Archive for the ‘Texas’ Category

A Sad, Sad Day-June 25, 2011

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

Dear Faithful Readers,

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I  know you all must wondering why we quit writing so many blogs this last year.  The website is called R-V There Yet?  But the real link to this blog is www.tinka.net.  Many people think that I, Tinka, write this blog.  I can not take credit for it as Rick is the creative writer in the family.  It was my idea to start and write this blog when we first started traveling in the RV but it wasn’t long before Rick’s creative juices started to flow and he wanted the job.

When we first started traveling it was easy to come up with ideas and blogs to write because we had lots of fun adventures to describe.  This last winter it became harder and harder to come up with creative subjects.  There definitely was a reason and one that Rick did not really want to dwell on too much in the blog.  Lot of our family and friends knew what was going on in our lives though.

I have put off writing this particular blog  for several months because I knew it would be so very sad and painful for me.

Rick passed away on June 25th, 2011.

We had spent most of the winter going to doctors,  to chemo and fighting cancer.  Last fall Rick had a colonoscopy and they found a malignant tumor which was removed successfully.  We felt very lucky that it was found in time .  But the doctors said Rick needed to take chemo as a precaution in case the doctors had not gotten all the cancer or left even one cancer cell.  We spent most of the winter sitting in the Oncologist’s chemo lab.  Rick had an MRI and it showed that Rick had 2 spots on his lungs.  Until the doctors could do a biopsy we would not know if they were malignant or not.

In the spring Rick was finished with chemo and they said he was free of colon cancer.  The doctors decided to do a biopsy of the lungs and found the 2 spots were malignant.  Besides this Rick had several other problems with his lungs.  First, he had been a smoker and the MRI showed he had COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) which includes emphysema in the right lung and bronchitis.  The pulmonary doctor gave him a breathing test and it showed he had a problem with exchanging carbon dioxide and oxygen.  The doctors decided to remove 1/2 of his left lung which contained the malignant spots.  The surgeon came in after the operation and said Rick was cancer free.  After staying in the hospital for a few days Rick came home and was doing fine.

Then he started having trouble breathing.  He was not getting enough oxygen and then his heart would start pumping very fast to get oxygen to his heart.  Even with oxygen from a machine he was having trouble.  Besides all those problems they decided the colon chemo had damaged his lungs.  The doctors were going to do a tracheotomy to help with his breathing.   They had to wait a few days to do this as he was on Plavix which is  a blood thinner.  But Rick’s  heart just could not handle the breathing problems and it just gave out.  He passed away on June 25th.  We had his memorial on July 9th in the Dallas area.

We all face many tough times in our journey through life.  This is the toughest one I have ever faced.  He was my best friend,  soul mate, lover, confidant and my strength.  All the goals and dreams that Rick and I shared have vanished.  I suddenly lost the future that we had together. It is hard to accept that he is gone.  There are days I think he will show up soon.  We are told we are not supposed to ask WHY but I do.  WHY Rick?  He was too young to die (65 years) and I am too young to have to live without him forever and use the old  word “WIDOW”.

I have a lot of decisions to make now.  I know the saying “Not to do anything the first year”.  But I have  more decisions to make than most.  We sold our house when we began RVing.  (1) I never learned to drive our big 5th wheel.  I know that some women do drive 5th wheels but my opinion is that the driver (man or woman) needs another set of eyes to help drive.  I certainly helped Rick while he was driving.  (2) It wouldn’t be as much fun traveling around by myself.  Part of the fun was sharing the experience together.  (3)  Do I want to trade the rig in and buy a house?  (4)  Where do I buy a house?  The most logical place would be in the Dallas area where our kids and grand kids live. (5)  I do like the warm weather in the winter time in South Texas though.  I am sure as time goes by I will decide what to do.  But no matter what I decide I won’t have my precious Rick beside  me.

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I have a couple of blogs to write after this.  This blog will be left up for a week or so and then I will post  a new one.  After that I will try to post one or two every month for a while.

I thank all the readers who have been with us during our travels.  Rick and I certainly had a great time and hope you enjoyed the ride with us.

Rick, thanks for all the great blogs you have written.  I know you are in God’s hands now.  I hope you are in peace and can breath easily and not in any pain. Give a hug to your parents, Nelle and Walt, and your brother, Bob who we all lost in the last few years . Rick, you will never be forgotten!!!!!!!  I love and miss you so much.

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 Rick had a great sense of humor and always made me laugh.


Beware The Refrigerator Recall

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

Click for Weslaco, Texas Forecast

Many of us in RV’s were faced with a recall of our Dometic Refrigerators a couple of years ago.  Well, the cure can be worse than the disease.   The recall resulted in replacement of the cooling unit of the refrigerator.  It turns out that there is a technique to replacing the unit without damaging the inside wall of the refrigerator.  In our case, and others we’ve encountered, the inside wall was damaged just below the cooling fins.  This allowed the condensation to drip between the inside wall and the outer case.  After 3 years of this,  the plywood floor decking started to give underfoot.

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The problem lies in the fact that the floor is on the slide out.  The carpet, refrigerator and associated cabinet had to be removed.

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The plan was to replace the damaged section of the floor with a patch of 5/8 inch plywood.

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And then we added another layer of 5/8 inch plywood on top and fused the two layers together with glue and anchor screws.  The inside edge is tapered at about a 30 degree angle to facilitate the blending of the carpet once it is reinstalled.

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The refrigerator cabinet had to be modified to allow for the extra layer of floor.   Then it is a matter of replacing the carpet.

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Well, as long as we were at it, we decided to replace the carpet that was covering part of the kitchen, and the linoleum that covered the rest, with hardwood flooring.   After the carpet was removed, a thin padding covered the floor. (Notice that the refrigerator cabinet has been put back in place in the upper left corner.)

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Lay the wood down, add a little trip and BINGO, there you go. (Click on photo to enlarge)

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The key to the entire project was repairing the leaking frig.  The crack was sealed with caulking and the condensation now flows to the outside via the drain hose.

Before you get really impressed, another key to this repair was finding someone with limitless talents and the proper tools.  We did with Jerry Dietrick.  Two tools that came in handy were Jerry’s multi-tool for critical sawing and my pneumatic brad/staple gun.  A table saw was used to remove 5/8 inch from the refrigerator cabinet sections.

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Not only did Jerry make most of the repairs and modifications, but he and his wife washed and waxed the entire rig, taped the slide-out edges, and applied UV protection to the roof.  We were lucky to have them available.  They left to return to Iowa just after they finished our project.

If you have had a refrigerator cooling system replaced, be sure to check the back wall of the frig to be sure that it is not leaking.   If it is, get it fixed before you have a major project.

Bay Fishing, A Three Hour Adventure.

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

Click for Port Isabel, Texas Forecast

Here’s a fun afternoon.  Trying to stay clear of Spring Breakers, a group of us from our park headed off on a group fishing expedition.

Located on the mainland side of the bridge between Port Isabel and South Padre Island, we met at the Dolphin Docks.

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It is located across the street from the Port Isabel Lighthouse, which was built in 1852.

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At 2:00 PM we boarded our boat for a three hour tour.  Thankfully the boat wasn’t the SS Minnow.

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We headed out and went under the bridge and moved north in the bay.  The bridge is undergoing maintenance and upgrading to a sturdier structure.  A few years ago, a barge hit the bridge and two center sections of the span dropped into the bay.  Ferries were placed into service while the bridge was repaired.

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We had a hazy view of South Padre Island. They are hard to see, but there are the constant planes overhead toting signs for the beach-goers.

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Finally we anchored and began fishing with an endless supply of shrimp for bait.   We lined the rail and waited for the ferocious bites to ensue.

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Unfortunately for us, no bites.

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Others were luckier.  No huge fish, but one lady caught a stingray that put up quite a fight.    Most of the fish caught were fairly small, but some people might have made a meal of them.

As a group we were able to negotiate a price of $8.00 a piece instead of the normal $20.00.

After we were safely back in port, we headed to the island to have dinner at Daddy’s, one of our favorite restaurant.

The Birds Are Coming!!!!

Sunday, March 20th, 2011

This time of year we feel that we may have been transported into an Alfred Hitchcock flick.  Well,  maybe not that bad.

We seem to be overwhelmed by grackles of various types.  It isn’t really as bad as it looks.  They seem to stay on the power lines and don’t interfere with much else.  During the day, they spend their time in the newly planted fields picking seeds.  It’s a mystery where they are during the rest of the year.

We used to see flocks of these birds at the San Antonio River Walk, but they seem to have been reduced by some means or another.

Click on the picture below to see an interesting video of their behavior and the incredible noise that they make. The format is for Real Player.  If you need that viewer, go to http://www.real.com/realplayer.

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Sour Grapes

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

Click for Weslaco, Texas Forecast

It may seem like sour grapes to everyone that has suffered a miserable winter so far.  But we, in extreme South Texas, have been really blessed with some of the best weather in the country this winter with high temperatures in the mid 70’s to upper 80’s until just recently.

That is until the past two weeks.  Here’s where the sour grapes come in.  In the past 10 days, we’ve had three nights where the temperature actually dropped below freezing.  One night we actually hit 26 degrees.  Most of the winters here only drop below freezing one or 2 times. and for a short period of time during the night.

We have resorted to covering our hibiscus and other tender plants. When you drive in all the neighborhoods everyone has covered all their tropical plants. (Click on picture to enlarge.)

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What we call extreme temperatures in this area are truly a problem for many of the local residents in South Texas and Northern Mexico.  Many of the residents homes aren’t equipped with proper heating and there isn’t a wide abundance of winter clothing.  One of the main industries is farming such as all the oranges and grapefruit, vegetables you eat and sugar cane  Thankfully, these cold snaps don’t last too long.  If South Texas has a cold winter (or a few days below freezing) you, the readers, pay for it by higher prices at the grocery stores.

It looks like we’ll be back in the 70’s and 80’s within the next couple of days.  We now hope to see a lot more crops being planted and growing.