Thursday, June 26, 2014

Another road block in our adventures!

 

After Fred’s colon cancer surgery we expected to be back on the road in May and had plans for park hosting at Government Canyon State Park and Colorado State Park.  Well our visit to the doctor to be release so we could travel was not a good for us We were informed that from the lymph nodes that were removed one showed to have cancer.  Well with the cancer in his lymph nodes requires chemo treatment.  Now our plans were on hold again and we had to call and cancel our positions for the rest of the year. 

We met with the chemotherapy doctor and got informed that he would need to go through 8 treatments.  This consisted of an IV session and then two weeks on pills with one week off and then he repeats the treatment.  Therefore he will be in chemo until the end of October.

Another decision had to be made – do we stay at San Jacinto or do we find someplace to go and park for the duration.  We spoke to the park officials and they said we were welcome to stay there as long as we need and they would work with us on any and all hours that would be required of us.  They were all very helpful and concerned about what was happening to us.  We decided to stay for the time being and see how things developed as we just were not sure how Fred was going to be during Chemo.

In staying we started working on hours; as it was the end of the school year there were school tours of the USS Texas daily.  We were having anywhere for 300 – 500 kids per day visiting the ship so we were busy.

Fred has his first chemo treatment and we discovered that things were going to be rough for him.  We then talked about it again and made the decision that it would be best for us to find a RV Resort to go to so we could just relax and not have any stress of hours to have to complete.  It was a hard decision to make as we love San Jacinto and all it stands for plus we enjoyed the work with the kids but felt that this would be best.

Before we left we had one last event to complete and talk about fun – it was the Annual Bug Festival.  We have not seen so many VW Bugs in a long time, good thing we were not playing “slug bug” or we would have been black and blue.  The day brought back a lot of memories of our days as teenagers and we laugh more than we had in a long time.  Good way to end our tour at San Jacinto Battleground State Park.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Texas Independence Day, April 21, 1836

The San Jacinto Battleground State Park exist because of this day.  This is the day that Texas won their independence from from Mexico; it was the decisive battle of the Texas Revolution. Led by General Sam Houston, the Texian Army engaged and defeated General Antonio L√≥pez de Santa Anna's Mexican army in a fight that lasted just 18 minutes.

There is an annual Texas Independence Relay that is held each year.  The Texas Independence Relay is composed of 40 relay legs of various lengths, totaling over 200 miles. The course starts in Gonzales, where the spark of the Texas Revolution took place, and it finishes at the San Jacinto Monument, where Texas Independence was won!   This year we got to be a part with our park host duties.  It was really cool seeing these guy/gals that had made the run and assisting those that needed help.  Again we got to drive the Kubota and give rides to those that in need of it. 

The day of the battle fell, this year, on a Tuesday and there was a ceremony held.  Again we got to work security in with our park hosting duties and got a chance to be a part of everything.  The re-enactors came and we had Sam Houston IV there in person.  The ceremony was in remembrance of those that fought in the battle for our independence from Mexico. 

The following weekend was the big festival that was open to the public along with the reenactment of the battle.  Fred and I got to work with the archery booth help/teaching visitors how to shoot the bow.  There were booths everywhere and a number of bands playing throughout the day.  Weather was nice that day so we had a good turn out.  If you have not been and you live in the area you need to go.

Easter at San Jacinto Battleground State Park

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Wow, what a day.  We were told that no employee was allowed time off on Easter as the park is full.  They requested that all Park Host work that day also as they need every hand they can get and they were not kidding.  I had not see this many people in the park in all the times we had been there.  We had people lining up at the entrance gate starting at 5:00am that morning and had people jumping the fence to try to get to the spot the wanted.  It was just crazy.

Fred was about two weeks after his surgery so we got to have a Kubota and ride around for security purposes.  Later in the morning though things got crazier and I went to the road to assist with parking.  There was crushed Easter Eggs everywhere with confetti in them, there was BBQ pits everywhere and the smells in the air were wonderful.

The park provided a big Easter lunch for all of us workers that was great. 

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I was impressed with all the people come the end of the day as everyone backed up and cleaned up after themselves.  Even though we worked a couple hours after the park was closed cleaning up for the most part the visitors really cleaned up after themselves.  It was an interesting, busy and fun day for Easter.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

USS Texas 100th Celebration

 

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On March 12, 2014 the USS Texas had its 100th birthday of its commission into the US Navy.  As I have reported before this is the only ship left afloat that served in both World War l and World War II, additionally she is the last of her class (Dreadnought) that is left in the world.  This was a big day for the ship as well as the park.  The park had spend hours preparing her and the park for all the celebration. 

On March 12th, we played host to 32 sailors that had actually served on the USS Texas.  This was really a very moving day and these gentlemen, ages 88 to 101, were so emotional about returning to the ship; most knowing this will be their last time there.  They had family members with them and after the ceremony, they took their wife, children, and grandchildren to show them where their bunks were and tell stories of their days on the ship.  The stories were wonderful and it was just really neat to listen to them talk about that time of their life.  Many were in tears as they talked; once gentlemen took us to his bunk and then showed us where he kept his “love letters” from his wife hid so others would not take them from him.  Another told us about hiding in the operating room with other crewmember so they could play roulette and cards as there was no gambling allowed on the ship.  Another told us about the difference between the crew as the guys that worked in the engine room really did not know those that were top deck as they each had their own areas of the ship. 

A luncheon was held for all and their families and each crew member was presented with flag that was flown on the ship on Memorial Day, certificate and an award that was made from the ship.  Each had a piece of wood and a piece of metal that has been removed as the ship was being currently recondition with a slogan that stated “It was just wood and metal but you made the ship come alive”.

This is a day I will never forget and one that really brought the ship alive to me.  It is really a piece of history and something to be honored and treasured.  If you ever get the chance to come to Houston, come visit her and take the time to really “see her” and learn about her.  I just hope she is kept alive for the future as she is something we need to hold on to.

Below is a link to the celebration for the Veterans on March 12th:

UUS Texas Centennial Celebration

The following Saturday was a huge birthday party that was open to the public.  The weather did not cooperate with us so it did not turn out as well as hoped or planned.  There were displays from Texas Parks & Wildlife from all phases of their activities from birding to fishing to historical sites to park hosting.  There were also re-enactors from World War II, both Germany and US soldiers, to the Buffalo Soldiers. 

Below is the link to the fireworks the night of the Birthday Party.  They even loaded the guns on the ship so it appears that they fired.  Really neat!!

Birthday Party Fireworks

Hope you enjoy!!

Making the best out of stumbling blocks!!!

 

During our stay at Bentsen, Fred had to make a trip back to Houston to complete his annual medical checkups.  During this it was discovered that he has colon caner, so life presented up with a BIG stumbling block.  His doctor wanted us to come back to Houston for an appointment with oncology to discuss what our options were so we could make some informed decisions.  On the trip we were told that he needed to have surgery to remove the cancer and that it was believed that it was only Stage II, therefore the surgery would take care of everything and we would be able to get back on the road by May.  So, based on doctor’s recommendation surgery was scheduled at the end of March.  Now we had the figure out what we were going to do, where we were going to go and had to get back to Bentsen and let them know we were going to have leave our position 3 weeks earlier than was planned.

Bentsen was very understanding and was more than willing to work with us in regards to our leaving early.  We contacted San Jacinto State Park (where we had been prior to Bentsen) and they were more than happy to have us return even though Fred was going to have surgery and be out of commission for a while.  All our problems were working out and we were now set to head back to Houston for his appointments and then surgery.

Since his first appointment was a few days off and we finished our last week at Bentsen, we decided to take those days off and just take a longer trip returning than was needed.  Fred wanted to go down memory lane, so we headed to Goose Island State Park in Rockport, Texas.  His grandfather lived there and going back was fun and interesting.  Goose Island State Park was a really unique park and we happen to be in the area during the Oyster Festival.  We parked right on the beach, watched the sunsets and sun rise each morning was breath taking and even got to continue our bird watching.  If you get the chance go visit, there are two area in which to park, one on the beach and one  back in the forest/wooded area, both were nice.

We left there and went to Spring Creek Park in Tomball for a few days until things were clear at San Jacinto.  Our move to San Jacinto was on March 10th and we settled in for  a busy time before Fred’s surgery on March 31st.  There were a number of big events coming to the park over the next few weeks and we needed to get hours in for our stay.  The USS Texas turned 100 and there was a large celebration on the 12th and then a big Festival on 15th.  Then right behind that was San Jacinto Days and the big Festival regarding the battle for independence.  That is all for my next post!!