Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Return to Texas --- Dianne Learns How to Drive!

Dianne and Glyn (the man who taught her how to drive the motor home)

Roger here...  We have arrived in Texas!  We are not at our home in Mission yet, but we are in Texas.  


10.  The roads get appreciably better at the state line.  Most of the state roads (even the two lane roads) have shoulders that are wide enough to drive on.  Many people do drive on them.  For some reason, they are also smooth with few, if any potholes.  

9.  You can buy delicious barbecue at road-side (drive- through) shacks.  I know this is a fuzzy picture, but I think you can see the smile on my face as I walk back to the motor home from one of these low-key places.  You'll get a better idea of why I was so happy when you take a look at the brisket sandwich below.

8.  Men on horseback wait in the Barbecue Shack lines with cars and people on foot.

7.  Drive-through doughnut shops are everywhere.  Fortunately, for our diets, most of them are not large enough for our motor home.

6.  You see as many Texas flags as you do American flags.  They are often displayed at businesses and in front of homes and ranches.  Oh, and the ranches almost always have an impressive entrance of some sort.

5.  People wear cowboy hats even if it is not Halloween.  Sometimes they are used to keep the constant sun out of yer eyes when y'all take a nap.

4.  There are more Whataburgers than McDonalds.

3.  The people are very friendly.   A guy waiting in line with me at the drive-through barbecue shack talked with me for about 20 minutes.  I now know his life story.  (Texas barbecue is not fast food.)  The guy who sold me the barbecue talked with me for another 20 minutes.  He now knows my life story.  Texas conversations take some time.  (Perhaps this is why my sandwich was lukewarm before I got it -- D.)

Another related element of Texas conversations... saying "You guys" labels you as a non-Texan.  The proper term is "Y'all" if you are talking to one person. "All Y'all" is plural.

2.  The driving rules are different.  If you are being tail-gated on one of those two-lane roads with the extra-wide shoulders, it is common courtesy to drive on the shoulder (at the same speed) so the tail-gater can pass.  By the way, the tail-gater will give you a hand gesture as he goes by --- not what you think --- the hand gesture is a friendly wave and a howdy.  

Another related difference... Don't be surprised to see someone enter an interstate from a frontage road, even if there is not an entrance ramp.  This is probably not legal, but I have seen it several times.  

1.  EVERYTHING IS BIGGER IN TEXAS ---especially the high school football stadiums.

We are currently at Rainbow's End Escapee's RV Park in Livingston, Texas for a three-night stay.

Bandido and Tequila love the extra-large dog park here.  Lots of room for off-leash fun on sunny days.

Time to wrestle

Time to play with a big ball

Time to chase squirrels up trees

Time to rest after a long chase

Time to pose in the sun
Why three nights at the Rainbow's End Escapee Park in Livingston (the Piney Woods in "Deep East" Texas)?  We had a couple of reasons:  

We soon intend to exchange our South Dakota citizenship for Texas citizenship.  Even though we are still technically full-timers, we own property in Texas and spend at least six months there every year.  It only makes sense.  

The Escapees Headquarters at Rainbow's End has a well-respected mail forwarding service.  Yesterday, we officially changed our mailing address. As I am writing this, Dianne is communicating our address change to the places that need to know.  We will be changing our vehicle registrations and driving licenses to our residence address in Mission, TX soon after we return there in a few days.

The other reason for our stop at Rainbow's End.... I enrolled Dianne in a driving school which is currently located here.  Until yesterday, Dianne had never driven our motor home.  We have talked  for some time about the importance of her knowing how to drive it.  We would be in a mess if I broke an arm or sprained my right ankle.  

Dianne fully bought in to the importance of doing this, BUT to say that she was looking forward to it would be a huge exaggeration.  This posed picture of the biting of finger nails does not begin to show how nervous she was.  I truly felt sorry for her and wanted it to be over as badly as she did.  Well, she probably wanted it to be over more.

Glyn, her instructor, sat in the passenger's seat while she drove.  I sat in one of the recliners and vowed to be silent.  (I was pretty good.  I only told her to slow down once :-). 

Glyn is an experienced driver of all vehicles.  He was once one of those Ice Road Truckers (like those of TV fame) who drove over the frozen lakes in Canada and Alaska.  Dianne loved that show, so this helped her to know she was in good hands. 

Glyn did a great job building her confidence and explaining the driving process, especially how to know she was in the center of her lane.  She drove extensively on two-lane roads, four-lane roads, successfully negotiated right- and left-hand turns at traffic lights, backed into imaginary campground sites (orange cones), and executed numerous other maneuvers.

After two and a half hours behind the wheel, her ordeal ended.  I have to say that she did really well.  I was proud of her.  Her future driving will probably not be extensive (maybe rest stop-to-rest stop), but we now both know that she can do it if the need arises.

Tomorrow, we begin a two-day drive to our home in deep south Texas.  It is time for us to sit still in the warmth of Retama Village in Mission, Texas for several months.  

We have two pet pictures of the day this time.  

Every time we extend or pull in our motor home slides, we put the cat in a crate and the dogs in the bathroom.  We do not want any smashed paws when the slide drops down.  Tequila really does not enjoy being confined in the bathroom.  She often lays by the door and extends her leg under the door to let us know that it is time for her to be released.

Such a girly-girl, showing some leg!  Mommy needs to paint her toenails! -- D.
Look who found a warm, sunny spot between the windshield and the front curtain on this chilly morning:


Emily said...

Welcome home, y'all! Way to go Dianne!

Bill and Nancy said...

Way to go Dianne...great job!!

Driving the Motorhome is on my radar as soon as we get a vehicle we can tow. I agree that it is really important for both of us to be able to drive in case we have to.

Safe travels and enjoy your winter home!!!

Chuck and Anneke's RV travels said...

I definitely like #9:)

heyduke50 said...

I have tried without success to get Sharon to learn to drive the RV... good for you Dianne...

Patty E. said...

I would love to take the driving class.

We became Escapee members last year and we LOVE the mail service. We became Texans this past March.

Texas food is the best and I love seeing all those Texas flags flying.

I am headed to Texas in just a few weeks!

Kevin said...

I just love Texas.. Go Spurs Go!!!