Warm Winds

Sunset at Joe Pool LakeLabor Day brought warm winds to Joe Pool Lake, a welcome respite to the stifling humid heat of the previous days. We relaxed inside the rig, with the dogs nearby, baroque music playing and breakfast cocktails at the ready. With a 2 p.m. checkout time, we didn’t start packing up until after we had our brunch. On the menu: a typical “Garner breakfast,” (although it also sounds like a typical “O’Guinn breakfast”) of eggs, bacon, potatoes and biscuits with milk-sausage gravy. We understand the etiquette for such breakfasts is to place the portable defibrillator to the left of the napkin.

Our second camp-out of August and our first camp-out of September, certainly had its share of challenges. We arrived at Cedar Hill State Park on Friday around 7 a.m. in the pouring rain, determined to get a good site ahead of the holiday crowd. No such luck. With nothing of note available, the friendly volunteer who checked us in advised us to take site No. 113. “It’s level,” she said, “and double wide, with a covered picnic table!”

“You’re sure it’s level,” we asked. “Oh yes,” she said. “In fact, it has two checkmarks for being level!”

The site was not level.

To make matters worse, as we struggled to level the Airstream (wearing flip-flops on a wet surface–what were we thinking?), we noticed that a tire on our tow vehicle was nearly flat.

Not a good start to the holiday weekend. But we eventually got everything set up, plugged in and turned on. Then we left it all behind as we went back home to get ready for work.

After work (and after Cliff spent a half-hour at the tire repair shop), we loaded up the coolers and the chihuahuas and headed back to base camp.

Friday night was steak night, as usual, with an amazing dinner and a favorite zinfandel. Afterwards, during our late night dog walk, we had an incident involving our beautiful Bella. It was too dark to know exactly what happened, but somehow she injured her foot. Perhaps it was a scorpion sting. Maybe one of us stepped on her without realizing it. We only know that we were startled by two men who appeared behind us without warning, one of whom was carrying a large stick. Juggling wine glasses and flashlights and dog leashes, we found ourselves standing in the middle of the road, frightened and alarmed as Bella yelped in distress. We carried her back to the Airstream, where she remained in pain throughout the night. We resigned ourselves to the possibility that she had a broken foot and that we would have to take her to the nearest veterinarian first thing in the morning.

But, to our surprise, she was perfectly fine the next day. She walked around and jumped and scampered as if nothing had happened the night before. Yet it was a bonding experience. Lavishing her with such tender care and loving affection during her most vulnerable time seemed to draw us closer together.

Saturday and Sunday were blessedly calm. Aside from battling the near constant threat of ants and the relentless late-summer heat, we managed to indulge in the activities we so enjoy: walking, blogging, napping, eating, reading, snuggling (not necessarily in that order).

So, we’re already planning our next adventure, to Hico, and our first outing with the Heart of Texas Camping Unit of the Wally Byam Caravan Club International (WBCCI). We can hardly wait to connect with folks we’ve only met online and to plunge ourselves into the caravan life. Our dream is to one day transition from being weekenders to full-timers!

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