Travels With Dick and Judy

Follow us in our trials, triumphs and tribulations, while on the road in our motor home "The Liberty Belle". We chose to forsake the conventional lifestyle in our 3,000+ square-foot home to move into a 40-foot Winnebago Ultimate Freedom. Travel with us as we take you on the road with us in our new lifestyle.
I may grow older, but I'll never grow up!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Easter at Martin S. Dies, Jr. State Park, a Family Wedding and More!

In preparation for Easter weekend, Dick and I took our Gator and road some of the park trails – checking for trash and maintenance issues. The Slough Trail was great for walking or bike riding, but I walked across most of the bridges!


Also, no one told us that we could not get between 2 trees on this leg of the Forest Trail, so Dick had to back up across the bridge!


After returning to our motor home (“MH”), Dick took this awesome picture – by being in the right place at the right time!


For those of you who may not know what an Easter weekend is like at most Texas state parks, here is a synopsis of our day as a volunteer park host! At 1:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, Dick heard a banging on our door. A lady camping nearby said her daughter was throwing up and having trouble breathing and, long story short, she reached 911 as she left and drove away while Dick was calling our Assistant Superintendent.

The alarm went off at 5:30 and, with coffee in hand, we left to do site checks on our side only - due to the number of campers. We turned in our info around 8:00 and went to the shop for the morning meeting.

After a quick breakfast at home, we met staff and other volunteers at the Dining Hall to hide Easter eggs for the 10:00 hunt. Following the hunt, I helped kids make Easter eggs (like snowflakes) and was assisted by Emily, a weekend volunteer and teacher's aide, who was a huge help, while Dick took pictures of the events for the kids.

At 11:00, Dick and I picked up our list to check for campers leaving that day. We grabbed a quick bite of lunch around noon and were back at the office at 1:15 to pick up our list for a final check of campers leaving that day. While making our rounds, we saw a very young child driving a truck with an adult beside him and reported this to the office and, then, met someone at the site. Despite what the grandmother told everyone, the child was alone in the driver's seat until his grandmother switched places with him. We turned our report in to the office and headed home, stopping to visit with staff on the way.

Dick took the Gator to go pick up trash and left me to "rest". Then, the Naturalist, Amy, needed someone to watch the Nature Center for an hour or so, and, since I hate to say no, I finished my day at the Nature Center. Needless to say, since state park volunteer hosts are only required to “volunteer” 25 hours per couple per week, this day was an exception, but very tiring.

Easter was quieter, but we were on duty and not able to be with family; however, knowing we would be seeing everyone the following weekend made it easier on me.

On the following Tuesday, April 21st, my high school classmate and our friend Jay came from Beaumont, TX to spend the day with us and brought us some yummy homemade chocolate chip cookies. After our afternoon site check, Dick fired up the grill and barbecued chickens and sausage, which we served with potato salad and baked beans. After a mid-afternoon dinner, we all sat outside to enjoy the beautiful weather. We always enjoy Jay’s visits and look forward to seeing him again soon!


The rest of our week at the park was fairly uneventful and, on Friday morning (April 25th), we headed East to LA and our nephew James and new niece Stephanie’s wedding on Saturday, April 26th. We were surprised to realize that by taking the route we did, it was only 1-1/2 hours to Lake Charles from the park.

Before checking in to our room, we made a stop by Bed, Bath and Beyond – and had an unexpected surprise when we saw our SIL Steph - for our wedding gift and “treated” ourselves to a set of pots to use with our induction burner – $99.99 less 20% coupon. Thanks to our friend Debi for showing us her set!


We checked into our motel, which was really poor, and we will never stay there again (the America’s Best Suites on Lake Street near Prien Lake Road), but we were staying next door to our son Mike, DIL April and grandsons Ben and Colby, so we, naturally, made the best of it. While Dick “rested”, I went for a manicure and some minor shopping. That evening, we all went to one of our favorite restaurants, Steamboat Bill’s, for dinner and, after being so good, the boys got to play on their iPad Minis while we visited.


On Saturday morning, our grandson Logan and I went for haircuts at The Matador, and it was great to see Connie, a longtime friend and hairdresser, for a happy occasion. Then, it was time to get ready for the wedding and reception, which were beautiful. It was great to see and visit with family and friends. I loved that James (son of my brother Jim and SIL Sharon) and Stephanie entered the reception to “When the Saints Go Marching In”, and James was wearing his Saints cap! Can you tell they are fans of the New Orleans Saints? If you would like to see more photos from the wedding and reception, please check out the album below.

Judy, Jim, Brenda and Betti
Mike and Michelle
Michelle, Judy and Steph
Aunt Judy and James
Our Family
Michelle drove back to TX after the reception, and Logan stayed overnight with our niece Virginia and nephew Josh – so the “boys” could hang out together. Before leaving Lake Charles on Sunday, we had breakfast with my brother Jim and SIL Sharon, Virginia, Josh, Mike, April, Colby, Ben and Logan. On the way back to the park, with a stop in Beaumont to meet Michelle with Logan, we stopped at the TX welcome center and walked on the bridges over the swamp, experiencing a few picture moments.


After meeting Michelle, we returned to the park by a different route, which was a pretty drive through the country, and found that a fire on a utility pole had knocked out electricity to park for a few hours. Not long after turning on the generator for our MH, the power was fortunately restored. A very busy, but fun, weekend!

A couple days later, I finally unpacked our new pots and actually found a cabinet above the couch that I could re-purpose for them. When Dick cooked in one of the pots the following night, he gave them a "thumbs-up" and said they really spread the heat evenly and did not have "scorch spots". I can attest that they also cleaned very easily!


A perfect ending to a very busy month of April was our view of Lake Steinhagen while cleaning campsites!


Thanks for stopping by and "see ya" until our next posting! And for those interested in seeing more of Dick's photos, he has opened a new page on Flickr - Dick's Flickr page - where his photos may be viewed by subject or as a random collection.



  1. yaaa. . .the album turned out perfect! and the pots look great in their new home. . .good job all the way around!


  2. Thanks, Janice, and look again, as I have "tweaked" the blog after your suggestions!

    1. awww. . .I think that looks great. . .what do you think? I was able to read the entire paragraph. . .yaaa!