Subj: 22. Where are we?
Date: Friday, December 7, 2001 12:41:05 PM

We left Tucson this morning (Friday, December 7) and headed east on Interstate 10. Actually we didn't go very far. Plus, I guess the town we're in isn't known for much because I can't find anything about it. However, we are not far from the "The Town Too Tough To Die" which we plan to explore tomorrow.

We loved the Tucson area. The day after we arrived, Larry called his favorite cousin, Vivian, who he hasn't seen in almost 20 years. We were able to take a short trip to Green Valley, a little south of Tucson, to visit her. At 81 years young, she is still very much a lady, very active, and is still a great person.

After visiting with Vivian, we took a short drive up Madera Canyon east of Green Valley. Even after living in the desert for 30 plus years, it never ceases to amaze us when driving only a few miles you leave the desert and get in to forests. Although the streams were dry in Madera Canyon, it was still a pretty area.

Driving back to Tucson, we stopped by Mission San Xavier Del Bac, or White Dove of the Desert. The mission was founded by Jesuit Father Eusebio Francisco Kino before 1700. However, the present structure was built in the late 1700s by the Franciscans. The mission is really beautiful and the sanctuary has beautiful artwork. It's really worthwhile to see the place.

Sunday we drove to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. This is a must-see place just a few miles west of Tucson. Both of us had been here before but not together. Larry last visited the museum in 1985 when he and his family were driving to Washington DC. Adrienne last visited here in the late 1960s while she was living in Tucson. However, it has changed significantly. It's really a wonderful place to wander around and learn about the Sonora Desert. It's really a combination of a desert museum and a desert zoo. Most of it is outside. If anyone gets to Tucson, be sure this is near the top of your list of things to see.

Monday, we stayed around the RV park for a while. Remember, this is a huge resort designed for Snowbirds. There are lots of activities. If you get bored in this park, it's your own fault. Adrienne had her hair cut and Larry played 9 holes of golf. Then we took off for the Saguaro National Park. Actually the Sorona Desert Museum is in the park but this time we went to the park's visitor center. This national park has not been developed like Yosemite or Yellowstone, but it does provide some beautiful views. This desert is very different from the California Deserts. It's like being in a forest of Saguaro, Cholla, and Prickly Pear Cactus with Palo Verde trees for shade. Of course none of the vegetation is more than 20 or 30 feet tall. But it's still beautiful.

The main attraction in the Saguaro National Park is the Signal Hill Petroglyphs. You take a path through a picnic area developed by Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930's up to the petroglyphs which are the "picture rocks" (rock paintings and carvings) created by ancient Native Americans. Once again, the scenery is breath taking and the petroglyphs provided an added touch of serenity and the past. If you remember, the CCC was established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to provide jobs and training for people during the great depression. The CCC built beautiful picnic tables from stone, fire places, a few buildings to protect the protect people from the elements, and stone and wood ramadas (shade structures).

Tuesday was the only rainy day we've had so far. So we decided we had to do some indoor things. Larry wanted to visit the Titan II Missile Museum. This museum is actually a relic of the cold war. Of the 54 Titan ICBM (InterContinental Ballistic Missile) sites once in the US, it is the only one that now exists. Of course it's been deactivated but it's now a museum. We descended into the control room (about 30 feet underground) and Adrienne actually "launched" a Titan Missile. Of course it was just a simulated launch but we had to go and check to make sure the missile was still in its silo. Although the missile was real, it was a training missile and never had a warhead attached or fuel in its fuel tanks. After visiting the Titan Missile Museum, we drove to downtown Tucson to visit the Tucson Historical Society Museum. It was interesting, but certainly not the best museum we've seen.

Wednesday, after a late start, we went to Old Tucson. Old Tucson is in the Saguaro National Park and was started as a movie set. In 1939 Columbia Pictures established a movie set for the picture "Arizona." Since then it has been used for more than 500 movies and television shows. It's an interesting place to visit with various shows and things to see. It's probably similar to what Knott's Berry Farm was 50 years ago, although Knott's Berry Farm was created for a totally different purpose.

Wait until you see the pictures of Larry being seduced by the Madam of the Dance Hall and the Sheriff asking if he was the "Harmonica Kid". This was great! We had so much fun going into a Silver/Gold mine. The tour guide was an absolute "kick" and of course it was all "SHOW BIZ". But what fun!

Thursday, we wandered around the original presido part of Tucson. It was interesting but it seems like a lot of the original buildings have been replaced by more modern structures. There is still some history there. We turned down the opportunity of listening to a free lecture on Pre-Columbian art. Somehow, if you're in Tucson, a lecture on Southwest Art seems more appropriate.

Talking about southwest art, we left downtown for the Gallery in the Sun. This is in the foot hills and displays much of the work of Ted De Grazia. (When we say "much of his work", we mean, there is so many pieces, all can not be displayed. So, the curators rotate some of the rooms to display more of his art). This place was wonderful. The gallery is in a pueblo style building designed by De Grazia. He also built an open air chapel that he decorated with frescoes (paintings on the wall). We only had about an hour before the place closed and we could have spent more time there. It is a beautiful place and the art is just wonderful. De Gracia is Adrienne's favorite artist.

Where are we now? We are in Benson Arizona, only about 30 miles east of Tucson. We are staying at an Escapees Co-op Park for $9.00 a night plus electricity. It's open and really nice. Tomorrow we plan on going to "The Town Too Tough To Die" or Tombstone where the famous OK Corral is located. Sunday, we'll start heading east again.

The Brauers
Havin' Fun


Subj: 23. Where are we?
Date: Sunday, December 9, 2001 6:10:36 PM

Today (Sunday, December 9) we left Benson and headed east. We are now in the "Land of Enchantment" or at least that's what the state's license plates claim. We are now in an RV park in a town that claims to be the "Chile capital of the world." This area is also known as a "Rock-Hunters' Paradise." On March 9, 1916, Pancho Villa, the infamous Mexican outlaw, raided a town just 30 miles south of here. According to the brochure, this was the last invasion of a foreign country onto American soil. The town was founded as a railroad town. In fact, this is where the tracks of the Santa Fe and Southern Pacific Railroads joined. It sounds like this was really a very lawless town in the early days.

Yesterday we toured Tombstone Arizona which is only 23 miles south of Benson. Tombstone was called nicknamed "The Town too Tough to Die" which is probably true. It was founded in 1881, burned in 1881 and 1882, is the home to the famous OK Corral where the Earp brothers and Doc Holiday had a famous gun battle with 4 cowboys, and survived the silver and gold mines closing in about 1890. It survived by becoming a tourist town. There is a lot of history in the town and they even stage gunfights. Tombstone is the home of the Birdcage Saloon and other well known historic places. However, it is not like the tourist towns we are used to. First, parking is free, there are no parking meters and no charge for using the parking lots. That was pleasant. The costs for the exhibits don't seem to be excessive. For instance, for $6.50 per person you gain admission to the Historama which tells about the history of the town, admission to a reenactment of the famous gun fight at the OK Corral, and a copy of the newspaper (The Tombstone Epitaph) that describes the gunfight. Souvenirs were not expensive. We really enjoyed the time we spent in Tombstone.

The RV park we stayed at in Benson was an Escapee Co-op park. It's open only to Escapee members and is very well kept. There were a lot of activities but we didn't really partake of any of them. Escapees lease RV lots and can make some improvements that meet the park's requirements. Many of the lease holder's added "Casitas" or small storage buildings, some were rather creative and served probably as guest quarters and work shops. It was a very nice park and we enjoyed our short stay.

After we left Benson this morning, we stopped in Wilcox Arizona to visit the Rex Allen Arizona Cowboy Museum. Rex Allen is considered the last of the silver screen cowboys. Now, why did we make a special stop to see his museum. Well, Rex Allen made 19 pictures in the early 50s for Republic Pictures. Larry's dad managed the Republic distribution office in Atlanta Georgia from about 1948 until 1957. Besides running the office, Larry's dad was also responsible for entertaining the movie stars and setting up publicity events when they were in Atlanta. Larry also attended those events so he met some of the Republic Movie stars like Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, Rex Allen, Rory Calhoun, Eileen Shirley, Bill Christie, and probably others. Anyway, Larry has a connection with some of those old movie stars. That's why we made a special stop in Wilcox.

This paragraph is especially for Michelle, Denise, and Lynne. The museum would love copies of any pictures, newspaper articles, or anything else that we might have with Rex Allen. I would suggest that anything that we have be copied (maybe scanned and printed on Photographic print paper), and sent to the museum. I have the address.

After leaving Wilcox, we drove over the Continental Divide. No there weren't really any hills, but there was a sign that identified the Continental Divide. For the kids, what is the Continental Divide? Rain falling on the West side of the Continental Divide flows into the ocean to the West or the Pacific Ocean. Rain falling on the East side of the Continental flows into the ocean to the East or the Atlantic Ocean.

Now, where are we. We are in Demming New Mexico. It has turned cool with the highs in the 50s and the lows in the 20s but with the RV we are very comfortable.

The Brauers
Havin' fun

Subj: 24. Where are we?
Date: Monday, December 10, 2001 6:34:24 PM

It would have been nice to spend a little time in Demming but, we had an appointment on Tuesday at an RV Dealer to have the dash radio replaced (the original one didn't receive any AM stations). So we left Demming this morning (Monday, December 10) to points east. We are now in a brand new RV park that even has phone hookups at the site, so it's no problem sending email. Of course we're still here in the Land of Enchantment (New Mexico) and now we're very close to the Rio Grande River. There are really two towns here the original town was the largest town between San Antonio and San Diego before it was bypassed by the railroad in 1881. It is also that town where William H. Bonney (also known as Billy the Kid) was caught by Pat Garrett, tried, and sentenced to hang. He escaped before the sentence was completed. This town was also a major stop on the Butterfield Stage Route.

We only drove about 60 miles today so we arrived in time to take care of some things. One of the first things was to find a fixture to hang the clothes rod in the closet. One of them broke yesterday and our clothes were lying on the floor. We also had some grocery shopping to do. We did find a Wal-Mart Super Center. WOW! That place is huge. It was probably 4 times the size of the Wal-Mart in Ridgecrest and included a full grocery store along with everything else.

We'll tell you about all the things we do here but, we need to wait a bit until we do something worth writing about.

Where are we? We are actually in Mesilla New Mexico. Mesilla is actually a very small historical town just outside of Las Cruces. We plan on being here a few days so we can really do some sight seeing.

The Brauers
Havin' Fun

Subj:  25. Where are we?
Date:  Thursday, December 13, 2001 6:00:47 PM

Today, December 13, we left Las Cruces. Although we are only about 50 miles from Las Cruces, we drove about 140 miles to get here. The reason we drove almost three times as far as necessary will become apparent later in this note. We are now in Texas, very close to the Mexican Border. We're in a city of about half a million people. The city is a popular winter tourist destination because it has a warm, dry climate, it's somewhat of an international city, and it is very close to a well known river.

While we were in Las Cruces, we finally got our dash radio replaced. The original radio would not pick up any AM stations. The dealer in Bakersfield ordered a replacement but it didn't come in until we were in Arizona. So they sent the radio to Las Cruces where another dealer installed it. Of course the first replacement radio was defective, so Winnebago sent a second replacement via overnight UPS. Now the radio works. It's nice to have a manufacturer support their product and really nice to have a dealer network that is supportive of their customers.

Other than the huge Wal-Mart we talked about before. We spent some time in old town Mesilla. That is really an interesting place. Most of the buildings on the plaza were build in the 1850s. Mesilla was once the territorial capitol of the Arizona-New Mexico territory. We celebrated one night by having dinner at La Posta Restaurant in Mesilla. This resturant opened in 1939 and serves great Mexican food (including sopapillas). They also have the best Chili con Questo that we have ever had, it was really different and very good.

It was cold, cloudy, and breezy, in Las Cruces so the weather probably spoiled our visit a little. The Haciendo RV park, where we stayed, was quite nice but wasn't really a snowbird park. They didn't really have any activities like some of the snowbird parks. However, having a phone line directly to the RV was really nice. We only used it with the computer but it was still nice.

Today, when we left Las Cruces we actually drove northeast rather than directly south. The reason for the side trip was to be able to visit the White Sands Missile Range Museum which was a pretty good exhibit and to stop by White Sands National Monument. We drove the RV, pulling the truck, on the road through the sand dunes, plus we parked the RV and walked in the dunes. Whitney (our 13 year old puppy) was really surprised with the white sand, and she loved it. At first I think she thought it was snow, then she probably decided it was beach sand but she couldn't find the water. She enjoyed the white sand so much she had to be convinced to leave. She played in the sand dunes like a puppy.

The white sands are made of gypsum which is rarely found as sand because is disolves in water. Normally, rain and snow that fall in the surrounding mountains dissolve gypsum and rivers take it to the sea. However, in the Tularosa Basin, there are no rivers to the sea. When the lake bed fills with water after a rain, the gypsum forms crystals when the water evaporates. The forces of nature, freezing and thawing, wetting and drying, eventually break down the crystals into sand-size particles light enough to be moved by the wind. Carried by the wind, the sand grains accumulate into a dune. These dunes move northward about 30 feet per year. The dunes are really beautiful, they are white like snow and seem to be fairly solid. In most areas you don't sink into the sand more than a few inches when you walk. You can climb on the dunes and even slide down them.

We have started decorating the interior of the RV for Christmas. Adrienne has put up a lot of the crocheted snowflakes. We saved the treasured Christmas decorations and have started putting them up inside the RV. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Where are we? We are in a city called the pass through the river of the north which, in Spanish, is El Paso del Rio del Norte. We call it El Paso.

The Brauers
Havin' fun

Subj:  26. Where are we?
Date:  Friday, December 14, 2001 5:34:50 PM

We left El Paso this morning (December 14) and headed east on Interstate 10. We thought seriously about taking a side trip to Carlsbad Caverns but decided to make that on another trip. We are now in a small Texas town. The town was founded in 1858 when the U.S. Army established a cavalry post. The first stores opened in 1870, the community prospered as a trade center for a large ranching empire and later as a way station on the Overland-Butterfield Stage route between San Antonio and San Francisco. The Yates oil field was discovered around 1925 just east of here.

The drive today was uneventfull. The Western part of Texas, at least along Interstate 10, traverses semi-arid rangelands. There are supposed to be some irrigated farm areas but we didn't see fields. We did see a lot of mountains but, they are nothing like what you see in California. There were no steep hills, instead, the hills were long but easy uphill grades. Some of the mountains look like hills to which someone cut off the top. We think these are called mesas. It can be strange to see a hill with a very flat top. The first part of I-10 we drove is called the Texas Mountain Highway. We did see snow on the hills for quite a few miles.

Where we are now is probably range land and the vegatation looks much like the Mojave Desert. Although we are 3000 feet above sea level, it is very flat and we can't see any mountains or hills, even in the distance. It least it's warmer than where we have been.

Where are we? We are in Fort Stockton Texas.

The Brauers
Havin' fun
and heading east

Subj:  27. Where are we?
Date:  Sunday, December 16, 2001 7:09:58 PM

We left Fort Stockton yesterday morning and continued east. We are now in the heart of the Texas Hill Country. The Guadalupe River is close by. Eleven miles south of here was the eastern terminus of a camel route to Fort Yuma California during the late 1850s. The area is so nice we decided to stay an extra night.

The drive here was interesting because we saw a lot of different landscapes. First we left high semiarid plains. Then we started driving through a hilly area with small trees. We don't know what kind of trees but it was pretty. That part of the drive was probably the most scenic so far in our route through Texas. For those of you who are interested, Adrienne drove about half the time on Saturday.

Believe it or not this area of Texas has exotic animals roaming free. Most of them seem to be related to deer, sheep, or antelope, but there are also zebras!! Exotic game animals were introduced to the Taxas Hill Country over sixty years ago. Due to the efforts of Hill Country game ranchers and their diligent wildlife management practices, the Texas Hill Country has vast herds of some species that are now endangered and even extinct in their country of origin. Today in this area, there are more than 100,000 exotic game animals from over 45 different species. Having said that, we've only seen llamas and sheep from the road and they appear to be animals that are being raised by ranchers.

Today, we left the campground and explored a little town north of here called Fredericksburg. Fredericksburg was founded in the middle of the 19th century as a farming community. It still bears the mark of its German Heritage. The downtown area is very clean and has all sorts of stores. It has several German restaurants, bakeries, and gift shops. Of course we had lunch at one of the German Restaurants (Larry had bratwurst and Adrienne had Wiener schnitzel). It was great.

We also visited a museum in honor of Fredericksburg native son who made good, the Admiral Nimitz Museum and Historical Center. This is a multipart museum that starts with Admiral Nimitz's life. Then there is a separate building that is the National Museum of the Pacific War (that's World War II). Finally, there is another area about two blocks away called the Pacific Combat Zone which is both indoor and outdoor. The intent of this last part is to show people what the war in the Pacific was like.

Where are we? We are no longer west of the Pecos. We drove over the Pecos River on Saturday. We are in a small town (population of about 20,000) a little west of San Antonio. The town is Kerrville and, we decided to spend an extra night here so we could explore this area just a little.

The Brauers
Havin' fun

Subj:  28. Where are we?
Date:  Tuesday, December 18, 2001 9:24:16 AM

Yesterday (Monday December 17), we left Kerrville and headed east again. Yesterday was the first sunny day we have seen in the Texas Hill Country. We didn't drive very far to get to a city that was our planned destination. After we arrived and set up, we took the truck (bought gas for less than $1.00 per gallon), and drove to the downtown area of the city.

We wanted to see the Alamo. That should be a big hint on where we are. The Alamo was a mission first and later a fort. I was going to make some humorous remarks about movies that were made about the Alamo, but after visiting the shrine, it would seem to be inappropirate to make those comments. The Daughters of the Republic of Texas have done a remarkable job of preserving the Alamo and presenting the history of the Alamo. This feat is more remarkable when you consider that they receive no public funding and do not charge to enter the exhibits.

After spending several hours at the Alamo, we crossed the plaza, went down some stairs, through the lobby of a hotel to the Paseo Del Rio or Riverwalk. Larry's seen several examples of successful urban-renewal projects like this. Underground Atlanta comes to mind. BUT the Riverwalk seems to outpace anything else like it. Walking along the river by various shops, galleries, and restaurants all beautifully landscaped is quite pleasant. We only walked a short portion of the Riverwalk and hope to go back today to see more and maybe take one of the boat rides.

As an aside, we are enjoying the Christmas season. It's wonderful to be able to enjoy the season without having all the obligations that usually come with the season. We will miss not seeing our children and our grandchildren. But it will be quite nice just to be together and not having to serve multiple dinners to be able to be with everyone. We're sure that it will also take pressure off our children because they won't have quite as many obligations. Do we miss them? Of course we do. We spent an hour on the telephone last night just talking to Ashley and Breanna, two of our grandchildren.

Where are we? We are in a very nice campground just north of San Antonio Texas.

The Brauers
Havin' Fun

Subj:  29. Where are we?
Date:  Wednesday, December 19, 2001 8:28:01 PM

We left San Antonio this morning (December 19). After a stop for some sightseeing (more on that later), we drove east toward a major seaport. We stopped before we reached that seaport but are within about 30 miles of it. Since we can't find anything about any of the little towns close by, we'll just describe the seaport. The seaport town is actually about 50 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico. The seaport really grew with the discovery of oil. NASA has a major facility close by, in fact, according to the AAA Tourbook of Texas, the first word uttered by a man on the moon in July 1969 was the name of the city. (Trivia enthusiasts take note.)

Yesterday, we visited San Antonio again. We drove the truck downtown and parked near the Alamo. Then we took a street car to Market Square. The Square includes El Mercado, the largest Mexican style marketplace in the country, and the renovated Farmer's Market. The Farmer's Market is now a place for vendors to sell Mexican and Central and South American Imports rather than produce. Of course there were quite a few Mexican restaurants there, most of them having outdoor patios. One of the interesting things about the place is that none of the shops had outrageous prices. Another interesting claim is that Chili Con Carne was invented here. One of the interesting things we learned is that in this part of the country (specifically Texas and New Mexico) chili refers to the pepper, not the stuff you get on a chili dog. Therefore, Chili Con Carne refers to chili peppers served with meat, just like Chili Con Queso is chili peppers served in cheese.

After El Mercado, we got back on the street car and went to La Villita (or The Little Village). La Villita was developed in the mid to late 1800s as a settlement adjacent to Mission San Antonio de Valero (now known as the Alamo). It was the site of General Santa Ana's cannon line in the battle of the Alamo. In fact, one of the information signs claims that Santa Ana ran out of cannon balls for his cannon. So he substituted pecans for grape shot. That, plus the squirrels in the area, is the reason there are so many pecan trees in downtown San Antonio. All we can say is that there are a lot of 100 plus year old pecan trees in the area. La Villita is now an historic park and the old houses are filled with shop keepers and artisans. There are art galleries, various shops, and artists in the area. We visited a glass blower (who may have apprenticed during the Battle of the Alamo). Watching the glass blower make miniature horses for a carousel was really fascinating. We also visited a candle shop called Scentchips ( where they don't really make candles. The do make scented chips of candle wax and sell them. A really interesting place.

We then walked over to the Arneson River Theater and down to the Riverwalk. The Arneson River Theater appears to be unique in itself. It is an open air theater with the seats on one side of the river and the stage on the other side. Now the river is only 20 or 30 feet wide but the concept was really interesting. Of course the Riverwalk goes both in front of the stage and in front of the audience (it's on both sides of the river)!!

We then took a tour boat ride on the river. This just covers the developed part of the river walk. But it was fun and interesting. For example, did you know there is a city ordnance that prohibits any building from casting a shadow on the Alamo!! Another bit of trivia that caused several large hotel chains to limit the height of their hotels. Since it was mid afternoon after the boat ride, and we hadn't eaten lunch, we stopped by Dick's Last Resort (on Adrienne's eldest son's recommendation) for some boiled shrimp and coffee. It was just enough to quell our talking stomachs and allow us to enjoy the remainder of the afternoon.

Adrienne then realized that she had wanted to see the rest of the San Antonio Missions (there are a total of five). Fortunately, Larry remembered someone telling him how to get to the mission trail. After driving though what seemed like miles of narrow downtown streets and more miles of road construction, we finally reached the Mission Concepcion. A beautiful mission that looks essentially like it did in the mid 1700s. We did have an opportunity to explore the mission for a short time. It wasn't anywhere near as ornate as the mission south of Tucson but it was still interesting. Then we drove the Mission Road to the Mission San Jose. This mission was fascinating. We arrived with about 15 minutes to spare before the National Park Service closed the gates but we were able to see some of the grounds. This mission has the wall entirely intact around the mission.

After we were encouraged by a Park Ranger to leave the San Jose Mission (it was closing time), we drove by the other two missions in the chain, the Mission San Juan Capistrano, and the Mission San Francisco de la Espada but didn't visit them. The five missions include the four just mentioned and the Mission San Antonio de Valero which was the first mission in the chain (founded in 1718) and was turned into a fort called The Alamo. The Alamo is under the care of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas while the others are under the care of the National Park Service. Incidentally, the four missions (not the Alamo) are still active Catholic Parishes.

We wanted to explore the mission San Jose y San Miguel de Aguayo more thoroughly. So today, we mapped our route so we could stop by the mission again. We watched a short movie about the San Antonio Missions and had a personal tour by one of the docents. It turns out that much of the San Jose Mission was restored as a WPA project after the depression. It was pointed out that the original building material was limestone. Because limestone was no longer available, after the limestone from the ruins were used up, sandstone was used. Thus it is easy to tell what were the original buildings and what was restored by the WPA. There is a huge courtyard (probably several acres) enclosed by a wall. Parts of the wall were "apartments" for the indians, there were bastions (a protected area for shooting cannons and muskets) for defending the mission from the unfriendly Apache and Comanche Indians who refused to accept the teachings and the rules dictated by the Franciscians. They have recently restored a mill (with a horizontal water wheel instead of the more traditional vertical water wheel) to make flour from grain. This mill was dedicated by President George W. Bush this past summer. Other parts of the wall around the mission were used as housing for the Fathers and their visitors, and part was a grainery. The Convento (where the father's lived and their visitors were housed) had both Roman and Gothic Arches.

The drive today was interesting, we did see some Zebras as well as some Texas Longhorn Cattle. This area is interesting with all the rivers and lakes. Unlike many of the rivers in California there was actually water in them. We think we are finally out of the desert.

Now, after rambling on for several paragraphs, Where are we? We are still in Texas and just outside of Houston.

The Brauers
Havin' Fun


Subj:  30. Where are we?
Date:  Friday, December 21, 2001 8:58:49 AM

We finally reached one of our first planned destinations. We are still in Texas but now we are a bit north of Houston. We are in a very special campground that is owned by a club that caters to full time RVers. This campground has almost everything you can think of and then some.

Yesterday we left the Brookshire KOA Kampground West of Houston, drove through the outskirts of Houston on the freeway, and up to where we are now. We've always heard how bad the traffic was in Houston and that was confirmed. Shortly after leaving the campground West of Houston we hit traffic on I-10. It was stop and go traffic for about 15 miles. We kept expecting to see a major traffic accident but it was just too many cars getting on and off the freeway. Once we exited off the I-10 and started around Houston on the I-610 it was better. There was still a lot of traffic but it was moving. Once we started north on a state highway, the traffic finally thinned out.

Anyway, we reached our destination with no problems. Today we start the process to get our vehicles registered in Texas and get our Texas driver's licences.

Another hint on where we are is that yesterday, after checking in the campground, we picked up all our mail, a month's worth. We also walked around the campground to find out where the telephone hookup for the computer is located, looked at both club houses, one is called the activity center, the other the club house, we also found the laundry room, and enjoyed the scenery. The campground is located in a pine woods and is really nice.

Where are we? We are in Livingston Texas at the Escapees Club Rainbow Park. This is the national headquarters of the Escapees Club. We plan to be here a week and maybe longer. Then we'll continue our travels east.

The Brauers
Havin' fun


Subj:  31. Where are we?
Date:  Sunday, December 23, 2001 12:46:23 PM

Since everyone knows we are in Livingston Texas at Rainbow's End, this email will not be a guessing game. We'll just tell everyone what we are doing. We arrived here in Livingston on Thursday, December 20. We are camped in a pine woods with what we think are very spacious lots.

Friday, we took the RV into the town of Livingston to have the safety inspection done. $27.00 and 15 minutes later, we had the inspection certificates for both the RV and the truck. The safety inspection consists of checking the headlights (high and low beam), the break lights, the tail lights, the turn signals, the horn, and that we had insurance. Not a major problem.

Then, we drove the RV back to the campground, set up, and went to the Tax assessors office. After showing the title to the vehicles, the inspection, insurance, registration, and paying about $400, we had our Texas Tags. Next the Texas Department of Public Safety for an eye test and our Texas Driver's licenses. The licenses were $24.00 each and expire in 2008. It took all of about 2 hours to go through the process. Next year when we renew the registration it should be less than $200 for both vehicles.

Saturday we decorated the RV for Christmas. Yes we have a Christmas tree, in fact we have two. Neither one is more than 2 feet tall. The live tree (a gift from Jeff and Jill) is on the coffee table and the other (artificial) is on the dinette. We have our Coca Cola lights on the awning and Coca Cola ornaments as well as other special ornaments hanging from the cabinets. The snow flakes decorate the window shades throughout the inside.

We bought "Stickees" window decorations from Breanna, our granddaughter, who was selling these items as a fundraiser for Carrie Ovall Children's Center. So we have window Christmas Balls and Angels on the front windshield. We have the two wooden reindeer wrapped in white christmas lights. Oh, it looks so "cool". We've even had comments from some of the other RVers in the park.

By the way, we've enclosed a picture of the front of the RV and one of the inside. You can't see it in the picture, but there is a Texas License on the RV.

We really miss our kids and grandkids and look forward to talking to everyone and visiting with them in the spring.

We also want to wish everyone a very merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.

The Brauers
Havin' Fun
In Texas
As Texans