Prayers for CMC man

It was a beautiful Saturday morning.  Clear blue skies and warm sun.  We were trucking south on I-37 towards Corpus Christi going our usual less-than-the-speed-limit speed when a group of 8-10 motorcycles passed us in the left lane.  They had some really nice looking bikes and they were all wearing their Calaveras Motorcycle Club of San Antonio jackets.  Maybe 10-15 minutes later I see brake lights ahead and so I slow down to see a bike down in the middle of the interstate!  All his comrades had peeled off the interstate and were coming back to his aid…many of them didn’t even use their kickstands….they just dropped their bikes and were running back.  As we approached I could guess what happened.  There was a pretty good chunk of carpet in the interstate and more like it in the back of a pickup that was pulled over.  So I think the carpet flew out of the bed of the truck and interfered with the biker.  As we creeped passed we could tell the man was moving but we prayed…we prayed hard that he would be ok.

How quickly a perfect day can turn into a nightmare.  I thought about the man’s mom…the pain she would feel knowing her son was hurt.  I thought about the guy in the truck hauling the carpet…the guilt he must feel.  I thought about the importance of community as the biker’s buddies all came running to help without regard for their pricey bikes.

Lord, give peace to the biker’s mom/wife/family, healing to the biker’s body, healing to the heart and mind of the carpet hauler and blessings to the biker’s buddies.  Amen

San Antonio

We took the bus into downtown San Antonio to explore the famous river walk.  We went by the courthouse and then to the cathedral where a funeral was just wrapping up.  It was a beautiful building outside and in.  Next we went to the market square where there are a bunch of little Mexican shops.  I thought for sure I could score some of my favorite Mexican candy Pulparindo.  The first time you eat pulparindo you are certain that someone is playing a trick on you…surely nobody would purposefully make something that tastes so nasty.  The 2nd time you try it you are just mad at yourself for trying it again.  But by the 3rd time you’ll be hooked on it!  To my disappointment, nobody had it or seemed to know where I could score some of this strange but delicious treat.  We stopped along the river walk to eat our brown bag lunch then went off in search of the Alamo.  On the way back to catch the bus we decided to splurge on some Ben and Jerry’s since we had 2 for 1 coupons…even with those, its crazy expensive.  My favorite was The Tonight Dough starring Jimmy Fallon….peanut butter in chocolate ice cream is the best.

We asked 3 different people where to catch the 42 bus before we got someone who actually knew.  It was an uneventful ride back to the campground and once there the kids quickly changed into their swimsuits to play in the pool.

The San Antonio we saw was definitely for tourists…not my favorite.  But it was nice to be outside, with my family and exploring something new.

On the river walk

My honey!

Court house


Tree of Life art exhibit

Part of a "tree of life"


Three seat tree seat

Cool bridge on river walk

Look kids, the Alamo

I am not a crook

Big gun

Splurge on some ice cream

Looks yummy!

What is this thing?

Our new album cover: Waiting for the Bus

Chillaxin' on the bus

Shame on me

We are staying at a private RV park about 5 miles from downtown San Antonio and decide to take the day to visit the famous river walk.  We considered riding our bikes but its a bit far for Brielle.  The beast is so big its hard to maneuver and parking could be a bear.  But the #42 bus stops right across the street from the RV park and takes us right downtown.  $4.75 gets all 5 of us a ride and we couldn’t have timed getting on the bus any better.

As we’re riding along with pretty typical city bus folks I decide I need some help figuring out where to get off the bus.  Who should I ask?  We’re pretty much the only people who aren’t tatted up…one guy in particular is inked up pretty good including a large one across the back of his bald head that reads “Lopez”.  I decide I will NOT ask Mr. Lopez for help and instead find an older guy to ask.  As the older gentleman is trying to help who should turn around, but Mr. Lopez.  Mr. Lopez suggests a stop for us but really I don’t hear anything…I’m still taking in how this guy looks.  He must sense my lack of comprehension and says “just get off with me and I’ll show ya”.  So, when the bus stops and Mr. Lopez stands up we all follow him off the bus and he very kindly walks us about a half a block to the stairs leading down to the river walk.  He describes what we can find in each direction before leaving us to go on our merry way.

Thank you Mr. Lopez for helping us out.

God, forgive me for judging Mr. Lopez  based on the way he looked.

San Antonio – God answers prayers

San Antonio – The River Walk

To Walk or to Ride, that is the question. We chose the bus! It never ceases to amaze me how nice people are and how willing they are to offer help getting from one place to the next.

We got off the bus and headed along the River Walk. Dacen insisted on looking at the Courthouse since our tour guide in Austin told us the one in San Antonio is taller. It was ok, but nothing too great. The Cathedral across the street was gorgeous though! There was an area in the front that was very ornate.  In the back of the cathedral it had the remains of the heroes of the Alamo. After the Cathedral we asked some bicycle police their opinion of little known places to go, etc. They mentioned we should check out the market which has Tiendas/a Mexican Market. It was interesting to walk around. There was also an Art Museum at one end that we explored. The Trees of Life was one of the exhibits. There were both sculptures and paintings, and a display showing how they make/assemble the sculptures. They even showed the tools they use and how they grind various plants and flowers to make the paint. I can see Mr. Gage having the kids do something like this 🙂

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A little lunch back on the River Walk and we continued on. I LOVED ALL the fountains and waterfalls! I was actually a little surprised to see so many. There is after all a river/waterway there, so why the need to add more to it? I’m not complaining – you can never have too many fountains! It was really neat to see so many and so many different ones. I love fountains!!

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The Alamo
I’m so glad they have recreated the Alamo. It was interesting to learn the history and the people’s tenacity. Interesting to learn that Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie (as in the Bowie knife) were there at the Alamo! It’s also interesting that my kids love to pose at podiums! I do hope they continue to develop their public speaking abilities.

Look kids, the Alamo

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Back at the RV Park Huck worked, the kids played shuffle board, pool, and played in the pool. I was able to enjoy a very short work out and do lots of laundry.

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There is always more we wish we could see and do, but we have a long ways to go still! The next day was the parade and I wish we could have visited more of the Missions around there, but it was time for us to move on!

Post note: The next day as we started on the highway Huck prayed for safety as always. A motorcycle group passed us (we go slightly below the speed limit pulling the rig.) A few minutes, maybe 5 min later we came upon one of the motorcycle riders lying on the highway. We were so thankful they were not right in front of us as it takes a little longer to stop with the rig. It looked like a couple scraps of carpet flew out of a pick up. We don’t know if they hit the motorcyclist directly, or if he was trying to dodge them. He was moving, thankfully, but I’m sure he was quite injured. People had stopped to help and he had about 8 riders he was with. We kept going since we didn’t see what happened and there wasn’t anything we could do to help at that point. We didn’t want to be in the way of the emergency vehicles, but we did pray that he wasn’t too badly injured. Days later, I still wonder if he’s ok.
Later down the road – just off to the side – we passed a bunch of fire trucks and noticed they were battling, or had just finished battling a mobile home that was nestled in the trees. It was a total loss. Again, so sad for the person affected, so thankful for the fire fighters, and so grateful for our safety.

Our first guests

When I first heard about families that travel full time it didn’t take long to locate them on the internet.  It seems many of them are kind enough to document their adventure online via a blog.  Many were like ours where they are simply journaling for personal posterity and maybe a few curious friends and family members living vicariously through their blog.  These provided inspiration but not really any instruction or information.  Others seemed to start down the path of providing more valuable content for newbies but the posts got few and far between before they just stopped altogether.  But there are some that have stood the test of time and are still putting out regular content that is useful for the community.  A few of my faves are Gone with the Wynns, RV Geeks and Ditching Suburbia.

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Austin Day 2 – God answers prayers!

Today it’s just the kids and I. Huck wanted to come, but he has to get some work done.

After yesterday’s terrible navigation experience I’m not sure if I’ll have much luck getting us around. We tried to find a transit station thinking it might be best to take buses so I didn’t have to park the Beast in downtown. Huck said do NOT park in a garage – wise words considering past experiences I’ve had with tall vehicles and parking garages!

Street parking it was assumed would be super hard as well. I’m not great at parking this thing! But we spent about 20 minutes trying to find this transit station. We prayed, God if you want us to take the bus, help us find this place! Finally found the place, but couldn’t find a place to park and couldn’t see a sign of anyone I could talk to to get advice on getting around. We had wasted enough time, so off we went to the big city in the big Beast.

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Smoke signals

Steph and the kids spent a second day exploring Austin and on their way home they called to let me know that smoke was coming out the hood of the truck.  ARRGGGHHH.  They made it back home and I met them out front so I could examine more closely.  Sure enough….white smoke coming out near firewall on passenger side.  I can see the source is at a clamp joint on a vertical section of….can you guess?  Thats right, the exhaust!!  It seems like this joint is known to get misaligned and smoke during a “regen”.  You can read all about how the Duramax handles regen here but the gist is the diesel particulate filter (DPF, also know as a “wallet shrinker”) gets soot build up in it if exhaust temperatures aren’t hot enough.  When you are pulling a 14.5k pound 5th wheel across the country I think the exhaust gets hot enough to keep ‘er clean.  But when you are putzing around town and sitting in traffic the fancy on-board computer decides that it needs to burn off some soot so it goes into “active regen” where fuel is injected directly into the exhaust system.

“Active regeneration dramatically reduces fuel economy since fuel is being used for purposes other than moving the vehicle”

So, we have this state of the art exhaust system that is supposed to reduce emissions but the same system purposefully uses fuel inefficiently?….I don’t get it.  Anyway, because I am such a diesel motor expert now I decided to ignore it because the next day we were hitching Ava up and would be trucking down to San Antonio which would surely heat things up and clean out the soot.

We also had a harddrive crash on one of our laptops and a battery fail in one of the kids’ tablets (2nd battery I’ve put in the thing too….crikey!).  But we’re all still healthy and still having fun!

My Pet Peeve

You know how some things are just really annoying to you and no one else? Well one of my pet peeves is when people say words wrong. Argh! It just really gets me, and I’m forced to correct the person knowing that they’ll say it wrong again and again. One of the main things people say now that I really notice is when they refer to our FIFTH wheel instead they say R.V., or even worse: fith wheel. Ahhh! It strikes terror into my soul the terrible word fith. It’s so horrible! My eye are burning! And here is an example of how fake and wrong this word is, whenever I type fith it changes it to with. Mmmmmmm key lime pie…. Anyway back to reality. I think I’ll sign off now.

TTFN, Tata for now,
Supreme Commander of Awesomeness less known as Caden

P.S. I never know how to end, but that seems good enough right? And it expresses my amazingness and love of key lime pie.

P.P.S I really don’t know why I was thinking of key lime pie, but it’s tasty, so, yeah, bye I guess.

Austin Day 1

Hmmmm. This was an interesting day! The kids and I took too long getting up and around. I swear we are still on Mountain time! We loaded the bikes and were so excited to explore the much acclaimed Zilker Park! We went to the visitors center first to get armed with information/maps as I felt kind of lacking in those areas despite our research. I had our maps and thought we were ready. Here’s a pic of the Texas State Capital Building (the small brown dome in the background) coming up Congress Ave.


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The D word and the A word

It should not be a surprise to those who know me that I’d rather be on a bicycle than in a car.  And if I must be in a car, it will be a super small fuel efficient vehicle.  Given our choice of a large 5th wheel this required a large truck which is neither a bike nor a small fuel efficient vehicle.  On a recent excursion to Austin we found ourselves in HEAVY rush hour traffic where we were sitting still and the smart cycling commuters were flying past us.  We had all 5 bikes in the back and I was so frustrated I almost suggested we ditch the truck and go the rest of the way on bikes.  Then one of the boys used the “D” word!!  They asked me “is this as bad a Denver?”.  My family knows how much I hate driving through Denver…traffic is always bad….ALWAYS.  So for me, Denver is a bad word.  After our experience in Austin we may have a new bad word, the “A” word!

There is a lot to like about Denver…and we did have a great time in Austin (especially when on our bikes).  But traveling through either city with the other “A” word (automobile) makes my skin crawl.