Travels with Bentley

Travels with Bentley
Bentley - our Heartland Bighorn

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Monday, April 28, 2014 - Ft. Hood Travel Park, Ft. Hood, Texas

I managed to sleep in this morning until about 6:45, which is pretty late for me.  Dean had the coffee made so that was really nice.  I checked emails and Facebook, especially looking for any more news on the tornado damage near our hometown.  Baxter Springs, KS and Quapaw, OK are located about 35 minutes to an hour from us.  Dean occasionally worked in Baxter Springs when he worked for Century-Link. 

We considered finding someplace to eat breakfast versus having our normal cereal, however I could not find a restaurant in Copperas Cove that served breakfast with really good reviews or that was smoke free.  So we ate cereal. 

After we had our showers, we headed to Copperas Cove to H-E-B Supermarket.  I think I mentioned I love this store!  Seriously the deli meat and cheese counter was at least twice as long as most large box store meat counters.  I've never seen so many selections with all kinds of different flavorings, such as chipolte; blackened, etc.  It would be fun to just try some of them.

We are going to Matt & Megan's later and I am going to fix dinner there.  Megan's favorite meal is roast, potatoes and carrots.  While my sisters and I were at my Aunt Lillie's (my mom's younger sister) a few weeks ago she made roast and it was so delicious that I've decided I am going to try this.  Hopefully it turns out as good as hers!  Yes, I've made roast many times, just never have done it the way she made hers.  I usually just throw everything in a crockpot with some seasonings and that's it.  It's good but does not hold a candle to Aunt Lillie's.  She told me at the time it's the way her mom made it except instead of putting it in a roasting pan in the oven, she cooks hers on the stove in a large skillet.  She flours both sides of meat and browns each side.  She then adds enough water to come about half way up on the roast.  Once it comes to a good boil, she turns it down to where it just simmers for about 3 hours.  My mom probably cooked hers this way too but I can't remember watching her do it.  That may have been by the time I paid attention we were into fixing roast with Lipton onion soup mix and Cream of mushroom soup over the roast.  It was always very yummy, but I think I like Aunt Lillie's better.  Dean and I love to make hash out of the left over roast beef and it is better if it does not have alot of other seasoning on it.

While at the store I picked up some fresh salmon steaks so Dean and I can try these out tomorrow night when we stop.  Dean will cook them on the grill.  It will be our first attempt at this.  Since Dean is grilling them I'm sure they will be perfect.  In all honesty, he is a better cook than me!  He won't admit it - but it is true!

Megan called while we were having our lunch of sandwiches here at the trailer.  They had just finished with their follow up doctor visit.  Joshua is doing well.  They have to make a trip to Wal-Mart and will let us know when they get home.  We'll go over and spend the afternoon with them.  It will be our last chance to see them all before we leave in the morning so we are looking forward to having this last visit with them.

Headed over to Matt & Megan's about 1:30.  We got there shortly before they did and I went ahead and got the roast going.  After they arrived and Joshua was fed, Papa and Nana got to cuddle with him.  He is just a beautiful baby.  He has the most beautiful complexion!  Today he had  his eyes open quite a bit and really studied his Papa alot!

The roast turned out pretty good - not quite as good as Aunt Lillie's but for the first time I was pleased.  I will definitely do this more in the future.

All too soon, it was time to head back home.  We did our final hugs with Matt & Megan and then little Joshua.  The next time we see him (around July 4th) he'll be about 2 1/2 mos. old.  Of course we are hoping for many pictures between now and then.  We will really miss him - and mom and dad too!  :)

We hit the road tomorrow morning for the trip home.  Tune in to see where Bentley is parking tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014 - Pelham Park, Bowie, TX

We got up and around early this morning as we had a lot to do since this is our first travel day in two weeks. This has been a good spot to be in but we are ready for a change - except for leaving Joshua and his parents. We will miss them.

We pulled out of Ft. Hood Travel Park at 9:42 a.m. and headed west towards Highway 281.  It was a nice ride, despite the wind.  Our mpg was not nearly today as we headed north- into the wind - as it was on the trip down - when the wind was with us.  About 2-3 mpg difference!

Believe it or not we only made one stop between Ft. Hood and our final destination. That's quite an achievement for me.  I really like having our own bathroom with us wherever we travel.

I made a note that if we make it back to this area again I'd like to spend some time in Mineral Wells, TX. There are several large RV parks in the area and it looked like an interesting town.  There is a very large building located in the downtown area that really piqued my interest. You can tell it is an abandoned building but it must have played an important part in the community.  I'm not sure how many floors but I would guess 10-12 at least.  It has a large dome like top on it with what looks like a large balcony.  The one drawback to pulling a large fifth wheel, is you can't just stop anywhere to take a look or get pictures.  I did try to take one as a drive-by but it didn't turn out too good.

We arrived in our new destination of Bowie, Texas at about 3:15 or so.  Bowie is a town of about 5,200. Pelham Park is on the east side of town in a large recreational area that includes their community center, playground area, soccer fields, rodeo arena and the RV Park.  The park is small - only about 12 camping spots.  There are not many trees which did not matter to us today.  The temperature when we left Ft. Hood was 70 degrees or so - it was 66 when we arrived in Bowie.  The wind was really strong so it was cool enough we both changed from shorts/capri's into blue jeans and me from flip/flops to tennis shoes.  We did not need shade today.  Each site is similar to a chip and seal pavement, with lots of green space around the park area.  There is also a walking trail that a few locals seemed to be utilizing.  They have 50 amp electric and water hookups for $15 per night with a 7 day maximum stay.  We would stay here again.  They also have a dump station as you leave the campsite.

After we got the rig set up and rested for a while, we took a tour of the town.  They have some interesting looking flea markets.  If we had more time I'd like to visit them.  Other than that, we did not see much that caught our eye - well, except they do have a Dairy Queen!

We had originally planned to grill our salmon steaks tonight but due to the heavy winds Dean did not want to try grilling, so we opted for a local restaurant - Sweet Boy's Diner.  We both had the chicken friend steak.  It was what they were known for, per the menu.  It was pretty good.  Not the best we've had but certainly better than some.  I don't think anyone will ever be able to beat Treva's (former cafe in Oswego) chicken fried steak.  Sweet Boy's meal was served with a side salad, homemade rolls and 2 sides.  We both chose smashed red potatoes and mac' and cheese.  Fortunately we both ordered the small size and it was just perfect.

The wait staff wore T-shirts with the following slogan on the back, "Every mama has a Sweet Boy".  Hence, the name!

Unfortunately we were so full from the dinner than we even passed on a DQ visit!  We really didn't need it after that dinner anyway.

Check in with us to see where Bentley is taking us Wednesday.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Saturday, April 26 and Sunday, April 27, 2014 - Ft. Hood Travel Park, Ft. Hood, TX

Saturday, April 26
After we finally got around this morning, we headed to Killeen.  Dean wanted to go by Lowe's and look for a small compressor he could store in the RV in case we need to add air to our tires or other possible uses.  We also visited Toys R Us looking for a birthday gift for another grandson, Gideon.  His birthday is coming up May 8th and we will be visiting him and his family in Wichita in about 2 weeks.  We haven't had much luck finding what he has on his wish list but we'll see if we can't find it before then!  It's hard to believe this little guy will be 5 years old.  They grow up so quickly.  We are really looking forward to seeing Heath and his family - wife Casey, and three boys Abram 6; Gideon 4 and Roman 3. 

I bought a pair of capris and a shirt at Academy yesterday and after trying them on again this morning, I decided I did not want them after all, so we also made a stop to return these.  While there Dean finally bought a case for his cell phone.  He's been looking for the "perfect one" for quite sometime, so I'm glad he decided.  I hope it works out for him.

We called Matt & Megan to see if they would like to have lunch from McAllister's.  They thought it sounded great.  We had about $2.34 left on a gift card that Heath & Casey gave us earlier this year and I wanted to use it up.  After we ordered I gave them the card, told them how much was left on it and that I wanted to put the balance on my credit card.  They rang it up, but instead of an additional charge that I would have to pay for - the gift card paid it all.  They called the manager over.  After he looked at it and asked a few questions, he said it's our mistake so it's on us!  WOW!  I offered to pay anyway but they said no.  I asked if this was a special card and if it would work like this at every McAllister's?  They told me I should hang on to it!!  HAHA

We took lunch to the hospital for Matt & Megan.  Dean and I ate our lunch in the waiting room.  The hospital room they are in is VERY, VERY SMALL!  It's one thing to set and talk, it's entirely too small for 4 people to try and eat lunch in with all of the coming and going of nurses, visitors, etc.

After lunch we stayed and visited for awhile.  There were a few other visitors who stopped by to see baby Josh and the new Mom and Dad.  It was nice to meet their friends. 

Dean and I went to Olive Garden for dinner and brought dinner back for Matt & Megan.  We all enjoyed our meals!!  Anything Italian is good in my books - but I really love their salads!  I almost always get just soup and salad.  We stayed for just a short while after dinner.  We then took some of the gifts they have received at the hospital by their house and picked up the stroller to bring back to them Sunday morning.  We had quite a time trying to figure out HOW to fold the stroller up in order to get it into the truck!  LOL! 

Just wanted to mention the RV Travel Park here at Ft. Hood.  It is a large park, but most of the RV's located here are owned by soldiers that live in them.  There is a small area (16 spots) where we are parked and this area is used mostly by visitors.  The park is very nice and clean.  We have full hook-ups and the cost is $18 per night.  There is a nice concrete picnic table at each site.  We can stay here since Matt is stationed here, otherwise it would not be available to us.  It's been very convenient except for the times we happened to be the vehicle selected for inspection when we return to base.  It's a random selection of vehicles coming in but we've managed to get two full inside and outside vehicle inspections since we've been here.  Not that it's a big deal it just take a while.  Typically when we return we are tired and ready to just be home.  Such is a life for a decent camping spot!

Sunday, April 27th
Today Matt, Megan and baby Josh are supposed to be released from the hospital!  They are so ready to leave.  They have been at the hospital since Wednesday evening around 9p.m. so you can imagine why!  The birthing room where Megan was until they moved her to the operating room was HUGE.  Lots and lots of room for everyone and still have nurses move around the bed, etc.  The room they are in now would fit in the birthing room at least 3 times, maybe 4.  Besides Megan's hospital bed, Joshua's crib is there, a large fold out chair for Matt to sleep on, as well as two other folding type chairs for visitors, and all of their luggage and gifts.  There's barely room to move.

We left here about 9:15 this morning to take the stroller to the hospital for the kids to use to push Joshua to the car. Even thought we took several things by the house last night, they still have more personal belongings to get to their car as well.  It is quite a long walk from their room to where the vehicle is parked.  You can not drive up in front of the hospital to load items, so the stroller will probably come in quite handy.  It was another interesting moment trying to figure out how to reopen the stroller!  Why do they make things so darn complicated?  :)

We thought it would be good if Matt, Megan and Josh could go home and get settled on their own so we took care of a few things this morning and then played a bit this afternoon.  We needed to do some more laundry so we headed to Copperas Cove.  The Laundromat was packed so we decided we would wait until this afternoon to see if it slowed a bit.  On the way back, we noticed a new road as we headed back to the rig.  We decided to turn around and take it to see if it would provide a better route when we head  toward home Tuesday.  It turned out it was nice as far as it went, but the roads from where it stopped and where we must reconnect with 195 Highway had too many low-hanging tree branches for us to take the rig down.  BUT, because of this detour we ran across another Laundromat that was just as nice as the last one we used, so we were able to go ahead and get that chore done!  Quite happy about that. I'm not sure how big Copperas Cove is but it's not that big - but they have 3 Dairy Queens - and we love Dairy Queens.  Believe it or not, we have not had any DQ stops since Durant - almost two weeks now, so we decided we should change that.  We surely picked the best one in town - and I truly mean the BEST!!!  I honestly cannot remember the last time someone made our blizzards and then turned them upside down like Dairy Queen is known for!!!  We are off to a really good start here!  Second, they actually knew how to make the Heath Cappuccino Blizzard and you could taste ALL of the ingredients; and most IMPORTANT - it was mixed from top to bottom with all ingredients and there was LOTS of Heath bar throughout the entire blizzard.  This place earned a +++ from us. 

After we had our dessert, we returned to the rig and had leftovers from a few nights ago.  Chicken tenders, mac and cheese and broccoli/cauliflower mix.  It was pretty good.  Even though we ate our dessert first and entrĂ©e afterwards - it was a great meal!

Well, I finally talked Dean into taking me to Round Rock to IKEA!!!!  I was so excited.  We found a route that did not take us into the heavy I-35 traffic and gave us a bit of new scenery.  In fact the road hardly had any traffic and was what appeared to be a fairly new road!!  The first and last time we went to IKEA we purchased a package of undercounter lighting for the kitchen.  It worked perfect and I've wanted to buy some more of them.  We were able to do that so now Dean has a new project when we get home.  This will be a great addition as my lighting is not as good as I would prefer, except where he has installed this lighting.  Can't wait to have it at all 4 work areas!

After that we searched for a BabiesRUs.  We could only find a ToysRUs at the Outlet Malls and again we could not find a present for Gideon.  We looked around for something else we thought he might like but nothing caught our fancy.  On the drive back to Killeen we chose to drive through Georgetown, TX.  It was a nice community.  They were having their annual "Red Poppy Festival" in the downtown area.  Unfortunately, it appeared to be ending as we came through.  

There is so much growth throughout Texas.  Everywhere we go there are new homes, new businesses, new roads, new schools, etc.  It's amazing!

Upon our return to Killeen we headed to Lowe's.  Dean started to try out the compressor today and after unpacking it, he realized it did not come with an air hose, so another purchase was needed.  We took care of that, then visited Toys R Us again to look at a couple of things for Josh.  We could not decide which items Matt and Megan wanted since there were so many choices on a couple of items we knew they needed, so we ended up getting a gift card - that way they can pick out the items they prefer rather than having to worrying about possibly exchanging something.

Once we got home I made salads for our dinner.  They were pretty good.  I had a couple of things I wanted to do on the computer so I drug out the laptop while Dean went out to play with his new compressor.  WOW - I knew they were expecting storms back home but was shocked to see some serious storms had occurred WAY TOO CLOSE TO HOME!!!!  Baxter Springs, Galena and Ft. Scott all seemed to have some damage - and it appeared Baxter Springs was hit quite badly by a tornado.  Also, Quapaw, OK suffered extensive tornado damage and according to reports at least two deaths occurred.  (Note:  This morning this was changed to only one death.)  There have been too many of these in our corner of the 4-state area for several years now.   Our prayers go out to all who suffered losses during these storms. 

It was near or after 4p.m. today before they finally released the kids from the hospital!!!  Dean talked to Matt this evening and they were getting settled in.  They have a follow-up visit with the doctor tomorrow so we will head over there after lunch. 

We watched TV, spent time on our laptops and took a little walk around the part of the park where our rig is located later in the evening.  A very relaxing and quiet evening.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Tuesday, April 22; Wednesday, April 23, and Thursday, April 24, 2014 - Ft. Hood RV Park, Ft. Hood, TX

Well, I have a lot to catch up on in this post.

Tuesday - After our coffee, breakfast and showers we headed to New Braunfels, TX this morning.  We have been wanting to go to Camping World to pick up a few things we needed for the RV, and to just look around.  Unfortunately the closest CW to us in in Rogers, AK so we wanted to take advantage of this opportunity.  Dean does not enjoy traveling the Interstates, so we took highway 281, which was a beautiful drive into the Hill Country of Texas.  You see so much more of the countryside on these local highways versus what always seems like the same old thing on the Interstate.  We enjoy the slower pace versus the rush, rush, rush!   There were still quite a few spring flowers along the highways and as I mentioned we began to see hills the further south we traveled.  One of the things we love most is passing through the towns and smaller cities along the way.  Often Dean finds he is looking at phone related equipment and I'm looking at parks, city halls, streetscapes, buildings, etc.  Just the way we roll!  You know old habits die hard!  Fortunately as we neared New Braunfels, the GPS route took us to Camping World via a frontage road leading into their parking lot without ever having to get on the Interstate.  This made my husband very happy!

We spent an hour or so looking around Camping World.  We found a few things we needed, and a few things that we just wanted, plus we checked prices for items on our wish list!  From Camping World we were going to try and find somewhere to eat lunch before we headed back to Killeen.  I mentioned to Dean that I had really hoped to at least drive through Gruene (pronounced Green), Texas before heading back.  I've heard so much about this neat little community and I thought it was fairly near to us.  As we approached a major intersection that would take us under the interstate to a large shopping center with numerous eating establishments, I noticed a sign that said "Historic Gruene Downtown District".  I was pretty excited to see the sign so soon after mentioning it and pointed it out to Dean in time for him to make the turn.  In about 7 minutes we were driving into Gruene, Texas.   As we drove down the first street right in front of us was Gruene Hall.  See picture below.

Gruene Hall was constructed in 1878, and is Texas' oldest continually operating and most famous dance hall.  The building is 6,000 sq. ft. with side flaps for open air dancing.  There is a bar, small stage and a large outdoor garden.  Gruene Hall is known as a destination tourist attraction and not only new artists but many well-known ones have played here over the years.  Stoney LaRue is scheduled to play there this weekend.  Some past performers you might recognize include Garth Brooks, George Strait, and Kris Kristofferson. 

I wish we would have had more time to spend here today.  We did take time to have lunch at the Gruene River Grill.  While this building was constructed more recently it had a very aged look to it.  There was outdoor patio seating overlooking the Guadalupe River.  Fortunately it was not too busy when we arrived so we were seated here along the patio with beautiful iron railings.  While waiting for our waiter to arrive we heard laughing and looked down to watch some kayaks, a small rubber boat and innertubes drift down the river.  From our table we could look right into the treetops that grew along the river below us. The weather was perfect for outdoor dining. Such a gorgeous day!

Entrance to the Gruene River Grill
 Innertubers floating down the Guadalupe River

Beautiful old trees outside of the Greune River Grill.  Aren't these beautiful?

Our dinner was very good.  I had a Sante Fe salad with grilled chicken and a spicy chipotle dressing.  Even though I did not need it, they had really mixed the dressing into the salad and every bit was delicious.  Dean enjoyed his choice of chicken friend steak with mashed potatoes and green beans.  Wonderful meal!

Afterwards, we drove down to take a closer look at the river.  It would be fun to take a leisurely float someday! 

There were many shops and antique stores that I would love to visit, but not this time.  It is definitely on our list for a return trip to Texas.

We headed home about 3:30 or so.  Matt called us as we were approaching Copperas Cove and wanted to know if we wanted to come over for supper.  Megan is a great cook so we were not going to turn them down!  Tonight the menu was fresh catfish with a cornmeal coating that she baked, and a yummy green salad with lots of extras (avocado, cranberries, nuts, cheese).  We had chocolate chip cookies for an after dinner snack.  Yummy!!!  We headed home about 8:00 or so since Matt and Megan are now back on the clock and have to be up for work in the morning.


Wednesday morning  I decided I would start to plot our drive for the trip home.  We enjoy taking different routes traveling to and from a location if we can as we enjoy seeing new things.  We plan to travel 281 North to Bowie, Texas the first night and stay at a city park there.  From there we will travel to Norman, OK and stay in the Fairground RV Park.  Depending on when Joshua arrives we may make one more stop before we take the last leg of the trip back home to Oswego.  I would like to be home no later than early afternoon on Friday, May 2.   I decided about two months ago I was going to have a garage sale in conjunction with Oswego's city-wide sale, which is Saturday, May 3.  If we do not make it home by then my sister - Cindy; daughter - Misti; and niece - Nikki will handle it as they are also participating.

After I finished selecting our overnight stays for our return home, we had our cereal for breakfast and got our morning chores out of the way.  We then headed to Copperas Cove to pick up some groceries.  Matt and Megan are coming here for dinner tonight so I needed to pick up a few things.  After we returned and put things away we made a quick sandwich for lunch.

Tonight we are having grilled chicken, homemade macaroni & cheese, steamed broccoli & cauliflower, and garlic bread heated on the grill.  I am making a simple strawberry shortcake for dessert.  We bought some leg quarters and I had a few chicken tenders left so Dean grilled all of those.  It sure was good!  He is a great cook although he won't admit it!! 

We set outside while he grilled the chicken.  The weather is just perfect here right now - about mid-80's.  I can't believe that I've only worn capris 2 or 3 days since we left on March 31 and we are in TEXAS!!! and it's almost May.  I am so ready for summer and the lake.

After Megan and Matt arrived Megan told us they had some good news.  Her doctor told her at their appointment today that if they did not have anyone else come into delivery by this evening they may call her to come in tonight rather than waiting until tomorrow.  Sure enough about 7:30-8:00 she got the call.  They left to take care of a few things before they headed to the hospital. 

They spent the night at the hospital and assured us they would call if Joshua arrived that night or early morning.

Thursday morning we were anxious to get to the hospital.  As you have probably figured out, no baby yet. It turned out to be a long day for Mom and Dad.  Fortunately, despite the fact things did not progress like everyone hoped, Megan was somewhat comfortable for most of the day and evening - as much as you can be laying in a hospital bed with intermittent contractions.  At about 10:00 we headed back to Bentley and went to bed with the idea we might get a anytime to head back to the hospital - however, that didn't happen.
Early Friday morning - At about 2:45 a.m. Matt called to tell us that they were going to take the baby Cesarean.  We told him we would be there as soon as we could.  As we turned into the parking lot, Matt sent Dean a text telling us he was in the operating room waiting for them to bring Megan in and letting us know to go to the waiting room.  He will come and find us after Joshua arrives.
Little Joshua Dean Peine arrived at 3:27 a.m.  This "little" guy weighed in at 10 pounds, 5 ounces and was 21" long.  Needless to say, I think you can understand why a Cesarean was necessary.  He is just as cute and sweet as can be -- as you can see for yourself in the pictures below.

 First picture of Daddy-Matt Peine; Mommy-Megan Peine and Joshua Dean Peine.  April 25, 2014.
 First picture with proud Papa Dean Peine, Joshua's namesake.
I left my camera at the hospital with Matt and Megan and I wanted to include several pictures in this post, so that is the reason for the late posting.
We are so thankful that Mom and Joshua are doing so well and we Thank God for another special blessing to our family.  It was exciting to be here to share in Matt and Megan's experience as new parents and we feel so blessed for the opportunity to do that.  Matt was one proud Daddy!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Monday, April 21, 2014 - Ft Hood RV Park, Ft. Hood, TX

We were pretty lazy first thing this morning - taking our time getting around.  It's nice to do this once in awhile.  After breakfast we headed to Copperas Cove to take care of laundry.  I do miss my washer and dryer very much but I console myself with the fact it only took me 1.5 hours to do 4 loads of laundry.  I was able to read emails in between time so accomplished two things at once.  We returned to Bentley about 11:30 or so.  Fixed a quick lunch of sandwiches.  After lunch I put up clothes and put clean sheets on the bed, while Dean did the few dishes we had. 

Dean called Matt to see what was on the agenda for the day.  They had just returned from the errands they had scheduled this morning.  Megan took another non-stress test and all was well with it.  As it stands now, if she does not go into labor on her own, she will call the hospital on Thursday and they will determine if she will come in sometime that day or on Friday, based on the number of patients they have at the time.  So we will meet Joshua this week!!

Matt suggested another game of golf so we headed to their house.  It was quite a bit warmer today but we had a really good game until Hole 8 and things began going to pot.  Not sure if it was the clouds that began to head our way and the threat of rain, the guy behind us who seemed put out we weren't going fast enough or we were just tired.  Every bunch of high weeds, ponds of water and sand traps seemed to reach up and grab our golf balls.  Dean and I still ended the game at the same score as our previous game, 50, but I think we would have definitely improved that if we'd continued to play like we did on the first 7 holes.  There was some rain later, but not at the golf course (or at least while we were there).

Following the golf game, Dean told Matt and Megan we would take them to dinner - their choice.  We originally were headed to Belton to eat at the Dead Fish Grill, a restaurant at Belton Lake overlooking the water.  Before we left Killeen Dean asked if they were sure it was open - some restaurants close on Monday's.  Megan Googled it - thank goodness she did - it WAS closed on Monday's.  I was intrigued by the name of this place, so was disappointed.  Hopefully we can give it a try before we leave.

After that selection failed to work out, they suggested Red's Corner Grill.  This is a neat little family sports restaurant.  We all chose either burgers or cheesesteak.  All of the food was excellent, and VERY filling so we passed on the ice cream that Matt had suggested we get afterwards.  Good idea!  Over the bar area they had REDS spelled out as follows:  Relax - Eat - Drink - Sports.  

We went back to Matt & Megan's for a while.  Dean and Matt either watched TV or visited  -  not sure which because I could not keep my eyes open and neither could Megan.  We headed home about 8 or so.  We watched the end of Dancing with the Stars when we got back and then I headed to bed. 

Matt and Megan both have to go back to work tomorrow, so Dean and I are headed to New Braunfels, TX to Camping World and to take in a little sight seeing.  If I'm lucky maybe he'll stop at IKEA on the way back!!!!!  Stay tuned for new adventures! 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Saturday and Sunday, April 19 and 20, 2014 - Ft. Hood RV Park, Ft. Hood, Texas

Saturday, April 19
As you know if you read the previous post, Matt called Saturday morning to see if we wanted to go eat breakfast with them.  Neither of us hesitated for a moment.  Breakfast is Dean's favorite meal to eat at a restaurant.  We chose a Mexican Restaurant, Taqueria Guadalajara that we had visited on a previous trip and enjoyed. 

We met them at the Restaurant which was pretty close to us.  I cannot remember the name of the dish I ordered but it included scrambled eggs, mixed with Mexican sausage, broken tortilla shells with a cheese sauce over it.  Sides included corn tortillas, bacon, refried beans and potatoes, similar to home fries.  It was delicious.  Dean had an omelet with the same sides and wheat toast.  I really love this place and wish we had somewhere closer to home for Mexican breakfasts.  We miss Pepe's that was in Chetopa.

Matt and Megan needed to go to Sam's so we tagged along.  We no longer have a Sam's card so we enjoyed this little side trip.  I found some really nice plastic 22 oz. colored glasses.  These will be really nice to have when we have family dinners, since I am short on this size glass for iced tea.  We also purchased two large bags of salted almonds.  Dean goes through these pretty quick and we saved about $5 by purchasing these compared to what we normally get at Wal-mart.  It's always just fun to browse Sam's.  Side note:  Our second date, Dean and I went to Joplin and stopped at Sam's.  They were having a big "sample" day with various foods.  Dean had never been to a Sam's before and he thought this was a great date!  HAHA  He loves telling people our first date he took me to McDonald's and our second he took me to Sam's for dinner; and I still went out with him again! 

We went back to Matt and Megan's and hung out for awhile before we played golf at 2:15.  Shortly before we left we had a sandwich- we didn't need too much after that big breakfast, but it will be a while before dinner, so we didn't want to get hungry on the course.

Dean and I scrambled against Matt (to save time) and Megan rode along.  Dean and I had a score of 50 and Matt had a 46.  Matt was pleased since it was his first game of the year.   The golf course is called Stonetree.  The name comes from a large stone that is in a tree on the 6th hole.  I've included a picture of it and one of Dean and Matt discussing their next shot.  It's a beautiful course and we enjoy playing it.  Typically Matt and I play against Dean and Megan but Megan can't swing a golf club too well right now.  :)

You will have to click on this picture to enlarge it to see the stone in the street. 

I'm sure this was a very serious discussion!

Here is another picture of the Texas bluebonnets that was taken at a closer range than the previous one I posted.  The are pretty in this picture, but seeing an entire field or yard of these beauties is just amazing!

We hosted dinner tonight.  After the golf game we stopped by the commissary to pick up some groceries.  Dean was grilling.  We had rib-eye steaks, roasted potatoes on the grill and a salad. 

For those interested the roasted potato recipe is from my sister Cindy.  I tear off a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil, spray it good with Pam (or similar type product), then add about two medium potatoes per person cut into bite sized chunks, add one or two onions (I cut them in half then quarter each half).  Add seasoning salt, pepper and dried parsley.  I added 3/4 stick of butter sliced into 1/2" pats then laid over the potatoes.  Seal your foil tightly along the length and then tightly fold in your ends.  Grill for approximately 1 hour, turning from side to side every 15 minutes.  Do not turn entirely upside down or you will lose all of your liquid.  You will lose some as it is, so don't worry.    These are so delicious! 

After we cleaned up the dishes, Matt suggested a game of Catch Phrase.  Did you know they have an app for your phone that you can use to play with a group--just like the actual game?  We played 3 games and I hate to admit that the guys won!  We had a great time though and laughed so hard I was just sure it would send Megan into labor - but no luck!!

The weather today was perfect.  Warm but a little overcast so it was very comfortable on the course.  it was a great day!


Sunday, April 20

Easter Sunday.  We got around this morning as we were meeting Matt & Megan so we could attend church with them.  They have two services each Sunday and we chose the early service which started at 9:00.  We had to be at their house by 8:40 and it takes about 15 minutes to get there. 

From the outside you would not know the building was a church but it is very nice inside.  It's a good sized church with a wonderful group of musicians leading the music.  While the songs were a bit contemporary for me - the music itself was very good.  Their pastor had an excellent sermon and easily held my attention.  It seems if I sit still for very long I have a tendency to get that eye dropping disease and never once during his message did my mind wander or my head bob!  That is a good thing!

Megan had heard of a place having Easter brunch near them so we thought we would try it out.  She made reservations for noon, and we headed over about 11:40.  While it was good, it was not nearly as impressive as it sounded.  The prime rib and horseradish sauce was the best item, I think.  Desserts were not too bad.  It included breakfast items of scrambled eggs, roasted potatoes (which were pretty decent), bacon, link sausage, biscuits and gravy, and an omelet station.  There were a few pastries, prime rib, chicken fried steak, ham, cheese and fruit table, spinach/strawberry/feta cheese salad and peel and eat shrimp. 

After lunch we headed back to Bentley to change clothes and pick up a pork roast for dinner.  We are going to do laundry tomorrow and I wanted to check out a Laundromat in Copperas Cove since it is quite close to us.  After deciding which Laundromat we would use, we headed back to pick up the needed groceries.  A nice little rain storm came up so when we reached Wal-mart Dean was going to drop me at the front door - an idea that every other person in Copperas Cove must have had!  The rain let up enough I could finally just walk to the front door - good thing as we set waiting for traffic to let up so Dean could turn to drive in front of the store to drop me off for quite a while.  I wanted orange juice and a pork roast - sounds easy, right?  Found the OJ pretty quick and headed to the meat department.  There was only a small selection of pork roasts left and a lady was standing right over them checking each one out - for what seemed like SEVERAL long minutes.  I kept trying to look around her, finally decided on one and asked her to excuse me so I could grab my selection and be on my way.  She was still trying to decide when I moved on!!  I hurried towards the front of the store, so busy watching foot traffic so I could dodge children and carts that when I reached the front I realized I had gone the wrong direction and I was now at the back of the store again!  Only me!!  I finally make it to the front of the store, get in the express lane (one of two) and yes, you guessed it - it is the S----L-----O----------W lane!!!!!!!!   I am in the store so long to get two things that Dean finally calls me to see if I am okay.  I should never be allowed to go to the grocery store when we are in a hurry!!!!

We returned to Matt & Megan's.  Megan was taking a nap, so I put the pork roast on for dinner.  We are having pulled pork and some sides (to be determined).  I checked my emails and Facebook (with the help of Matt's internet connection since I cannot receive anything except phone calls and texts on my phone as I have used all of my data storage for the month.)  I had a lot of emails so I enjoyed the time to read my travel blogs and see what is going on at home (Facebook is nice for this).  Loved all of the Easter pictures that were posted by everyone!

After Megan got in her nap (she didn't sleep well last night so she really needed some rest), we visited for quite awhile while Dean and Matt looked at a couple of projects they are going to try and accomplish this week while we are here. 

We watched "Thor" - can you tell Matt likes movies?  It was okay - not nearly as good as Captain America.  Dinner of pulled pork, and sides of baked beans and Steamfresh peas was delicious.  After the movie was over we headed back to Bentley about 8:30.

Another nice day!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Friday, April 18, 2014 Ft. Hood RV Park, Ft. Hood, Texas

Good morning everyone!  Hope you are all doing well.

We had a slow start to our day yesterday, taking our time getting up, having our routine breakfast cereal, spending time on the computer and doing little "household chores".  Living in a small space I really like everything in it's place and it does not feel right to leave for the day without making sure that is taken care of.  When I do not have to rush - that's all the better.  Part of retirement to me is not "rushing" anymore.

As much as I loved my job, I have not missed it - which is a little surprising to me as it was so much a part of me.  But what I have found I do not miss is the anxiety I would sometimes feel, the neck aches from the stress, etc.  My neck no longer hurts (except from my head bobbing, when I fall asleep as Dean is driving, or trying to watch a movie - hahaha),  I no longer wear a mouthpiece at night to keep from grinding my teeth and I just don't feel like I'm always in a hurry because there was never enough time in the day to get things done.  I would not have traded the excitement of my job for anything - it was the best job in the world; however it was certainly time to lay it aside and move on and I'm thankful it has been such an easy transition. 

We had made plans to meet Matt and Megan about 11:00 today to go play my new favorite game.  Too bad we have to make the trip all the way to Texas in order to do this.  I know a few of you have heard about this and have even played it but for you golfers out there if you ever get the chance to play "Top Golf", do it!  It is just great fun.  I do not particularly care to go to a driving range and just hit golf balls one after the other.  But Top Golf changes that.  Matt drove us to Austin, Texas where Top Golf is located.  They also have one in Dallas and a few other locations around the US.  (Hey all, I just found out there is now one in Oklahoma City - woohoo!)

I've taken a few pictures and will explain more about it after each one.  As you near TG you can see their large nets long before you see the building. 

The facility is a large building, with three levels.  You can take your own clubs to use or you can use the clubs they have at each bay.  I'm not sure how many "bays" there are, but I would guess something like 30-40 on each level.  There are 3 levels that you can play from.  Yesterday we were on the mid-level.  Last time we were here we played from the lower level.  The side of the building that overlooks the outfield (215 yards deep) is open as you will see in the picture below.  Behind that you have an area to store your golf clubs (just like on the back of your golf cart), and a table that seats up to 6 people, similar to a bowling alley.   Anyone can play this game including children and you can play year-round no matter the weather (assuming weather conditions allow you to reach your destination)!  You pay by the hour.  Through the week (Mon-Thurs) it is $20/hour through 6pm.  Then the price increases to $40/hour until closing at 10pm.  On weekends (Fri-Sun) it is $20/hour through noon; and then $40/hour until closing. 

 Here is Dean taking some of his first shots.  You can see the dartboard-like targets in the ground.  You hit special golf balls that are microchipped.  The closer you get to the center or "bull's-eye" the more points you receive. 

This is where the golf balls are released.  At the top right you see a small hole.  You wave your club over this to release each ball.  We chose to hit 5 balls at a time with a total of 20 per player.  There is another screen where you change to the next player after each person completes their round,  I forgot to get a picture of it.

This is the scorecard for those playing.  If you click on the picture to enlarge it you can see I was able to stay with the guys somewhat.  I was quite pleased with the fact that I actually had a couple of shots that went beyond the brown and green target to roll into the blue.  I'm not sure either of them made it to the white target this time and I can assure you I never did.  We played 3 games and part of a 4th when our time ran out.  We chose to play for two hours.  Believe me - the time goes so fast.  I think even non-golfers would enjoy this game!

Another great thing, is they have a full food and beverage menu and the food is excellent!  You know how happy that makes me as a foodie!  Yesterday I had a turkey/avocado wrap and a side salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing.  It was very, very good.  Later Megan ordered a donut hole type dessert, that comes with large syringes that you can infuse the donuts with either raspberry or chocolate sauce!  The donuts have a sugar type dusting over them after they have been deep fried.  Oh my gosh this is dessert heaven!  Each sauce had such a distinctive taste I could not decide which I liked best, so I guess next time I might need an order of my own to make a final determination!!  :)

I even took a picture of the dessert.  The donut holes were in the two silver cups and I laid one of the donuts on the syringes.  There was plenty of sauce for all of these donuts!

After this we headed back to Killeen.  I tried to talk Matt into stopping at IKEA but he just flew right on past that exit.  Hmmmm!  Do you think the guys are telling me something?  I have to tell you that we did stop here our first visit to see them shortly after they moved to the area almost two years ago.  He could not WAIT to get out of that store.  Guess I'll never get him to take me back again.  But ladies it is such a neat store.  Maybe this should be a road trip for us someday!

We hung out at Matt and Megan's for the rest of the evening.  Megan and I ran to the local grocery store (H.E.B.) which is wonderful.  I love huge grocery stores that offer a larger variety of things than we normally see at home.  Just looking is fun to me!  It takes so little to please me.  HAHAHAHA

Matt grilled hamburgers and they were delish!  For dessert, Megan had mini brownie cups that we placed in the bottom of a bowl, added vanilla ice cream and lots of chocolate syrup.  YUMMY!!  We seen a coffee flavored ice cream in the store - that I think would have also been very good on the brownies and to take it a step further how about a mashed up Heath bar along with it too. 

We then watched another movie at their house - Delivery Man with Vince Vaughn.  The father who discovered he had 533 children.  What I seen of the movie was really good - but unfortunately I did that bobbing head thing through most of it - yes my neck was a little sore this morning from that!  I would like to watch the rest of it someday!

Well, Matt just called and they want to go eat breakfast!  I'm not one to miss a meal, so Bentley is out!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Thursday, Apri 17, 2014 - Ft. Hood RV Park, Ft. Hood, Texas

Megan had to go in for a non-stress test her doctor wanted to do this morning at 10:00.  (By the way she passed this with flying colors- so no worries.)  Following that Matt & Megan had committed to attending a luncheon and advised they would be finished around 1:00 p.m.

As I've mentioned in earlier posts, Dean and I are looking for a small table to set between our recliners so we have a place for our coffee cups, phone or whatever other item might need to be laid beside us for awhile.  I mentioned this to the ladies at the Heartland Rally last week and someone suggested we go to Garden Ridge because they have tons of tables.  We were looking for something to do, so I Googled Garden Ridge and found there is one south of us near the Round Rock/Austin area, so off we go to check it out.  It was a very overcast morning today and it began to drizzle the closer we got to our destination, which was located in a very busy location (as in all kinds of exits, tiers of highways, etc.).  This is exactly the type of traffic Dean does not want to be in.  Fortunately, we were able to turn right off the road we were on into the Garden Ridge parking lot.

We must have looked at a hundred different tables but none of them were right.  They were either too big, too ugly (as in so poorly made I refused to pay even $25 for one) or too wobbly.  I think we have come to the conclusion that this is a job for "SuperDean" the builder!  I can have it special made, to my specifications.  With all of my add-in's - how long will it take? 

About noon we headed back to Killeen.  As we were coming upon IKEA, I mentioned I'd like to stop there.  Dean's head swung around and the look in his eyes was total fear - fear of traffic, fear of shopping or fear that I really meant it?  Well, I would really like to go to IKEA but I knew he had all of the traffic he could stand and we did need to get back so my response was - just kidding!  What a relief - you could see the look of fear be replaced with pure relief!!  I wish I could have captured his face on camera at my suggestion!

The bluebells along the highways are just stunning.  I tried to get some pictures but they did not turn out as good as I hoped due to the rain and the fact we were driving.  I will try to find an area where we can pull off the road and get some better shots, but just in case I will post the ones I took while returning to Killeen.

We decided we would grab something to eat when we got back to Killeen and were looking for some fast food when Matt called.  Dean told him we would find something to eat and then come on back - they suggested we just come over and have a sandwich at their house, so we did.  We visited for awhile and then decided to go see a movie, "Captain America."  Matt and Megan had seen it before but wanted to watch it again.  It was pretty good, as superhero movies go.  Dean and I decided to get a bucket of popcorn and two large drinks.  It's been awhile since we've gone to a show - and I can tell you, we would not get popcorn and drinks again - at least a large.  $19!!!!  That's almost as much as we have paid for most restaurant dinners (total for both of us) since we've been on the road.  This was a LONG movie - or maybe it was all of the previews (I didn't think they would ever end).  We arrived shortly before 3:00 and did not leave until after 5:30. 

Afterwards we went to Carolina Ale House for dinner.  I ordered fish tacos and Dean had fish and chips.  They were both very good.  CAH is a sports bar and their menu has a very nice selection to choose from.  It was our first time here and we will definitely visit one again.  Our food was brought to the table within 10 minutes or so of ordering.  We like that.

We returned to Matt & Megan's and watched another movie, "The Ugly Truth" with Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler.  It was a fun movie although I had a hard time staying awake.  I think I need to get up and move.  Sitting makes me tired! 

We headed home about 8:30 or so and I promptly went to bed!  See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014 Ft. Hood RV Park, Ft. Hood, Texas

We got around pretty early this morning since we needed to be ready to leave by 8:45 or so.  Megan called and wanted to know if we could come over a little earlier.  We had plenty of time so that was not a problem.  We picked her up and headed to Matt's headquarters where we visited with him for a while prior to the ceremony. 

Matt at his desk the last time as Commander.

The change of command ceremony was held outside.  Last week it would have been a nice warm day and the shade would have been much appreciated.  Today however, with the recent drop in temperatures it was a bit on the cool side, but not unbearable.  The ceremony was very nice and Matt did an outstanding job with his speech.  He had really nice comments for his soldiers.  I've added a few pictures of the ceremony.

 Changing of Commanders - Passing of the flag.

Matt giving his speech where he commended his soldiers.

Aren't these roses beautiful!  They gave these to Megan during the ceremony.

Afterwards we had lunch at McAllister's.  We really like this place.

Following lunch, Megan had a routine doctor's appointment so we parted ways for awhile, and we came back to the RV.  I updated the blog (previous posts) and a few things around here.  They came by after the doctor's visit and we hung out here until dinner.  Matt's unit honored him at a dinner at Giovanni's in Copperas Cove just west of where we are staying at Ft. Hood.  We have been there with Matt & Megan before, and as then - it was very good.  I ate so much I felt like I waddled out. 

Following the meal, they presented Matt with a framed banner of their unit and several had comments about Matt.  They were all very favorable.  They talked about his integrity, how he always wanted to do the right thing, his fairness, and a female soldier stated if she had a daughter in the military that she would wish her daughter to have a commander like Captain Peine.  As a mother, I can't think of anything more complimentary to say about your commander than that.  It was apparent they would miss him. 

Matt and Megan stayed at the house to visit for awhile afterwards.  It was a good day.  By the way, the doctor appointment outcome:  Baby is in position but nothing to indicate Joshua is ready to see us quite yet - few more days; but they did move up the date from April 27 to April 25 to start labor if Megan does not go into labor before then.   So we expect to meet little Joshua by April 25 unless he becomes anxious to meet us sooner - we can only hope!!!  Needless to say Joshua's impending arrival seems to be our topic of choice every day!  Papa and Nana are almost as excited as Mom and Dad!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Tuesday, April 15, 2014 Ft. Hood RV Park, Ft. Hood, Texas

We have a busy day ahead of us this morning!

Dean decided he wanted to go eat breakfast today rather than our normal Special K here at home!  Yea!  We weren't sure where to go so I Googled breakfasts in Killeen, Texas.  Found a website where a number of restaurants serving breakfast were listed.  Hallmark Restaurant sounded good and it was fairly close so we headed there at about 8:30.  They have a number of skillet dinners that sounded very good and we were really tempted; but since we seem to be getting more frugal with our money all the time, we went with the special for the day.  For $3.99 we had 3 pieces of bacon, two eggs, home fries and a nice big biscuit.  What a deal!  It was pretty good.  All in all our breakfast was less than $11 and we were quite full!

Next on the list was laundry.  Fortunately a Laundromat was very close.  We spent the next two hours getting that chore out of the way.   We were able to check our emails and Facebook in between washing and drying chores, so the time went fairly quick.

A stop at O'Reilly's to purchase some exhaust fluid for the truck and then our final stop at Walmart for a few groceries, Fish Oil and some birthday cards.  We headed back to the RV.  By then it was almost noon.  We made some sandwiches and ate some of the corn dip left over from the pot-luck dinner at the rally. 

We invited Matt & Megan over for dinner tonight as they have not yet seen the RV (at least the inside - Megan did see the outside yesterday).  I made chicken and rice which I knew was one of Matt's favorites so I had to get the chicken and sauce in the crock pot.  We rounded that off with brown rice and a salad with some add-in's of tomato, avocado, hard boiled egg, cranberries, walnuts and Parmesan cheese.  I decided to make an apple crisp for dessert.  We still have a little ice cream left over from our dinner with Larry & Verna that I want to get used up.  They arrived at about 5:30 and after a tour of Bentley we set down to dinner.  We had a nice evening catching up.  Matt's ceremony as outgoing commander is tomorrow at 10:00 a.m.  We will go by and pick up Megan and drive to Matt's headquarters where the ceremony will be held.  They left about 9:15 or so and we headed to bed soon after that.

More tomorrow!

Monday, April 14, 2014 - Ft. Hood RV Park, Ft. Hood, TX

We left Durant about 8:30 a.m. this morning.  The wind was really strong but fortunately it was from the north/west and we did not have to drive straight into the south winds we would have faced yesterday.  At times as we had to change direction it was a bit rough but mostly it was a good drive.  The scenery was very nice along this road.  We went out of our away a bit and it probably took us 30 minutes to an hour longer however we just do not enjoy the interstates.  There were large areas of Texas bluebells along the roads.  They are really beautiful.  I did not get any pictures but hope I can get some in the next day or so that I can share with you.  We were surprised that as dry as Texas is that it is so green here.  The different shades of green were beautiful on the hillsides, especially as we drew closer to Killeen.  From a deep dark green, to a bright yellow green (per Crayola crayon colors).  Cacti began to pop up here and there with fewer and fewer crop fields, but more and more horses and cattle.  Closer to Killeen we seen quite a few sheep as well.  We noticed quite a few pecan trees in this area as well.

We arrived at Matt & Megan's house about 3:15 today so it was a very long drive for us.  We really like keeping the driving to a maximum of three hours for a day - so we were really tired.  Pulling an RV is quite different than just pulling into a convenience store, fast food restaurant or other similar places along the road.  We made two stops along the roadside for bathroom breaks and a third one to get fuel and another bathroom break.  I made sandwiches and brought some chips and almonds along with a couple of bottles of water. 

We visited with Megan a bit, and then we drove about 15 minutes or so to the Welcome Center on base to obtain a temporary pass that will allow us to come and go on base.  Megan drove us over.  After sitting in one area at the Welcome Center for about 20 minutes, they told us we could go next door and obtain the pass quicker.  We had to take a number upon our arrival at the first area - we had 2 numbers to go when we left the first building.  Upon arrival at the second building, we had to take another number - we had about 5 in front of us!.  Not sure we saved any time, but we were soon at the counter and obtained the necessary paperwork.  So back to Matt and Megan's we went to get the RV.  Upon our arrival at the base entrance nearest the RV Park we had to pull it into a large Quonset hut and they inspected the RV and the truck.  We finally made it to the RV park where we pulled into the last available space.  By then it was nearly 5:30.  Megan headed on home to make supper and we got the RV set up.  This was our second pull-through space - and it wasn't any easier to get in to than the last pull-through.  We were too close on the left to put the slide out, and then too far over on the right and off the concrete pad.  After an attempt or two to fix that, Dean finally just pulled out and drove through a second time.  I think we agree, backing in seems to go better for us!  HA HA  About an hour later everything was set up, slides out and we headed back to Matt and Megan's.  Megan fixed a wonderful dinner - grilled salmon steaks, brown rice and sauteed green beans.  It was very, very good.  Megan has given us an entirely new perspective on salmon! 

We visited a bit and then we headed back to the RV.  Matt had early PT the next morning and we were both exhausted.  I think Megan was pretty tired too after all the running around she had to do with us today.  We had not seen them since October and so even though we expected Megan to look a little different at full-term pregnancy it was still a surprise when she opened the door.  She had changed a bit since last October when she was barely showing.  They have a doctor's appointment on Tuesday so we are excited to hear what the doctor has to say about Joshua and his impending arrival. 

Not much news today but hopefully more interesting things to report in the upcoming days.

Sunday, April 13, 2014 Choctaw Casino RV Park, Durant, OK

It is a windy day here in Durant.  With thunderstorm warnings and chances of hail and heavy rain, and winds that would definitely cut down on mpg we decided it was easier to stay another day than fight that.  I received notice on my phone a short time ago that we are under a tornado warning until 8 or 9 p.m.  We'll keep an eye on the weather but the clubhouse bathrooms would provide good shelter in case of a storm and they are quite close.

We got around this morning and headed to the clubhouse to say our goodbyes to those that are leaving today.  Larry Keever, Oklahoma Heartland Chapter Leader, caught us and said I want to show you something.  He had a magazine "Better".  It had a picture of a Heartland RV identical to our floor plan.  He is the same gentleman who stopped to see if they could look at it yesterday afternoon with his wife.  He was looking through the magazine this morning.  When he seen the floor plan, he told us he wondered where have I seen this before and then he realized it was our rig!

Bob Curry a member of the Texas Heartland Chapter wanted to get our picture for the rally information they will have posted so we posed for that.  We were the only couple he had failed to get (you don't think we were hiding - do you?).

Then we visited with Jay Coffman for awhile.  Jay is the Regional Director for Heartland Midwest area and is over Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Arkansas states (and maybe some others).  We visited about getting an active Kansas group started as they currently do not have one.  Not sure I want to take anything like that on but something to think about down the road.  We do hope to attend more rallies.  We have had a good time and met some really nice folks.  Oklahoma has a fall rally in Thackerville, OK at another casino.  They told us their RV Park is as nice as the one we are in and it is only $20 per night for the special rally rate.  This one is $25.  But with full hookups, cable TV and Internet it's a pretty good deal. 

Once we got back to the rig it was about 10:30 or so.   I got on line to see if the casino had any good restaurants.  WOW - they had about 8.  Gilly's had burgers so we decided to go over and have lunch and get our $10 free play card.  The 1/2 bacon burger and fries were great.  We shared one so that was a pretty reasonable priced lunch.  Afterwards, I went to a $.01 machine to play and Dean left to find a $.25 machine or something that would pay a bit more.  I got up a bit (as much as you can on a $.01 machine) and cashed out with just shy of $5.  You have to use the money they give you on your player's card - you can't just cash it out.  Once I had my $5 cash voucher I went to find Dean.  He had just cashed out with $41.  I gave him my tickets and said here play this and see what you can do.  He found another machine and got it up to $14.  I told him to go ahead and play but not to go below $10.  All in all when we cashed out we had won $51.  That will pay for tonight and tomorrow night's campsite.  What a deal!

We left and took a bit of a ride around Durant.  I tried to get some pictures of the horse statutes they have downtown but that didn't work and Dean wasn't too thrilled about driving around the block AGAIN, so we came on back.  We are going to eat at an Italian restaurant tonight with the remaining club members who stayed over another day.  They are leaving at 5:00 p.m.

Once we get back from dinner, we will go ahead and get everything ready to leave with hopes of pulling out by 9:00 or so tomorrow morning.  We are taking a different route, going slightly west of Ft. Worth down 281.  It's a tad bit further but no heavy traffic and will be all new scenery.  We talked to Matt a short while ago and he has paid for our spot at Ft. Hood RV Park so we have a spot to go tomorrow.  We'll meet Megan and she'll go with us to the base so we can get our temporary pass to come and go as needed.  It is a very reasonable rate as well and again has full hook-ups.  It's the closest place we could find to their house and the price is the best we could find as well. 

Just a quick note about dinner.  We ate a La Roma.  Dean and I both had chicken fettucine.  It was some of the best we have ever had.  Their rolls were also very good.  We had a wonderful time visiting.  We have really enjoyed our time at the rally.  Everyone was so nice and very helpful.  We look forward to running into our new friends on the road with Bentley.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Saturday, April 12, 2014 Choctaw Casino RV Park, Durant, OK

Even though it was about 68 when we left the 5th wheel this morning to head to the clubhouse for breakfast, it felt fairly cool outside.  It is VERY windy today.

We had a yummy breakfast casserole.  My goodness it must have been 4-5" thick.  I could not believe how good it tasted.  I found out yesterday the Resort has free coffee and cappuccino in the lobby every day so I ran in and got a cup of cappuccino as well.  It was excellent.

Following breakfast they had a drawing for special door prizes.  We purchased tickets for items such as a double folding chair, a portable ice maker, and various other things you would use for camping in a 5th wheel or motor home.  Dean really wanted the ice maker and wouldn't you know we missed it by one number.  Unfortunately when we bought our tickets the winning ticket had already been sold - since it was the number just prior to our first ticket.  Oh well, you win some you lose some.

Camping World gave the group a number of things to be given as additional door prizes.  We won a foldable foot stool which we will use when our fold steps are not quite low enough to easily step into the rig; and some cup/trays you can use when camping or at home.

An RV dealer in the area brought in 2 - 2014 models for viewing.  Everyone walked down to tour those afterwards.  As nice as they were and even though both had features I liked ALOT - I still prefer my floor plan over either of the new ones and would not trade just for the features I liked - as I could add those in my current 5th wheel. The number one improvement would be shades that just pull up and down versus the accordion type.  The accordion type are hard to get up and down when they are behind furniture that is not easy to get to.  I like lots of light so I want all of them open for the day.  I would also like to have slide covers - it's like a shade pull out over your slide outs.  It protects the roof to keep debris from falling on them and also limits the amount of water during rains, and it help keeps the unit cooler when it gets really hot outside.  We will probably add the pull over the slide outs down the road but the window shades are expensive and a convenience not a real need.

We came back and fixed a sandwich and just hung out here until about 3:15 or so when we would leave for dinner.  More on that later.  I had a bit of a headache and laid on the couch most of the rest of the day and even catnapped a bit, I think.

About 2:50 or so we got a knock on the door from Larry & Donna Keever, President of the Oklahoma Heartland Chapter asking if they could look at our unit.  Donna really liked the layout of our rig.  We visited with them awhile.  They are a very nice couple and Donna is a Jayhawker.  She is originally from Independence, Kansas and went to school at WSU.  Always fun to meet another Kansan!

After the Keever's left, we got ready to go eat dinner.  We were to be in line to go eat at B G Catch in Kingston by 3:15.  BG Catch is a buffet restaurant.  It opens at 4:00 and I guess you must be there at 4:00 if you want to get in right away because when we got there, there were already 15-20 people waiting in line outside.  By the time our group of about 30 people or so arrived, the parking lot was really full and lots of people had to wait for us to leave before they could go through the buffet.  The food was delicious - especially the fried catfish.  It was perfect.  They also had peel and eat shrimp, fried shrimp, chicken strips, corn fritters, hush puppies, Cole slaw and beans.  For dessert they had peach cobbler and what tasted like homemade ice cream.  VERY VERY GOOD! 

We were back home between 5:00-5:30.  It is just now 6:37. 

We have decided to stay here another day because the weather is calling for thunderstorms tomorrow.  So we will have everything ready to pull out on Monday night and leave about 9:00 a.m. Tuesday morning and drive through to Killeen.  It will be a long day but we think it's better than trying to fight rain.  It will probably take us about 5-6 hours.  If we leave here at 9:00 we should be in Killeen by 3:00 or so. 

Not sure what we'll do the rest of the evening.  I'd say go to the casino, but Dean said we might have to do that tomorrow because he's getting a little stir crazy.  I know we could not stand to do that tonight and again tomorrow.  We never win so we would either not be there long or we'd lose more money than we cared to do.  HAHA.


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Friday, April 11, 2014 - Choctaw Casino RV Park, Durant, OK

Woke up to overcast skies this morning and about 61 degrees.  We got around this morning and had our breakfast and I did some more cleaning in case anyone wanted to look at our rig.  We were meeting at the clubhouse and then would walk as a group to take the rig tours.  I think we toured about 10-12 of the different Heartland 5th wheels parked here for the rally.  I was proud of ours.  No one had seen this particular floor plan and they loved the big windows we have in our rig.  With the windows open it seems so much larger than it is.  There were some perks to some of the others, especially the longer units.  Our neighbor's is 40' long and ours is 36.5'  It is amazing how much more will fit in 3.5' of space.  I've decided that maybe going without a washer/dryer is the way to go to have the extra space.  Surprisingly only 2-3 of the couples have washer/dryer units in their rigs. 

Jennifer - everyone loved the sign "This is the Life" that your mom gave us!  Here's a picture of our decorations - the one from Lou (Jennifer's mom) and one from Carol, my right hand for the 29 years I served as City Clerk - that says "This is our Happily Ever After".  You'll also see a small plant in the photo.  This is the only plant I still own.  I kept it because it was small enough to keep in the 5th wheel but it is also very special to me.  It was a Mother's Day present from our granddaughter Kamron when she was 2 years old.  I still remember her carrying it in and giving it to me.  Thanks sweetie!
(By the way if I have not already mentioned it, I think you can click on the pictures to make them bigger when you are reading the blog and get a much better view)

Dean hung out with the guys during the tour.  He enjoyed it I think.  Once I got back it was time for lunch.  I asked Dean if he wouldn't eat the left over pork chops from the other night or I was afraid they wouldn't be any good.  He jumped right on that.  I made a quick sandwich. 

At 2:00 they were playing sandbag baseball at the clubhouse.  That definitely perked Dean's interest as he is a big baseball fan (especially if it involves playing).  They divided everyone up in to 2 teams by letting each person draw a chip from a bucket that was marked with either an "A" or a "B".  We divided up and set in a row on either side of about a 4-5' wide aisle.  At one end of the aisle is a strip of blue tape.  You must stand behind this and throw 3 bean bags towards a board at the other end that has holes in it.  The holes are marked FOUL, OUT, 3 bases, 2 bases, 1 base or HOME RUN.  There are 3 chairs behind the board.  If you land with the bean bag half in/half out it does not count - it must go in the hole.  If it goes in the hole and comes back out it still counts if you land on one of the base runs.  If you hit the foul on your last throw you get another turn.  The A team beat the B team in the 10th inning and you'll never guess who ended up making the winning run for Team A - well, it was not yours truly but the other half of this great duo!  I unfortunately was on Team B.  Team B got a chance to come back but we didn't make it.  It was fun and took about an hour or so of time.  The winners received little pins that read:  1st PLACE; Sand Bag Baseball; 2014 HOC (Heartland Owners Club) Spring Rally; Oklahoma Chapter; Durant, OK.  Here's a picture of the baseball board.

We came back to the 5th wheel resting before a potluck dinner at 5:00.  I decided to make Mexican Corn Dip.  I thought about making a peach or apple crisp, but someone told me they usually end up with a lot of desserts.  Tonight it will probably be the other way around!

The meal tonight was delicious - lots of good food.  They had a speaker, Col. James Wilhite, USAR (Retired) who talked about a project he was in charge of in Afghanistan.  He was charged with building the National Military Academy  in Afghanistan and accomplished it in less than 6 months with very little resources.  He wrote a book about the project called "We Answered the Call".  We have purchased one and look forward to reading it.

By the way - there was plenty of desserts including a really yummy brownie, with frosting and lots of nuts.  Carolyn - made me think of yours!

Afterwards we headed back to our cozy home.  We called Matt and Megan to find out how things were going with their air conditioner.  It quit working earlier this week.  Fortunately they sent someone out to fix it - a quick fix and they are now cool again (it's already hot there) and Megan is as comfortable as she can be in the last week or so of pregnancy.  We will head that way when we leave Durant.  Our plan is to be at Killeen by Tuesday.  We'll split the distance up since we have about 350 miles to travel yet.  Not sure where we'll spend the night Sunday and Monday and will probably spend some time tomorrow looking at our options.  We prefer to stay at least two nights if we can.  It's not a huge amount of work to set up and tear down but enough we don't like to do it every day if we don't have to.   This is a bit of change in our plans by a few days.  We originally planned to arrive in Killeen on Thursday, April1 17.  However, Matt is leaving his command since they will be leaving the Army in a couple of months in order for him to attend law school this fall.  They are having a ceremony Wednesday morning, April 16 to recognize the change in command.  It was originally set for last week and we were not going to be able to attend; but due to the recent events at Ft. Hood the date was changed and fortunately that works perfectly with our travels.  We are really looking forward to being able to attend and be around when little Joshua arrives.  A new baby is always such an exciting event and it's never failed to be as exciting as it was with our first grandchild - which will be 15 years ago next month.  There's just something about the wonder of a new baby that is forever special!

Following the phone call, we discussed going to the casino - but neither of us were very excited about that, so we decided to go ahead and get fuel and make a trip by DQ for some ice cream.  Yum! Yum!  While we were in Russellville we stopped at a DQ and we were horribly disappointed - first of all in the service.  I've never been in a more disorganized DQ EVER!!  It was a new store and set up differently than any we've ever seen before.  I'm not sure if that was the problem or the management but we've never had a wait like that.  We both ordered blizzards.  Neither was mixed well - all of the topping was right at the top in Dean's.  I ordered a mint Oreo (which I had never had before).  I could not taste any mint and there was hardly any "Oreo" in it at all.  We were a little apprehensive about going to another DQ we were not familiar with but Durant's DQ came through with flying colors!  I think that is a good thing- except we don't really need the extra calories.  I did begin getting the small though - it makes me feel better about my choice!  LOL!

On the way to get the fuel (Wal-Mart was $.12 less a gallon than a station a block away) I started getting sleepy and barely had my blizzard finished than I was ready to hit the sack.  My head barely hit the pillow and I was out.  See, ice cream is good for something!  :)


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Wednesday and Thursday, April 9 & 10, 2014 Choctaw Casino RV Park, Durant, OK

Wednesday - April 9
Wednesday was pretty much a travel day.  We left Hot Springs about 10:30 and drove approximately 230 miles arriving in Durant, OK about 5 hours later around 3:30 p.m.  We got a late start because we had a really heavy dew last night and the slides were pretty wet.  You should not put the slides in while they are wet, or you will get it inside the rig, so we hung around a couple of hours longer than what we originally planned. 

Dean talked to a couple of the guys in the campground that morning and he found out we never want to call our "rig" a camper or trailer - it is a "rig".  We did not think we would have that much of a problem finding a site at the Hot Springs campsite since it was so early in the year.  He asked them about it - come to find out, it was the last weekend for horse racing.  I'm sure someone was glad that we left a spot open when we left today! 

I forgot to pack sandwiches before we left, so about half way we pulled off in a small town onto an empty parking lot.  We made a quick bathroom break and I quickly made some sandwiches, grabbed water, chips and Girl Scout cookies and off we were again.  I have to admit the drive on Hwy 70 from Arkansas to Oklahoma was much more Scenic to us that the drive down Highway 7 in Arkansas which is supposed to be a Scenic route.  It was pretty when you went by an area where there was a break in the trees into a valley, but most of the time you just saw tall pine trees.  Hwy 70 was through small towns, along side fields, pastures, ponds, old barns - the real countryside.  As I've mentioned before, everything is blooming and it is just so green, fresh and beautiful right now.  Renee, I could not help but think of Xander with all of the green beauty around us! 

Needless to say we were pretty tired when we finally arrived.  The first campsite where we've actually had a pull through (no backing), we thought this will be easy - and wouldn't you know it Dean had to back up twice before we were satisfied with where we parked.  We were too close on the left side and our slide would have gone into the bushes, and then we had to move back some if we wanted to put the awning out.  So far it's been too windy to do that, so not sure if that will end up mattering anyway.

Then we went to hook up and there is NO water hookup!  What?  Everyone else around us has water hookups - where is ours? We dug through the bushes next to us, knowing it had to be here somewhere - fighting bees, wasps and who knows other kind of bugs were flying around us.  I'm thinking oh no, not again!  Larry and Sandi will be rolling on the floor laughing at us after a third time of not checking first.  For the record it specifically says FULL hook-ups so I didn't think I should have to check.  So I dug around and found the sheet they gave us when we checked in at the office, found the office number and called to ask about it.  Oh yes, the receptionist says, you have water, it's in the bushes, just look around.  It's there somewhere.  Back we went, looking again!  Well, how about on the other side of the bushes in the neighbor's "yard"?  But, we have water and that is what matters! 

Finally got everything set up.  We visited with our neighbors next door (we are on the end of one row) who are a nice couple from Houston, TX, and another couple from Rusk, TX.  They just had their state Heartland rally in Santo, TX and several of them came on up to attend the Oklahoma Rally here in Durant.  Many of them plan their travels around the rallies around the US.  Heartland is the manufacturer of our 5th wheel.  They have several different models, ours is a Big Horn.  They have chapters in most states, however Kansas does not have a chapter at this time, so when we signed up on the Heartland Forum, their Internet site, I chose Oklahoma as our home state since we are closer to OK than Missouri.

Anyway we are here in Durant, OK to attend the Oklahoma Chapter Heartland Rally. 

I intended to do a little laundry tonight, but it was almost time for American Idol.  I figured we could go up and do the laundry afterwards, but after I slept through about half of it - needless to say laundry went undone tonight.  See you tomorrow.

Thursday - April 10
All that sleeping before bedtime kept me awake half of the night.  I woke up and it was 6:45 - I have so much to do today - of all mornings to sleep in!!  I still like getting up between 5 and 6 am - it's my best time of day!

At least Dean was already up and had the coffee made, so that was a good thing!  After coffee, we had our breakfast and then we gathered up the laundry and headed to the clubhouse here at the RV Park.  This park is amazing.  It has 77 parking spots which are very nice.  Nice pull-through concrete pads, with grassy areas and bushes between each pad.  Each site has a nice picnic table and benches with its own umbrella.  The office building/clubhouse has a very nice and very clean laundry, large bathrooms with showers, a very large meeting room with full kitchen, camping supplies available for purchase, swimming pool, fire pit and a dog park.  You can also refill your propane bottles on site.  They provide cable and Internet as part of the price of the campsite - very nice features.  The daily rate with the rally is $25.  If we came in on our own the rate would be $45 or $50 a night.  Needless to say we would not stay here unless it was an emergency.  $25 a night would be about our max price but we prefer $10-$15/night or less when we can find it.

We had the laundry done in about 2 hours and I came back to run the sweeper.  Tomorrow they are having tours of the "rigs".  Not sure if anyone will want to look at ours, but I intend to be ready - just in case!  Then I had to get ready - well, there's another hour or so.

Finally, about 11:30 I am ready to face the day.  We ate a quick sandwich and then off to Wal-Mart.  Tomorrow evening they are having a potluck dinner.  I am making Corn Dip so I needed a couple of ingredients for that, plus it seems we run out of orange juice, cereal, milk and sandwich meat/cheese every other day  -  not really, but sure seems like it goes that fast.  We have been doing pretty well on our eating - until tonight.  We went to eat at another Mexican restaurant - which wouldn't be too bad except for the chips and salsa.  Just like Lay's - I bet you can't eat just one - you're right, we can't!  Next thing you know it's 2 and then 3 basket of chips.  We waddled out but as usual the food was really good!  I had pork tamales and Dean had a fajita burrito.  The food was as good as Jose's in Hot Springs - but the salsa did not compare.

This afternoon they held a meet and greet at the clubhouse.  We met several different people from TX, OK, IN, and a few other states.  They provided a listing of all attendees which is nice if you want to stay connected or have names of other Heartland owners to ask a question about your rig, you can go to the Heartland Forum and find these folks. 

Tomorrow they have a full day for us!  Not sure if I'll get a chance to write tomorrow night or not, so if you don't hear form me I'll catch up as soon as I can.

Hope you all have a wonderful Friday!  I know many of you are glad it's Friday and I'm happy for you too!  I remember those days.

One last thing, I mentioned getting up late this morning and thinking oh no, I have so much to do.  I was upset because I wanted to get an early start - and then it hit me - I do not have to worry about this.  I have no deadlines except what I impose on myself.   There is nothing to get excited or worked up about.   Carol, as Dr. Marche would tell us at City Clerks conferences I reminded myself  "Just let it go!".  I can finally do that and it's a good feeling.  I wish that for all of you!