Wednesday, December 28, 2011


After our doctors in Shreveport we took the rv back to Van Alstyne, TX to leave it at a friend of our son's til we got back from Ohio. Thanks to him we were able to relax and enjoy our trip knowing our house was safe. We brought our son Duane Jr. back to TX with us so he could back to work. His wife Brandey and the twins Emma and Ava stayed in Ohio to visit longer with family. Jr. will fly back to Ohio in a couple of weeks and drive them back home.
Our first stop in Ohio (Mon. afternoon) was the home of Gene and Donna Emrick. Gene was the first plumber I worked with when I started my apprenticeship in 1966. We have close friends every since. Then it on to Barbara Harmon's house to spend the night. Barbara is the widow of my best friend who we lost in an auto accident some years ago. She and her friend Gene joined Louise's sisters Martha and Marycarol and friend Dave at Marion's, our favorite pizza joint. The next morning it was off to stay with our daughter Rachel, her husband Benji and children Maddy, Simon and Judah. This would be our base till Christmas. Wed. we had lunch with friends Pam and Eddy Shouse. Dec. 23 we went to visit daughter Stacy and her partner Ruth Ann in Cincinnati. We were joined by son Jr and his family.
Stacy and Ruth Ann fed us well, we opened gifts and played with the girls.

First painting experience!

Dec. 24th we went to brother Dennis and sister-in-law Pat's house for Wegley Christmas. We ate more delicious food, opened gifts and played games. Of course, Stacy, Ruth Ann (Woof to the girls), Jr, Brandey and the twins joined in the fun and games.

Dennis and Pat and family.

Christmas Eve and Christmas morning we were present for the Latimer family bedlam.

Santa was here!

Stockings first.

Judah has the Stiff-Arm-Paper-Throw down pat. He is 1 1/2 mos. older than the twins. Two year olds are always fun at Christmas!

Simon (4) is the Bomb!

Gifts all around. (Louise is on the couch.)

Wolverine and Spidey put in an appearance.

Maddy loves her new clip-on earrings.

After gifts, Benji cooked a delicious breakfast. We ate ourselves silly then played a new board game with the children. Soon it was time to pack our bags and give Maddy her room back. We headed to (Louise's) sister Martha's house for dinner with Marycarol and Dave, niece Teresa and her son Shawn, and Uncle Paul and Aunt Ronola. A couple of hours later, all partied out, we headed out to spend the evening with Jr and family. Next morning it was time to hit the trail back home to Texas. We arrived safely around 11pm and headed for bed.

All in all we had a good time. Even our drive to and from Ohio was enjoyable because the weather was good (except for several hours of rain on the way back) and we had no accidents. As with any trip away from home it was stressful, but we managed to come back with only slight colds. Louise even managed not to gain any weight!

Enough is enough!

Louise and Duane

Friday, December 16, 2011

We are out of here

Just a short post to let everybody know that I went to the doctor today for my kidney scans and they came back ALL CLEAR. No cancer found. I want to thank all who wished me well and said a prayer for me. I must admit I was a little worried this time around. All the doctor appointments are complete with no major problems for either of us.
We will head back to Van Alstyne in the morning to leave our trailer at a friend of Jrs. and hit the road to Ohio Sunday returning to TX on the 26. When we get back we will head on west to our next workcamp job in Congress, AZ. unless something changes.
Merry Christmas to all our readers
Duane and Louise

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Shreveport, LA

We have been in Shreveport for the last week. We are parked at the Elks Lodge of Shreveport, $10.00 a night. The Lodge has 8 sites with 30 amp. They have a water fill and a dump station. We have had doctor appointments every day but today, which was spent doing some Christmas shopping. Well that and going to all the bike shops in town....hehe. I have my kidney scans tomorrow to see if anything is growing there. We will decide after that if we are going back to Van Alstyne, TX or Livingston, TX to park the rv while we go to Ohio for a Christmas visit. If I need to go to MD Anderson for more test we go to Livingston. If I don't need any followup we go to Van Alstyne to leave the trailer till we get back. We will be in Ohio for 5 days.
Till later
Duane and Louise

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas at the Buechter's

We have spent the last week with son Jeremy's family. On Saturday, the Texas kids all showed up for early Christmas. Early in the day we went for a walk in the woods, the kids play outside on the trampoline when it warmed up a bit, we all ate way to much and then it was time for the gift exchange. The grandkids got lots of stuff they didn't the adults each brought a gift to put in the exchange. There were 9 adults that each put a gift on the table. We drew numbers to see who picked first. After the first picker had opened the gift the second picker could steal what the first had gotten or picked a new present and so on. The first picker also got the last pick. There always seems to be one or two things that keep being stolen from whom ever has it. This year was no exception. Several of the gifts traveled around the room several times before they all found a home. We had to put a 3 steal limit on a gift or we would still be Everybody had a great time and did I mention that we all ate way to much. We played games way into the evening. Everybody finally gave up about 1am and headed off to bed.
Jeremy and Jesse preparing some of the food.

Allie, Emma and Ava


all four grandkids on the trampoline

Having a great time....notice the static in the hair....very funny

Jesse and Jeremy.... notice the hair band on Jeremy

Daughters in law Jennifer and Brandey

Allie up a tree

Luke, Allie and Emma

Jeremy made a chair out of a stump that the kids love to sit in

Grandkids thinking they are going somewhere

Brandey driving.....EVERYBODY RUN

The mess begins

Jeremy's new hat. I thought he looked better in the hair

Tomorrow we are off to Shreveport, LA to start a week of doctor visits. We will be staying at the Shreveport Elks Club. They have 10 rv sites with 30 amp for $10.00 a night. We have appointments 4 of the 5 days next week and may need followups so hard telling when we will get everything done. We are heading to Ohio on the 21 to spend Christmas with the Ohio family. We will be heading back to TX on the 26. I am not sure where we will leave the rv while we are gone. I will make a decision when I find out if we need more doctor time when we get back.

Till next time

Duane and Louise

Monday, December 05, 2011

Moved to Kilgore

We left Van Alstyne, TX today heading to Kilgore, TX. When we left Deming a week ago I had to put air in one of the trailer tires. I figured that after setting for 5 months the valve stem may have leaked a bit. Leaving Van Alstyne this morning I had to add air to the same tire. We got about 50 miles down the road and the Pressure Pro Tire system we have went off that the tire was low again. I stopped at a station and put air in thinking I could make it to Kilgore. About 10 miles later the alarm went off, low again. Just so happened that there was a tire shop right down the road. I pulled in and they pulled the tire right away. There was a big split on the inside of the tire. I could put my fingers between the tread and the steel belting. We were REAL lucky that the tire did not blow up and tear something up. I will check the rest of the tires as soon as the weather dries out a bit. I think I may have to replace all of them. When I went to hook up the sewer hose I discovered the it was split in 6 or 7 places. So tomorrow I will have to pick up a new one. 6 truck tires, 6 trailer tires, sewer hose and doctor bills this month, not a good month for the pocket book.
This evening we headed off to visit son Jeremy and his family. We will be visiting with them this week and Saturday all the TX kids are coming here for a Christmas get together. Next week it's doctors.
Till next time
Duane and Louise

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Family time

We have been spending most of our time visiting with family. We took a little time yesterday to visit a biker store and the Walmart, going to a bike show this morning in Dallas. We are baby sitting for for twins tonight while Mom and Dad have a night out. I think they are most precious twins in the world.

Double potty chair

I forgot my camera at their house last night so these were taken with the cell phone. More pictures to follow. I know you all can't wait to see more pics of of these

Duane and Louise

Thursday, December 01, 2011

On the move

We left Deming Tuesday morning heading east. We arrived in Van Alstyne, TX about 4 pm Wednesday. I told Louise if I ever decide to drive that far pulling the trailer again, kick me in behind...... The drive was 800 miles. That may not sound to far to those that are not full time rvers, but to most of us , that is a long way in 2 days. We normaly only go 250 and stay a day or 2. We were going to stop at Pecos, TX SKP park but they were full, so we kept going. It was dark when got to Midland, TX where there was a rv park that we called and they had a pull through open so we did not have to disconnect. I talked to the lady about how to get there, we could not find it. Called her back, she said we went east, should have gone west. We found a place to turn the rig around, could not find it. Called them back, we are on the wrong side of the interstate!! Did I mention it was dark and I don't see well after dark..... We finally got there and hooked up, I was TIRED. 400 miles down. We left about 8:30 the next morning heading to Van Alstyne, TX. another 400 miles.
We are staying at a place that is listed in the SKP travel book for overnight stay. It is on the grounds of a "store and lock" place. The man that owns it is an SKP member and allows other members to stay for free on his property. We are parked under an rv shed with 50 amp service, no water or sewer. I filled the water tank before we got here. I ask him if we could stay till Monday, he said "you can stay as long as you like", what a deal.
After getting hooked up we headed to Duane Jr and Brandey's for a visit. They had a church meeting to go to so we got to keep the twins while they were gone, what a hoot they are. Two 2 year olds are hard on an old man, but a heck of a lot of fun to wacth and play with. We will be heading back over there a little later in the day.
Duane and Louise

Sunday, November 20, 2011

2 rides in one weekend

On Saturday I went on my first "poker run". For those readers that don't know what a poker run is, it is often run for some charitable cause. This ride was ran to help the family of a little girl that was born with a cleft palet to pay doctor bills. You ride your bike to different destinations drawing a card from a deck at each stop. At the end of the ride the person with the best poker hand wins a prize of some kind. This ride covered a little over 100 miles. I ended up with 2 pair but didn't win. There were about 30 bikes on the run.

First stop of the run

Second stop

On Sunday I rode in a "toys for tots" ride. This type of ride is done to collect toys to be given to families that can't afford to buy presents for their children at Christmas. This ride was held in Las Cruces, NM. We left the mall parking lot and was escorted by the police through town to a convention center where you turned in the toy you brought. You had to pay a fee and have a new toy that cost at least $7.00. The fee, $10.00, goes to several local agentcies that help children of the poor.

Half car half bike

Some of the crowd

Bikes arriving

This is a gold plated Yamaha

Bikes leaving the lot

The pile of presents collected

They said that there was over 1200 bikes in the ride. After we reach the center, we were treated to a bbq lunch. There was a band playing, a bike show and some vendors. There were door prizes donated by local dealers, (I didn't win anything0, free drinks. Maybe I can win something at the next ride I take part in.

All in all I had a great time at both events. Todays rides covered about 130 miles, most of it getting there and home again. I wish Louise could have gone along but she had to work yesterday and chose not to go today because of the long ride to get there and it was pretty dang cold riding on the way there. I'm looking forward my next ride.

Till next time

Duane and Louise

Saturday, November 05, 2011


Its been said that third time's a charm and yesterday was ours. We finally found the ghost town of Lake Valley open and had time for a nice walking tour.

Lake Valley was a typical silver mining town. Silver was first found there in 1878 but the big boom started in 1882 with the discovery of the Bridal Chamber just 40 ft beneath the surface. A single piece of silver from this mine was displayed at the World Exposition held in Denver in 1882. It was valued at $7000 at a time when silver was selling for abut $1 an ounce. In 1884 the railroad was extended to Lake Valley. At the height of its prosperity, the town boasted 4000 inhabitants, a school, several churches, stores, banks and other businesses, most of which were brothels and saloons. Prosperity took a down turn in 1893 when Pres. Grover Cleveland replaced silver as the monetary standard in favor of gold. Silver prices plunged overnight. In 1895 most of Main Street was burned. A few settlers who had put down roots stayed into the 20th century. In the 20's and again in the 50's the area was mined for manganese ore. The last resident died in 1994. The BLM has since instituted a program to protect the area.

The walking tour begins and ends at the (second) schoolhouse. One end is a restored school and the other a nice museum. A well-informed on site docent welcomed us, gave us a lot of information and showed us around the museum.

As is typical of people leaving an area there was a lot of detritus, including this old washer

a '36 Plymouth (not going anywhere with the engine on the outside) and lots of glass and tin cans.

Originally a home, this c. 1920's building was last used as an Episcopalian chape.

Railroad Ave. was the longest street in town. It was entered by two dead end streets called Main and Keil.

Remains of the (railroad) coal sorter on Railroad St.

Adit and tailings of the manganese mine. Notice the little cabin on the far right. The big silver mine is behing the hill behind the cabin. The big mountains are across the street. No silver was found there.

The manganese mine is on unstable property and so was fenced off. I guess they really mean it!

Old railroad depot

Residence of Mrs. Blanch Nowlin. Her husband was the railroad superintendent for Lake Valley. She became a local dealer for Continental Oil Company (Conoco). She lived in this house until her death in 1982.

In her later years, her only neighbors were Pedro and Savina Martinez. They resided next door in the old Bella Hotel until August of 1994. Mr. Martinez arrived in Lake Valley sometine in 1904, as a child of two. He remained there for some 90 years and provided a wealth of information about the history of the town (to the BLM).

This is a railroad coal storage building. Note the remains of the coal sorter on the left.

Home and office of Dr. W. G. Beals. Later the Martinez family lived here for many years.

Another view of Beals office.

View of Main Street. Most of the businesses here were burned in the fire. The business row was never rebuilt.

To our friend Marsha, they didn't have the blacksmith shop idenified so I couldn't get a picture of it, sorry.

We were thinking of postponing our trip here until next week but decided to go on Friday. Good thing! The weather turned from sunny with a cool breeze to overcast with a cold wind by the time we were done touring. Today is worse! We really enjoyed our tour, though and recommend it to others.

Nuff for now,

Louise and Duane