The next week was fairly uneventful, with another road trip to Webster, TX on Monday, June 9th, for my follow-up hand appointment (following left hand carpal tunnel and trigger thumb surgery on June 2nd) and annual checkups, including blood work, for both of us. We stayed overnight with Michelle and Logan in Seabrook – and, as always, enjoyed our visit. Dick is still waiting on his test results, but I have received notice that all is good for another year. Keeping our medical professionals in our “home” area has been important for us, but it is challenging to get all the appointments in while nearby. It has been necessary to see other physicians in other parts of TX and out of state, but we always hope and pray that this will not be necessary – and we carry our records with us to make the process easier.
Before heading back to Martin S. Dies, Jr. State Park near Jasper, TX on Tuesday, June 10th, we stopped for a Popeye’s Fried Chicken “fix” in Seabrook. One advantage to taking the back roads was passing (and stopping at) a fruit-and-veggie stand (near Village Mills) - and bringing home tomatoes, cucumbers, avocados and watermelon. Yummy!
We had enjoyed our version of Cobb Salads so much that Michelle had fixed that we took our extra pieces of Popeye's Fried Chicken from lunch and added our fresh tomatoes. cucumbers and avocados, combined with Romaine lettuce, purple onion, boiled eggs, bacon, cheese, croutons and Ranch dressing. Another yummy dinner! Recently, Ree Drummond, “The Pioneer Woman”, posted her recipe for Cobb Salad, which is what we remember from ordering them in California many years ago, so check out the recipe at www.thepioneerwoman.com.
A couple days later, as we were driving over to the Walnut Ridge area of the park, Dick spotted a Western Mud Snake (Farancia abacura). Dick described it as “a really beautiful creature”, which did not run away, so he had to carefully pick it up and show it to me – while he enjoyed my hysterics for a moment - and, then, released it on the opposite side of the road (where it was heading) and watched it disappear into the woods and freedom. As Dick said, this snake is totally harmless to humans, and made no effort to sink its teeth into him. Therefore, please do not indiscriminately kill these snakes, but simply ignore them, as they are seeking a semi-aquatic habitat and will leave the area in search of one. If you would like to see more of Dick’s photography, please go to Dick's new Flickr page, and leave him a comment if you see something you like.
On Friday, June 13th, while I was volunteering in the Nature Center, Dick captured the following shots throughout the park.
Since we were on the schedule on Father’s Day. Dick offered to barbecue chicken for his dinner - but I did make potato salad and baked beans - and it sure was yummy!
The following Tuesday. we were “on the road again” to Seabrook and Webster to have my stitches removed. We only had a few minutes with Michelle, but we took Logan out for lunch and had a great visit. On the way north on Highway 146 from Seabrook, this is what we faced and, fortunately, the accident was cleared not long after we got stuck in this line.
When we finally returned to the park, we stopped by for a visit with our friends Ed and Debi Hurlburt, who came to visit for a few days.
The following morning, Ed followed Dick to RV Services in Jasper, TX to have the Blue Ox base plate for our new 2014 Subaru Outback and receiver hitch installed. Finally, after suffering through several "rip-offs" by what should have been quality service centers, we were amazed at the courtesy, consistently good quality and fantastic turn-around George and Sheila provided us. Plus, George suggested that we order the parts (which we found on Amazon Prime, so we received them in 2 days with no shipping costs) and let him install them. He saved us approximately $400 over what we had been quoted by Camping World and Discount Hitch in the Houston area. Our first experience with them was a doubtful repair of our HWH leveling system that we thought we were going to have to travel to FL for qualified service by a "factory" service center - after having 2 very much larger centers unable to handle it. Not only did they complete the installation in approximately 5 hours, but we do not think the Subaru dealer could have made it look any better. If you are in East Texas and want true quality work done at a truly reasonable price, take your RV over to George, Sheila and Dustin, and tell them Dick and Judy Mott recommended them! Unfortunately, the parts are black, so no pictures, since they blend so well that you barely see them. One step closer to hitting the road on July 8th!
On Thursday night, Dick and I picked up Ed and Debi for a trip to our favorite restaurant in Jasper, The Cedar Tree, for their buffet. No seafood this time, so Dick had the buffet, but the rest of us ordered fried shrimp from the menu. Some good eating!
While I was volunteering in the Nature Center on Friday morning, Ed and Debi came by to visit and check out the exhibits – and they were very impressed!
On Friday evening, Ed and Debi had us over for dinner - grilled ribeye steaks, twice-baked potatoes, stuffed jalapeños, rolls and iced tea! Thank you, Ed and Debi, for a delicious meal and great visit!
On Saturday morning, after Dick’s photo walk at the park, we again picked up Ed and Debi and drove about 20 miles from the park to Mott’s Wholesale in Spurger, TX. We had been told that, not only was this store the largest distributor of Case knives in the United States, but the store had lots of cast iron pots and lids. Dick needed some new lids, so we met my high school classmate and our friend Jay Price, and everyone made purchases. A successful trip!
We then returned to the park, and Jay visited for the day while Dick prepared a Cajun meal – chicken stew with rice, green beans with new potatoes (bought at a local vegetable and fruit stand) and fried corn with brownies for dessert. Ed and Debi joined us and everyone chowed down. Success!
We had a busy few days with friends and it was hard to say “see ya” until the next time!
The park posted the following picture with a quote the first of this week, and I thought it was perfect to include in our blog.
Check out more on the park at the following site: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/martin-dies-jr.
Recently, while “cleaning up”, Dick noticed some wrens burst out of our lawn chairs that were folded up and stuck away in a corner. Upon closer inspection, this is what we found! We have 1-1/2 weeks before heading out, so we are hoping the mother continues sitting on the eggs and that they hatch before we have to pack away this chair.
While off this past Tuesday, we spent about 3 hours reorganizing and deciding what we really need to keep on the motor home. It is amazing what we thought we had to have when we bought it and, now, not so much. Both our son Mike and daughter Michelle will be “inheriting” a few items. Then, the afternoon storm came, so we had to quit our “project”.
We are not quite through, but lots of progress was made. We made a vow not to use our new vehicle for extra storage and, so far, so good!
Dick trained a new park host the last 2 days, so it was nice to sleep in – especially since the weather was pretty dreary and humid (still not 100 degrees, though). The rains came earlier today, and we had lots more rain than previously - as you can see from Dick's photo below.
After running a few errands when the rain let up, we visited the vegetable-and-fruit stand and picked up fresh grown tomatoes, potatoes, onions and yellow meat watermelon. Then, we made a final visit (until our next trip) to The Cedar Tree for their lunch buffet – less expensive and still yummy. with free tea for “happy hour” – since we arrived before 4 p.m.
It’s hard to believe we have only 8 more days as volunteer park hosts – and 2 of those days, we are off. Stay tuned for more on our final week and preparations for our 1-month “RV vacation” with our 13-year-old grandson Logan. Let the countdown begin! Heading north on Tuesday, July 8th!
Thanks for coming along for the ride and see ya!