Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Pretty Low Key

We have been at the Escapees campground since January 5, and will be here until the end of the month at least.  And even though we're sleeping in the teardrop, and preparing our meals at the galley, it feels like we are planted in a sticks and bricks home.  It is almost a feeling of being too settled!

However, it is important that we are here as we are completing tasks that need to be done, like doctor and dentist appointments, cleaning Katie inside and out, etc.  Plus a meal or two at our favorite cafe, the Whistle Stop.  We have gone through the cargo area in the 4Runner again and much to our surprise and delight, we found more stuff to get rid of; we actually donated it to Escapees Care Center Thrift Shop.

We finally did some birding at Lake Livingston State Park yesterday and had some nice birds...flock of chipping sparrows, a brown creeper, brilliant colored Eastern bluebirds, and Carolina wren, to name a few.  We may end up camping there this visit, or in March when we return to get the car and trailer inspected.  It is a really nice wooded park, right on the lake.

We also spent the day, after our park visit, driving a big loop through beautiful rural areas (ranches, llamas, farms) and ended up in Huntsville where we poked around a bit.  The weather was really pleasant and we ran into minimal traffic.

Now we're in the Livingston library and I just got my library card!  Been wanting to read the biography of Steve Jobs, so I am taking it out!

While at the campground, I am making a flute case for my Native American flutes.  We bought a PVC tube, cut it in half, and purchased attachments for the bottom and top of the tube.  I covered the tube with this awesome fabric I found on Etsy.

I used the adhesive Mod Podge to adhere the fabric to the tube.  I brushed it over the side of the fabric which shows, and it also puts a finish on the fabric adding a little gloss.  Next I will work out the shoulder strap, using nylon webbing.  It's been fun to do.

Time to roam the library!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Livingston, Texas

Here we are, in our domicile of Livingston, Texas.  We've been here for about a week and a half. (Beautiful sign made by Michael!)

Before we departed Cape Cod for full-timing in our teardrop, we researched establishing a domicile and mail forwarding services.  Because we don't own a sticks and bricks home (residence), we needed to establish a domicile (meaning you have intentions to settle in a particular state).  For full-time RV'ers, Texas, Florida, and S. Dakota are the three states most often considered, as they allow for easily establishing a domicile, and these states have had decent health insurance plans for full-timers.  We learned about the RV club called Escapees, when we were researching mail forwarding services.  Long story short, we joined Escapees and signed up for their mail forwarding service.  By doing so, Escapees gave us a physical street address, the starting point for establishing a domicile.  We selected Texas as Escapees has a large campground we can use as a home base when we need to do tasks related to "home".  To show "intent to settle here", we registered to vote, had our car and trailer inspected and registered here, found a primary care physician, and opened a bank account.  So, here we are, at the Escapees campground, in Livingston, as Texans!

And although last year I had great health insurance coverage with Blue Cross Blue Shield Texas (a PPO), this year BCBSTX dropped the PPO, and only offers a HMO.  So, coverage isn't as broad as I'd like it, but I am hoping it all works out in the long run.  Michael is on Medicare, so he is set.

As you can see, Katie is a tiny trailer next to all of these bus-style RV's, known as class A's.  We set up our tent as our living room, and are settled in for the month.  Although not our favorite camping experience, in an RV park, it is nice and comfortable, and folks here are very friendly.  The bathroom and shower are nice and located near us, as is the laundry room.  We can check our mail everyday while we are here, and not have to make arrangements for it to be forwarded, and they're showing the movie "A Walk In the Woods" tomorrow night, for free!  But, we both look forward to being on the road again in February when we head into Arizona for the month.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Southern Tier Travels

We tend to be pretty loose with our planning.  So when we left Florida recently, we knew we'd cruise through Alabama this go-round, stop in Mississippi and Louisiana, and plan on arriving in Livingston, Texas (our domicile) for a January 10th camping reservation.  Well, plans unexpectedly changed...

We did spend four nights at Big Biloxi Recreation Area in DeSoto National Forest as noted in our last entry.  That was Gulfport, Mississippi.  But, we were excited to move on to Louisiana as we loved two previous visits there (by loaded touring bicycles in 1995, and on an auto road trip in 2000).  This time we were heading on Interstate 10 to Lafayette, Cajun central!  Then to Baton Rouge and west to Texas.

The ride to Louisiana was nothing spectacular, but we had some nice scenery here and there.

We decided to do a Walmart "campsite" in Lafayette last night -- a 24 hour super center, like many we have stayed at along the way.  

Now, we haven't really been 100% relaxed at Walmarts, unless there are other RV's there; then we're in numbers sort of thing.  Last night we arrived before sunset, and ate supper in the car, waiting for dark to climb into the teardrop, Katie.  It's actually fairly bright in these lots due to the many lights.  But, we feel less conspicuous waiting for dark to go into Katie.  

Our routine is to park on the fringes of the parking lot, required by Walmart.  We also look to be in view of the market entrance, since other entrances are locked at the 24 hour stores, but the market entrance is open all night.  Since I typically get up in the night to use a bathroom, I want a direct walk to the store entrance.  Yes, at 3am I am traipsing through the parking lot!  Not too many people are shopping at that time, but there are some!

Anyway, we fell asleep around 8:30pm or so, but awoke to a thud on the camper around 11pm.  From a dead sleep, we were both sitting up, wide awake.  Michael looked out his window at an SUV parked by us, with a young guy standing outside of his vehicle with his hatch open.  Michael opened his door, and the guy started yammering about our bikes locked on the rack on the back of our car.  "Oh, is that a mountain bike?  Is that a beach bike?"  Funny, I remember his exact words.  Michael evidently startled the guy, who probably thought we were in the store.  The guy lit a cigarette and climbed into his car and drove off.  Michael got out to take inventory and the car and bikes were fine.

After that we hardly slept.  We realized we thwarted a robbery.  It was scary.  We noted this morning that one item was missing, a wooden stool Michael had made years ago.  It came in handy on our travels, and it was outside between Katie and the car last night.  Who knows why, but this creepy guy stole it.  So, that made us leave first thing this morning, as we wanted out of Dodge, er, Lafayette.  And I don't think there are too many Walmarts in our future.

But things happen in weird ways.  Still in Louisiana, but off to the side of the road, we were checking our map for the ride, and a man pulled over in his truck to see if we needed any help.  We told him all was well, and he gave us a thumbs up and went on his way.  So, we had a taste of two different types of Louisiana citizens on our quick stopover.

We reached Texas, the Lone Star state, this afternoon.

As many of you know, we have no physical residence, other than Katie.  So we are "domiciled" in Texas.  We are members of the Escapees RV Club, based in Livingston TX, where we are now.  We contracted with them for their mail forwarding service, and they have given us a mailing (street) address. Our car and Katie are inspected and registered in TX, we are registered to vote here, etc.  Domicile means you're intending to settle there some day; we are not obligated to do so, however. 

Escapees has a huge campground here and we will be here for the rest of the month.  We will take day trips around to bird and hike, I have a flute circle nearby to go to, and as usual, our plans are somewhat loose!