The past three days was mostly spent hanging around the coach.

On the morning of the first day, we had breakfast with Leo and Grace at one of the local greasy-spoons before they took off.  We enjoyed spending a few more minutes with them before they headed home.  I wish them well in their new life and hope to seem them again soon.

One of the reasons we landed in Johnson City was to hide out for the Memorial Day weekend.  During these last few days, the park slowly started to fill up with weekend campers.  We know just how they feel, trying to cram as much enjoyment as possible into three days of freedom.

We took a side trip to one of the local state parks located along the banks of the Pedernales River and looked at some properties on the way back.  Johnson City isn’t much, but its proximity to Austin and Fredericksburg put it in a great location for future expansion.  I wonder if the town will take advantage of it.  From the looks of things, probably not.

In the late afternoon, we mostly stayed in the cool air-conditioned comfort of the coach.  Jeanne read and I fiddled with the computer.  My latest project is learning about XML and its associated tools.  For all you non-computer types, XML is not a set of Roman Numerals.  It is a set of data standard for web development.  Although it is primarily used to move data across the internet, developers can also use it for data storage and transformation.  Once again, some really smart people carefully thought through the problem and came up with an elegant solution.  Best of all, it is  an open standard anyone can use for free.

Many people ask why I even fiddle with this stuff.  Well, it is a hobby of sorts.  On the road, you can’t take your home workshop with you, but you can find space for a laptop computer.  It is amazing what these things can do.  Secondly, I have seen too many people retire and waste away watching daytime TV.  The problem-solving aspect of programming helps keep your mind sharp.  Sort of like mind exercises.  Ten years from now I’ll see if the theory holds up — if I can still remember what I was trying to do.  But for now, it is just interesting to see what goes on behind the scenes.  I certainly have more respect for the program engineering in PlayStation 2 games.

We’re starting to make friends with some of the campground locals, which usually takes about a week.  We are always surprised to find how friendly and nice most folks are.  It is obvious that some don’t have much, but sincerity trumps wealth every time.  What a relief to look someone in the eye knowing a hidden agenda isn’t lurking behind the smile.  Over the years, in our careers, we have been lied to by professionals and after a while you are conditioned to expect it.  Without the anonymity of a big city, people really do interact differently.

Mercifully, the weather cooled.  We even got some thunderstorms that rocked the coach with wind and pelted it with rain.  Some of the campers didn’t have things tied down and the wind blew their equipment all over the park.  I saw several broken items in the dumpster.  Running in the cooler weather was welcome, although the ground was a little spongy.  Jeanne enjoys sitting outside in her new chairs.

We look forward to continuing our string of lazy days waiting for the holiday to end.  In the meantime, the reading, programming and workouts will continue.