According to our grand plan, during the past three weeks we were supposed to be touring Houston, Austin, and San Antonio. Things didn’t quite turn out that way… sometimes life gets in the way of plans, but we tend to just go with the flow!
We were surprised to find that Thanksgiving week is a big camping week, at least here in Texas. Our Houston stay was cut down to just a day due to unavailability of RV park sites after Monday, and none of the RV parks in Austin had availability. Fortunately, for our day in Houston we got to visit with an old friend from Virginia who had moved to Houston a couple years back. As for Austin, we found a campground about 30 minutes south in San Marcos that had one campsite left, so we booked it for the week, figuring we’d move closer to Austin after the holiday.
During our day in Houston, our elder dog Max took unexpectedly ill. He was very lethargic and wouldn’t get up, and more worrying, he refused to eat or drink for probably the first time in his 12+ years of life. Max has always been an extraordinarily healthy dog. After an after-hours trip to the emergency vet in Houston, exams, blood tests, and the following day a trip to an animal hospital in Austin (since we had to leave the full RV Park in Houston), his x-ray and ultrasound showed a lot of fluid both in and around his lungs: Max had pneumonia.
Due to his deteriorating state and his not eating or drinking, we had to leave him overnight and the next day to spend the night on an I.V. along with some antibiotics. We were able to take him home the next evening, but back the following day for more treatments. Fortunately, the antibiotics did their job and within about 10 days Max was 90% back to his old self (and still improving), and a follow-up x-ray came back clean. As an aside, we can’t say enough good things about South Park Animal Hospital in Austin—they were fantastic!
During all this, Thanksgiving came and went. Thanksgiving (and Christmas) have always been Kathie’s day to cook for the whole extended family (with lots of help, of course), so this year was quite a change for us, being away from family, and having a tiny kitchen. Instead, we found a nice restaurant in San Marcos (Palmer’s) that offered a complete Thanksgiving buffet dinner all afternoon. So, we had our turkey, ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes, bread, cranberry sauce, and more, but without all the work, and no clean-up! Of course it wasn’t quite as good as home-cooked, but we weren’t complaining!
Once Max started improving, we looked into campgrounds closer to Austin, but we found that we rather liked where we were in San Marcos at Pecan Park Riverside RV. It was quiet, spacious, very inexpensive… and we were already there. There’s something to be said for inertia! Instead of packing up and driving someplace new, we decided to stay put for a while. We were in a brand new section of the RV Park, so once the Thanksgiving campers cleared out, we had the place almost to ourselves.
Since we’re traveling all over the country and want to ride as many roller coasters as is feasible, last month we bought 2015 Six Flags Gold Season Passes when they were on sale. For less than the price of two admission tickets, a gold season pass gets us into all Six Flags parks for free for the remainder of 2014 and all of 2015, and gets us free parking at all parks. Parking alone costs about $20 at each parks, this is a deal where we’ll save a lot of money and have a lot of fun!
About an hour south of San Marcos is San Antonio, home to Fiesta Texas, one of the 12 Six Flags amusement parks in the U.S. Since it’s winter now, the park is only open on weekends, from 4pm to 9pm, so we took a drive there one Saturday after we were comfortable leaving Max alone for a few hours. We arrived when the park opened, and it was pretty deserted! By the time we left at 7pm though, it was more crowded and full of activity. We were pleasantly surprised by the quality and fun-factor of the coasters we rode. The three that stuck with us, and which we look forward to riding again some day are Iron Rattler, Goliath, and Boomerang. By late winter we should be in southern California, and we’ll be sure to visit Magic Mountain (especially since it’s free free free with our passes!).
Also once Thanksgiving was over, we decided that even though we no longer live in a big house, we should still have a Christmas tree. Since the weather here has been in the 60s and 70s, I think the tree is even more important as a reminder us that it’s actually winter! We went shopping and chose the second-smallest artificial tree we found (another first for us—all our trees before have been real ones that need water and smell like pine), one string of lights, and one pack of miniature ornaments. The tree fits perfectly on Rover’s dashboard and is like a little reminder of home.
We used the rest of our time in San Marcos to catch up on our hobbies (sewing and baking for Kathie, programming for Mike), see a couple movies (Interstellar and Big Hero 6), get some minor work done on Rover, get Red waxed, replenish our supplies at Costco and the supermarket, give Max a bath, and generally relax. We never actually made it into Austin (except to the animal hospital), instead opting to take it easy. We’ll keep Austin on our list for next year!