October 29 – November 28
We were Texans once. In fact, Ethan was born in the Lone Star State. Our goal for Winter is to spend some quality time where we used to live, and then stay as warm as possible in the hill country.
Before we can check off Texas on the camping map, we need to scoot through Oklahoma. Our reservations in the DFW area don’t begin until November 1st, so we have a little time to kill. Our token Oklahoma stop is a two night stay in the Turkey Flats campground in Arrowhead State Park. A very nice lake and another peaceful spot with hardly anyone about.
Tucked back into the trees of Turkey Flats
“I Smell Bacon” is a cute little diner in Eufala, OK. It looked to be our best bet for lunch one day and yes, we did have bacon. (Sorry for the weird crop job on the photo. Making them smaller to save space on the blog website sometimes results in things getting chopped that aren’t intended and I’m too lazy and too far behind to go back and re-do them.)
The funniest part of that stop? I looked at the gas station next door as we were leaving. Yep, it’s really and truly named “I Smell Gas”.
Pat and Jackson at the Texas welcome center on I-35. We picked up sacks full of hill country tourist brochures.
For lunch that day we saw a billboard that perked us both right up. And I heard those three little words every gal longs to hear….”Welcome to Moes!”. Yes, the long Mexican food drought is officially over. I know it’s fast food Mexican, but that’ll do for now.
We decided to stop at Lake Ray Roberts for our first night in Texas and camped at Isle Du Bois Campground right on the lake. That left us with about 70 miles to our Arlington destination in the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex. We need a short drive and our wits about us to navigate that spaghetti mess of highways in big Lucy. I studied hard and figured out the least painful path to Treetops RV Resort in the heart of the city.
Friends, Food & Retail
This is the shopping mecca we’ve sorely needed. The RV park in Arlington is only a block from a Super Target, three blocks from a huge mall, and close to every restaurant and craft store I can name. Normally we wouldn’t want to be that close to so much commotion, but it gets us near to lots of friends and reasonably close to Wendy and her family. I need me some Wendy time, and she’s hosting us for Thanksgiving, too.
But first, some of my favorite work buddies who live in the area meet me for a Mexican dinner. Celeste, Ann, Kelly & Rayna all pose for my camera. Ann took a pic with me in it, but my eyes were closed. This one was much better since all the friends were included. I haven’t seen them since my retirement party, so it was good to catch up and hear about all the current projects and stuff I’ve worked hard to forget.
We were lucky enough to be in town for Wendy & Dave’s wedding anniversary and they invited us to join them for a night out in downtown Grapevine. Such a fun couple. They were so good to me back when I was in Texas and Pat was still in the Navy in Virginia. I was at their house all the time back in the early nineties. On this particular evening, we sampled wine flights, ate fru-fru snacks and enjoyed live music at a local wine bar.
This stop was also a chance to reconnect with our old friend Nancy. We met her at church in Irving at least 25 years ago. Ethan came along after that and then her lovely daughter Lauren. We have such cute pictures of them playing and smooching as toddlers. This is a shot from our bowling outing. Fortunately we all stink at bowling, so it was great fun.
This month-long stop also involves LOTS of eating out. Taco Cabana, Saltgrass Steakhouse, Cheesecake Factory, Pei Wei, Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, Blue Goose Cantina, Mi Cocina, Firehouse Subs, Jimmy John’s, and the list goes on. We love it, and the dining out budget is blown.
And then there’s retail. I make the rounds to all the craft stores – Michael’s, Hobby Lobby & Joann’s. Wendy even joins me for a card making class at Michael’s. We’re also able to finish off Christmas shopping and visit Kohl’s and the Amazon pop-up store at the Parks Mall. (I got a Kindle Fire for Christmas). This is also our opportunity to binge on Amazon Prime orders, and we’re able to finally buy a replacement convection oven at the local Camping World. Now we can bake cookies, cakes, and biscuits again without firing up the propane oven.
Our biggest purchases, though, are a new mattress for us and a new memory foam bed for Jackson. I’m much less anxious about purchasing Jackson’s bed online than purchasing our own. Unfortunately, Jackson doesn’t really like his new bed, but at least we love ours. Here’s the thing. Just how do you get rid of an old mattress in a campground? Toting one to the dumpster is a little obvious, so Pat hatches a plan. He buys a $10 bolt cutter at Harbor Freight and we proceed to dismantle the mattress spring by spring. A few hours and two contractor bags later, we are rid of the old mattress.
The RV park didn’t have a lot of places to walk Jackson, so we ended up strolling through close by neighborhoods. Veteran’s Memorial Park in Arlington turned out to be the best place for him, with both paved and dirt trails, a duck pond, and some beautiful memorial statues.
Jackson also makes a new friend at Wendy’s house. Grace’s new puppy, Heineken, is even more shiny than Jackson and full of energy. She’s crazy energetic! Grace is on the floor in this picture since she’s recently had knee surgery and this is the safest way to play with these two nutty dogs.
Once upon a time, Wendy was a scrapbooking buddy of mine. It’s been a while since we were able to do any crafting together, but we’re able to set aside a Saturday for some creative fun. I agree to bring the stuff we need and she’ll provide the kitchen table. Her daughter Grace joins us, and together we all try a technique called a dirty pour. With a You Tube video and acrylic paint at the ready, we get messy.
Here’s the mess we made with our acrylic pours.
Here’s Wendy’s canvas….
And the hands-down favorite created by Grace. Loved this purple canvas so much! We also made a bunch of cards and had a great time.
Over a year ago I’m on the phone with Wendy while we’re RVing in Florida, and I have a brainstorm. This is when I proceed to invite ourselves to her house in Texas for Thanksgiving. We’ll even fly Ethan in I say. And the date is set. Thanksgiving 2017 is finally approaching and we’re awaiting our boy for a week.
The whole Iverson family on Thanksgiving Day. Also, Ethan and the girls – Grace, Marina & Erin. Finally, me and my good buddy Wendy. It was a grand day at her house with the whole family. We ate like kings and she did her best to school me on making gravy. I was able to make a sweet potato casserole and a corn casserole in the new convection oven to contribute to the meal.
I think Ethan’s favorite moment of the day was driving Wendy’s Tesla. That’s his dream car.
Our Family Christmas Outing
Starting when Ethan was four, we got season tickets to the children’s theater at Casa Manana in Fort Worth. It was his first exposure to live theater and we all loved it. He used to say we were going to an “act out”. When I started planning our Thanksgiving week of activities, I noted that the children’s Christmas play was opening for the season. He was game for attending so I got tickets. The rest of the families were bringing their children, so here I am with my boy. What fun we had at ‘Santa Clause the New Musical’.
Ethan actually got to spend 5 nights with us in the motorhome and we had such a great visit. We relaxed, ate out, and we even did a little shopping. Ethan and I always enjoy clothes shopping together. Jackson was thrilled to have his boy “home” for the holiday, too. It’s a little cozy in Lucy with the three of us and Jackson, but seems to work fine for short visits. Plus, Ethan seems to like small spaces just like we do. It’s our first Christmas without Ethan this year, but such a grand Thanksgiving surely helped.
Next up, we bug out a few days early to head down to Houston to meet up with old friends and a new baby. See you on the way!