The RV Road Trip Full-Timer's Blog for March 2012

31 more days until we hit the road, barring any unforseen issues. We think this past week has presented more than its fair share, but hopefully everything is over and done with. We had to take the Jeep back to Goodyear YET AGAIN for the leak at the front axle. It turns out they did not put in new seals, they simply tried to seal it with silicone. I complained to the manager and he assured me it would be repaired correctly. Let's hope so.

We managed to get one whole side of the motorhome cleaned with the Meguiar's One Step Compound and it looks so much better. It removed virtually all of the yellowing from the entry door and cleaned off every bit of dirt and the few minor scratches we had on the side of the motorhome. It looked so good just using the Meguiar's but it looked even better after we got a coat of wax on it. We pondered over what wax to use and ended up going with Nu Finish Polish. It goes on easy, rubs out easy and produces an amazing shine. The only down side to the whole deal is the camper has 3 more sides left to do!! We have 30 more days to get the whole rig done, that's plenty of time. [2]
One of our favorite sites on the web is It lists all the neat, odd and unusual roadside attractions found across America. We use it to find things to see while traveling. In the RGV, we have been to all of them except the hand drawn ferry to Mexico and the Freddy Fender memorial. We'll try to go see them before we leave at the end of this month. The other attractions in this area we have seen are the World's Largest Fly Fishing Pole, the Seven Seas Souvenir Shop (Bobz World), Little Graceland, the Original Iwo Jima Memorial and Museum and the Killer Bee Capital of the World. If you enjoy roadside attractions such as these, visit the site and see what is near you. [1]
We have a little bonus today for our faithful readers! We're launching a new site just for recreational vehicle owners where they can create a free RV or camping profile. Any RV is welcome no matter what you have... Class A/B/C, 5th wheel, travel trailer, truck camper, pop-up or tear drop. You can share as little or as much as you like and even post pictures of your rig. You can even post a picture of your pets!

The site is called When you register, you will be assigned a unique RV number. You can then tell your new RV buddies "My RV number is ###" and they can come to and look you up! Perhaps you saw an RV at a campground that you wanted to know more about and it had an RV number decal on it. Well, jot down their RV number and look it up.

Remember, the site is free so hop on over and register. Fill out your profile sharing whatever you'd like your fellow RVers to know. The numbers being assigned are still very low since we have not officially launched yet. So head on over if you want to have a low RV number... then you can brag saying you were in on the ground floor! If you want to see our RV Number profile, it is at

We think we have all the bugs worked out but if you happen to find one, please let us know! [3]
We got the back of the RV cleaned and waxed, one more side and the front left to do. The wind has been blowing steady at 30 MPH with gusts up to 45 MPH for a couple of days so we haven't tried to do the remaining sides. There's no way we're climbing a ladder in a breeze like that! And the day the wind is supposed to die down, rain is forecast. Not sure when we'll get the rest done but we still have 24 more days.

The Jeep is good to go now. They had to completely tear down the front axle and replace the seals but they did it without quarreling about it. That's a big job, we essentially got a rebuilt front axle for free. The gears and other components in there were in great shape so it should be many, many years before it wears out. We had them change the oil and filter so we are all set for the summer. We'll need to get new tires by the time winter rolls around but we're going to get our money's worth out of the ones that are on there. They're rated at 50K miles and they have 30K on them, but the bad ball joint made them wear a little funny. Oh well, that's how it goes.

We added some new features to the site. You can now rate and comment on everyone's profile. So if you don't want a bad rating, fill in your information! And yes, you can still create a profile if you camp in a tent. That's why we decided to call them RV and Camping profiles. We don't want anyone to be left out. So go ahead Sue, join your fellow campers!

I don't know if any of you have ever been to the People of Walmart web site, but they showcase the myriad of people that shop there. The other day in the Mission Walmart, we saw this lady in bright green with a matching baby. The picture doesn't do it justice, but it sure was a site! [4]

21 more days until we begin our summer travels! We are so excited! We have been sitting in one spot for far too long and we are anxious to get going. We're still working on cleaning and waxing the exterior of the camper but the weather hasn't been cooperating. We had 3 full days of 40 MPH winds and now we're having 2 days of cold, drizzly weather. Thankfully, tomorrow and the rest of the week will be in the mid 80s and reasonably clear with no rain in the forecast.

The site is taking off, we nearing 100 registered users so far. If you haven't signed up for your free RV number yet, head on over and "git-r-done". If you have, you can link directly to your profile on your blog, in your forum signature, etc. There's a new FAQ page on the site to help with any questions you may have and you can also comment about it on the RV Number Facebook page.

How's this for a beautiful sunset? This was taken through the tinted window of the camper but even so, it's an awesome sight. Visit the Picture Gallery to see all of our pictures, they're broken down by state and subject. [5]

We always keep track of what we spend, even if it is something small. The quickest way to overspend is to spend without watching what you spend it on. We wanted to see how much we were spending on Scooter (the dog) so I pulled up the database and had a look. He eats about 1/3 of a pound of dog food per day so a 15 pound bag lasts him about 45 days. At $23 (including tax) for a bag of Nutro Max Adult Mini Chunk dog food, that's about .51¢ per day in food. His flea medicine is $3 per month and we give him his haircuts so no cost there, so it looks like it runs us just under $20 a month to maintain Scooter. That's a small price to pay for all the joy he brings us.

The other day we were driving around and we saw a small circus setting up. Not Ringling Brothers, just one small tent and some various animals. We were on the service road so we couldn't pull off to get a good picture, so we snapped this shot out the window as we drove by at 40 MPH. You can also see all the RVs that the circus workers live in as they travel with the circus. [6]

A lot of folks have smart phones and a lot of folks have tablets... some even have both. What if you could have both in the same device? A phablet? Samsung has released the Samsung Galaxy Note on AT&T and it will soon be released on Verizon as the Samsung Galaxy Journal. We're on Verizon so we'll wait until they release it then get it. This will be our next phone.

The top reason is that it has a large 5.3" Super AMOLED HD Gorilla glass screen. You can see more on the screen and since it is larger than your average smart phone, it is easier to read. It is a full function 4G LTE phone and it is packed with features. Plenty of power and since it is an Android phone, you can customize it just like you like it. We trotted down to the local Best Buy and had a hands on with it. Our biggest concern was fitting it into a pocket or using a belt clip and thankfully, that won't be an issue. We will get a Bluetooth earpiece so we won't have to hold it up to our head when we don't want to.

We've read the reviews, seen the complaints and kudos and we've decided this is the next phone for us. It will be replacing our tried and true Droid X, which has been a fantastic phone. However, the Droid X lacks 4G and a front facing camera.

If you're the type that absolutely must stay at the top of the technological curve, wait for the Samsung Galaxy S3 coming out near Christmas 2012. [7]

Just a heads up for all of you that link back to our site... please make sure your link just goes to and not to any page that ends in ".asp". We're in the process of migrating from a Windows server to a Linux server and we don't want your links to not work properly. Right now, all ".asp" pages redirect to the corresponding ".php" page, but that will only work while we are still on the Windows server. So please check your links and make sure you link to the just the domain (unless your link points to a ".php" page). Thanks! [8]
We did our Spring A/C maintenance this morning. This is different than the monthly cleaning of the interior A/C filter and vacuuming the coils as needed. We went on the roof and removed the cover from the A/C unit and cleaned out the drain pan and removed any debris that the wind or critters brought in there. We checked to make sure the insulation is still in good shape, no rusting screws or hardware and that the drain holes were clear. Aside from the inevitable mold that grows up there, everything was just as it should be. We put the cover back on, went back inside and turned on the A/C. It is set at 75° and it came on right away. Yes, it is that warm in the RGV at 8 AM.

The only thing left on our "to do" list is to cut some leveling boards in the wood shop. We'll head over to Home Depot and pick up a piece of treated 1x10 and 2x10. We'll cut the 2x10 into 24" pieces with beveled ends and the 1x10 will be cut into 20" pieces. We'll only use these when we are on soft ground that would push our Lynx Levelers into the ground. Only 17 more days until we hit the road!!

We switched over to the new web host this afternoon. If you notice any problems, please let us know. We fixed the few that we found but there's bound to be something we missed. The only thing we found was the random image that wouldn't load and the occasional "little white question mark inside a black diamond" that signifies a UTF-8 encoding error. Anyway, we hope this new host won't have the chronic problems that GoDaddy did. We're now hosting with in case anyone wanted to know. [9]
We streamlined the way we post to the blog now, making it so we can even update the blog from the phone. Starting with this month, all the entries will be stored in a database so you only need one page to view all the blog archives. The previous archives are still stored as individual pages. We hope these changes will make it easier for our readers to scroll through the archives.

We've been reflecting on the time we have spent here in the RGV and browsing through all the pictures. Our favorite ones are of the plants, so we thought we'd share a few of them on today's blog post. There's lots more pictures in the Picture Gallery!! [10]

Two more weeks... and yes, just like we did before we arrived here in the valley, we will post to the blog as we travel. As stated yesterday, we just added the ability to post to the blog from our smart phone so we don't have to wait until we get on the laptops anymore. We can add pictures from the phone but it is a pain to do so we will probably wait until we get on the laptops to do that. We can easily upload the pictures we take with the phone but not the ones we take with the regular camera. We upload all of our pictures to our Picasaweb account and link to them from the blog pages. That way we don't have to host them or use our bandwidth to display them.

Now if the wind would just die down, we'd like to clean and wax the rest of the camper! [13]
We added a link on the home page to a new page that shows a map of our tentative travel routes this summer. It is basically a template of the major places we want to go and some of the things we plan to see along the way. It is still a work in progress but as of this posting, it has our route from Mission, TX up to Minnesota via Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa. We're working our way towards Yellowstone, where we have to be by June 25th.

We got about half of the remaining side of the camper cleaned and waxed today. We have to do the slide itself and the front of the camper then we'll be all done with that. It's a hard task but it looks so much better. We can't wait until we're done with the whole thing. We also defrosted the freezer today. It had started to ice up pretty bad, so we turned off the unit and broke out the hair dryer. 15 minutes later, all the ice buildup is gone and the food is tucked safely back in. As a bonus, we found a steak in there we didn't know we had! [15]
FINALLY! The camper is completely cleaned and waxed! It took a while and we did it in stages, but the roof is clean and all 4 sides are cleaned and waxed. The camper looks really, really good! We washed the Jeep today with the intent of waxing it, but it turns out we're just not up for it today. No biggy, we can clean the Jeep any old place. Look at the picture below to see how nice the motorhome looks...

The weather is not cooperating for our departure on the 31st. Our first stop is in San Antonio and the forecast there is for isolated thunderstorms. Not good. It's really hard to walk the Riverwalk, see the Alamo and that tower thingy if it is raining. We've been keeping a close eye on the extended forecast hoping we wouldn't have to adjust our plans, but it is looking like we will need to. If the forecast doesn't change, we will end up leaving here this Saturday, the 24th. There's a good and bad side to that but we really don't want to miss this opportunity to see San Antonio. Oh well, life is full of surprises and thankfully this is a small one we can deal with.

We've got everything all packed up except for our outside chairs and a folding table. We'll just toss those in the Jeep when it is time to leave. It's exciting knowing we're about to be on the road again... we've been sitting still for 17 months. Never again! OK, never again unless we have no other choice. :)

It looks like we are heading out sooner than later. We'll depart in the morning for San Antonio and thus begin our summer adventures. [16]

We got up this morning at 6:48am... OK, I did but Cynthia had been up since about 1:30am. At 7am we went over and had our final pancake breakfast and said our goodbyes to everyone. The same question was asked over and over... are y'all coming back? The answer is no, we won't be. Before we kinda wanted to, but not any more.

A little before 10am, we hooked up the Jeep to the motorhome and pulled out. As we rounded the first turn, the motorhome pulled to the left. After we cleared the intersection, we pulled over to see what was wrong. Uh oh, the steering wheel on the Jeep locked preventing it from tracking. No biggie, this time we TRIPLE checked the key position and went on our merry way. And less than an hour into our journey, WE GOT ROBBED!

Yep, we pulled into a gas station and they robbed us. They took $85 and we made off with 22 gallons of gas. That was not a fair trade! When we got to the junction of I-37, we fueled up again and headed on into San Antonio. We arrived at Travelers World RV Resort and checked in for 2 days but we will probably stay for a 3rd night. This is a nice park and pricey, but we knew that before we got here. It is $35 per night for our first 2 nights then $20 for the 3rd night when a veteran's discount kicks in. The big discount is not valid on weekends. Pffft.

We're going to drive over and see the World's Largest Wooden Nickel this evening and tomorrow we will head to the Alamo and Riverwalk area. We'll take some pictures and get them posted online tomorrow night when we get back to the camper.

We took Scooter for a walk and of course you will never guess where he just HAD to poop! We showed him the sign but we don't think it did any good. [18]

Yesterday evening we heard something that we haven't heard in a long, long time... children laughing and playing. It sure is nice to be back in a campground where everything isn't so structured. It was fun to see the kids playing in the pool, laughing and squealing without a care in the world. If only they knew...

We made it over to see the World's Largest Wooden Nickel. The crazy GPS took us to the wrong place first, and we saw about a hundred homeless people living under the interstate. That's pretty sad. Another check from another source and we got the right coordinates and off we went. This thing is 13' tall and is 2 sided. Here's one shot of it, the rest we took are in the Picture Gallery (see link in the right menu).

World's Largest Wooden Nickel

We made it safely to downtown San Antonio and back today. We were at the bus stop at 10:30am and paid $1.10 each to ride the 5 or so miles into town. We got off near the Riverwalk and started our grand tour. Jerry took his wheelchair as there is no way he could walk this much. We went to the Alamo first and saw the inside, outside and all the grounds around it. It was very neat, lots of history in this place. It wasn't disappointing at all if you realize beforehand that only a small portion of the original complex remains.

We strolled around a few streets looking at various old buildings and landmarks and snapped pictures all along the way. We went into the visitors center to figure out how to get the wheelchair down to the Riverwalk. They directed us across the street into the Hyatt Hotel who had an elevator. Thanks, Hyatt!

The Riverwalk is very nice! A relatively smooth path leads you all around, past hotels and restaurants and countless shops. You can take a boat ride if you want but we didn't feel it was worth the cost. Since this is a tourist destination, many things are overpriced including restaurants. When we got hungry, we started looking for something reasonable end ended up at Dick's Last Resort. This place is hilarious! The waiters are intentionally rude but in a funny way. Don't go if you are easily offended.

We ordered a burger and a BBQ sandwich with fries. We watched as a waiter tormented this one poor girl. She had a hat they made for her that said "Voted most popular by the football team." He took her phone and sent a text from it to the last person she had texted (she let him). She read it and they laughed hysterically. We looked around at some of the other hats they made for people... one college aged guy had one that said "I like prison shower hugs", another guy had one that said "I farted", a couple in their late 50s had hats... hers said "I am wearing granny panties because I can't find my thong" and his said "She lets me wear her thong". It was all in good fun UNTIL...

They walked up behind us and placed hats on our head. Jerry's said "Don't really need this chair, I'm just lazy" and Cynthia's said "Runner Up Miss America 1948". We both just died laughing. It was great fun and ended up being reasonably priced. When we got our check, I asked the waiter (who made our hats) what was the biggest tip he had ever gotten and he said $100. I told him I'd do better than that... we paid our bill and I said he could keep all the change for himself, $1,000,001.85. Yep, I gave him a $1M dollar bill. He laughed and said that was awesome. As always, all the pictures we took are in the Picture Gallery. [19]

Yesterday, we got to meet some really nice folks who follow our blog! They sent us an email and let us know they were going to be staying at the same park so after they arrived, we walked over to their site and had a visit. We talked about RVing and about our ministry work and some of the adventures we all have had. We enjoyed the visit and we are thankful for the opportunity to meet them.

Tomorrow morning, bright and early, we will be taking the Jeep over to Auto Air and Axle and have the rear brakes serviced on the Jeep. I can't remember the last time they had been serviced other than us just checking and cleaning them years ago. On the way up from the RGV we noticed a little noise and based on the symptoms, it appears to be the rear brakes. It could also be wheel bearings, let's hope not. The drums did not feel hot at all, nor did the front rotors for that matter. So we came on in to San Antonio and will get them fixed before heading out. It should only take about an hour so we should be on the road easily by 10 or 11am. Hopefully, it will be just a routine brake job and not be overly expensive. But as always, the good Lord is looking out for us and provided the funds to cover the repair bill. Praise the Lord!

We went to Mission Concepcion this morning and afterwards we went to Walmart to pick up a few grocery items. We didn't need much, 26 items in all, and it was still $50! The price of everything is skyrocketing... and all because of pure greed. [21]
Of course. The rear end noise couldn't be as simple as brakes. Noooooo, it has to be the transfer case AGAIN, vibrating like crazy and sending that down the drive shaft to the rear axle. We took the Jeep to Auto Air & Axle this morning and they pointed out the problem to us. Thankfully, they were honest, and said it was not something they do, didn't charge us for the inspection and they recommended a place to get the work done. So we are looking at a delay of at least 2 full days plus the expense of the repair. We're bracing for a hit of right at $1000 for parts and labor... if we're lucky. /sigh

The Jeep is now over at the Nogalitos Gear where they will determine exactly what is wrong and how much it will cost to fix. Hopefully, by the end of the day they will have that information for us. We already paid for 2 more days here at the RV Park and we rented a small car from Enterprise (that was a nightmare). We rented the car so we could take the stuff out of the Jeep and have a place to put it, so we would have a way to drop off and pick up the Jeep and also so we wouldn't have to sit twiddling our thumbs while the Jeep was being looked at.

There are 5 old missions in this area and we have been to 3 of them. The Alamo, Mission Concepcion and Mission Jose. We will try to get to the other 2 before we leave. We posted a ton more pictures in the Travelers World RV Resort / San Antonio picture gallery. [22]
Well, it's lunch time and no word back on the Jeep yet. We called and they said they should know what the problem is within the hour. This signifies that we probably won't be leaving tomorrow as planned since it will take time to get the part(s), put it in and reinstall the transfer case. Oh well, it's not like we have much choice in the matter.

We did go visit the last two area missions, San Juan and Espada. San Juan was being worked on and the majority of it was closed so we didn't get a lot of pictures there. Espada was open and we went all through it. Out of the five missions in the area, San Jose is hands down the best one as far as what can be seen there. The Alamo is the one with the most famous history, though. The pictures we took today have been uploaded to the picture gallery under San Antonio.

Oh my goodness! The repair shop just called... $1,500.00 to fix the Jeep. And that's just fixing this transfer case, it's not even a remanufactured one. We are so worried about the repair being done here and if there is another issue, we would be out of luck and have to pay again. So we told the man to just put it back together and we'll tow it back to Alabama. It is drivable so we'll just drive it back here and hook it up in the morning and head out. We'll pull the drive shafts off (it's very easy to do) that way it can't spin while being towed. Someone once told me that when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. Well, we've about had our fill of lemonade - LOL. [23]
We got a call about noon that the Jeep was put back together. We took a cab over to the shop, walked in and paid the man for the labor charges. We get outside to the Jeep and the windshield is cracked, the speedometer isn't working and there is a check engine light on. Jeepers! I didn't say anything because the check engine light and the speedometer issue is due to them obviously not hooking the wires back to the transfer case, and my insurance will cover the windshield. On the bright side, it cranked right up and we drove it back to the campground, hooked it up and hit the road. We drove all the way to Beaumont, TX and we will spend the night at Gulf Coast RV Resort... only it ain't a resort - LOL.

The Jeep towed just fine because we disconnected both drive shafts. There's no way the transfer case can spin! We got a pull through site so we wouldn't have to disconnect or back up. We'll head out in the morning and drive towards Alabama. We've already lined up the shop back home to fix the Jeep, we just have to find a remanufactured or lightly used transfer case. Now we need all you folks to shop through our Amazon store or view some of these nice advertisements so we can pay for the repair. ;) [24]
We spent the night before last at Gulf Coast RV Resort in Beaumont, Texas. The park is all pull thrus, right by the interstate, has a nice pool, free bikes to ride and free continental breakfast. We used Passport America so we only paid $17.50 for the night. We arrived about 7 PM and left at 8 AM the following morning. The site was mostly level and we didn't even unhook. We did hookup water and electric so we could shower and drain the holding tanks before pulling out. The state fair grounds are right behind the park, you can see the lights visible in the background of this picture. The fair was there and in full swing but we didn't go. Scooter traveled very well but he does not like the electric step going in and out - LOL. He likes to ride in Cynthia's lap and look out the front window. He did get bored on the long drive yesterday but we rarely drive that much in one day. We promised him we wouldn't do that again.

He did get to meet a girl doggie in Beaumont, although they didn't get to spend more than 3 minutes together. We were stopped to get fuel and someone else was walking their dog and Scooter just had to see her. Yesterday Scooter had a lot of firsts... his first time outside of Texas, his first road trip, his first roadside romance and he got to pee in 4 states in a single day!

Gulf Coast RV Resort

During our drive we learned something! We had been driving an even 60 MPH using the cruise control and after doing the math, we determined we were getting 7.2 MPG. So we did a little test and slowed down to 56 MPH and set the cruise. We jumped to 8.9 MPG! Fuel averaged $3.79 per gallon, so 55 gallons cost us $208.45 (our tank is a 55 gallon tank). On that 55 gallons at 60 MPH we could drive 396 miles. Slowing down to 56 MPH, we were able to drive 489.5 miles on 55 gallons, an additional 93.5 miles. That saves us 10.5 gallons of fuel or $39.80 PER TANK! That's pretty significant. The only sacrifice is that you get where you are going a little later. Sounds like a fair trade to us! If our math is wrong, we blame the calculator!

We had planned to drive for about 5 hours then stop near Picayune, MS but we decided to just drive on into Alabama. We arrived at Cynthia's sister's house at 8 PM. We unhooked the Jeep, parked the camper, took a shower and went to bed. Cynthia went with her sister this morning to pick up a rental car for us to use while the Jeep is being fixed this coming week. We found a good used transfer case locally (with a 1 year warranty) and we will have it installed next week when it arrives. That should be Wednesday. We'll get our doctor visits done while we are here and a few other things. When everything we need to do here is done, we'll head back to Louisiana to see our new grand daughter, our daughter Sara and our son will drive in from Dallas. From there we will be back on track! All in all, this little transfer case fiasco will cost us about $1200. Yeeeeouch!! That does include extra days in San Antonio, rental cars, parts and labor costs and anything else associated with the problem.

Thanks so much to all of you who said you would shop through our Amazon store!!! The link is in the right hand menu and says "Shop Our Store!". [25]


RV Blog Archives

2017   JAN, FEB, MAR         Please visit
2014   We did our massive 22 state and 15 national park road trip.
2013   We dealt with Jerry's wreck and thyroid cancer treatment.
2012   JAN, FEB, MAR, APR         We stopped full-timing in April 2012.
2008   The Beginning

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