2013 January

Happy New Year to all our family and friends!

We hope all of you are reading our blog by now – because we did not send out a Holiday letter to update all of you on our whereabouts!  2012 was a good year; we are looking forward to 2013 be another good one out here on the road….

The year started with us still in Texas.  The work on our Austin home seemed to be never-ending, although rewarding, and the visits with the two of our grandkids in Fort Worth was always fun.  We are grateful to have had the opportunity to spend so much time with them (and of course with their parents ;-)).

January 12-14

You do see some pretty interesting things driving around in Texas.  Anybody want a new BBQ?  They say everything is bigger in Texas….

1-12-13 World's Largest BBQ3

1-12-13 World's Largest BBQ5Now THAT’S a BBQ to brag about! 

We managed to get away to Houston for a few days and loved touring NASA’s LBJ Space Center!

1-14-13 Houston 1 - LBJ Space Center

1-14-13 Houston 3

1-14-13 Houston 4Wouldn’t these make cool Halloween costumes?

1-14-13 Houston 13Showering in space does not look like much fun…

1-14-13 Houston 14…but this does!

1-14-13 Houston 18John Glenn once said that climbing into a space capsule was more like putting on a pair of pants than climbing into a rocket ship!

1-14-13 Houston 22

1-14-13 Houston 25The largest display of moon rocks in the US is at the Houston Space Center

1-14-13 Houston 26

Dave at the controls

1-14-13 Houston 28This is the actual control room from which all space missions, until the first space shuttle, was managed.  It was really cool being in the observation room behind this area knowing how many famous people, including several US Presidents and the Queen of England, had stood in this very spot!!

1-14-13 Houston 30Dave looks at a rocket mock-up on the grounds of the Center

1-14-13 Houston 31These are the rocket motors of the last Saturn rocket built in the US, Apollo 18.  It is was completely finished and ready to launch when Congress decided to end the space program by refusing to pay for the fuel.  It then sat in an empty field for 20 years deteriorating, until the Space Center decided to paint it and house it in this large enclosure where tourists can see it up close.

1-14-13 Houston 34The astronaut pictured here second from the left, Dr. Steven Hawley, was Roberta’s brother Doug’s roommate at UC Santa Cruz.  This is one of several space shuttle missions he flew.

January 21

We headed back to Austin on MLK Day, delighting in listening to the second Inauguration of Obama on the radio as we drove.  It also happened to be the National Day of Service so, as planned, we arrived back in Austin just in time for our “day of service” at Lifeworks Community Center where we helped assemble supply bags for homeless teens.

1-21-13 National Day  of ServiceWe really enjoyed doing this service project and plan to do many more like it

January 30

Our last day in Austin was the culmination of several months of hard work on both the front and back yards of Roberta’s and Mike’s home.  The results were truly amazing!  The job was actually only about 95% complete, but we could not stay any longer because of other commitments in other states, but we have total confidence that Mike will be able to finish the job on his own.  Our only regret is that we won’t be there for the celebratory BBQ and party!! These pictures show the work pretty graphically, start to finish, of the final back yard portion of the work.

1-10-13 Austin 1With the fence finished, it was now time to start on the new patio

1-10-13 Austin 2The old wooden deck had deteriorated to the point that it was not salvageable, so Dave and Mike tore it down before having the backyard scraped, leveled and new topsoil brought in.  Here you can see where the new deck will be built just outside the back door of the house.

1-10-13 Austin 5On this side of the house the soil had eroded to the point that the foundation of the house was exposed.  Once a retaining wall was built, Dave and Mike were able to finish this fencing and the new surface of compact gravel was leveled.

1-10-13 Austin 6The opposite side of the house was also resurfaced with compact gravel.  There was also some erosion here, but the new rain gutters Mike had installed should fix that problem permanently.  You can also see the staking out of where the new patio wall will be constructed.

1-26-13 Austin 1Once the patio wall was done the area had to be filled up with dirt and gravel.  Here you see Mike shoveling dirt into the wheelbarrow.  But that was the easy part…

1-26-13 Austin 4…the hard part was the DISTANCE they had to carry each of the 200 or so loads of dirt and rock just to reach the patio!!

(Dave’s note: “I carried 175 of those 200 loads!!”)

1-26-13 Austin 5Dave hard at work on the next phase of the job…

1-26-13 Austin 7…and the next.  The ramp in front of him is what he built to run the wheelbarrow up in order to dump each load of dirt – wish I’d videotaped him doing it!!

1-28-13 Austin Yard 2There was enough of the limestone rock left over to “decorate” both sides of the patio

1-28-13 Austin Yard 3The light posts are in and the surface is ready for the stone!

1-28-13 Austin Yard 4

1-28-13 Austin Yard 9Dave and Mike starting the process of laying out the stone

1-28-13 Austin Yard 12And many days they worked well after dark trying to get it done before we had to leave.  Dave worked by himself all day and Mike joined him each day after he got home from work.

1-30-13 Austin Yard 1The patio is really starting to look nice

1-30-13 Austin Yard 3Dave prepares the ground for the extra limestone

1-30-13 Austin Yard 4A closeup view of the stone as it was laid down.  Now Mike will have to go back and make sure every piece is level,  then apply the liquid that “cements” the stones in place.

1-30-13 Austin Yard 10The BBQ anxiously waits to take its place on the beautiful new patio!

1-30-13 Austin Yard 11Mike will also be installing a set of steps from the patio level to the yard level

1-30-13 Austin Yard 13On the last day Dave decided to surprise Mike by putting in the horseshoe pit that Mike had tried to do himself a few months earlier.  It is much easier to do when the ground is level and the weeds are gone!

1-30-13 Austin Yard lights 2Voila!

January 31

Last stop in Texas – Fort Worth and the grandkids.

1-31-13 Moustached Men 2Who are those mustached men??

1-31-13 Oscar drives the RVDave decided it was time to teach Adam to drive the RV.  Adam asked what the two pedals on the floor were for and when Dave explained that one made the RV go and one made it stop, Adam quickly replied, “Well don’t push the one that makes you go away!”

1-31-13 Us & Adam & HarleyDave’s next Facebook profile pic

About meanderingmomma

A retired school teacher hits the road
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