Thursday, November 5, 2009

I Just Got Back. The Last Two Days....

Too tired to write right now.
Had one heck of a couple of days.

It is now Friday, the 6th.  I have slept in my own bed , and I feel much better.
The cats are having their 'house and porch time', which they have missed for the last 2 days.

On Wednesday, 4th., my friend, Duncan, came to pick me up on his way to San Antonio where the RV is that I wanted to see.  He travels north in the summer time, and comes back to TX in the winter.  Smart thinking!!
I have always wanted to do that, and be a "sunbird".  He tows a very heavy trailer with stamping machines in it, so that he can earn money while on the road.
Here he is with his new puppy, Smokey, with lovely blue eyes.
We weighed Smokey while they were here, and at 12 weeks old he weighs 36 lb!  Smokey played with some of the dog toys here, and some other things that aren't toys, he is still very much a puppy, and has to be watched constantly.

The trip to San Antonio was mostly uneventful, except Smokey was seen chewing on Duncan's new PC, fortunately it was just the label.  Then he chewed the rubber off the handle of my little backpack on wheels. We caught up on news of mutual friends, and admired the TX countryside.

Duncan decided to drop the trailer at the flea market where he will be working this weekend.  It is about 40 miles from where he parks at his friend's house when in that area.  San Antonio is supposed to be the most 'spread-out' city, and I believe it.  When he got out to pay for his site, I was walking Smokey, on my late dog's leash which I always have with me, the engine in the TranVan died.  Right there at the pay kiosk, and blocking traffic.

After several tries to get it going again, a Bobcat , frontend loader, no, not a Bobcat like mine, came to tow us out of the way.  As soon as they got the chains hooked up to the TranVan, that is when the TransVan realized that we were not going to drop the trailer that it had been towing for 6,000 miles, so it might as well start.  We left the trailer in position for the weekend, and headed on to his friend's house. After thought is that it was some kind of vaporlock, as it ran fine from then on.

The Wide One, 22-1/2' wide B+ RV that I had gone to see was parked nearby, and had been sitting for 6 months.  So we jump started it, and the 360 Dodge sprang to life.  The first thing I did was get in the driver's seat, as it was the width that I was concerned about.  The cab is 14" wider than the regular van cab on a Class B or C.  It felt like it was a Class A, and I don't do well with them anymore, as my depth perception doesn't like the width between the mirrors.  I wanted a small RV that I could use as a daily driver when needed, in case my van was down, and this wasn't it.

If I could have overcome the width problem, which I doubt with my old eyes, there were some raggedy things about it. True to it's era, the cupboard doors, and several other parts were made of fiberboard, and a lot of it, and the upholstery, needed replacing. No biggy for me, but with Jay on another binge, I don't know when it would get done.  Ray and I could do it, but it is still a lot of labor to pay out.
Then it had a problem with the steering column, and that had been jerry-rigged.  One had to push or pull this add-on stiff wire lever, and it had three positions, not marked, and if you got it wrong, the ignition would be constantly in the starting position, or you would kill the motor.  Not something that I wanted to take on for the long trip home by myself, and I told them so.

Duncan and I drove miles and miles to the nearest restaurant, and had a very good BBQ dinner at Bill Millers, and then all the way back to the RV at his friend's house.  Duncan' got his computer online, and we checked bus schedules for my return.   It had been pre-arranged, that no matter what, that I could sleep in the Wide One that night, so I had a sleeping bag with me, and I had picked up the first one that I could find.  Duncan loaned me a couple of the dinette cushions out of the TranVan, as there was no mattress in the Wide One.

We plugged in the Wide One, but we couldn't get the 110v. on it to work, so no converter to power the inside lights. The house battery was dead.  Fortunately I had a little flashlight with me.
It has a bed across the rear, and it did feel a bit closed in, with the fridge on the one side and the bathroom on the other side, with just a narrow aisle in the middle for me to see down to the front of the rig.  I scooted down as far as I could, as I like to 'see out', and not be in a hole looking at a wall.  I even switched ends with my sleeping bag, but it didn't help.  Maybe I don't want a rear bed after all?  Or if I did, I would one that runs lengthways, not crossways?

The Wide One was parked so that it was way off level in both directions, so I was slipping and sliding in my satiny covered sleeping bag all night.  Well, until 5.00 am, when I had to get up for Duncan to drive me back into San Antonio.

Thurday, 5th. November.

We got to the bus station early, and my 'flight' was to leave at 7.20 AM.  Another bus was leaving at 6 something, and I wanted to get on it, but the Bus Man said that it stopped at all the watering holes along the way, and that if I got the 7.20 I would get to Houston 35 minutes earlier than the 6 something.  Stopping at several places on the way is my preference, as it gives one time to walk around frequently, and prevent DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis), and it makes the trip more interesting, too.
As there would be a chance that I would miss my connection in Houston, I waited for the 7.20.
Duncan and I went to the bus station restaurant for a couple of cups of coffee, and we were amazed that 2 Smalls were $3.44!  I hate to think what a Medium or Large were.

A Bus Man came and helped me with my big bag, and took it outside to where the bus marked 'Houston' was.  Suddenly I was nearly bowled over by a rush of people dragging their wheeled suitcases off that bus, but I patiently waited for the driver to come and get my ticket.

Then I asked another Bus Man, "Isn't the bus leaving late?". Come to find out that every one had got off that bus, as it was going out of service, and been transferred onto another bus, and left me behind.

The Ticket Lady was apologetic, and authorized a free phone call to Ray, so that I could let him know what had happened, but still made me pay a $15 (cash, no cards), ticket change.  And no receipt.  Later, when I looked at the ticket to see how long the layover would be in Houston, I went back, and the Ticket Lady said to me "We are confused today, aren't we, it's on your ticket".  I refrained from sloshing her one.  When I handed it to her, she turned as red as a black lady can, as she had given me my old ticket back.  Then, as she just wrote the times on my old ticket, I wondered if that is how she financed her hair straightening and dyeing.

Anyway, I had to hang around San Antonio bus station until the next bus at 12.20.
The lockers were down, so I was carrying everything around with me for 5 hours.
I watched CNN until I had seen so many repeats that I was sick of it.  Carried everything outside and sat on a bench 'people watching', and to watch San Antonio go by.  There were even local busses with bike racks on the front, what a neat idea.  Back inside again, 'people watching', and there were some weird ones, and back outside, you get the picture.

After the fiasco with the $1.72 coffee, I dragged everything across the street, and bought a BBQ chopped beef sandwich at another branch of Millers BBQ place we were at the night before, for less than a cup of coffee at the bus station. $1.61!!  There must be at least 50 Bill Millers BBQ branches around there.

I stuck like glue to all the folks that were getting on the Houston bus, and made it this time.  It went non-stop to Houston.  Then I had a 2-1/2 hour layover there.

So more watching CNN, people watching, and wandering outside in a fenced area that was off one of the gates.  Amazed at two morbidly obese mothers barking orders with their mouths full, to their skinny children. I couldn't go far, as in Houston they search you like you are going on a plane.  The Searcher broke one of the zippers on my back pack, and I didn't know it for quite a while, so I hope I didn't lose anything important. But my camera, and cell phone charger were there.
Speaking of cell phone chargers, I had only packed my 12v. one.  I didn't need to use it on the way down, but as I couldn't charge my phone in the Wide One that night, I was getting dangerously close to low.  I needed to save what I had in case I had to call Ray.  The Bus Stations have a free charging place for travelers to charge phones and laptops, but it is 110v. only, that is a very nice convenience for travelers.  Reminder, if I EVER get on a bus again, have 110v. charger with me, too.

There were foam hand santitizer dispensers at both bus stations.  I am not usually that persnickerty, but with that bad flu going around, and being with all the crowds, I used them a lot.  Plus I had a little bottle in my fanny pack, too. I hope I dodged that bullet.

The bus from Houston arrived in Conroe late, even though it was traveling on the HOV lane, as the traffic was often backed up.  But I was never so glad to see that white roof on my van, with Ray in it. He drove it back to Willis, as it was dark, and he told me that the cats were fine, but Bobcat had been looking for me.
"East and West, home is best".  "Home" can be your RV, or a stix and brix, just wherever you are comfy.

So there is the account of the last couple of days.

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