Check up

IMG_0526I went over this afternoon to check up on Sputnik. She sits nicely settled between the Class A motor homes under the protective storage cover.

I did a walk around checking tires, connections, windows, etc. It has been two weeks since I parked Sputnik in her space, and everything looks safe and sound.

Unlocking the door, I step inside. Sputnik seems to feel like an old friend. There is still a new camper smell. Everything inside is in order. Sputnik seems to say, “I’m ready. What’s holding YOU up?”

I went through the cabinets, took out the small plastic cups holding cotton pads. From the pantry, I found a bottle of Peppermint oil. In each cup, I dropped a dozen drops of oil and placed the cups back in the cabinets and left a few on the galley counter.

Peppermint oil is an old home remedy to deter mice, cockroaches, ants, and spiders. I know, I know, there are those already lining up to laugh. But, I don’t want poison or traps in Sputnik, and if I can use Peppermint oil to deter unwanted guests from even showing up in the first place, I’m giving it a go. Besides it smells good.

Securing the door, I left Sputnik with the assurance we’d be underway soon.

Next: Chisholm Trail





Burleson bound

Okay, got our next destination selected. Going over to visit Sputnik today to straighten up things after our recent trip to Galveston. She needs the attention and I don’t want her to feel neglected.

We will be heading for Burleson, TX, on our next trip. This spot is midway between our two destinations…Cleburne and Fort Worth.

I’m currently compiling research to create a historical fiction western novel centered around the Red River crossing (and many say the beginning point) of the Chisholm Trail (Red River Station is planned for release by mid-year 2018). My research is taking us to Cleburne, TX, and the Chisholm Trail Museum as well as Fort Worth, TX, and the Sid Richardson Western Art Museum.

Borrowed this from the Chisholm Trail Museum website:

During the latter years of the 19th century, the times and the land combined to produce a great Western epic. Soon after the Civil War major cattle companies seized vast tracts of land and discouraged interlopers by use of hired gunmen. Visionary Joseph G. McCoy drove his herd to the railhead in Kansas beginning an era of the Chisholm Trail. Millions of animals, men and women went up the trail that crossed Johnson County, Texas during the years from 1867-1889. This legendary trail came right through what is now the Chisholm Trail Outdoor Museum where you will be greeted by the largest silhouette cattle drive in the nation as you arrive in Cleburne, Texas from the west on Highway 67.

The Sid Richardson Art Museum is located in the historic Sundance Square in Fort Worth, an area of restored and historic buildings.

Currently, there is an exhibition (Hide & Horn On The Chisholm Trail) featuring collectors’ items that honor and illuminate the greatest migration of livestock in world history.

Displays include an 1873 trail map and guidebook for drovers, one of the four most important books on the cattle industry and one of the best books about the Texas Longhorn cattle breed during the 19th century.

Guide Map of the Great Texas Cattle Trail, from Red River Crossing to the Old Reliable Kansas Pacific Railway
Kansas Pacific Railway Company | Guide Map of the Great Texas Cattle Trail, from Red River Crossing to the Old Reliable Kansas Pacific Railway | 1873 | Guidebook | The Rees-Jones Collection

Looking forward to some great research and enjoyable searching. I know there will be some great Remington and Russel artwork to view. Excited.

Next: Check Up


Heading home

We’ve been, saw, and conquered…well, maybe not conquered…Galveston Island. The weather didn’t really cooperate with us this trip. We were rained on daily. Oh, there were breaks in the overcast that showered us with wonderful sunshine and the cool breeze off the Gulf was delightful. The rain just kept us inside more that we wanted.

An upside was the opportunity to get more writing on my novels completed, and Sputnik accommodated us just fine. I set up the table and used one end to spread out materials and laptop, my wife used the other end to set up her tablet and play cribbage.

When the sun came out, we were outside and going. When the showers returned, we retreated into Sputnik.

Our morning of departure brought another shower that cleared off as we backed Mosby into position to hitch up Sputnik. I disconnected and stowed all the ‘land lines’ (electric, water, cable, drain), arranged all interior items for travel (put up the wine rack, we’d emptied the bottles, and coffeemaker), and secured Sputnik for travel. By midmorning, we pulled out of Jamaica Beach RV Park and headed north.

Our route traveled East Texas. We rushed through Houston traffic like water through a flume, enjoyed the drive through Livingston, ran with logging trucks to Lufkin, and after Jacksonville entered Tyler. Home again.

Annie, our miniature Schnauzer, went with us, so, there were numerous stops along the way. You know, she likes Whataburger just like we do (I love the Monterey Melt with a few Jalapenos).

We got Sputnik back to the storage lot, backed into her sheltered space, unhitched Mosby (he’d taken us 630 miles), emptied the refrigerator, collected travel items from the camper, and locked the door. I’ll be back in a few days to straighten things, clean up as needed, and prepare Sputnik for our next trip…to Fort Worth. I’m looking forward to that trip to do research on the Chisolm Trail.

Thanks for sharing in The Adventures of Mosby & Sputnik.

Next: Burleson bound


The Texas Navy

One of the reasons for going to Galveston Island was to do research on a topic that was new to me, and only recently shared by an acquaintance of mine…The Texas Navy.

The Port of Galveston was the home port for The Texas Navy and my wife and I spent an afternoon covering the harbor area of Galveston looking for its existence. We were disappointed. However, we did locate a UPS mail box for The Texas Navy on Stewart Avenue off of 61st Street in Galveston.

Today, the history and memory of The Texas Navy are carried on by The Texas Navy Association. Unfortunately, it is not headquartered on Galveston Island. However, I did locate and communicate with a representative via email.

“The Texas Navy…It’s no exaggeration to say that without it there would        probably have been no Lone StarRepublic and possibly the State of Texas would still be part of Mexico.”……Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. 1936

Once I explained that I was a writer researching The Texas Navy, the resource happily shared The Texas Navy website and explained the wealth of materials located there.

John Steinbeck described Texas as a “state of mind”.  That state of mind has its origin in our unique, colorful, and inspiring history.  Most of us recognize place names like Goliad, Alamo, and San Jacinto as well as iconic names like Bowie, Crockett, and Travis.  Few, however, know the heroic saga of the Texas Navy’s service to our fledgling republic from 1836 -1845……Jerry Patterson, President, Texas Navy Association, Governor’s Appointee to the TNA 

The ocean, Galveston harbor, the Texas Revolution, and sailing ships all make subject matter for an exciting novel. Look for a title from me as soon as I dig deeper into the research.

When I write and publish an exciting historical fiction about The Texas Navy, I wonder if the Governor would commission me an Admiral? Only time will tell.

Next: Heading home


Uniform button from The Texas Navy

Oceanfront houses

Traveling from Jamaica Beach to Galveston, we pass numerous private homes along the oceanfront. Not surprising, these homes are built up on stilts because of Gulf storms. The architecture ranges from simple to stupendous, small to large, and practical to out-of-their-minds.

All-in-all, the drive is an eye-opening view of how islanders live on Galveston. I did hear that there are two designations for islands BOI (born on island) or MTI (moved to island). I’m not sure what epithets or laurels are attributed to either one.

What I did appreciate seeing is the Texas State Park that is between Jamaica Beach and Galveston. An unspoiled, undeveloped, natural stretch of four miles that crosses the entire island coast-to-coast. It gives a true picture of the sea island, vegetation, and appearance that greeted native Americans and explorer alike. But, I digress…the oceanfront homes.

The pastel palette is alive and well on Galveston Island. If you can imagine a pastel color, you will find a house paint that hue on the island. I thought that somewhere there would just be a plain brown, green, or blue…but, not here.

Single story, multiple stories, simple, extreme, all are here. I could have loaded my cell phone with photos, but after a while, they all start looking the same.

Next: Texas Navy

Feeling a little cramped

Yesterday afternoon, the ocean breeze whipped and stirred the palm trees beside Sputnik.

My wife and I were sitting on the patio sipping island libations when a diesel pusher Class A motorhome pulled in beside us. This rig is huge (big as a Greyhound bus). The likable driver came around and introduced himself. We chatted and found out they are from Arlington. Then he commenced to set up his campsite.

The end of the motorcoach folded down revealing an overhead opening door. He erected a screen fence around the deck that just unfolded. He strung a coax cable from a connection on the side of the coach and then set up a TV dish/dome on a tripod stand. Next, he pulled out his outdoor grille sitting it up on a collapsible table and connected his LP gas line. Finally, he set about hooking up land lines for electrical. water, and drains. Then, he went into the unit and expanded all four slide outs. Camp chairs, tables, and serving bar followed.

It was too much. My wife and I climbed into Mosby and headed for Galveston and some Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Somehow, camping has made a sure and steady climb from camping to ‘glamping’ and lost something in the transition.

When we returned, another Class A had pulled in and set up followed by a huge fifth wheeler. Boy, do we feel like the ‘thorn between roses.’

Next: Oceanfront houses



A rain shower kicked up this afternoon. You can see it coming as it sweeps across the ocean. The panorama of watching the Gulf is almost hypnotic. The constant slap of the waves, the slow churning of the clouds, and the distant horizon that reveals a drilling rig or two (used my binoculars to get a better view) captivate your attention.

Loaded up in Mosby and headed for town.

Downtown Galveston is like any other tourist trap in the U.S. Plenty of shops to buy that very special souvenir, a plethora of motel/hotels, and chain restaurants all claiming to be the best spot in town, let alone in the entire state of Texas.

We like to get off the main thoroughfares and drive the side streets to get a real feeling for a location. Galveston doesn’t fail to satisfy this need. Classic homes, Victorian charm, lattice work, balconies, and gingerbread woodwork all add to the mystic of a town full of heritage. Large grand homes and small modest dwellings comprise the whole. Blooming Oleanders and Crepe Myrtle add color.

Speaking of color, the pastel pallet is alive and well in Galveston.

Next: Feeling a little cramped