😷 WE ARE OK IN OK



TODAY

TRAVEL DAY
YEAR #3 - STOP #15

"The Sooner State"
is our 29th visited state



Well, we made it 24 miles inside Oklahoma today. We are here for a three day mid-week visit before we return to the state of Texas for at least another month's stay.

Right after we crossed the Red River on I-35 (the border between TX and OK) we saw a definite change in the price of gasoline. For the last two months we have been enjoying the record low prices of gasoline in Texas. With each fill-up we kept setting new record lows for the price we've paid.

It first started in Corpus Christi, TX when we broke a year long record going from $1.96 to $1.91. Each successive visit set a new record with prices of $1.85, $1.70 and then an amazing $1.64 before we left Waco, TX headed for Oklahoma.

Once we crossed into Oklahoma we saw a gas price that we just couldn't believe, and it was along the Interstate Highway where prices are usually 5 to 10 cent higher than just a few miles off the Interstate.

To make a longer story short, let's just say our new record lowest price paid for gasoline is now $1.39 at the Walmart in Ardmore, OK. Even better is that, after a near 200 mile travel day we had room for 23 gallons of $1.39 gas in our 36 gallon tank.



TUESDAY - Other than a trip into town to get gasoline we have no other reason to interact with anyone else this week. Our refrigerator is full, our propane is full and we have water and electric on our site. Other than one trip to the private showers we will be self isolated and easily maintain our social distance from the rest of the campers here in the park. Stay safe everyone!

Safe and sound with no neighbours

Site #31 is plenty big at Buzzard Roost Campground




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😷 0 FOR 2 - SHUTOUT IN WACO



THURSDAY

TRAVEL DAY
YEAR #3 - STOP #14



We had a relatively short and easy moving day today. Speegleville Park is 80 miles due north on I-35 from our previous campsite at Cedar Breaks Park, both are Army Corp of Engineers parks which means they are half price for us to visit.

Speegleville Park is on the western shores of Lake Waco. On the eastern shores is where you will find the city of Waco, TX which is famous for a number of things, some good, some not so good!

First let's talk about one of the not so good things. In 1993 there was an incident between a religious sect called the Branch Davidians and the agents of the FBI and ATF. Many members died in a suspicious fire and several members and agents died from gunshot wounds, it was dubbed The Waco Siege. But that's not why we're here!

Also, Waco is home to Baylor University, who very recently have had much success with their football program. Also, not why we're here!

Why we are here is to visit the Waco Mammoth National Monument. Unfortunately, due to the threat of the Coronavirus all NPS museums, visitor centers and administrative offices were closed to the public for an indefinite period of time as of yesterday. I understand and agree with their reasoning for doing so, but it still makes us sad we won't be able to visit the site.

Our second reason for visiting Waco is to see the area known as Magnolia Marketplace. Anyone who is a fan of the HGTV series Fixer Upper will be familiar with Chip and Joanna Gaines' retail empire which encompasses two city blocks right in the middle of downtown Waco. Unfortunately that too closed earlier this week for at least the rest of the month.

We will be moving on down the road on Monday and like I said we got shutout, 0 for 2, on the reasons we scheduled a stop here near Waco, TX. Guess we'll just have to come back through the area, maybe sometime next year.



FRIDAY - I spent all morning at Pickup Outfitters, a custom accessories shop for pickup trucks here in Waco, because once again the Airlift air shocks we installed on ROVER stopped performing properly. The compressor was unable to inflate the shocks and keep them inflated while traveling down the road. Their purpose is to help level out the trailer and truck to make it safer and smoother while towing THE POD down the road.

At a cost of nearly $1000 we had them install an entirely new system. Now we can mail the failing parts to Airlift, have them repair or replace what's not working and return the entire package back to me so we can have a complete working system to install if anything fails to work properly again. All this is done under a 4-year warranty but we are constantly having to pay the labor costs involved because we are no longer using the shop in Miami where the system was originally installed.

Just one of the added costs of living this nomadic lifestyle!



SATURDAY - Another added cost of living this nomadic lifestyle is how to maintain receiving prescription medications. Since we no longer have a "home base", we no longer have a primary care physician to visit for getting prescriptions written.

So our solution is to find a sympathetic physician at a clinic or urgent care center to write an extension to my current medications. Sometimes the physician is willing to write a 90-day extension after hearing our current nomadic situation, but most times they only want to write a prescription for a 30-day supply. With my current healthcare insurance it costs $75 to visit such a facility, so when I only receive a 30-day supply that factors in heavily to the cost of my healthcare.

Today a received a 90-day supply, so I'm good for a while! Hopefully it will get me to the other side of the current Coronavirus outbreak.



AFFECT • EFFECT • RESPECT • INFECT

SUNDAY - So far the coronavirus has only had a minor affect on our travel plans. We are experiencing the same as most of you, the inability to replenish our supply of toilet paper, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes. With our limited storage capabilities we currently have everything we need for a month.

But with the closure of some of the campgrounds we were planning to visit in the next few months the coronavirus is having an effect on our route planning. We were planning to start taking advantage of our newly installed solar equipment and start visiting free camping sites along our route. There are no reservations available at these sites and our fear is if they close them with too short of a notice we would have no backup plan on where to stay.

So for the next three weeks we've decided to stay only where campgrounds are currently open and accepting advanced reservations. That will make our visits a little more expensive, but we'll have the assurance of a place to live each and every night.

Please respect the CDC's recommendations on how to best secure your health during this coronavirus threat and limit your exposure to having the virus infect you!


To end this blog post with a happy thought here are a few photos of our current campsite at Speegleville Park just outside of Waco, TX. We have this place almost to ourselves!

Our huge back in Site #4 here at Speegleville Park

Our nice picnic table, grill and fire ring!

No problem maintaining our 6-foot Social Distancing here!




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😷 TRICIA LEFT ME !



THURSDAY - You heard me right, TRICIA LEFT ME!

Yesterday morning Tricia packed up most of her clothes and I took her to the Austin airport. She flew home to Fort Lauderdale. I'm not too concerned though, I'm supposed to pick her up again next Wednesday night and we'll continue on with our journey.

Why did she fly home? Most of you are probably thinking homesick, maybe? Some of you are thinking she has some work related issues to deal with, not the case on this trip anyway. Why she chose to fly home this time is to attend a party on Saturday night.

Our good friend Alyse has finally decided to join the ranks of the unemployed. She has called it quits when it comes to working five days a week, 9 to 5 and then some. So in celebration she is throwing herself a retirement party.

A few of our mutual friends from several outdoor clubs are planning to also be there. Additionally Tricia has already made lunch plans with some of her previous workmates and dinner plans with a few personal friends too.

So I guess the answer is yes, when it comes to the question of her being homesick. This isn't the first time she hasn't spent the night in THE POD with me and I doubt it will be the last.



-----> GOOD NEWS BAD NEWS <-----

FIRST THE GOOD NEWS


I FOUND GASOLINE FOR $1.70 A GALLON

When is the last time you saw this?


NOW FOR THE BAD NEWS


I ONLY HAD ROOM IN THE TANK FOR 9+ GALLONS

That's only a quarter of our 36 gallon tank



-----> MORE GOOD NEWS BAD NEWS <-----

AGAIN FIRST THE GOOD NEWS


TRICIA IS COMING HOME EARLY


Because of the coronavirus there is a real possibility of the airlines cancelling flights due to many being only 20% full. There is also the threat of travel restrictions being put in place on a national level. It's becoming a real concern!

For both of those reasons Tricia has decided to cut her South Florida visit short and return to Texas while flights are still available. I wasn't going to be the one to make that suggestion, but I'm glad she chose to come home early.


NOW FOR THE BAD NEWS


OUR NEW WINDOW WILL NOT BE HERE IN TIME


Two weeks ago we were at the Austin Airstream dealership and they ordered and got approved our request for a new front rock guard window under warranty. The problem is it won't arrive before we leave this area on Thursday so now I'm scrambling to make arrangements to have it installed somewhere else along our travel path.

The biggest problem is our 2-year warranty expires on April 13th and I don't want to be responsible to pay the shipping and installation fees at another location if that date passes. Estimates for out of pocket expenses could be as high as $400 if that occurs.



TUESDAY - Tricia made it safely back to Austin yesterday after a 40-minute layover in New Orleans. It was after dinner time when she landed and we were both hungry, so we stopped in at a joint called Salt Lick BBQ on the way home from the airport.

I'm not sure if I'm getting spoiled by all the delicious BBQ we've had while here in Texas but this place was just ordinary, not excellent like the others we experienced last month near San Antonio. But we were pleasantly surprised by what we saw right after having dinner.

Unbelievable!

Each of our last three fill-ups have set the bar lower and lower for what we are expecting to pay for gasoline. I'm not sure how long these prices will last but I'm glad they're here now!



WEDNESDAY - Well it's happened again!
Back in September of 2018 the Category 4 Hurricane Florence came ashore in North Carolina and forced the National Park Service to close Shenandoah National Park where we were staying. You may remember we were forced into fleeing down into the valley and stayed in our one and only visit to a KOA Kampground.

As soon as we were allowed back into the park we visited Loft Mountain Campground and had the place practically to ourselves. That was until a converted van camper pulled into the site just two slots over.

Later that day the couple came over to our site and introduced themselves as Vera Jean and Winston. They travel pretty much full-time in their homemade van conversion and are really heavy into geocaching. Where we are happy to locate one geocache in every state, they try and find a geocache in every county, in every state, they visit.

You may be wondering why I'm mentioning this now, after all it was a year and a half ago we met them. Well guess who pulled into the campsite just three sites to our left today. You guessed it, Vera Jean and Winston.

Tonight is our 14th and final night here in this park and they have been here for over a week hopscotching around to different sites every couple of days. It's easier to do that when you're in a van! They don't make reservations so that's just what you have to do to stay in one park. We on the other hand have been in the same campsite for two weeks now, we made a reservation six months ago.


While we were visiting the New England area all during the summer of 2019, they made the trek all the way up to Alaska and back. We're so jealous!

Anyway they are coming over to share a campfire with us tonight and we'll have a chance to hear all their stories and share some of ours. To horribly misquote a famous line from the movie Cassablanca, "Of all the campgrounds, in all the towns, in all the world, they drove into ours."




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LAKEFRONT CAMPING



THURSDAY

TRAVEL DAY
YEAR #3 - STOP #13



What should have been a relatively short and easy travel day was anything but! On paper it seemed to be simple, drive 2 miles from the park to the highway, travel 40 miles north on Interstate 35, 2 more miles again to the next park and we're done.

Unfortunately the 40 miles north on I-35 took us right through the capitol city of Austin. There has been a huge population boom around Austin over the last decade and the roads and traffic conditions suffer from that growth.

What should have been a leisurely one hour drive turned into nearly two. Lots of traffic congestion and construction were the key factors in why it took so long. The bad news is next week when our new window comes in I'll have to do it all over again, twice, once on the way down and once to return to camp.

Our campsite here at Cedar Breaks Park in Georgetown, TX



SATURDAY - Today we are going on our third Texas cavern tour. Located just a few miles south of our camp is Inner Space Cavern. This cavern is kind of unique in the fact that it wasn't discovered until the mid-1960s. Most caves we've been to were discovered in the mid-1800s or earlier.

The cave was discovered by a work crew of the Texas Department of Transportation. While the crew was drilling holes to test the stability of the bedrock for building an overpass for the new Interstate 35 they lost a very expensive auger bit that fell into a void somewhere beneath them.

They drilled a new larger hole nearby and sent a man down to see if he could retrieve the lost bit. On the first attempt he came back without the bit but with a story of a magnificent cave system that no one had ever heard about.

Today you can find the entrance to Inner Space Cavern at the end of the southbound exit ramp where I-35 meets the SE Inner Loop Road that travels around the small city of Georgetown, TX.

One of the largest flowstones we've ever seen!

So much to see standing in one place.

In 150 years these two will finally meet.



SUNDAY - Today we said goodbye to our outdoor Tommy Bahama camp chairs. They were part of the package of merchandise that came with our Tommy Bahama Airstream. For nearly two years but they served us well but they are just so big and bulky. They also don't collapse down very small and it's hard to find a good place to store them when not in use.

We didn't just toss them in the trash though, there's still a lot of good use left in them. Directly across the street from us in this campground is another Airstream couple from Texas. They were outside sitting in a couple of generic brand chairs that have the exact same design as our Tommy Bahama chairs. They seemed to be comfortable and enjoying their chairs so I went over and asked them if they would like to have two more just like them, for free!

They were happy to upgrade to the Tommy Bahama chairs with the zippered pouch on the front and back, not to mention the head rest pillows, and said that their kids and grandkids would probably find use of their old chairs.


You may be wondering, "what will we sit in now around the campfire"?

Back in January, when we were hanging out with 125 other Airstream couples at the Canopener Rally in Florida, we had the opportunity to take a lot of different style chairs for a so called "free test drive".

Tricia found a brand of folding camp style rocking chairs that felt very comfortable to sit in. It just so happens that a chain of Texas based sports stores, Academy Sports + Outdoors, carry the rocking chairs she liked, plus they have them in stock locally. That will eliminate the need for Amazon shipping and pickup, which is how we purchase most everything these days.

They fold down smaller and store easily, also did I mention, they rock! So it's out with the old, and in with the new, when it comes to our outdoor seating comfort.



-----> LATE BREAKING NEWS <-----

Last night in Round Rock, TX
we paid $1.77 for gasoline

How much are you paying right now?




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