JoDo Chasing Rainbows

Lake Livingston State Park

While we were at our home base in Livingston we decided to go check out the state park. We wanted to check out the RV park and the walking trails. There are a few walking trails. The Pineywood Boardwalk trail is handicap accessible.

It goes through a wetland area. It is approximately one mile long. We did not walk on an of the other trails. It had been raining quite heavily the week we were in Livingston. Those other trails were muddy. We did walk along the lake and the road ways.

We did not camp here but we checked out all the camping and RV areas. This is a great place to bring your bike. The roads are nice and flat. You can ride your bike easily to all parts of this park. The tent camping areas look pretty dry even with all the rain we had been receiving. All the RV areas were nice. The Red Oak and Piney Shores looked to be the only loops open.
It also looks like the pads have recently been updated to concrete. All other RV pads were asphalt. Piney Shores has great views of the lake.

Next time we are in Livingston we want to stay at this park for a few days. There was great bird watching and it was very quiet. I can only imagine what this place must be like in the spring and fall. It has got to be packed with activity. Have you stayed at this park? You can make a reservation at TexasSateParks.org.

Texas Prison Museum

We are new residents of Texas. We moved to the state in July of 2018. We strive to visit any and all places that can give us a little more insight on this history our adopted home. So off to Huntsville we went to visit the Texas Prison Museum. There is a nominal cost of $3.00 per person for the visit.

This museum does not shy away from Texas prison problem but it is not as specific as I could be. They don’t shy away from the convict labor that was used after the Civil War through the early 1900s. However, they don’t discuss the specific impact that this had on Black people. You could read between the lines though because in every picture during this time all the prisoners were black.

Also there is a disparity in the early death penalty cases. They do have an exhibit of the no longer in use electric chair. Next to the exhibit listed the crimes of men who were put to death during that same week we are in. It seemed the white men were bank robbers who killed people and the black men were put to death for assaulting white women.

I find it interesting that the average inmate is 32 years old, who dropped out in 9th or 10th grade and has a comprehension level of a 6th grader. Texas does has its own school system for inmates so that when they leave prison that they will be better equipped to find employment.

An interesting fact was that Texas had a very successful prison rodeo that ran from 1931 through 1986. It was only canceled because they could not raise enough money to keep up proper equipment. Inmates make all their own clothing, uniforms for the guards and still create a large portion of their food. There is no air conditioning in any of Texas prisons but there is heat.

This was a very interesting place. I continued to be amazed by the ingenuity of some of the prison population with the art that was created and the items they could make, like a food processor, out of every day materials.

Johnson Space Center

After a long wait at the doctor’s office for our annual visit we decided to high tail it down to the Johnson Space Center. I was like a little kid all the way there. I was driving and still asked ‘are we there yet’ to many times to count. Donna and I are space geeks. I don’t want to tell you how many times we have seen The Martian or From Here to the Moon.

My most vivid and tragic memory the space program is January 29, 1986. I was in high school when the Challenger exploded. I was so excited that I was going to be able to view the launch because we had a half day at school due to mid-terms. I remember running home so that I could get there before the countdown. I made it home with about 10 minutes to spare. I remember popping some popcorn and settling in to watch the launch. It was the first time in my remembrance that such an accident occurred. Exploring space is not easy. People die in our quest to move beyond our earth.

I so wanted to be able to travel into space. Between my love for Star Trek and Star Wars, I know that one day, if possible, I will make it into space. I know I have a few items to over come though. It seems in my adulthood that I have developed a vertigo and motion sickness. I found out about the vertigo at the Grand Canyon. My eye lost the horizon as I was walking down to Mather Point. I fell over. Yep, right down to the ground. Every time I tried to walk I looked like a drunken fool. It was quite hilarious. I found out about the motion sickness during this trip to the Johnson Space Center. There is a view out one of the windows of the Space Station where this is a live feed from there looking at the earth. I jumped up on the platform and started my view. I started to call for Donna about a minute in. I would completely sick. I am so glad that I did not throw up.

This is the view from the Space Station looking at the earth. It was motion sickness alley for me.

It’s a magical place with some many things to see. My only regret was that we could only be there for three and a half hours. We had a 9 am and 9:15 am doctor’s appointment. We did not leave her office until 11:45 am. That being said, we (meaning me) tore through that place as quickly as I could read any given exhibit. The lines for certain exhibits are long so you need to pack your patience.

My favorite parts were the early space travel and mission control areas. I would recommend this as an all day experience. Veterans receive a slight discount on the $29.95 ticket price.

Dead Battery Chronicles

No one wants a dead car battery. It’s the worst. Further insult is when you get to your destination and your car, which is attached to your RV for towing, is dead. The first time it happened we thought it was our fault. We were checking into a military recreation area where you had to show ID and proof of insurance at the gate. By time we completed the process our car had been sitting without the benefit of the trickle charge for 30 minutes. Luckily, there was a maintenance worker who came along so we did not have to unhook the RV to turn it around to jump the car.

The second time it happened was a few weeks later. We were driving down the I-35 near San Marcos, TX when the brake lights for the car went out. We got off the highway and saw that the car had a dead battery again. Even though we were at a gas station no one would help up with the jump. We had to disconnect the RV, turn old girl around to jump the car. I thought it must have been my fault because I attached the wire. I was kicking myself for not taking proper care in preparing the car for towing.

Our very next trip it happens again. I tripled checked all the attachments myself. Donna even checked behind me. The car lights go off again but this time on I-10 in Houston, TX. (I think you can see the theme. This mess only happens when we travel through big cities.) We make it safely to our destination. We know we have an issue. There are two main suspects – the car battery or the cable that connects the RV to the car which runs the lights and trickle charges the car battery.

Our next call is the RV Tech to help us figure this out. First, he checks the car battery. It is not perfectly charged but she is holding her charge so we quickly rule that the car battery is still good. It should be. We purchased a new battery for the car right before we left Georgia for good. That battery is six months old.

Suspect #1 – 2013 Chevy Equinox.  Car battery is six months old.

He then moves onto checking the connections between the RV and the car and the cable. When he picked up the cable he asked if it was new. We stated we bought the entire towing package new six months ago. He puts one end near his ear and shakes. We can all hear the tickling noise. It seems that one of the screws has come loose. He pops the end off and low and behold we have two loose wires. He tightens the wires down and all is well. We took of the next day for a 250 mile trip. We made it to our destination with a car that would crank.

Suspect #2 – cable that attaches to RV and car.  The metal end that attaches to the car is where our problem occurred.

We now know what to check and how to fix it if this happens again. Have any of you experienced this issue?