Friday, September 28, 2007

Wrapping up in Houston -- Farewell, Penelope

Wow, Louise has managed to post three times here since my last update...

Tonight is our fourth and last night at the Traders Village RV Park (map), a depressing place in the northwest corner of Houston. Its principle draw for us is that it's just a few miles from Louise's brother's house (the closest campground, actually), and it offers 50 amp power to run as many of our air conditioners as we need. During the day that's been two and sometimes three, while at night we've managed with only one. The spaces here, at least in the transient area, are perhaps 16' wide (meaning there's a rig 6-8' on either side of us), while most of the park is full of long-long-term renters. And the park is attached to a giant lot that holds a weekly flea market (hence "Traders Village"), which, thankfully, we will avoid entirely by containing our stay to the weekdays.

The prime impetus for us coming to Houston had been to deal with the motorcycle we left here last September, on our way to Mexico. And dealt with it has been, although it was sad. Not only from the standpoint of saying goodbye to Penelope, but also in regard to her disposition. The bike had quit running even before we left it here, likely due to varnish in the carbs -- a sad commentary, actually, on how little riding we'd been doing. And we were rather rushed when we dropped it off. And we really did not have a clue that it would take us a full year to return here -- I think we had in mind that we would swing back shortly after returning to the states from Mexico, perhaps in a month or two, an event that was preempted by much more serious issues.

In any case, to make a long story short, we did not make proper preparations for long-term storage of Penelope, particularly in the extreme and humid climate of Houston, and, in the intervening year, the fuel tank rusted on the inside. We had hoped that we'd be able to get her running again with a quick cleaning of the carbs and a tune-up, but the discovery of rust in the tank meant a much larger investment would be required, possibly to include a new tank and maybe even a fuel pump. Rather than pump cash into it in the hopes of getting a fair return at sale, we sold her to a local dealer for barely enough to buy Odyssey half a tank of diesel. But the deal is done, and we no longer have to fret about how we are going to take care of the problem. Farewell, Penelope.

In other news, Opal continues to recover nicely (and thanks to everyone who has inquired). She's mostly off the pain meds now, though she continues on antibiotics to guard against infection of the incision. From underneath she rather resembles a football, with the 10" or so incision carefully laced up. We spoke to the vet yesterday, who reports that the labs on the spleen sections came back with no sign of cancer. He did say there were signs of congestive heart problems (how can they tell from the spleen?), but that concerns us much less -- it's a very long-term problem, and means she will likely go peacefully and painlessly in her sleep some day. We are very relieved that there is no cancer evident in the abdominal organs,

We've been spotted here by at least two sets of our regular readers (so, perhaps, I should have been more circumspect in my opening comments). Jon and Betty are apparently local and spotted Odyssey here when they dropped by to dump their tanks, evidently while we were out and about. (Sorry we missed you.) On the other hand, readers Ed and Clyda happened to be parked just two rows away from us, also visiting family in the area, and we arranged to meet this afternoon for a pleasant chat after they contacted us by email. (Nice to meet you!)

Tomorrow we will pack up and roll out of here by the 11am checkout, although we may not get far. We're going to see if we can arrange dinner at one of our affiliate clubs here in Houston, an affair that will require us to move to someplace within easier reach of the club. After that, things are a bit fuzzy -- we'll likely head east.


  1. If you haven't experienced the flea market and events at Houston's #1 Free Attractions (Houston Business Journal) and Houston's Best Flea Market (Houston Chronicle)it's really unfair to make negative comments about it.

    I hope you have a great trip elsewhere.

  2. We personally don't care for flea markets and avoid them at all costs. Even if the one here at Trader's Village is "Houston's Best," we still wouldn't choose to go.

    Sorry you took that as a negative comment; its just our preference. But if you have some hints about where to find Houston's Best Root Canal, we'll eagerly visit that on our way out of town.

  3. As long as we're ranting, I have to add that I'm not sure how the Houston Business Journal determined that this is a "Free Attraction."

    There is a row of toll booths on the way into the grounds, where the $3 entrance fee is collected. On top of that, an enormous sign announces that they do not allow "walk-ins" -- you MUST arrive in a vehicle (presumably so they can collect the fee).

    This is one of my pet peeves -- we try to walk as many places as possible. In a day and age when the whole world is trying to get people out of their cars to help the environment, here's Traders Village doing its best to foil that. I'd refuse to patronize the event ON THIS BASIS ALONE.


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