Thursday, February 21, 2013

Be Careful What You Wish For....

....You just might get it.

Bye-bye Lone Ranger; Hello, Clydesdale.
A big shout out to our sales guy: James English - he's at the Carmax off 290 in Houston/Cypress.  If you ever need a vehicle, Carmax is the way to go - and James is the absolute BEST to work with!  (We should know - this is our 3rd vehicle with him!)
 Um, yeah, about that....  Easy Come, Easy Go.

Monday, February 18, 2013

It's a Wonderful Life

Have I mentioned lately that I love my life?  And I love going camping? And I love my RDB and Diesel - even when he's all slobbery? (Uh, Diesel that is!)  I guess I'm just all lovely-dovey since we celebrated Valentines this past week - one of my favorite holidays.  It's too bad it's become nearly as commercialized as Christmas.  I mean, really, you don't need chocolates and overpriced roses and cards to tell someone that you love them. 
Just take them camping.

RDB takes some awesome photos!

Love my Camper!

We left out early Friday afternoon and got up to Huntsville State Park before 6 - which was really nice, as the sun is setting a bit later (yeah Spring!) and we were able to have a few more choices on sites.  The Staff warned us that the site I picked was 'really steep' and it was a bit of a struggle to get the camper as level as possible, but oh my gosh, it was worth every bit of work - check out some of the view we had right on the water! 

"Heart" my Tacky Lights.
The weather started off a little cold - but quickly turned out really nice.  I really do enjoy camping in Texas - during these months at least.  It's just to hot to think about camping in a pop-up during the summer months.... which has us thinking about upgrading to a bigger rig in the (not to distant) future.  I know, I know, we just got this one - but going to the RV show two weekends ago didn't help!  We spent a good portion of the weekend tossing back and forth ideas and thoughts on how to make that work.  First things first, of course - we're gonna need a bigger truck!

We really enjoyed the trails that this park has to offer - several miles and different terrains - some that are hiker only, and equestrian only - and some that share the trail with bikes.  We spent a good portion of the morning out on a trail that lead right beside the edge of the lake - and Diesel was such a good little hiker! 
Prairie Branch Loop Trail

The hike back was on a portion of the trail that allowed bikes and hikers - and there was a youth group, all in professional looking bicyclist jerseys, that was using that portion of the trail.  They had adult sponsors at the merge points to warn hikers about the kids coming through - and then the bikers themselves would give a shout out warning: "Biker in back!" to warn you they were coming upon you. 
He so badly wanted to chase those kids!
 RDB and I decided the easiest way to deal with the bikers was to step off the trail, make Diesel sit, and let the riders go by.  Worked perfectly.  Several of the youth yelled back: "Nice dog!" "Beautiful dog!" "Good looking pup!"  One of them said as he went by: "He looks like he's wearing a hat?!"  Needless to say, the posts are still up, and with my crafty addiction to decorating them, we're still getting all kinds of weird comments.
My little Prisoner of Love.
I've been working on a few additional recipes for camping using a small crock pot. I'll probably document them our next trip out and share.  I'm really excited about the Overnight Oatmeal we've had twice now - it's way easy to prep for and super easy to clean on the last morning when you're breaking down camp.  I've got to give it to my RDB - he really does making camping a joy by doing some of the things I don't like to: like the dishes.  Even when it's cold and there are a ton of them to do, he does them without complaining.  I really understand what that old saying means: "Lovemaking starts with doing the dishes."  I sure do love you, RDB. I know that last paragraph was probably a little embarrassing, but I can't help it:
You are my favorite part of camping.
Would you look at that view! And the lake ain't bad, either.

We were in Site 157 at Huntsville State Park.  It's a hike to the nearest bathhouse (which are some of the nicest in the State Park system), but just 50 yards or so from the fishing pier. We saw a few late night fishermen with light-up bobbers, that was cool!  This park is just an hour or so north of Houston with no traffic, and that made it really ideal for this weekend.  We were able to enjoy a leisurely slow morning, then pack up and head home with enough day light left for some much-needed yard work.  I'd camp every weekend if I could - but the darn house needs tending to!  That being said - don't be surprised if I sneak another visit in to this park before the season's up!

Hope you all had a lovely weekend - as RDB said it - "This is a wonderful life."

For more camping photos, go here.

(Oh, and P.S. - If you happen to cut your index finger on the semi-broken, kinda-rusty can opener trying to fix lunch, you're gonna be really glad you packed peroxide and superglue in the first aid kit.  Typing up this post today has been a labor of love, for sure!

Um, P.S.S. - yes, Mom, I've had a tetanus shot recently.) 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Super "Brazos" Weekend

Yes, I know, it's supposed to be Super "Bowl" Weekend - but I was surprised they even play the game when the Steelers aren't in it.  Ba-da-ching!  Needless to say, we're rooting for the 49ers tonight, as we have a hatred for those Dirty Birds.  I've got the game on (for the commercials) while I'm uploading photos and reminiscing about our camping trip this weekend.

Panoramic Photo Courtesy RDB

Brazos Bend State Park, founded in 1984, it covers over 5,000 acres and is bordered by the Brazos River.  Two camping loops, tons of hiking, biking and equestrian trails, and the George Observatory (Which was amazing! But I'll get to that).  The weather couldn't have been better, either, for our first camping trip of the year.

We planned this one specifically to meet up with the South East Texas Pop-Up Campers Club (SETPUCC).  I've been chatting with the families on the website for a while, and we tried to camp with them at Lake Livingston last fall, but finally got a chance to hook up with them this weekend.  They take Super Bowl Sunday at this camp every year to be their annual planning meeting and potluck, and oh, what a potluck it was!  We felt so very welcomed in by the group - they had 14 families camping in the park, and several more that joined us at the dinning hall for the meal (and I mean, wow - there was a fruit filled coleslaw that would Blow.  Your.  Mind.)   It's a very laid back club - no dues, no requirements to participate unless you want to.  They elect a "Big Kahuna" each year, who keeps members up to date, and helps run the annual meeting.  There's a Vice-Big Kahuna, too, and Scouts (who run camp outs)  M&D tried to get me to volunteer to be a scout, but I think I'll spend a bit more time in the club before I step into a 'leadership' role!  We're already on the list to camp out with them again in April, and I'm excited about it!

Uh-Oh! Look out She!!
Diesel loves when his friends come to visit!

RDB and I enjoyed a few of the park's many trails and the Nature Center, where you can learn more about the critters and ecosystem that the park supports, and even touch live baby alligators.   Brazos Bend is home to the American Alligator; we saw a few while walking around the paved lake trails (also unique to BBSP).  RandShe came out to fish, and bought along She's Dad - he had just flown in from Michigan leaving behind 5* weather for the lovely mid-70's.   Fishing wasn't that great - except for the ones that were literally jumping out of the water.  We might have done better  with a net rather than fishing poles.  At least the sunset was worth catching - RDB said it was one of his favorite parts to the trip - the panoramic pic up top was taken with his iPhone.

I'd have to say my favorite part of this trip was the Observatory.  It's an arm of the Houston Museum of Natural Science located on the park grounds.  You wouldn't think that you'd get a clear view of the sky just an hour south of all the light polution from Houston, but we were surprised with how clearly we could see the sky and stars.  Every Saturday night they open the telescopes for public viewing ($5 gets you access to all three). The 36" scope housed in the large center dome, unfortunately, was under repair, but we still had the opportunity to view from the East and West domes.  It was out of this world!! (no pun intended) We had the chance to view a star nebula that's located in the Orion constellation - and I'm serious when I say the pictures don't do it justice.  We also got to view Jupiter - yes! Jupiter the PLANET!! - And three of it's moons.  The photo below is the closest I could find to what it looked like in the view piece.  But even this is fuzzy - what you saw in real life was crystal clear and amazing!  We just might have to head out there more often....  It was stellar! ;-)

We were in site 113 - which had very little (read: none) morning shade, but is right beside overflow parking - which made the site a bit larger and perfect for all our stop-by guests.  I know I say, just about every trip, that this one will be on our list of 'go back again' but this one will for sure - next year with the camping club on Super Bowl weekend.  Oh, and by the way - the electric never went out on us while we were camping.  Too bad we can't say the same for the big game.

Happy 1st Birthday to our Guard Dobie.  Love this pup!

For more camping photos, go here.