16-23 March 2015; Touring, Family, Fun, Birthday, Rodeo, Music

We’ve been so busy having fun, it has been hard to squeeze in time to do a post. Here I sit on the most gorgeous day sitting in the sun on my iPad blogging…it’s about time, right?  After my early wake up on the 16th, the rest of the camp finally woke up and we headed to enchanted rock state park.  It is apparently the largest rock formation besides stone mountain GA in the US.  At least that’s the lore…Uncle Rick is likely the most correct in stating it is just a big rock.  We hiked for the most of the day, and it was a blast. We drove through some of the gorgeous hill country on the way, and stopped in Sisterdale, TX to tour the small Sister Creek winery which is located in an old cotton mill.  We didn’t taste any, as it was quite early, but the history of the place was awesome.  They built the winery around the old cotton mill.

The Sister Creeck Winery in Sisterdale.

The Sister Creek Winery in Sisterdale.

Terri and Aunt Lois outside the winery.

Terri and Aunt Lois outside the winery.

A view from the inside.  If you are ever in the area, stop in and take the self guided tour.

A view from the inside. If you are ever in the area, stop in and take the self guided tour.

Enchanted Rock was a great time, and provided some much-needed exercise.

At the top of the rock looking over the Hill Country.  Local lore says that the moons reflection off this huge rock lights up the sky for miles around.

At the top of the rock looking over the Hill Country. Local lore says that the moon’s reflection off this huge rock lights up the sky for miles around.

Terri and I did our civic duty in making sure some of the boulders stay where they are supposed to be.

Terri and I did our civic duty in making sure some of the boulders stay where they are supposed to be.

We were lucky enough to be close to Luckenbach (population 3) but could not find Willie, Waylon and the Boys.  There was some great local entertainment, and the beverages were cold.

Back side of the General Store/Post Office/Bar.

Back side of the General Store/Post Office/Bar.

Outside the dance hall...deposit ur butts please.

Outside the dance hall…deposit ur butts please.

Big old Cypress by the river in Luckenbach.

Big old Cyprus by the river in Luckenbach.

What a great day!  We were wiped out when we got back, fired up the grill and played some cards.  Early to bed, as Terri’s mom and sister were arriving the next day.

We hiked and biked on Tuesday morning, as the rain was rapidly moving in.  We got to the airport in great shape, and had the new arrivals back to camp in plenty of time for Uncle Rick’s famous chicken in a pot…he is a master at cooking with cast iron and charcoal.  We caught up on everything we had missed over the past few months, then hit the rack so we could spend some time in the morning sun before more rain arrived.  We stuck around the camp ground for the day, playing ladder toss (also called something else) and eating way too much.

Oh yea...when we were coming back from the airport on Tues...this guy was strutting his stuff at the entrance to the park.

Oh yea…when we were coming back from the airport on Tues…this guy was strutting his stuff at the entrance to the park.

On a bike, down by the river!

On a bike, down by the river!

Testing the pulled pork we were having for dinner while playing Testical, err, I mean Ladder Toss.

Testing the pulled pork we were having for dinner while playing Testical, err, I mean Ladder Toss.

Thursday was an early rise, as we were headed to San Antonio to see the Alamo and the Riverwalk.  This was a blast for me, as I hadn’t seen this area since the early 90’s.  They have really done a nice job sprucing this downtown area up.  We had a great time, but I don’t need to head back again.

Back at the Alamo...what great TX history.  We spent a great amount of time talking to one of the park volunteers about this rich history of this state.

Back at the Alamo…what great TX history. We spent a great amount of time talking to one of the park volunteers about the rich history of this state.

It was about lunch time when we got done at the A Alamo, and the Buckhorn Saloon had free rides, so Shirley and Lois went in style.  This guy biked them right into the saloon...at no charge!

It was about lunch time when we got done at the Alamo, and the Buckhorn Saloon had free rides, so Shirley and Lois went in style. This guy biked them right into the saloon…at no charge!

One of the oldest operating saloons in SA, this place had good food, and plenty to look at...two museums inside as well.

One of the oldest operating saloons in SA, this place had good food, and plenty to look at…two museums inside as well.

The girls got a good shot with the local Cowboy...

The girls got a good shot with the local Cowboy…

We took a nice stroll along the Riverwalk to walk off some of our lunch, and ended up at a nice spot to listen to some music.

The river is still a little green from St Paddys Day.

The river is still a little green from St Paddys Day.

It was a great day all around, and we got back to the camp in time for some rain, food and cards.

Friday was Pat’s birthday, but before that, Uncle Rick and I had some issues to attend to with his fifth wheel.  If you’re a bit queasy when it comes to subjects like “poopology” skip this part.  When we got back to camp on Thurs night, Rick mentioned that his toilet wouldn’t drain.

Tech Tip:  Investing in a clear section that attaches to your sewer hose when dumping is a must.  We realized Rick had an issue, we just didn’t know to what extent.  Rick, Lois and I headed up to the dump station in the morning hoping that there was just a small blockage that would come out when we dumped.  We attached the clear section, and noted there wasn’t much coming out, as Rick had just dumped a few days earlier.  This was not good…and the toilette was still not draining.  I had read a lot about this in the past, and the usual suspect for these types of incidences is that either you are not using enough water when you flush when you use paper, or you are leaving your black tank connection open when hooked to sewer…both no no’s.  Our rule is at least ten seconds or more of flush when you use paper.  The type of paper is very important too.  Many people use the expensive RV paper sold at camping stores, but we have found that any single ply septic safe paper will break down as well as any “special” RV paper.

What we think happened is that after a late fall trip last year, Rick didn’t get the tank completely drained.  When you have to winterize in WI, you need to make sure it is completely drained (hence the clear attachment) and make sure you have treated the tank.  What likely happened is there was still a bunch of paper and “stuff” in the tank that dried out into a commonly called “poop volcano” over winter.

So…how to attack this?  Well, we used several methods.  The first was a coat hanger down the toilette, which helped a bit….we didn’t have a snake, yet.  After that we used his on board flush system which got quite a bit out.  The next method was to fill the tank as much as we could and add some chemicals, then take drive.  We had to take a drive anyway, as we needed a snake and wanted to find something to attach to back flush the system.  A trip to the local Home Depot proved valuable.  When we got back to the dump station, we snaked a bit, then drained and the toilette finally drained, A little. We then flooded the tank from below with and attachment we fashioned with some parts from the Depot.  This seemed to help as well, and we were starting to see some progress in the toilette draining consistently.  We did several iterations of filling and dumping and snaking and got more old stuff out each time.

The hard part about Rick’s particular system is that the toilette drain is not a straight pipe into the black tank, so it’s tough to get to the tank from the top.  I’ve read on several blogs that one method of “scrubbing” the inside of your tank is to dump about 20 pounds of ice down the poop shoot and take a drive.  This allows the ice to essentially scrape the inside of the tank.  So, we bought some ice, but had a heck of a time getting it into the tank due to the elbow under his toilette.  But we apparent got enough in.  After a twisty, turney, bumpy ride, we were back at the dump station.  We topped the tank off and flushed it a couple of times and “apparently” solved the problem!

Enough of poopology 101…bottom line…use lots of water with paper, use a clear connection when you dump to make sure all that nice stuff is out, and use your tank flush system until everything runs clear.

Whew…onto something more palatable, huh?  After all, it was Pat’s birthday!  We headed into Fredericksburg and had a nice German meal, followed by a great evening of entertainment at the Rock Box.  We saw musical Impressionists who were all very good at what they did.  Where else can you see George Straight, Elvis, and Shenia all at the same place on the same night??

Pat got a nice Strudle for her birthday.

Pat got a nice strudel for her birthday.

A very nice venue and the price was right.

A very nice venue and the price was right.

 

Pat got a nice birthday hug from the King!  He was really good!

Pat got a nice birthday hug from the King! He was really good!

Well, it rained almost all day Friday and Saturday, and we had planned to go to the Rodeo in Bulverde on Sat night, and we watched the forecast all day.  We made a trip to Camping World in New Braunfels to buy some RV stuff, then ate at a nice local country place near the camp ground.  Prices were great and the food was even better.  Probably the best country fried steak I’ve had in a long time.

The weather was clearing, so we rushed back to the camp ground, changed and headed to the Tejas Rodeo.  This is a “must do” if you are in the area.  Every Saturday night from March until the fall.  I love the small rodeos with the local guys and gals.  They put on a great show.

Had to use four wheel drive just to park...it was quite wet.

Had to use four-wheel drive just to park…it was quite wet.

I love the way they start all the Rodeos here with a prayer and a great tribute to our country.

I love the way they start all the Rodeos here with a prayer and a great tribute to our country.

Either they'd had really good Bulls, or very young Cowboys, as only one cowboy made it the full 8 seconds.  An 11 year old took the barrel racing competition with a time equal to some we saw in Houston!

Either they had really good Bulls, or very young Cowboys, as only one cowboy made it the full 8 seconds. An 11 year old took the barrel racing competition with a time equal to some we saw in Houston!

Yesterday the sun appeared again!  We headed into Gruene, TX.  We were lucky enough to be able to listen to Bill Kairchen and his band of two others at the Gruene Dance hall.  Lois and Rick have seen him down here several times, and it was well worth it. He is likely the best guitar player I’ve heard.  His rendition of Hot Rod Lincoln is something you have to experience in person…he does montages of every genre of music during the song…everything from Aretha to Deep Purple and all between.

Bill Kairchen

Bill Kairchen

After Bill completed a set, we had a wonderful meal at the Grist Mill in Gruene.

Today is gorgeous.  We took a nice long bike ride this morning, and will fill the afternoon with cards and some beef on the grill later on.  Terri’s mom and sister leave tomorrow.  It has been a blast having them here, and the time went much too fast as is usual.

Entrance of our park after our 9.5 mile ride.  The first half is all up hill...the second half is much more enjoyable.

Entrance of our park after our 9.5 mile ride. The first half is all up hill…the second half is much more enjoyable.

What a week!  As always, we hope this finds you Happy, Healthy, and living your Dreams!!

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2 thoughts on “16-23 March 2015; Touring, Family, Fun, Birthday, Rodeo, Music

  1. Great blog today! I laughed through the tech tips (as usual) and the importance was not lost. I had a 28′ motor home back in the late 80’s (before going to Saudi Arabia) and have ‘fond’ memories of all your trials and tribs. More to come, I’m sure. Glad you are having a great time exploring with family and friends!

    Liked by 1 person

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