Time Flies …

Saturday, 26 July
Martin Shields Campground — NAS Corpus Christi, Texas
Temps: LO 80F (27C) / Hi 91F (33C) … Feels like 106F (41C)

Time flies when you’re having fun!  At least that’s how the old adage goes.  I’m here to tell you that time flies whether you’re having fun, or just doing chores and living life.  It sure doesn’t seem like we’ve been here at Martin Shields RV Park aboard NAS Corpus Christi for a week, but the calendar says otherwise.

To say that it’s been hot here would be an understatement.  The temperature gauge itself hasn’t risen above a humid 94F (34C) … and that was just for a couple of hours on one day.  The feels-like temperatures, on the other hand, have been sweltering — ranging from 104F to 107F (40-42C).

The good news — the campground overlooks Corpus Christi Bay.  That means the breeze is constant, making the heat quite bearable.  So, we’ve actually been quite comfortable, managing to get out for our daily walk in the mornings — granted, we do so at 6:30a when the temp is only 80F (27C)!  And when the shade hits our patio in the late afternoon, we can sit outside … that’s a bonus we weren’t expecting!  Since the bulk of our days have been spent doing post-travel chores, being inside during the hottest hours of the day has not been onerous.

Sunset at Shields RV Park aboard NAS Corpus Christi.                

This will be a catch-all post to make the blog whole.  That means I am going to go back to the day we arrived in Houston after our summer vacation overseas and come forward from there.

Thursday, 17 July … Welcome Back to Texas

The timing of the thunderstorms that greeted us in Houston could have been better, but at least the weather cooperated long enough for our plane from Washington DC to land without delays.  We’d arranged for a very special ‘private limo service’ to pick us up from the airport … actually, our friends, the Zs, were kind enough to drive down to Houston to give us a ride from George Bush Intercontinental to the storage facility where the Phaeton was awaiting our return — thanks, guys!

Since we have solar panels to keep the batteries afloat,
we rented an outdoor spot at the storage facility.

The solar panels we had installed a year ago once again kept the batteries afloat and the Phaeton’s engine purred to life on the first try.  Not so lucky with the toad.  As was the case when we left it in storage last year, the batteries of the CR-V were dead!  Mui suspects the small solar panel he installed is simply not sufficient to float the car batteries; he’s going to look at alternative solutions.  Anyway, the Zs came to our rescue and gave the toad the jump it needed — thanks, guys … again. 

While Mui went about getting the coach road-ready, I mapped out our route.  It was at about this time that the worst of the thunderstorms hit the area.  No problem, I switched my ‘navigator hat’ for my ‘weather officer hat’ and checked the local weather radar for a break in the storm for the short drive to Cummins Coach Care in north Houston.  I must have done my job right as nary a drop fell until after we had pulled under the canopy at the service facility ;-)

Since we had towed the car to Cummins instead of driving it after we got a battery boost from the Zs, the CR-V needed another jump before we could get on the road again.  No problem — the Coach Care guys had a portable battery jumper to give us a boost.  With instructions from the tech to drive for an hour, we headed off to the Sheraton North Houston for an overnight stay.  Of course, it didn’t take us an hour to get to the hotel, so Mui waited in the car with the engine running, while I checked us in.  That done, we went for an aimless drive in the area for another half hour.  Actually, the drive wasn’t that aimless — we were looking for a place to have an early dinner.  Though we found some options, nothing really tickled our fancy, so once we’d fulfilled the instructions from the Cummins tech, we returned to the Sheraton and had dinner in the hotel restaurant instead — wasn’t half bad!

We wrap up our “Welcome-back-to-Texas” day in a comfy room at the Sheraton North Houston.

Friday, 18 July … The Phaeton Gets a Check-Up

A good night’s rest … a great breakfast at the hotel … and we were ready to pick up our nomadic lifestyle, even though the Phaeton has been quite stationary this year.

If there was nothing wrong with the coach when we picked it up from the storage facility the day before, why did we take it in for service?  Well, regular readers will recall that the annual maintenance we planned to have done at Cummins Coach Care Houston in May had to take a backseat to resolving an intermittent “water in fuel” code instead (post here).  Better late than never, the service on the engine, chassis, and generator was all completed today — and very satisfactorily, I might add.

I didn’t take any photos at Coach Care today, so this one from May will have to do.

When we arrived around 9:30a, the Phaeton was already in for its ‘check-up’.  There’s no visiting of the service bays here, so Mui had to patiently wait in the customer lounge with me.  But he was kept apprised of what was happening on a regular basis — both the service manager and the service foreman came out several times while we were there to give him updates.  Based on our experience — both times — we would not hesitate to recommend Cummins Coach Care Houston.

Except for the different outfit I’m wearing, this photo could have been taken today!

Given a clean bill of health, we left Coach Care around 3:30p — perfect timing as the afternoon rush hour was not yet underway.  By 4:30p, we were set up in site 802 at Advanced RV Resort, which has become our Houston base.  While I did some light housekeeping, Mui went off to Costco to begin the process of re-filling the Phaeton’s larder.  He loves to shop, so I assure you this was no hardship for him ;-)

The photo doesn’t do Site 802 justice; it is more spacious than it looks here.

Sunday, 20 July … Moving south to Corpus Christi

Didn’t really do anything blog-worthy on Saturday, so I’m skipping on to the next day.  Eagle-eyes might have noticed that the subtitle says Corpus Christi and not Port Aransas, where our home-pad is located.  That’s because our site was rented; hence our week at the Shields RV Park at the naval air station.

We were on the road by 8:30a.  And what a pleasure it was … traffic was non-existent and we made really good time getting out of Houston even though our chosen route to get to US59 took us through several urban neighborhoods.  By 1:15p, the 232-mile (371 km) drive was behind us and we were settled into
site 51 (50 Amp FHU for $18/night).

Site 51 at Shields RV Park aboard NAS Corpus Christi.

After setting up, we headed off to get a bite to eat.  To celebrate being back in Texas, we went to Rudy’s for some BBQ!  If your ears were ringing, Sue and Mo, it was because we were reminiscing about what newbies we were when we went to Rudy’s for the first time with you last February.  Showing none of the ‘we have no idea how this works’ hesitancies that marked that first time, we got in line and placed our order like we were old hands at eating Texas BBQ … in reality, it was only our second time ;-)

Tummies sated, our next stop was at the commissary on base to pick up groceries and whatnot to complete the replenishment of the larder.  Chores … starting on Monday … after all, Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest, and that’s what we did once we returned to the coach.

Back to the here and now … and a week past

The first three days of the week were spent unpacking; doing laundry; putting away our Arctic gear — until the next time we find ourselves heading to the polar regions; cleaning the rig and making it habitable after 50 days of being in storage.  Thursday, we took care of appointments, including our bi-annual visit to the dentist.  Have no idea where yesterday went — some accounting work somewhere in there — and here we are at Saturday, which is into the evening hours already.  I told you — time flies.

13-lined ground squirrels run around the campground in a feeding frenzy all day long.

As I mentioned above, it’s been hot here, but the saving grace is the breeze.  Today we have winds strong enough to rock the coach, but for the most part the breezes have been gentle.  They’ve been quite welcome; especially when we go out for our morning walk.  Without a breeze the humid, sticky temps would have kept us from getting our daily dose of exercise.  Or from sitting outside when the patio is in the shade.

From pinks and mauves …

… to golds and oranges … colorful sunrises accompany our morning walks.

An unexpected bonus … we get to sit outside when the patio is in the shade.

Despite the high temps, we’ve been quite comfortable inside the coach.  The MCD shades have been great at keeping the sun and heat at bay.  So much so that our two AC units haven’t had to operate around the clock to keep us cool.

That said, we’ve taken to heart the warnings that the worst of the heat is yet to come in August.  Mui picked up a roll of reflective insulation from Lowe’s and made a windshield shade that we placed on the dash in front of our MCD shade.  He bought the 2-foot wide roll and pieced the shade together, which will allow him to fold it into a smaller roll for storage.  He also used the same stuff to cover the skylight in the bathroom — can’t use the hatch cover since I didn’t want to remove the drip-dry station (post here) from the shower stall; and placed a piece behind the blinds in the window in the bathroom.  That our proactive steps have helped keep us as comfortable as we’ve been goes without saying.

Piecing together pieces of reflective insulation, …

… Mui creates a sun shade for the windshield.  May not be pretty, but it gets the job done.

Now for some thoughts on the campground.  To be frank, I’m torn about this place.

On the positive side, we have a level, concrete pad that is quite wide.  The spacing between the sites is best described as oversized — even if the layout of the sites is ‘odd’.  The laundry has four fairly new washers and dryers … and they’re FREE — I got through a mountain of laundry in record time using just two of the four machines.  Although almost completely full, the campground is quiet.  And critters abound.  Aside from the usual shorebirds near the water, we have long-billed curlews whimbrels poking around the campground looking for tasty morsels; 13-lined ground squirrels running around — the babies are especially cute; and jackrabbits cavorting and playing chase with each other when they aren’t busy munching away.

LONG-BILLED CURLEW
THE CONSENSUS FROM THE TWO BIRDERS I KNOW IS THAT THIS IS A wHIMBREL …
WHO AM I TO QUESTION THE EXPERTS ;-)

“My, what big eyes and ears you have,” said the human to the black-tailed jackrabbit!

On the negative side, the campground is in need of a lot of tender loving care.  I can understand that the grass isn’t lush, and that there are bald spots and weeds … Texas is in a drought after all.  But the roads in and around the campground are cracked and rutted; the washrooms are in sad shape — I’m glad we don’t have to use them; and several of the buildings nearby are in a state of disrepair.  In fact, one would be excused for thinking that the base is slated for BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure).  That’s certainly not the case, but whatever funds are coming in are obviously being directed towards the mission of the base and not towards MWR (Morale, Welfare, and Recreation) facilities.

Our Hilarious visitor!  This jackrabbit comes to visit every afternoon.
I don’t know if it is in the ‘family way’ or has just given birth …
haven’t seen any leverets around … but its teats are quite full.

The cons aside, should we be in the area and our site be rented out, we wouldn’t hesitate to stay here again.  In fact, the big, free laundry facilities alone would draw me back here after we return from any long-term off-the-road travels that might be in our future ;-)

We have one more day here before we pack-up and move to our home-pad at Gulf Waters RV Resort down the road a bit.  I’ll be back once we’re settled in.

They’re Baaack!

Sunday, 20 July
Martin Shields Campground — NAS Corpus Christi, Texas
Temps: LO 80F (27C) / Hi 92F (33C) … Feels like 105F (41C)

Yes, we’re back.  In fact, not only are we back in the US, but in the past four days, we flew from DC to Houston … got the Phaeton serviced while there … stayed two nights in the area so Mui could get his Costco fix … and drove 232 miles (371 km) to Corpus Christi today.  We will be staying at the Shields Campground aboard Naval Air Station Corpus Christi until renters vacate our Gulf Waters site at the end of the month.

That we had a terrific vacation goes without saying.  Those of you who might have taken a peek at our Two to Travel blog already know how we spent the past month and a half.  For the rest of you — a summary ... we visited family in Turkey; explored Helsinki, Finland; made a day trip to Tallinn, Estonia; and — drum roll, please — attained the North Pole aboard a Russian nuclear icebreaker!

As you can imagine, we’re exhausted — pleasantly so.  But before the R&R begins — and I get back to blogging — there are chores that require our attention.  And so, we begin to ‘live life’ again ;-)

Still on Hiatus, but …

Monday, 9 June
Turgutreİs — Muğla, Turkey

… I couldn’t resist a quick post when I saw this ‘classic’ Class C parked at the timeshare I’m staying at with my family.  It’s odd enough to see an RV anywhere in Turkey, but to see it parked next door to us struck my funny bone.

10 days down, 14 more to go before we leave Turkey.  In the meantime, Mui continues to oversee renovations at his mom’s house in Ankara, and I’m off gallivanting with my family.  I think I got to better end of the deal.

OK … putting this blog back to sleep again ;-)