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Black Beauty's Adventures Begin

As we prepared for this van conversion I was in Oceanside, CA and my mom (Judy) in Claxton, GA. We've ordered several items, some to be delivered to her, some to me. I had a one-way flight to Savannah on May 14th. The Maiden Voyage to California was to begin early on Sunday the 16th. Let the adventures begin!

Our build-out supplies are pouring in, some quick some not so quick. Seems the MaxxAir Fan and the Nature's Head composting toilet are in high demand. We first ordered the MaxxAir from Amazon... upon further research we discovered it less expensive elsewhere. Also - Amazon couldn't get it to us until mid-June. So we found SolarTown for less money but still 6 weeks to wait. SprinterStore to the rescue! They have them in stock and very competitive rates. Our fan arrived on May 7th. The Nature's Head isn't quite as big of a timing issue because there is lots to be done prior to it's arrival.

The IceCo Fridge arrived May 4th and is in the van ready for the trip west. The Rattletrap has arrived and is ready to be installed. The insulation is readily available. The InergyTek Flex Solar Generator is ordered, the solar panels and cables are onsite ready to go. Things are moving along nicely.

May 14th is here! Air travel is absolutely nothing like it used to be. I traveled for work a lot pre-911 - Those were the days! Now, well, it just sucks. Add the mask mandate and it is pure hell... I know, I know, that's a bit dramatic. But still, it sucks. As I sit here at the San Diego Airport, I look around and see all these masks - then I see all these places that sell food... So weird.

I had a plane change at DFW to manage within 35 minutes... The plane change went well and my arrival in Georgia was early, as expected my mom was there waiting at the curb. This was my first time seeing Black Beauty in person in all her glory!

Saturday the 15th was a big pack day - all loose ends must be handled so we can depart early Sunday morning. What is it they say about "best laid plans"? We had a few set-backs, the craziest of them was the "smart" washing machine that couldn't tell it had water in it. Two loads of clothes took all day and into the next morning to finish.

Early Sunday morning came and went... 10am was the magical time of departure. We stopped to see a dear friend and my wonderful Aunt Noreen before heading down to see my sister, my two amazing nephews, their wives and children. Each visit was kept brief, I'm a real stickler for not overstaying my welcome.

GO WEST! Yep, we headed west and found the Torreya State Park in Bristol, Florida. Ranger Howard was a real treat and the park was awesome. We got a great spot for $17 with electric and water! Have I mentioned Rusty? Rusty is my mom's road-dog, he is a very sweet old dog that has never been camping or on a road-trip before. He's doing great so far, however, he is not leash trained so we are wondering if he will poop...

By the way, all you DC/12v people out there... Get a Roadpro! We cooked our dinner while driving down the road. Slow-roasted pork - YUM! Once I opened the foil I forgot to take a picture of the pork before we devoured it. My 'little' brother Frank hooked us up with this and gave us some pointers on what and how to cook with it.

Monday brought some excitement... that is if frayed nerves are exciting. Remember sweet Rusty? Well, he was only sweet (up to that point) while my mom was in his sight. We pulled into a Buccee's for gas and to look for a Rand McNally Road Atlas (for the 4th or 5th time). She pumped gas while I shopped for an atlas (unsuccessfully). Mom needed to go in the store so, I said ok - I'll move the van. Rusty decided he wanted to go with my mom. That sweet dog is also very strong and stubborn. He did everything in his power to escape, but I prevailed, after a lot of loud foul language that is. This day also marked the first time my mom picked up dog poop, in a handy bag of course. She lives in the country and her pets are free-range animals. We were beginning to think Rusty would not poop until he returned to the country.

After Buccee's in Alabama we moved on and quickly cut through Mississippi into Louisiana and down came the rain. Not your average rain, I mean deafening rain. We had planned on staying at another State Park, I'm so glad we did not go there. The amount of flooding was crazy! We saw cars, trucks and semi's flooded with water higher than their tires. So we kept driving. We stopped just across the Texas state line at a rest area and hunkered down for the night. It was noisy traffic and muggy weather but we didn't get flooded. That's a win in my book.

Tuesday we got an early start. We both wanted a shower so we found the closest Planet Fitness and got a fresh clean start to our day. At this point we were only about 2 hours from my son's home. Mom had not yet met my beautiful daughter-in-law so we stopped for a brief visit and had a nice lunch. Just before we left we mentioned that we had been searching high and low for somewhere to buy a road atlas. Franklin told us about Houston Maps about 2 miles down the road. We scored!

Back on I-10 West we scoped out a couple of state parks to choose from in this handy guide and also made a plan for where to aim for on Wednesday. When we reached Luling we found another Buccee's, filled up and walked Rusty. We made reservations for Kerrville-Schreiner State Park and set the GPS for the 2+ hour trip. Once we got back on I-10 every cloud in the sky converged and burst wide open! The rain was torrential! Visibility was maybe 10 feet. We turned on our flashers and begged for an exit! We took the first exit we came to and pulled into a gas station. The rain was so loud we couldn't hear each other talk. We waited for a little while and braved the interstate again. That two hour trip turned into well over 3 but we got out of the storm and found a peaceful state park by the Guadalupe River. Thanks to that RoadPro, dinner was ready when we arrived. We set up camp and now it is time to crash for the night.

Join us back here next week to find out if we escape Texas and make our way back to Oceanside.

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