Category Archives: 2015

The Best Laid Plans …

I know I promised to post information about some of the online resources I’ve been using to plan my trip, but after posting yesterday’s blog, a good portion of my November – February plans went totally to hell. Not a problem, though – I was able to find some alternatives that will work out fine. Here’s the latest …

October 15, 2015 – October 29, 2015
Lake Corpus Christi State Park
Mathis, TX

Lake Corpus Christi campground

Lake Corpus Christi campsites look pretty comfortable, dont’ they?

I booked the reservation yesterday morning. It looks like a pretty nice place and the campsites each offer a bar-b-que, picnic table and fire ring (although they monitor fires pretty closely). The only issue I can tell is that the lake looks pretty low in the photos they’ve posted online – one of them shows a few kids fishing on the lakeshore with a dock / pier about 20 feet behind them. And about 10 feet above them as well! I remember when I lived in Silicon Valley and my commute took me right by Lexington Reservoir. Back during the drought we had in the early 90’s, the reservoir completely dried up! I hope South Texas gets some rain this next summer so that it’s not any lower by the time I arrive.

As I said yesterday, my site has water and electricity and the weekly rate is only $96! There’s an additional daily “use” fee of $5 … most states waive that, but not Texas. The good news is that I can buy an annual pass that will allow me to bypass the use fee. Granted, the pass costs as much as I’d pay in fees for the two weeks I’m here, but it’ll save me down the road – I have plans to visit at least 2 more state parks on this leg of my journey (and possibly one more within the year) and that’s where I’ll get a payback!

October 29, 2015 – November 2, 2015
Motel 6
South Padre Island, TX

Because of the way things worked out, I’m going to arrive in south Texas a little sooner than I had planned. I had a few extra days after leaving Lake Corpus Christi that needed filling, so I decided I’d find a cheap hotel right on the Gulf of Mexico … and Motel 6 in South Padre Island obliged. I figured that I’d not have another chance to sleep in a real bed for at least 4 months and thought I’d make the best of it! Got the deal through AARP (one of the best investments I’ve ever made was an AARP membership)! The daily rate worked out to a little under $45 and it included a fridge and microwave! It’s right across the street from the beach, so the odds are pretty good that Frank and I will be spending most of our time out there! It’ll be my first chance to try out a surf rod in a long while!

November 2, 2015 – December 16, 2015
Oleander Acres RV Park and Camp
Mission, TX

I firmed up my reservation yesterday and put down a deposit. We’ll be arriving on the same day the butterfly festival starts … evidently Mission is a stopping ground for butterflies on their annual migration to warmer climes. I probably won’t be going though, as Frank’s told me it would hurt his reputation with the “bitches” if he’s seen going to a butterfly festival! We’ll probably take a few day trips around the area over the month and a half we’ll be here, and I think the four night stay on Padre Island will allow us to sightsee elsewhere. After all, once I leave here, I’ll be spending a lot of time right on the beach in a few months.

The only wrinkle here was that I discovered electricity isn’t included. Sure, I have a hookup … I’ll just have to pay $.18 per kilowatt of usage. I figure that will add about another $30-$40 a month on my tab.

December 16, 2015 – December 30, 2015 and
January 13,2016 – January 27,2016
I.B. Magee County Park
Port Aransas, TX

Port Aransas Beach

I don’t know if the beach will be this inviting in December … knock on wood!

So this is where my plans went totally to hell. I had planned on staying here for a month straight, but when I called to make reservations, I was told that while RV campers were allowed to stay for a month at a time during the winter, tent campers weren’t. Talk about discrimination! :o)

Then a brainstorm (at least, so I thought)! I was going to stay a month here and then drive down the beach and stay in another county park for the following two weeks. I asked, “so would I be able to book two weeks, go to the other park for a couple of weeks, and then come back HERE for two weeks again?” I was told
that would be fine, so I made the reservations that way. That daily rate is $20, with water and electricity included. The sites are separated from the beach by some large, well-placed sand dunes … aside from that, I’m about 70 yards from the water’s edge. As at South Padre Island, I have more than a sneaking suspicion that Frank and I will be spending most of our time here.

December 30 – January 13th
Goose Island State Park (tentative)
Rockport, TX

No, this isn’t the other county park. After hanging up from speaking with I.B. Magee’s staff, I called Padre Belli to make my “sandwich” reservation. They couldn’t book it – the campsite area is presently closed for renovations. And they’re experiencing the typical county vs. state bureaucratic nonsense that was obviously affecting the park’s staff. I asked the ranger what she thought my chances were, to which she replied, “Honey, I have a better chance of guessing Jesus Christ’s second coming  than I do figuring out when we’re gonna get out of this mess!” Martha, tell me how you really think.

Goose Island State Park

This looks like it’ll be a great camping spot!

Given that my confidence was shot, I figured I’d best find another spot. And do it quickly. Fortunately, luck was on my side, and in more ways than one. Just take a look at the campsite photo – these grounds are much nicer than what was being offered at Padre Belli. I guess that explains the renovation! Goose Island State Park is only 20 miles away and I’ll be able to reserve a bay-front campsite for $22 / night (while avoiding the day use fee because of the pass I bought the prior month at Lake Corpus Christi).

I couldn’t reserve it yesterday – their system only allows them to reserve one year in advance, so I have to wait until January 31st to book it. I was told not to worry though. People don’t start reserving these sites until later in the spring.

Frank wasn’t too happy when I told him that there were a few gators in the park and immediately let me know that he’d be cool with following the “dogs must be kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet” rule to the letter!

January 27, 2016 – February 27, 2015
Lake Texana, Brackenridge Recreation Complex (tentative)
Edna, TX

My next call was to the Lighthouse RV Park and Campground. The guy I spoke with said he couldn’t reserve that far in advance. When I told him that I had spoken to a women a week earlier and she didn’t have a problem with it, he replied, “Well, she don’t know shit!” and hung up the phone!!! I don’t know if “she” was his wife (and had made him sleep on the couch the night before for being an ass) or what. Regardless, I knew from his tone that this was an example of protection from above. There’s no way I would have been happy staying at this place if this was one of the guys running it!

lake texana

Frank asked, “Do those deer know there are GATORS in that lake????”

So another scramble. I decided to go inland a bit in order to up my chances of finding a good place, which was a great idea because I found this gem of a park! This is a beautiful campground … I’ve just exchanged being on the shore of the Gulf of Mexico for the shore of Lake Texana!

Again, this site is marked “tentative” because they must use the same reservation system as Goose Island. I have to wait until next week to make my reservation, but the pleasant woman I spoke with said I wouldn’t have any problem getting a site even though I’m waiting a week.

There’s lots of fishing here, from the shore and from the pier. Frank and I will have a site with water and electric, but Frank has opted for us to stay off the water – he overheard me acknowledge the fact that there are a few gators in the cove area of the lake. Frank didn’t want to stop here at all, but I passed along the fact that gators are never seen in the lake itself … only in the cove … and I assured him that I’d keep a careful eye out for him. (I didn’t want to let on that I’m probably as fond of gators as HE is … don’t want to shake his confidence in my “protection” abilities!)

The monthly rate here is $275, plus the cost of electricity which is billed at a nickel less than Oleander Acres.

So there we have it. Except for the overnight stays on the road, and the two reservations I’ll firm up in the next week, it looks like I’m all set for camping through February 2016.

This has come together well. I’m starting to feel mildly optimistic about this journey, which scares me. Whenever I get the least bit optimistic, fate seems to play a little game with me. I’m going to try real hard to let go of my worries, though. Overall, I feel pretty good about the lifestyle decision I’ve made. I have four more months of logistical and mental preparation … hopefully the work that still needs to be done will keep my mind occupied enough where I don’t fall into another period of blackness. This last one seems to be lifting.

Tomorrow, I’ll keep the promise I didn’t keep today and list some of the online resources I’ve been using to plan my trip.

Oh yeah, one more thing … I signed up for a one-day fly fishing class in early March. I think I mentioned before that I’ve always wanted to learn this technique. It seems very “zen” and I’m hoping it helps me achieve a bit more peace. I know a 6-hour course is going to be nothing more than a start – I’ll have to practice quite a bit after the class ends. But there are worse ways to spend your time, right?

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Posted by on January 22, 2015 in 2015


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Itinerary – October 2015 to December 2015 (and Beyond)

Good news!. A couple of days ago, when I wrote about having trouble with planning the packing, my brother suggested that I look into Space Bags, another infomercial legend on late night TV. They’re the large bags you can put soft items in (i.e. clothes, pillows, blankets, etc.) and then suck all the air out using a vacuum cleaner. At that point, your stuff takes up a fraction of the space it might otherwise use. Great idea, except … how would I find a vacuum cleaner out on the road? I sure wasn’t planning on bringing one with me!

New and improved Space Bags

New and improved, no less! :o)

The people at Ziploc (the Space Bag creator) weren’t any help … they had no idea what I could use! All they said was that it was designed for a standard vacuum cleaner hose. The people at Coleman weren’t any help either. Neither answered the email inquiry I had sent in two days earlier, by the way – I had to call them.

Nevertheless, I found my answer after going back onto Amazon and doing a search for “mini vacuum cleaners”. I found the Shop-Vac Micro Wet/Dry Vac. It weighs only 6lbs and stands 11″ tall, with a 10″ diameter. And it has a standard-size vacuum hose. Even better, one of the reviews made mention of the fact that they had used this model on Space Bags with success! I might even be able to ditch the bucket I was planning on bringing and use the canister for dishwashing instead. I’ve ordered both the vacuum and some Space Bags and will test it out when they arrive.

I figure I can not only use the bags on the blankets and such, I might even be able to ditch one of the suitcases since I can pack down my shirts, sweaters and sweat pants as well! Andy, thanks for the suggestion … much appreciated!

Now, on to the remainder of my 2015 itinerary. I’m not yet going to post in the detail I’ve done the last couple of days since I need to firm up reservations, but here’s the plan so far:

October 2015

As mentioned yesterday, I extended my stay at the Circle Your Wagons campground in La Veta, Co for an extra two weeks, which meant I had to drop a visit to Taos, NM from my plans. The next campground, near Tucumcari, NM, doesn’t open up reservations for October camping until mid-April, either. Based on that, I’ve decided to scrap New Mexico from my 2015 plans.

Instead, I plan on spending two weeks at Lake Corpus Christi State Park. They have campsites with both electricity and water and are far enough south where I won’t have to worry about snow, the way I would have in New Mexico. Its a little over 900 miles from La Veta, so I’ll take three days to get there, with planned stops in Amarillo and San Angelo.

November 2015

South Padre Island

South Padre Island is only 90 minutes away!

From there, I’ll head due south to Mission, with plans to stay at Oleander Acres, an upscale RV Park and campgrounds. I spoke with them on the phone last week. A one month stay … with water and electric … will be only $250! I plan on staying there through mid-December. Frank liked this because they have some very nice dog parks in the area: I like it because we’ll be able to take some day trips over to South Padre Island and do some beachcombing. It’ll be a bit of a trek, but it won’t be as far as going to Atlantic City from where I was living in New Jersey!  That’s doable … and it’s worth it to spend a day near the water!

December 2015 – February 2016

In mid-December, I plan on heading 200 miles north along the Gulf to Port Aransas, TX. I.B. Magee County Park offers camping right off the beach. Their sites, with water and electric, are $20 / night and I plan on another month-long stay. This will be a perfect spot for more fishing and beachcombing. Hopefully the weather will hold up and we won’t have to deal with too much rain.

I’d have stayed there a little longer, except I’m already planning on the 1-month maximum stay. Instead, I’ll go a couple miles down the beach to another county park, Padre Belli for a two-week stay. They offer the same $20/night rate for water and electric campsites. Both are located on the north part of Padre Island. These two stays will take me to the end of January.

I plan on travelling further up the coast from there, to the Matagorda area. Lighthouse RV Park in Bay City is located about 10 miles from the Gulf. I plan on a month-long stay at their quoted rate of only $300.

Lighthouse RV Park

LIghthouse RV Park in Bay City, TX (not sure why it’s called “Lighthouse” when they’re 10 miles from the Gulf …)

Beyond February 2016

That takes me to the end of February 2016. From there? Who knows. At this point, I’ve put about 8,000 miles on my car … not bad, but I would like to cut it down a bit. This means a bit more focus in my locales. My initial thought for 2016 is to head back up to Dallas in order to see friends again). From there, go across the Tennessee Valley to the East Coast, head north again (with a stop in New Jersey to see some more friends) to spend the summer in New England and upstate New York. As summer ends, I would head back down south, with the goal of spending New Year’s in the Florida keys.

That’s it for now. As things firm up, I’ll expand a bit on each of the places I’ve outlined in this post.

Tomorrow, I’ll talk a bit about some of the resources I’ve been using to plan out this journey. I’ve found some very helpful websites that would be of use to anyone planning a road trip …whether it’s for a couple of weeks or the rest of their lives!

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Posted by on January 21, 2015 in 2015, 2016


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Itinerary – August to September 2015

Yesterday, I took you through the first two (plus) months of my itinerary.  A lot of traveling involved.  Fortunately, the next couple of months aren’t quite that nomadic.

I’m still residing at the Pleasant Valley RV Park and Campground in central Colorado as Frank and I enter August.  This is a beautiful part of the country.  I mentioned that I lived in Denver back in the 70’s … when I was there, I was part of Adventure Unlimited’s management team.  A/U is a youth organization similar to Young LIfe.  In addition to offering activities in local chapters around the world, they owned a ranch just north of Buena Vista, CO, about 45 minutes north of Pleasant Valley.  I used to spend 2 days a week at the ranch during the summer, taking care of business.  One of my fondest memories was spending an August night camped out on the upper deck of their main activity center, watching the annual Perseid meteor shower.  I’ve stayed up late to enjoy meteor showers quite a few times in my life, but none of them have come close to what I was able to see miles away from any city lights, in the clear star-filled Colorado sky. I’m looking forward to experiencing that again.

But on to other things.  Here’s the rest of my schedule for the summer and early Fall:

August 13, 2015 – September 13, 2015
The Last Resort
Pagosa Springs, CO

The Blanco River, where it passes through the Last Resort

The Blanco River, where it passes through the Last Resort.

My initial plans included a trip north instead of south, to a camp in Utah, just east of Salt Lake City.  But after more thought, I decided against it, not wanting to put all that extra mileage on my car in the first year. I stored the camp’s website in my “Future sites” folder on Google Chrome.  I then chose the Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park near Montrose.  Its canyon was carved by the Gunnison River. Here, the river drops elevation at a rate that’s four times the drop of the Colorado River as it goes through the Grand Canyon!  The only problem – the campsites were completely booked when I inquired last week.  (Another site for a future visit, I suppose.)

After looking further, I decided to venture into an area of Colorado I’ve never been before, the southwest corner. I found The Last Resort, located about an hour east of Durango, in Pagosa Springs.  I had a great talk on the phone with TJ, the owner and decided to stay there … and where I was looking to fill a three-week hole in the schedule, I decided to stay a month.  (TJ’s a great salesman – he let me know that the monthly rate would only cost me about $40 more than what I would pay for 3 weeks.  Can’t beat that, right?).

He said he’d fix me up near the river in a spot with great shade.  He also mentioned they had over 5,000 feet of shoreline (nearly a mile!) along the Blanco River and that the river was stocked with Brown trout at the beginning of the season.  For the most part, I’ve dealt with quite a few caring, friendly and genuine people as I’ve looked for places to stay … a welcome change from spending too much time getting into arguments over politics on various Websites as I have for too long a time.  The drive from Pleasant Valley is about 175 miles and should take about 3 hours or so.  The reservation has been made. My site will have water and electricity.  Total cost – $12.58 / night!

September 13, 2015 – October 13, 2015
Circle the Wagons RV Park and Campground
La Veta, CO

Circle the Wagons campground vista

A view from the campsite … I hope that white stuff doesn’t come closer during my stay!

This was actually the first Colorado camp I found (as an aside, if you’re looking for RV parks or campgrounds, is a great source of information.  Lots of real-life experiences are posted by previous visitors … it helped me weed out a lot of places that I might have otherwise chosen.  Circle the Wagons had a rating of 8.8 on a scale of 1-10.), but I wanted to start off closer to Buena Vista since I was familiar with that area.  According to the Website, they closed at the end of September, so I figured I’d look into a 3-week stay and leave when they closed.  I emailed the campground, asking if the tent sites had electrical connections.  They replied quickly – “No, they don’t, but we’ll fix you up close to one of the buildings so you can have access to it.”  Wonderful!

My only reservation (pun intended) about extending my stay at The Last Resort, was that it meant cutting the stay here down to only two weeks.  I was resigned to that and called to make my reservation here.  I casually told Jay, (the better half of the husband-wife team that owned the place) that I was sorry they closed at the end of September, otherwise I’d have stayed a little longer.  She replied, “No, we close at the end of October” (they’ve since fixed their Website).  That said, I decided to extend my stay here to a full month.  Jay said she’d figure out a rate and email me.  She also told me that after my inquiry into electricity at the tent sites, she and her husband decided to plumb all the tent sites for electricity, which meant I could have a site down near the river!

I think Frank is really going to like this place – “dog friendly” seems like more than just a slogan.  They not only have a cute little dog park (aptly named “Circle the Waggins” … those of you who know me also know that I love puns!), they also offer a dog walking service, too. Judging from the pictures on the front page of the Website, they have a lot of deer, too (I hope you’re following the links to the various campgrounds that I’ve included in the titles)!

My only concern – staying into mid-October means that I’m probably going to encounter some snow.  I was hoping to avoid that, but so be it.  Knock on wood that it’s not enough where I have problems driving on to my next stop!

The drive here from Pagosa Springs is about 150 miles and should take a little less than 3 hours.  The reservation has been made – Jay offered a great rate for a month-long stay.  It worked out to $13.68 / night!

That’s it for now – this is as far as I’ve gotten with making actual reservations … since I extended my stay in La Veta, it means I’m cutting out another location I had planned on visiting – Taos, NM.  That’ll have to be saved for a future part of the journey, too.  I have planned stops that take me from early November to the end of February in south Texas, but the last two weeks of October are somewhat undecided at the moment.  I’ll fill in the details tomorrow.

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Posted by on January 20, 2015 in 2015


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Itinerary – June to July 2015

I re-read the blog last night, from front to end.  I wanted to make sure I had corrected typos and the like, but in doing so, I realized how fluid my plans are, even as I’m trying to plan with meticulous detail.  I’ve made several changes to my original itinerary and what I intended to bring along for the ride.

Here’s the current itinerary. I intend to update this page as things firm up.

June 1, 2015 – June 15, 2015
Georgia Veterans State Park
Cordele, GA

A Georgia Veterans State Park campsite

I’d love to get this campsite for Frank and my first night as vagabonds!

Georgia Veterans State Park is about 5 hours from Charleston if you drive straight through … I’ll probably make it in 6!  It’s on Lake Blackshear. It looked like a nice place to start off the journey and was about halfway between my starting point and the Florida panhandle.  Reservations are made, deposit is paid.  If I buy their annual Senior’s pass for $25, I save 20% on the campsite and they waive the $5 entry fee.  (I think I’ll add a resource page, outlining what different states offer in the way of camping discounts).  My site offers water and electricity.  They sell firewood.  Cost after discount – $20/night.

I plan on taking in the lake, do a little bit of hiking, and decompress.  This will be a nice place to sit, ponder and come to the realization of the life change I’ve made.

June 15, 2015 – June 29, 2015
Big Lagoon State Park
Spanish Fort, AL

If you read my earlier posts, you know that my intention was to stay on the Florida panhandle.  But that changed when I discovered their State Park system requires full payment in advance.  (I’ve since discovered that Texas does pretty much the same thing … and while I’d like to say “Screw you,” to them as well, that’s just not in the cards.  Oh well.)

Instead, I wound up making a reservation here. It’ll be just a wee bit longer drive than the drive out of Charleston, and I only added about 20 minutes when I decided on this park instead of the one near Pensacola that was originally selected.  Reservations are made (without requiring any deposit, I might add). Alabama offers a 15% discount to seniors over 62, except for Friday and Saturday nights.  My site offers water and electricity.  Average cost after discount – $18.93/night.

They have a special place where Frank will be able to swim.  The website makes mention of the fact that alligators also reside there – we have the same warning at the local dog park in Charleston, too.  The Ranger I spoke with said that no dog’s been “et” (gotta love the South, right?) since he’s been there and Frank had a look of relief when I relayed that to him. As long as he’s on a leash elsewhere in the park, he pretty much can go anywhere. I intend to spend some time on their fishing pier, hopefully to catch some dinner.  I’ve been using a couple of review sites to check out potential places to stay, mostly Trip Advisor and RV Park Reviews … one of the reviews mentioned “spectacular sunset views” from this park.  I’m hoping the sun won’t have much of an impact during the day since it’ll only be the end of June.  Knock on wood.

June 29, 2015 – June 30, 2015

Frank and I will be back in a regular bed tonight as we’re going to stay in a motel.  My goal is to spend no more than 5-6 hours of drive time (excluding stops) as I go from place to place.  This is a lifestyle, not a vacation, and I’m not going to “hurry up and get there”.  I can remember going somewhere with my grandfather once when visiting him down in Knoxville, TN.  I think I was about 10.  Some guy with New York plates came roaring up behind us on a two lane road and recklessly passed us on a curve.  After a few moments passed, he quietly said, “He’s probably going to rush to where he’s going and just sit down!”  I don’t know why that stayed with me … I don’t think I got it at the time.  But as I look back at how I’ve lived my life though, I wish I had “gotten it” a bit more.  Maybe I’m finally getting it now.  Sorry, another digression.

Anyhow, today’s drive will be about 4 hours, and the plan right now is to stay in the booming metropolis of Scott, LA, about an hour due west of Baton Rouge, LA.  I have a place picked out but haven’t made reservations yet.  I’ll get that done by the end of the week and will update this itinerary then.

June 30 2015 – July 14, 2015
South Toledo Bend Reservoir State Park
Anococo, LA

South Toledo Bend Reservoir State Park, Campsite C1041

Campsite 1041 will be our home on the Fourth of July!

My first wife’s father had a place on Toledo Bend Reservoir and I used to enjoy going down there for bass fishing.  The only thing is that this time, I’ll be on the Louisiana side of the lake instead of the Texas side. Frank and I will be in the car for about 5 hours today, traveling the back roads through the Louisiana bayous, “dough’n chew no!”  (I am enthralled by Cajun accents!)

The park doesn’t offer any discounts of their own … instead, they honor the “America the Beautiful” Seniors Pass issued by the Feds but only if your state of residence does the same thing.  Translation?  No discount.   I’ve reserved campsite #C1041, an end location right on the lake, again with water and electricity.  Firewood is free (they evidently still have a lot of wood left over from the cleanup after Hurricane Rita years ago).  Since it’s a premium site, it’s a bit more expensive than the first two parks.  Cost (no discount) –  $28.43 / night and the reservation’s been made.

Not much to do here except fish … and I plan to spend a lot of time looking out over a fishing rod at the lake.  Hopefully by this point, I’ll have gotten back into walking more with Frank as well, and be able to do some more hiking.  According to the website, it’s a “nesting ground for bald eagles”  Hey Frank!  Stay close … you don’t want to be dinner!

July 14 2015 – July 21, 2015
Somewhere in Texas

This week is up in the air right now.  I have to spend a couple days in Livingston, only a couple of hours due west of Toledo Bend.  For good reason.  First off, I need to establish residency in Texas (as mentioned earlier).  The attorney I’m working with is there, and he will have prepared some legal declarations of my intent.  And secondly, a company named “Escapees” is headquartered there.  Escapees was set up to primarily serve the RV community, specifically RVers who have decided to do essentially what I’m doing – leave everything behind and hit the road, without any home to go back to (the only difference is that they’re doing it in style and at 2 miles per gallon).  But they also offer services to vagabonds like me as well … the primary one of which is their mail forwarding service. For about $100/year, they’ll act as my legal mailing address, notify me via email when something arrives and forward items to wherever I designate.  They’ll even open the mail and read it to me over the phone if I ask them.  The simple truth is that I don’t get much mail – all my bills are paid online – I’ve requested that all my statements be sent to me via email, and 99.9% of the rest is junk mail.  I expect that this is going to be the easiest $100 they’re going to earn all year!  One other thing … the attorney said that the Polk county DMV is used to dealing with the folks being sent over from Escapees and that I’d probably have less questions addressed to me about claiming them as my “home”.  So that’s that.  Frank and I will motel it again – there’s a Best Western in Cleveland, TX not far away – the AARP rate, with tax is about $70 night.  For the record, that will be the most I’ll pay this year for living quarters once I’m on the road! (in the middle of east Texas! Go figger!)

From there, I was planning on spending another three days in Dallas with the hope of connecting with some old long time friends from high school.  (The strikeout is in deference to those friends who may not consider themselves old.  Me?  I felt old at 25!) There are a few people I’d like to see, but it would be hard to see all of them unless we get together at one of the places Tommy Lucas uses to set up the “Class of ’71” luncheons.  Once I get closer to letting everyone know about my plans, I’ll throw that out there.  As far as accommodations, I found a couple in Dallas who offer out their back-yard cottage for overnight stays via a hostels website … cost right now is about $47/night.  I’ll make reservations before the end of the week.

The last two days / nights will be on the road again, on my way to the Rockies.  Again, I’m not in a hurry, so I plan on stopping two nights along the way.  The plan is to spend night #1 about 20 minutes west of Childress … night #2 will be in Colorado City.  I’ve got a bit longer drive to Colorado City. I left a little more time to get out of Big D, just in case I wanted to have breakfast with some friends (plus, there’s nothing reasonably priced once you go too far past Childress, and I didn’t want to drive all the way to Amarillo).  Besides, even if Frank and I leave at 9am and stop for lunch, we’ll still be in Colorado City by around 4pm! The hotels I picked out will each cost about $60 a night.

I have to digress again to tell you all a little story …

The last time I was on this road was over 35 years ago, in 1979, when I was moving back to Dallas after a couple of years in Denver.  My brother Andy flew up to help me drive the U-haul. Pretty uneventful trip, unless you count the run-in Andy had with the roof of a Dairy Queen in Chillicothe as I was asleep in the passenger seat.  Not understanding the concept of “clearance”, he tried to use the drive-thru and sheared off about 25 feet of their overhang.  I’m jostled awake as my brother sharply turns across traffic into the parking lot.  I come full awake to a loud crunching sound as metal meets wood.  And then the next thing I hear … from my brother … is “Shit. I didn’t bring my driver’s license.”  My immediate response was “You flew up to help me drive a f**king truck for 14 hours, and you didn’t bring your driver’s license???”

The only roofer … and the only cop … in town were both eathing in the Dairy Queen.  They come out while I’m yelling at my brother.  After we make restitution arrangements with the DQ owner, the cop tells my brother, “Son, I’m not gonna give you a ticket – your brother sounds like he’s gonna put you through hell the rest of the way to Dallas and I think that will be enough punishment for ya.”

I never thought I’d see Chillicothe again in this lifetime.  Andy, if you’re reading this, I’ll give a little wave to the DQ as I drive by!

July 21, 2015 – August 13, 2015
Pleasant Valley RV Park and Campground
Howard, CO

Pleasant Valley RV Park and Campground

Pleasant Valley RV Park and Campground. Doesn’t that river look fantastic?

Frank and I have about a two hour drive this day. A half-hour on I-25 up to Pueblo and then about 90 minutes due west to Howard.  When I called these folks to ask about their facilities, I found out they didn’t offer electricity in their tent sites.  I asked about using my generator overnight, to power my c-pap machine. She said it would probably be okay, but they’d put me at the furthest campsite so I wouldn’t disturb anyone else. I called back a week later to make reservations and reminded her about the c-pap conversation, as a way of helping her remember who she was speaking with.  She said, “Okay … yeah … I told my husband and he said, ‘he’s not gonna disturb anybody, just let him have any damn site he wants!'”  (I’m going to really enjoy dealing with reasonable folk especially after some of the clients I’ve had!)

She told me she’d give me the monthly rate.  The type of guy that I am, I said, “Just to be clear, I’m going to be there about 6 days short of a month,” and she told me not to worry about it.  Very cool.  I’ll be right next to the Arkansas River (take a look at the photo) and it looks like it’ll be a great place to chill, do some fishing and relaxing.  Cost at the monthly rate – $16.14 / night and the reservation has been made.  I’m thinking about going down to the local Charleston Angler shop – I’ve always wanted to learn fly fishing (having focused mostly on bass when it comes to fresh water).  They have a 6-hour class on February 21st and I think that would be a good use of a Saturday afternoon.  Lord knows I’m going to have plenty of time now to practice!

Oh yeah, I’m planning on exercising my legal Colorado rights while I’m there, too.  The first time in 23 years I’ve indulged.  I’ll probably stick to edibles so as not to disturb any of the families there.  I checked it out – there’s a retail outlet about 15 minutes away, in Salida.  I’ll stop by there at some point my first week.

If things go according to plan … and I fill the TBD’s with the places I’ve penciled in … my camping / motel fees will be a little over $24 a day. Get this, though – that’ll drop to less than $11 a day for the following 6 1/2 months!  But I’m jumping ahead of myself. Tomorrow, I’ll fill in the details on the rest of the plan through October.


Posted by on January 19, 2015 in 2015, Itinerary


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