Thursday, April 28, 2016

sick on the bus...

Not sick *of* the bus... but knocked out by a cold - whew - haven't had a cold that knocked me off my legs like this one in quite a while. Sleeping a lot, still getting to doctor appointments that were previously scheduled, plus a couple of extra - one to get some meds for the cold and one follow up after an "abnomal" test result. But all is looking good - except for still coughing and staying in bed most of every day! Hopefully strength will start to return shortly - I figured I needed to come onto the blog so y'all wouldn't think we'd blown away in the storms that came through. We are all doing ok and looking forward to being at 100% here shortly!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Allegory: What are you hanging onto?

There are some stories, allegories, that I (Patti) really enjoy - I'm going to post some of them so you can enjoy them too!



The Pearl Necklace


The cheerful girl with bouncy golden curls was almost five. Waiting with her mother at the checkout stand, she saw them: a circle of glistening white pearls in a pink foil box.

"Oh please, Mommy. Can I have them? Please, Mommy, please!"

Quickly the mother checked the back of the little foil box and then looked back into the pleading blue eyes of her little girl's upturned face.

"A dollar ninety-five. That's almost $2.00. If you really want them, I'll think of some extra chores for you and in no time you can save enough money to buy them for yourself. Your birthday's only a week away and you might get another crisp dollar bill from Grandma."

As soon as Jenny got home, she emptied her penny bank and counted out 17 pennies. After dinner, she did more than her share of chores and she went to the neighbor and asked Mrs. McJames if she could pick dandelions for ten cents.

On her birthday, Grandma did give her another new dollar bill and at last she had enough money to buy the necklace.

Jenny loved her pearls. They made her feel dressed up and grown up. She wore them everywhere--Sunday school, kindergarten, even to bed. The only time she took them off was when she went swimming or had a bubble bath. Mother said if they got wet, they might turn her neck green.

Jenny had a very loving daddy and every night when she was ready for bed, he would stop whatever he was doing and come upstairs to read her a story. One night when he finished the story, he asked Jenny, "Do you love me?"

"Oh yes, Daddy. You know that I love you."

"Then give me your pearls."

"Oh, Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have Princess--the white horse from my collection. The one with the pink tail. Remember, Daddy? The one you gave me. She's my favorite."

"That's okay, Honey. Daddy loves you. Good night." And he brushed her cheek with a kiss.

About a week later, after the story time, Jenny's daddy asked again, "Do you love me?"

"Daddy, you know I love you."

"Then give me your pearls."

"Oh Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have my babydoll. The brand new one I got for my birthday. She is so beautiful and you can have the yellow blanket that matches her sleeper."

"That's okay. Sleep well. God bless you, little one. Daddy loves you." And as always, he brushed her cheek with a gentle kiss.

A few nights later when her daddy came in, Jenny was sitting on her bed with her legs crossed Indian-style. As he came close, he noticed her chin was trembling and one silent tear rolled down her cheek.
"What is it, Jenny? What's the matter?"

Jenny didn't say anything but lifted her little hand up to her daddy. And when she opened it, there was her little pearl necklace. With a little quiver,she finally said, "Here, Daddy. It's for you."

With tears gathering in his own eyes, Jenny's kind daddy reached out with one hand to take the dime-store necklace, and with the other hand he reached into his pocket and pulled out a blue velvet case with a strand of genuine pearls and gave them to Jenny.

He had them all the time. He was just waiting for her to give up the dime-store stuff so he could give her genuine treasure.

What are you hanging on to? 


--- Author unknown


Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Covered Wagon

One of the trailers in the park this week is "unique" - it looks like a covered wagon on a flat bed trailer frame. The front of the trailer is just an arched piece of plywood, but the back has a door in it.
There are no windows - seems like it would get pretty hot (or cold) depending on the outside ambient temperature.

One night we got back after dark and there was a light inside lighting up just 1/3 of the cover (the 1/3 furthest away from the door) - so it would appear that there might be inside partitions in it too. On the weekend, I saw a vehicle parked near it and a younger guy was there (20s-30s). I thought it was a workshop, but I guess he may be living in it.

Friday, April 22, 2016

No, We are NOT under water...

Texas is getting a lot of rain, but where we are, the campground is high enough up that we are not under any flood threat. We are not getting as much rain as they are in Houston, but the lake here has risen quite a lot. I posted pictures a few days ago while we were walking and I looked to see if any of them could be used as a comparison to the water level now... and I didn't really find anything. But these pictures should give you an idea of how high the water is.
Dwayne is enjoying our walk - he says that we do a "planetary" type of walk - he walks on a straight path, and Patti "orbits" around him to get more steps in.

This is the area that is marked as a "beach" on our map...


We walked on this road just a few days ago - now it is under water.

There is a floating part to the dock at the end, but the pathway out to it is under water.


The table is supposed to be a lake-front table, as are the benches beyond it; I guess they would be good for having your feet in the water while you sit now. The herons flew as we came up.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

IBM Lunch Bunch

For a few years, a group of IBM folks have gotten together for lunch at various times through the year. It probably started with the group who played dominoes (42 and 84) at lunch time at IBM. Then, when we moved, we would eat in the atrium overlook on the top floor at 1503 LBJ. At the lunch table, we would solve "all the world's problems", or at least those that were important to us! As we move to officing away from the office (OTTO - Other Than Traditional Office), we missed those times, and especially the problem solving that took place, so we would arrange to go in to the office on an irregular basis just to have lunch together.

As more folks had left IBM through retirement, layoffs, other jobs, etc. than remained as IBMers, the group expanded to include folks who had worked together in various IBM Education groups through the years. Since I (Patti) kept the distribution list, it has pretty much been anyone who is interested in joining and willing to give Patti their email address!

Today was our get-together - there were 10 of us to join together and talk of old times and current times with IBM and with our lives. Always fun to get to see colleagues and reminisce!
Nancy, Melanie, Gary, Dave, Burt, Rich

Tom, Jackie, Patti, Dwayne, Nancy (gets to be in *both* pictures!)


Throwback to July, 1996...

I thought some of our readers might enjoy these pictures...

June, 1996 - Patti in Scotland - it was quite rainy and the fields were so green! On our first visit to Scotland we discovered "single track roads" where you didn't have to know which side you were supposed to be driving on.

We wished we could have gotten some of these signs to bring home with us.
 After a week or so in Scotland, we traveled to London,
Where Patti and her teach partner Doug had to go to work (don't you feel sorry for them????)....
While Dwayne and Bud were preparing to go on a bus trip to Bath and Stonehenge. (Could they look any more excited about their day???)

Dwayne at Stonehenge

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Urgent Care versus ER

This was on my Facebook timeline today, and I wanted to keep it for our use, as well as let friends, especially those RVing around the country, know.

http://www.fox4news.com/news/consumer/127248978-story

I'm including some quotes:
...do you really know the difference between an urgent care facility and a freestanding emergency room?
First, emergency room is not just a clever marketing name for an urgent care clinic. If you see ER, understand that you’re walking into one even if it’s not attached to a hospital. They have equipment like ERs, board certified physicians like ERs and they can admit you to a hospital like an ER.
Texas law requires these medical centers to use the words emergency room in their name so consumers understand what they’re getting into.
Still, as many as 65 percent of people are choosing wrong. That’s how many cases are being treated at freestanding ERs that are not life-threatening.
Freestanding ERs charge a facility free and professional office visit fee, which can be 80 percent of the massive difference in the bill. Labs and medicines at ERs also generally cost more.
It’s okay to ask at the front counter. Will this be a $20 or $30 co-pay or will this be $100 co-pay for an ER visit?
Freestanding ERs or ER departments can charge urgent care rates if it’s determined that a patient didn’t need the ER, but that almost never happens.
There’s also a lot of variety when it comes to walk-in urgent care facilities. In general, these are walk-in clinics that focus on treating non-life-threatening illnesses that require immediate attention but are not serious enough for an ER.
Most, but not all, are staffed by a physician, physician assistants, advanced practice clinicians and nurse practitioners. These clinics are not required to have a licensed physician on staff. And their normal office co-pays are designated by the insurance provider at a non-ER rate.
There are also some new hybrid centers like Legacy ER and Urgent Care. They are supposed to completely remove the guess work from the equation because patients can show up to one place and the doctors will direction their care as urgent or emergency based on their evaluation.
It may seem like doctors would always direct people to the ER so they could make more money, but the folks at Legacy claim more than 80 percent of patients who walk in the door are treated as urgent care patients.
Last, there are some important details to remember about Medicare and Medicaid. In general, Medicare doesn’t recognize these freestanding ERs and will not reimburse them for ER services. The exception is a freestanding ER which is a satellite of a hospital.
Note: the guy who posted this to the Coppell FB timeline is medical director at Legacy ER and Urgent Care in Coppell.

I have been hesitant to use any of the "urgent care" facilities because I have heard horror stories about care not being covered; based on this, I will feel more confident about using the "urgent care" places (especially when we're traveling) and know to ask at the entry for more details about what the charges will be. I don't know whether we can count on the "labeling" to include "ER" in the name outside of Texas.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Amazon CamperForce

A few months ago, I (Patti) listened to a webinar where the speaker talked about working with Amazon's CamperForce. Amazon hires campers to work in the period from September-December to help with the additional manpower needs at that time in their Haslett, TX, Murfreesboro, TN, and Campbellsville, KY locations. I decided that there was nothing to lose by applying... if I could get hired on in Haslett, it would be handy because it is near Fort Worth, so Dwayne could be close to places he knows while I would be working. Since we are thinking that we will be going to Alaska next year, and anticipating that it may be a little more expensive than our normal budget, the additional income could be nice. In addition, it would be totally different from any job I have ever done - or at least any job I have done since college. I would be working on a plant floor, picking and packing orders from Amazon customers. Physically demanding, probably not too demanding mentally, not a lot of creativity required.
http://www.amazonfulfillmentcareers.com/opportunities/camper-force/

The application process was "interesting" because one of the requirements was that you took a multiple choice test. This test seemed to have as its goal to determine how ethical a person you are. I would be really interested to talk with someone at some point at Amazon to see how effective the test is at weeding out those who are not ethical. I mean, even if you *are* someone who would see no problem with stealing things from your employer, would you really answer that "I might as well take it, everyone else does" on a test from a prospective employer?

I must have done ok on the ethical test, because a few weeks ago I was notified that they wanted me to take the next step, which was to attend a webinar. I attended it two weeks ago, and it was quite interesting as well. Some things I learned:
  • Amazon was founded in 1994 and has become the world's largest online retailer
  • They currently employ 150,000 full time employees at Amazon fulfillment centers across the U.S. as well as more than 100,000 seasonal employees during peak season
  • In 2008, one of the suppliers of temp employees hired campers (two couples) to work at an Amazon fulfillment center. Amazon noticed a difference in the behavior of those employees, and therefore prioritized this workforce in years following, from 2 couples in 2008, to 40 campers in 2009, to 1300 in 2010. The term "CamperForce" was copyrighted by Amazon to identify its seasonal camper workforce in 2012.
  • What was the difference? CamperForce associates achieve a 98% or higher attendance rate. The regular Amazon employees achieve 85%, and employees from temp agencies about 81%. CamperForce provides predictability. Once the Camperforce associates get there, they tend to stay through the season while temps have to be replaced 3-4x - which reduces their training costs. Veteran CamperForce associates are often used to train new associates.
  • These temporary seasonal positions pay an hourly rate, provide a paid full hookup site, and offer a season completion bonus.
  • The jobs are considered to be "physically demanding" - requiring the associates to be on their feet, walking or standing on concrete floors, for 10 hours per day. The normal work week is 4 10 hour days. Mandatory overtime is required during the height of the peak season (a 5th 10 hour day per week).
  • The wage is $10.75/hour, with a shift differential for other than daytime, overtime (anything over 40 hours/week) at 1.5x. If you commit to working through December 23 and work to the end of the season (12/23), then you will receive a completion bonus of $1 for each hour worked during the season.
During the call, I also found out that the Haslett location is full (primarily with returning CamperForce associates), so I would be offered a position at either Murfreesboro or Campbellsville. Evidently, as long as I think I can do the job, they are going to offer it to me. I will need to do a pre-employment background check and a drug screening.

So, about a week ago, I received the job offer for Murfreesboro. Dwayne and I are praying about whether this is the right thing for us to do.
  • Pros: 
    • we would be near Nashville (so Dwayne could "hang out" at times with our friend, Warren, while I am working)
    • I would get to see the inside working of an Amazon fulfillment center, which, since we order a lot from Amazon, would be interesting
    • I would also get to do a job very different from what I have done before
    • we heard from a friend that everyone she knows who has done CamperForce loses weight!
    • Dwayne may be able to help other campers with tasks at the campground - like walking dogs, doing laundry, maybe even making some meals - for people who work 10 hours a day, they may be willing to pay a little to have these things done for them .
    • If I work for them this year in Murfreesboro, I may get priority to get into Haslett for another year.
    • we would have a bit of additional funds to "play" with for the following year - to be able to help with ministries that we might want to invest in, or to help with expenses in going to Alaska or other things.
  • Cons:
    • physically demanding work that I am not sure she can do - but I can start preparing by walking more and more - which would be good regardless!
    • requirement to be in one spot for 2-4 months in the fall, and not a spot where we could also get other things (like doctor visits) done - which we were hoping for if we were at Haslett
    • earning money in another state... Tennessee does not have a state income tax, so we should not have to file, but it is something to consider (and another reason why Haslett was desireable)
So, we're seeking God's leading... if you're willing to pray with us for wisdom on this, we would sure appreciate it!

Monday, April 18, 2016

What makes RVing easier - apps, websites, services

We were talking today with our neighbors at the campground about apps and websites and services that make RVing easier, and thought we should share with you:
  • AllStays Camp & RV App on the smartphone - this app is great for finding WalMarts that allow parking, rest areas, campgrounds, RV services, Truck stop fueling stations, dump stations, propane sellers, warnings about low bridges and steep grades.
    • Patti recently signed up for AllStays Pro on the computer. So far, she is not finding it to be quite as nice to use as the app. Patti has communicated with the developer, and some of the features that she really likes on the app (following a route across the screen and seeing WalMarts or campgrounds all along the route) don't work as well on the PC web tool due to the different mapping software. She hasn't used it enough yet to definitively say whether it is an tool that she will continue to use or not.
  • GasBuddy - really handy to find out prices of fuel; with our fuel tank being nearly 300 gallons, even at 6.5 mpg average, we have a long range to our fuel tank. This allows us to bypass purchasing fuel in states with high prices. The only caveat: it seems that in Arizona there is a surcharge for commercial trucks that RVs don't have to pay - GasBuddy gave the trucker's price for diesel at truckstops, and the car price for diesel at other fueling stations (it is crowd-sourced, so it is based on what the users report). When we went to the truck stop, they had separate islands for RVs to use that did not include the surcharge.
  • GoogleMaps - it is great to have the ability to consider multiple routes between two locations, looking at different options of towns to go through, getting an estimate of the amount of miles and time to travel.
  • Smartphones in general - how wonderful to have all this technology at our fingertips - the ability to text each other or call to find out where to meet, getting emails without having to have the computer running, accessing the Bible at any time, anywhere. Hey guys - this is relatively new technology! Can't imagine being fulltime without cellphones, and the smartphone technology just adds additional help.
  • Bible app - we really like using the Bible on our smartphone. We had both always used a hardcopy Bible, and, in the past, would not have considered using an online Bible at church, but the Bible app is pretty much all we use!
  • The services that we get from the various clubs that we belong to: FMCA with FMCAssist (http://trekincartwrights.blogspot.com/2016/04/fmcassist.html) and rallies at which we have learned so much (http://trekincartwrights.blogspot.com/2014/10/six-state-rally.html, http://trekincartwrights.blogspot.com/2014/10/fire-and-life-safety-in-your-rv.html), Escapees with the Bootcamp (http://trekincartwrights.blogspot.com/2014/11/escapees-bootcamp.html) and Mail Service (http://trekincartwrights.blogspot.com/2014/12/escapees-mail-service.html), both of them with fora with people to help us out, or just to research what others have done. Also CoachNet for roadside assistance.
  • Amazon Prime - it is so nice to be able to get shipments within just a couple of days. And added bonus to be able to see a large number of videos for no charge.
  • YouTube - it is amazing how many how-to videos are out on YouTube, on every imaginable subject. And... Patti thinks that Dwayne has watched about 70% of them (just kidding!).
  • Online banking, notifications, ability to deal with most things online (with the exception of Medicare and the Medicare drug plan that Dwayne has - they communicate via hardcopy mail only - who would expect that?).
  • Unlimited data plan - enables us to use all these other tools!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Does anyone else have a problem when dating things on their birthday with writing the year of their birth instead of the current year? I do (Patti writing). In a similar way, I particularly remember people who are gone on the day of their birth - I celebrated that date with them for many years, so it is still associated with them in my mind.

My mom would have been 95 years old today. Each time I've seen the date today, April 17, I've thought of her. I'm so glad that God allowed us time with her on earth, but I wouldn't wish her back for anything! I'm thankful that she is healed and in heaven. So thankful that we'll get to see her again someday in heaven when we go to live with our and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

Since I have been scanning pictures in, you'll get a dose of "Happy Birthday, Mom!" with some of my favorite pictures of Mom.
I decided to include this one, not because I think naked baby pictures are all that great, but... it is the earliest picture I have of her (so appropriate when celebrating someone's birth)... and... my favorite part is the person (Granny?) trying unsuccessfully to hide behind the table. A larger black cloth may have made their efforts more effective!
 Does including naked pictures in my blog make me have to put a warning rating on it?
I have heard that people look so solemn in old photos because they had to hold their pose for so long, and they couldn't be expected to smile for that long. I'm guessing this is her 4th birthday cake due to the 4 candles, and I'm hoping that she was happier about her birthday and the cake than would be evidenced by the picture.

Mom LOVED having a baby sister. A lot of times, I cannot really see my Mom in the younger pictures of her. This picture of the two of them (Mom and Aunt Libby) really looks like both of them to me!

Jumping a lot of years - this is from her birthday celebration in 1976. My brother, Jimmy, was staying at Aunt Libby and Granny's while he attended Lincoln Technical Institute in Philadelphia. Mom, Regina, and I must have driven up for the weekend. I wonder who was taking the picture? I'm thinking that we might be laughing so much because we were trying some automated function on the camera.Front row: Mom, Granny, Aunt Libby
Back row: Pat (note that I automatically put my name in as "Pat" instead of "Patti"!), Regina, Jimmy

This isn't a birthday picture (in fact, it is a Christmas picture since there are 2 of the 3 wise men hanging on the wall over Mom's right shoulder) - but I love this picture because it shows her in the midst of uncontrollable laughter. There would be times that Mom got "tickled" about something, and she would start laughing, and there was nothing to be done but to join her in it! I love remembering her laughter! -- from 12/1987

Since I'm doing the pictures, I get to pick the pictures *I* like and this one makes me look still thin, so I like it a lot! This isn't a birthday picture either, t was from May, 1995, on Kauai, at a Ka'Eo Kai pot luck dinner.
Dwayne, Patti, Mom, and Aunt Libby

This is one of the last pictures I have of Mom. It was taken at Grace Presbyterian Village in the Oak Cliff area of Dallas, where she lived the last several years of her life. They provided her with such LOVING care while she was there. Her vision was severely diminished due to Macular Degeneration, so she no longer wore her glasses. Her mind wasn't clear either, but she was kind and loving to the staff as they were to her.

Happy Birthday, Mom! Thanks for the heritage of faith in Jesus that you gave us! I love you and miss you and look forward to being with you and Jesus one day!


Friday, April 15, 2016

Around Lake Park

This is such a pretty place - we are right at Lake Lewisville, but high enough up that this campground doesn't close due to flooding. When we were here in December, the water level was higher. It is still a little high now, but the walking paths and roads are not under water -- they are, however, not fully available as the city is repaving almost every road in the park and many of the sidewalks near us. I think the underpinings of the roads and sidewalks near us were damaged by the flooding.

On Thursday there were beautiful big puffy clouds that made the sky so beautiful. The lake was choppy as it was windy.
Welcome to Lewisville Lake - The Official Urban Bass Fishing Capital of Texas. Bassmaster Elite 50 2005.

Looking down toward the dam (it is kinda around to the right beyond that sandy spit of land)

On Friday, we walked the other way from the campground - the skies were less cloudy and the lake calmer.

We were walking down near an area that is marked on a map we got from the campground as a "beach" - we don't know whether the flooding took away the beach or if the lake is still so high that the beach is covered.

The campground is on the other side of that water behind the tree in the center.

Another view of the campground area - again, across that inlet of water.

Looking down toward the dam

Some pretty wildflowers - they were tiny, maybe the blooms about as large as a dime.

Warning: An average of 5 people drown in this lake each year. Don't become a statistic. Please wear a life jacket.

My honey enjoying the walk. We are on the flight path for planes coming in to DFW airport, so Dwayne LOVES that!!!



Thursday, April 14, 2016

Movin' on up the road...

Not really very far!

We moved to Lewisville Lake Park - still in Lewisville, TX.

We finished up the work to be done on the rig at National Indoor RV on Wednesday, called and found that the spot we had planned to move into at Lake Park was already available, so moved on up the road into it. We're still in the DFW area, so got to worship with our church family last night at MacArthur Blvd Baptist in Valley Ranch - SOOO good to be with our church family!!!

The next two weeks we have doctor appointments almost every weekday - some days have two appointments - for Patti, Dwayne, and for the kitty cats (yes, they get to see Dr Bill on Monday!).

We plan to be here until May 3 ...

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

National Indoor RV Center

We're spending a few days at National Indoor RV Center getting some fixes on the bus. Mike has already corrected several items for us:
  • he corrected a wiring problem with the FantasticFan so we can use it to pull air into the windows through the bus
  • he has found and corrected a leak behind the shower which may be the source of the tile seam expansion that we've been seeing
  • he has done the needed maintenance on the A/C units, so they should be in good shape for a while
  • he has tested the computer reading and output at the dash gauges and they seem to be consistent

One of the things that we enjoy here is seeing all the beautiful coaches around us:
These are rigs that are stored here and now prepared for the owners to come pick up.

Some of the "for sale" rigs here.

A Bluebird that is here for service.

A Prevost next to us here in the "campground".

A neat car here in the lot too!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Night owls and morning people

We, Dwayne and Patti, have always been "Morning People".

Patti remembers her Mom saying that she was so thankful when brother Jimmy went to school and then came home and taught Pat to read when she was 4 so she would stay in bed and read in the morning rather than getting up and coming to get in bed with Mom and Dad and wake them into uneasy slumber from 4am to first light. As a little girl, Pat would ask her Mom if she could go to bed at 7:30-8pm. Mom couldn't believe that anyone would want to go to bed that early. Patti's Mom and brother Jimmy were "Night Owls". They didn't like getting up in the morning but could stay up until all hours of the night.


Dwayne remembers being both a "Night Owl" and a "Morning Person" as a kid. He would climb out the window in his bedroom and roam around at night when he was just 12, 13, 14 years old. But he says he would still get up in the morning and get to school with no problem.

While working, Patti and Dwayne both worked early hours. Dwayne would start work at 6:30am, and Patti was usually at her desk by 7:30am. Part of this was because a lot of co-workers were on eastern time (or in Europe, for Patti) and so it allowed us to overlap on more of our day.

Then came retirement in May and July, 2014. Suddenly, both Patti and Dwayne stopped being dyed-in-the-wool Morning People. In fact, it is unlikely that we have seen a sunrise since we retired. When required to get up for events in the morning, we can do it, but... left to our own devices, we enjoy being slow about getting up in the morning.

Now, this doesn't necessarily mean that we don't *wake* up early in the morning; usually we do, and often we just enjoy reading our Bibles and checking out things going on in the world before we get totally upright for the day!

On the other hand, Patti's brother, Jimmy, seems to have become more of a "Morning Person". Maybe now that his getting up is so he can accomplish things that *he* wants to do rather than things that someone else assigns makes it easier to get up?

Have others of our friends changed from Morning Person to Night Owl or vice versa?

Friday, April 8, 2016

FMCAssist

For anyone who is the owner of a motorhome, bus, motorcoach, Class A, B, C - you should join FMCA - Family Motor Coach Association.

There are many benefits to being an FMCA member - but FMCAssist makes it worth the membership.

Benefits as documented on the website:

Highlights of FMCAssist include:

  • emergency evacuation/repatriation
  • emergency medical reunion
  • return of mortal remains
  • return of dependents
  • RV/vehicle return (limited to North America)
  • pet return.
You can read more about these on the FMCA website: https://www.fmca.com/benefits/fmcassist.html

But, let me tell you about a couple of examples that we've heard of while here at the Coaches for Christ rally:
  • The first one that we knew of was at the Six State rally in October, 2014, just after the benefit came into force - I wrote about it here: http://trekincartwrights.blogspot.com/2014/10/fmcassist-and-those-it-helps.html
  • Charlie Adcock, the president of FMCA, has shared about numerous other examples - where the primary driver of a motorhome has become unable to drive for some reason (broken leg, heart attack, hospitalization) - Seven Corners has worked with the parties involved and gotten the person home and their motorhome driven to the person's home location.
If you are an FMCA member, go to the website and print out your ID card:
http://www.fmca.com/benefits/3791-fmcassist-print-i-d-card.html

Make sure your family members know of this benefit (we need to make sure our family members know about it!) - they may be contacted if something happens to you or your rig and you're unable to deal with it. Make sure that they know that they can contact Seven Corners and the types of assistance provided.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Choctaw Casino

We are at the Choctaw Casino KOA RV resort for our spring South-Central Coaches for Christ rally. We were last here in October, 2014, with Miss Daisy, for a fall South-Central Coaches for Christ rally right after the South-Central Area Rally in Shreveport. We were so brand new to all things RVing then! This time, we are "co-hosts-in-training", AKA, I think Darline wants us to be ready to host rallies in the future - uh oh!!!

We got checked into the RV park on Wednesday, even though the rally doesn't actually start until Thursday at supper time. We are going to help Darline and George in any way we can - we (and others) helped carry things in from their coach and car this evening. While others who are also here went out for Italian food, we decided to head over to the casino since we had not visited it when we were here before.

When we checked in to the RV park, the guy at the desk told us that there was a free shuttle. We kinda figured we could walk it, but having dealt with being at conferences in casino hotels in Las Vegas, we thought it might be safer to take the shuttle because it was likely we'd be walking a lot when we got there. Dwayne had looked up eating options; often the buffet is a good deal in casinos, but the price on the website was showing $18.99 per person - that didn't sound like all that good of a deal. But, what's this? they have a $11.99 price for "Rewards Club Members". We are good at joining rewards clubs at grocery stores - how much harder could it be at a casino?

We headed over on the shuttle, and found the place to get our rewards club card right away. In addition to providing a discount at the buffet, it came with $10 "bonus" for free play at a slot machine. We weren't real sure about that, but started walking around. We found a non-smoking area of the casino that seemed to have some machines where we might be able to use our "free play", but decided to look for a place for dinner first. We walked past most (maybe all) of the restaurant options, and finally decided to go for the buffet.

The buffet was good - lots of choices. We both got a steak which, while a bit tough, was very tasty, as well as several other options off the buffet.

Then we decided we should go ahead and use our free play $10. We went back to the non-smoking area, and were wandering around trying to figure out where we could use the cards that the lady in the rewards club signup had given us. Patti finally asked a lady who was playing if these were "slot machines" and where the card could go, and she pointed to a spot at the top of the machine where we could put the card in. It turned out that there was a guy who worked at the casino there close-by, so he explained that we could "download" $5 or $10 to any of the machines, but then we could not take that money out, though we could take any of our "winnings". We had decided to play the nickel slots to make our $10 last as long as possible.

Patti started out, and with her $5 downloaded to the machine, probably took out about $0.20 in "winnings". Dwayne did a lot better with his first $5, taking out probably about $3. Patti then used her second $5 and Dwayne his second $5. We only spent the $10 we were each "given" as bonus for free play, taking any winnings out as cash back coupons. We are cheap (or frugal)! Once we cashed all our cash-back coupons, we had $13.75 which were our "winnings" from the $20 that the casino had originally given us. We figured our net was that our two buffets cost us about $15 - which was an ok investment!

We don't think we will ever be tempted to gamble - we learned a very basic lesson about how the house always has an edge many years ago when we were in Curacao. We had signed up for a "night life" tour from the resort where we were staying; they took us around town in a van. One of the things given to us was that each person got a ticket that we could play at the roulette wheel in the casino that they took us to. As I recall, there were 4 couples in the van. The lady from the resort asked us before we left the van if any of us had played roulette before. None of us had. She suggested that the wife put her ticket on red, and the husband on black, and one would win and one would lose, and we would then have played the game. So the 8 of us walk into the casino and stand around watching the roulette wheel. One couple screwed up their courage and the wife put her ticket on red and the husband on black, one of them won (so had two "chits") and the other one lost. So immediately, the other 3 couples all found their courage, put one on red and one on black, the wheel was spun, and it came up double-zero, which is green, not red or black, so we all lost!!! What a terrific lesson for us to know that the house always has an edge!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Fort Richardson

On the day that Sam and Doris took us to Herd's Hamburgers, they also took us by Fort Richardson just for a quick look.
Fort Richardson as partially reconstructed in 1956, Established by the United States War Department on November 26, 1867 as a protection of the frontier against hostile Indians. Named in honor of General Israel B Richardson, U.S.A., killed at Antietam, September 17, 1862. Abandoned May 23, 1878 as the line of settlement had passed westward.

Walking up to one of the reconstructed buildings - this one had interpretive displays about the history of the fort and the area.

Reconstructed post hospital building
There were a number of campsites at the state park - they looked very nice and had good privacy between campsites.

We had thought we might make it back to visit more, but we didn't make it this time!

Visiting Bowie and Montague County

Tuesday Patti had the enjoyment of visiting with a blog reader and Trek owner, Karen. We have been emailing each other for a while, during the time that Karen was a Trek wannabe and then owner. We had tried to hook up to visit once before, but it finally worked out while we were at Bay Landing.

Karen came by and met Miss Doozie, and then took Patti to Bowie for lunch and to see a community where she owns land on the water in Silver Lake Ranch. Silver Lake Ranch also has a spot for RV hookups for owners and guests of owners in the community.
We went to Bowie for lunch at a wonderful "tea room" type restaurant in an antiques store, Nostalgia. Highly recommended!!!

The main street in Bowie - neat looking shops - a place to come back and visit!

Inside Nostalgia, you couldn't ever see everything there. Even if you stared at one part of the store for a long time, you would still miss things!

Dolls and medicine bottles on the wall behind

Tin ceiling tiles behind a bike hanging from the ceiling
 
Another bike hanging from the ceiling - and an S&H Green stamps sign. Patti remembers pasting the stamps into the books and looking through the catalogs for things that we could get!

This large plate reminded Patti of plates her family had when they moved to the farm.

All the boxes on the shelves were player piano rolls!

An interesting collection of board games - most of which we had not heard of previously - "Rock 'Em Sock 'Em", "The Hardy Boys", "Little House on the Prairie", "Patty Duke", "The Partridge Family", "Laverne & Shirley", "The Flying Nun" - we knew the TV shows but had never known there were board games for them!


Glassware on a counter near where we sat for lunch.

Mural on the wall above brought to mind the chicken farm that was near here.
From a Bowie, TX website, http://www.cityofbowietx.com/index.aspx?NID=172
Mr. Mose Johnson established a small chicken hatchery in 1904 and from this small beginning developed the largest White Leghorn Chicken Ranch in the world.
Karen's friend, Carolyne Ledbetter, met us for lunch - she is in real estate with Ledbetter Realty in this area - I would recommend that anyone looking for property contact her! She really seems to have the heart of the area.

After lunch, we drove through Silver Lake Ranch - a beautiful spot, though I would like to avoid driving on "suicide hill"! Maybe ok in the Jeep!

I also got to meet "Max" and enjoy his antics when hunting for mice - wish I had gotten pictures! Karen did send me a few pictures - and here's one of Max with their cattle:
Max the dog is a sweetie!

What a fun day! So glad to have met Karen in person! Thank you, Karen, for sharing these special folks and places with me!