Friday, May 27, 2016

Texas to Wisconsin

Greetings from Necedah, Wisconsin!  Necedah is the home of Camp-Inn Teardrop Travel Trailers, maker of our fine "Katie".  After camping in Texas, in the national forest and at Escapees, for two months, we needed to move on!  Being too static makes us to complacent.  And even though there were things to do, medical and otherwise, we definitely felt it was time to be on the road again.

We left Texas on Friday morning, and for three days drove 400 hours per day to arrive in Necedah this past Sunday night.  The ride was surprisingly smooth and thankfully uneventful, so we actually enjoyed ourselves.  Nevelle is still a champ in the car!  He tolerates traveling very well, although he'd rather just be hanging outdoors!  We stop every 90 minutes to stretch and walk him on his leash, and this seems to keep all three of us healthy!

We had two things motivating us to head to Necedah.  The rather significant motivator is that we are looking to sell Katie, and step up to a larger travel trailer.  After this first spectacular year on the road traveling, and since adopting Nevelle, we came to the realization that the teardrop is just too small.  Being full-timers, the smallness of the space is really noticeable.  If we were traveling on periodic small outings, we would definitely stay with the teardrop.  Overall, she is very comfortable for sleeping and is so easy to tow.  But, dressing is like doing yoga, and having the cat, cat bed, and litter box in such a small space, well, we felt a larger trailer would be a great change for us.  This is done, certainly, with mixed feelings,but it feels right.

Our search for a larger, but cool trailer, took us to a manufacturer named Forest River, and a model called rpod!  The particular model, the 179, that we want in 20' long, double the length of Katie.  Happily we found a seller in central Texas selling a 2016 model 179.  He explained that he and his wife retired last fall and bought the trailer, intending to spend a lot of time camping.  Well, after three camping trips, they decided they don't like camping, so they put the trailer on the market.  So, Katie is listed for sale via several outlets, and the seller will hold the trailer until July 1, giving us time to sell the teardrop.

The rpod has a queen bed, a dining area, a small bathroom, and a decent sized kitchen area, all in a neat little package.  We had a chance the other day to see a 179, along with a couple of other models, and we are very excited about our choice!

Now to sell our teardrop.  If you or anyone you now is interested, please let me know!

While in Necedah, we celebrated my birthday yesterday by eating at a terrific restaurant called the Little Crane.  Today, Friday, the 27th, we went birding at the Necedah WildlifeSanctuary.  What a beautiful place!  It is an important stopover for migrating Sandhill cranes, and has hosted a pair of whooping cranes for 18 years that have produced a chick each year.  One success story for this endangered species.

We saw many species of birds, including young bald eagles in the nest, Sandhill crane, a good number of warblers, and American kestrel.  It is a lovely sanctuary, and made me miss my days at the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary on Cape Cod, in Massachusetts.  Places of beauty and peace...very special!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Miscellaneous Stuff!

A quick list of recently seen and heard birds during our last days of the forest:

Indigo bunting has been back.  And a thrill was to see a rose-breasted grosbeak!

On a hike to a pretty little creek called Clear Creek, we had some nice birds: scarlet tanager, yellow-billed cuckoo, eastern bluebirds, great-crested flycatcher, yellow warbler, eastern wood peewee, wood thrush, and a bird whose song we hear all the time, and we cannot ID it!  Frustrating!

Right at our campsite, Michael found blackberries and we enjoyed their sweet and sour taste!

There were some pretty warm days here and often in the mid-eighties.  The ambient temp itself wasn't  so bad, but in the sun, it was pretty toasty.  Sitting in the surrounding forest kept us cool and comfy in the shade!

Michael decided to build a stool out of pine wood he found and sawed to size.  He drafts plans on paper first, accounting for the smallest details.  Here it is as a work in progress.

It is hard to believe that we have been here in Sam Houston National Forest for close to two months!  It has been a very relaxing change from all of the driving, but it is time to move on.  Our plan is to move on to the Escapees RV campground.  We arrived on Monday, May 2.   Hallejulah...there are showers here!  Plus we can do laundry, and at an electric site we can better charge the trailer.  Solar has kept our volt meter reading around 12.4, but the refrigerator won't go on.  This voltage reading is typically adequate for the 'fridge to run, so we don't know if there is a bigger issue at hand.  The operations manual does suggest that the refrigerator won't run if the ambient temperature is 90 degrees Fahrenheit.  Even though thermometer readings are in the mid- to high eighties, in the galley it feels warmer.

Beautiful new flowers are blooming around us.

A dragonfly hitched a ride on the car.  A big beauty, but the details are a bit fuzzy:

The reason for hanging around the Livingston area for so long was due to that episode with my chest pains back in March.  Since then I underwent a stress test and heart cathaterization and thankfully all is well and my heart is healthy.  The doctor feels it may be my esophagus so he recommends I visit a gastroenterologist.  The medical carousel goes round and round.  So my appointment is June 14.  Our plan is to stay in Texas, but to tour and camp around the state.

It has been frustrating at times to be so stationary, but these medical or other issues will come up as we haven't totally escaped from real life.  Our plan is to leave Escapees tomorrow for another local campsite called Stubblefield as I have a wrap up appointment with the cardiologist on the 17th.  We will then head south to High Island and Galveston, and maybe South Padre Island.