Storm of the Century!

Storm of the Century!

Sorry for such a big delay on the Blog. I find it very hard to write these if more than a week goes by. So below is an attempt to catch us up! When we left off we were boon-docking outside of Albuquerque New Mexico with a big storm headed our way.

So we woke up in the morning with our new plan of heading south to try to avoid the storm and its single digit temperatures. We decided to head back to Las Cruces, New Mexico and get a campsite at a KOA with electricity and just hang out, while the storm did its thing. It would still be cold (Predicted overnight temperatures of 18 degrees.) but we would have electricity and not be totally reliant on our propane heater. This was definitely not our original plan as this would have us going back through the same areas we had already been to but it seemed like our only option. Right as we left our boon-docking campsite we headed south and to our surprise within an hour we were hunting for gas and driving straight into a snow storm. We literally put 15 gallons in which is pretty tight since we only hold 17 at best. Luckily in about an hour we made it out of the snow and ice and the rest of the drive was pretty uneventful. It took us about 5 hours to get there and it felt good to have power. The campground was a Journey KOA which meant mainly people used it for a night or two but not usually as a destination. We got plugged in and were toasty warm in no time. Since it was going to be 16 degrees that night I decided to winterize the RV. We did not think our exterior pipes could handle 18 degrees even if we had the heat cranked up, so to be safe we took the time flush the lines and add RV anti freeze. We also dumped all of tanks so nothing would freeze overnight. We filled up several jugs of water to use as well. Then we decided to stay extra warm and folded the couch down so all three of us could sleep on the folded out bed. We ran our electric space heater and used our gas heater as well to make it through the 18 degree low. We were pretty toasty except in the middle of the night I woke up freezing! I looked over and the door to our RV was wide open! I must not have closed it properly before bed time. I have no idea how long we slept with the door open but am glad I woke up when I did and closed it! 🙂

The next morning we woke up to about 2 inches of snow and ice everywhere. Luckily the electricity still worked but all of the individual campsite waterlines were frozen and a few of them were broken creating big ice patches around the break. Luckily we had a few gallons of water so we were fine. We spent a cold beautiful day just watching movies and taking Jasper for the occasional short walk. After another cold night and a few more ice icicles on our RV we decided to pack up and head south again. More cold weather was coming and we were hoping to head around the south of Texas to hopefully be a little warmer. After packing up we went to the propane store and had the RV filled. We had no idea whether we would have electricity going forward so we wanted to be prepared. Any way we headed south and as we did we hit some of the same places we had passed through coming the other way. We were going through Marfa a town that we had missed on our last trip through. Marfa’s power was out so no gas was available but we did stop at a Prada store just outside of town. This store is actually not an actual store but someones idea of art. Anyway it made for a fun diversion from the storm. We kept driving and saw these huge cut out billboard signs that were recreating the set of the Movie Giant. We decided to stop and have lunch here and take a few pictures. Apparently the movie Giant was shot here. As we drove we noticed a lot of small towns had lost power which meant their gas stations were closed. We have such a small range in our RV that this could be a real problem so we started getting gas at any open gas station even if we just had 3/4 of a tank. We came upon Amistad National Recreation area and they had electricity but the gas station we saw probably had over 50 cars in line. We decided to go to the next town that was only 5 miles away only to find out the power was out and none of the stations were open. We went back to the station with the line but they had just run out of gas. The owner told us to go 30 miles back north and there was a small four pump station that was a block off the main road. So now we are getting low on gas and probably about a 50 mile range left. We arrived to lines of cars but luckily we were able to fill up so now we needed to head south again and go back towards Amistad and hope that their would be gas on the other side eventually. The next day was calling for snow and freezing temperatures so we needed to get as far as we could. We kept going through town after town that was out of gas or out of power. But we were lucky enough to find it occasionally and if they were out of regular we went with a mid grade or premium. Basically whatever they had we would gladly purchase. Finally by nightfall we made it to a Pilot truck station. Luckily we had just filled up before we arrived because they were out of fuel as well. They told us we could spend the night and we snagged a place in their customer parking lot so the truckers could have all of their spaces available. We all slept together and our gas heater kept us toasty warm all night. Definitely seems to work better with our door closed ha ha! The snow was supposed to start mid-morning the next day so we went to bed and planned on heading out about 7. I woke up at 5 AM and the timeline for snow had moved up to 6 AM. So I woke Lyn up and we were on the road in about 15 minutes. Love this RV!

Except for hunting for gas the drive was uneventful. One thing we did see run across the road was a huge Bobcat! It was beautiful and a pretty rare sight to see. By now snow was no longer a threat but cold overnight temperatures were still present. We spent the night behind another gas station after filling up with gas. Finally we made it to South Padre National Seashore and were able to get a campsite right on the sound. It was beautiful but still cold. All of the pipes were frozen but we were glad to have a home for a few nights. After that we were finally heading east. Gas was still hit or miss but it seemed more plentiful so we started filling up at just half a tank. We were going right by Magnolia Beach but decided to try another free I-Overlander suggestion. It was another boat dock area and it was perfect. They had a sign that said no overnight parking for more than 5 days which meant we were totally good for the night. We had the place to ourselves when this family pulled up in a huge red and silver truck. It was a true overlander vehicle. (It was a rebuilt 30 year old fire truck.) Super cool to say the least. I think they planned on taking their family around the world in it and had just started their journey a few months earlier. You can follow them on Instagram at #matugatu4. It is very interesting to me the many ways you can live your life. You just have to decide what is best for you and figure out a way to do it. After we left there, it was time to get propane. We had read that their was a shortage all around us and we were getting low. We need propane for heat but we also need it to cook and run our fridge when we are not hooked up to power. I called around to a few places and everyone was out. Finally on Facebook I read about a campground that had some left and was going to dispense it until they ran out. They also said they would not raise the price. It was about 30 minutes north so out of our way but worth a try. We arrived to the campground and two of the nicest ladies were sitting under a tent just waiting to dispense propane. They were so nice and talkative and even made us take as many free grapefruit as we could take from their stand. She made a point again that she did not change her price once the shortage started. Once we filled up we gave her a huge thank you and were headed east again. Our next campsite was going to be a free campsite that would be on the beach in Bolivar, TX. After driving a few hours and riding on a ferry we drove out on the beach and found a place to camp. We camped up near the dunes and saw several huge motor homes on the beach so we figured it would be safe to camp there. After checking the tide tables we were good to go. It was still not warm yet but it was not cold either. It was so awesome to see the beach and ocean right out our front door. Sometimes we would even see people riding by on their horses. We spent two nights here and really enjoyed walking up and down the beach. Lots of homes and businesses were still without water so a lot of places were closed. Since we were self contained we had it pretty good but we did need water and to dump our tanks so we went to a local campground and paid $10 to dump our tanks and luckily they had water so we filled up our water tank. Now we were ready to head east again.

We headed east and planned on spending the night in New Orleans at a Harvest Host member that had just newly joined Harvest Host. It was a Brewery called Dixie Beer. (Remember the last time we spent the night the police made us leave ha ha.) It is in a very industrial area just north of downtown New Orleans. When we pulled up there was a lady walking her dog next to a white camper van. I noticed that it was a you-tuber that Lyn and I follow. After we parked we got out and introduced ourselves and she said that she was going to be filming a behind the scenes tour with the manager and did we want to come along? Due to Covid and the fact that they had just opened this tour was not available to the general public.) Why heck yeah that would be great! Her channel is called “Story Chasing” and you can find it on youtube. She is a full-time traveler and posts videos on a regular basis. She asked if we minded being on camera and the next thing we knew we were touring. It was an awesome facility and the tour will be fun for anyone that has an interest in beer and the history of the company. After the tour we met outside and a had a few beers together. She was super nice and actually did include us in here video. You can watch it by clicking here if you are interested. (You can watch the entire video or you can fast forward to about 11:17 in the video and we are in the video of and on from that point til the end. Even Jasper was in the video! After spending the night we went to another Brewery in Mobile Alabama. It was right downtown and had a great place to park with electricity. We spent the day walking around downtown and relaxing in our house car. After one night here we headed about 4 hours east and stayed at another boat ramp area. It was down about a two mile dirt road and was just plain beautiful. Lots of wildlife. The fisherman left for the day about an hour after we arrived and we had the place to ourselves until the next morning. Just wonderful!

We worked our way towards Tallahassee. I had ordered some fold-able solar panels so we could charge our RV battery while boon-docking. This would extend the number of days we could camp without needing electricity. After picking those up at an Amazon drop box we headed on to Cobb Campground in a National Forest Area. We stayed there for three days and really enjoyed relaxing, walking around, flying the drone and just camping in general. It was all free and not really far from town. From here we headed to Gainesville Florida and visited the park that Tom Petty played in as a kid. They have changed the name to Tom Petty Park but the park remains very much the same as at was when he was a kid. After driving by his childhood home we headed just a little further south to a very unusual State Park called Paynes Prairie Preserve. It had some of the most unique views from lush jungle type surroundings to open prairies. We lucked out and snagged a cancellation in the campground as it was sold out and hard to get into. Finally after three days here we started heading back to home to Greensboro.

We decided to go to Jekyll Island. I had not been there before and it looked beautiful! On top of that I found a free place on the island to park overnight for free. We arrived at the entrance and you had to pay a fee of $8 to get on the island. We went straight to the boat ramp like I-Overlander told us to do then followed a short dirt road into the woods. We were rewarded with a really cool private place on a lake that even had a dock to go out and walk on. We ended up staying here for two nights. Exploring by the day and spending the night at the same place each night. It was beautiful in just about every way. After two days we headed to Charlotte and spent the night in the Cabela’s parking lot. They even have a dump station you could use for a fee. So here we are just a few hours from home, sleeping in the parking lot with the idea that we wanted to go to IKEA in the morning and get a few bins that would fit in our house car cabinates. The next morning we did just that and when we arrived the line to get in was wrapped around two sides of the store so we just headed home. After a few hours we were pulling into a my Dad and Joanne’s house and were greeted with a big “Welcome Back Squatters” sign! Ahhhh good to be back home.

So a lot happened while we were home. Our main purpose was to come back to meet Nora our newest granddaughter. She is beautiful and perfect in every way. We also got to see all of our other Grand kids as well as my kids, sister, Mom and David and Dad and Joanne. It was great catching up with everyone. But one thing I had not mentioned was that way back in January I had sprained my knee and I had it looked at at an Urgent care in San Antonio, and the Urgent care doctor said I most likely had a torn meniscus. Anyway to make a long story short in today’s health insurance world that meant that I would have to come back to NC to get it fixed. I had already set up doctor appointments and sure enough after getting an MRI I had a badly torn meniscus and it would need to have some parts removed and some parts repaired. The good news the doctor said that the arthritis in my knee looked good for my age! Ha ha when did things start becoming only good for my age?!?!?!? I guess I will take it. About this time word started spreading about getting a vaccine earlier then we had thought. We had been trying to figure out what state would allow us to get one later in the summer. Anyway we both got vaccinated and had our second shot on April 16th so we are good to go for now. In between shots I had my knee operated on and we got to visit a lot more with family. I felt like we hit the trifecta of home comings. We met our new Granddaughter Nora/Spent time with family, received both vaccine shots and I have a greatly improved functioning knee. Hoping to write shorter blog posts in the future and stay on top of things but in the meantime we are back out on the road and heading west! Thanks for reading and following along!

 

 

 

 

 

Random Pictures

 

Prada Store (Art)

 

Crazy Hotel Sign

 

Padre Island

 

Cobb Campground

 

Solar Panels

 

Mobile Alabama Harvest Host

 

Lola with our 4 Granddaughters!

 

Home is truly where you park it!

 

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