No, not the Kurt Cobain band, but the state of perfect quietude, freedom, and highest happiness. That is where Betty & I found ourselves yesterday.

We began our less than grueling day, breaking camp in Austin, Texas, and driving for an hour to Bastrop State Park. Being a weekend and without a reservation, we had no idea whether they would have a campsite for us. As it turns out, we had our choice of sites, and selected one at the end of a loop, with a scenic lookout over valleys in 2 directions. The park had suffered from a major forest fire in 2011, but new growth and fresh plantings were evident, and the campground is well cared for. To our surprise, we have a large, full service
site at half the price we had paid in Austin. With a paved parking area, the automatic levelers did quick work of stabilizing us, and a push of another button had our slideouts expanding our living space in no time at all.

For lunch Betty presented sushi with an assortment of cheeses and crackers, all paired with a nice Beaujolais. For dinner I prepared my famous prosciutto wrapped asparagus and lamb chops on the grill, and served with mint sauce and a bottle of Cambridge & Sunset Pinot Noir. We sat outside and enjoyed the warmth of a Texas evening, the perfect quietude of our camp spot, the freedom that retirement brings, and the highest happiness of each other’s company. Nirvana!

Which way are we going?

A funny thing happened on the way to McKinney Falls State Park in Austin, Texas yesterday. We plugged the co-ordinates into our gps and set off, without first questioning the route she(?) was taking us. As it turned out, it was the most convoluted, twisty, turny, narrow country road through rural Texas, past Austin’s dump and a wide range of house styles. (We’re convinced that Texas has no building codes or required building permits. You do what you want with your land, however lavish or humble!) Within a mile of the park we crossed over a major street that we had taken many times in the past, as it is a prominent Interstate exit. If we had taken that exit, we would have arrived at the park in half the time!

We laughed at this small (mis)adventure, realizing at the same time that speed, and the most direct routes, are not necessarily our goals on this journey. There is a lot of country to see, and you don’t catch it all from the Interstate.

Not that we are totally devoid of planning — leaving our adventure in the hands of a gps who routinely tells us to turn left when we can see our destination on the right… We planned and succeeded in visiting Central Market in Austin
yesterday, picking up some fabulous fresh fruit, vegetables, breads, cheeses, wines (buy 6, get 10% off – how can you go wrong with their huge international selection!), steak, lamb, and other unique food items. It’s always a treat, but we have to limit ourselves by the size of the Smart car “trunk”.

We also picked up a new Weber bbq (grill in America) that I had ordered on-line last week and had delivered to an Austin Walmart. After some assembly required, I seared those aforementioned Missouri-raised steak, and we enjoyed a candlelight dinner with a fresh salad, baguette, and a nice bottle of Valpolicella.

In the end, our dinner and night’s stay were at Austin’s Lone Star RV Park, as McKinney Falls State Park was fully booked in advance – no room for those who didn’t plan ahead… Before we pulled out of the park, the friendly ranger wanted to direct us to alternate state parks. “Are you headed east or west?” To which I answered: “Yes”!

Early morning pondering

it is 730 and I am sitting in the same spot I have on many previous occasions. On the couch with Charlie curled up on my lap reading a book and having my first cup coffee. We are in Austin at a campground we have visited many times on various trips to South Padre Island. I am thinking about those other times and how I always knew I had to go back to work but now there is no going back and I wonder how long it really takes before that becomes a reality in my mind and heart. I miss my friends and the daily chatter but I am happy with the choice I made and am excited to get to the point where I am not thinking about this as a vacation.

Gavin and Mckenzie

I would like to introduce you to Gavin. He and his twin sister McKenzie were adopted out to Betty, Christine Finnbogason, and Heather Elands. ( but obviously Larry also has taken McKenzie under his wing) 

Gavin chose the high adventure of travelling with the Reddoch’s while McKenzie stayed behind to keep an eye on the Womens Health program. It won’t be all boring back in Winnipeg and Chris and Heather have promised to take her to conferences so she will see some of world and not just stay cloistered in the office. Also she will get to go to the new hospital when it opens. HaHa

Gavin will begin to post pictures of his marvellous adventure with the help of adopted mom Betty. No knomes for a 40 year women’s health veteran!