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!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

May 2014 at Martin S. Dies, Jr. State Park - with Trips to the Houston Area!

Friends and family, do not go into shock! It is June 1st and I am posting our blog for the month of May! It may be a bit long, but I want to be up-to-date, finally, after 3 years of full-time RVing and maintaining a blog. Hopefully, I will now be able to post every 1-2 weeks – depending on how busy we are. Enjoy the ride and please let us hear from you.

Dick and I started the month of May with 2 days off, which is always nice, but we never seem to have time to get things done on our “to-do” list.

Dick did have some time to take some more photographs of the birds around our campsite!


We also had a visitor from our neighborhood raccoon, who was probably headed for the trash in the Gator!

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On Friday evenings, at our new favorite eating place, the Cedar Tree Restaurant in Jasper, TX, it is an all-you-can-eat seafood buffet, and Dick and I “splurged” – again – and went for dinner that evening. By the way, 1 of these plates was mine, and we finished our meal with pecan pie for Dick and bread pudding for me. Yummy!


The weekend was perfect for camping, and this was our view of the lake from the Walnut Ridge shelter area while doing site checks on Saturday morning!


On Sunday, May 4th, I volunteered at the Nature Center for a few hours – while Dick picked up trash as campers were leaving. The Nature Center is very educational and has hands-on activities for kids and adults, as well as tanks with fish, an alligator, turtles and non-venomous snakes. On weekends, various activities are also planned for the young and the young-at-heart.

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The next morning while making our rounds, we realized the Magnolia trees were really beginning to bloom.


Later in the day, Dick got a private message on Facebook from our former Superintendent at Brazos Bend State Park to see if we were available to volunteer as park hosts at Garner State Park near Concan, TX and on the Frio River. We have always wanted to return to Garner and have more time to tour the area. Dick contacted Steve and told him that we were not available until next Spring, and we were confirmed for April, May and June of 2015. After talking to the volunteer coordinator, we were excited about everything at the park, EXCEPT she said the only phone service that works is AT&T, and we have Verizon, with a Jet Pack for our internet service. I am trying not to think about this and hope that either Verizon will add towers in the area or we can find a “fix” for the short term. Check out the park at:, and come visit us in the TX Hill Country next Spring!

On May 6th, Dick and I made another trip to the Cedar Tree for what we thought would be a healthier meal (and definitely more reasonably priced). Not sure about healthy, though. but it sure was yummy!


The following morning, we found that the raccoon had visited during the night and destroyed our Hummingbird Feeder. Dick’s research showed that the best "plan" was to have a covered box on our patio and put all the feeders in it each night. A bit time consuming, but …. Upon investigating, Dick found that the raccoon was apparently climbing the ladder on the back of our motor home (“MH”), going across our awning and, then, messing with the hanging feeders. Smart!


The next couple days were spent making rounds and getting our MH ready for us to leave for a week. Thanks to our co-hosts Don and Bev, we were able to leave mid-morning on Friday, May 9th, for Katy, TX – to keep our 2 grandsons, Ben (5) and Colby (7), while our son Mike and DIL April went on a week-long cruise. For dinner, Mike brought home fried chicken with all the fixings and we had great family time.

On Saturday afternoon, April took me for a pedicure – my Mother’s Day gift from her and Mike. Then, for dinner, we all went to El Rancho Mexican Restaurant and Bar. The food was great and their “usual” waiter was awesome! Later that evening, while Mike and April packed for their cruise, Grampa and Grammy (Dick and I) had movie time with Ben and Colby – “Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief”.

Mother’s Day was a bit different for us all. Mike brought home breakfast for all of us before they headed for Galveston to board their cruise.

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Shortly after Mike and April left, we drove to Galveston with Ben and Colby to meet Michelle and Logan for lunch at Willie G’s, which is located near the cruise ship.

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Following lunch and bidding Michelle and Logan farewell, we drove to the far East end of Galveston Island and waited for the cruise ship to pass by. It was a dreary day, but the boys were excited to wave “bye” to Mommy and Daddy.

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Other than getting back to Katy way too late on Sunday night, the rest of the week went well, and the boys stayed on their schedule. Each morning, I would wake at 6:00 and get the boys up for breakfast at 6:30. Colby was dropped off for 1st grade at 8:00, and Ben arrived at pre-school at 8:45 in order to attend devotion before going to class. Ben was then picked up at 11:45 and Colby at 3:40, which meant arriving for the pick-up line by 2:45. Then, it was homework for Colby, play time, dinner, showers and bed. A crazy schedule and kudos to Mike and April! The boys were awesome and we had lots of quality time with them.

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In-between caring for the boys, Dick and I contacted the salesman who helped Mike and April purchase their new vehicle above, Alex, and discussed trading in our 2008 Dodge Nitro. After researching vehicles that could be towed 4 wheels down behind our MH, we determined the best vehicle for us was a Subaru and. after checking out both the Outback and Forester, we decided on the Outback. Alex works for a company which handles the financing and takes all the leg work out of buying a new vehicle. Because of towing, we had to purchase a manual transmission, which was not available locally and had to be shipped from the factory. I did not get the color I wanted this time (since there was not a wide choice of colors available in the 2014 model, and the 2015 will not be available until October), but we love our vehicle, which Alex delivered to us a few days after we returned to the park. We also got a great trade in on our old vehicle and lowered our payments substantially. Can you tell we are excited?! Now, it’s time to get the base plate ordered and installed before heading out in July.


On Friday, Dick took the day and drove to Galveston Island State Park to hopefully get some good pictures. He did say that driving so far, especially alone, was not really worth I – but he did have a good day.

On Saturday, Jay and Sue, April’s parents, came for a visit, with Jay picking up fried chicken and all the fixings for lunch – and the boys having a picnic out back while playing.

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On Sunday around noon, Mike and April arrived home with goodies for all, and Dick and I headed back to the park after a short visit!

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The next week at the park was spent with site checks, meetings, campground rounds, including picking up trash and cleaning fire pits – all in preparation for Memorial Day weekend. While out and about, we had some great picture opportunities, for both Dick and I.


Once again, we had a visit from the Masked Bandit - this time in broad daylight, stealing a free meal of birdseed – but Dick was ready with his camera!


After fighting sinus headaches AGAIN (the price I pay for living in the woods), I finally felt better by the weekend, and Dick fixed us French Bread Pizzas for dinner, which were yummy – and something we will have to do the next time the grandsons visit.


After working way too many volunteer hours over the Memorial Day weekend at the park – primarily picking up after picnickers – we were too tired to cook and clean up! So another trip was made to the Cedar Tree in Jasper. Dick had the buffet, but I had the shrimp off the menu. Yum! I believe we are now “regulars”, as the waiter brought me a homemade roll, let me get dessert off the buffet and did not charge us for our iced teas! Yes, there are other restaurants in the area, but I guess we are working our way through the buffets and the menu at the Cedar Tree.


On Tuesday, May 27th, we  headed to Webster, TX for 2 medical appointments, and it rained all the way. The good news was that our Subaru Outback's all-wheel drive was awesome. According to Dick, there was no feeling of looseness on the road, and it hugged the road, even when hitting an unexpected patch of water. We also got almost 30 mpg, according to the on-board computer.

As a result of my visit with the internist, I have hopefully found a way to deal with the sinus headaches and continue living in the woods. Also, after seeing my hand surgeon, I have surgery scheduled on Monday, June 2nd, on my left hand for both carpal tunnel and a trigger thumb – hoping to “kill 2 birds with 1 stone”. Dick will handle our volunteer duties for a few days, and I am sure I will have a successful outcome. More on this in our next blog – when I can use both hands again or peck on the keyboard with 1 hand.

We finished our whirlwind trip on Tuesday with a quick visit to see Michelle and Logan’s new house, and hope to see them settled in when we return for more appointments on June 9-10. As soon as we began the trek back to the park, the storms started again, and this was our view heading north out of Beaumont later in the afternoon – and no, those are not mountains in the background, but a bank of clouds.


On Friday, May 30th, while I was volunteering at the Nature Center, Dick took a walk along the 3/4 mile Island Trail to see what he could “stir up” and, before we leave, his intentions are to “gift” the Nature Center a disk of some of the pictures he took while at the park.

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I will close for now and leave you with this thought!


Thanks for stopping by and see ya soon!


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