We’re back in Milwaukee this week, in the middle of a snowstorm, so my jaunt through Memorial Park in Round Rock, Texas, a couple of weeks ago seems like a dream. Thank heavens for photographic evidence!
Memorial Park is home to the rock that gave Round Rock, Texas, its name. The park is right off of I-35. Brushy Creek runs through the middle of it, and a pedestrian bridge under the highway connects both sides. There’s a playground on one side and the Sunset Strip apartment complex on the other. It’s a very pretty park although a little bit seedy.
I stopped there with the dogs after I saw the park off the highway when I was dropping Mike off for work. I had no idea that the famous rock was there, so I missed it entirely. I guess I was close, though. From what I’ve read, if you want to see the rock, you need to walk over the low water crossing near the parking lot and go along the north side of the creek.
I strolled in that direction but got sidetracked by the granite stadium stairs by the softball field. I just had to climb ’em! I did two sets with the dogs, but then Sadie refused to do any more. I wasn’t going to let our little diva hold me back, so I parked the bark babies in the Jeep and did another 13 sets for a total of 15.
The rock isn’t the only cool piece of history in the park. There’s also a Vietnam War memorial and a commemorative WWII torpedo to honor Round Rock residents who fought on behalf of their town and country.
What a fun outing to remind me that there’s more to life than the deep freeze!
When you become a full-time RVer, or embark on some other kind of epic trip, it’s easy to let the pitfalls drag you down. Things break; people are strange; the dream job is still a job. Sometimes you’re gonna get sand in your margarita. It’s easy to get discouraged, but when those situations come up, remember:
Don’t worry about the potholes.
Just enjoy the journey.
Around 2 o’clock on a Sunday afternoon, it was in the mid-30s. Practically a heat wave in Milwaukee. So Mike and I bundled up, hopped on our folding bikes, and pedaled off down the pavement.
The Hank Aaron State Trail, named for baseball legend Hank Aaron, abuts the back of the RV park. The trail follows the Menomonee River from Lake Michigan west about 13.5 miles. We’d never really explored it.
Right by the park, the trail’s not the prettiest, even in the spring when everything’s in bloom. But it holds some surprises. Roughly three miles in, we discovered the Valley Passage mural. Technically known as the Menomonee Valley Passage mural, it was painted in 2011 by artist Chad Brady.
The colorful mural is designed to represent the Miller Park area, Potawatomi Casino, the Brewers, The Milwaukee Road, bridges, buildings, birds, deer, Native Americans, fish, the Menomonee River, trees, manufacturing and canoeing.
The trail also goes through the Milwaukee Soldiers Home National Historic Landmark District, which is one of three remaining original Soldiers Homes in the country. Since 1867, the homes have provided refuge and recuperation for physically and mentally disabled soldiers – starting with those who had survived the Civil War. Three of the buildings are being restored, but amazingly, the rest are still being used to care for veterans today.
You just never know what you’re going to find in your own backyard.
Mike and I did our second 5K together in a month when we wogged our way to the finish line at the ‘Stache Dash. The run was in support of Movember, an international movement to raise awareness for prostate cancer and other men’s issues. It was nice to know that part of race fee was contributed directly to the Movember charity.
After somewhat warmer weather earlier in the week, things had turned cold in Milwaukee – just in time for the Saturday event. Although it helped that the race had a later start time of 12 noon, it was still a mere 23 degrees – with 15-mph winds – when we queued up. We ended up bringing up the rear when my mustache hat flew off in one of the gusts and I ran back to retrieve it. At least I got some extra running in! The costumes were super fun, and there was pretty scenery along our route.
We had a great time despite the cold. The best part was that Mike brought home his first medal! Now we just have to find someplace to display it in the rig where it won’t take a chunk outta the wall as we motor down the road.
“I thought this was one of those crazy mud things you’re always doing,” Mike said as I was picking up my bib from the tent near the river. We were in Boston on a drizzly Sunday morning so I could do the Boston River Run along the Charles.
“If I’d known it was a regular run, I might have done it with you.”
I wrapped my arms around him, squeezing tight and grinning up at him as I said, “You still can! They have on-site registration!”
He sighed knowing he was beat and let me drag him over to the next table so he could sign up.
And that’s how we ended up wogging (walk-jogging) our first New England 5K together. We walked most of it, sprinting for the photo opps and the finish line. We held hands and laughed and took delightful detours – discovering graffiti aliens and wrecked crew boats – because we were too wrapped up in the moment to keep track of the other runners. It wasn’t my fastest 5K, but it was definitely one of my best.
When we travel between gigs, we boondock. It maximizes driving time and saves money on campground fees. We usually stay in rest areas, squeezed in-between the 18-wheelers. I always have trouble falling asleep on those nights. Part of it is the rumble of the trucks mixed with smell of exhaust. Part of it is a niggling worry about someone breaking into the motorhome in the dark hours.
But there’s something else. Something I’ve noticed happening after we’ve settled into our next RV park.
Post Traumatic Rest Area Syndrome
I wake up in the night, not sure where I am and feeling the coach swaying, even though there’s no wind… even though the jacks are down… even though we’re in a level, spacious spot with no trucks lined up beside us. In the morning, I’m disoriented and slightly nauseous with an odd urgency thumping in my chest. The feeling that we need to get moving overwhelms me for a moment before I realize where we are and that we don’t have any miles to put behind us.
It’s not as serious, of course, as the P.T.S.D. that plagues soldiers returning from combat. But it’s unpleasant and disconcerting. I suppose I’ll get past my P.T.R.A.S. eventually as I adapt to our new lifestyle. For now, at least I have a name for what I’m feeling.
When we’re boondocking, we keep the slide in, the jacks up, and conserve our water as much as possible. We often eat out during those times, but occasionally, after a a long day of driving, it’s nice to have a home-cooked meal. I handle water rationing by coming up with something semi-homemade that doesn’t take a lot of pots and pans.
These roasted potatoes are a great accompaniment to a store-bought meatloaf. I got both at Trader Joe’s. The meatloaf was in its own microwavable package, and the potato medley came in a mesh bag that let the colors shine through. I loved the multi-hued small spuds! Mike was a little thrown off at first because he thought the purple potatoes were rotten.
The bag held about 16 potatoes, so we had leftovers for breakfast potatoes the next morning. Dip into a bagged blend of greens from the fridge for a side salad, and you’ve got a complete meal that doesn’t dirty every dish in the rig.
- Medley of small potatoes (My bag had about 16 potatoes in it.)
- coconut oil, melted (about 1/8 cup, just enough to coat)
- Minced garlic, to taste
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Wash potatoes and cut into rough slices.
- In a medium bowl, toss potatoes with coconut oil, garlic, salt and pepper.
- Roast uncovered for about 30 minutes in the oven until they’re fork tender.
- Serve with a slice of meatloaf and a side salad.