As I complete my first month here in Portland, TX and close out 2019, I can’t help but reflect back to all that I’ve done this year. I’m truly blessed and privileged to live this full-time RV lifestyle, and travel around the country visiting and seeing all the many wonderful amenities that exists here in the good old USA. I’ve made 28 stops during 2019, spanning 11 states and covering upwards of 4,800 miles. I have connected with family and friends all along the way, some of whom I’ve not seen in several decades. I’ve visited numerous museums, parks, festivals, markets, attractions, and a host of Roadside America novelties – much of which I have journaled within this blog so that others might share and follow along with my adventures. As I look ahead to my 2020 travel itinerary, I anxiously look forward to new adventures, new destinations, and more of doing the same.
Arriving in Portland, TX
Well, I’ve landed in Portland, TX at a place called Seabreeze RV Resort – just across Nueces Bay from Corpus Christi. From the pictures at left, you might think this is a really nice RV Resort. Well, from most spots it is. However, the site they assigned me is way too small for my RV, was designated as a pull thru which is a joke, and in addition to not fitting the RV, I can’t park my truck anywhere around me. My slide is crunching the branches of the tree, I’m forced to be so crooked in the site that my right side tires area actually off the ground and I’m still not very level. When I was first trying to maneuver and shoehorn myself in this tiny spot, I ran into the water feed, broke it, and created a nice water shower in the site. They had to turn off the water to a large section of the campground just to fix it. So, I’m not happy with these accommodations at all. But, besides the daily/weekly area, this place is tight full so I don’t really have any options. Thankfully, the rent is cheap ($460/month) so I at least have that going for me. I checked around other campgrounds thinking I might move outa here after my first month, but this is a popular RV snowbird area, so my options are limited. I guess I’ll just stick it out for another 4 weeks, and then move on as scheduled. Ah, the sometimes not so wonderful aspects of this lifestyle.
Along those lines, lest you think this lifestyle is all fun and games, here at right is an example of one of the many chores necessary to keep things maintained. The RV fridge/freezer is NOT a frost free model, so on occasion you have to clear out the freezer, and get the accumulated ice taken care of. To be totally honest, this lifestyle really is mostly fun and games, and this cleaning out of the freezer is the first time I’ve done it since I began full-time living some 20 months ago. So, that’s really not that bad! I started the process with some bowls of hot water to start things melting, then I used a hair dryer, which I was frankly surprised I actually had one of these onboard, to further melt and loosen the accumulated ice. Once loosened, a plastic spatula was all that it took to finish the job. Total time invested – about 30 minutes. This was exhausting, and hopefully this will last for another 20 months before I gotta do it again.
Checking Out The Area
Being on the gulf shores, there is pretty much a constant breeze that runs through the area. Hence, this is a perfect place for a windmill farm. And boy, does this place have windmills. The array pictured here is the Papalote Creek Wind Farm and is made up of 196 wind turbines – each over 260 feet tall. Combined, they produce 380 megawatts of electricity – enough to power over 110,000 homes. Overall, Texas is the single largest producer of wind energy, and when combined with Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas and California, generate more than half of all wind energy in the nation. Pretty cool to see such a large farm up close.
I did a bit of Geocaching in the area as well. Corpus Christi has a lot of caches, and that is on my list of adventures for next month. But, I did attempt all the caches in Portland. As you can see from the map, I’m still quite a bit of a newbie at this. Granted some of the not found caches are actually temporarily down due to construction. But to be honest, there were four others that I attempted and just could not find. There were two in particular that were in a cemetery that I had great clues for and I was definitely in the immediate area of them. But despite my going there on two separate occasions and spending close to an hour each time looking, I just could not find them. Sure wish my big brother Dick was around to help me out on these as I’m confident with his years of experience and masterful grasp of everything Geocache he would have found them quickly. But, I was happy to have found the four that I did. One in particular was a challenge as it was a super small cache (called a micro) that was attached to a telephone pole guide wire cable. That took some hunting to find. The others were pretty straight forward, and with some tricks I had learned from Dick in my past lessons, were relatively easy targets.
Enjoying The Holidays
First up, I just need to share these absolutely adorable Christmas pictures that Sam took of newborn Savannah. I think Sam is spending too much time on Pinterest for all these crazy poses. But I have to admit, the results are pretty awesome! And Sam got a nice digital camera for Christmas, so I’m thinking there were be lots more to come. Wahoo!
Knowing that I was planning to stay in TX for Christmas, I purchased Facebook Portal devices for myself and each of the girls, and got them setup while I was back in MD for Thanksgiving. Sam and I have the model that attaches to our TV, while Ashley has the more portable version on a 10″ standalone picture frame. With those in place, I was looking forward to spending Christmas with family on a somewhat virtual basis. And, it turned out great! The in-law family Christmas was a on Saturday, Dec 21st. Ashley was kind enough to bring her Portal to my brother/sister in-laws house so that I could participate in those festivities. She set it up, then put me in the corner of the room with full view of the tree and most of the goings on in the living and dining rooms. I had wonderful one-on-one chats with most of my extended family, then watched as the kids opened their presents, followed by the adults doing their Yankee Swap gift exchange. It was great to have virtually been there.
Then on Christmas morning, I was up and ready at 5am to connect to Sam’s Portal to participate in their events. Rhonda, Ashley and grandson AJ arrived before sunrise too, so it was a total family affair. I spent the better part of the day watching and interacting with them during their present openings. Ashley even made a special giant plastic wrap gift ball, and combined it with a dice throwing game to create a really fun and frantic unravelling adventure that was enjoyed by all. The Portal video conference devices really worked out great, and I was thrilled that even though I was not physically present, I could be there on a virtual level and enjoy the day with them. Looking forward to more video conference calls in the future.
So I have been to the movie theater in Corpus Christi on a couple of occasions so far – once to see Ford vs. Ferrari and the other to see Bombshell. While at this theater, I observed two different police apparatuses that frankly I’m not sure what they are for. One was sort of an observation station located outside in the parking lot. It did not look to be maned but rather seemed to be equipped with weather and video gear to broadcast data back to some central location. From a tech perspective, it was definitely kinda cool. But, it did give me pause as I wondered what type of activity might have been anticipated by the police that would necessitate such a contraption be setup in that specific location. But, all was well, and there were no incidents. Then, located in the lobby of the theater was some sort of police three-wheeled scooter of sorts. It was tucked in the corner surrounded by a crowd control stanchion. Again, I have no idea why it was there, or when or how it would be utilized. Just a bit unnerving to see all this stuff in and around a movie theater.
Lastly, I wanted to sort of do a PSA and share the free availability of a slightly used class C RV. It’s painted right there on the side – “Free – Take It”. So if any of you have been thinking about maybe dipping your toe into this lifestyle, and are lookin for a truly entry level cheap (aka FREE) RV, there’s one free for the taking just a few blocks away from me here in Portland, TX. It does look to be somewhat of a fixer upper, so you better have lots of tools and some mad renovation skills before taking on this beauty.
As noted above, I am truly thankful for spending my first complete calendar year as a full-time RVer, and to have spent a total of 20 months now doing what I had always dreamed to do. To those that I’ve met up with along the way, thank you for spending time with me. For those that are on my visit list in 2020, stay tuned – I’m coming your way and look forward to catching up. In closing, I want to wish all my family and friends a very Happy New Year, and I hope 2020 brings about much adventure and joy in your life. Till next time, safe travels!
P.S. I have updated my Fun Facts page (HERE) with details through Dec 31st. Enjoy!