Monday, November 29, 2010

Bridgit Jeane in her new home

A new home and meeting new family members.

Bridgit Jeane has now has spent a little over a week in her new home and appears to be settling in just fine. Once we got home Buddy Joe started to accept the fact she was staying here so he should make the best of it. He now shares his toys with her, runs and plays with her and puts up with her barking. He plays much more than when he was here by himself now so it appears that Bridgit will help him to stay young.

Outside of her barking, which we are working on, we've only had a couple of problems. Here is Bridgit (in the foreground) with Buddy behind her. She loves being outside and spends most of the daytime in the backyard. If we take her out through the front we must keep her on a leash since she has a tendency to run. First time was last week when I went out to put some mail out for the postman. She slipped out and took off. Here I was, still barefooted, on the chase. She immediately ran across the street to the neighbors yard and then headed north. Three yards down she darted back across the street. She made her mistake at that point by going into one of the neighbors backyards. There I was able to corner her and get her to stop. Oh, did I mention I was barefooted? This was around 9:00am and the temps outside were in the 40's. I did not realize how cold my feet were until I started walking back to the house. The second incident was this past Sunday morning as we were preparing to leave to take Joanne's mom to lunch. Bridgit was outside and being abnormally quiet. She has had a tendency to get under our deck, which is very muddy, and we thought we had closed up every place she could get in. Anyway, she did not come when called. We did a big search of the backyard, checking under the deck and checking the fence to see if there was anyplace she could have gotten out. We also looked all through the house but did not find her either place. At this point we each got in our cars and started driving the neighborhood looking for her. I finally came back home and as soon as I got out of the car I heard her barking coming from our dining room. She was now in the house. We have still not figured out where she was hiding but from her appearance it did not look like she had been under that deck. (Due to going under the deck she got two baths her first day after she got home from Savannah.)

During the past week we have had two of our three granddaugthers come to visit and meet Bridgit. First it was our youngest, Cadence. She came over for a few hours to see Grandpa and Grandma while her folks ran some errands. She had a big time playing with our dogs and posed for the picture on the right. Today our oldest granddaughter, Emma, spent part of the afternoon along with Lily, her little sister. This was also their first time to meet Bridgit. (This is Emma on the left.) All three of our granddaughters enjoy coming to see Buddy Joe and he is great with them. It appears that Bridgit Jeane is going to be just as good with the girls, which is a blessing. Our first Miniature Schnauzer, Brandi Jane, was kind of anti-social and really did not like to be around little kids. Pretty much anytime we had visitors Brandi had to be locked in a bedroom because we were afraid she would bite someone. It is really nice having these two dogs with such great personalities.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A new family member

Mission: Retrieve one very small Miniature Schnauzer as new family member.
Required: Travel from Oklahoma City to Savannah, GA. (2400 miles round trip.)
Status: Completed.

Last Tuesday Joanne, Buddy Joe and I piled into the car at 6:30am and headed east for Savannah, Georgia. A childhood friend lives in Savannah and is very involved in the volunteer effort of the County Animal Shelter. She had notified us that they had a "rescued" one year old Miniature Schnauzer that had been abandoned by her owners. Knowing our love of these dogs she wanted us to take her, especially since we had lost our Brandi Jane three years ago. Although we enjoy our current Schnauzer, Buddy Joe, we had decided to not get any more once Buddy was gone while we were still doing the RV thing. After Diane sent us pictures of the little girl we were hooked and have been attempting to work out how to get her to Oklahoma. Due to scheduling conflicts on both ends she remained at Diane's house for the past three weeks. This week we decided to just go get her.

The trip out was fairly uneventful. We drove east on I-40 to Little Rock, Memphis and Nashville the first day. About Little Rock it started to mist rain and that was our weather conditions all the way to Nashville. We hit Nashville around 4:30pm, just in time for their rush hour traffic, which was horrendous. After about an hour on the Interstate and only traveling about six miles we spotted a Motel 6 and stopped for the night. We headed out Wednesday around 7:00am and went south through Chattanooga, Atlanta and Macon before turning east again to Savannah. We arrived at Diane and Russ' house around 4:30pm. Diane got home shortly after and we met our new little one for the first time. We had already decided to change her name. The original owners had named her "Tru". Since we could not live with that we named her Bridgit Jeane. Diane had already started using that name so she was answering to it when we got there. Buddy was a bit overwhelmed while we were there with meeting a new "sister" plus the fact that Diane has six dogs of her own (two Mini Schnauzers and four Shih-tzus). The picture on the left is me with all four Schnauzers. In addition to Buddy and Bridgit there is little Hanna and her sister, Shadow, sitting up on the back of the chair. In addition she had a mixed Golden Retriever that she has been fostering in an attempt to find him a new home. Add to this she has several cats she is fostering. Needless to say Buddy was not comfortable in this atmosphere.

We stayed at Diane & Russ' house Wednesday and Thursday night and had a good visit. We got to tour the new County Animal Shelter and met the great people that operate that facility. Diane fed us a great Pot Roast dinner on Wednesday and on Thursday they took us to Fannies on the Beach out on Tybee Island. We had been with them to Fannies when we visited them back in 2007 and really like the place. They have a beautiful home in Savannah that is very comfortable and homey. Diane and I have known each other since the second grade and were best buddies all through high school. When her and Russ got married 44 years ago I was stationed in Norfolk as a young sailor and Russ was at Quantico, Virginia, as a young Marine Lieutenant. I was given the privilege of walking Diane down the aisle at the wedding when her Dad was unable to make the trip from Oklahoma to Virginia.

After our short visit it was time to head back home. We left Savannah around 9:00am on Friday heading west. We went back west to Macon and then north to Atlanta but at that point changed our course. We again turned west toward Birmingham, Alabama, and stopped for the night in Jasper, Alabama. This was Bridgit's first night away from all the dogs but she did very good. She had been trained, by Diane, to stay in a kennel crate and we had gone to Wal-Mart and gotten her a new one. When it came time to go to bed she went right in the kennel and settled in for the night. We did not here a peep out of her all night long. On Saturday we continued northwest to Memphis and I-40 and then west home. We arrived back home around 8:00pm. During the trip home Buddy pretty much laid on his pillow in the back, totally ignoring Bridgit. Bridgit, on the other hand, felt she should ride up front with us. She would lay on her pillow for awhile and then start trying to sneak up front. Even after we wedged a small ice chest between the seats she tried climbing over it. It was a very long, fast and fun trip. Not something I'd recommend on a regular basis but after getting Bridgit home we feel it was well worth it. By the way, once we got Buddy home, in his own environment, he has decided that Bridgit is not so bad and has spent most of the day today chasing around the house with her. He has even made several attempts to get her to play tug-of-war with some of his toys. He also has been a big assist in teaching her to use the doggie door to the back yard.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Texas Hill Country--Day 7

A lazy day, a great German band and another rally is wrapped.

Other than a general club business meeting this morning there was nothing scheduled for the rally during the day today. The weather all week has been beautiful with sunny skies and warm temps. A cool front rolled in last night and although it was nice and sunny today the temps dropped from the high 70's we've gotten used to down to the low 60's. This made for a good day to hang out in the coach and watch a little football. Got to see the first half of the Oklahoma-Texas Tech game before it was time to head over for dinner and the evening entertainment. Didn't get back to the coach until after that game was over and at the halftime of the Oklahoma State-Texas game. This was the last day of the rally. Most of us will be heading out tomorrow morning. Here are out Rally Masters doing the final announcements before the entertainment started. These four are the folks who put this all together and did a great job. Thanks Terry, Cathy, Bridgit and Carsten.

Tonight's theme was Germany. There are several German communities in this part of Texas. Dinner was brats and sauerkraut. Later we were entertained by a great German Oompa band called, appropriately, The Sauerkraut's. They did music in both German and English interspersed with humor and audience participation. These were a great group of musicians. The leader not only sang but played multiple instruments himself. In addition to the usual instruments of tuba, accordion, guitar and drums they did play one number on these twelve foot long Bavarian horns. Several folks got up to dance to the polka numbers but when the band played The Chicken Dance almost everyone was up and joining in. This has been a very enjoyable rally and was wrapped up with a rousing night of music.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Texas Hill Country--Day 6

A birthday, a visit to the Alamo and a rousing game of Bingo.

We spent most of today away from the rally. Since today is my birthday we decided to take a road trip. After breakfast we headed southwest to the big city of San Antonio. First stop was the SAS Shoe Factory. We both pretty much exclusively wear SAS shoes so when we are near the factory we like to stop in their outlet store. Actually I was in need of a new pair of sandals since from May through September that is about all I wear and I had pretty much worn out the last pair. I also needed to replace my everyday shoes. Jo looked through the ladies shoes but either did not find anything she wanted or they did not have the ones she needed in stock. Anyway, I did present myself with two new pair as my birthday present.

Our next stop was to downtown San Antonio to visit the Alamo. We have been to the Alamo before but always enjoy going back. This is an inspirational shrine that every American should visit. There were several bus loads of school age children touring the shrine. Due to this we got to hear one of the tour guides give a great history lesson about the siege by Santa Ana and the Mexican Army. He explained how the Mexican General/President thought this was going to serve as a warning to the rest of the Texans who were attempting to secede this land from Mexico. Instead it turned the tide and soon after, with the slogan of "Remember the Alamo", the Mexicans were defeated and the Republic of Texas was born.

After our tour of the Alamo we crossed the street and made our way down to the River Walk. The city has done a fantastic job of transforming the river that runs through the middle of town into a great area. I remember being there many years ago when they were first getting this started. Today the River Walk brings a great number of tourist in, giving the area a tremendous financial boost. We strolled down several blocks on the river level, which is one level down from the surrounding streets. After a while we went back up to street level and headed back toward the car, which was parked behind the Alamo. By this time we were getting kind of tired so we stopped in at the famous Buckhorn Saloon for something cold to drink and a chance to sit a bit. The Buckhorn claims to be the oldest saloon in Texas. Besides the saloon itself there is a 40,000 square foot museum, mostly stuffed animals and hunting trophies. This building also houses The Texas Ranger Museum.

After returning to Kerrville and the coach we relaxed awhile before joining the other rally attendees for dinner. Each night of the rally has had a different country theme. Monday night was American and Tuesday was Mexican. Tonight was Italian with a good Italian dinner. Tonight's entertainment was Bingo games. We played several games and had a good time, even though neither Jo nor I won any of the games. (Last month at the rally in Tucson we both were winners at Bingo.) Here Wallace and Sarah Johnson call the Bingo numbers.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Texas Hill Country--Day 5

A great luncheon and then some good entertainment.

Today was mostly a down day as far as planned rally activities. There were a couple of seminars scheduled but I decided to pass on them. There was a great luncheon at a place called The Inn of the Hills for all who were interested. Usually at the rallies with this club the ladies go to lunch together on one day during the rally. This time they decided to invite us guys to go with them. It was a great buffet and everyone got plenty to eat. Recently a friend commented on one of the blog entries that it appeared that we only ate when we were traveling. Since I seldom do blog entries when we are sitting at home it may appear like that. We do find we do a lot of eating when we are out in the RV. Since much of our travels include RV rallies this is especially true. It has always been traditional when people gather together to share a meal. The "breaking of bread" is mentioned in the bible in several places. So if you see references to our sojourns out to eat you will understand this long time ritual.

One of the benefits of attending the rallies is getting to cross paths with good friends that we have made along the way. That is true with the current rally. We have been lucky enough to spend some time with Bob & Maribel Clerc this week. We first met Bob & Maribel in early 2007 on our trip to Florida. They were one of the seven couples (motor homes) that traveled together to the rallies we attended in the Sunshine State. We have seen them since at the RV service center and in Minnesota at a RV rally.

Tonight's program started off with a short history of Veteran's Day and a recognition of all our veterans. This was followed by Ray Gutierrez, a local musician/singer. He did a great one man show performing music from Pop to Country to several Spanish numbers. The crowd got into the music with many couples getting up to dance and interact with the performer. Ray was born and grew up here in Kerrville and has lived here most of his life. This was a very enjoyable evening of music.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Texas Hill Country--Day 4

A trip to look for "Waylon, Willie and the Boys" and a stroll through the Pacific War.

First full day of the rally started off with the normal welcome greeting from the Rally Masters and then a talk by the local historian/newspaper publisher. This was an interesting talk about the history of Kerrville and Kerr County. Following this talk there were several seminars scheduled on the different motor home components. We have attended so many rallies over the years these seminars tend to be redundant. One neat thing is the "golf cart" provided by a local RV dealer to be used to shuttle folks from the RV parking sites to the rally hall. This cart has been built to resemble a motor home complete with roof air conditioner and TV satellite dome. Instead of sitting through the seminars we decided to go exploring. First stop, Luckenbach, Texas, the town from the western song of the same name. We had been to this little "town" some years ago but decided a trip back would be fun. Basically all that is there is a small general store with a bar in the back, a few outbuildings that are used to sell drinks during festivals and the famous dance hall. Luckenbach originally had its own post office but that was closed in 1977. There is only one residential house in town. It used to be occupied by the owner of the town but he moved away when he sold the town some years ago. Not sure who lives there now. They do have live music each evening in the dance hall.

After Luckenbach we drove to Fredericksburg. This community was originally settled by German immigrants. Many of the shops in town are of a German nature and there are many German restaurants. This is also the birthplace of Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, the Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific during World War II. His family ran a hotel right on the main street through town. The hotel now houses the Admiral Nimitz Pacific War Museum. The hotel was built in the 1870's to resemble a steam boat with the upper floors protruding out over the street. Last year the city added a new National Museum of the Pacific War on the street directly behind the hotel/museum. This is over 20,000 square feet of fantastic exhibits as it walks a person through the causes leading up to the war, the war itself and the surrender and occupation of Japan. It has a lot of military hardware displayed including several aircraft and a small submarine. They also have named their main gallery after former President George H. W. Bush, who was a Navy pilot during the war. If ever in Fredericksburg this museum tour is a must. (World War II veterans are admitted free and active/retired military members are admitted at a reduced rate.)

After a stop off in one of the great German bakeries for some apple strudel we headed back to Kerrville. We had an appointment with one of the vendors to come shampoo the carpets in our coach. After four years and 37,000 miles we decided it was time. Later in the evening we joined the other rally attendees for dinner and the nightly entertainment. Tonight we were entertained by a young lady named Sarah Getto who is from Norman, Oklahoma. We have seen her perform before and always enjoy her. (Her grandmother lives just down the hall from my father in the assisted living center in Purcell, Oklahoma, and she has entertained there for the residents.) Sarah was born blind and with a terrible cleft palette. She taught herself to play the piano at age three and the violin at age 10. Her cleft palette was repaired and she went on to earn a college degree in music education with a teaching certificate. She currently travels the country in her own motor home (her dad does the driving) performing her music, mostly at RV rallies and shows. She is always well received and is a true inspiration of the American Dream of overcoming adversary and succeeding in life. The picture includes her dad who works as manager, announcer, roadie, back up musician and gofer.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Texas Hill Country--Day 3

A slow day, a good lunch date and the rally gets kicked off.

Pretty much relaxed today and explored the grounds here at the RV park. This park is located directly on the Guadalupe River and has a lot of open space between the RV sites and the river. This gives a great area to roam and visit nature. This park like area has many very old and very huge trees. The park owners have erected large swings in several of the trees. In addition to the excellent buildings they have for rallies they also have put in a small ampitheater for outdoor entertainment. After our stroll around the place we got ready for the rally itself. The first gathering was this evening with a meet and greet with a "pot luck" with each couple bringing their favorite snack food. We visited with folks we had met at previous rallies and met some new friends.

Earlier in the day we met up with some good friends who live here in Kerrville. We met Ann & Dale Lemons at Valentino's Italian Restaurant for lunch. Dale is a retired school shop teacher. Now he turns really great pieces of wood on this lathe to make fantastic bowls and other works of art. He has brought his lathe to the last two Monaco America rallies and put on demonstrations of how he does his work. We look forward to spending more time with them when we come back down here next May for the Spring 2011 Monaco America Rally.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Texas Hill Country--Day 2

A long days drive and then we're ready to rally.

We pulled out from home around 7:45 yesterday morning, heading south for the Texas Hill Country. We are here to attend a rally with the Monaco Wan-na-go's RV club. This is another of the coach owner clubs, that are affiliated with the Monaco brand, of which we are members. As opposed to our two other Monaco clubs, which are international in nature, meaning the U.S. and Canada, this club is for owners within a six state south central region. We are at the Guadelupe River RV Resort on the west edge of Kerrville, Texas. This is about 65 miles northwest of San Antonio on Interstate 10.

We spent most of the day yesterday on the road, down Interstate 35 to Austin and then west through Fredericksburg to Kerrville. We arrived around 6:15 yesterday evening. With the change in Daylight Savings Time this weekend it was almost dark by the time we got here. Setting up in the dark is always a problem but things went fairly easy last night. The rally does not actually start until tomorrow evening so today was spent with routine maintenance on the coach. In addition to getting the bugs off the front of the coach I had to repair one of the rearview mirrors. These are not the normal small mirrors you would have on your car. They are large, crome and power operated. The bracket holding it to the coach was loose so I had to remove the mirror and the bracket to tighten it all back up. Got all that done and then relaxed and watched the rally parking crew assist the new arrivals into their spaces. Looking forward to a good rally in a very beautiful RV park.