Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Greatest Gifts

You know it's gonna be a great weekend when you're greeted by a giant turkey wearing a Santa hat, right?  

RDB and I had planned to head back out to Steven F Austin State Park Friday, but after a long week we decided to skip Friday and head over Saturday instead. The great thing about SFA SP is that it's only an hour from the house, so its an easy drive and we can still get most of the day at the park.  It was time to re-buy my Texas State Parks Pass and I did so as we checked in.  I've mentioned before, if you're an avid camper, it is absolutely worth the money spent on it.  We got a treat on top of the normal savings, this time: usually, when you don't show for a night, you loose your deposit (one night's worth of camping) but for whatever kind reason, the Ranger didn't charge me for missing Friday night, and used the deposit to pay for our now one-night stay. I love you TPWD!

The holiday season is fast approaching again. A moment of truth: I'm really bad at giving gifts. Not that I can't figure out what someone wants, oh no, it's that I'm so excited that I've gotten someone something that I know they'll love, that I can't wait until their birthday, Christmas, or whatever occasion spurred the need for a present, to give it to them. Most of the time, I give gifts within hours of having bought them. Days if I'm lucky or distracted.  RDB's Christmas present was no different.  He came home Friday and unwrapped his gift: a Parrot Minidrone Rolling Spider.

I wanted him to have it for this trip so that he could have some flight time outside somewhere other than just our backyard, so most of Saturday was spent flying the drone (and waiting for it to recharge). You get an average of 8 minutes flight time with a 1.5 hour recharge. So, yes, extra batteries are on order! It's incredibly stable for such a small quadra-copter. It has a set of 'training wheels' that give you a bit of protection as you're learning to navigate using the FreeFlight3 app on your smartphone. The wheels also give you the unique ability to 'roll' the drone up walls and across the ceiling (thus, the Rolling Spider name, I guess!). Diesel was outside for our first few flights and as much as we're fans of it - he most certainly was not!

The sun is setting pretty close to 5:30pm these days - the short winter days make it seem like night lasts forever.  For us - that's no problem.  A few glasses of wine after dinner and a gorgeous roaring fire and we are, ahem, happy campers. 

We were sitting outside enjoying our coffee on Sunday morning when RDB handed me his phone. "Four out of five stars," he said.  It was Tony's Family Restaurant - we were going out for breakfast.  You wouldn't think, from the looks of the place, that you'd have fast friendly service and good down-home country fixings, but Tony's delivered on both fronts.  I'm pretty sure RDB's coffee cup (as tiny as it was) was never once empty and the biscuit that came with my breakfast was nearly as big as the palm of my hand.  Just an FYI - its a little confusing when you first come in - it's seat yourself and a waitress will be with you very quickly.  It was no Chess Club Cafe, but with prompt service and good food, (and I'm not having to cook or clean up!) I'm sure we'll be back.

We did a bit of geocaching after breakfast - went into town to find one, only to be put off by a large number of people enjoying the park it was hidden in.  We went back to the campground and found 2 there... before we realized that 1) we had walked thru a field of tiny ticks and had accumulated a few unwelcome hitch-hikers, and 2) Diesel had shoved his nose into some kind of thorn bush and had several still stuck.  Needless to say, that cut our caching adventures short very quickly!

After getting the thorns out of Diesel's snout, it was back outside for another drone flight.  The neat thing about the Rolling Spider are the training wheels - they offer the cool roll-up-the-wall feature, but can also be detached for normal flight.  I think I finally found an electronic gift that my hubby really likes!

Start small.  Bigger things to come....

Oh, and I keep forgetting - but it's perhaps the coolest thing: the Rolling Spider has a camera, too!  The pictures aren't the highest quality, but it's still pretty neat.  Not bad for our first venture into aerial photography... hint hint.

We packed up and headed home right around the 2pm mark. Another thing I really like about our State Parks is the late check-out; it means we don't have to rush packing up and going home. Sometimes RDB and I have the best conversations when we're hanging out camping and this morning was no exception.  I sure do love how well we communicate.

./`./`./` "I'm dreaming of a fawn Dobie..." ./`./`./`

We were in site #1 (again) at Steven F Austin SP. We were here previously in the dead heat of summer - this time was much nicer. I'm not sure the weather could have been more perfect for our adventures this weekend.  I come home every time relaxed, refreshed and renewed in my love for RDB and our life together.  Being his wife has been the greatest gift.  It was funny - I was reading back thru the blog Saturday morning before we left for this trip and was reminded that this Saturday was 12-13-14: what could have been our alternate wedding date.  I cannot say how glad I am that we wed last year instead and that we've enjoyed all this time camping along for our Honeymoon.  

Merry Christmas to me!

For more camping (and drone!) photos, go here.

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