Saturday, October 12, 2013

Maiden Voyage - Lake Somerville

We chose Lake Somerville State Park as our initial test voyage.  It's close enough to get to in about 2 hours yet far enough away to stretch our new legs, aka tires.  It's one of our favorite state parks and perfect for a bike ride and a little fishing.  Our first venture from home would only be for one night only.

Joy and Bella
Earlier in the year we had taken the bikes to the park after dropping off our most recent foster pup with her new mom.  Bella is a small white four legged howler who found out we were soft-hearted and stupid enough to let her in when no one else in the neighborhood would.  Of course all recent stray arrivals are taken to our family vet. Bella was given her vaccinations and blood work up.  She was diagnosed with heart worms.  That didn't even phase her new mom. She said it was no problem that she'd do what she needed to get her healthy.  She's been in her new home for nearly 6 months now and is doing great in Killeen, TX.    

Anyway - we decided to make Somerville our first RV destination for a quick over night trip. A smooth drive and a quick set up, we were feeling like pros.  I guess the 3 pages of checklists helped.  It was hotter than hell and the frogs were so loud in the field across from us we barely slept but darn it, we were RV-ing without incident!  

Our poodle, Frances, all 9 lbs of her, wasn't too sure of herself in the great outdoors and when the pit bull next door looked at her through the screen-door you would have thought we were under attack by a pack of wolves.  We're going to have to watch that one! Our lab, Keila, is used to getting drug around the the state and adapted quickly to yet another adventure.  She was grateful to have 30 ft in which to relax!  Our last RV a pull trailer was just under 20 ft. 

Joy on a bicycle is always dangerous and it was good that were not on pavement.  We did get separated at one point and she, of course, knew immediately how to return to the campsite while I, on the other hand, was wishing my bike had GPS.  Joy says she MUST teach me directions or else we'll end up who knows where on our way to Alaska next year - but then again who cares!

Our Rig
We tore down on day 2 without incident, again with the help of a 3-page checklist.  We really scored with finding this RV and are so happy to have several months to work with and on it before we hit the road.  8 months, 1 day, 18 hours and 38 minutes until the next chapter begins - but who's counting?? 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

ROT Motorcycle Rally, Austin, TX 2013

Okay I don't know if you really call parking on asphalt surrounded by 30,000 people and 5000 motorcycles camping- but at least we had our own bathroom and shower!  We've been involved in ROT for the past three years and it will be our last employment in Texas prior to our great adventure.  Although staying in a hotel was enticing it just makes more sense to be on site.    

Kathy drove the rig up to Austin alone while I worked a couple of more days in Houston.  She parked behind the Thunderdome along with about 8 other RV's used for staff and performer housing.  When you work 16 or more hours a day you don't want to drive to a hotel so staying on site during the rally is the norm.  

This year Kathy helped the ROT owners with conducting fraud and trademark infringement enforcement.  People try all kinds of things to steal from business like ROT, like creating fake wristbands, copying trademarked t shirts and other merchandise. 

Joy helps out where ever she is needed.  This year she managed the back gate while the performers arrived, most notably Dee Snyder and Twisted Sister.  She also helped usher in MMA fighters, managers, referees, and doctors for the Saturday night fights.  When you're in the middle of it ROT occurs to you as organized chaos; but with the professional and dedicated staff it somehow all works out with everyone on time and mostly satisfied.

Dee Snyder
With the rig backed up to the party zone sleep was in short order.  It seemed as though the roar of motorcycles never stopped. During out last night we finally smartened up and used ear plugs.  Duh!  We'll NEVER leave home without them again.   In fact it was tempting to drive through the camping areas at 7:00 am when we got up blasting horns or a stereo to repay the neighborhood hospitality but alas, we were just too tired to be mean.

Joy was able to find time to visit friends in Austin.  Chris is an artist and fellow public school teacher who's website,, is a must see. Liz is a designer, author, and blogger whose awesome blog,, is fresh and funny.  As previous next door neighbors, we became good friends when we fostered a pair of cute little fur ball pups, one of which became their wedding present, Pickles Marie Hasselhof. 

Joy got to spend the evening gazing upon David's head (a sculpture) in their back yard while enjoying cocktails.  We will miss them all of them next year (not David)
Arlen Ness

Sunday at ROT is really quiet as most are packing up to go home.  Joy followed Kathy home driving the GTI and we talked on our little walkie talkies as we traveled.  They have a great range, almost a mile, and it allowed us to feel more connected as we were in separate cars. It's always great seeing our ROT friends but climbing into our own Sunday night, where it was nice and quiet, was pure bliss.