focus was spending time with family and friends, and doing a little
sightseeing. We left
Huntsville on December 1st, heading south to Florida.
The two weeks spent in Palm Bay went by too quickly.
We stayed at the RV park at Patrick AFB, overlooking the Banana
River. Most days were spent
on home repairs where Lucille’s parents live.
Her aunts Florence and Lorraine, sister Yvette, and friend Karin
popped in during our stay. We
joined friends Rick and Eileen for dinner one evening.
RV neighbors Ted and Nancy got our vote for classiest yard décor
– a high-tech pink flamingo shaded by an equally high-tech palm tree,
complete with holiday ornaments.
we started to head west, stopping for a few days at Rainbow Plantation,
the Escapees RV park in Summerdale, Alabama, near Mobile.
RVing friends and fellow Habitaters Jim and Pen were there, so we
caught up on news since we’d seen them in September.
Longtime friend Norlando came by for a visit one afternoon, and
again, we caught up on news over the past year.
Jim and Pen introduced us to Lamberts’
Café, ‘home of the throwed roll’ in nearby Foley.
The wait staff will throw you a hot roll upon request, either
across the table or across the room, depending on how good a catch you
are. The food was wonderful,
plentiful, and reasonably priced.
to continue our trek west, with an overnight stop at ‘Camp’ Sam’s
Club in Lake Charles, Louisiana, on the way to Rainbow’s End in
Livingston, Texas, an Escapees park and their national headquarters.
While at Rainbow’s End, we toured their CARE
facility, ‘a non-profit adult day care and residency program designed
for RVers whose travels are permanently ended because of age or
temporarily interrupted because of an illness.’
A wonderful concept and a very affordable way to hang up your keys,
for a few days or forever! Where
can you get three meals a day, full hookups for your RV in which you are
living, laundry, housekeeping, transportation to medical appointments,
Alzheimer’s programs, and help with daily functions from a professional
staff, all for no more than $900 a month?
Finding comparable services for that low fee at a traditional
nursing home or assisted living facility is almost unheard of.
We also toured the Escapees’ headquarters, including a tour of
their state-of-the-art mailroom, to and from which all our mail flows.
to San Antonio where we finally met longtime email friends, Karen and
Galen. Gracious hosts, they
invited us to join them for dinner at a friend’s, followed by Christmas
Eve service at their church. They
were our guides to several of San Antonio’s missions, including Mission
San Antonio de Valero, commonly called the Alamo, whose history is well
known. Walking the grounds
where so many sacrificed their lives for freedom was very moving.
San Jose was known as the “Queen of Missions” because of the size of
its complex. At the peak of
its development, there were 350 Indians residing in 84 two-room
apartments. The Spanish
colonial Baroque architecture is extraordinary, as is the fine detail on
its legendary Rose Window.
San Juan Capistrano, established on the banks of the San Antonio, was a
regional supplier of agricultural produce because of its rich farm and
church at Mission Concepcion looks essentially the same as it did in the
1700s when it served as the center of the mission’s religious activity.
Several interior paintings, some religious, other decorative, can
be found on the church’s walls.
general, the missions served to bring Indians into Spanish society by
concentrating scattered tribes into church-centered communities.
Life was structured. Bells called all to morning prayers at
sunrise. After a morning
meal, most men and boys headed to the fields, orchards, gardens and
quarries or to tend livestock at distant ranches.
Others stayed behind to forge iron, weave cloth or build
structures. Women and girls
learned to cook, sew, spin, tend gardens, and make soap, pottery and
candles. Life in the missions
was disciplined life –religious, social and moral.
These missions represent a connection with the past, carrying the
legacy of the American Indians and Hispanics, and some still serve as
famed Riverwalk downtown was pretty to see with its holiday decorations.
Fans from both Ohio State and Oklahoma State were in town for a
bowl game that week, so it was a challenge maneuvering through the crowds
and finding a restaurant that didn’t have a long wait list to be seated.
Galen came up with a solution – eat dessert first!
We gave Tony Roma’s
Restaurant our names for dinner and while we were waiting for seating, we
enjoyed some wonderfully delicious ice cream from the Marble Slab
We gave Tony Roma’s Restaurant our names for dinner and while we were waiting for seating, we enjoyed some wonderfully delicious ice cream from the Marble Slab Creamery.
Karen and Galen gave us mountain dulcimer lessons, making it look so easy.
Later in 2005, we’ll be joining them, as well as Donna and Ron,
in Alaska, where we’ll spend the summer as school ground sitters in the
Kenai Peninsula. We hope to
play well enough by then to have jam sessions together – we’ll have to
practice a lot before we get there! One
evening we met with their friends Richard and Lee who have been to Alaska
numerous times, so we picked their brains about what to expect on our
trip. Richard and Lee’s
neighborhood is home to dozens of deer that freely roam through yards.
What an awesome sight to see these critters wandering around,
looking like mobile lawn statuaries.
And of course, we left our camera home.
enjoyed Christmas dinner as Shari’s guests at the Escapee Co-op park in
Hondo where she winters.
Her invitation is yet
another example of the wonderful camaraderie we find amongst RVers during
Her invitation is yet another example of the wonderful camaraderie we find amongst RVers during our travels.
We hit the road and celebrated New Year’s Eve parked at a small combination truck stop and campground in Balmorhea, Texas, about 200 miles east of El Paso, surrounded by desert and mountain ranges. What a spectacular sunset we saw that night with an equally awesome sunrise to kick off 2005!
Next: a few days in El Paso before continuing on to our workamping jobs at Desert Haven Animal Refuge in Williamsburg, New Mexico.