Posted by: glenswatman | May 3, 2009

200904-2-MEX USA Texas

THURSDAY 16 APRIL – We park up by the laundry
and get started on the washing.  It
costs $1.75 (£1.50) to wash and $1.50 (£1.05) for a dryer.  1 ½ later we have done 3 loads of washing
and 2 dries and now have everything up to date including the spare bedding for
Harry’s new owners.  We do our last
grocery shop at Port Lavaca Wal Mart then head towards Houston.  We stop in Palacios for lunch and make use
of the free dump station in City Park. 
Bay City has a Wal Mart where we can spend the night.  The parking area down the side is by a
grassy park and looks very peaceful.  It
is until about 5pm when trains start hurtling through about 50 feet from
us.  Luckily they only run until about 10pm
and go quiet in the night.

BAY CITY WAL MART

74 MILES

 

FRIDAY 17 APRIL – Other than a bit of rain
pattering on the roof we have had one of our quietest Wal Mart nights to
date.  Unfortunately the weather
forecast is poor and we are heading to a naturist resort.  Natural Horisuns is easy to find near the
village of Boling.  Resident Randy shows
us around and we manage to get set up before the rain begins.  There’s a nice outdoor pool, hot tub and
clubhouse with TV lounge.  On the TV
they are showing area warnings for flash floods, heavy rain and tornadoes but
we seem to be in an area on the edge of almost all of them.  Other than nipping out for a shower between
showers we stay in the van.  The evening
news shows areas near here with heavy snow and hail stones so we have got off
lightly.

NATURAL HORISUNS, NR BOLING – $120 (£85) week + metered
electric

28 MILES

 

SATURDAY 18 APRIL – We’ve had a few showers
through the night but things get much worse during the day with torrential
downpours and low light.  So much for us
being at a naturist resort and outside cleaning Harry up!  When I open the bedroom blind the cord snaps
and it drops shut so another job to add to our list.  Late morning when I put the kettle on to boil the socket doesn’t
work and we then notice that the circuit breaker on the bathroom socket has
popped out.  Exploring to find about the
problem I notice wet in our bedroom and realise that I had just opened the
bedroom window when the blind fell shut and I had forgotten to close it.  However compared to the people on the news
who have flooded homes we are doing OK and it is a huge downpour that we get.

NATURAL HORISUNS 2

 

SUNDAY 19 APRIL – What a difference a day
makes and we wake to a very nice morning. 
I soon have the blind restrung and one of the members called Slim is an
Electrician and offers to help with the socket problem.  He works out that it is connected to an
outdoor socket that has got damp in the rain so easy to put right and a bit of
silicone will prevent future problems. 
In the evening everyone gathers at the clubhouse for George’s famous
ribs.  He cooks them to a family recipe
and they are the best ribs we have ever had. 
People bring along side dishes and we sit with Slim and his wife Lucy
and meet other members Charles, Sandy, Berth & Steve and Cille. 

NATURAL HORISUNS 3

 

MONDAY 20 APRIL – Considering we have been
doing odd jobs for the last week or so there is still a lot to do.  As I go through each cupboard I put the
things we want to take over the cab and can soon see that we are going to have
package problems. Accustomed to travelling light it will quite a novelty for us
to check in baggage and look like a proper tourist when we board the cruise
ship!  We both work hard but break at 3pm
to sit by the pool.  Slim & Lucy
have an Internet card and offer us use of it so we do a quick message check and
time our visit to them felling a dead tree. 
Unfortunately Slims plan to tie the tree to his truck, to ensure the
direction of the fall by driving off, backfires as the rope is too short and
the branches land on the back of his truck.  

NATURAL HORISUNS 4

 

TUESDAY 21 APRIL – Another hot day and more
jobs to do.  Again break off for late
afternoon by the pool.  One of the
members comes over to see the work we are doing on Harry and comments that he
thought it was a new vehicle so obviously our hard work has paid off.

NATURAL HORISUNS 5

 

WEDNESDAY 22 APRIL – Now down to the odd jobs
I defrost the fridge and freezer then join Slim & Lucy for a ride to
Wharton Wal-Mart.  They take me on a
scenic route through town where there is a most attractive courthouse.  Steve stays behind to finish polishing
before it gets too hot.  Usual afternoon
by the pool including a few cooling dips.

NATURAL HORISUNS 6

 

THURSDAY 23 APRIL – Lucy has a washing machine
and dryer in their trailer and offers me use of it.  We continue past their place to walk the nature trail and spot a
deer in the woods.  Onto the last leg of
the jobs we are a little disappointed that it is a cloudy day as we planned to
spend most of it topping up our tans. 
Late afternoon I manage to gather a few people by the pool for a photo
shoot to go with my TAN article.  Our
last night alone in the motorhome and last night in the queen sized bed as we
are going to let Keith & Louise use it when they arrive. 

NATURAL HORISUNS 7

 

FRIDAY 24 APRIL – Time to move off and our
journey should take less than 1 hour to Brookshire but with our exploratory
detour it takes 1-¾ hours.  Arrive at
12.15 and passing Orlando’s Pizza we can’t resist their $4.99 (£3.50)
buffet.  There are salads, pasta and 12
different savoury pizzas and 3 dessert pizzas so it is great value.  Finally arrive at Wayne & Sylvia’s, we
visited in October so it is great to see them both again as they have the day
off work.  Catch up on recent news then
take them out to a new Mexican restaurant nearby for a meal.  With Internet at our disposal we check out
flights to Russia and get a good deal with Austrian Airlines via Vienna.  The flights are actually only £2 but with
taxes come to £129 each and we go on 11th June so another trip to
look forward to.

BROOKSHIRE, WAYNE & SYLVIA’S

 

SATURDAY 25 APRIL – We enjoy a cooked breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon and
biscuits with delicious gravy – actually a creamy sausage sauce.  Sounds like we just got out of Mexico in
time, as swine flu is becoming a major problem there.  After lunch we head off to Houston for the Healthy Hides of
Houston toga party.  Felix and Ernie
(Ernestine) have a lovely private property with pool, spa and games room so perfect
for a gathering.  Having been to one of
their parties last year we recognise a number of people and also make new
friends.  With tons of food even with a
small helping of everything leaves us overeating (good practice for the
cruise!).  The fancy dress parade is
really funny with some very innovative costumes.  It is almost 1am when we arrive back.

BROOKSHIRE 2

 

SUNDAY 26 APRIL – We don’t wake up until
9.30am then spend the day pottering around. 
Sylvia offers to merge my laundry with hers and does a fantastic job
sorting it all and processing it correctly unlike myself who chucks it all in
together.  Having got the cheap flights
to Moscow and a host lined up we are frustrated to find out how expensive and
complicated the visa situation is – guess that is why few people go their
independently but we’ll figure it out. 
In the evening we play Mexican Train with Wayne & Sylvia’s rules and
find it a little less challenging with the version using the doubles as a block
but still fun.

BROOKSHIRE 3

 

MONDAY 27 APRIL – Wayne leaves for work early
so he can fit 10 days hours into 9 days and have alternate Fridays off.  Sylvia doesn’t leave until 8.30am so we get
to see her.    We are really tight on
luggage space to do a mock pack and find we can just about squeeze in
everything we need and don’t have enough left over to warrant buying another
bag and paying $15 to check it in.  In
the afternoon a storm begins to brew and by the time Wayne arrives back around
5pm we have torrential rain and lots of wind. 
Sylvia phones to say she will be late so just Wayne joins us in Harry
for a Chinese meal.  As the evening
progresses the storm worsens so we are all glad to see Sylvia arrive home
safely.  Spend the evening doing a quick
slide show of our Mexican trip; already I have forgotten so much of what we
did. 

BROOKSHIRE 4

 

TUESDAY 28 APRIL – The storm wakes us all up
and at 4.30am it is like a hurricane with garden chairs having been blown into
the pool.  There’s a bit of a lull and
Steve dashes out to check that Harry is OK and is pleased to find no
leaks.  When we get up later we learn
that a tornado passed this way at 4.30am so that was probably the worst of the
storm.  Many areas of Houston are
flooded and people are trapped in their homes. 
They are saying it is worse than the hurricane Ike so we are lucky to
have escaped with no real damage.  We
are surprised to find a damp area on the carpet in Harry, as there is no
evidence of rain coming in.  Eventually
we figure it must be from when Steve dashed out to check the van and the water
ran off him onto the floor then pooled in one area – he was like a drowned rat
when he got back into the house.  The
weather picks up and we have a few spells in the afternoon when we can sit out
sunbathing.  Wayne arrives home and
brings 3 juicy steaks that he cooks on the
BBQ.  Tonight Sylvia gets back sooner
than anticipated so she could have eaten with us.  Enjoy our last game of Mexican Train together.

BROOKSHIRE 5

 

WEDNESDAY 29 APRIL – We are sad to be leaving
our friends again as the time has flown by and we haven’t even managed to fit
in a dip in their hot tub or a game of petanque.  Our journey towards Spring takes us out in the country where
fields have become lakes and small lanes are like rivers.  At the Wal Mart store I treat myself to
solar nails ready for the cruise.  I’ve
never had it done before and am fascinated by the process.  The beautician is a Vietnamese man who used
to be a computer technician!  To begin
with my nails are smoothes and filed down then really long tips are glued
on.  These are cut shorter and a sort of
pink paste is applied to the bottom half of my nails, smoothed then cut into
the correct shape.  On the tips a
sparkly white paste is blending onto this. 
Much filing and polishing follows but I do end up with some really nice
looking nails for $32 (£23).  Spring
Oaks RV park is only a couple of miles down the road and we have booked on for
1 week, $150 (£100), to enable Keith & Louise to deal with registering Harry
etc.  This is our final trip in Harry
and I tot up that we have covered 22713 miles in 22 ½ months so pretty much
bang on the 1000 miles a month as usual. 
The wi-fi at the park is not working but receptionist Linda is very
helpful and offers us use of the office computer.  On the TV news they say the first death in America to swine flu
has occurred with a toddler dying in Houston. 
At 5pm we get a text to say Keith & Louise are here and just off to
pick up the hire car.  They arrive just
after 6pm and we are soon showing them around. 
Keith is struggling with flu and coupled with jet leg is finding it hard
to take everything in.  We have a few
snacks then to keep him awake for a little longer, and to practice driving, we
suggest a trip to the Wal-Mart.  It
works for a short time but they are both asleep in the bedroom within minute of
returning.

SPRING CREEK MOBILE HOME PARK, $150 (£100) WEEK

51MILES

 

THURSDAY 30 APRIL – Keith & Louise are
awake early so once Steve and I wake around 7am we get up and sit out having
breakfast and talking things through.  A
few people walk past and everyone is really friendly and stops to chat.  On the computer we complete the balance of
the sale using an instant UK bank transfer. 
As part of the sale deal with have offered to help them getting the van
on the road so our first task is to get Keith an American drivers licence for
cheaper insurance.  Rather than face
Houston traffic we suggest going to nearby Conroe after buying a Tom Tom
navigator from Wal Mart.  We get bad
news at the driving test office, under new rules Keith cannot take a driving
test in America on his B2 tourist visa and is also told he can’t even drive on
his British licence on an International Driving Permit.  This is a huge problem as IDP’s can only be
bought in your country of residence whilst you are there.  However reasoning that Keith had already
hired a car using his British licence this does not add up.  Call in at Best Buy for them to buy a laptop
then back to the campground for a re think. 
On the computer I fill in an application for Keith’s insurance through
Progressive using the section for him to enter a foreign drivers licence (no
mention of an IDP). Surprisingly even with the British licence the premium is
only around $670 (£500), so not even worth the hassle of Keith taking the American
test.   We are trying to meet up with
our friend Tim but the office with the phone is closed.  Neighbour John offers us use of his mobile
and comes round for a chat.  I cook my
last meal in Harry, chilli pasta that we eat at the picnic table.

HOUSTON 2, SPRING OAKS

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