Winter/Christmas/Minnesota

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Campground Coyote January 5, 2015 – I’m sitting at the table watching our friendly campground coyote and trying to stay warm.  After coming back from five days in Minnesota in the bitter cold I shouldn’t and can’t complain about the weather in Texas but I will for just a second.  It has been darn cold here.  Yesterday we had a high of 37 and today it should get to 40.  In a few days they are predicting an overnight low of 14.  I think it is time to move out of the Dallas area and head a little farther south.

 Sandy Creek COE As we made our way into Texas from Louisiana we were fortunate to stay at two very nice Corp of Engineer Parks.  I guess because it has been cold, both parks were very quiet.  Sandy Creek COE in Jasper, TX was beautiful.  We had a lovely site right on the lake.  We could easily get in a 6 mile walk or bike ride every day by just staying in the park.  We would gladly have stayed here longer if we weren’t on a time schedule to get to Dallas by the 21st of Dec.

Our next stop was at the second Corp Park in Zavalla, TX, Hanks Creek.  It was also a nice park but not quite as nice as Sandy Creek.  Again we were overlooking a bay on a lake and again because of the time of the year the park was just about empty.  Both parks had great camp hosts who we enjoyed visiting with.  We would definitely recommend both parks.

This brought us to the Dallas/Ft Worth area to a campground that was bought by the City of .  Vineyard Campground was at one time a Corp of Engineer park but the City purchased it from the government.  The two Corp parks we stayed at charged $8.00 & $14.00 per night with our Senior Pass.  Vineyard campground charged $45.00 per night with our Good Sam discount.  You can understand why we love the Corp parks and try to stay away from the privately owned parks.  I will have to say that since Vineyard was developed as a Corp park it was similarly set up with the larger sites being spaced a little farther apart and if this area hadn’t been in a drought the last few years, we would be looking at a lake.  It is a nice campground that is gated for security, close to the Dallas/Ft Worth airport, and we get to watch the coyote hunt a few yards behind us.  It is not a park that works to well for the pocketbook.

IMG_6289 Coyote Fishing Dock Entrance Security Gates Marina

Main Street Grapevine The city of Grapevine is called the Christmas Capital of Texas and for good reason.  They do love to decorate.  On arriving and trying to locate the campground our GPS took us down Main Street.  We thought since it was a Sunday it would be the best time to drive through a small town.  Were we ever wrong!  We knew nothing about the Christmas Capital title or the Polar Express that departs from the town so we were just a little surprised when we made that turn onto Main Street.  There were people everywhere and traffic was terrible.  Policemen were standing in the middle of the street directing traffic and here comes Joe and Linda with their big truck and 5th wheel.  We had people taking pictures of us as we inched down the street.  At times we get ourselves into some situations but I’d have to say this was one of strangest.  Let’s just say that we were so glad when we made the turn to get off of Main Street.

We would easily love to come back to the Grapevine community.  It has so much to offer and the beautiful historic downtown was so enjoyable to walk through.  All the buildings from the early 1900’s have been restored and are being used.  Wonderful area!

Grapevine Main Street Grapevine Main Street Jail Grapevine Main Street Grapevine Main Street Grapevine Main Street Grapevine Main Street

AT&T Cowboy’s StadiumZach suggested we check out the new Dallas Cowboy stadium so on Christmas Day we took a 13 mile drive to check out the AT&T Cowboy’s Stadium.  It was very impressive.  Who would have thought I would care about seeing a football stadium but I was really glad we went.  Across the street from the Cowboy’s stadium is the Ranger’s baseball stadium which also was impressive.  I was glad Zach made the suggestion and glad we took the time to check it out.

So with our 5th wheel secured at the Vineyard Campground we took a cab to the airport on Dec 27th and flew to Minnesota to have Christmas with all of our kids and grandkids.  WE ARE SO BLESSED!  To have all the kids come together for 5 days is a treasure every parent could appreciate.  Our two grandkids, Cate and Alex, have grown and every minute spent with them was fabulous.  Alex has become a papa’s boy so grandma was just a little jealous.   I still had my moments with him when he’d let me read a book and rock him.  I took those moments when I could.  Cate, as always, is a pure joy and so much fun to pretend with.  At almost 4 yrs old she loves pretending and loves it even more if someone pretends with her.  So for a little while I could be a baby while she was the momma or I could hide with the stuff animals while she tried to find me.  We got to play some really fun pretend games.

We had a wonderful gathering on Dec 28th as we celebrated our family Christmas at Amanda and Ron’s house.  Amanda had a terrible cold but it didn’t stop us from all having a great day.  Ate a lot of food, kids opened their presents, played the dice game and ate a little more food.  The day ended too soon.  Cassie and Aaron got a babysitter for Tuesday evening and all our kids and Joe and I went to dinner and a movie.  We went to the movie ‘Foxcatcher’.  Probably not a movie Joe and I would have gone to see on our own but so glad we saw it.  It started slow but really an excellent movie.  We had a great evening!  The kids all went out for New Year’s Eve and Joe and I had the best part of the day having fun with Cate and Alex.

All too soon our time back in Minnesota came to an end.   Zach and Lauren flew back to Ohio early Jan 1st.  We said our good-byes to Eric, read Cate and Alex a book and tucked them in for their naps with a hug and kiss and our goodbyes, said our goodbyes to Cassie and Aaron and then headed over to Amanda and Ron’s for lunch and our good-byes to them.  It is always bitter-sweet when we leave the kids at this time of the year.  We are glad to get out of the cold but realize that it will be three long months before we see them again.    We do treasure those days when we can all be together and look forward to many more to come.

So back in Grapevine, looking out the window, watching the coyote try to catch its lunch and thinking again about how lucky Joe and I are.  I’m sure all parents say they have the best kids but we know that we DO have the best kids and love each and every one of them very much.  AND of course we have the VERY BEST grandkids and could not love them any more than what we do.

Hope all had a very Happy Holiday and wishing you the best of New Year!

Stay safe!  Love you kids and Cate and Alex!  Thank you again for the best Holiday!

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