Tom Flanders World

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Tom Week – Back in Texas

The cranes of Texas

4/5/19

We are at the Frog Town RV Park. No idea why it’s called that. It was a hot, humid day. I accomplished almost nothing today. Watched a cat lay in a driveway for a couple hours. Good times.

4/6/19

Meanwhile, back in Texas. We’re in Port Arthur because it looks like tomorrow’s big storm should pass to the north. We had some trouble with directions to the park because there is a street and a town called Nederland and they are not necessarily connected.

Whenever we get to a new state I stop at the welcome center for fliers. I couldn’t find any for Austin, the main reason for coming to Texas, so i asked the woman at the desk. She said, “That’s not really part of Texas.”

Also, today we got to eat at the McDonalds in Iowa Louisiana. A dozen miles past that we drove through Vinton. Pat worked at the school for blind in Vinton, Iowa.

4/7/19

The big storm came through today. We missed the worst of it. No hail, flooding or tornadoes. Though the wind did rock us and the cable TV went out for a while.

Speaking of TV, this town is weird. There are no local channels on the RV park’s cable TV. I was searching for local news so I hooked up the antenna only to find there are no local channels over the air either.

4/8/19

Some days are just confusion. Especially when you’re new to Texas’ weird highway frontage road system. We eventually got where we wanted to go once we convinced Pat’s phone that she wasn’t in Virginia. I’m still not sure it’s convinced.

In Beaumont I got a replacement tire for my bike. They actually had the exact tire I wanted and for only a few dollars more than what it cost on the Internet. So if your in Beaumont and have bike needs check out http://www.bicyclesports.com (Note: the shop is better than the website.)

4/9/19

We’re in Austin. Well, a suburb of Austin. Haven’t seen downtown yet but so far Austin looks no different from every other Texas city.

This is a great park. There is a huge fenced-in dog area right behind us. Abigail has met several new friends already.

Tomorrow is going to very hot, near 100. That may be why there isn’t a single rental car available. Cooler on Thursday. Cars available then.

4/10/19

Not as hot as they said. Only 92, very windy and low humidity. Not bad at all. Put my new tire on the good bike but was unable to pump up the tire. By bike pump died after only 22 years. Piece of crap.

Fortunately I have the folding bike so I got in a good ride anyway.

4/11/19

Picked up the rental car this morning. Unfortunately they were out of Camrys so I had to take a Dodge Challenger with a HEMI engine. A ridiculous machine weighing 1/4 as much as the RV, but with twice the horsepower. The old guy neighbors keep coming by to take pictures of it.

Tonight I went to The Velveeta Room. A famous starting ground for comedians. They were funny but I didn’t get many of their references. I guess I really am that old and out of touch.

PIX

cat in gravel driveway

Some cats can sleep anywhere

iowa water tower

We ate lunch in Iowa Louisiana

dog and fan

Abigail knows how to handle the heat

dill pickle shed

Austin Texas is still weird if you look hard enough

Dodge Challenger

Unfortunately the rental place was out of four door cars

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Tags: | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: April 12, 2019

Tom Week – New Orleans and more

new orleans

3/29/19

New Orleans! We are two buses away from the French Quarter. Sightseeing tomorrow. Rode the folding bike to the car rental place through very poor neighborhoods full of very friendly people.

The ride here was beautiful. Most of the way we were right on the gulf. Then the roads went bad and we switched to the highway.

3/30/19

New Orleans is San Francisco. The similarities are overwhelming, in the worst possible ways. The disparity of wealth is sad. I can definitely do without the drunken tourists stumbling in the street in the middle of the day. The souls of the writers I came here to find have been gentrified out of existence.

It’s not all bad. Yelp came through and sent us to a little hole of a restaurant in Da East. Great food and wonderful people to talk to.

3/31/19

So I’ve been doing more research on New Orleans and am finding hints of greatness. The trick is to escape the tourist funnel. On the other hand, maybe I just need to get over myself and do the full-on tourist thing.

4/1/19

Did taxes today. My first time in years. Pat’s done them herself for years but this I figured why should she have all the fun?

Then I gave the French Quarter another shot. I went with the idea of visiting Truman Capote’s old haunts but wound up just following the music. Wound up in two different bars with great bands.

I was also celebrating. My Twitter followers topped 1000 today.

4/2/19

Counting to four isn’t always as easy as it seems. At 12:30 today I got a call from the RV park office asking me why we hadn’t left yet. I thought we were going to leave on the third, but when I counted the nights four was today. So we had to pack up quick and make way for the newcomers.

Tonight we’re just east of Baton Rouge. The strangest part was that none of got upset. We wound up sitting in a WalMart parking lot laughing about it.

4/3/19

On my bike ride today a random nail trashed my back tire. It didn’t make it through the inner tread or tube so I was able to limp back to the RV. However the outer tire is all torn up and will need replacement. Sad.

4/4/19

After spending so much time heading east I’m having trouble remembering to go west. I wound up crossing the Mississippi River three times.

Then we got to Lafayette and wanted to stop at WalMart. After much confusion we would up a WalMart that had closed less than a week ago. So we went across town to the other WalMart. That one was still open. However, while we were sitting in the parking lot there was a big lightning strike and the power was knocked out for the whole area. We wound up at Super 1 Foods. Prices weren’t bad.

PIX

nail in tire

Amazingly I made it the four miles back to the RV with this in my tire.

odometer

The RV hit 12,000 miles today.

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Tags: | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: April 4, 2019

Tom Week – Fuzzy Plans

Fuzzy squirrel with plans

3/15/19

Plans change, and I love it when they do. The Florida panhandle is overrun with spring breakers so we’ve fled to Georgia. We are in Valdosta, which is apparently a college town. We’ll be here for a week while we let our mail catch up with us and I go to lens crafters to get my long-overdue new glasses.

The park is nice but the cable service is weird. The lowest channel is 66.1 and the highest 101.125. Whole numbers are not allowed.

At the RV park’s dog park Abigail made a new friend. A four year old pit bull that still thinks it’s a puppy. He managed to play with Abbie without her having to do anything.

3/16/19

Picked up a rental car today. Actually a rental truck. There was a long line, only one clerk, two people had just returned damaged cars and three more scheduled returns hadn’t shown up.

When it was finally my turn she apologized because mine was one of the no-shows. I told her I didn’t care what I got. She took my license, looked me up and noticed I was in the “plus” category.

She told me that I didn’t have to wait in line like I did. I told her I’m not that much an asshole. Oddly, a pickup truck was magically available with a free upgrade. Which pissed off the guy behind me who was downgraded from a Nissan Altima to a Hyundai Accent.

Then on the way back to the RV park I was flipping radio stations and heard one talk radio station claim to be the only place where you’ll hear the truth about Chappaquiddick. I thought I was bad at letting things go.

3/17/19

A wrong turn took us miles out into the Georgia wilderness. Turns out I missed a turn about 100 yards outside the RV park. Then I wound up following Business 41 instead of regular 41. But it was all worth it as we found the “better” WalMart.

3/18/19

Took Abigail to the groomers. Now she’s all clean and cut.

The leaf-blowers came today. They were the least efficient blowers in the history of blowing. Only they didn’t take the leafs away. They are sitting in piles here and there around the park, ready for the slightest breeze to return them to their original places.

We are in the short-timers row at the park so we get to watch people come and go. It’s amazing how many people are unaware of their rig’s girth. My favorite was the guy who put the same number of leveling blocks under each wheel.

3/19/19

It was Tom day today. I took a shower, got a haircut and had an eye exam for new glasses. Not use to that much attention.

The weird thing about Georgia is that we are north of Florida but people here have way thicker southern accents. I barely understood the woman at the hair place.

3/20/19

Breakfast at Cracker Barrel. Pat and Tonya got haircuts.

Tonight I went to a local professional wrestling show. It was wonderfully terrible. Much of it wasn’t so much wrestling as piles of flab crashing together. The guy to my left kept explaining things to me. Who was the good guy, or bad guy, or whatever. One of the wrestlers had to be over 60.

3/21/19

Took Abigail to the local dog park today. She almost played with one dog and gt to bark at a greyhound that was definitely running way too fast, endangering the other dogs in the park.

Pix

Abigail in her bed

I carelessly left the towels in Abigail’s bed. She adapted.

wrestler

One of the worst and most fun wrestling shows ever.

#journal #plans

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Tags: | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: March 21, 2019

Tom Week – Flatlands

flatlands

3/8/19

Laundry day again. Then a bike ride, 14 miles, averaging nearly 13 miles an hour. I love the flatlands. Some people use there bike rides to map out pictures. My route today drew a perfect right angle. I’m so talented sometimes.

On my ride I also saw a cottonmouth snake. (From a distance.)

3/9/19

If you are a critter of any kind do not ever attempt to cross Florida highway 60. Om my bike ride today I saw more than a dozen squashed turtles, uncountable flat squirrels, three freshly-dead raccoons and a goat. Yes, a dead goat!

3/10/19

We are in the woods. No cable. Only one channel through the antenna and it works for five minutes then doesn’t for ten.

We are in spot 47. We were supposed to be in spot 44 which is a pull-thru and right next to the showers, but there is somebody in that spot. So we had to park here in the lesser back-in spot far away from the showers. C’est la vie sur la route.

3/11/19

Sometimes random park-picking works out. We are in a place that actually lives up to the name “resort.” Abigail likes all the squirrels. Also, we are in spot 440, which is one of my favorite Chrysler engine sizes.

3/12/19

I use an app called Strava to track my bike rides. Many people use this to make drawings out of their rides. This week I’ve managed to three drawings. The first is of a right angle. The second a bicycle spoke. The third a triangle. I’m so talented.

On my ride a horse came running over to the fence by the road. I had to stop and say hello. While I was petting its forehead a cow came trotting over. I went to pet it but it ran away. A curious coward.

3/13/19

Today we found a place to give Abigail a proper bath at Scrubbs Car and Dog Wash in Gainesville Florida. Gainesville is the home of the University of Florida. You have never seen so many scooters in your life. You may think you have, but you haven’t.

Tonight we are back at our favorite park of the three we’ve been to in Lake City. It’s the one with the alligator in the pond.

We don’t know where we’re going tomorrow.

3/14/19

It’s Tallahassee time.

Strange experience checking in today. The woman behind the desk looked up and said “Hello Mr. Flanders.” I took a second and realized that I’ve seen her before, but we’ve never been to Tallahassee before. Turns out that the same people own this park and the one we said in last night, a hundred miles away. The woman came to work on their computer system.

PIX

cow

This cow was curious but cautious

dead turtle

One of the dozens of turtles that didn’t make it across FL60

street signs

Venice Beach was nice but Briny Breeze stunk

horse

The friendliest horse in the field

old police car

There was one of these are both ends of the RV park

TPO magazine

Yes, that’s Treatment Plant Operator magazine

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Tags: | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: March 14, 2019

Tom Week – Marching Into March

Campground streets in March

3/1/19

It’s March already!

We moved spaces to try to get away from the smoke. That helped a little. The downpour helped a lot more. Though at one point the guy was out there under an umbrella trying to keep the fire going. He either has some deep nostalgic connection with campfires or he’s clinically insane.

3/2/19

Rainy lazy day. Stuff to do, no energy to do it.

Abigail got to meet another cocker spaniel. She was very excited at first. Then she just wandered away.

After staying at so many parks with mostly permanent residents it’s odd to be in an overnight campground. It fills up every evening and empties every morning.

3/3/19

We changed plans at the last minute this morning. Pat happened to look at the weather forecast for where we were going and it’s going to be below freezing on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. So we headed south in search of better weather.

Tonight there is a tornado watch for the Florida panhandle. Yes, that’s where we were going to go. Lucked out on this one. Tomorrow we’re going to Tampa where the low temps will be in the 40’s. Much better.

The stop at WalMart today was one of the best ever. There was a guy in the next checkout lane buying a 25 pound bag of sugar and a 10 pound bag of brewer’s yeast. He freaked out when I said, “Making moonshine?” Seriously, what else would he be making.

3/4/19

We’re in Tampa. Well, not really Tampa, but it’s close enough.

3/5/19

Abigail let us sleep late this morning. Didn’t get up till 11AM. Nice.

3/6/19

Same park, different spot. We decided to stay put for another day. We were in space 215 down with the short-timers. They were going to move us to 184, among the one-nighters, but the people who were supposed to leave by 11AM were still there at 1:30PM. So they put us 102 with the weeklies.

There are many dogs at this end of the park. I took Abigail out to meet another cocker spaniel, but she wasn’t impressed.

Between spots we went shopping and wound up at the smallest WalMart ever. What kind of suburban hell have we gotten ourselves into?

3/7/19

We’re now in Dover, FL. Six miles from where we were yesterday. We got lucky. One last cold night and then the weekend. I was looking to the south but everything was full or $100 a night. I finally found a park that had one space left. I jumped at it.

The park has some bad reviews so i was a little nervous. Turns out those reviewers were either delusional or assholes. It’s a very nice park with very nice people.

PIX

rundown building

Not all campgrounds have scenic views

lizard

Go away. You can’t see me.

dead locust

The big yellow truck is not always insect-friendly

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Tags: | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: March 7, 2019

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