Left Sam Houston Jones State Park at 9:00 this morning and headed for Houma.  Got home around 1:00.  Pulled in the driveway and my animals went wild.  The dog could see out the window and knew we were home.  She jumped down from her seat and started barking.  The cats also came out from their hiding places and were meowing. 

Got out of the coach and unlocked the front door of the house then went back to get the dog.  She ran into the house and sniffed everything as if to say, "Yes this is mine."  Went back out for the cats which I usually have to coax out of the vehicle but this time Caiche came up to me at the door and I picked her up and took her inside.  Went back for Bunny who always gives me a hard time but she also came right up for me to carry her inside. 

I think they took this confinement the hardest.  They love to run up and down the stairs and play chase and also are allowed out in the back fenced in yard every morning.  So they really missed that, I'm sure.  I opened the back door for all of them to go into the yard while I unloaded the coach and that's where they stayed for a good while.  When I finished, I sat on the screen porch and watched them play in the yard.  It felt good to be in my chair, on my screen porch, surrounded by my art work and a cool breeze blowing in.

Once everything was out of the coach I went upstairs and took a very long hot bath in my tub.  Ahhh... how I missed my tub.  I've never really liked showers.  I prefer a good long soak in lots of bubbles.  Yes, that's what I like.

Went to Burger King and got a whopper.  My first burger this month.
My neighbor came over and we opened a bottle of champagne (the one I took to Texas but never opened) to celebrate my return.  She brought her doggie over so he could visit with Xi Shi Quan.  They really like each other and usually take walks together in the afternoons.  I think he missed her while we were gone.

It's good to travel and get away but I always like coming home.  And just in time for a cold front coming in tomorrow which means it's Chicken Gumbo File' time.  I'm looking forward to lighting our first fireplace fire of the season.  I had so hoped to have a campfire on the beach in Texas but it just didn't happen.  So tomorrow I'll light one in the outside firepit and have the neighbors over.  We can have a drum circle and chant and just be silly.

It's so good to be home.


Gas = $431.07 (2 weeks parked)
Food = $177.77 (ate out twice)
Parks = $517.46
TOTAL= $1126.30

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Woke up this morning at 5:30 and just lingered in bed till sunrise.  Too many dark clouds were blocking the sun so I didn't take any photos.  Had coffee and then took the dog for a last walk on the beach.  Had breakfast then headed out around 9:30 this morning.  Set the GPS for Lake Charles and arrived around 2:00.  There was only one spot left open for one night only and I took it. 
I rode around trying to find spot #36 but could not find it.  As I was riding through the park I noticed 2 girls from New York I had met at IB Magee Beach who stopped to chat with me about Red Tide.  Now here they were in Lake Charles.  What a surprise.  I stopped and chatted with them for a minute.  Then I saw rangers and flagged them down and asked to be escorted to my site.  I followed them and when we got to the spot there were 2 pickup trucks parked in my site.  The ranger asked that they be moved and they were.  I backed in and just plugged in the electric.  Didn't even hook up the water.   
I guess I failed to realize that during a holiday week and all the kids being out of school that the campgrounds would be full.  I'll know better than to travel during Thanksgiving week next time.
There must be 175 kids per camper in this campground.  I swear.  I tried walking my dog on the paved road but couldn't.  One little boy even yelled at me to move the dog out of his way as he peddled his bike and barely missed her.   If it hadn't been so late in the afternoon I would have left.  I'm only 3 hours from home but am tired driving.  So I went back inside the coach and that is where I'm staying till we leave in the morning. 
The magic I felt here when I passed through on my way to Texas is definitely gone.  The TV sets are all blaring some football game and every man within a half mile radius is hootin and hollerin for their team.  I hate sports of any kind so you can imagine how this is affecting me.  Those that are not watching the game are blaring their music for all to hear.  Can't wait to get out of here.  What a drastic change from the peace I found on the Texas beaches I just left behind.
Oh... and did I mention mosquitoes? 
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Had a great night’s sleep on Magnolia Beach. Had my bedroom window open and the waves were rolling in and lulling me to sleep. I got up around 8:00 and missed the sunrise but was probably my best night's sleep of the whole trip.  Took a nice long walk with the dog and then had breakfast.

Packed up and left Magnolia Beach, TX around 10:30 this morning and arrived in Surfside Beach, TX around 1:00. The campground was filled except for one spot so I took it even though it was near the highway and not the beach. I can still see the Gulf from my front door so I’m happy.

The manager informed me that there is a free beach I could camp on overnight a bit down the road but it was isolated and I might not feel safe. I will ride that way tomorrow and check it out.

Parked and got hooked up and then took the dog for a walk on the beach. It’s cold so I had to come back for my jacket. There were a lot more people on the beach today than when I was last here. Took some photos and sat for awhile. I really like this place. Just wish it wasn’t so expensive. $42 a night is just too much but I splurged and don’t regret it. Just being able to look at the cute manager is worth it.

I’m thinking about heading for Lake Charles, LA tomorrow instead of stopping at Turtle Bayou RV Park near Wallisville, TX. That will make it a long driving day but if I can do it maybe I can stay 2 days at Sam Houston Jones State Park in Lake Charles. I really liked it when I stayed there on my way through to here plus I get it for half price. Then I’ll be home on Sunday as scheduled.
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Left Port Aransas around 11:30 this morning and arrived in Magnolia Beach around 2:00.  Parked near the water and set out my rug, table and chair.  Had lunch and relaxed.  The air was cool and I could breathe without coughing.  It was great.

I really love this spot.

I parked away from all the other campers.  There were a lot more motorhomes here today than the last time.  They were all parked by the shelters.

I met a really nice couple from Germany who had their motorhome shipped here.  They have been touring the country for the last 6 months.  Their coach does not have a generator or a fresh water tank. 

Several other people stopped by to chat while walking their dogs.  A very enjoyable afternoon.

Tomorrow I'll be heading for Surfside Beach, Tx.

A nice evening glow on the horizon.

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On my eve of departure to return home, I have some thoughts.
Traveling can be brutal on the psyche.  It puts us off balance.  It forces us to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends.  The things that are familiar to us while traveling are sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky, the mountains, nature in all its glory.  I take comfort in that.  I also take comfort in the fact that I am traveling in a home.  Everything in my motorhome reminds me of home.  No matter where I've stayed I have always felt that once I entered my coach I was in my home away from home and felt at ease.  
I believe that travel is more than just seeing sights.  It brings a change in us that will go on.  A deep and permanent change in the way we think of living.  In a way, travel opens our eyes to new ideas of how to live life.  Our world is filled with beauty, charm and wonder.  There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.
I look at adventure as a path.  Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces me to have firsthand encounters with the world.  The world the way it is, not the way I imagined it.
Sometimes on this path I collide with the world and discover things that are not pleasant.  For instance, when I have to deal with the discovery of limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that I also am capable of both.  This can change a person.  
In my mind, the greatest reward of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time.  Traveling in a state of wonder is where almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.  A sunrise or a sunset is seen as if for the first time.
Another thing I like about traveling and meeting new people is that when you’re traveling, you are what you are right there and then.  People don’t have your past to hold against you.  No yesterdays on the road.  Just the wonder and curiosity of Now.
Once I have traveled, whether long distances or just within my state, the voyage never ends.  It is played out over and over again in the chambers of my mind. The mind can never break off from the journey.  And if my mind is not able to recall as it once did, I have my cherished photographs. 
Lake Charles, LA
one night

Livingston, TX
one week

Surfside Beach, TX
two nights

Magnolia Beach, TX
one night

Oceanside RV Park - Magnolia Beach, TX
one night

Tropic Island RV Park - Port Aransas, TX
one week

IB Magee Beach - Port Aransas, TX
two nights

IB Magee RV Park - Port Aransas, TX
two nights
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Last night was not a good night for me. It soon became clear that it was indeed the Red Tide making me and my Shih Tzu sick. I coughed all night long till about 4:00am when I closed all the windows and turned the generator on for AC. Then I finally got to sleep 3 hours. It seems the closer we are getting to our cool front coming in the worse the air is getting.

I couldn't believe this guy was out here this morning with his oxygen tank.  That's really loving the beach.

This morning I packed up and moved to the RV Park across the sand road from the beach. I’m behind a huge sand dune so will be protected from the wind gusts that are predicted to be around 40mph. The air is still toxic and I cough once outside so I’m spending a lot of time in the AC.

The view through my windshield.

Chris and Donna came by to pick me up for lunch in town. Donna brought her two dogs and took them for a walk on the beach. She doesn’t seem to be bothered by the poor air quality. Chris and I are very sensitive to it.

Chris and Donna

We went to The Fins restaurant which is next to a marina and had lunch. I had the crab cakes, Chris had the shrimp, and Donna had calamari. We skipped dessert.

Went walking around Robert’s Pier and took photos. It’s really pretty in that area and I enjoyed the time spent with Chris and Donna. Both are fulltimers and have many interesting stories to tell.

One massive fishing boat.  If you go early in the morning you can buy fresh shrimp off this boat.

This is a very familiar sight to me.  My grandfather was a fisherman and parked his boat in the bayou in front of our house. 

Cute little boat.

Adorable little Shih Tzi we met along the way.

Another cute doggie.

I’m glad Chris and Donna will be keeping in touch this winter. They are nice people and have a lot in common.

I wasn’t bothered by the air quality at the pier. Once back at my coach I walked the dog and then returned to the AC. Tonight I’m still coughing some even though I’m inside. So it must really be bad on the beach. When the wind shifts it will be better but I’ll be gone. Still planning on leaving Wednesday.

My little Xi Shi Quan.
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Another great day at the beach.  Woke up early to this sunrise.

Cooked a great breakfast of bacon and eggs, toast, and orange juice.  Then we went for our morning walk on the beach.  There were lots of folks looking for shells left by the high tide.  I already have so many so I didn't look.

Had a nice visit with my neighbor who is from Minnisota and spending the winter here on the beach. 

Started a new book and sat outside most of the day.  Put my chair in the sun so I could work on my tan.

My little doggie is not feeling well.  Yesterday she went swimming in the Gulf and licked at the water.  Last night she started sneezing and couldn't stop.  This morning the same thing.  She didn't want her breakfast and didn't want to go outside.  I just figured it was a cold because dogs can get colds.  The Gulf was really cold and she got really wet.

Today when I spoke with my neighbor who is a retired nurse she told me that her dog was doing the same thing.  She thinks it's the Red Tide making them sick.  I did notice my throat was burning a little today.  Not enough to make me want to leave but noticable.  

Tomorrow we move into the campground and away from all this wind so maybe my doggie will feel a little better.

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Left Tropic Island Resort and checked in to IB Magee Beach Camping for two nights at $12 a night.  It is located on the northern most point of Mustang Island in Port Aransas on the ship channel and consists of 167 acres. There are 75 campsites.  There were quiet a few motorhomes on the beach and I found a spot near the main office that I liked. There is another solo woman traveler next to me from Minnesota. She will be spending the whole winter here on the beach.

I couldn’t wait to get out into the wind and waves. Xi Shi went wild when she saw the beach. I tried to video her going crazy and got a little bit of it. She absolutely loves the beach. We both do. All of my wondering and waiting has been worth it. I just love it here. Spent the afternoon walking the shoreline and sitting on my chair in the sunshine.   There were some guys parasailing right in front of my coach and it was great fun watching them.

Chris came over for a little visit and we walked our dogs along the beach. As the sun began to set we were getting a little cold and damp from the salt air so Chris went back to her campground and I came inside to clean up and have supper. I cooked last night so had leftover shrimp and crab spaghetti. It was great. I was so hungry. The beach always makes me so hungry.

I’m running the generator right now so I can write this blog and use the microwave. My fridge is doing fine on propane. I filled up on water before leaving the campground so I’m good to go.

I took so many photos of my campsite that I will have to upload them little at a time over the next few days. I’ll be going into the IB Magee RV campground on Monday night as the winds are going to be about 30 mph and I don’t want to be on the beach during those gusts. Then the weather is supposed to clear up and I might come back to the beach for a couple of days.

Looking out my window tonight and seeing the Gulf and hearing the waves breaking so close to me... well... I just couldn’t be happier. My joy was rising the minute I parked my coach and steped out onto the sand. This is wonderful. This is what I came to Texas for.

I’ll sleep well tonight.

Peace out

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
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Very quiet day today.  Stayed in and finished the book I was reading.  I'll be checking out tomorrow and heading to the beach.  It's been a long week for me here at this campground.  I had no idea how long the Red Tide was going to last so paid for a week.  The Red Tide left days ago and I've been inland instead of surfside waiting patiently for Saturday to come.   So tomorrow I return to my planned itenerary of staying on as many beaches as I can while on this trip.

I had hoped that all of us solo ladies who met up here in Port Aransas would have been able to gather around a fire near the surf under a full moon and share life's experiences but our paths seem to have gone in different directions.  I guess it wasn't meant to be.  

I may be a week late but I'll be there tomorrow night with bells on.   

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Home Sweet Home.

We FINALLY got the keys to our new house on Wednesday after months and months of waiting. On the one hand it's all very exciting but on the other it's rather stressful. The good thing is we've had a few days to clean and paint before we have to move boxes and furniture in so we've not been tearing our hair out too much. Plus we have enlisted the help of some friends tomorrow to help with some heavy lifting.

via Etsy

We've got a list as long as our arms of things we need to buy and do, but hopefully with the weekend coming up and a few days off work next week we should get settled quite nicely.

Our new place is a 3 bedroom/3 bathroom townhouse with a lovely big back garden which will be perfect for the dogs and for us in the Summer. I can already see some BBQs in the pipeline!

My shop will be closed until I have unpacked my craft things in my new craft room (eep!) so please do check back if you were wanting to buy something.

I'll be back soon! :)
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Went shopping in Rockport today.  Left around 9:30 this morning.  Chris had to take her doggie to the Vet so I tagged along.  While she was at her appointment I walked around the cute little street lined with colorful shops.  Bought a few trinkets (wind chime, shells, jewelry) and visited an art gallery. 

I love wind chimes.

We then went to a very nice restaurant near the marina.  Had the soft shelled crab and baked potato.  Dessert was bread pudding with whiskey sauce.  It was delicious.  Went to a grocery store for a few items then back home around 2:00.   Took a nap and had leftover shrimp for supper.

Some views from our restaurant table.

It was fantastic weather to be out and about.  However, the temp will be going up tomorrow. 
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Staying in one spot for a week is restful. I have time to do things. I continue to practice meditation daily and concentrate my energies on the here and now and letting go. I paint my water drawings and watch them disappear. I let them go. I’m catching up on my reading and enjoying some quiet time.

The compulsion to live almost exclusively through memory and anticipation has plagued me for years. This creates an endless preoccupation with past and future and an unwillingness to honor and acknowledge the present moment and allow it to be. However, the past gives me my identity and the future holds the promise of fulfillment. So it’s hard to change that.

It has been said that you cannot find yourself by going into the past. You find yourself by coming into the Present... the Now. You can always cope with the present moment but you cannot cope with something that is only a mind projection - you cannot cope with the future.

But I have a goal. My goal is to walk along the Razor’s Edge of Now. I’m an edge dweller. I would rather be on the edge during this learning experience. I’m comfortable there. I do want my life’s journey to be an adventure not just an obsessive need to "arrive." Sometimes it seems that I’m always trying to get somewhere other than where I am. I want to really see and smell the flowers by the wayside and be aware of the beauty that surrounds me in the Now but it’s not that easy.

The enlightened person’s main focus of attention is always the Now. You cannot be free in the future. You can only be free in the Now. Now is the Narrow Gate that leads to life. So how can I do that?

Studying the complexities of the mind may make me a good therapist, but doing so won’t take me beyond the mind, just as the study of madness isn’t enough to create sanity.

I must change my Mind Patterns (insanity- which only creates suffering) and give attention to the present, letting go of the past, and not think of the future.

I’m trying.

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