Fredericksburg, December 2021

We stopped at a smaller casino at Tonkawa, OK for an overnight on the way south and then at another in Thackerville, OK just before we got to Texas. We were trying for shorter driving days on the way south and these seemed to be spaced about right. All were good for an overnight stop. We would have done fine at Walmarts too but these gave us access to water so that we could flush out all of the winter water system antifreeze, get it disinfected and rinsed again and then add some fresh water for the remaining drive.

Our last day on the way to Fredericksburg had us going around the northwest corner of Fort Worth and then west on I20 and south on US 281. Traffic and construction around Forth Worth was busy. We could have (should have) headed west from Denton and picked up US 281 further north and missed all of the construction and traffic. Next time.

US 281 leads to Johnson City and then west on US 290 towards Fredericksburg. When we first visited Fredericksburg several years ago there were mostly ranches between Johnson City and Fredericksburg and a couple fledgling wineries. Now there are about 40 wineries along this route, a couple of distilleries, and craft breweries too. And more wineries heading south of Fredericksburg too. None of the vineyards are big enough to make the volume of wine to support these operations so grape juice is trucked in from other growers, mostly California, to make up the difference. As long as it is 10% Texas grapes it can be called Texas Wine.

We got to Fredericksburg, checked in, and pulled into our site. We didn’t do much more than that. We went for a walk around the campground, fixed some supper, and had an early night.

Our site is about as roomy as they get. Trees on three corners. The sun goes down just behind us, looks nice.

The next day we finished setting up. Got some Christmas decorations out, and hung the red chili pepper lights on the side of the coach.

We came to Fredericksburg, TX for the Weihnachtzeit or the Christmas season. This smaller Texas town is celebrating its 175th anniversary this year and as they do every year, they go all out for decorations.

The town square, the Marktplatz, is all lit up at night and even has a skating rink, a very large Christmas Tree, and a 32’ tall traditional German Christmas Pyramid. Most every shop down Main Street is decorated as well. It is really quite attractive. We are going back to Johnson City on Monday, we hear they are quite decorated as well.

There are usually several homes and nearby ranches that are all decorated and are open for tours. Last year and again this year there are no tours. We were disappointed but it gives us a reason to return.

No snow here but the weather has been nice, mid 80s for Christmas day, much warmer than normal. We got our new three wheeled recumbent bikes out for a spin yesterday. Lots of fun.

We hope your Holiday Season is safe, healthy, and wonderful.

More Later, Much Love,

Roger and Susan

Time to Head South. December, 2021

We decided to head South again this winter. The plan was to leave in late November. But as often happens, life’s events dictate what happens.

So we are off towards warmer places. A couple of weeks late but on our way in any case. But not before we got a very nice December snow. It made everything white and fresh and quiet. Our destination is Christmas in Fredericksburg, TX. We are staying until the end of December. Getting there late is a disappointment, we missed the Christmas Parade but we will be there to enjoy the season, see the decorations, see friends, and get in some shopping.

The drive today was highlighted by almost every tree on our way through Minnesota coated in frost from some overnight fog. The fields were covered in a light snow. The roads and sky were clear. The afternoon sun was quite warm.

Tonight we stopped at a casino in Osceola, IA for the night. It is a pretty old RV park but functional for its purpose.

Tomorrow we are headed to another casino in Tonkawa, OK. They seem to be spaced about the right distance apart. It was a very busy summer, more about all of that coming up.

More Later, Much Love.

Roger and Susan

Hastings, MN. Early May, 2021

Heading North

When it is time to leave we know it. We watch the weather, not much we can do about that other than adjust timing. The weather looked good on the way home for the coming weekend but more stormy later in the week. Time to go.

There are lots of ways to go from here to there, where ever those places may be. Sometimes a leisurely pace is wonderful. Sometimes we want to avoid traffic or construction. Sometimes safety is a concern. Sometimes just getting there is the goal.

We left on a Sunday which we like to do, somehow it seems there is less traffic that day and headed north on US and TX highways to I20 west of the Fort Worth area and then east to pickup the highway that goes around the NW Fort Worth metro area to I35W going north. I35 splits south of Dallas and Forth Worth like it does for Minneapolis and Saint Paul and comes back together well to the north. There was come construction as we went through all of this about 2 in the afternoon but overall it was OK. I would really not have wanted to do this on a weekday.

Lots of truck traffic going north, way more than last year coming home. There were times last year going the same way when we could see no traffic ahead or behind in either direction. Not so this year.

WinStar Casino

We got just a short way into Oklahoma and stopped at an immense Casino that had an RV campground. We had made a reservation just to be sure of having a spot. Good thing we did as it was mostly full. When we checked in the front desk person asked if we had a WinStar Casino Card. I said no and she said if I signed up for one the camping was free. The card was free so I got a card and free camping. All of the other benefits at the Casino went unused since we didn’t want to unhook and drive over to the casino and the shuttle service was not running.

Nice spot in a flat open windy part of Oklahoma with a nearly full moon.

We did see another Foretravel in the park, a classic early 90s model. No one home, their car was gone, likely at the casino.

The next morning we were heading further into Oklahoma where it is almost always windy. We have had the both awnings blow open in strong cross winds in Oklahoma and Nebraska once each so we have added a way to make the awning more secure. We put on the suspenders just to be safe. Checking the winds it looked more like the winds were mostly from the south for the next couple days so not much to be concerned about, easier than driving in crosswinds and a nice tail wind is always helpful.

This web site is helpful for winds and more

Our goal for the day was as far as we got. We managed to get on the road early (by 9 ish) and traffic was OK and the weather was overcast and dry. We swapped drivers a couple times, stopped for a short lunch break, and watched the green of the trees and grasses we had seen in TX slowly turn browner as we went north. Leaves became buds. It was like going back in time.

We made it to Kansas where the Interstate becomes a toll road. That just means you have to pay to drive on a road that is no better than most with very limited on/off opportunities and the only services are the service plazas. $20 for the privilege.

A Corp of Engineers Park, in Kansas, Really

Last year we stayed at a small RV park south of Kansas City owned by a young couple. They were just getting going then so we thought we would help out again this year. We called, they were full. Good for them and for us too actually. It made us start looking for other choices and we found a Corp of Engineers Park near Lebo, KS not far off the path. As most of them are, it was connected to a dam and a lake. It had several campgrounds on Melvern Lake and one on a small lake below the dam. We stayed at the Outlet Lake Campground. It was almost full. The volunteer check-in person said they were full most of the time especially on the weekends.

Nice sites, full hookups and only $15 a night with our National Parks Geezer Pass. It was hot so a couple hours of air conditioning was nice. As the sun went down it started cooling off but it only got down into the 60s.

Our site was right on the lake.

And the moon was still close to full.

This is a nice place to know about. We will likely be back.

The next day we got going by 8:30 or so. That put us in the Kansas City area about 10 AM. We went cross the south side of the metro area (Kansas City, Kansas) into Missouri (Kansas City, Missouri) and then north which avoids the downtown areas there were less turns but still a lot of traffic and construction.

And then north through Missouri. It was getting hot, into the upper 80s, windy, still a tail wind that looked like it would change in northern Iowa. By the time we got to Des Moines the winds had helped add more than 15% to our miles per gallon. shortly thereafter the wind direction turned 180 degrees now out of the north. MPG suffers.


We had thought of stopping at Albert Lea, a nice WalMart and fuel stop there but it was starting to rain just as we were leaving Iowa and more rain expected overnight and in the morning. We thought stopping there would get us home by noon the next day. It was about 5 and only a couple hours to go. So we decided to head for home after a stop for fuel. We belong to a fuel discount program that lets us use our card at truck stops. No need to go inside, much faster fill ups and we save about 50¢ or more per gallon.

It rained (heavy mist to light rain) most of the way. The temperature dropped more than 30 degrees. The rain stopped shortly before Hastings. We drove home and pulled straight into the driveway, went into the house, turned up thermostats, turned on the water heater, turned on the water pump and went back to the coach where it was warm, made supper, watched the local news and went to bed.

The next day the house and water were warm. We moved from one house to the other and did loads of laundry. We disconnected the Jeep and maneuvered the coach into the barn and went grocery shopping. We were home.

The grass is green, trees are leafing out quickly. More trimming and clean up in the woods. Buckthorn bushes to eradicate, the grass needs fertilizer and cutting, the sprinklers need to be started up. We have to finish, file, and pay taxes. I signed up for Habitat work days. Susan went to the ortho Doc, all is well, and got signed up for more PT. There are doctors and dentists to see. And lots of projects waiting. There is lots to do.

Spring has sprung. Good to be home.

More Later, Much Love

Roger and Susan

Fredericksburg, TX April 2021

Spring Time in Texas

It is spring time in the Hill Country. Trees are leafing out, occasional morning showers turn to beautiful sunny afternoons with big puffy clouds. Warm days, cooler evenings. It really is quite nice here in Fredericksburg.

Norm and Shirl got a new LP gas fire pit so we go over there and burn their gas a few evenings a week. Sometimes there is pie.

Mike and Jackie bring Charlie (light brown) and Clancy (reddish).

And Curtis and Peggy come to visit as well. They have a home near Marble Falls but spend of much their time here in the RV Park. They are both well into their 80s and just as nice as they can be.

Dave Cobb and Debbie (his new best friend) came one evening as well.

We walk everyday around the park and watch the pond bloom and listen to the bull frogs burp.

The Cardinals are getting ready to head north.

And flowers are blooming.

We got some new yard art, took a drive and saw a small herd of Oreo cows (Banded Galloways, from Scotland) and some gorgeous Hill Country views.

We went to the Vereins Kirche (a community building, a school, a church, and now a museum) and learned more about Fredericksburg’s founding and the German immigrants in the mid 1800s. Then we went across the street to the Pioneer Museum to learn more about how the community evolved. Early settlers got a land grant for farming and a small plot of land in town. Many built a small “Sunday” house where they would stay when they came to market and to church.

The Vereins Kirche.

One of many schools, mostly one room for all.

A Sunday house, small with only one room with an outside ladder to more sleeping space in the attic.

There is a carpentry shop, a Blacksmith shop, a smoke house, an old store and more all preserving the heritage of Fredericksburg as it continues to change today and into the future.

Last Wednesday I went to the weekly cattle auction just a couple blocks from the RV Park. We hear the cows bellowing every Tuesday and Wednesday.

I sat on my hands so I wouldn’t accidentally buy a cow. It is very fast paced, sort of a beauty contest where each cow gets 30 seconds or so to show off. Hands are raised, heads nodded, the auctioneer yammers on and cows are sold by weight or by the cow (most of these were pregnant). $700 each or there about. By the pound, most sold for about 60¢ to 70¢. Long Horn steers sold for 25¢ a pound. An older guy in a cowboy hat sitting next to me helped me understand what was happening. Long Horns are scrawny, not much meat, and mostly ornmental.

Thinking Ahead to Next Winter

Plans for next winter are being considered, maybe Fredericksburg again, maybe Alabama, maybe Arizona, maybe Santa Fe. Or all of them. We did make reservations in Fredericksburg for December. They go all out for the Christmas season which will be fun to see.

Getting Ready to Head Home

The time is near to head north to browner pastures. We know they will turn green eventually but you can definitely tell that as we go further north spring is further behind than it is in Fredericksburg. We are leaving on a Sunday to sneak by the outskirts of Ft Worth and get as far as we can into Oklahoma in one day. It is always windy in OK. It looks now like we might have a favorable tail wind. Hard cross winds increase the driving effort quite a bit. We will see what comes.


Susan graduated from Fredericksburg PT and got a nice red TShirt. She has an appointment to see an ortho doc when we get home and will continue on with PT. Lots of progress made, still some more improvement is possible. So that is our main project.

She is looking at a semi-recumbent three wheel bike. We found one that looks easier than most to get in and out of and it can be ordered with electric assist.

I might have to get a pickup truck to haul it around. 🤠

Be Safe

We have finished up with two covid vaccine shots but will remain careful, wear our masks, be aware of who we are around and where we are.

We hope everyone will do the same for themselves, their family and friends and for the community. It is dismaying to hear of how many are skipping their second shot or refusing them altogether. The risks are very small, the benefit to you and all around you are great.

More Later, Much Love,

Roger and Susan

Fredericksburg, TX Late March, Early April, 2021


We haven’t seen our good friends Douglas and Amanda for about a year, way too long but last year was hard for everyone. They surprised us when they told us they were coming to Fredericksburg for a few days right after the Rattlesnake Roundup in Sweetwater, TX. Their business depends on Art and Craft shows to sell their handmade jewelry and most got cancelled last year. But it looks like the shows are back on for this summer and they are heading to Michigan for the summer in just a few weeks.

We all had a late picnic lunch.

That evening we went to the community room to play Quiddler in person. We have been playing Quiddler with them using ZOOM but it was more fun to play in person. Mike and Jackie joined in and Klaus came to watch. Susan and I made a homemade apple pie using Harlson apples from home that we shared with ice cream.


It is an inevitability that birthday anniversaries come once a year and mine was the next day.

Douglas and Amanda snuck over in the middle of the night and hung a birthday banner on our coach.

We got up and got going and we did what good Texans seem to do, we went out for lunch. Mike and Jackie, Norm and Shirl, Amanda and Douglas and Susan and I drove down to Camp Verde, TX to the Camp Verde General Store and Post Office where they have a great restaurant.

This is a treat to go here, always with good friends, and the food is great. And we get to go to the general store which has a large section of kitchen toys. We almost always find something we “need”.

Amanda baked a cake, a four layer carrot cake, my favorite. Susan was her coach and they did a wonderful job.

There were candles, nowhere near the requisite number, there are fire restrictions in effect here. No blowing out candles these days so hand waving had to do.

We fired up the gas fire pit, pulled up chairs, added ice cream to generous servings of cake and enjoyed Amanda’s creation, it even had little carrot decorations.

Klaus and Douglas

Second Covid Vaccine Shot

Finally our day came for the second Covid Vaccine Shot. Susan had rehab in the morning and then we went over to the University Center for our shot. They move people through there in a very organized way. Our papers were filled out and checked and our shots were given at the exact time of our appointment. Fifteen minutes later we were on out way out the door, this time with a lollipop. We feel very fortunate to have completed this process here in Texas, together and after staying healthy though a whole year at risk.

To help celebrate the Blue Bonnets are beginning to bloom.

We are still wearing our masks, sort of got used to them by now and there is no reason to tempt fate.


When I was in Boy Scouts one of the patrols in our Troop had the nick name Lunch-a-Lots. We seem to be going out to eat here two or three times a week, mostly lunches, mostly in places that should be on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive Ins and Dives. Somehow they all seem to be somewhere that involves an interesting drive through the Texas Hill Country, not especially glamour spots but all serving up the best grub.

The Airport Diner looks like a 1950s diner.

The Doss Country Store & Los Muertos BBQ. Some other folks joined us and it was interesting to get a historical perspective from people who have lived in this area for a long time. There were amazing, detailed murals painted on the walls.

And of course one of our favorites, Alamo Springs Cafe. Best Burgers in Texas is the claim, I think they are.

More Later, Much Love,

Roger and Susan

Fredericksburg, TX Later March, Early April, 2021

Weight Lifting

I am a member of a Foretravel owners online forum. It is an interesting mix of owners, past owners and hope-to-be owners and just interested folks. Some of it is more socially oriented (Facebookish sort of stuff) off in one forum, some is technical stuff, some renovations, some is general discussion but RV related stuff, some is buy and sell, each loosely contained in separate forums. There have been over 7,000 users over time and more than 400,000 posts. People join, people depart, at any one time there may be a few hundred active users.

A new owner from Washington struck up a virtual conversation with me some months ago and it continues on line and by phone. He is an older fellow (which means he is older than I am) and originally from Germany. His name is Klaus. When I talk to him he sounds just like my cousin Sandy’s husband, Claus, also originally from Germany. Klaus was on his way from NE Washington to Nacogdoches, TX to get some work done, look for a new couch and ask questions. On the way there and back he was stopping in Houston and Dallas to see friends. He found out we were in Fredericksburg so he adjusted plans to stop here to meet us.

I didn’t know this was his first trip in his coach and that he was by himself. He called me from Utah with a battery issue which was quickly diagnosed as old and dying batteries in need of replacement. So in his few days here in Fredericksburg I got to help swap coach batteries.

I ordered three new batteries at an O’Reilly’s here in town so that when he got here we could make the switch. This isn’t quite like changing the 3 AA batteries in your remote control. Each one of these AGM lead acid batteries weigh in at 167 lbs each. They are about 22 inches long, 12 inches wide and 10 inches tall. And did I mention they weigh 167 lbs each.

In our coach you just open up a side bay door and the batteries are right there. In Klaus’s coach the batteries are in a tight space in the middle of the basement. There was a slide out cargo tray and a big cover panel that we had to remove to get access to the battery space. It was a metal box about 24″ wide and about 36″ in from the side of the coach. The height of the basement ceiling from the floor is about 27″. So crawling into this small space and wrestling out 167 lb batteries got left to the young (and reluctantly willing) … me.

There were two batteries in a rack at floor level and a third on a second rack half way to the ceiling. The cables got disconnected and the ends covered to prevent any shorts. The batteries on the floor level were swollen and jammed into the rack. I got my pry bar and with some effort got the first battery loose and up over the 1″ tall lip of the lower rack. It took about 15 minutes to work it back and forth and over the edge of the rack out into the basement space (where I was all knotted up). We hooked a strap to it and pulled it to the edge of the basement opening and out onto the ground. And then we did the same with the second battery. This one was no easier but it finally came out and on to the ground.

The upper battery was wedged in as well. We had some access to the underneath part of the rack so we were able to pry it up and move it forward onto the edge of the rack. The plus and minus battery posts were very close to the steel framing of the opening so we wedged in a few layers of cardboard over the plus post and worked it out past the framing. Then we set up a folding step in line with the battery and slid it out on to the step, turned the battery 90°, and then off the step onto the floor and then out onto the ground. I crawled out of the basement cave and gave it my best shot to stand up. Tough, creaky and stiff.

A young fellow, way younger than either Klaus or me, volunteered to help us get the three batteries (more than 500 lbs total) into Klaus’s Jeep so we could go get the new batteries and get rid of the old ones. He thought he could just hoist one up and get it in by himself. He was surprised when he tried that. It is a two person job.

We assumed that at the battery store there would be a strapping youngster to get the batteries out and the new ones back in. So much for assumptions, there was one middle aged guy there who recently had shoulder surgery. So the old and now 1/2 pooped team had another 500 lbs out and 500 lbs back into the Jeep

Back at the RV park our younger neighbor lent another hand and got all three batteries out of the Jeep and helped get the two lower batteries in and in place. Much easier when they are not all swollen. And then the third one up on the middle shelf. We used one of the folding steps on the ground to get the battery about even with the basement floor. Then a second step just inside the door of the basement on the basement floor which got the battery close to the right height. Then the first step in the cave next to the step with the battery on it and slid it over to that step. Once more with a piece of plywood onto the first step further in the cave and rotated the battery 90° so it was aligned pretty well with where it had to go. A bit of pushing and some pry bar help over the edge of the rack and slid it into place.

Then I reconnected all of the cables and double checked everything. No sparks! After four hours of grunting and groaning we turned on the charger and engaged the power. All was good. We reinstalled the sliding tray, I put away my tools, ate some ibuprofen for lunch and took a shower.


Our friends Douglas and Amanda were coming to the Fredericksburg RV Park on the same day we had the battery rodeo. I think they knew what was happening and managed to arrive after we were done. More on this visit in the next blog post.

I am pooped thinking about what we did and grateful we got it done with no one getting hurt. Susan was too. I was pretty stiff in the mornings for a couple days but happy to have been able to help out.

More Later, Much Love,

Roger and Susan

Fredericksburg, TX Early March 2021

Progress, One Step at a Time

When we left Alabama Susan had graduated to a lace up and Velcro brace to support her broken leg and a walker and had been to physical therapy five times. These were pretty basic PT sessions. How to use the walker and early efforts to begin to regain flexibility and range of motion. She had a long way to go. So when we got to Fredericksburg she found a Physical Therapy resource, got the necessary referrals and started seeing a therapist two or three times a week.

It started out with stretching and flexibility workouts, range of motion exercises and home work exercises for hips to help keep her walking straight. All of this is helping. When the ankle is sore she uses an ice pack.

Every day we walk in the park. Susan started walking without the brace sometimes a couple weeks ago. And trying these shoes or those for best comfort. We are at the point now where the brace has been retired and walking is pretty good. In the last week she has started walking without her cane, she still carries it along, sometimes twirling it like a baton or up and down like a drum major. Last week we walked around the park perimeter twice, no cane, 1.4 miles!

Progress is steady, Susan is working hard on making it a reality.


We had high hopes of getting a Covid-19 vaccine while we were in Alabama but like so many other places vaccine supplies were slow in coming, distribution mechanisms were confused and difficult to work with. In the end it just wasn’t going to happen. No word from home yet on them being available so we pinned our hopes on Texas. We had heard that the HEB grocery store pharmacy was giving shots so every day (usually more than once we checked to see if any were available. It was a frustrating effort and left us feeling hopeless.

We signed up at the Fredericksburg Hill Country hospital to be notified when appointments were available. This is where you go in Gillespie County to get notified if vaccines are available. We also signed up in nearby Llano (pronounced “yano”) County for the same thing. There was no way to tell how long the lists were, where we were on the lists or even how many vaccine doses might be available.

And then one morning we both got a text message from the Fredericksburg Hospital with a link to make an appointment for a vaccine shot. We were excited and relieved – all the reactions you can imagine, all the same ones most of us feel when this opportunity comes up. Within minutes we had appointments for the next morning at the nearby University Center. It was only minutes away, Susan’s appointment was just a few minutes ahead of mine, she went in, I waited a bit.

It was very organized, rows of individual tables spaced apart, fill out the paper work, answer a couple questions from the intake person and then wait a couple minutes for the injection giver to get to you. She was a nurse, not dressed like one, probably retired. Looked to be my grandmother’s age but probably only a couple years older than me, a kind and reassuring voice, a jab and it was done! What a rush of emotions. We were on the right path, the right one for us.

When we came out we looked out behind the University Center where there was a large pasture with a most curious looking horse. Actually several of them. The front end was tan and behind a very distinct line the back end was black. I took several pictures and when looking at them later realized the head too was black. Our friends here had been describing the Oreo cows they had seen. Were these the Oreo Horses? And then we noticed a large herd of deer in the background that we had not seen at all in person. These are Texas deer, about the size of a big goat. It was interesting that focusing on one thing, the tan and black horse, other details are just not seen.

After all was done we went to the Dairy Queen for a treat since we didn’t get the customary lollipop.

I hope all those we know will take advantage of a vaccine when it is available to them. Not just for you and your family but for all of us.


In addition to walking with Susan most of the time when she walks I walk around the entire campground almost every day, back and forth up and down each lane. Many days one and a half times around, sometimes twice. Two complete loops is about 3.5 miles. Since there is a slight slope west to east that means almost half of that walk is up hill. Our friend Mike who is here from Nacogdoches walks most days as well, sometimes we walk together and chat about the news. He listens to much more news that I do and on sources that I would likely not listen to any way. It is OK to get another perspective on occasion. And sometimes I get to take their small poodle Charley for a walk. Lots of start and stopping with that one but I like it. He seems to me to be a tiny dog but his buddy Clancy (their other poodle) is half Charley’s size.


We will rarely take the direct route anywhere we are going. Fredericksburg is an interesting town and fun to drive up and down the streets to see what we see. Lots of nice old homes, lots of updated and gentrified old homes and some brand new ones made to look old. And lots of pretty normal new homes and town homes, filling the need for the growth spurt being felt around here. In general they are doing pretty well with style and materials to maintain the sturdy limestone look of the old German roots.

Who would have expected to find a giant tree house in someones front yard? Why not here?

More Later, Much Love.

Roger and Susan

The Road to Fredericksburg, TX. February 2021

We waited for an extra week in Orange Beach, weather was nice there but much colder inland. All week we were checking in to see if the place that we were heading for in Nacogdoches was open. They finally got power and water back on Friday, 3/19/2021 after almost a week without. So the next day we pulled up stakes and headed for Nacogdoches. We got there on Sunday after an overnight at a casino in western Louisiana. It was very strange to see snow piled up along the sides of bridges and roads.

Nacogdoches, TX

We pulled into Nacogdoches mid-afternoon on Sunday and stopped at the Foretravel factory campground, two other coaches were there, no people. Two more came in later that day.

We got up early the next morning and drove to Nacogdoches Motorhome Service (NMS). They are a newer spot in town, about 2 years old now, staffed by folks with lots of experience, all worked at Foretravel and Motorhomes of Texas before. Their job was to replace the eight airbags in our suspension system, eight shock absorbers and the three ride height valves. These are the main parts of the suspension. The air bags are like springs, shock absorbers smooth out the ride and the ride height valves let air in or out of the air bags as the coach moves up and down going down the road to maintain a level ride.

This is something some owners will do themselves. I read all the accounts of getting the job done and figured it would take me a day per corner, four days, plus a day in the middle to rest and a day at the end to recuperate and hopefully no injuries. And you need some special tools, ones I could borrow to do the job.

The folks at NMS assured me they could get it done in a day. And they did. We were there about 9 hours, they had two folks on it most of the day for 14 hrs of billable labor. And they did a good job.

While they were working on it we went back to Foretravel, bought a couple of lug nut covers there and checked on a used couch for a friend in Washington State. Then we went to Motorhomes of Texas where we got some gas spring struts that are used to hold upper cabinet doors open and checked there for a used couch too.

Then we drove up to Xtreme Paint and Graphics to see the caved in roof over their office. What a mess. They were hanging up paper records on strings to dry out in a part of the shop that didn’t get wet.

And then we met Mike and Jackie for a late lunch at a newer place in town. It was nice to sit outside and visit.

And then back to pick up the coach. All done. We drove south about 10 miles to an exit to turn around and head back to the Foretravel Campground. It was a busy highway and hard to make a turnaround anywhere else.

We got takeout from Auntie Pasta’s for dinner. It is one of our favorite spots in Nacogdoches. We got small baguettes with dinner which we saved for a French Toast breakfast a later day.

Dayton, TX

In the morning we packed up and headed for a small campground in a rural area on the west side of Houston where our friends Rudy and Carolyn are staying. We got into our spot got everything set up, added some water to our fresh water tank and visited with Carolyn for a bit. Rudy got back about 4 PM, got cleaned up and we set off for Rudy’s favorite place (we like it too), the Monument Inn on the Houston Ship Channel. Keith and Jo, more Foretravel friends, were coming after work to meet us there. We all arrived just at 5. Susan got to ride up the stairs on a motorized chair that goes up and down the stairs. We had a nice dinner, I ordered crab stuffed jalapeños. We had these last time we were here and they were very good, not too spicy. These were an appetizer, six. And when they came they were much bigger than what we remembered. They could have been enough for a whole meal and were very tasty. It was nice to see Rudy and Carolyn and Keith and Jo. We had expected to spend a few days here but a weeks delay put the squeeze on time.

Magnolia, TX

The next morning we packed up again and headed to a campground in The Woodlands, TX on the northern part of Houston. We were going to see our friends Scott and Carol who had given up their full time RV life and built a small cottage in the back yard of their daughter’s home in nearby Magnolia.

It seemed like a long way to drive over there from the campground but much shorter on the way back. Their cottage is probably twice the size (square feet) that their coach was, all new, very nicely appointed. Scott is sort of fussy that way. It is attached by a deck to their daughter’s home so moving back and forth was easy. We visited for a couple hours and Scott cooked up a big tri-tip. Low and slow as they say on his smoker and then finished it off at high temps to get some outside sear. He had a smaller smoker in his coach equipment and he now has a much bigger deck model. When it was done it was perfect along with salad, beans and vegetables. We brought desert, home made Key Lime pie.


We left Magnolia in the morning heading west on Texas Highways and Farm to Market Roads. Most were 4 lane, some divided. Typical Texas roads, better than most.

We were headed towards Austin, a place to avoid if you can, it is not quite as bad as San Antonio where road construction is still going on that wasn’t finished four years ago when we went through there. There is a highway that loops around the southern part of the Austin metro area. Not really around but through the southern part, a less congested way to go. It took a while but we got through. We went north a bit to Johnson City and then west to Fredericksburg. When we first came here this was mostly ranch land, lots of cattle and open areas. Today it is endless wineries, some vineyards (enough to qualify as Texas wine). And craft breweries and distilleries. All the way to Fredericksburg and spreading out in every direction.

We are staying at Fredericksburg RV Park which is in the middle of town. The in town part is very nice, just minutes to downtown and everywhere else we need to go. It is an older park with basic amenities, mature trees and friendly people.

So we are here, street sign planted and patio set up.

More Later, Much Love,

Roger and Susan

Orange Beach, AL, End of February, 2021


We saw the ortho doc for the last time a week and a half ago, all looked good. He had Susan switch to a soft brace — a laces and velcro sort of thing. She can now walk without the boot, the boot and crutches have been retired to our medical device hall of fame, the walker is mostly on standby duty and a new cane is now the mobility assistance of choice. She saw the PT person twice more as well.

A new soft brace.

Walking with a cane. Cold weather dress explained later.

Across the road the massive piles of concrete rubble have been ground up into even bigger piles of gravel. And every day the tree grinding machines are reducing the piles of hurricane damaged trees into mulch. The mulch piles are bigger than the tree piles. Semi sized trucks have been hauling loads of mulch off to somewhere and barges on the Inter-Coastal Waterway are getting filled with mulch or gravel. Most of the pile of building debris was hauled away but more keeps showing up. The rows of damaged boats are down to just a few. The big crane they were using to move them around has been busy.

When I went by earlier this week there was only one boat left and the crane was gone.

There is still much to repair in this area, every time we drive anywhere we see homes with tarps on the roofs. We checked out two campgrounds out on the road to Ft Morgan, cheaper, older, not as nice, more crowded. And we looked at a piece of property on the Lagoon which clearly had a home on it that had been destroyed and removed.

Heading for Nacogdoches.

The next thing we were going to do was to pack up and go to Nacogdoches in East Texas for some service work. Time to replace the suspension air bags, shock absorbers and the ride height control valves. We had an appointment for Monday Feb 15. It is an easy two day drive over there from Orange Beach, usually.

I am sure you heard about the big polar vortex thing that broke out of its arctic home and came flooding down into the US about the time we were getting ready to leave. On the Gulf Coast we had a couple nights just below freezing but nothing too bad. Then we started hearing about Dallas being below zero, ice storms, massive pile ups. Nacogdoches was in the single digit temperatures, it was snowing, power all across Texas was failing, water supplies in Nacogdoches were shut off.

The Mississippi River Bridge on I 10 was closed due to ice. Just 30 miles north of here there was freezing rain and ice. I 10 goes under the ship channel in Mobile Bay and it had ice on the roadway at the low point.

Everyone we know in Nacogdoches was without water and power, friends stayed overnight in their motorhomes because they could stay warm while their homes got very cold, some suffered frozen water lines and water damage.

This is what our friend’s back yard looked like. It just doesn’t seem right for Texas.

They got out the best of the snow removal equipment they had in Houston.

Needless to say we decided to stay put. Now it is a week later and warmer temps are coming. Power is back on in some places, water too. So we are heading to Nacogdoches in the morning, (2/20), a week later than earlier planned. But it is OK. We are pretty flexible. And our next stop in Fredericksburg, TX had snow yesterday! It is supposed to be spring time and the wild flower season. I guess we will see.

Life goes on. We somehow have no problem getting from one day to the next, always something to do.

We have been playing Skip Bo, a card game with numbers. Susan won 2, I said let’s do best of 3, then 4, then five. She won them all. Best of six? I finally won one. It is entirely luck of random cards turning up. As far as strategy goes, if there is one we haven’t discovered it yet. But of course winning 5 in a row means Susan discovered it and I haven’t.

I have been playing Words With Friends with several friends. I got sucked into this by my sister and have been wasting time, nope, that is, sharing time with others ever since. It is sort of like Scrabble but with a dictionary that makes no sense to a Scrabble player, much different from a Scrabble dictionary. And that is the reference of choice when we play Quiddler so there is always some confusion.

Some neighbors we won’t miss.

Susan has progressed to doing dishes, some cleaning and vacuuming. She is getting around mostly using her cane, even sometimes without it. It is very reassuring to see her progress. We will resume some level of PT in Fredericksburg, walk every day as much as we can and just keep getting better. There is lumberjack work and buckthorn removal to do when we get home. Maybe she will supervise.

More Later, Much Love,

Roger and Susan

Orange Beach, AL January-February, 2021

Our Big Break

Yup, Susan broke a leg bone on Friday 12/11. I picked more pain meds at the pharmacy the next day. Elevate and ice were the orders of the day. No weight bearing. Susan called the ER Room recommended Ortho Doc first thing Monday morning and we got an appointment for 10:30 AM. We had to get a move on to get there but we did. The Ortho Doc is next to the hospital so we sort of knew where we were going. It is a big practice with more than 30 doctors and several offices on both sides of Mobile Bay.

We got in on time, Susan was riding in a wheel chair. They removed the ER applied splint and took more X-rays of her leg. It was still broken, still aligned OK. Dr Eslava took one look and showed us where it was broken on the X-ray picture. He said surgery was going to be needed as well as some support for the tendons and ligaments that hold the ankle together. It was pretty swollen so he said to come back in a week. The splint and cast guy, Scottie, did a very nice job with the same sort of sock and wrapping and a fiberglass splint and more Ace bandage like wrapping. Elevate and ice. We got home and agreed we were comfortable with Dr Eslava and the direction care was going.

A week later the swelling had gone down enough for Dr Eslava to schedule surgery for the following week. A new splint and wrappings were applied. Elevate and ice. No weight.


Surgery was scheduled for mid afternoon and then moved up a couple hours so once again we had to get a move on to make the new time. And then we had to wait as things were running late. Pretty soon they called Susan in to get started and then called me in before she went to pre-op. The nurse said they would call me when she went in to surgery, that Dr. Eslava would call when surgery was done and that the recovery room would call when she was awake in post op.

For all of us who have waited during a loved one’s surgery I think the anxiety is common. The nurse called when Susan went in for surgery. The surgery was supposed to take about an hour. Dr Eslava called when they were finishing up, all had gone well. It was another hour before the post op nurse called. The wait made me nervous. Susan was awake, I helped her drink water and eat crackers and take some post-op pain meds, the same we had used after the initial ER visit. Susan was pretty uncomfortable. Her foot and lower leg was splinted in much the same way as before but with much more padding. After a while she was able to get dressed. We gathered her things together, got her discharge instructions, no weight bearing, elevate and ice, a new prescription and another ride in a wheelchair. We got home, Susan crutched her way to the coach, sat down on the steps, backed up one step at a time, up to the passenger’s seat and then into the coach using her crutches.

We had a followup appointment scheduled for two weeks. We had found a dry cover for her wrapped up leg and a shower stool so showers were possible and welcome. We came home from the hospital with two high tech ice packs. They got a pretty good work out over the next several weeks. They go back into the freezer after use and are ready again in just a couple hours.

So ice, elevate, pain meds as needed, no weight bearing and wait.

Looks pretty gruesome on the post op X-rays. The first few days were painful but that eased up pretty quickly. Tylenol during the day, pain meds at night for a few days and then just Tylenol.

Two weeks went by, pretty quickly or slowly depending on who gets asked.

The post op splints and wraps were removed and the nurse washed Susan’s leg. More X-rays. Dr Eslava was pleased with the progress and ordered the stitches removed, a hard cast and a return visit in another two weeks.

A pretty snazzy job by Scottie. This is a water activated fiberglass tape wrapped over the black sock and cotton batting wrap. One white layer and a second of the wearer’s choice. Green. And a classy non-slip boot.

Another two weeks. Getting around was easier, still no weight bearing, but easier.

The Boot

And then, the boot. The green cast was cut off, another leg wash and a boot. A big black thing, lots of velcro straps, extra pads where needed and a pump to increase the compression and fit. The bottom of the boot is curved so it rocks as you walk in it. Some weight bearing was now OK. The Doc said to get a walker and start Physical Therapy. We saw the PT guy, Patrick, that afternoon for an initial evaluation and then the next day. Twice more this week. Susan is now doing some weight bearing, walking without the boot inside (and a crutch for a helper). We walked 1/3 of a mile yesterday with her boot and walker. Yesterday and today Susan went in and out of the coach standing up using one crutch.


While all of this has been going on I have been gladly doing my part by doing the grocery shopping, laundry, cooking, cleaning, picking up take out on occasion and everything else I can.

We (I) have ordered quite a bit from Amazon as we needed it (or wanted it). It all comes right here to the RV Park.

It took me a few weeks to feel OK leaving Susan on her own for any length of time and then I started out on shorter bike rides. It is almost 8 miles if I do 3 complete loops through the RV park without ever leaving the park. And then I started back to the State Park. Those rides are 8-13 miles and I am doing that about 5 days a week. I am pleased to report knees and hips feel OK.

There are lots of armadillos here.


Quiddler is a card game whose cards have letters and you make words with the letters. All of the cards have a point value and you add up the value of all the cards you used minus the ones you didn’t at the end of each hand. There are bonus points for longest word and most words. You start the game with three cards and each hand gets one more card up to ten. It seems to work well using ZOOM, each site has their own game and an Official Scrabble Dictionary as a reference.

We play once or twice a week with our friends in Ohio, Oregon, Texas or Minnesota. Sometimes just four of us, sometimes as many as eight. We get to play a game, visit, stay in touch, see the dogs and laugh a bunch. We really appreciate the chance to stay connected.


I had some time and projects I had been thinking about. I added an automated electric valve at the incoming water supply that closes by itself when we are not using water and opens when we are.

I added Alexa enabled assists to lock or unlock the coach, turn on/off front step lights, outside patio light, red chili pepper lights and the awning lights. I also added assists to turn on/off and dim kitchen lights, dining room table lights, each side of the bedroom lights, each side of the bedroom window valence lights and the front and rear living room recessed ceiling lights. We replaced the recessed living room lights with new LED lights. About 2/3 of the original lights had burned out. All of this works in the coach using voice or from anywhere using our phones. Pretty neat.

I replaced the coach water pump, it was making an odd noise as it shut off. The new one had something wrong with it too so it is getting replaced again when we get to Fredericksburg. We are back to the first one now. They didn’t want the replaced pumps back so I am shipping them home.


Susan and I enjoy doing jigsaw puzzles together. It is a quiet, shared passtime.


We had visitors while we were here too. My cousin Sue and her husband Lloyd drove over from Panama City, FL. They stayed overnight in a nearby hotel. We had a nice visit, a good take out dinner and breakfast at the Sunliner Diner in Gulf Shores.

Forest and Cindy Olivier came and stayed for a week in their Foretravel in the site next to us. They are from Louisiana and were on their way to Florida. It was nice to see them again. We actually went out for dinner one evening. Cindy made Key Lime pie which was spectacular, Thanks.

Moving On

We have made lots of progress. Next week we see Dr Eslava for the last time and get marching orders for what comes next. We leave for Nacogdoches in a week or so for some service work and dinner at Auntie Pasta’s, maybe twice and to see friends there. And then over to the north end of Houston to see our friends Scott and Carol. And if we can work it in, Rudy and Carolyn and Keith and Jo too. And then we are on to Fredericksburg. We will follow up with PT as directed. We are hopeful we can get our Covid-19 vaccines as well.

We are very thankful and grateful for the support of the RV Park staff, the EMTs, the ER care and Dr Eslava’s team. We could have been anywhere when this happened but here has seemed like it couldn’t have been much better.

More Later, Much Love,

Roger and Susan