Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Rockport, Texas

Tonight is Christmas Eve.  I actually got here Friday, the 21st, but I have something to share with you about my trip from Kinder, Louisiana to Rockport, Texas.  The day I left Kinder it was pretty windy and I knew there was going to be some wind that day but it got worse.  I fought the wind until I got past Houston, Texas and then for safety reasons I just had to stop for the night.  I decided to pull into a WalMart parking lot and set it out.

I was doing fine until a couple of big trucks pulled in beside me and refused to shut off their engines.  I got frustrated and moved to the side of the parking lot where it was quieter.  The wind blowed like I have not seen and after dark a guy, I won't say more about him, started knocking on my door!  I was not about to open my door but he kept pounding so I hit the panic button on my tow vehicle and the alarm went off.  Well, he took off running so I think I called that one right.   I tried to get some sleep but the wind was frightening and I was a little shook up so I sat up most of the night hoping the trailer wouldn't turn over.  I did make it through the night and took off the next morning, still with wind but not as bad, and headed for Rockport.

So here I set on Christmas Eve feeling a little sorry for myself.  I really miss Pati and the boys.  In 46 years I have never had Christmas without Pati except for 1967 when I was in Viet Nam.  It is very difficult.  The RV park I am staying in is having a White Elephant thing tonight and I intended to go.  I even got a gift and wrapped it but I have decided not to go.  I just do not feel comfortable going alone.

I went to a little birthday thing last night for a one of the neighbors and one of the folks asked me where my wife was.  It really hit me hard and I know that person meant no hurt but it did make me very sad.  This is probably not a good decision but it is the one I made.  I am going to set here by myself and probably drink too much but that is the way it is for now.  I will go to Christmas lunch tomorrow with this group of RV park neighbors that I don't know.  I plan to make a sweet potato casserole to add to the meal and try hard to enjoy myself with some very nice folks.  I will tell you more after Christmas and share some initial pictures of the area.

Christmas Day, 2012

I actually didn't drink too much last night and went to bed early so got up early this morning and made a sweet potato casserole as my contribution to the RV Park's Christmas dinner today.  It turned out really good but was just one of many delicious items at our spread, including a turkey and a ham provided by the campground hosts, Pam and C.J.  They are super nice people and go out of their way to make sure everyone is happy and has everything they need.  I picked the right place to stay but I can only stay until Feb.1st and then I have to move to make room for someone else that reserved my space and there are no others available.  I put a deposit down on a space in a little park in town and it will do for the month of February but I would rather stay right where I am.  Maybe someone will cancel and I can stay here.

After dinner today, my neighbors invited me and some other folks to have drinks with them.  It was really nice and we let our dogs (we all have a dog) run around and have fun.  A storm was blowing in and the temperature, which reached 80 degrees today, quickly started dropping so we had to give it up about 6pm as it was getting too cold and windy.  As I am writing this the wind is really blowing out there and it is getting colder.  It will get near freezing tonight and around 55 tomorrow but it will warm back up in a few days.  I will download a few pictures here to show where I am etc.

My home until Feb 1, 2012

I am working on losing that gut!

This is how I spend most of my time, weather permitting.

Rockport Marina

Rockport in the city

Rockport Marina area

Free ferry going to Port Aransas on Padre Island

GPS on the ferry

Lots of beach on Port Aransas and you can drive on it.

Corpus Christi, Texas

My neighbors trailer.  They are from Arkansas.  Everyone is taking bets on how long they will last in this little guy!  

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

My Christmas Gift

I have to share with those of you who have not seen this on Facebook.  My son, Jason, a graduate student in multimedia services in Portland, Oregon put this together in memory of his Mom, my wife, who died of  an inoperatable brain tumor June 16th of this year.  I know some of you don't know us but this is worth watching to see what a beautiful lady she was and what a wonderful life she lived.  I am very proud to put it on my blog and I am very proud of Jason for taking the time and effort to create it.  I think he did an excellent job and his Mom would be proud of him.  Click on the following link and then click on the screen  to view his montage and then click the little icon in the lower right hand corner to get full screen.  It will be worth your time.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Coushatta RV Resort & Casino, Kinder, Louisiana

I made it to the resort and I am pleased with what I found.  This place is really big!  It is also first class.  I signed up for three nights and found a coupon on line that gave me an additional two nights for free so I am going to be here until next Wednesday, the 19th.   I have reservations in Rockport, Texas on the 20th so looks like Holidays on the Texas Gulf Coast.  Yahooooo!  That's Texas talk for something.  Up in the PNW we go Wohoooo!

The first thing I did when I got here was go over and check out the big casino and all the eating places.  I hate the smell of cigarette smoke but it comes with the territory.  I even played a few dollar machines just for fun and won ten dollars!  So I treated myself to a cold local beer, six grilled oysters in the half-shell and a basket of onion rings.  Very good.  I even got hit on by a lady that sat down next to me in the bar.  I acted like Forrest Gump and brushed it off as I have no interest except social friendship, and maybe that was the intent, but it seemed a little odd when she sat next to me and there were lots of other empty stools at the bar.  She inquired about my oysters!  Hmmmmmm.  If nothing else it boosted my ego for a moment even if I was wrong.  The next morning I decided to continue treating myself so I went back for breakfast and had biscuits and gravy. Also very good.

Yesterday, Saturday, Dexter and I drove around the area to see what is here and discovered quickly that there is not much here.  Small towns and that's about it.  There was a Cajun Christmas Festival going on in the little town north of us so I went.  It was a very small town affair but kind of neat too.  I sure had some looks from the locals but walked around all the booths and decided to take home dinner since the food looked and smelled so good and was home cooked.  I bought a bowl of Cajun Gumbo and a home made pickle which  was really big.  It was very good for dinner and very filling.  I need to learn how to make that gumbo.

Today it is raining very, very hard so I am sitting inside writing and piddling.  I always said I wanted a tin or metal roof so I could hear the rain falling but I don't think I want that anymore.  The rain hitting on the roof of  this travel trailer is almost deafening and I'm already hard of hearing.  I will settle for a front porch like we had in San Antonio so I can sit in a swing or rocking chair and see and hear it.  I really miss that porch and sitting on it with Pati.

I may watch a good movie later just for a change.  I've got some good ones that Jason made for me for these times.  Something happy to cheer me up.  I am feeling a little guilty because I didn't go to church this morning as planned.....just didn't feel up to it.  I should have gone and prayed with others for the children and teachers that were murdered in Connecticut.  I am sad enough as it is but that really added to my sadness.  God bless them and their families.  I never missed a chance to hug my Pati and my children and tell her and them how much I loved them. I hope we all take every opportunity to do the same with all our loved ones, especially the children.

There really is nothing here to show pictures of so I will sign off until I get settled in Rockport and let you know how things are there.  Adios.

I was looking for a way to say good-by in Cajun and I came across this site.  Very interesting and you should check it out if you have time.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Leaving New Orleans

I had to extend myself for an additional day here near New Orleans because my mail did not come in until today.  That will give me a chance to do nothing again for another day.  Whoopee.  It is getting pretty boring around here.  My leg is still very tender so I can't even get in some good cardio exercise.

Yesterday, December 12th, I took Dexter with me (he was glad to go even if he had to stay in the car) and we drove about 60 miles to a plantation called Laura: A Creole Plantation.  It was very interesting and the tour was very informative.  This plantation, which dates back to 1804, was a 10,000 acre sugarcane plantation on the banks of the Mississippi River and had over 500 slave laborers.  It was owned and managed by the same family until sold in the 1930's with the women in total control of the business during it's time.  I must say I really enjoy seeing stuff like this that has so much history.

The main plantation house.  Not as pretty or elaborate as some others I have seen.

Slave quarters. Up to ten people slept lived here and there were over 50 on the plantation 
These are some of the home implements the slaves used.

I am known for being wishy-washy so in trying to maintain that reputation, I made a decision to turn around and head back west towards Texas last night.  I am not comfortable down here and I fear it may get worse if I keep going east.  I have found myself feeling really sad since being here.....sad because it is so lonely without Pati, there are no people around in this rv park and the feeling of being alone in a new place with no friends or relatives close by.

A friend sent me an email today.  She lost her husband four years ago and relates well to my issue.  She sent me a quote that is quiet true.  Queen Elizabeth II said in a message to the US after 911, "grief is the price we pay for love".  How true is that?!  Loving someone or being in love is both the happiest and saddest times we will ever face.

So....tomorrow I am heading back west to a place called Coushatta Casino Resort in a small Louisiana town called Kinder, fairly close to the Texas state line.  I picked it because it is a five star resort with excellent reviews, has a first class rv park and numerous restaurants to partake in and a golf course so I can hit the driving range and the putting green a bit.   That plus the fact the daily rv rate is low ($20-25) and if I stay for three days I get two additional days free.   I am not a gambler so won't do more than play a few slot machines plus I hate the smell of cigarette smoke.  At least I will be around people for a change.

I plan to stay five days and then head down the Texas coast to Rockport, Texas before Christmas day. That was my original plan anyway and, although I consider Oregon my home state, I feel comfortable in Texas since Pati and I lived there for the last seven years of her life and I was born and raised in Texas.  I  intend to go back through San Antonio and visit some old friends and look at my options before I head back to the Northwest around June.  I grew really fond of the Hill Country around Boerne north of San Antonio where we built our dream home before our world crashed.  I may even look around that area for a small home or lot to build a small home on for a winter home.  It is pretty expensive and I doubt I can afford it now but worth checking out.  I plan to do the same thing next Summer in Bend because that is where I would really like to have a permanent home if I can do it.

More about me after I get settled in at Kinder, Louisiana.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

New Orleans

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

I have been at the Naval Air Station in Belle Chasse, Louisiana since last Thursday.  It is located about 15 miles south of New Orleans.  I just did necessary housekeeping and laundry on Friday and relaxed.  Saturday I decided to drive south on Hwy 23 as far as it went into the Gulf of Mexico and see what was there.  Well, I drove 80 miles and this is what I saw at the end of that highway.

Not much down this way except a bunch of oil and gas refineries, oil rig support companies, the US Coast Guard and alligators.  I did not see any alligators to take a picture of.  I did see some pretty areas like these.  Notice the pelican. Right after I took the picture he dove into the water for lunch.

On the drive down and back I took a few pictures of the areas but there was not much to see.  The past hurricanes had pretty much eliminated most permanent structures and they were replaced with mobile homes, manufactured homes and travel trailers.  Pretty depressing.  I decided to take a few pictures of a pretty church and a cemetery, which shows how the deceased must be buried here since the whole area is actually below sea level.

This old fort was interesting but it was closed off to the public so I could not see much except the exterior.  It was built right off the Mississippi River, as you can see from the third picture.  One big river!

Fort Jackson

Mississippi River

Today is Tuesday, December 11th.  We had a big wind and rainstorm come through the area yesterday and the temperature dropped drastically.  It was in the mid to upper 70's prior to the storm and today it is in the low 50's.  I am cold!

Not much to do today so Dexter and I got out of the trailer to get some exercise.  I have been taking a mile walk around the RV park daily and Sunday I rode my bike for three miles so today I decided to walk two miles.  I know how far I walk because I have an app on my i-phone that tracks me via GPS.  Kinda neat.

Anyway, I was doing just fine until about a half  mile from returning to the trailer my right calf muscle started seizing up on me.  I stretched and whined and slowed way down and finally got home but that muscle is giving me a hard time now.  Iced it down with Icy Hot....good stuff and gave some relief but it is sure sore.  The big problem with this little glitch is that I was planning on going to the French Quarter tomorrow since it is supposed to be in the 60's and sunny.  I will make that decision in the morning.  If I can't do it this time due to my leg injury, I plan to leave here on Thursday or Friday and head over to the Pensacola area.  The Navy Blue Angels are based at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola and put on a show as they practice every Tuesday and Wednesday.  I would really enjoy seeing that.  The Navy Museum is also located there so lots to do and see if I can stay for a couple of weeks, which puts me past Christmas Day when I move on over to Panama Beach for New Year's.  I fear I may run into a problem finding a spot to camp due to the time of the year I am going into a resort area.

I am going to miss this RV park and base.  Only five of us here and there must be over 100  spaces and it is a really nice park and base.  I plan to come back here in February and stay for the Mardi Gras.

Nice sunsets down here.

The view from my chair outside the door to my trailer.  That is the laundry and restrooms  building and a good place to have close in case of a tornado.

My home sweet home for now.  No complaints!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Lafayette, Louisiana

Today is Monday, December 3, 2012.  After two weeks of quiet and solitude I was feeling pretty good as I drove south on Hwy 67 heading for Louisiana.  It was a really nice drive to Lafayette, Louisiana, which is about 200 plus miles from San Augustine, Texas.

I found a pretty nice little campground in the middle of the city but, like my last campground, feels like you are in the county.  It is  called Acadiana Campground and is owned by the Parish and only charges $13.00 a night.  No septic at the sites but not a problem as I only plan to stay three nights and have a chance to eat some great Cajun food and visit the Acadian Cultural Center and Vermilionville Living History Museum & Folklife Park.   Pati and I visited here about ten years ago and really enjoyed the area.  It is the heart of Cajun country and the food was very good.  Pati did not like Cajun food at all but I sure made up for what she didn't eat......and I plan to do it again this time.

This evening I am going to eat at a place called Prejean's, the same place we ate previously.  They have an excellent menu of Cajun, gulf seafood, wild game, steaks and chicken.  Very good stuff but have to be careful of the spices.  They claim this is the perfect place to "Laissez Les Bons Temps Rroule" (let the good times roll).  We will see.  It has been raining since I got here but seems to have slacked off a bit so I plan an early dinner.

Big mistake!  I enjoyed my dinner somewhat but should have ordered the catfish. Instead I ordered fried oysters thinking of how much I liked them in Oregon on the coast.  Well....these were baby oysters and mostly breading so not so good.  I will learn by my mistakes but it sure is costly sometimes!  Catfish south, oysters north.

Second mistake....rain.  I mis-judged that too.  It is coming down in buckets with thunder and lightening.  Pretty scary and very loud on the roof of my travel trailer.  I checked on line and we have a flash flood warning in the area now....over two inches in the past hour and more to come.  I think I am ok as my site is elevated a bit.  I keep looking out the door to be sure.  No choice but to ride it out and see what tomorrow brings.  I actually feel bad for the young couple and their young son who are tent camping close by.  I noticed they put a large piece of plastic over their tent so I wish them well and will keep my eye on them.

Well it is Wednesday and I decided to stay another night and go see some of the history of this area.  The rain slacked off but it is cool and overcast.  My tent camping neighbors are fine so I guess they are used to this weather.

Today I visited the Jean Lafitte Acadian Cultural Center first and learned a lot about the Acadian people and how they ended up in Louisiana after being banished from their homeland in Nova Scochia.  Very interesting and sad but in the end they prevailed.  I then visited Vermilionville, a Cajun/Creole Heritage and Folklife Park.  It too was very interesting but mainly consisted of refurbished houses and buildings from 1765 through 1890.  The best part of my day was having lunch at their restaurant called La Cuisine de Maman's Cajun & Creole.  I had a bowl of Etouffee with shrimp and dirty rice, crawfish, sweet potato fries, coleslaw and bread pudding.  It was excellent and I had so much that I took half of it home and had it for supper again!  I can sure understand why everyone's "girth" is a bit bigger than average.

I took the picture about half way through the meal .
The meal was great but eating alone really sucks!

Tomorrow I head down along the Cajun Coast and on east to Belle Chase where I plan to stay a week or two at the Naval Air Station RV Park.  More to come.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Deep in The Heart of Texas

October 19, 2012 - Dallas/Ft. Worth Area

I just finished spending a month at a nice, albeit, expensive RV park in Arlington, Texas.  For those who are not familiar, Arlington is a city close to Fort Worth but still within the great Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex.  This is one big, congested concrete jungle!  I only stayed here because my sister, Hazel and Cousin Edna live close by.  Cousin Edna is a very special lady who is 85 and one of my favorite relatives.  

I will say I enjoyed being here because I was able to spend some time with my three older sisters and older brother, my favorite Aunt Sally and some great cousins and nephews.  I had not seen them in awhile so it was a good thing to do.  Other than good family feelings,  not much to comment on except my 50th High School reunion so bear with me.

I was raised in a little town in East Texas called Forney.  When I graduated from high school in 1962 the population was around 1250.  It has grown to about 10,000 now.   We had around 32 kids in our graduating class and around 22 attended this 50th reunion.  Of course we lost some along the way but everyone was amazed at the great turnout we had.  I was given the Weary Traveler Award for coming from the featheriest place (Oregon). I also received the same award in 1982 at our 20th reunion, however they gave me a neat little trophy then and this time they only gave me a piece of paper.  Only 3 of us lived out of state.  Most had stayed pretty close to home all these years, which is typical of most people born in Texas.  I am not sure why that is but this state is big enough to handle all of them for sure!

I won't bore you with pictures of a bunch of old folks acting like young folks.  I will just say that I enjoyed seeing and hugging everyone very much and some folks never change, except in looks, and after awhile I didn't even notice that.  They are a great bunch of people and I was lucky to have shared at least 12 years of my life with them.

Nacogdoches, Texas - The oldest town in Texas

When I left the Dallas area, I headed south and east for the town of Nacogdoches.  I picked this area because it is in deep East Texas and the Fall foliage season is usually spectacular down this way.  In addition, I had never  been to this town but read about it many times.  A couple of my classmates graduated from the college here.  It has roots going back to 1250 A.D. when the Caddo Group of Nacogdoches Indians were here.  The Spaniards built several missions here in the 1600 - 1700's before the Anglos arrived prior to around 1820 to settle.  The beginning of the Texas Revolution was in Nacogdoches August 2, 1832 with the Battle of Nacogdoches.  Over the years this town has had nine flags fly over it, more than any other city in the country.  It was incorporated in 1837.

Today it is a beautiful town of about 33,000 with one of the best colleges in Texas, Stephen F. Austin State University, right in the middle.  It is one of the prettiest campuses I have seen.   I only stayed a few days this time because I did not like the RV parks in the area but I will come back again next Spring when they have the annual Azalea gardens in full bloom.  This spot is a possible for my Winter home base so I need to spend some more time here and check the area for lots or acreage.  

My RV spot on Paradise Lake in Nachodoches

All downtown streets are made of bricks....lots of      bricks!
San Agustine, Texas - November 26, 2012

I have been staying in a beautiful RV park called Mission Dolores in the tiny town of San Augustine for the past week.  It is across the street, and part of, the Mission Dolores, a historic mission established by the Spanish in the late 16th Century.  This park is priced reasonably and well maintained but does not have any Verizon cell phone service.  Fact is I have not had phone service since leaving Nacogdoches.  I do have excellent Wi-Fi so all of my communication is by internet email.

Pretty country roads in East Texas

My home on wheels!

 I went to Thanksgiving dinner at the local Senior Center and had a very nice time with some really nice folks.  This morning, Monday the 26th, I went out to breakfast for the first time in awhile.  I went to little place called Imogene's Cafe on the town square and had biscuits and gravy and it was very good.  Cost me a whole $3.25 and that included coffee!

Today I am working on this blog trying to learn how to do it right.  I hope it is working for others that want to follow my travels.  I am sure fighting my way through the fog on this one!

I intend to leave here no later than next Monday or Tuesday and I am thinking of going down into deep Louisiana below New Orleans.  There is a neat Navy Air Station RV park about 30 minutes south of the city in Belle Chase that may be a good place to hang out for a month or so.  I want to explore the many plantations in that area and I also want to go back to the city and explore it too.  I will take pictures and gather information and share it with you down the road in a few weeks or more.

By the way....I just learned that if you click on a picture it will make it larger and you can view them all at once.  Now I will add more pictures and less words to this blog so you won't have to listen to me ramble so much.  I may even go back and add some to the past postings because I have some great ones of my travels from Oregon to Texas.  So if you have an interest, check back and see if there is something new occasionally.  It all depends on my internet access at the time I want to post.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Leaving Bend, Oregon

Deschutes River runs right through the middle of Bend 

My Home on Wheels

September 5th, 2012

I am leaving my comfort zone here in Bend, Oregon to begin my new lifestyle in search of a place to call home.  I have been here for 30 days now and it is time move forward.  I will return here next summer if I can afford to.  It is a wonderful place but has cold winters and I live in a travel trailer so I need to move further south for the winter. I have been very fortunate to have had some very special friends, Jeff and Letty and their family, and my son Jason, help me through some really rough days since June 16th when my world of love and happiness for the past 47 years slipped away.  I tried to keep as busy as I could while here and it did help me deal with my loss.  I played golf, hiked, biked, walked, drank a lot of great brews, ate out too much and enjoyed the company of some really neat friends.

I bought a mountain bike and surprised myself

Me and my Bend support group buddies

Eight mile hike up and down

Smith Rock - big rock climbing area near Bend - I don't climb! 

It has been 80 days since I lost Pati and I am still having a hard time believing she is gone forever.  I cry everyday and my heart is so heavy I can hardly stand up sometimes.  I am trying very hard to accept my loss but it is going to take a very long time, if not forever, to wake up happy again.  It is my hope this journey will help me find happiness again.

I was asked by Jason to start a blog about my travels now that I am without a permanent home and plan to travel around the country for a few years in search of a place to live.  I have never done this before and my intent is to create some type of travel journal for family and friends. 

I have made plans, after a few days in Portland with Jason and his family, to travel to Southern California to attend one of my oldest friend's retirement function.  I then plan to go to Hurricane, Utah to visit with my brother, Mac and Susan, and from there head back down to Texas to attend my own 50th high school reunion and visit with my family there.  I do plan to stay in the warmer southern states this winter.
I will take it day by day after that as Dexter and I try to create a new world to live in without our Pati.  So, I will post daily or weekly  information on this blog of my travels and happenings along with some pictures of locations and people etc.

Princess Kaitlen and my pal and traveling buddy Dexter              
I am going to miss being in Portland close to my sons and grandchildren.  Kaitlen just turned four August 10th  and Josh and Kathleen's son, Ben, was born August 17th premature and has to remain in the hospital until he is healthy enough to come home.   Unfortunately I won't be able to see him until next  year when I return but Josh promised to send pictures so I can see him grow stronger and bigger in the  coming months.

September 16th, 2012

Seems the 16th of each  month is the tough day as I can't seem to get Pati's passing out of my mind.  I went on a bike ride and a car ride around this beautiful area called Montery, California but it didn't seem to help so I am writing now and it does help.

After leaving Portland on September 5th I headed over to the coast with intentions of getting to Coo's Bay and I did.  I stayed in the gravel parking lot at the Mill Casino since it was free.  There were no hookups and I didn't want to unhook and leave the trailer to look around for fear someone would steal it.  I took off the the next morning and pulled the rig over to Cape Mayer and hiked down a trail to get a view of the Sea Lions.  I could sure hear them before I could see them!  There were hundreds of them on a small rock island down below.  This is a really beautiful area.

Hundreds of Sea Lions

Same area looking up the coast in Coos Bay
From Coo's Bay I headed South to Brookings to check it out.  I stayed three nights and looked at everything up to Gold Beach. It is a nice place but not the right place for me at this time.  The last day I was there the fog rolled in and stayed so I left there on Friday, the 14th  headed for Ft. Bragg, an area on the California coast I had never seen.

Big mistake going to Ft. Bragg.  The roads were very rough due to construction and had narrow sharp curves.  Not a good route with a TT like I have.  Once I got there I had a very hard time finding an RV site.  I finally found one in Casper, a small town south of Ft. Bragg, on the beach.  The problem here was that a bunch of folks from Sacramento were in a group and when I pulled up to my site they were sitting around my fire-ring at my picnic table right outside my door having a beer and talking.  I told them this was my space and table but it made no difference to them and they simply invited me to join them.  I let it ride as I do not like confrontations, went out to dinner, came back and they were still there with more fiends and stayed up till all hours of the night (morning).  Very rude.  I hooked up the next morning (they were already sitting at my table as you see in the picture) and pulled up to the manager's office and explained my situation.  She was very concerned and refunded me both nights I had paid for and said she would talk to the people. This is the first time in over 10 years of rv'ing that this has happened.  Most people on the road are very courteous.

That is my table and space...bastards!
After that stressful issue, I drove south on Hwy 1 hoping to get to Half Moon Bay and find a place.  Again, weekends at the coast are very crowded and nothing was available.  So I kept driving south until I got to Monterey....ten hours of driving.  I checked in at the Naval Language School RV park and got a very nice place on the 13th hole of the golf course for only $30 a night.  There are some real advantages to being retired military!  This is a very expensive place.

So here I sit until Tuesday when I am going further south to Vandenberg AFB for a few days. Tomorrow I am going to drive down to Carmel and look around, have lunch at the Hog's Breath Inn where Pati and I ate the last time we were here, and take some pictures.  I don't want to do much as I do not like doing things by myself yet except driving and looking.  I hope to get in a good walk tomorrow as I need the exercise.  More to come soon.

Clint Eastwood's place in Carmel

September 26, 2012

I got a little behind on my journal.  I am now in Castiac Junction in the LA area at an RV park.  I stayed at Vandenberg AFB for six days after leaving Monterey.  Just killing time.  Everything I see reminds me of Pati because this is where we first lived together after getting married in 1966.  I could not find our old duplex on "B" street in Lompoc.  It was probably torn down and something new built where it stood.  I did drive out to Solvang, a beautiful German town, but didn't stop for anything....just drove thru town.  It was a weekend and very crowded and I just have no desire to  do anything without Pati.  I know I will have to change my thinking on that in time but it will take time.  I did meet some very nice RV neighbors at the base, Hugh and Cheryl Hall, from Oxnard, California.  Hugh was out hunting deer so Cheryl and I had time to chat.  She reminded me of Susan, my sister in law.  

I was stationed here from 1964 - 1966

I worked in this building while stationed here - can't believe it is still standing. 

Anyway, I am now in the smoggy LA area.  Yesterday I put Pati in the car with  me, left Dexter in the TT, and drove over to Santa Clarita where Pati's Mom and  Dad's ashes are buried.  I was very disappointed in the shape of their resting  place.  It was dry and the bronze headstones were over-grown with  grass and dirty.  I cleaned it all up and washed the headstones and now they look pretty good.  It is unfortunate that no one comes to visit and maintain them.  I am sure Pati and I were the last visitors about 8-9 years ago.

After that visit, which made me feel pretty good, I drove us down to Glendale at Forest Lawn where we were married.  I visited the little chapel we were married in called The Wee Kirk of the Heather and  I sat with Pati in the private garden area.  It was very peaceful and healing and I only cried a little while there.  No one else was around but Pati and me.

The chapel we were married in Jan 22, 1966

Pati and me in the Chapel Garden

This afternoon I am going to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley to attend my old friend, Barry Gump's retirement party.  We have known each other for over 50 years.  It is a surprise for him and he doesn't know that I, or many others, are going to be there.  I am sure looking forward to seeing him and his wife, also named Pati. They are two of my oldest friends and his Pati introduced me to my Pati.  

The retirement party for my old friend was very nice and well attended.  I even sat and visited with some other old friends I had not seen in over 40 years.  Barry and Pati had me over to their beautiful home for breakfast and more visiting with other close friends and family the next morning.  It was very nice to visit with such nice folks again. I am very happy to count them among my very few special friends.

UTAH - September 29th, 2012

After a long drive across the Mohave Desert I finally got to my brother's house house in Hurricane, Utah.  I am staying in a very nice RV park about 6 blocks from their home so it is very convenient.  During my visit with them for two weeks, we went on some hikes in the local canyons, drove up to Zion National Park and beyond. Mac and I made a very nice bracket that fits on the back of the travel trailer to hold my generator.  It is real nice and now I can boon-dock more often.
Mac and Susan doing what they love.  Mac is 75 years old. 

The road I am stopped on actually goes through that solid rock mountain in the middle of Zion National Park.   The holes you see are the tunnel view ports and were formed as they bored the rock and sent it out over the edge of the cliffs.
I had a great visit with Mac and Susan but it was time to move on down the road to Texas as I plan to attend my 50th high school reunion on October 20th.  More to come.