We visited family and friends in MN and WI then headed to MO and AR for a Beckwith gathering to celebrate my niece's wedding which was great fun!
|Brooke and Patrick|
|The Beckwith Clan|
I accepted an assignment at AllianceHealth in Durant, OK, which is only a few miles from the Texas border (Red River). We spent a few days at the Chocktaw Casino KOA while we looked around for a long-term site. Then a month in a not-so-nice RV park which used to be a KOA but had fallen into disrepair, while we waited for a site to open up at a nicer park right on the river. But before that happened, Rollie got a campground host position at Eisenhower State Park, across the river in Texas. This volunteer position comes with our choice of RV sites in the park, which is located on the south shore of Lake Texoma. We just had to move our little house across the dam on the Red River to the park on Lake Texoma and choose from the largest sites we have ever occupied!
|Lake Texoma from the dam|
|Entrance to the park|
|Bois d'Arc Campground (pronounced "bo-dark" in this neck of the woods)|
We are happy we picked a sunny site for the winter as the sun and our little electric space heater kept us warm most of the time. There were a few cold nights when we had to run the furnace to make sure the pipes didn't freeze. We also drained the water hose and ran off our fresh water tank when the temps were predicted to be below freezing overnight.
We had a pair of roadrunners just outside our door many days and saw deer frequently while walking the dogs. We learned another campground host was feeding the deer corn which was against the state park rules, but it brought the deer into the campground.
|Roadrunner outside our door|
Sunny seemed to enjoy this place and I enjoyed the sunrises and sunsets..
I worked three 12-hour shifts on weekends and Rollie worked weekends maintaining the campgrounds (bathrooms) so we usually had 3 or 4 days off during the week. We made 3 trips south to see more of Texas. Over Thanksgiving we traveled to San Antonio and saw enough to make us realize we would like to see more.
And drove to the missions to find all but one were closed on the holiday. Another reason to come back!
We also learned that the Texas Hill Country near San Antonio is another place we should visit for wine tasting and a change of scenery. It was settled by German immigrants in the mid 1800s who were attracted by the promise of free land. Between Christmas and New Years we took a trip to Fredericksburg, TX. We stayed at a KOA that just happened to have longhorn cattle in a field behind the park so we could get up close and personal.
We visited 5 wineries, tasted many wines and purchased several bottles. We visited the LBJ Ranch nearby which is a national historical park and state historic site rolled into one. We ate authentic German food more than once. The tourist information center and museum on the town square recommended a drive in the countryside using their map of old schoolhouses so we headed out. After crossing a cattle guard we ran into a little traffic before we found the first schoolhouse.
My contract was up in early January but they asked me to extend so we had to make a decision. I needed to renew my drivers license in MN and I learned that all of my sons and their girlfriends would be in Minneapolis at the same time near the end of January for pond hockey. We decided to leave the RV at the state park and drive to MN for 10 days. I agreed to come back and work until the middle of March if I could take that time off in January. So that is what we did. We split the 13 hour drive into 2 days but probably could have done it in one long day with 2 drivers. We are very lucky to have a place to stay with Rollie's sister, Ione, in Lakeville, MN. And there was a birthday party for all of us with January birthdays at his other sister's house (Denise). It just happened to be the day the Vikings were supposed to win the right to play in their hometown Super Bowl. The game was not the highlight of the party! But the next day it snowed 14 inches. We got to experience winter again!
Michael and Megan invited us to go to Lake Harriet to see the MCAD Ice Shanties. It is difficult to describe so here is the website: https://mcad.edu/features/mcad-art-shanties-2018. I think that was the first time I walked on a frozen lake but it was covered with snow so it was not obvious it was a lake. When Peter and Hannah arrived we walked the Mall of America and Ikea as well as eating sushi. When Alex and Laura arrived we all gathered at Megan's house for a belated holiday pizza party which turned into a hockey jersey designing party and bonfire at Michael's house.
Let's play hockey! http://www.uspondhockey.com/
There was plenty of time for breakfast on Saturday as the hockey tournament had been delayed by warmer than normal weather which made the ice too soft. A cold front was a welcome event! Alex and Michael have organized a pond hockey team for the last few years which includes friends from Northfield and friends-of-friends. This is a big tournament on a frozen lake and this time, because the snow had been cleared, we were walking on clear ice and could see down into the lake. A little scarey!
After returning to Texoma and getting back to work we made one more trip to another German town: New Braunfels. Bill and Kelly, RV friends we met in Seward, AK, were in this small Texas town on business so we drove down for a couple days to meet up. We had a good visit and ate authentic German food one more time.
On our way back from this trip, the motor that powers our slide-out on the RV went out (it is 3.5 feet deep and 12 feet wide so greatly increases our living area) and we lived in a very narrow space for a week while a new motor was ordered in for us. Our extended warranty on the RV paid for most of it and we are lucky to have chosen an RV that allows us to get through to the bathroom and bedroom even when the slide is in. Some do not. The dogs did not like it but they got use to it.
Spring has sprung in Texoma as we leave for our next adventure. Redbuds all around us in the park. Bluebirds singing in the trees. On the road again...
More photos at: https://photos.app.goo.gl/emfbdCcP2Vg2iEjv2