Friday, March 27, 2015


Odometer  45710
Trip Meter 69 miles

Friday March 20, 2015

Today we will travel the last 70 miles east over the top of the Dallas metropolitan area and south down to our Royse City destination.   We have been invited to mooch-dock at Joan's brother's home while we visit with Jim, his wife Sally and their daughter Savannah.  We purposely waited until after the morning rush before taking off.   Of course, it was a rain day.

The route was chosen to keep us out of the traffic snarl that is the Dallas Metroplex and it actually worked as planned.  We made a quick stop at Brookshires in Farmersville for some groceries and we made a quick lunch while we were parked in their lot.

We were in need of propane, our first fill up since having the new tank installed in February, so Joan Googled up an Amerigas location that was close to our route and we detoured there.  We got a little worried as we got close to the location the road was all torn up, and we had to negotiate a tight turn onto a muddy driveway.  After a bumpy muddy access we finally were able to get in position to take on some fuel.  The workers at the operation informed us that they don't do private filling at this location- Garrh!  After some conversation and not just a little pleading, they agreed to to fill us up.  The price wasn't a bargain- but we were grateful to not have to search for another facility that could accept our size and length.

We arrived at the Austins at two in the afternoon and the rain had stopped for a moment so we proceeded to back down the driveway and into the spot we occupied in 2013 when we were last here. Joan and I walked it out and the ground felt firm so we decided to venture off the gravel drive- big mistake!  We didn't get far before we sank in- way in.  Thank goodness we have built in leveling jacks.  We put our jack pads under the jacks and proceeded to lift the rear end.  All we managed to do was to bury our 1-1/2" thick 16" square jack pads about 12" in the clay.  After scavenging around the house and barn, we came up with a 3 foot 2x10 and several 8x16 concrete pavers.  With this material and many stolen shovel fulls of gravel from the driveway we managed to get back up on the driveway, and abandoned all ideas of the full hook-ups available 20' away.

We are going to have to say that our visit was characterized by our gastronomic experiences.  Let's just say that Sally is one excellent cook.  Sally has always used predominately grains and vegetables in her cooking, so our vegan diet did not throw her off one bit.  We also were treated to several restaurant meals that were exceptional.   
Savannah suggested a meal at Kalachanji's in East Dallas.  This is a gourmet Indian restaurant that is part of a Hare Krishna temple.  For a suggested donation of $13.95 you are invited to load up your tray with plates and bowls of excellent vegetarian fare- and we did!

Another restaurant that Jim and I went to on one of our several trips to Home Depot and Lowes was Mooyah Burgers Fries and Shakes.  Jim told me they had a reputation for the best black bean vegetarian burger, and he wasn't wrong!  In a metropolitan area of 6.2 million people and 385 square miles, as we were leaving Mooyahs, we ran into Sally and Joan coming to the same restaurant from getting their hair cut in Rockwall.  The mother of all coincidences.(or was it?)

Jim knows that I love scotch whiskey, and as a reward for helping him install several shelving units around the house and garage, and installing a new stainless steel sink in the kitchen, Jim put together an impromptu whiskey tasting.  What fun!  We sampled and ranked each offering, always coming back to the Macallan 18 as the best of show.  The McCarthys was a real disappointment, in that it was distilled in Portland, Oregon from peat malted barley imported from Scotland.  Aged 3 years in Oregon Oak barrels.  I really wanted to like it- maybe by the time it has aged some more, and they offer it at 12 years old... 
 What an enjoyable afternoon- Thanks Jim!

At several of the family dinners, Joan and I were treated to a sampling of Jim's own pear wine.  This is an exceptional wine brewed, bottled and aged right here at their home.  Rather than formulating the typical sweet, fruity dessert wine that you'd expect from pears, this is  demi-sec wine with just the nose of the pear- most excellent!

Friday March 27th

All too soon the whole week had fled by and Joan and I were saying good-byes and making preparations to head back north to our summer place in Port Orford, Oregon.  Jim and Sally and Savannah's special friend Manuel, posed for photos with Joan, while wishing us safe journeys.  We felt badly that Savannah had to work today and missed the send-off, however we brightened later in the day when she exchanged texts with us- and we got to say our good-byes.

Jim surprised us with two bottles of his excellent pear wine as a gift- what a treasure!

Your Traveling Friends

Jeff and Joan

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