Saturday, August 30, 2008

Planning for Memphis...One Day At A Time

I hope this finds everyone having a great holiday weekend.

We are babysitting this weekend. Karen and Kenneth have gone to College Station to the Aggie Football game and to visit with one her old college roommates. I have been doing laundry and trying to pack a few more boxes. The new motor home has arrived in Memphis and we are suppose to leave on Tuesday to take delivery on Wednesday. Now, with Hurricane Gustav on the way, we are thinking we should rethink our plans.

If it stays on track to come in on the Louisiana or Texas coast it will travel west and north towards North Texas. Memphis should not be affected, but, if we wait until Tuesday we would have to travel through the heavy rains from here to there. So, we are thinking we should try to leave tomorrow afternoon or Monday morning at the latest to avoid the possible heavy rains that occur on the east side of the hurricane. Then if Memphis does have rain, at least we would be parked and not traveling through it. Now, you probably think who cares...well...

I don't travel well when it is raining, much less storming. I make myself and Mark a nervous wreck!

I am glad I got the rest of the boxes packed today. I am also thankful that I am just trying to plan for travel that is suppose to fun and not trying to work around the storm because I have too. My grandparents lived at South Padre for 27 years and I know what it is like to HAVE to pack up and leave.

So stayed tuned for the latest travel plans and we are going to do this just one day at the time.

Who ever thought two people could collect so much stuff in 38'

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Trip Down The Strip

Okay, as promised, we are going to take a trip down the famous Las Vegas Strip. If you have never been there, you will be amazed. And, if you have been there, but it has been awhile, you will be amazed. And, if, like us, you were only there a year or so ago, you will be amazed!
It boggles my mind to see how they just clear out a space and in a matter of just months there is a complete new multi-million dollar hotel/casino/convention center. So, let's head off down the strip and you can see for yourself.

This is New York, New York. Yes, it is one hotel and casino.

And, Lady Liberty too has made her presence known in Las Vegas and stands proudly in front of the New York New York Hotel and Casino. Do you see the roller coaster tracks? It goes around the building and inside and out!

This is the Brooklyn Bridge, transformed right to Las Vegas!

This is the Excalibur Hotel and Casino complete with dragons, knights, fair maidens and lots of kids!

This is a look from South to North up the strip. You can see the Eiffel Tower, which is an exact small scale replica. It stands in front of the Paris Hotel and Casino. The large white hotel on the right is Planet Hollywood.

Okay, this is the City Center in progress. Last year when we were there it was just in the planning stages. Other building, now gone, but look at it now. Next year it will be open for business. When complete, it will be a hotel/casino, condos, shopping, and who know what else.

Moving on down the strip, we find the new Trump Tower. Again, this was under construction last year when we were there.

This too was under construction last year, now in full operation. This is the Palazzo, the newest addition to the Venetian.

This is the ceiling in the lobby of the Palazzo.

This is another look at the lobby at the Palazzo.

Next stop is the Wynn. We have been to the Wynn, but check out the new building, the Encore. It was under construction last March.

This waterfall is right outside the front door to the Wynn.

We stopped inside the Wynn by this beautiful garden area for this photo.

Are your feet tired?

Well, let's jump on the monorail and head on down to the Stratosphere before we make the return trip to the MGM. The monorail is a lifesaver. It goes from one end of the strip to the other. It makes regular stops along the way that allows you to access many of the hotels. It is $15.00 for a 24-hour pass and might I say, the best $15.00 I spent.

Well, the last stop on the strip is the Stratosphere. If you are brave, there is an amusement ride at the top of the tower! You go for it, I'll pass.

After a full day on the strip, we had a lovely dinner at the evening buffet at Harrah's and then enjoyed a comic variety show at the Las Vegas Hilton. After the show, we made our way back down the strip. Here are a few of the sights we enjoyed after dark.

The Bellagio is one of my favorites and always enjoy the dancing water shows.

The dancing waters...

There are several shows every night and at midnight the waters dance to the Star Spangled Banner.

A nighttime look up the strip on our way back to our hotel after a full day and night.
One last look at the beautiful flowers in the lobby of the MGM Grand. This was just one of many displays of real roses in the hotel.
Well, it is said that all good things must come to an end. What a great 3 days we had, but now my RV is waiting to take me away and back to reality.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What Happens In Vegas, Stays In Vegas...

What a great three days. It has only been about a year and a half since we were last in Vegas, but oh, how the skyline is always changing. We flew out of DFW at 7:30 on Sunday morning and with the time difference we arrived Las Vegas at 8:30. It meant that we had a full 3 days ahead of us. We picked up our car and headed out to Hoover Dam after stopping and having good breakfast at Denny's.

Arriving at Hoover Dam

We have been to Hoover Dam several times. When we were there in January 2007 they had started the construction of the I-93 by-pass. What a sight. So, our main reason to go there on this trip was to check out the continued construction of the I-93 by-pass. It was suppose to have been completed in 2008, but has been pushed to 2010. This is the interstate that comes from rizona into Nevada. The road now takes you directly across Hoover Dam. However, since September 11, to cross the Dam you have to go through a Homeland Security Check Point at either end. With the completion of the I-93 by-pass the road across the dam will be open to foot traffic only. However, I am not sure I will ever want to drive across the new bridge. You decide for yourself.

So, I am taking names for the first one that wants to volunteer to drive across this bridge.

This is the view of the Colorado River from the Dam Bridge and is directly under the new bridge.

This is a look at Lake Mead from the Nevada side of the bridge. The lake is down about 35' as told by the water line on the rocks.

One last look at the construction.

This is the start of the bridge support, the top of the arch will touch the bridge at the center. There is another one of these on the other side, let's hope it meets in the middle.

Around noon we decided to head back to Vegas and get ready for the rest of the day. Soooooo...

We checked into our hotel, The MGM Grand, and decided since we had started the day at around 4 a.m., we would take a short nap and then go out for the evening. We were on floor 9 in room 424. There were 23 floors. This was one of the smaller hotels.

Around 4:00 and well rested we made our way downtown to eat at The Golden Nugget's Seafood Buffet. YUM. We then spent the rest of the evening dropping a few pennies in some slots and taking in the overhead laser light show. Here are a few of the sights...

This guy has been hanging around Vegas for alot of years
What a day. Tomorrow I will take you on a tour of the Vegas Strip. See you there.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Next Stop...Las Vegas

It has been a busy day today. We were up early with a full day ahead of us. I was off to get my hair cut and pick up a few last minute items for our trip. I can tell you that as much as I like to fly, now days it can be a chore. I know all the rules and regulations are a must, but fitting some of the items in a quart zip lock bag can be a challenge. It isn't a requirement if you are checking you baggage, but this short of a trip we decided to just carry on our bags. You can take this, but you can't take that. What do I need, and what do I not need. It can only be 3ozs. Oh, my, I get so confused. I am so use to having everything I need in the motor home and just knowing wherever I go, it is with me, that it is actually hard to pack for a trip.

Well, enough of that. Yes, I am excited about the trip. Vegas is one of my favorite places to go. Aside from the fascination of the slot machine, I love seeing all of the sites. It just amazes me how they can turn a building in the a whole city or even a country. Tomorrow we are going out to Hoover Dam. We were there in 2007 and we are both anxious to see how much progress they have made on the by-pass across the Colorado River. I want to see it from afar because I am not sure I want to drive across it after completion, even though I know it will be the only way.

In addition to packing for the trip, we had everyone over this afternoon and evening to celebrate August birthdays which included Kate, Mark, and Greg. All of the big grand kids enjoyed playing and visiting before they all start to school on Monday.

Well, I need to get to the rest of my packing as it is getting late and we have to leave for the airport at 5:30 a.m. for a 7:30 a.m. flight. I will return on Wednesday with lots of pictures to post. See you then.

Friday, August 22, 2008

A New Look and A New Start

Well, I have a million things I should be doing today, but I made the choice to change the look of my blog, which is something I have been wanting to do. Finding and taking the time to do this was another matter. So, on this quite Friday afternoon, I took the plunge and the blog has a new look. Make note that I even changed the title, if anyone wants to change their links.

It must be the fact that a new school year is around the corner and that always brought me a new and fresh start to the fall. However, the temperatures here in Texas have returned to near 100, so I am not sure fall is really in sight. The rain the first of this week and the cooler temperatures was just a tease. I will be glad when fall is truly here.

With the new school year and hopefully fall around the corner, it is a reminder to us that football season is not far behind. We are definately a football family. Our boys both played football from the time they were in the 5th grade all the way through high school. Plus, our youngest son played college football. Karen, 6 and 8 years younger than her brothers was raised around them playing football and is now probably as big a fan as anyone, especially when it comes to the Texas Aggies.

Now, we have a new player in the family. Andrew, the oldest grandson, age 10, is starting his first year of football. Here is the way his first day of practice will be remembered...

Andrew, you are going to be great, have fun

Sizing things up is Andrew's coach and might I also say, his very proud dad !

Okay, you guys, come on, I'm ready.

And, his team appropriate for this part of the country...go Cowboys!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Gooey Butter Cake

A week or so ago, I promised John (FD5) that I would send Bridget this cake recipe. Well, I kept forgetting and finally remembered last night and mentioned it while I was in the RV chat room. Several others voiced that they too would like to have it. So, my job today was to get it posted in my blog so everyone could share in this delicious cake.

First for a little background in this recipe. I had something very similar to it years back. It was known as the Neiman Marcus cake. I am sure it has been called a lot of different names, but this time around it is the "Gooey Butter Cake". When we were in Savannah earlier this year, we ate at Paula Deen's, THE LADY AND SONS. This cake was Mark's choice for desert. I barely got a bite. Of, course that cake prompted a trip next door to her shop to find the recipe.

This is in Savannah. It was about 8:45 a.m. and we are in line waiting to make reservations for lunch at THE LADY AND SONS.

It is now about 10:15 a.m. and we are still in line, but making progress, but at least you can see the sign for the restrurant and store. By the way, we did get lunch reservations for a 1:30 seating. Some of these people were trying to make dinner reservations. I am glad we opted for lunch.

This is where you can get all sorts of goodies from recipe books and cookware to prepackaged foods to clothing! It was great. It only cost me 2 cookbooks.


1 box yellow cake mix
1 egg
1 stick of melted butter

Mix the above ingredients and pat into a 9x13 pan (lightly sprayed with Pam)


1 8oz. pkg of softened cream cheese
2 eggs
1 stick of melted butter
1 tsp. of vanilla
1 16oz. box of powered sugar

With a mixer blend the cream cheese until smooth, add the eggs and mix. Add the butter and vanilla and mix. Add the powered sugar 1/3 at a time until all is mixed well and creamy. Pour the filling over the cake and bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes. DO NOT over bake, you want it to be gooey in the middle.

Now for the good variations:

1. Use a strawberry cake mix, and the basic filling

2. Use a carrot cake mix, add 1/4 cup shredded carrots and 1/4 cup chopped walnuts to the filling

3. Use a lemon cake mix, substitute lemon extract for the vanilla in the filling

4. Use a chocolate cake mix, add peanut butter to the filling

5. Use a pineapple cake mix, add 1 small can of crushed pineapple (well drained to the filling)

6. Use a red velvet cake mix, use the basic filling

7. Use your imagination and then share with us.

I hope you enjoy this cake as much as we do. So far our favorites have been strawberry and carrot.

I am going to leave you with this thought, if you have any question about watching calories, then this recipe is not for you! LOL Enjoy

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Day With The Grandkids

As you know Andrew, Lauren, and Zachary had their last sleep over before school starts last night. Also, it was their last sleepover in this motor home. So, we had a great time laughing and remembering all the trips we have taken with them. We all talked about which trip was our favorite and then we talked about where they wanted to go for their first trip in the new one. They had so many places on their list, that I am not sure we made a decision. I just know there will be many memories made down the road.
They were all up bright and early this morning. We made breakfast and planned our day. They wanted to go to Incredible Pizza. Today was Wacky Wednesday so they got to enjoy 90 minutes of unlimited game playing. Afterwards we enjoyed our lunch at the buffet which included a salad bar, potato, pasta, pizza, and desert bar. Oh, my I am still full. Here are a few pictures from the day.

Who will come in first?

Zachary is taking a video roller coaster ride. Hang on!

Andrew's favorite was the bummer cars

Lauren and Poppa playing air hockey

Okay, Pop, you ready?

This is the buffet, quite a site, and lots of good food

We ate in the Route 66 dining room
Thanks Andrew, Lauren, and Zachary for a great day. We love you, and look forward to the next time.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Happy Birthday Mark

Today is Mark's birthday. The grand kids are going to share in celebrating Poppa's birthday by coming over tonight and having one last campout before school starts next week. Happy Birthday Mark!! I Love You.

After sharing his birthday with the kids, and spending a few extra days with them, we are leaving for Vegas on Sunday for a couple of days. He is looking forward to that. We are both anxious to go to Hoover Dam and see the progress that has been made on the by-pass since we were there in 2007. However, he thinks the best present so far is that yesterday we finally sold the U-Haul truck. Yes, the one we have been trying to sell for going on 3 years now. Yeah!!

Well, I guess I will go for now and see what I can do towards getting our campout underway.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Rainy Sunday Afternoon

Today started off to be a cool day for August in Texas. I have been packing some more boxes in the motor home. And, all the while, I am thinking if I have this much stuff after 7 years in the motor home, how much stuff do I have in the house after 35 years? Well, maybe if Karen and Kenneth decide to buy it, I will just sell it as is. Sounds like a plan to me.

After lunch Karen and I went over to the mall. She needed to get a school bag monogrammed and while they were doing that, we managed to find a few bargains. This is the last day of our Texas Tax Free Weekend. Then we went to Sam's and got some chicken to grill for dinner.

We just got home when it started to rain. So, what better thing to I have to do except chill here on the sofa with my computer and my Diet Dr. Pepper. However, I am thinking that the sound of rain on the roof would be a nice addition to an afternoon nap.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Busy Days

These last few days have been busy for us all. As you know we are at our base in Fort Worth right now. We have been here most of the summer enjoying the grand kids. Now as summer break is drawing to a close, it is anything but dull.

The 2 babies started back to the regular sitter today, while the 3 older ones will be trying to make the best of the last days before school starts in a couple of weeks. Karen will start tomorrow getting her first grade classroom back in order for 22 anxious first graders. I will try to help her as much as I can. I love going and decorating her bulletin boards. Friday, I am going to Arlington to Zachary's school to help sell school supplies. Then next week we will have the 3 older ones to do some special things with them prior to school starting on August 25.

Once next week is over, Mark and I along with another couple are going to Las Vegas for a few days. We found one of those great deals and decided to take advantage of the offer. We will fly out early on Sunday morning and return to Fort Worth late on Tuesday. Three days in Vegas is great and we are excited to go out to Hoover Dam and check out the progress of the construction of the new bridge. I will have plenty of pictures.

And, in the mist of all this going on, we continue to try to get as much stuff packed in the motor home as we can. When we return from Vegas, we will be making final plans for leaving to make our way to Memphis to take delivery of 53506. We are both so anxious. Today I have been doing some packing. It is amazing how much stuff we have collected in this 38' Dutch Star. I have tried to clean out as I have gone along, but not much has gone in the trash. Guess I think I still need all the stuff I packed. Maybe I will weed out a few things when I unpack. We will see.

I hope all of you are having a great week and for those traveling, we pray for you a safe journey.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Just Monday

Today is just news, no picutres...just laundry and babies for Karen and I. And, while we were taking care of those pink jobs, Mark was busy doing his blue jobs. He washed both the jeep and the motor home this morning. He also started a little packing of his things in the motorhome. I hope it was nothing he will be looking for in the next couple of weeks. LOL I guess we will find out, hope he labeled the boxes. Until next time...have a good week.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Phaeton, The Rest of the Story

Of course, I couldn't post all of the pictures from Red Bay so, for those that are interested, I wanted to give you the link to all the pictures I took while we were there.

I know I did this the hard way, but was the only way I knew how to do it soooooooo, when you click on the link and get to the web album, just click on slideshow to view.

While the motor home is being completed, our agenda is for packing up the Dutch Star and cleaning out as we go. I am sure that we have collected more stuff in this 38' than I remember. I know there are last minute, but hope those are only a minimal. I also have some special order books to paint and ship before we leave. Oh my, all of this sounds like that dreaded word work.

There isn't much other news from here in the driveway, so until tomorrow, this is hoping you all have a good week.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Our Last Day with 53506

I know today is Saturday and I have to go back a few days to catch up. On Thursday, our last day in Red Bay, we followed the motor home through the remaining stations of the actual assembly line. First, the slide outs were installed and then things really begin to take shape. At the next station after the slide outs were installed, the front and end caps were set in place. This is also where they started to hang TVs, put on the front door, and begin to work on the inside. Well, I could go on and on, but let's get to the pictures...

Time for the slide rooms.

We have slides

The front cap

Well, that's a fit!

Now, let's see how the rear cap is done.

Those are some suction cups

Our first look at the inside with the slides installed

And, I questioned whether or not I wanted this refrigerator, silly me!

Well, we have made our way down the initial assembly line and we got to ride in it out the door and off of the assembly line. WOW, how excited we both were.

It is now in the garage where the compartment doors are installed. There is also a quality control person inside checking on the stove, the TVs, etc.

After the compartment doors were installed, the motor home was pulled back into the main assembly plant going down a final line before leaving for the paint shop. On this line all adjustments are made, all trim is put in, all the components are hooked up, and all clean up is done.

Tiffin is only working a four day week, so the motor home was not going to get all the way through this line as we originally thought. Sadly, we decided to go on and leave. Plus, we were down to the point that we felt like we were just going to be in the way because most of the work was going on inside the coach.

I just want to tell you all that this has been the most incredible experience we could have ever hoped to have been a part of. We would also like to thank all of you for sharing in this time with us and for all of the great compliments and comments you have sent to us.

Now, since we didn't stay to the end, I would like to share with you what "53506", our new 2009 40' Phaeton will look like when we next see it in about 3-4 weeks.