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 ;-)).
You do see some pretty interesting things driving around in Texas. Anybody want a new BBQ? They say everything is bigger in Texas….
We managed to get away to Houston for a few days and loved touring NASA’s LBJ Space Center!
Dave at the controls
This 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!!
These 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.
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.
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.
The 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.
On 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.
The 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.
(Dave’s note: “I carried 175 of those 200 loads!!”)
On 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!
Last stop in Texas – Fort Worth and the grandkids.
Dave 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!”