In Shorts Again!

Saturday, December 8, 2007 -- Livingston, TX

In a surprising twist of nature, the weather gods have given us near record high temperatures here in east central Texas. It didn't get below 70f last night and was over 80f today. There's a weather front north of here, toying with us, and will keep the weather a little cloudier and hard to predict much of the rest of the week.

Let me bring you up to date on our bus problem. Remember, we found a small puddle of engine coolant under the bus while parked in Vicksburg on Wednesday. Spartan, our chassis maker, got us into a diesel shop in Shreveport to have it fixed, but they wouldn't be able to get us in until Friday morning. So we made the drive over to Shreveport on Thursday, checked in with the shop, and set a time for the next morning. Needing a place to stay Thursday night and wanting something close to the diesel shop, we settled on a nice parking spot in Harrah's at Louisiana Downs Racetrack and Casino. This is the first time we've done this but we know people that do it all the time. Almost all Casinos have RV and Truck parking which works out great if you're simply driving through and need a place to get some sleep.

The next morning the bus was at the diesel shop by 7:30am and by 9:00am it was done and we were ready to go. The culprit was a clamp on a heater hose that carries coolant from the engine all the way to the front for the bus's dash heater. It was just loose and needed to be tightened. I shouldn't be needing to add coolant any longer.

This little diversion to Shreveport wasn't so bad. It wasn't far from our original planned route, and, I figured, I'd probably have to see Shreveport someday anyway, so why not now?

The rest of Friday we meandered down to Livingston Texas where an organization we joined last spring, Escapees, has it's headquarters and an RV park. It was a good stopping point on the way south and we wanted to see the Escapees mailroom anyway.

One of the benefits of this organization is that you can sign up for their mail-forwarding service. Believe it or not, they have their own zip code and are servicing more than 30,000 customers -- almost all of them people like us who live full-time in their RV while roaming the country. We did get a glimpse at the operation, where about 100 employees sort, file, and forward mail and packages according to each customer's requests. It's a larger operation than the Post Office in Livingston. But size doesn't determine quality and I'd still have to say that the mail forwarding service that we use in Beaver Dam is still second to none.

We're staying here two nights and will leave on Sunday. By traveling around the dreaded Houston metro area on Sunday we're hoping to avoid some of that legendary traffic everyone talks about. But it could also be the time they close half the roads for quick repairs, so it still remains to be seen just how intelligent our idea is.

All along our path the last five months I've found other people who are fulltiming to be the friendliest group of people I've ever run into. When we've moved into neighborhoods in the past, there was always a period of time that had to pass before you really felt a part of the 'hood. It took weeks or months, sometimes, before you met neighbors, and some you never met. In RV parks it's totally different. There are many theories about this... some say it's because everyone is mobile and, thus, "new to the neighborhood" almost every night... others say it's because most of us are traveling with only a spouse and we CAN'T WAIT TO TALK WITH SOMEONE NEW!... still others say there's a brain defect that's commonly found in fulltimers that causes them to think everyone is their long-lost best friend. In any case, there's something going on here.

Last night, I went outside to wash the bugs off that 4 acres of glass called a windshield. While working away every single person that saw me, at least 5 people, came over and started to tell me about the places they've been, what the names of their children are and where they live, and why the government is not to be trusted.

This afternoon, Dar and I went out to get a little exercise by walking around the park. We left the camper about 3pm and but didn't start our walk until well after 5pm. The nicest and friendliest older fellow across the street made a wise-crack and before I knew what happened Dar and I and he and his wife were talking, mostly about Alaska, non-stop, for the next two hours. They lived in Alaska for almost 35 years and had a ton of pointers and information that will come in handy when we make the decision to spend the summer "up there".

Tomorrow night we think we'll stay somewhere in the Victoria Texas area. If our drive is trouble-free and we have a good internet connection, I'll let you know how it goes tomorrow night.



Slightly Better than Most