This is primarily a travel blog in which I write about traveling in our motorhome. Our travels have

Nacogdoches, TX, United States
I began this blog as a vehicle for reporting on a 47-day trip made by my wife and me in our motorhome down to the Yucatan Peninsula and back. I continued writing about our post-Yucatan travels and gradually began including non-travel related topics. I often rant about things that piss me off, such as gun violence, fracking, healthcare, education, and anything else that pushes my button. I have a photography gallery on my Smugmug site (

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Don't Mess With Me When I'm Hungry!

I’m in Houston at the Double Tree by Hilton at Greenway Plaza for a weekend photography workshop. Classes began at 8:00 AM and we didn’t break for lunch until 1:00 PM, but we had until 2:30 before class resumed. Plenty of time to grab a bite and relax. Only one of the two hotel restaurants was open, but I beat the crowd there and my food and drink order was taken immediately.

I opened the book that I have been reading on my iPhone’s Kindle app and began reading. My drink order arrived very fast and I sipped on the Coke as I read, not paying much attention to what was going on around me. After a while I looked up and realized the restaurant was almost full. I read some more and when I looked up again, noticed that most people around me were eating. I began watching for my waiter so I could ask him to check on my order but I didn't see him. Finally, at 2:05, after I had been in the restaurant for an hour, I got up and walked over to a door through which I had seen the wait staff using. A sign on the door read, “Kitchen Personnel Only” so I pushed it open and walked into the kitchen. I glanced around, but didn’t see my waiter here, either. No one asked if they could help me so I left the kitchen, gathered my belongings from the table, and walked out of the restaurant. I would go to the Starbuck’s in the hotel lobby and grab a muffin and coffee before returning to the class room at 2:30. Starbuck’s sliding glass doors were closed but I pushed them open and walked in. “We’re closed!” someone shouted.

I looked at my watch, although I knew perfectly well what time it was, and said, “It’s only 2 o’clock!” Then I noticed the sign on the door. On weekends they closed at 2:00 PM. I couldn’t believe it. I’m normally a very easy going person. I hate confrontation and I almost never complain to anyone about anything. However, I was now angry, trembling, and hungry! I walked over to the hotel desk clerk and bravely and boldly announced, “I have a complaint!”

I told her I was not one to complain, that I was normally a very easy going person, however, I was very upset with the service in their restaurant. She asked what was wrong with it and I told her that I was one of the first in the restaurant for lunch, other people were served ahead of me, and I didn’t see my waiter for an hour so I got up and left. I told her I went to Starbuck’s only to learn they closed at 2:00 PM and I thought that was absolutely insane! The front desk manager apparently overheard my comments and came over to see if he could help. I told him that the service in his restaurant was terrible and I also found it hard to believe that Starbuck’s would close at 2 o’clock.” He asked if he could help and I said something to the effect, “Not unless you have something to eat!” 

There was a small niche next to the front desk where one could purchase snacks. He led me over to it and asked me to please take anything I wanted. I was somewhat surprised, not expecting anything like this, but I picked up a Granola bar and a Twix. Why those two, I don’t know. I felt that I had to take something, but I didn’t want to appear greedy. He asked if I liked wine, to which I applied in the affirmative, wondering if he was about to offer me a glass, which he did not. He asked for my room number and told me not to worry, he would make it right. I thanked him and left for the class room with my two candy bars.

When our class was out at 6:00 PM I headed back to the room, tired and hungry. I walked into the room and there was my wife, drinking wine and enjoying a platter of cheese, crackers, and strawberries! She was kind enough to share with me and I must admit that it was quite good. Of course, by this time, a day old PB&J would have been good. A hand written note of apology had accompanied the gift. It was signed by both the Front Desk Manager and the Food and Beverages Manager. I have to say that I appreciated their efforts to appease me.

After enjoying the wine and food, I decided to take a hot soak in the tub. We only have showers at home and it has been a long time since I was able to enjoy a good hot tub soak. However, I soon discovered that the hotel tub was smaller than any tub I have ever soaked in before! Most tubs in which I have soaked were large enough for the water to cover my body almost entirely once I laid down in it. This tub was so small that it covered only a very small portion of my stomach! Now I have something else to complain about. Maybe I’ll get another free bottle of wine and something good to eat!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

A New Chapter Begins

This past August we sold our 2007 Fleetwood Discovery and purchased a 2016 Thor Challenger. We went from diesel to gas, complex to simple, and, hopefully, more expense to less expensive (nothing is cheap about motorhoming!). If you have followed this blog in the past you may be aware of the bad luck that seemed to accompany us in the Discovery. Particularly on our long trips to Mexico and Canada. We hope the black cloud remained with the Discovery and better luck will follow us in the new motorhome.

Even though we have had the new motorhome for 4 or 5 months, we have been too busy to go on any trips in it. Until this weekend, that is. We went on a short trip with our local chapter of the Good Sam RV Club. It was 3 days and nights at a KOA in Rusk, TX, only about 45 miles each way. It was an almost eventless trip and our “fix it” list for the dealer is rather short and without anything major.

The key word in the previous sentence is “almost.” We did have one rather startling, yet humorous experience. It happened as we were getting ready for the group’s “pot luck” supper. Carol Ann was going to bake a corn casserole in the convection microwave (we use the gas oven as a bread box) if we could figure out how to use it! I got out the manufacturer’s manual which was not much help. There were about 15 pages of installation instructions and only about a half page of user instructions. After several attempts we managed to set it properly and the baking began. It needed 45 minutes of cooking time and due to the delay in starting would have to go immediately from the oven to the clubhouse once the time expired. We gathered our paper plates, utensils, and other necessities and put them in a shopping bag, ready to grab and go.

As soon as the timer reached zero, I removed the very hot casserole from the oven while Carol Ann filled two cups with ice and grabbed a couple of drinks from the fridge. At the last minute she decided to take a plastic pitcher of ice with us and as she was taking it from the freezer, lost her grip and ice cubes were bouncing all over the floor between the fridge and the motorhome’s door. The 3 steps in the step well to the door were covered in ice cubes. I got down on my hands and knees and began rounding them up but I managed to loose my balance and fall against the wall. All of a sudden there was a very loud “honking” noise and everything went white for a couple of seconds, much like being in a white out during a blizzard. I was a bit shaken until I realized as I fell against the wall I had bumped into the CO2 fire extinguisher mounted in the step well and caused it to briefly discharge. At least we know it works but we will have to clean up the white powder coating the lower portion of the fridge and the floor in front of it.

We hope this was not a portent of things to come in our new motorhome. We have a big trip coming up next month and are hoping it will be uneventful. Stay tuned to find out.