2013 Travels travel blog

Carpe at SKP Livingston

I 10 Houston
The only way to transit Houston is early Sunday morning...

Downtown Houston

US 59 heads north to Livingston

Welcome to Livingston, TX

Entering the Escapees Livingston Park
This is also the National Office

Cummins 600hp engine in Foretravel chassis

Electrical equipment bay on Foretravel

Working on interior before slide installlation

Preparing slideroom for installation

Interior of completed Foretravel motorhome

Carpe approaching scales

On scale

Directing Carpe to scale

On scale (this is right front wheel)

Sun, 05 May: Given our wariness at driving through Houston we came upon the perfect solution—do it early on a Sunday morning! We set our alarm for "dark o'clock" and got Carpe ready to roll with alacrity. We rolled wheels out of the Katy Elks Lodge before eight and had no problem whatsoever.

Once in downtown Houston we left I 10 and took US 59 north toward Livingston. A bit after nine we stopped in Clearland to top off the diesel tank. Then about twenty more miles to the Escapees Rainbow Plantation RV park. We pulled up to the registration office a bit beforfe ten. Today's run: 100 miles.

Livingston is the national headquarters of Escapees. In addition to the offices and mail service, they also have an RV park and Escapees C.A.R.E. C.A.R.E. (Continuing Assistance for Retired Escapees) is a long term care facility for members who, for one reason or another, need assistance with their daily living arrangements. C.A.R.E. offers "home care" right in the members RV. This can be temporary (recovering from an illness or surgery) to long term.

We have a nice spot a few spaces from Domingo and Carmen Davila. They'll be here a few more days and then head home. Our plans are very flexible right now so we cannot say just how long we'll be here. If we need to have the fan clutch looked at we will have to drive to Dallas. Don't know at this writing but should know more later in the week.

We dined with the Davilas and Terry & Tom, a couple the Davilas know from Michigan. We went to a local Mexican Restaurant where they were celebrating Cinco de Mayo. Food was good but nothing to rave about.

Mon, 06 May: Laundry morning. The laundry room isn't too far from our site and there were ample machines. We were "in and out" in no time at all. Later in the morning we took a tour of the Escapees C.A.R.E. facility (see above). The tour was very informative and we learned quite a bit. It is reassuring to know that such a facility exists and is available should the need arise.

We dined with Carmen and Domingo at the local Catfish King. It is a regional chain of restaurants that specializes in southern and gulf cuisine. The Davilas had gulf shrimp and we both had chicken fried steak. Yummy!

Tue, 07 May: This morning the four of us drove some 80 miles to the town of Nacogdoches, home to the Foretravel Motorcoach Company. Foretravel manufactures Luxury (yes, with a Capital "L"!) coaches, and we've wanted to tour their facility ever since we saw the Mayer's beautiful coach several years back.

The tour was quite extensive and very personal. This is a custom shop so no two coaches are the same. It was very interesting to see these Craftsmen (yes, the uppercase "C" is appropriate!) ply their trades. The coaches sell for more than $1.2 million and they are really plush. But, they are not for us and would not work for our lifestyle. We'll stick with Carpe Diem.

Following the tour we stopped for lunch and were back at the SKP park early in the afternoon. Happy hour at the Davilas under a shade tree.

Thu, 09 May: The Davilas left yesterday (Wednesday) morning and we already miss them. They are great travel companions and we get along very well. They have some appointments back home in Saginaw so they're enroute. They should be home by the weekend and we wish them safe travels. We'll meet up again late next month in Gillette and we're already looking forward to it.

Our mail arrived at the Livingston Post Office so late morning we drove into town and picked it up. While in town we stopped at Wal*Mart to pick up a few items. The back home for lunch and then an afternoon of going thru the mail and catching up on computer projects. Mail arrival is always a busy computer day as we scan everything of importance and then shred the originals. We're trying to watch our weight (see next paragraph!)

This morning we had Carpe weighed. It has been two years since she last rolled on the scales and it was time to see how we're doing. Unlike last time, Carpe seems to have put on some weight and we're very close to our maximum axle weight limits. We now know where we're heavy so we have to go through all our storage compartments, drawers, cabinets, etc. and weed out the excess baggage. This is not a pleasant task but it needs to be done.

Once back in our site we've been busy "retiring". That means catching up on computer stuff and kicking back and reading. In Sandi's case, it also included a short post-lunch nap. Retirement is just the best!

Fri, 10 May: Today is the fifth anniversary of us buying Carpe Diem. In 2008 it was a Saturday and we drove to Las Vegas from Laughlin and laid eyes on our future home for the first time. It was a special day for us, a big lifestyle decision that, thankfully, turned out right.

We had some torrential rains overnite that kept us awake. In the evening there were some spectacular lightening displays and hail. Thankfully, the hail was mot too serious. It continued to rain most of the morning and into the afternoon.

We did laundry so we're now completely "clean". We don't know when we'll get to a convenient laundry so we take advantage of one when it is at hand.

Our plans are to head out Saturday or Sunday. We have an appointment to have our MCD Shades looked at Monday morning. The MCD factory is in McKinney, TX, a bit north of Dallas and more than 200 miles from Livingston. We'd like to take two days to go up there with the idea of spending Saturday nite at a Wally somewhere between here and there. After MCD we'll drive to south Dallas so the Freightliner people can perform some diagnostics on our overheating issue.

We got some unpleasant news from our Sister-In-Law Caroline. Bob's eldest brother is having some health issues and is being admitted to hospice care. Instead of heading to Branson we'll most likely head to Des Moines next week. Stay tuned...

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