food was excellent and, considering the population of tourists in the area for the holiday, the wait wasn’t terrible. After dinner, we headed back to the campground, said our goodbyes and drove the hour or so drive back home to Houston, catching some of the various fireworks shows along the way as we drove.

Dinner with friends

Dinner with friends

Tomorrow is church. Monday, Malcolm goes back to work here for another week. We’ll be heading out of Houston next Saturday morning.