Sunday, June 17, 2018

Camping Cache - Huntsville State Park

Tribute to Courage
28th Anniversary
TxGCC13 Huntsville I

But this guy found the TxGCC13 Huntsville  
one first, so needless to say, we left it alone!  

Happy Campers; Home Again.

We're back home: RDB is currently watching a YouTube video about CB radios, the rain is pitter-patting on the patio outside, and I'm enjoying a good buzz from our back-from-camping visit to Bearded Fox Brewing Co.  It's been one of those perfect weekends again. We're so glad to be back where it feels like home again; happy campers.  

We left out for Huntsville State Park Friday afternoon - we love this park because it's so close to home and that makes the maiden voyage of our new Rubicon "25 toy hauler such an easy event.  We did the same our first weekend with Honey, and we were in the same camping loop (Raven) but the site this time was incredibly shaded and comfortable. 

(BTW - I ought to introduce you to my Yelp reviews - we do a LOT of Yelping to find the best places to eat, hang out, have a beer, etc. If you're not using the app, you ought to be!)

Not a whole lot to do Friday - it's a new camper, and so we spent a fair bit of time getting accustomed to it - including setting up the TV to be able to catch a bit of the morning news on Saturday (rain, unfortunately, was in the forecast.  After Harvey last year, I've had a hard time sleeping when I know rain is coming.  Our house wasn't flooded, but the waters stopped one house behind us, one to the left and three to the right.  It was much too close for comfort.)  Kind of ironic that we bought a new camper the weekend that a tropical wave was heading into the gulf - several families here in our neighborhood lived in their campers after Harvey, while their homes were repaired.

My favorite part of the new camper - brought from our time in Honey - a picture from the day after we were married (also on a camping trip)

Rich's favorite part of the new camper - the A/C:

We really love it.  It'll be a great RV for RDB, his Harley, and the upcoming trips he has planned.  Since he's taking a sabbatical, we'll likely use a number of the work travel trips that I'm on as potential camping trips (like MS next week) but he'll also travel out on his own as well. I'm so very excited about what the future holds for him!  I have a feeling it will include plenty of this:

We did break out the mini-size dominoes I've been carrying in the campers for what seems like forever.  It was fun to play a few rounds - not really keeping track of who was winning  (me) and who wasn't (Rich). :-)  

Best. Dominoes. EVER. No counting dots!


Sleeping in the new camper was a bit of a, well, change (read: challenge).  I had to remind myself - this is a _trailer_ meant to haul a bike, that also doubles as a camper. So the main feature is the ability to toy haul (and I know we'll be thrilled to have the Harley along with us while we're camping) but it won't be the honeymoon suite that our previous camper was.  That's okay - this is a new adventure, and it'll be worth a bit of snuggled-in-really-close-ok-actually-maybe-you-should-go-sleep-on-the-couch version of sleeping.  #worthit  Right? 

Toadie says "G'nite, y'all."

Oh - also - if you're hanging out at Huntsville SP and planning to travel into town for, well, anything - please take Highway 75 to go into town and the service road back down to the camp ground.  Construction right now is an absolutely MESS with closed exits and lots of back-ups.  I won't tell you that we drove off into the median at one point to avoid the traffic because it was so backed up....

Saturday morning we woke up and showered in the campground showers (still, the best showers in the park system - large enough for two people (not that we would know anything about that) and a separate dressing area all behind a locked door - very private). Then we took off for a few Geocaches. We did the Sam Houston Stature virtual Geocache Friday before dinner, but who's counting?

As I mentioned, rain was in the forecast for the weekend; however, it held off all the way until we needed to hitch up the trailer. Of course. See the red push-pin and the random itty-bitty rain cloud? Yeah, that was us about 1:30pm.  The heavens opened up on us and DOWN POURED for about 5 minutes, then stopped,  Rich was drenched.  I brought a rain jacket. ;-)

Looks like Oscar Mayer has the perfect bacon...

We were packed up and heading home about 2pm or so,  and as I mentioned, I wanted to hit a local spot.  Lately, we've been enjoying breweries on our trips cross country, so I Yelp'd for a local place and found the Bearded Fox.  We had never heard of the place before, yet on our way up we saw a car with their logo on the back window.  Circumstance? Fate? Ehn, whatever.  It was simply meant to be.

Much like us getting back into camping.  We're glad to be back, ya'll.  

We were in site #23 at Huntsville State Park, recommended by the park staff and we were glad for that.  It was mostly level and incredibly shaded - be aware though, that the sewer hook-up may be higher in elevation than your hose, which can make for a difficult wash out. We've stayed at Huntsville before: It's Nice Outside, and It's a Wonderful Life.  Still is - a wonderful life, that is.

For more camping photos, click here

Crossing the Rubicon

"Julius Caesar's crossing the Rubicon river was an event in 49 BC that precipitated the Roman Civil War.  He was explicitly ordered not to bring his army across the Rubicon river, which was at that time a northern boundary of Italy. Caesar brought the 13th legion across the river, which the Roman government considered insurrection, treason, and a declaration of war on the Roman Senate. This event ultimately led to Caesar's becoming dictator for life and the rise of the imperial era of Rome. ... Today, the phrase "crossing the Rubicon" is an idiom that means to pass a point of no return." 
- Wikipedia

To pass a point of no return.

A lot has happened in the three years since we last camped, and though these few paragraphs won't due it justice, it's worth finally getting it down on paper:

In the fall of 2015, we began the process to purchase the company where RDB had been working for the past several years.  This was actually one of the leading factors that moved us from Raleigh down to Texas in 2011; RDB's dream has always been to purchase an already established company and make it his own. As we prepared ourselves, and our finances, we made the decision to sell the truck and camper (both fully paid for, and discretionary toys) to add to the capital we had raised for the purchase of the company.  So, that's why you haven't seen us since October of 2015...

RDB and I both recall sitting at the company owner's kitchen table that fall, sharing a meal, and having him express to us that he was "ready - as soon as January (of 2016)"  Our dream of being business owners was going to become a reality. But we soon realized - and this is a heartbreaking thing - when someone tells you they're ready but they're not, it becomes natural for them to lead you on, and then eventually back away when they see how serious you are.  By the time we brought the owner to the table with the financing team from our bank, he began to backpedal.

Fast forward to March 2018: talks about buying the company have completely stalled.  Since RDB wasn't under a non-compete agreement with his employer, we believe that when the owner of the company realized he wasn't ready to sell the business, rather than being forthright about his intentions, and out of fear that RDB would leave and create his own company, he began playing games, saying one thing and doing another, became manipulative, and was no longer someone who RDB wanted to work with.

It was March 5th (the day after my birthday) that RDB had finally had enough of the game playing and resigned.

He crossed the Rubicon.

And here, on the other side of that river, the future is bright.  


Sunday, November 1, 2015

2015 Camping Trips

2015 Camping Trips

March 6-8th: Lake Livingston SP site #68

April 3-5th (Easter): Kim's Parents

September  25-27th: Galveston Island SP, ACWC

October 16-18th: Fairfield Lake SP

October 30-November 1st (Halloween): Steven F. Austin SP

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween Weekend and the Bridge is Out

Pretty sure you can say I had a LOT of fun this past weekend:

Big Bug-eyed, LOTS of fun!!

RDB and I traveled back out to Stephen F Austin State Park for the weekend - this is one of our favorites since it's close to home, just an hour away, and the sites are all nicely spaced out and mostly level.

We carved pumpkins for probably the first time in a decade; it was just as much gooey, awesome fun-ness as I remember!

RDB was our photographer this weekend - nearly all the photos were taken with his iPhone 6s Plus (and the video uploaded a little grainy, but on the phone it's crystal clear!) So, you'll actually see me in a few more photos than normal this trip!

I couldn't help but smile: both of our jack-o-lanterns were happy, rather than scary.  Says a lot about how we feel about camping I guess.  And life in general these days.

The weekend started out pretty rainy; we spent most of Saturday morning in side in the camper.  By late afternoon it had cleared off though, and turned into yet another lovely day.  I'll tell you this: if you cancel your camping trip every time the radar shows some rain then you'll never end up camping.  Once the rain cleared, I took the opportunity to do a little decorating...

Yep, I know.  I'm fun. ;-)  And I had candy just-in-case of trick or treaters, too.  (Don't you wish you had come camping with us now, huh?)

The downside to all the rain was that the trails were closed, yet that didn't keep RDB and I from going for a walk.  The park was 'slammed full of critters': deer, rabbits, frogs, owls, mice and crawdads.

He was all kinds of vicious until I picked him up from behind. 

We hadn't been back to the park since December of last year, so when we checked in the Rangers gave us a warning that the bridge was out, we didn't exactly know what to make of it.  Sure enough, on our walk, we went back up to the front entrance (we had to enter the park using a side road: "You know, in case the bridge went out.")  Sure enough, there was no longer a bridge to the park! But the golf cart bridge was still standing.

And that's where the road *used to* be....

We spent time playing games inside: a few rounds of "Go Fish" with our giant Texas-sized playing cards, and then a few rounds of Rumikub.  I have a mini tile set that was passed down to me from my Granda Ford.  Odd, how the scoring pages in the cardboard box still smell like her living room.  Sweet memories then, and great new ones now.

It really was a great, relaxing weekend.  Even the time change couldn't put a damper on our spirits.  We were in site #1 again (and have our eyes on site #39 next time we go back.)  The rain flooded a number of the sites - so if you're tent camping, be sure to watch where you settle for the evening!

For a few more camping photos, go here.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Camping Cache - Fairfield Lake State Park


Dropped off a trackable Smokey the Bear - the park is under burn ban, and several others (Bastrop, Buescher) are currently closed due to this year's forest fires.  Here's to hoping this traveling Smokey can help spread the message: only YOU can prevent forest fires!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Change in the Weather

Dear Fall.....

I hope you're here to stay.

Love, Me

We traveled to Fairfield Lake State Park for the weekend, arriving late in the afternoon and grabbing a great lake view spot in site #87.  Very level, but no full-hook ups; we were right across from the bathrooms at least.  Wonderful weather, a quick day trip to Dallas to spend time with Dad and Bunny and the Grandparents.  It was refreshing, relaxing, and just what we needed.

For (just a few more) camping photos, go here.