Sunday, November 29, 2009

Under a brooding sky

The temperature has dropped dramatically overnight as the clouds rolled in. We're expecting one to four two to eight inches of snow here and we're hunkering down to wait it out. Looks like a good day to stay in. I've come down with a nasty cold and I'm not feeling like doing anything energetic anyway. Luckily Chris just repaired our TV antenna yesterday! We'll likely spend the next couple of days vegetating and watching the winter storms beat down on the desert.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

An Untraditional Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanskgiving dinner at a State Park includes paper plates, cooking in tin foil, and washing bakewear between courses so you can re-use the pan. On the plus side, we are eating outside on a beautiful day with the most amazing scenery; mountains peer down upon us and the birds are chirping underneath a sunny sky. Our meal icluded turkey basted in a molasses-jalepeno sauce, cranberry-pecan dressing, baby lima beans, jalepeno cornbread, and apple crisp. Everything was made from scratch. These are the joys of living a peaceful, quiet life. And the best part about eating on paper plates? Washing dishes!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The new view

We've made it out of Texas and we are settling in for a few days near Las Cruces, NM. It took 2 days to drive from Austin. We stayed in rest stops at night. Now we've got our Thanksgiving dinner started and we're looking forward to a few days of R&R! While we're here we will also drive over to White Sands National Monument; this was one of our favorite stops last time.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Racing the sunset

We're eager to cross into New Mexico today. We've made good time from Austin yesterday. Slept at a very quiet rest stop last night. As we drive parallel to the Mexico border there are eerie fires billowing smoke up to the setting sun. West Texas is downright desolate. We'll be sleeping at the New Mexico welcome center tonight.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Texas Hill Country

Seeing Central Texas again made us realize what a beautiful area this is! We're at Pedernales Falls State Park. We went diving in Lake Travis while here and we caught up with a few friends we've missed. Thanksgiving is coming up and we will celebrate on the road; thankful for our amazing new life. Visiting Austin has been great but we've only just begun our adventure!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Getting back into the swing of things

We're slowly getting back into our swing as we head west through Texas. As usual, we travel slowly and take time to enjoy each stop. We went to the Renaissance Festival with friends for the weekend. Camping on the fairgrounds was a trip. On Sat night the campers were all partying. The air was thick with smoke from a hundred campfires. Everywhere you turned there were people playing instruments like flutes, drums, and bagpipes. Some danced, some wore costumes, and lots of people were letting off steam. There was a blacklight tent complete with a blacklight flower garden. Ravers with neon glow tubes danced around the ring of fire. There was a tribal style chant with dancers stomping around a bonfire and drums beating a rhythm. The firelight glistened on sweaty bodies, smoke hung in the air, someone blew a horn and the crowd watched from the edges. There were people everywhere having fun. On Sunday night the fairgrounds were completely different. Almost everyone had gone home and the grounds were deserted and empty. The silence sounded hollow after the singing and whooping of the night before. The morning found the area littered with trash bags and hundreds of buzzards circling the campgrounds. The remaining campers were straggling slowly towards the exit.
Next we travelled to Bastrop State Park to meet Melissa's parents for a couple days' visit. The pine needles cover the ground here and soft golden Fall sunlight filters in between the trees. This was a lovely park with great hiking trails. If you ever get out this way check out the drive down Park Road 1C. It's a winding country road through thick forest for about 10 miles. The nights are getting cool now and we spent each night sitting around a glowing fire and drinking hot chocolate.
Next we'll stop in Austin and visit our storage facility. We now have a good idea of what we need and what we do not. I have a stack of stuff that can go into storage and we won't miss it at all!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The wedding champagne

We've toted this bottle of champagne around for five years. It was a leftover from our wedding on November 13, 2004. Its been through an apartment, our house, and in the RV. Now it's missing half its label and the day I saved it for is here! We're sitting in this hot tub in the rec room of Allstar RV park in Houston. I'm working on the champagne and Chris is having a brew. A toast - to five wonderful years and many more to come! :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Repairs in Beaumont

We've completed a lot of repairs while we've been in Beaumont:
-installed alarm systems for propane and carbon monoxide leaks
-installed a battery monitor for electricity status
-killed off the ant colony that was taking over the kitchen
-fixed the rusty ding in the Jeep
-adapted our TV to run while boondocking
-rebuilt the levellers
The levellers were a Big Repair. And 3 of the 4 had completely failed. We couldn't get level anymore which meant when we parked we were sometimes at a weird angle - not good for using the sinks and shower! We actually had a leveller fall while we were driving down the highway once! That was scary so we had wired them up.
So now we are road ready again! We'll be heading to Houston tomorrow and our 5th anniversary is Nov the 13th!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Cave Diving





Sorry we haven't written to the blog lately; we've been underwater and under several dozen feet of solid rock! When we heard our friends from Austin were planning a trip to cave country in Florida, we realized we were so close to the TX/LA state line already that a trip to Marianna would only be about an 8 hour drive. Compared to our recent driving marathon, eight hours just seems like nothing! So we decided overnight to jump in the Jeep and drive to Florida. Our friends already had a place reserved and offered to let us stay with them for the steep price of a 6 pack of cerveza. An offer we couldn't refuse! We left Beaumont on Halloween morning and arrived in Marianna just after sunset. We spent 4 days diving Jackson Blue on the Mill Pond. I worked on increasing my confidence in cavern and cave diving, venturing a little further into the cave with each dive. Flow was down, water visibility was crystal, and the days were sunny and clear. Brian completed his Cavern Diver course, Ian and Chris had a great dive together, and I got to a point where I could relax and check out the millions of fossils in the cave. We never did make it to any of the other caves on the Mill Pond so next time we're out that way there will be plenty more to explore!