and Cathy McArthur on
the Road 2007: 3
On Monday, January 15, we finally left Shreveport after a 12 day stay. Bill broke camp in a heavy rain after breakfast. We arrived at the repair shop next to the Shreveport KOA at 8:00 AM and Mike, the manager, went right to work. He was finished in an hour and a half and charged us $120, which included all of his onsite time on Saturday morning. We thought that it was cheap. Bill slipped Mike $20 in appreciation. We went back into the KOA to say goodbye and thank Tom for his help. Bill wanted to get propane, but it was pouring rain. We drove to Starbucks for a paper and a cappuccino. Then, after a stop for gas, we headed down the road to Lafayette, LA. Why did we choose this seemingly odd destination? It was the best available location to avoid freezing rain which surrounded us. We drove through varying intensities of rain (hard and harder). We ate lunch outside of a Subway. We arrived at the KOA in Lafayette around 1:30 PM as the rain changed to "hardest". We filled up with propane on the way to our site. Bill called the 800 number for the Lower Township assessors. We had found out that our assessment was $953,000 with an estimated property tax of $9600. Bill wanted to know how much of the assessment figure is for the house, which only has 1500 square feet. He arranged for a phone conference at 8:15 AM EST on Thursday, January 25 to find out the breakdown of the figure. The rain let up around 5:00 PM, so Bill took a walk around the puddly campground in a brisk wind and temperatures in the 40s. Hey! We could've stayed home and suffered like this! We received an email from our neice Lauren about her wedding hotel in Michigan. Bill called for a reservation and got the last "Deluxe Double Queen" room for Friday and Saturday nights of Labor Day weekend. On Tuesday, January 16, we drove west on I10 after breakfast in the RV. We were very wary of any freezing rain, but it didn't rain much and the temperature hovered at about 35 degrees. We headed south on Texas 124 when we reached Winnie, west of Beaumont. We could hear a little banjo music as we drove through some desolate country until we reached the Bolivar Peninsula and Texas 87. The rain held off, so we had a nice drive along the Gulf moving through some sparsely settled villages on the peninsula. When we got close to the free ferry to Galveston, we pulled over to the left shoulder and enjoyed lunch with a good view of the water. After lunch we took the ferry across a very choppy Galveston Bay to Galveston City. The last time we were in Galveston it was chilly and dreary, but this was worse. We stopped to buy groceries at a Krogers on Seawall Blvd; Bill got a cappuccino at a Starbucks inside. We drove on to Bayou Shores RV Resort and got a campsite close to the Bayou with a cold wind howling off of it. This could have been a lovely spot if it were 40 degrees warmer, sunny, and wind-free. Bill shivered as he dumped the holding tanks and filled the fresh water tank. We took a cold walk down to the Gulf and then headed for Landry's Restaurant for a good meal similar to that we had in 2004. The walk back to the RV was very cold, with the wind blowing in our faces and the temperature at 37 degrees. We both took good hot showers before heading to bed with the RV rocking gently in the wind. On Wednesday morning, we heard on TV that the whole surrounding area of Texas was socked in with freezing rain. Bill talked with Jim Sosna, who said that it was cold in NJ also. We decided to stay another night in the campground rather than chance driving on icy roads. After Bill handled the tanks, Cathy had the bright idea that we should visit Moody Gardens , about 20 blocks away from the campground. It was still cold and windy, but we enjoyed the walk. We ate a nice lunch in the very upscale Moody Gardens Hotel restaurant, where we were the only customers. We went to the visitor center and signed up for the "Tropical Rain Forest" and the Aquarium. Both of these venues were quite good; we've seen better, but still enjoyed these attractions, especially since we were among very few other customers. We particularly enjoyed a Fur Seal who was trying to relate to us while some pesky Harbor Seals were cavorting around. Afterward, we went to a 3D IMax presentation of "Deep Sea" which was also quite good. By the time we had walked to the store on the way back to the campground, we got in about a 6 mile walk for the day. We started viewing the newer "Pirates of the Caribbean"; we purchased 3 used DVDs. It was raining when we arose on Thursday morning. After breakfast, Bill broke camp in the chilly wet. We drove a coastal route south of Galveston, passing by oil refineries and chemical companies. We stopped for lunch at a rest area somewhere near Port LaVaca. We took the shorter free ferry over to Port Aransas on a very small boat. Then we drove down the barrier island to the causeway to Corpus Christi. We ended up at the Colonia del Rey RV Park. This is one of the "Winter Texans" parks, so it was very full. We took a long chilly walk along a busy road that fronts the park. The rain began shortly after we returned. It rained steadily until we left on Saturday morning. Friday was a washout. On Saturday morning, we headed out in the rain and fog and drove south to South Padre Island, where Bill had put in some time 2 years ago.