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.

21 comments:

  1. Boy, not seeing it in person, that is a tough ID. I'd lean more toward a whimbrel by the length of its bill. Seems a little early for either of those species to be back from nesting up north, but shorebirds do migrate earlier than passerines.

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  2. Now I'm leaning back toward whimbrel too... So wishy washy ;)
    Great to have you back! Phae looks like she's ready to re-enter the atmosphere from outer space. Nice job space pilot Mui.

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    1. Miss wishy-washy ... that's you. I'll fix tomorrow ... unless I have a close encounter and can see the top of its head ;-)

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  3. We've had good experiences with Cummins Coach Care and we don't even have a Cummins engine. We have a Cat. The only downside was they didn't have any Cat filters in stock even though they service them. Fortunately I carry several spares so I supplied them.

    We did the same thing with the reflective insulation and it works good both in summer and winter. Those big windshields let in a lot of heat and cold. What a difference it makes. :c)

    Great daily price at the Navy CG. We're here in a Navy CG in NJ and it's $25/night. Still not a bad price but it makes quite a difference when you're stay for a month and a half.

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    1. Ahh, but remember ... you're paying east coast prices ;-)

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  4. Next time I see you, I want a lesson in how to read weather radar for breaks in storms to slide through like that. I am very impressed. Free laundry could sell me any time. Free laundry, I can't get over that. $2.00 a load in the commercial campground we were just in. Love Mui's avoid the heat inventions. We have a reflective shield that friends gave to us for our front windshield and it makes a world of difference. But it isn't custom made to cover every square inch like Mui's. Really well done.

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  5. So nice to read your entertaining posts again; I've missed them. One suggestion: You might want to point your Phaeton northward to cooler territory. As much as I love Texas, I don't think God intended for us to be here in the summertime.

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    1. Alas, no travel plans for the immediate future THIS summer. But you never know. After all, that's why our house has wheels ... we can always change our minds if summer at the beach proves too much of a challenge ;-)

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  6. Good to hear from you two again. Hopefully, the temps will cool down a bit for you. It's pretty nice up here in the northern states. We're in ND right now and I believe the nighttime temp. is about 56 right now. Sorry, just had to rub it in. Welcome back!

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  7. We've recently used Cummins Coach Care in Nashville and would highly recommend them also. They appear to have a great business model.
    We are firm believers in ONLY traveling across Houston on a Sunday morning :)
    You are brave to stay there in July and August! Way too hot for us!

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  8. If you are a Elk's member and want a cheap day or two in Houston, check out the Stafford Elk's. It isn't gorgeous but the people re very friendly and you can't beat the price.

    Enjoy your time back in the USA.

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    1. Good suggestion, but we are not Elks members.

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  9. If you have any reflective material left, use it to line your upper cabinets. I read about this in one of the magazines. I keep all our food in the upper cabinets on one side of the MH. I lined the backside and ends with this material. It is amazing how much heat it keeps out since our window awnings aren't that high. The nice part is that all you have to do is cut it a hair larger and you can just push it in and it holds itself since the they are lined with carpeting. Quick and easy!

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    1. Funny you should mention that ... we were just talking about how much cold and heat seeps in through the cabinets and drawers and that perhaps we should add some insulation there as well ;-))

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  10. I guess I wouldn't expect the famcamps to be gorgeous, just cheap! Welcome back to the daily grind. LOL

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    1. Actually, we've stayed at some pretty nice famcamps ... this is only the second one where we found things needed tidying up.

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  11. I, too, laughed at the mention of Rudy's and our first experience with Texas BBQ. Yes, my ears were ringing! I miss you guys to say the least. Glad you are back in Texas...and my favorite part of that NAS was the free laundry, and like you I was glad I didn't have to use their bathrooms. We didn't spend a lot of time in camp however, because we were visiting FRIENDS! in the area. :) Also, those breezes you mention were more like real winds back in January, and not quite so welcome. So good to have you around again and glad you will soon be back home in your gorgeous pad down the road.

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  12. I remember those hot, humid, sweltering days, good thing the breeze helps a bit. We were guest at a fancamp in GA, campground could have used a bit of work but we were there to see friends so didn't matter to us.

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  13. Love your post, especially the jackrabbit photos. It does look like she might have little ones nearby!

    We're off to Galveston and have tickets booked for the NASA tour in Houston (two days worth of tickets!). We are looking foreward to Volksmarches morning and evening and NASA on Monday and Tuesday. Here's hoping the pesky rain stays away. (Currently says 20-30% chance for next week.)

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  14. Welcome home! Cute jackrabbits.

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