The Lone Star State



When I received my Texas travel kit this summer, I felt a bit foolish. Sure I’ve hit some milestones, like the Chilkoot, the Dempster, a summer in Quebec, and my solar panels, but Texas had way too many variables to be a sure bet. Still, it gave me something to shoot for and if I fell short, well, there’s always next year. Dreams do not have expiration dates. And yet, against all odds, here I am! Texas was an icon of my childhood; one of my first computers was a Texas Instruments machine, so the shape of the state was close at hand for a long time.

Texas is more expensive than some of the other southwest states and wouldn’t make sense to me as a place to boondock for the winter, but it’s perfect for a pass-through journey like the one I’m having this winter. Next year, I will set my eyes on a place like Quartzite where I can drop anchor for the season or a state like New Mexico with affordable state parks. But this felt like the perfect winter for Texas and I have the Frugal Shunpiker Guide to help me keep the costs down.

It was a bit of a harrowing drive from Westwego to I-10, which I had expected. Something bizarre happened to me as I drove over the Huey Long Bridge: I got a nasty case of vertigo and felt quite ill during the drive across this very high bridge. The only thing that could explain it is that Huey was the first name of the dude who rear ended me. Yeah, that has to be it!

I-10 was a nasty 400KM stretch of rutty highway. It was really unpleasant and rough, with a lot of construction and high winds, and there were no obvious places to stop so I ended up driving straight through.

I felt quite itchy going past this town:


(Maringouin is the québécois word for mosquito. 🙂 Do not use it this word in France, however!)

The sun was low in the sky and in my eyes by the time I got to the rest area, so I was really glad not to have to push on to the Walmart in Orange. I wasn’t able to find any signs confirming that I can spend the night here, but a security guard confirmed it’s okay. I think it’s going to be a noisy night. There’s an RV parked on my driver’s side and a big rig on the passenger side. I’m hoping that big rig gets replaced by another RV.

Fedex Delivers

I just got a call from the park’s front gate letting me know my package has arrived! Of course, I was expecting it to arrive later, so I’m nowhere near ready to go anywhere. I’ll finish off my coffee, head down to the gate to get the package, and then get into departure mode. Good thing, too, as I really need to dump that grey tank!

For tonight, I am going to try overnighting at a rest area for the first time! Texas allows people to stay up to 24 hours at rest areas and the welcome centre on I-10 westbound has security. That just seems like an easier option than getting off the interstate and meandering my way through Orange to the Walmart. A Flying J just past Orange is a third option, but is a last resort as it would be very noisy.

Wrapping Up A Louisiana Sojourne

Today was all about homemaking and getting the rig spruced up for departure tomorrow. I took advantage of the free laundry facilities again and did a few tasks that are made more pleasurable thanks to the abundance of water and 120V power hookups bring.

The package I have been waiting for should be here tomorrow morning. When I ordered it on January 10th, I did not get a shipping confirmation in the days following and made the mistake of not questioning that. By Saturday, I knew something was amiss as priority post should never have taken that long, so I emailed the seller. He apologized profusely that the order had been missed and not shipped!

Now, I’ll admit that I was actually glad to have an excuse (waiting on the package) to prolong my stay here so, really, I wasn’t that displeased to have paid for all those extra nights for ‘nothing.’ But I do want to get a move on to Texas and am quite tired of being here (mostly because of four days in a row of listening to kids shriek all afternoon and into the evening in the playground directly behind my rig).

So with checkout being 1PM tomorrow, I asked the seller if he could overnight courier the package to me first thing Monday (since courier companies work on MLK Day) to arrive Tuesday morning. Yup. They covered the Fedex charge AND refunded me my original shipping cost. So I have nothing bad to say about them (and look forward to reviewing the product they are sending). I believe it’s partly my fault for not checking with them sooner.

Fedex claims the package will be here mid-morning tomorrow. I have no idea how exactly it will get to me. I gave the street address for the park and my site number. In the past, I’ve had courier companies come straight to my site (or my RV in the driveway!), but the park here is gated so the package may end up waiting for me at the office. I didn’t feel I needed to bother asking about having things delivered here since I mentioned waiting for mail to the front desk clerk when I checked in and she automatically assumed I had had the mail sent to them rather than General Delivery.

I had made a loose schedule for this winter with definite milestones to hit to keep me on track and moving towards Saskatchewan. Arrival in Texas was slated for late January or early February so I’m very much ‘on schedule’ and not fretting about not being in Texas yet!

There’s only three or four hours to my planned stop tomorrow (in Texas!) and the same distance to my final stop for February. So a late departure tomorrow is going to be just fine and I should be settled again for the longish haul by this time Wednesday.

By the way, today was a light-weight summer skirt, camisole, and flip flops kind of day!

A Meltdown in the Toilet Room

I think we can all appreciate how much time we spend on the toilet.

In my rig, the toilet has its own room with a nice heavy door that makes the room forgettable. It’s so easy to just toss stuff in there and forget it until you actually need to use the room for the purpose for which it is intended. And then, you go, “Oh, no!” as you realise you have to move X, Y, and Z out of the way to use the toilet.

This morning, I swore that the broom was never going to attack me again and that I was going to spend the time needed this afternoon to tame the most necessary and most poorly used room in my home.

I completely emptied the room, then washed it all down, from the ceiling to the floor. Then, I actually got the paint out (not surprised that I had tons left, but surprised that it was still good!) and did a ton of touch ups. No more staring at depressing white spots or scratches while doing my business!

Then, it was time to evaluate what I was storing in there and, to my surprise, I was able to determine that everything that was in there belonged in there or, rather, had no better place to be stored. It was just a matter of reorganizing a little.

End result:

toilet room

This picture really makes me regret not taking two seconds to take a before picture because you would not believe I had the same amount of stuff in here, the room was so crowded and barely usable!

I went through my hardware bin to use up odd bits and found everything I needed to secure everything. A curtain rod hook was perfect to hang the broom:


And another curtain rod hook was the perfect solution to hold the floor piece of the filing cabinet securer:


And finally, an eye hook and a zip tie are holding up the vacuum:


I have no illusions that that will hold for travel, so I’ll have to take the vacuum down for now, but I have an idea of how I can use snaps and elastic in junction with this set up to really make the vacuum secure. I just don’t have time to sew today.

The floor now only has a garbage can and two big containers (one of carpet cleaning solution and one of stain remover for topping up a spray bottle) that fit perfectly behind the toilet.

When I was cleaning out the top shelf, I found some pictures I had completely forgotten about! They are from my trip to Maine. I found some little screws and hung up on the blank side of the room. I went for the random layout approach and it didn’t come out as nicely as I would have liked, but it’s nice to have them out:


I’ve bought all the supplies I need to continue touching up the paint all around the rig, so I guess today was the kickoff of spring spruce up. What, it’s only late-January? Well, it’s very springlike around here these days!