Sometimes we look at sights in nature but don't really see. While hiking in the woods the other day, it became a realization that we need to open our heart and eyes to see the beauty of the simple things in nature with each season. There is so much order and purpose in His creation. God has given us awesome beauty in this world to see and enjoy... if we would but stop to see and feel it. Join us as this blog is about stopping to see the real beauty around touch and feel it... "Through the Lens".

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Friday, October 30, 2009

Leaving MCDInnovations

We spent a week and one day at camp MCD Innovations! While there we met some really fantastic folks. You just naturally get to know people that you are parked next to especially with nothing much to do but wait. We have heard so many times that RVers are the nicest people you will ever meet. It is true!! We got to know the couple parked next to us, Neil and Karen Cole. They have been full-timing for ten years. Three days just wasn’t enough time to learn from folks like Neil and Karen. They travel the country in their beautiful Teton fifth wheel and a matching MDT. We have been in touch via e-mail ever since they left and hopefully we will be able to meet up with them again down the road. For Mike and I it is a real treat to be able to sit and talk with other full-timers. Then there was Sherry. She travels alone in her beautiful 2007 Dutch Star. Yes, you heard that right…by herself. The day we arrived we met Sherry. She is part of the solo full-timers and is the most active lady of her age I have ever met. There were others that we met during our week at MCD.
There were other fantastic people at MCD such as Bobbi, the “go to” lady. She manages the office and does about twenty different jobs at one time. If you should call MCD you will most likely talk with Bobbi. She is good at her job. Waiting is hard and she knows how to help make it better. The team that makes the shades appear in your rig are Tyler, Brandon and Andrew. Of course, they can’t make them appear unless there is a production department. We never saw that part of the production but we know they were on the job because we have wonderful MCD duo shades in our coach. The entire crew is very talented.
While there we decided to have our valances replaced in the coach. Tyler was the man that made the valances and then with his help we picked out the color fabric (vinyl) that would go with our interior. The valances were sent out on Thursday and back on Friday. That is pretty good service ,don’t you think? In order to help us meet our timetable Tyler and Andrew were willing to come in on Saturday to put up the valances and begin the install.
Thank you MCD Innovations!! We love our shades and valances!! They have made a huge difference in our motorhome. We can’t recommend them enough.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Dallas Cowboy Stadium

Last Friday Mike and I left the Fort Worth Stockyards and headed for the new Dallas Cowboy Stadium. One of the couples at MCD told us tours were conducted at the new stadium so we thought it might be a neat thing to do. When we got there we found out that they were not giving tours that day due to a Star Wars concert that evening. We decided to go ahead and purchase tickets for Saturday. This particular Saturday they were only giving tours until 12:00. We decided that since it was Saturday we would arrive at the starting time of 8:30 and boy were we glad. At 8:00 there was already a very long line waiting to purchase tickets. Since we already had ours we were sent on ahead and ended up in the first tour.
If you ever go there we would highly recommend purchasing tickets in advance and arriving early.
The facility is quite awesome! The tour was well organized and quite educational. There were many, many facts given during the tour that we just can’t remember but a little later this year there should be some information on the web telling about the stadium. The few facts that we can remember are:
1. The television hanging in the center of the stadium is 7 stories tall. In one picture you can see a man in a booth that gives this perspective of size.
2. The duct work is 2 ½ miles long.
3. Each speaker hanging in the stadium would fill the flat bed of an 18 wheeler.
4. The old stadium was 900 thousand square feet and the new one is over 3 million square feet.
5. In the Cowboy’s locker room each locker cost $10,000 to build.
6. There are 3,000 Sony TV’s throughout the stadium and in the near future there will be an additional 2,000. The giant screen is a Mitsubishi.
7. There are no bad seats, no poles blocking vision.
8. There are 2 arches that help support the stadium and the opening. Each arch is larger than the arch in St. Louis.
9. Field level is 300 below ground level
10. By the 2011 Super Bowl they will be able to seat 105,000 people.
11. The city of Arlington gave $330 million of the $1.4 billion cost of the stadium and Jerry Jones picked up the rest of the tab.
12. Jerry Jones is a very rich man. No relation.

They gave out so much more information than this but you just can’t remember it all. As I said it should be published by the end of the season. The pictures tell it best.

It was a fun day and we are glad we got to see one of the “new” wonders of the world.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Fort Worth Stockyards

The city of Fort Worth began as an Army outpost in 1849. The fort itself was named after Major General Williams Jenkins Worth who served in three wars…the War of 1812, Second Seminole War in Florida, and the Mexican-American War. The city surrounding the fort began to grow primarily due to cattle. Fort Worth was also a stop on the Chisholm Trail where cattle were driven from all locations in Texas to areas north. This area became important because it was the last stop on the trail for supplies. When the railroads arrived Fort Worth became a major shipping point for cattle. The cattle industry began to grow and created the need for building of the stockyards. Fort Worth became so important to the cattle industry that it earned the nickname, “Cowtown.”

Every morning( weather permitting) around 11:30 there is a cattle drive down Exchange Avenue from Stockyard Station to the Cattle Exchange. The Stockyard Station was built in 1902 and became the hub of the stockyards. Today it houses a museum as well as other offices.

Mike and I decided to eat at Riscky’s Barbeque. This restaurant is located in Stockyard Station in what was once part of the cattle market. We both order the chopped beef brisket sandwich with cole slaw. Mike said it was the best he had ever eaten!!

It was a beautiful day with lots of sunshine and a little bit of a brisk wind. We had a grand time and returned to camp MCD to check on the installation of the shades in our coach.

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Grand Evening

Last night Gerri & I were invited to Randy & Pam Warner’s for dinner. They are camping at East Fork Park COE in Wylie Texas. We met Randy outside their beautiful Allegro Bus on a cool windy afternoon.
When we went inside it was so warm and cozy and we felt right at home. Pam and Randy had fixed a gourmet meal to include pork tenderloin, baked potatoes, salad and grilled zucchini squash. It was superbly prepared. After our dinner and a great visit, we broke out the Mexican Train game. Pam and Randy were anxious to learn the game and we happened to have played a few times, so we brought it with us. It is an addicting and very easy game to learn as well as have a lot of fun with. After one “hand” Pam & Randy had already caught on, in fact, after a few “hands” Pam had the lowest score and won. Actually, we all won because we had a great time with good friends and great fellowship. Our thanks to Pam & Randy for a great meal and a grand evening. Since we had a distance to go in the night hours, we left around 8:30.

Sixth Floor Museum (Book Depository)

As luck would have it the day we decided to go to Dallas it started raining and rained the entire day. Oh well, we won’t melt. We left McKinney about 10:00 and started traveling on I-75 toward Dallas with our destination as the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealy Plaza. It once had another name. On November 22, 1963 it was called the Texas School Book Depository. I am not sure what I expected but I will say it was far more than I expected. You enter on the ground level and pay a small fee. They give you a set of headphones and then you ride the elevator to the sixth floor. This is where you begin your audio walking tour of the life of President John F. Kennedy. It is well presented with photos, videos and momentos of President Kennedy’s political career and of course the events that occurred on that awful day in November 1963. There is a section preserved in glass where Lee Harvey Oswald knelt at the window and fired three shots at the motorcade as it went by on Elm Street. As we all know, those shots hit President Kennedy and Governor John Connally. President Kennedy would die and John Connally would survive. You can look out the window and see the road below where a big X marks the spot where the car was positioned when President Kennedy was shot. To the right of that place on
the road is the area known as the Grassy Knoll. This is the area where many believed another shot was fired. The second shooter theory. I was a young girl when this event happened in history but I still remember so well where I was when the news came out that President Kennedy had been assassinated. It was a sobering feeling walking around on the sixth floor of that old book depository building. The weather perfectly fitted the mood…..damp and gloomy.
I have read about this event, saw it televised on T.V. and later in my life I would teach young children of the events of that day BUT Wednesday I saw the area up close and personal.

Today, Mike and I touched a part of history.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Arrived at MCD Innovations

We arrived at MCD Innovations Sunday afternoon and got set up in our site, site #3. MCD Innovations produces interior and exterior sunshades for just about any RV as well as tire covers. For a complete overview of what they do check out their website at

We should be here the entire week. They provide a full hook up concrete pad complete with a wonderful customer lounge. If you should have a pet you can walk your friend into Bobbi’s office and she has a special treat waiting there. It has a very family oriented atmosphere. This week there are 7 motorhomes and 1 fifth wheel on the lot. We are here to upgrade our interior shades to the MCD American Duo Day/Night manual Shade System. We are not sure what we will do, if
anything, on the big front window at this time.

This morning we also had the great pleasure of meeting fellow full-timers, Randy and Pam Warner. We have been reading their blog for some time but had not met them until today. They began full-timing in May and you can read their terrific blog at .
They came over to MCD this morning to talk with Bobbi about having the sunshades installed in their Allegro Bus. We spent most of the morning together getting know each other and of course, talking about full-timing. We certainly enjoyed meeting them and were so glad they were able to come over to MCD while we were here.

That about wraps it up for today here at camp MCD. We are getting excited about seeing our shades go up.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

We are Richer

No, we haven’t been playing the lottery! We are richer in the best kind of way. We have just finished our first workamping position at Hagerman Wildlife Refuge. I am not sure what we expected when we arrived but I can assure you we got a lot more than we expected. The first big lesson that we discovered was that this was not a camping situation but a giving back situation. We were there for a purpose but we received so much more than we gave. A refuge exist solely for the animals and ALL animals are protected there. The two footed animal is welcome and can come to enjoy and learn but it is all about the animals. It is not necessarily a well manicured place. Well, at least not by the two footed animals expectations, but if you were to ask the Great Blue Heron or the Snowy Egret what they thought you might find out that it fits their expectations to a tee. There is an aura of peace there. It is a quiet place with a serene feeling. A quiet beauty. It is there that man has not altered the environment and the beauty of God’s creation abounds. The animals come and go and move about freely as if they know that they are in a place that respects them and cares for them. And care for them they do. The refuge has worked very hard during the last few months to prepare for the guest that should be arriving in great numbers in the next few weeks. The refuge workers are looking forward to their arrival and speak with excitement when talking about the time when hundreds of waterfowl will descend upon Hagerman. Their friends are returning home for a season.

We worked hard, hiked wonderful trails, drove many miles of beautiful roads and saw so many different animals during our stay there. We enjoyed our stay in this remote area of Texas and have come away from this experience loving the people of Texas. There is an enormous state pride here like non other I have ever seen. They are hard working people that show respect for each other and love their roots.

So we left Hagerman today and the great folks that make it work. They are incredible people and made us feel like family from the first day we arrived. We can only say a huge thanks to Kathy Whaley, Refuge Manager, for allowing us this wonderful month of opportunity to learn, grow and become richer. Now we are off to new experiences. We’ll see what tomorrow brings
our way.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Laid Back Day

Since we are leaving the refuge on Sunday our job here is pretty much complete but we did volunteer to help organize a supply closet in the main office. So this morning Mike and I both went to tackle the job. It was not a huge job just a bit of clutter that needed organizing. We worked on the closet for a couple of hours before completing the job and heading home for lunch.

When we got up this morning the sky was still grey and cloudy and there was a fine mist of rain still falling. It has been almost two weeks with clouds and rain in this area of Texas but this afternoon all that changed!! The sun came out!!!! Wow, it has been a long time since we saw such a beautiful day. The clouds parted and there it was, a beautiful fall sky. The temperature was just perfect…..just a little crispness in the air. You just can’t let an opportunity like this pass you by so Mike and I decided to take a drive through the refuge and just enjoy the day. We had heard from some of the locals that the Peregrine Falcon had been spotted in the refuge and we wanted to try and get a look at it.

We saw the Semipalmated Plover. This is another new bird for us and a great example of why refuges such as Hagerman are so important. These birds, as well as other shorebirds, are being threatened by habitat loss. It has been an education watching the refuge prepare the area for the arrival of the migrating birds. They have taken several areas adjacent to wildlife drive and flooded them to make a marsh environment. They prepared the farm fields by getting rid of unwanted plants and then cultivating the area for tall grasses(wheat and mung beans) for winter food. We saw more American Avocets, or the same ones, who knows?? There are more and more Mallards arriving and it seems the American Coot is growing in population. The American White Pelican is still in the area and of course the graceful Great Blue Heron and the Snowy Egret and the Great Egret We are not sure we ever saw the Peregrine Falcon but there is always tomorrow.

We drove through many of the back roads of the refuge and just enjoyed the beautiful day. The trees are just beginning to turn their fall colors and this only added to the beauty of the day. What a peaceful place! Fall has always been one of our favorite times of the year. You just feel so
alive and energized. Life is good!!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Return to Hagerman /Rains/New Birds

We were gone from the refuge for a few days to take care of some family business and when we returned we were met with an awful evening of rain and storms. In about six hours 4 to 41/2 inches of rain fell. Several of the bridges in the refuge were completely impassable due to the overflow of the lake. An area called Big Mineral Springs was actually out of its banks. On a normal day, this is a nice area to fish and picnic. The drop from the bank to the creek is about 4 feet. Not today! One bridge looked more like a waterfall than a bridge. We were very happy that we had planned ahead and stowed the satellite dish and put in the awnings before going to bed. At least we didn’t have to get up for that task.

We have a few new birds to add to our list of “first.” We followed a Red-shouldered Hawk until we could finally get a picture. These birds love the swampy groves and that is just exactly where we found him - at Haller’s Haven aka Dead Woman’s Pond. What a fitting place to roost. Maybe he’s looking for that dead woman! Who knows!!

We then discovered this fairly ugly bird and couldn’t quite get a good look at it to identify. Every time we saw the fellow he was in a hurry scurrying back into a thicket. Finally one morning he just walked out from some underbrush in front of the truck and we were able to get a picture for identification. It happened to be the Greater Roadrunner. The best part about the Roadrunner is his/her love of lizards and rodents. They love to hide in the thick underbrush so they can capture lizards and rodents for a tasty dinner. I love that bird!!

We were driving along the main road inside the refuge one morning when we discovered a huge flock of American White Pelicans just enjoying the morning in the lake alongside the road area. We had already witnessed these beautiful birds in flight but now we could see them up close. The American White Pelican does not dive for food as does the Brown Pelican but they prefer to sit in large groups and cooperatively scoop up fish and this is exactly what they were doing on this particular morning at the refuge.

Friday afternoon after the big rain we went for a ride and discovered this very peculiar bird. There were only about 10 to 15 of them and they seemed to be very preoccupied with sticking their heads in the water. This bird is rarely seen at the refuge and was only stopping over as they were migrating south. They must have rested and refreshed themselves because we haven’t seen them since that afternoon.

With the temperatures getting cooler we are beginning to see many different species coming to the refuge. Each day seems to bring something new at this time of the year.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Let's Live Big!

My brother sent me an e-mail today that really summed up some of the feelings that we experienced when deciding to fulltime. He was challenging me (us) to never begin thinking "old." He went on to say to stay active but more than just physical or mental exercise but true passions, burning passions. That completely sums up how we have always felt about travel and volunteering our time and talent as we travel around this great country. It is a passion, a burning passion. Then he said that we, "had a lifetime behind us and a lifetime ahead of us - so much still to give." "Let's live big." It is my opinion that living big is what fulltiming is all about. I don't know any "old" fulltimers. The fulltimers I know are always excited about tomorrow and what is down the next road or around the next corner. They never dread getting out of their bed so they can just do the same old thing again another day. Every day is different. Isn't that exciting?? "So much still to give." This is why Mike and I want to stop and volunteer as we travel. We want to be able to give back, to help make something better, or assist in helping others have a good time. We want to do more than know history or read history we want to experience it, touch it and see it. If a picture is worth a thousand words I want to see it and be left speechless.

My wonderful brother had such great thoughts and I so appreciate his advice. It is so true for everyone. Find a passion, a burning passion and keep yourself active with people excited about life. We might not be able to change the number of years we have lived but we can stay active and happy with our lives. "And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." Abraham Lincoln

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Work a Little/Play a Little/Have Fun Alot

We have finished our first full week here at Hagerman. The work is simple and the views are stunning. Today as we were driving to one of our day use areas we saw a magnificent Great Horned Owl fly over our truck. We stopped and watched for a few minutes and got to see him land in a tree and stare at us. The thing that intrigued me was his wing span. We also saw a Red-Tailed Hawk perched on a telephone pole sizing up his prey over the field. Of course, as fate would have it, we didn’t have our camera with us. We do plan to return this weekend armed with the camera and see if we can get a few good pics. This was our first Great Horned Owl and Red-Tailed Hawk, we were both excited. On the down side of our week we also got to meet, up close and too personal, a copperhead. It seems that this time of year they are coming out looking for warm sunshine and some will be moving toward a winter den. Whatever their purpose I can certainly live without seeing anymore of those animals.

Thursday we drove into McKinney, Texas which is about 30 miles north of Dallas. We went there to visit where the MCD sunshades are manufactured. Remember when we started out from Pine Mountain one of our day/night shades broke? We did some investigating on how to best get this shade restrung and began to see a pattern. These shades break a lot. We then began to look into our alternatives. We ran across the American Duo Day/Night Shade System manufactured by MCD Innovations. This is a dual shade system on a roller, one shade is much the same as our outside front sunscreen and the other is a total light blocking shade. During the day we could put the sunscreen down and we can see out but nobody can see in. At night we could put the light blocking shade down for complete privacy. The best part is the way they go up and down. Not like the old fashion type shades but slowly without snapping up. You can even get them with a remote control for a lot of extra money. The manual is fine for us. The price is not unrealistic so we have an appointment for October 19th. They have a nice complete hookup area for the rvs so we will be there for five days while they install our new sunshades. If you would like check out

This about raps up this week. We worked a little and played a little and enjoyed ourselves a lot.