Travel Lodge(ing)

Do you remember the old Travel Lodges billboards with cute sleep walking bear?

For the best rest –  East or West

I’m looking for that right now. Just a little rest. 😀

Our company let us know on Sunday that the gate guards we were subbing for would be back Monday instead of Wednesday. This wasn’t a big deal except Heidi had already called all of the  RV parks within 60 miles and everyone was full.

The gate guard lot in Gonzales was full (unlike when we were there 2 months ago).

And the gate guard lot in Whitsett was full and overflowing.  We had already contacted Hidden Valley RV park in Von Ormy (just south of San Antonio) and Teri had room for us but not until Tuesday. She said that if it didn’t rain we could boondock in her field for $10. 😀

Scott  (our FS) said to be ready to leave at 9:30, so of course the new gate guards were there at 8 a.m. and Scott was there at 8:45. We were sure glad we’d gotten the hitching up over with the night before. You know how it is when you already feel a little awkward or unsure and then you add an audience. We left Westhoff/Lindenau at 9 and headed north by northwest.

Teri was gracious and accommodating. We parked at the far end of the RV park in the open field.

This is a lovely side shot of $7000 worth of damage I inflicted on the new RV when I tangled with the tiny palm tree – repairs next month – hopefully.

Unlike many of our gate guarding friends, we aren’t really boondockers at heart. In 4 years of full-time RVing, we used the generator in the Motorhome once. When we bought the 5th Wheel, we didn’t want to spend the extra $5000 for a generator (we also didn’t want that much more weight and opted for storage instead).

Monday, if we’d had one, we would have used it. It was about 80 degrees by the time we got parked. No electricity. Our phones soon ran down. We had just enough battery life, in the laptop and in us, to change all of our passwords since Zappos had been hacked that morning and that’s where we order our shoes. 😀

We really didn’t mind boondocking. We were thankful for a quiet field. We took Henry VIII for several walks along the river and listened to cardinals and woodpeckers and mockingbirds.

We played cards. Actually, Heidi played cards and I was more of an out-of-body participant. By the time we were finishing, I’d been up for 28 hours. You night-shift folks know how the transition can be when you’re switching from nights to days. This was my 5th switch in 2 months. I didn’t care if we went east or west, I just wanted some rest. I think I was unconscious by 5:30.  Heidi made her way around in the dark with a Coleman lantern and a flashlight.

The only time boondocking was at all inconvenient was the next morning when my caffeine craving body woke up at 4 a.m. screaming: You’ve got to be kiddingNo biggie I thought and I boldly boiled coffee on the stove. I’ve haven’t done that for a while. There must be a trick to it that I’ve forgotten. There’s nothing more surprising when you’re happily drinking hot coffee in the dark and suddenly your mouth fills up with grounds. Actually even that’s still a little better than the live things I’ve swallowed in Texas like beetles and fluttering moths; or the time I looked at my bowl of Grape-nuts and saw one half of a spider trying to swim in the milk (don’t ask, I have no idea).

My Kindle cover has a book light, I had coffee and Henry had a lap so all was well with the world. I enjoyed the early morning view as I watched the sun rise. The view out my window was a little different from what I’m used to after 13 months on a gate. 😉

The folks at Hidden Valley were very nice. The rate for Passport America members is $16 a night with full hookup which you’d be hard pressed to beat anywhere.

We were supposed to move near Three Rivers saying a spot just opened up there and to head on down.  So, once again, we hit the road. It was an hour and a half drive which only took us 2 hours because the GPS led us to a sheet metal building in Whitsett and proudly announced that we had arrived at our destination.


Dropping the RV Unhooking went as smoothly as hitching up. No job yet, but hopefully soon.

Today we went a callin’ on our friends Jill and Rob. We’ve only met though Fork, never in person, but they’ve become dear friends. They’re in Tilden, of all places! Tilden, no kidding!

Tilden is where we got our start, 13 months ago. We couldn’t wait to take Jill to lunch at Max’s Cafe and Motel. I think I scared her with all the animal  head photos so she hadn’t been there yet!

Rob and Jill were even more delightful in person! Thank you for your kind hospitality. How fun to finally meet! It’s was like reuniting with an old friend and picking up where you left off, except we’d never started. 😀 Rob was kind enough to watch their very busy gate and we rewarded him by bringing back half of Jill’s leftover Max’s Special Nachos.

Since I likely won’t be on a gate for a bit, I may tell some stories about the wild guys from Lantern 16 or write about our amazing encounters with the Nutria and the Alligator in the bayou tomorrow.

Life is good! However, the rumor that the lots are full is true – today. You never know about tomorrow in this business. For the best rest –  East or West, I think  you have to be willing to just kick back and enjoy the ride!

Year in Review Part 6 – Mosey on Down the Road

If I’m going to end my year in review by the end of the year, I better mosey on down the road.

Out of curiosity, I tried to find the origin of this saying (mosey on down the road) but no one seems to know. Some scholars think it comes from the word vamoose from the Spanish vamos . That may be but vamos meant to get going pretty darn quickly and mosey mean something more akin to take you own sweet time.

Anyway, we closed the gate in Tilden, with the typical hour and a half notice and settled into a little spot in town that Larry (our FS) had arranged, to wait for our next assignment. We spent a day in Pleasanton doing laundry and stocking up on groceries.  We were having breakfast at Max’s Motel and Cafe (great food – see animal heads on previous posts), planning an exciting adventure to Freer to see the world’s largest rattlesnake (which sits front of the Freer Chamber of Commerce) when Larry said Jamie wanted us to go to Hallettsville, a lovely little town, made famous as the location for the movie The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.

So, after one day off,  moseyed in the rain, 150 miles NE and spent the night just outside Hallettsville, ready to set up first thing the next morning. It wasn’t meant to be. Jamie called and said some fellow was having a fit over by Shiner because he didn’t like the pad they’d made for him and he refused to stay so would we please swap sites. Apparently, that was what was meant to be, and so began our 11 month wild ride with this oil co and drilling company.

We arrived a couple of hours after the first couple took off.  We had a new FS, George, and for the first time, we had a Company Man, Jimbo. By the time we arrived, Jimbo was already unhappy with our company over the gate-rejecting guards. I don’t think he thought things could get a lot worse until that good ole’ Louisiana boy saw two women and a pretend dog pull up. We couldn’t understand him real well at first. That’s probably a good thing.

Another theory for the origin of mosey on down the road  is that it’s a reference to Moses, wandering around for 40 years in the wilderness. Although less likely, that may be a better word picture for us since we spent exactly 40 days and 40 nights at our site in-between Shiner and Gonzales. We claimed Shiner as our home since they let us have library cards and Gonzales wouldn’t.

We learned tons at this site, but probably the experiences that make for the best stories all have to do with liquids. They’re too long to tell tonight, since it’s starting to storm and my internet is popping on and off. I’ll close this post with an observation about names. I had no idea how many southern guys have names ending on vowels. Why is that, I wonder?

We worked for Jimbo on a ranch owned by Bubba. I’d never met anyone named Bubba before although I’ve met several since, and a  Bobbo. We had Johnny, Willy, Billy, and Jimmy; we had a Bo, Bobby Jo, Billy Jo and our first true friend in Texas, JoJo (we miss you JoJo!) By the time I met Kevin, our mud engineer, I thought he was giving me an alias.

Most days, I felt like an anthropologist living among a foreign peoples in a foreign land. Believe me, they thought they same thing about me, too, although they might have phrased it differently, something more along the lines of : You plant a tater, you get a tater and then they’d probably just grin at each other like that just about sums it up.

Tomorrow more on our odyssey into the world of southern sittin’, southern spelling and southern spittin’, if the Lord’s willing and the creek don’t rise.