Wild looking critter

I had just got back from my morning walk and was sitting outside at the table enjoying a cup of coffee when I noticed something on Sher’s bike.


I have never seen a caterpillar quite like this one before. Not sure why it liked the soft plastic handlebar grips on the bike.

We are back on the road again enjoying a few days at this very nice park that is part of the Thousand Trails system. The weather is just delightful today. It was cool this morning and the temps now at mid day are in the low 70s. It is so nice that the heat has finally broken and there is a hint of fall in the air.

Relaxing and enjoying

We’re at another RV park for a few days. This one is in Ohio between Columbus and Cincinnati. This one is gated, with the code provided so the checkin was contactless.

There are lots of rigs, but few people. Probably real busy on the weekend.


The weather is very nice, great for windows open sleeping and comfortable during the day for walking or riding bikes. We’re still being very cautious and doing the “social distancing” things.

This year has been a wreck. Coronavirus, the economy, protests, fires, hurricanes and of course “Political Stuff “. Sher and I are grateful to be able to get back out on the road. Our spirits are raised and we’re feeling more optimistic about things…

Stay safe friends!

Back to longer stays at RV Parks

Sher and I have been pretty much staying at home, wanting to avoid that COVID-19 virus. We took a trip a few days ago and walked around in Vincennes, Indiana. We were anxious to get out and on the road again, however, and decided that we’d try out staying in an RV park see if we felt safe being in that environment.

We found what looked like a very nice park not that far from our home base. It was part of the Thousand Trails, a membership program where you pay a yearly fee and are then able to access RV Parks without any further fees.  We felt that by having only 10 nights of stays at these parks, we’d pay for the membership, anything beyond that would be no charge.

The Thousand Trails Indian Lakes Resort in Batesville, Indiana turned out to be a good choice for our first time out for a park. We had reservations, and did have to go into the gate house to get the dash board slip and the gate “key”. I would have preferred a no contact check in, but the lady did not let anyone else in while I was taking care of check in. Yes, she and I both had masks on.

We easily found an open site (sites are first come, first served). Back in on a level gravel drive with a nice shade tree. There was a concrete pad and permanent State Park style grill. The power pole and the water bib were  clear at the back of the site. It took almost all of our electric cable  to plug in, and both our water hoses.  Our T Mobile service was not very strong, but at least we could open email and access a few web pages.

A colorful sunset is a good way to end the day

We found that we felt safe at this park. We could hike around the park, and there were never so many folks that you could not keep the proper social distance. We chatted with some fellow campers, at a distance of 20 feet at least! By bringing all of the supplies we need, there was of course no need to go to any stores. We think we have found a safe way to travel, at least until there is a treatment or cure for the coronavirus. Oh yeah, we’re heading out again next week.

Cautiously getting back to traveling

I guess we had had enough of the isolation, staying at home, watching the RV sitting in the driveway and general boredom. We decided that we would venture out for a short duration trip to see what the world was like in person. Sher and I knew we could not just take off without preparation. I’m in the age and underlying health issues related group. Neither of us want to get the virus. We wanted little or no physical contact with either things and/or of course people.

Preparing the RV

We had plenty of fresh water, the gray and black water tanks were empty.  We planned our daily menus, and had more than enough food and drink on board, so there was no need to go to a store. And of course we started with a full gas tank. The RV had not been used other than a couple of day trips since we got back from Texas in February (Before COVID seems like years ago…) so we dusted the inside, put up a new shower curtain, and added a new bedspread and loaded supplies.

Roadtirement back on the road

The RV Park

We found an RV Park about 10 miles north of Vincennes, Indiana, our first destination. They accepted Passport America for half price camping. That was good. But how to interact with the office? I did not want to have to go into it. I called and the park owner completely understood my wanting a “no contact” payment. No problem, they had a mail slot at the office, great for depositing our check. The park layout also was great, as there was plenty of room between sites.

Yep, that’s us being COVID tourists

Sightseeing

We were out and about mid week, thus avoiding what might have been large crowds on the weekends. As it turned out, there were very few people around where we walked about. We saw very few people wearing masks, which is now mandatory in Indiana. Social distancing was not really a problem, as there were only a couple of times where we moved away from nearby pedestrians.

In conclusion

We so enjoyed getting back on the road and staying in an RV Park. Sher and I both had a great time seeing the historic sites and monuments in Vincennes and then in French Lick on the second day. We do not yet feel safe going into for example any restaurants , wineries or antique shops. The frustrating part was seeing some places open and not feeling safe going in.  But, we had our own bathroom, food, and our house on wheels made for a very safe  “No Contact” outing. We’ll add some posts about the neat stuff we saw, complete with pictures soon.

Souvenir from a Jellystone Park

A while back Sher and I met a lot of our family members at an RV campground near Cleveland, Ohio. We stayed at a franchised campground with a Jellystone Park theme. Yes, right from the cartoon series with Yogi Bear, BooBoo, Cindy and the hapless Ranger.  We had a wonderful time as this was a perfect place for family activities.

Souvenir ornament

Souvenir photograph

 

 

 

 

 

 

The “Airstream” style ornament , while Christmas themed, is now permanently hanging from the window over our table in the RV. This souvenir is cute, lights up and reminds us of that fun time we all had at the Jellystone Park RV resort.

Do any of you collect souvenirs from your travel adventures?

Please Remember to  Stay Safe and Stay Healthy 

Home is where you park it… What?

We received this cute towel as a nice gift this past winter from our Austin family.

“Home is where you park it” is a clever pun, really, referring to those who travel in RV’s. We have been in self isolation for the past eight weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Twice now I’ve started and run both the RV’s engine and the on board generator. Best not to let the rig set idle for too long. The cute thing is that our towel is still correct in what it states: The RV is in the driveway next to our house, our home.

Sher and I are really looking forward to the day when our “Home” will be parked in an RV parking spot that is not the driveway of our home base house.

DIY RV plumbing repair

The cracked pump

While we were staying at the La Hacienda RV Resort in Austin this past winter we had a little plumbing issue in our RV. One evening Sher was sitting at the table and said “Maj, my feet just got wet.” Well, wet where it’s supposed to be dry is always a problem.

Long story short, there was a crack in the fresh water pump that supplies fresh water to the HWH, shower, toilet and sinks from the fresh water storage tank on board. After a check online and checking the leaking pump, I determined what replacement pump I needed. Ordered from Amazon, it arrived at the RV park 3 days later.

New pump ready to be connected

Installation finished. The white tank is the fresh water supply

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was not very difficult to remove the old pump and install the new one. The pump was in a compartment under the cushion for the table, easy removal. Two wires and two pipe connections were easy to hook up.  Fortunately the base plates on both had the same screw hole patterns. After about an hour I tested the newly installed water pump. It worked!

Corona virus, Indiana, and our take

Sher and I returned from Texas to our home in central Indiana the last week of February. The corona virus issue was heating up.  We wanted to ride it out in an area we know. The news kept getting worse and worse. Indiana finally got its first confirmed case, and as of this writing there are now twelve confirmed in the Hoosier state.

Our situation

Yes, we’re both a little scared and a lot upset. I am the poster child for the high risk individual with underlying health issues. I have a Trifecta: 69 years old with COPD and heart issues. I can’t take any chances so we are staying in, hunkered down with our TV, internet and talking with our kids and grand kids via texting and video calling. Are you avoiding crowds? Paying attention to “social distancing”?  (That’s a new term, huh? My how the world has changed in a few short months.)

Stocking up

Some experts say two weeks worth of food and supplies. I think a month is a safer bet, and we pretty much have that covered. What is your take on stocking up? Can you make it for two, three or more weeks without a trip to the grocery? Got enough medicines? A couple of our sons ran into  shelves empty of toilet paper yesterday.

A Meijer in Ohio

A Walmart in Indiana

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A massive shutdown

Things are going from bad to worse. Schools and universities are closing everywhere. No gatherings of any large size are being allowed. Sports events? Well, forget them for at least a month or two. Concerts, plays, festivals? Nope. (Here in Indiana the Governor has designated 250 as the magic number for the size of gatherings that will be allowed)

What’s your feeling? 

We can’t understand why testing numbers are so low here in the U.S. The President says one thing, his top adviser Dr. Fauci says the opposite. Seriously? Hard to be optimistic about our government’s ability to handle the corona virus pandemic. What do you think?

To our blogging friends

Please please be safe! It’s bad, and we’re afraid it is going to get worse. We can communicate through our blogs and other e-methods which is helpful if, like us, you are wary of any public interaction. Let’s keep in touch.

Oh, wash your hands, wash your hands and wash your hands.

 

Solstice Outdoors is a fun Texas art gallery

Out side of Dripping Springs, Texas in the Hill Country near Austin is a thriving landscape design business that also doubles as a place to view and purchase unique outdoor artwork. Solstice Outdoors Ltd. is based in a former ranch home surrounded by 2 acres of what is now a whimsical display of outdoor works of art and decoration.

Solstice homestead

Outdoor fire pit complete with pyramid and butterfly seating!

 

 

 

 

 

Through an online mobile search Sher found this place while we were prowling about the Dripping Springs area. Thanks to google maps we soon found this surprising gallery of both indoor and outdoor craftsmanship. Each of the rooms in the house were used to display local artist’ works, including jewelry, tapestries and pictures.

Bull/man iron soldier

Another metal man

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By far the most unique part of Solstice is the “backyard”. As soon as you go out into the yard you are greeted with a variety of ‘creatures” in all sizes and materials. The company offers landscaping design and construction. Walking through the grounds was like walking through an outdoor arts garden.

This face is kind of creepy, IMHO

A different medium for a longhorn!

 

 

 

 

 

Often we don’t have a set itinerary some days when we explore an area. It is always an adventure to find things by just driving around looking for signs, or hitting up the mobile search for “things near you”. The day we found Solstice Outdoor, Ltd. was one of those days.

Painting with a Twist, North Austin version

We decided to look for another opportunity to do a “sip and paint” type studio event. A quick google search revealed four different Panting with a Twist stores in Austin. With this franchise, you have to check to see what painting was on the agenda on what day. Sher and I both liked a Valentine’s Day themed picture that was actually designed for “his and hers” to be combined to make one piece of art.

Front desk with the instructor and assistant

Thus we were off to Painting with a Twist of North Austin. Fortunately there was very adequate parking for the RV and it was a fairly easy drive to the studio. We got there plenty early, met the staff and got our aprons on.

Our work station

Work in progress

 

 

 

 

 

There was one instructor and an assistant. The set up was pretty neat: The instructor stood by the double canvas on a small stage. There she could give step by step instructions on how to create our masterpieces. In addition to seeing the instructor on the stage, there were also two large screen TV’s that you could also see her and the canvas as she painted it. Great idea!

Grinning and painting

Our finished two canvas painting in our RV

 

 

 

 

 

There were about 20 couples who were in our session. The instructor kept a running patter going as she gave us specific instructions on what to paint, how and when. She was good at her job, and was able to add humor and levity to her discourse. There was more than one reference to Bob Ross and his painting techniques during the session which was very interesting. Try one of these fun projects sometime. It is a great way to spend an evening. Here is the corporate website so you can find one of the studios near you.