Jackson Becker – Texas Ranger

Jack has moved up the batting order during his career as a Texas Ranger. Now batting #3 and Dad is convinced it is because of games like last night. He came up to bat three times and got a single, double and home-run. Look at the determination on his face, we are so proud of our youngest! Please take the time to click on the image/link below and watch Jack’s home run at-bat.
Click this to watch Jack’s At-Bat

Captain Dennis Schulz

Until we have a chance to write a more detailed report, I have to give a quick “Shout Out” about our incredible time in San Diego. Singing Duty Calls (Toni) and the National Anthem (Brian) for the Change of Command and Retirement Ceremony for Commander of Air Tactical Control Group One, Captain Dennis Schulz is on the top of our list of favorite events of all time.

What an honor to participate in the pomp and circumstance of this ceremony and all its tradition.

Please enjoy the photos:

Captain Schulz – A Decorated Hero

The Schulz Family holding their awards from President Bush & Navy

Toni standing on the deck of the U.S.S. Midway on rehearsal day.

It's Summertime – Where are they now?

Hey there, we came to Poplar Bluff (where we once owned a house) and have set up camp on the outskirts of town in the Camelot RV Campground. We’ve come back for the summer so that both our boys can play baseball with the same friends as last year.

Jack is playing 35mph Pitching Machine baseball in the Christian League for the “Texas Rangers.”

Ben is playing 44mph Pitching Machine baseball in the Poplar Bluff Civic League for team “Semo.net.” I am assistant-coach.

We’ll be in Poplar Bluff through mid-July when their seasons end and then head out for a 9-month run: starting with five weeks in Wisconsin, out to Washington & Oregon, a month to travel through California, up for a few days in Vegas, to the Grand Canyon and Sante Fe and back to Texas in time for Christmas, Florida in January and who knows from there.

Breakdown #2: Pit Stop in San Antonio

On our way to a Newsboys concert in San Antonio from Georgetown, we found ourself with a distinct difficulty to see.

Toni, a smashed window and a bedliner.

The Beckers and Lodens were on our way to an awesome concert on Apr 12th in San Antonio. All 10 of us were enjoying the ride just south of Austin when Jackson came up and sat in the front seat with me. Within a few miles, I saw an object about 5′ x 2′ x 2 inches flying between two semi’s in front of me. Jackson said, “What is that?” I said, “It looks like metal from that semi.” The object was hovering in the lane to my left.

With 10 in the RV, I couldn’t “lock them up” without risking serious injury, so I yelled to hang on and started slowing down. A 3rd semi, on my left, came past me and his air pressure made the object rise up and I thought, “It must be cardboard.” But the semi’s air pressure also caused the object to move over into my lane. I had no room to move left or right and the object was dead in front of my window. Once again it looked like metal and the sound it made as it hit the window sounded convincing…as well as the shattered window.We went back to look at the object and found that it was the hard-plastic tailgate section of a pickup truck’s bedliner. No damage to the chassis, just the left/driver’s window. Luckily we were only 1 mile from a Monoco RV Dealer…what a blessing! We rented a 15 passenger van and made it to the concert in time for the first song!

What a great concert!!!

Newsboys Concert
Peter, lead singer, and the Newsboys put on a great concert!

It took them 5 days to get a new windshield in and install it, plus they installed a new air conditioner in our main cabin as well (under warranty). So, all in all, our 2nd breakdown was just as easy to bare as the first one.

Not Striper…Catfish!

We left Georgetown on Monday morning and picked Aunt Dianne up at the Austin airport. The boys were standing in the doorway of the RV as we pulled up to the “Arriving Passengers” area, they threw open the door and yelled in unison, “All Aboard for the Lake Conroe Express!” Aunt Dianne greeted them with a hug and a “Hey, that’s where I’m going!”

Aunt Dianne came and joined us on the road!

We stopped for lunch along the access road of Hwy 71 near Bastrop, Tx, and in the middle of our meal there was a knock on the door. I went to answer it and there stood a 72-year-old angel. Here name was Eva Marie and since we were parked out front of her home, she wanted to make sure we didn’t need anything. I visited with her and was touched by her in so many ways. She came to the U.S. from Germany after WWII with her husband, she was a survivor of torture by the Russian Army: she shot a Russian soldier who had finished raping her and was then raping her Grandmother. The soldiers took her, and buried her alive with other dead bodies. I didn’t hear how long she was buried, but the images of words describing how she was dug out have lingered. Eva has been on my mind since, she is now a widower, and lonely. I’ve written a note, and hope that the postmaster at Bastrop is successful at delivering a cryptic address. God blessed me with another soul to remember.

As we drove along Hwy 290, Hwy 6, and Hwy 105…the flowers were brilliant. Fields of blue like I had never seen in my life, and just past that were fields of every color as the Blue Bonnets, Indian Paintbrush, Bindweed, Indian Blanket, Scarlet Flax, Yellow Flax, Greenthread, and Mealy Sage were intertwined for a beautiful painting. It was incredibly, awesomely, gorgeous. We had to stop and take photos (along with hundreds of other travelers).



While at Lake Conroe, we stayed at the newest KOA in America. It was a beautiful campsite and we enjoyed ourselves very much. We spent two days on the lake with two different guides. The first day, the guide took us catfishing because the hybrid/striper/white bass fishing had been slow. We caught 17 catfish between 1.5 and 3 pounds. It was fun as each of us hauled in a couple. The second day on the water we fished for bass for a couple of hours and that didn’t prove worthwhile so we went back to catfish…but two hours later we still had no fish in the boat. We had a great time even though we were skunked.

Here is Jackson, proud of his big cat.

Fishing Scores

Horses, Bulls & Cowboys Were the Opening Act for Aly & AJ

Last week, Toni noticed that the “Rodeo Austin” (a three week event – 7th largest Rodeo in U.S.) was in town and that on Tuesday night, Aly & AJ were doing a concert. We bought tickets that same day and last night was the big night.

The rodeo was wonderful, complete with Buckin’ Broncos, Calf Ropin’, Steer Wrestlin’ and Bull Ridin’. But 25 minutes after the last cowboy made his ride, the middle of the arena was converted into a circular revolving stage. The two girls were driven out in a convertable with the top down and took the stage.


2007-03-Texas-045.jpgFrom the very first note to the last, our family enjoyed the duo’s energy and instrument playing. These girls are barely 18 and it’s so refreshing to see them out there. Their voices aren’t as strong as their CD suggests, but they write their own songs and their guitar and keyboard skills are more than enough to overlook that and enjoy.

A great night in AUSTIN!

Georgetown, Texas, Again!

We made our way from Florida starting on Thursday, Feb 22nd. Friday we stopped in Tampa for our new stereo to be installed in the RV. Saturday night we were west of Tallahassee. Sunday morning we got up and had home-church (at some point we will write about this precious part of our on-the-road experience) and headed west, stopping near Baton Rouge.

The boys with Uncle Ned from Half Moon Bay
Here is Ben & Jack with Uncle Ned in Key West (due west of here is Mexico!).

Up early Monday morning, we drove to Southwest Houston by supper time to meet up with Toni’s good friend, Mary Ann Parker.

Tuesday, we got up and drove 20 minutes to west Houston to have coffee with another good buddy, Pat Hunt. By 4pm on Tuesday (six days after leaving the southern most point of the contiguous United States), we arrived at our destination: Georgetown, Texas.

We park our RV right next to Toni’s sister, Jenni’s home which is located on 10+ acres. We still live in our RV, but our boys have so much fun with the Loden kids: Alex, Nathaniel, Micah & Elijah. You might remember them from the

We’ll be here in Texas for all of March and half of April before we start making our way back to Missouri by the first of May. Both Ben and Jack are excited to play league baseball in May and June with their buddies.

A Whole Mess o’ Snapper!

This HAS to be the Becker record for fish caught in one afternoon! Every time I looked out the front window one of the boys was reeling in a fish. The final number today? 25 Mangrove Snapper AND they threw back more than they kept! The water off the dock is so clear and blue that, earlier today, they spotted a “giant grouper.” Ben convinced Brian to put a grunt-fish on a large hook and it actually took it! Brian fought the grouper for an exciting couple of minutes but then it got under a dock and broke the line. The grouper came back a little later in the day but wasn’t interested in the bait. Sadly…it is not among the whole mess of fish you see in the following picture.

We are settled at Bluewater Key, about 10 miles from Key West. Yes, back in the Keys, and we are waiting for a visit from my sister, Debbie, and her husband, Ned. They arrive tomorrow night and will celebrate Jack’s sixth birthday with us before leaving on the 20th.


Fish Score
Brian Ben Jack
Round 1 15 6 10
Round 2 6 15 11

Safe in Florida

Many people have called and asked if we made it through yesterday’s storms. We were safe from the tornadic weather, but found ourselves in the outskirts of the band of weather with plenty of lightening and thunder.

We are currently at The Great Outdoors in Titusville. We are 75 miles southeast of Lady Lake, the area being displayed on the television and 43 miles south of Daytona Beach.

The night of the storm, I was going to bed at midnight when the winds really started blowing. As one who now lives in a non-permanent structure, any major wind causes us to check the weather channel. I saw the band of weather and it showed the dangerous weather was going north of us but stayed awake another hour and a half to make sure we were safe. Toni was awakened several times in the middle of the night from the lightning and thunder. Storms feel so much closer when your four walls and roof are so thin.

We want to thank everyone for your prayers and phone calls! We feel fortunate that we were safe from the destruction of the storm.

What Are You Doing Here?

It’s the little “Wow! What a small world!” kind of coincidences that make this adventure even more incredible. We were walking down a street on the edges of Colonial Williamsburg dreaming of the luxurious Thanksgiving Feast that awaited us in the Williamsburg Lodge. A car pulled up beside us and the familiar face in the window said, “Hello Beckers.”

Rachel & Mary Keeling and their mother, Leslie Henson, surprised us in Williamsburg!

Rachel & Mary were in our Youth Group at FUMC in Poplar Bluff during our four years of Youth Ministry (circa 1993-1996). We have incredible memories of the time we had with them and their classmates.

Rachel is working in Washington, D.C., Mary is still going to school in Springfield and Leslie lives in Poplar Bluff. Evidently, Rachel couldn’t come home to Poplar Bluff for Thanksgiving so Leslie and Mary decided to head East. Like us, they decided the best place to enjoy Thanksgiving near D.C. was Colonial Williamsburg (170 miles from D.C.). They were heading to the same feast in the Lodge that we were.

What a great time of hugs and catching up we had and a great reminder to us of all our friends back in Poplar Bluff on this Thanksgiving Day.