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Places Visited:
Texas: Lake Tawakoni

2003 Travelogue#2-- People

Friday, August 01, 2003
1000 Trails (TTN) Lake Tawakoni Preserve, Point, TX

To travel and see God's beauty in nature is a blessing, but a greater gift is meeting the people along the journey. It is interesting, that in the RV community, the majority of the folks take time to visit. I can remember when I was a kid in the late 40's. We would sit on the front porch of my Aunt's house in Gainesville, TX in the evenings; "just a rocking" and the "big folks" would talk to the neighbors as they strolled past. It's sort of like that now. Seems like the majority of people will visit and share if we will take time to listen. However, some are still on a Day-Runner schedule and can't come up for air, but they are in the minority.

We've had two such encounters with unique couples from different parts of the country: Dick & Carol K and Terry & Judy B. Each has a story and each has a mission.

Dick & Carol K from Napa Valley, California, looked familiar as we approached on our regular morning walk. Dick was pulling their MotorHome from the campsite as Carol moved the "toad" up the road for hook up. After exchanging "Good Morning" greetings, we asked if they had, per chance, eaten dinner the previous evening at Mitchell's General Store? That started a conversation at 8:30, which didn't end for nearly an hour.

Digressing just a moment for an update on Mitchell's General Store, which we heard about on Friday evening and had the dining experience the next night. It's located 9 miles east of Lone Oak, TX, in the little community of Miller Grove. This is a 100-year-old plus general store, with old wood siding and tin roof, which has been converted into a restaurant. It's only open Friday and Saturday nights from 4pm to 9pm and they start lining up at 3:30. Everyone is waiting for the all -you-can-eat boiled and iced shrimp, fried shrimp, catfish, hushpuppies, corn fritters, fresh French fries (with the skin on them), cole slaw, and iced tea (sweetened and unsweetened) with a nice long salad bar for $9. I'm telling you; it's a real bloater! For character there are old minnow buckets for hanging lamps, ceiling fans, plastic plates and utensils with your very own role of paper towels for napkins. Needless to say, it's our kind of place! One, which only the locals know about.

We arrived at 4:30 and had a 45-minute wait, but the people watching made the time pass quickly and that could be another entire story. Peggy and I sat on wooden benches on the covered screened porch with 3 or 4 ceiling fans keeping us cool plus a "refresh yourself" big jug of ice water and paper cups. We were sitting there when Dick and Carol arrived asking "How to get on the waiting list?" Dick is easy to remember because he wears one of those Wyatt Earp big thick mustaches.

The 45-minute conversation was their story of crisscrossing the country researching and writing their genealogies. They have collected 27, three-inch binders of historical data, family trees, birth certificates, newspaper articles, photographs, etc. amazing! Almost as amazing, is that they spent so much time instructing two strangers on how to start our genealogy search. One of our destination points is Mt. Carmel, IL where Peggy's grandparents resided and we have some history on the Ankenbrand's, Peg's maternal grandmothers maiden name. The whole conversation got me juiced up to go over to Sulpher Springs, TX and start researching my side of the family. What an inspiration these two were to us! They were heading to the Titus County Courthouse and then into Oklahoma.


The second couple, Terry & Judy B, from San Angelo, TX, have been full -timing for two years. They have been married for 9 years and each have children and grandchildren from previous marriages. They had been talking about maybe selling their home and doing some traveling but there was nothing concrete. One day a real estate broker stopped by the house and asked Judy if they would consider selling their home? She thought a minute, then said "yes". She made the man an offer and he took it with a stipulation of possession in 30 days. To Terry's amazement on returning home, Judy told him she'd sold the home, they had to be out in 30 days and he needed to start looking for an RV. Terry got on the Internet and found a 1984 Beaver in Alabama, over 1000 miles away. Mind you, neither one of them had ever done any camping or Rving.

After two years on the road, traveling from one coast to the other, and most recently returning from Niagara Falls, they've been visiting family in Texas. Now, they're heading East.

The amazing thing about this unique couple is their physical condition. Judy has had 4 heart attacks and Terry has pulmonary disease of bronchitis, asthma, and emphysema. He pulls a small pickup behind the motor home that has a covered bed in which he transports two motorized electric scooters. I noticed them Friday night, as they came into the Pic 'N' Grinning session on their electric scooters. Each had an oxygen tank attached to the back seat.

I was fortunate to meet them one afternoon while pulling down our Internet mail at the Welcome Center. We had a nice visit and they invited me to stop by their coach on one of our walks. That evening I was out doing some chores and I could see them coming down the road, they were motoring on their scooters, each holding a 30' dog leash with a tiny Chihuahua dog attached. They stopped to visit and told me they were out walking the "girls".

Wednesday evening Peg and I stopped by their coach and had a nice long visit. Thursday morning I walked down to say good-bye, as they were packing to leave. Terry had to stop every few minutes to catch his breath and his big red suspenders would heave. Most people would be home in the coolness of their air conditioning, afraid to go anywhere, but, not these two. Judy had on her Elvis T- shirt… They were heading to Memphis, TN, for Elvis Week. You see, they've had reservations at an RV park across from Elvis's home, Graceland, since January. Good for them.


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