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Summer Vacation in Seguin, TX

As any one who has been to Texas in the summer knows, the heat and humidity are horrible here and the first week of August is usually the worst. After two months of being in daily survival mode, it was time for me to take a break. I considered lots of places to go but kept coming back to just wanting to have a few days where I could be cool all day and night. The one downside of living in an RV is that they don’t stay all that cool in high temps no matter what you do. That cinched my decision to go to my favorite stomping grounds in New Braunfels, TX including Schlitterbahn waterpark for which I have a yearly pass. Unfortunately, at this time of year hotels there are very expensive and many are already booked up. I couldn’t take my RV which had to stay at my gate to hold it for me. After a bit of searching and convincing myself that trying something new was a good thing even if it was a few miles farther away and would cost a little extra gas, I found a nice hotel 15 miles away in Seguin, Texas.

The Park Plaza Hotel is in old downtown Seguin across from a small park at the center of town. The 5 story building is very old but remodeled fancy. As you will find with most older hotels, the rooms are rather small and they had to get creative to modernize them. The elevator is slow as molasses but at least they have one. In the rooms, there are no shelves in the bathroom or even a countertop. I had to sling my towels over the newer shower stall to dry them. There is no bathtub either. The desk is just a table and chair. The air conditioning is a bit noisy and is mounted high up on the wall but it keeps the room delightfully cool. I had to wear earplugs to sleep. The AC does have a modern control to set and there was a standalone closet in my room with hangers and a bathrobe provided. The windows don’t open but go from floor to ceiling for a magnificent view if you are staying on the best side. The flat screen TV is large with excellent picture and comes with lots of good channels. The bed is why I chose this place. It is neither too hard or soft and comes with a very fluffy comforter instead of the usual old ragged bed spread. It also comes with 4 pillows so you don’t have to ask for one. The room also came with a dorm refrigerator to keep the sodas I brought cool. The WI-FI was good until AT&T went down for the whole town. Grrr!

Park Plaza Hotel, Seguin, TX

The first night I was there, I chose to try out the hotel’s restaurant. Bad move. I see plenty of folks eating in it every night but I don’t know why. I paid twice as much for a meal than I normally would at a nice restaurant. They clearly have a real chef cooking as the portions are small but the food is arranged decoratively. The salad, while odd in it’s ingredients, still tasted very good. The filet mignon though tasted like I had licked a rubber basketball. After that I made sure to stop for dinner before going back to the hotel for the night. Just so you know, Dominoes is nearby and delivers. There are also several fast food places just up the main street.

Park Plaza saladPark Plaza restaurant

Parking at the hotel is a little more difficult than usual. All the streets around it are limited to 2 hour parking only. They have a parking lot with just enough parking but the lane in is narrow and they sometimes block it off at night to keep other cars from cruising through it or parking there as I guess they often do. I had to go In the Out several times and maneuver my wide dually truck around to park late at night.

Across the street is a lovely park I enjoyed every night. There is a beautiful, calming fountain in the middle, a gazebo to one side and a statue to their founder, Juan Seguin, on the other. Lights in all the surrounding trees keep it well lit and create a nice atmosphere in the park at night. Every evening, hotel guests and locals meet and greet each other. Families sometimes bring their chairs to gather and talk about their day. The biggest attraction, however, is the Pokemon gym located at the fountain and numerous Pokemon stops both in the park and around it. Almost everyone walking about or sitting at the fountain has their smartphone out with their eyes glued to it. I downloaded the app myself to see what the big deal is with this new game. In some ways it is like geocaching. You follow the map to a stop and are rewarded. All the stops I went to were either artistic or historical so not only did I get a good workout walking, I also got to know much more about the area which is what I like about geocaching. One Pokestop was at the World’s Largest Pecan. Here and there you come across a vicious Pokemon character you have to toss virtual balls at to defeat and capture. Once you get enough to reach level 5, you can enter a Pokemon gym and select your team to play with but that is about all. I am told you really need to get to level 15 before you can win many battles in the gym. I went with yellow team which plays by instinct which happens to be how I travel too.

Seguin park fountainWorld's Largest Pecan

I didn’t do as much shopping as a normally do on vacation. Just wasn’t in the mood but I did hit up Harbor Freight, Walmart, and a couple others I needed to hit.

Most of my time was spent at Schlitterbahn! I topped my record and went 4 days including the last day of vacation and I stayed cool. I actually changed into dry clothes and came home directly from there. The first day I managed to not get too burned but made a point of wearing a Tshirt and sunglasses for the rest of the trips there. I had my favorite, smoked turkey leg, there one day and a good and not-too-large cheeseburger another day. I learned my lesson about eating a Bahn Burger last time. The other days I picked up lunch on the way there with a quick drive through Jack In The Box. The crowds were ridiculous as expected and forget trying to ride the best slides unless you get there right at opening time. Parking wasn’t too bad though. One thing to remember about Schlitterbahn is no matter how crowded it is, you can still get on the continually looping rides like the wave river or The Falls river with very little waiting. On weekends during summer, they may institute a line and limit to one ride around at a time for The Falls. Those two rides are in the new park. In the old park, there are several pools you can hang around in.

Schlitterbahn raging wave riverSchlitterbahn tubingSchlitterbahn wave poolHanging ten at Schlitterbahn

They have just introduced a ride pass similar to Disneyland where you can make an appointment for a ride and show up in a special line when it is your turn to ride. Great idea! Very pricey idea too. Ouch! It might be worth it during the week but the weekend crowds will keep you waiting just too long even for an appointment.

I thought I knew every inch of Schlitterbahn since I have been going there for three years but this year I discovered a new area at the new park with smaller crowds, food, and a beach, a fast lazy river with crocodiles to ride, a body slide into the river, and a cool obstacle course. From the parking lot and Falls, you go through the tree lodge area to get to it. I spent quite a bit of time there and did the body slide several times.

Newly discovered Schlitterbahn areaRiding river crocodilesWater obstacle course

I picked up a new hat at Schlitterbahn for working the gates. It’s a big shark eating my head. LOL Should I have gone for the octopus instead?

The local rivers were very crowded too. There were lots of folks out tubing which I had also planned to do.  It was just so hot outside that the last thing I wanted to do was sit above the water rather than in it.

Comal River tubing

On the way home one night, the air conditioner in my truck broke. The next morning I went out to assess the situation and saw that it was smoking when run and the clutch was frozen. I drove to the nearest auto parts store and bought a new compressor and clutch. They were kind enough to point me to an inexpensive but good auto shop that was able to take care of it right away. Since I was hungry and it was next door to Dominoes, I bought a large pizza to feed us all lunch.

With the AC now fixed but needing to be broken in for testing and most of the day gone, I finally went to Tanger Outlets. Every time I go to New Braunfels, I get told going to the Outlets is a must. Whoopee. It is just a huge outside mall with lots of big name snooty stores selling their goods at 50-60 percent off which is still way more than I am willing to pay for clothes, shoes, or anything else they had to sell. I did find a couple of new covers for my Pyrex bowls and had dinner at the Cracker Barrel there after raiding their old fashioned candy stix counter. After dinner, I rocked on their porch for a bit as the sun was setting. One good thing about Tanger Outlets is they are loaded with Pokemons! I nailed one inside the Cracker Barrel and a couple outside it. I hopped in my truck and drove through the parking lot catching several more. Don’t worry. I only drove close to them then stopped for the actual capture. By that time the parking lot was fairly empty.

Cracker Barrel foil chicken dinnerCracker Barrel porch rocking

I managed to get to the Golden Corral twice that week to eat. I only meant to eat there once but when I saw their Prime Rib Weekends sign I knew I was going back again. I’m one of those people who goes to Las Vegas not for the gambling but rather for the shows and cheap prime rib. Heh heh. It was GOOOOD!

While I was on vacation my boss called me twice trying to get me to come back and lose all the money I paid for the hotel and gas. Didn’t happen. He had to switch out the very experienced substitute I hired to cover me with another one so that guy could work a busy gate. Oh well. It all worked out and I got my vacation. I spent the last day at Schlitterbahn until 4:30pm then changed and drove to Pearsall for groceries. I got home pretty late and it was too damn HOT again! Bugger! Ready for my next vacation already.

It's Amazon Prime Day!

Today is Prime Day on Wahoo! That means there are wonderful deals galore TODAY ONLY like having Black Friday in July. If you are a Prime Member (and why wouldn’t you be!), you can shop till you drop today with new deals constantly revolving in every few minutes today. Find something you like and grab it but be sure to note the time left on it and check out before it is up. Not a Prime Member? Get a free trial for 30 days to check out the savings. Canceling online is easy if you change your mind.

Many RV parks will accept UPS packages or you can have items sent to your mail service or a friend. I have never tried shipping from Amazon to General Delivery myself so if anyone knows if that works, please let me know.

I just bought an Instant Pot 7-in-1 rice steamer, browner, yogurt maker, pressure cooker, etc for more than $40 off! That will cut my cooking time way down and generate less heat in my already hot RV this summer. Who even uses the RV oven anymore? I blame Chris Yust and her dang Facebook posts of pictures of meals she has cooked in one for getting me even thinking about getting one of these. You can blame me. 😉

I also see great deals on Amazon Kindles and Kindle Fires. I LOVE my Kindle Fire for reading books, playing games, reading email, browsing websites, and even managing my own websites on the go. When my hands are busy, it reads the newspaper or books to me with built in text-to-speech. Is that cool or what?!

If you are an avid reader or an avid researcher like me, Kindle Unlimited yearly subscriptions are also on sale today. Instead of paying $9.99 a month for it, get it today for only around $80 for a whole year! That’s 33% off. AWESOME! Check out 10 ebooks at a time to read free and there are tons of books in this program on any subject you can imagine as well as lots of fiction to enjoy in a hammock by the lake.

Don’t miss this!

Note: I am an affiliate of Amazon and any links included in this post are affiliate links which do not cost you a thing extra but do provide me with a small commission if you enter through them.

Good Day On The Gate

You wouldn’t think a good day would start off bad but hey, that’s Texas! Was told to expect 5 oil tankers yesterday and when not one had come by 5pm, I knew they would be coming in the middle of the night all night as they so love to do. I bagged thoughts of dinner and went to bed instead. At 11pm, still no tankers but I got up, made a hearty dinner of chicken fried steak, and stayed up all night waiting for the tankers that never came. Went back to bed at 5am so of course the tankers and bunches of other trucks finally came at 7am. Can’t win. I still managed to sneak in some more sleep here and there. Once everyone straggled in here and there things quieted down.

Forgot to eat breakfast. Finally realized it at lunch time. Heated up the rest of the chicken fried steak and sat down to eat when the belt broke on the company generator. First time I didn’t get excited or anxious about it because I am now covered. I called my support guy then I backed up my truck to the rear of my trailer, dropped the tailgate, and fired up my own dang generator. Yay! It worked flawlessly. After waiting 5 minutes for the surge suppressor to kick in, the refrigerator switched back over to AC power and the air conditioner came back on. For once, I stayed cool during a generator breakdown. It was lovely. Support guy got here in an hour and fixed up the company generator. Shut down my gennie, flipped up the tailgate, and moved my truck back to its parking space. Piece of cake! Now I can get rid of the huge generator box on my bed. Was keeping it until I was sure of new generator.

Generator WorkingSupport guy fixing company gen

While all this was going on, the wonderful guys from Lehosky Welding came by after trimming the grass on all the drilling pads and whacked all the grass down around my trailer and the gate. They gave me a very nicely manicured lawn (to keep the snakes away). Don’t I feel special! I paid them off in candy. Tee hee! Silly Lehosky guy asked me if I had a lawn mower. LOL. A full-time RVer who moves around with a lawn mower. Silly wabbit.

Whacking at the gateMy manicured lawn

By the way, the price of oil is up and more gates are starting to open. I heard some oil companies are even starting to hire again though many experienced people have moved on to other jobs. I’m seeing advertisements for gate guards. The snowbird winter guards have left and many longtime guards have decided to try other things. If you are interested in this job, check out my guard company, Guard 1 Services. Sorry, no dogs allowed.

Printing Freedom

Time goes on and things change, even in the wonderful world of RVing. Having lived in an RV for 11 years now, some items that worked fine for me when I first started my journey don’t work so well for me anymore. Technology continues to advance and design new items to make life easier. Prices on older technology continue to drop. After over 11 years of paying high prices for inkjet printer ink and constantly running out of ink, I was getting antsy for something better. I just needed the cosmic winds to shift to lower prices and give me a good excuse to replace a good working printer. Things finally came together when my job changed from employee status to contractor (bah humbug!) and I started looking around at possible online businesses I could run at the same time. For business reasons, I need to change to laser printing. A look at the current costs of laser printers showed significant drops and even low-cost color laser printers if I wanted that option. I rarely print color but it is always nice to have options.

Being in an RV, I had to consider things land lubbers don’t. I needed to balance weight, space, and power needs for a new printer. Color printers seem to weigh twice as much as black and white printers. I hated to have to give up color but carrying that extra weight to print a handful of pages in color each year just wasn’t worth it to me. I can print through an office store or possibly a library if needed. Space wise, I knew the new printer would likely have a bigger footprint and not be suitable to sit on my table like the old printer. I reorganized my space to create a place on the floor for the new printer which I plan to keep covered at all times when not in use. I was a little concerned about the power draw of a laser printer compared to an inkjet but was assured a trailer could handle it.

After deciding what I wanted as options for my new printer with scanning, printing, and copying being a must, I learned the codes used in printer model numbers such as D=Duplex(two sided automatic copy), C=Color, MFC=Multifunction (Scan, copy, fax, print), W=Wireless, etc. and started searching reviews on Amazon and computer websites. Brother laser printers score high for customer service and support so I narrowed it down to a few of their models. Here is where it gets weird… Since I live in an RV without a landline phone, I have no need for faxing capability in a printer. I use Internet faxing instead. Looking at the models that interested me, the best price on Wal-Mart’s website and Amazon was for a Brother printer that had a lot more bells and whistles than what I must have. The models with less options cost more! I ended up getting a Brother MFC-L2700DW with fax, copy, flatbed scanning as well as automatic document feeder, and duplexing. The ink is easy to find, prints 1300-2600 pages depending on the cartridge type you choose, and is not much more expensive than low page producing inkjet ink or very cheap if you buy generic. At around 24-25 pounds, getting rid of my inkjet printer and another large item offset the weight.  It fits easily under my table and is still within reach. The printing is crisp, it prints great postage labels with barcodes, and as an added bonus the paper is now sealed in a drawer away from all the dust unlike with the inkjet printer.

Brother 2700 Printer

Power is the only downside with it so far. My slide out where my table is gets its power through a cord you plug into the wall when the slide out is pushed out. Until now, I have been plugging it into a large backup UPS to protect my computer and printer. The new printer draws too much power for that scheme. It has to be directly connected to the wall. There goes both my outlets in the area. Dang it! That’s the price of freedom.