Saturday, January 28, 2012
As is the case with many of the public buildings and private homes in the area, the building is constructed of beautiful native Limestone. It is quite impressive to see buildings made of rock gathered from the surrounding pastures.
The museum has been open since the 1930’s and is home to over 400,000 donated pieces depicting life in the Wild West. It was so filled with various items that although the building is quite small, it would take a person a very long time to sift through everything. Some of the items on display were an entire showcase of coins from around the world, showcases of arrowheads,
type set printing materials and a printing press in working order
primitive music Victrola’s,
quilts, primitive sewing machines, spinning wheels, antique bicycle
Included in the exhibit was an entire room devoted to saddles for various purposes.
Another interesting display was a mock traveling dental office that made the rounds visiting surrounding communities in the very late 1800’s and early 1900’s. I found that display particularly interesting because my Grandfather opened his dental practice in 1919 and was a believer in “old school dentistry”. I believe that I was in my 30’s before I ever experienced Novocain. He use to bark “just sit still” Many of the items in the exhibit painfully reminded me of my childhood visits to his office.
There were so many items on display that I came out exhausted from trying to take it all in. I believe the most enjoyable part of the museum for me was seeing the original wood floors, the fireplaces in each room and the wonderful patina of the limestone walls as they blended in so nicely with primitive display’s.
We got pretty thirsty partner and headed into the Bandera General Store for that Sarsaparilla. Old Soda Counter, wood floors, tin ceilings, lots of boots, hats, western wear. I felt like we had been living several centuries all in one day!
For such a small town with a population of less than 1000, there is certainly much to see. We enjoyed the day. We are still looking for all of those Cowboys though if this is the “cowboy capital of the world.” Must be home watching ESPN !!!!
Ole and Lars are quietly sitting in a boat fishing, chewing and drinking beer when suddenly Lars says,
'I think I'm gonna divorce my wife - she ain't spoke to me in over 2 months.'
Ole spits, sips his beer and says, 'Better think it over....
women like that are hard to find.'
(Thanks Dad, for the chuckle!) Have a good nite y'all!
Thursday, January 26, 2012
We took a drive this afternoon, just meandering through the hills and valleys, up dirt roads and looking in every direction we could find to go. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful 65 degrees..just perfect for exploring. Traffic was getting heavier by the time we got into town so I was only able to take a few pictures of a few buildings. All of the downtown has buildings that resemble this one that I got of the saloon. 11th Street Cowboy Saloon. I think we need to go in and have a sarsaparilla before we leave the area.
And this home was on the Texas Historical Register
Most of the creeks and Rivers were very low but surprisingly we found this one ..maybe due to the downpours of a couple of days ago and it is located at the base of a steep limestone outcropping. The trees in the photo turned out very washed out compared to how it actually looked. It was very peaceful and oh so quiet. Things are just so very stressed looking.
Bandera is the County seat with a population of only 950. I think that number must explode during the winter months with the “snowbirds” that spend time here. Bandera is Spanish for “flag”. Story has it that there occurred many clashes between the settlers and the Native American, most of which were won by the settlers with the assistance from soldiers. Flags were put in the Bandera Pass to warn the Indians that they were not allowed to enter the area.
I borrowed this picture of the County Courthouse that is located on Main Street. Like I said traffic was heavy and finding a spot to park wasn’t going to happen easily.
Rambling along we found this pass along the highway, lined with limestone and lots of Cactus and trees thriving amongst the crevices of the rocks. The sun was beginning to set and as it was shining on the very uppermost bushes, it almost looked like fall colors were at their peak. We were treated to a nearby picnic area high up on the rocks to enjoy the sunset and grab a last minute shot before heading homeward.
Another great day in retirement!
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Saturday evening we spent in Stoney Creek RV Resort near San Antonio. It is a very nice Passport America RV Park that is quite convenient to all the sites in San Antonio. Nearly everybody waved or said hello as they passed by. We even scored an ice cream cone at their weekly ice cream social for .75 cents with all the toppings…Nice! Unfortunately, the cell service is very poor in the park due to the fact it is down in a valley. We stayed only the one night and then decided we had better move on out where we have an electronic connection with the world. Under normal circumstances cell service would be a non issue however, with Bob’s health condition it becomes very high priority with me.
Yesterday morning after unhooking all the utilities we headed west out Texas Scenic Highway 16 towards the Hill Country. I lived in Texas nearly 15 years ago and always loved what I had seen of the Hill Country so a return visit tugged at my heart strings. A very short drive and we found ourselves in Bandera, coined the cowboy capital of the world. Luckily we found another Passport America park to remain in for the next week. There is much to see in this area and it seems like a good base camp. Last night was an absolutely beautiful night…60’s and clear skies.
I am beginning to think that we bring weather changes wherever we go. It seems as though we hear folks say ….you should have been here last week…. Sure enough this morning we woke up to rain and an all around dreary day. With the drought conditions as they are here, I am certain the local folks are thrilled with the rain. Many of the creek beds are dry and no water remains in the stock tanks. We headed into town today in order to pick up a few things and do a little site seeing but didn’t get far before the skies opened up so we ducked into a Mexican Restaurant that had lots of cars parked in their lot...almost always a good sign of a great meal.
As we entered the front door a young man was playing his guitar and singing Country Songs for the folks having lunch. It was great fun. This fellow makes his living singing and has a great voice and wonderful demeanor. There is something special about being a cowboy…they seem to always have a smile for you and are wonderfully polite.
Click to listen to demo songs on YouTube.com
The Hitchhiking Guitarman
Dean has a website www.deanstrickland.com. It was such great fun and a surprise to have entertainment with lunch. I recorded him singing a Marty Robbins song "El Paso" on my cell phone in hopes of loading it onto the Blog as background music for your reading pleasure, however it resulted in a very distorted recording with background noise in the restaurant and I felt he deserved much better publicity than I would be able to give him with my recording attempt. So with that being said ...check out his website for yourselves. He has quite a story. Traveling opens such great doors. Thanks Dean for the fun visit!
We made one quick stop on our way back to the coach to check out another RV Park for a months stay. ....and look what we found...hiding the in brush.
A couple of very lazy Texas Longhorn's that could care less about us two old Yankee's. I had to chuckle as we left..they probably were snickering at us and telling jokes like that commercial on TV for California Dairy. You can see how dreary the day was by the haze, but I sure enjoyed our little outing.
Bandera is a great little Texas town with lots of western storefronts and I hope to get some quality pictures to post in the next few days....stay tuned.
Thanks for checking up on us. Have a great day.
Saturday, January 21, 2012
Well folks, the alignment is complete and new tires are on the coach all the way around. I feel much better now about eliminating the hazard of a blow out.
Do you remember when we were kids and got a new pair of “PF Flyers”? We thought we could run faster, jump higher, peel out better etc. Well, that is how I felt yesterday as we left the tire shop and headed west on I-10. The wind gusts were pretty high but the coach stayed right on course and I felt a great improvement in the ride and the difference in the road noise was really noticeable.
Rick and Kathy from It’s about time helped me to understand the DOT number on the tires. The first two numbers of the four digit number is not a day and month like I thought it was, rather it is the week of manufacture . ( So, 4402 is the 44th week of 2002). Thanks for pointing it out Rick. I am sure there are others that will benefit from that little tidbit.
It sounds like winter has finally arrived in the North. Kim, Bob’s daughter, forwarded this picture of Richard (son in law)….sending his greetings to us. I am sure he is happy about the snow though because he loves his snowmobile. Reports were coming in from several member of Bob's family as to how cold it was with wind chills and blowing snow.
I talked with my Dad who is in Northern Minnesota and they were expecting to wake up to –18 degree temperatures. Dad, are you sure you won’t consider hopping a flight for a visit? Just let me know and I will check the flight loads for you.
Last week while in Alabama we had a bit of a mishap. Bob accidentally caught a beverage with his disabled right hand and it dumped all over the Blackberry. We quickly opened it up and left the battery out hoping to salvage it. After several days of exposure to the air, the phone decided to work…Yahoo! Dodged another bullet. Until yesterday. I guess there was residual moisture left in the phone and it suddenly froze up again. While the tires were being mounted, I headed out in search of a Sprint store. The young man in the repair department came back to me with the phone in pieces…Ugh! He said he thought it was probably TOAST. We decided to make an attempt at cleaning it with denatured alcohol to see what would happen. Unfortunately nothing. The poor kid must have read the panicked look across my face because off he went back into their work area, got a used battery, installed it….and don’t you know it worked? I was in total shock when he said to me there is no charge either because he couldn’t fix it. Now tell me, I walked in with a phone that was completely frozen and left with it in working condition. What part of that is not fixing it???? We certainly helped the Economy in Lake Charles while we were there and the young man at Sprint…took the sting out of the expense and thanked us by not charging for the phone repair.…Life is good!
We spent the night in Beaumont TX at one of the places referred to as RV Hell. It was dark by the time we decided to stop and I was getting pretty tired. The only good thing I have to say about these types of places is full hook ups are a luxury after spending a night in the Walmart RV RESORT. The weather here is warm but it is sure humid. Time for us to keep trucking towards a drier climate.
Thanks for checking up on us…have a good day!
Thursday, January 19, 2012
We got up early this morning, unhooked the utilities and stowed things in the coach to make it road ready. We are getting much better at that task if I do say so myself. We seem to have found a system and I am tickled to death that Bob is getting into the routine and able to help more each time we roll. Without a doubt it is good therapy for him to participate and although we check and recheck one another’s steps, it is proving to be much easier. Our anxiety level is smoothing out more and more each day.
The couple that was parked next to us the past few days were from MN of all places. I went over and said hello to them as we were both getting ready to leave. They have been bobbling across the south like we have and are headed toward Texas as well. Small world ..their house is in a northern suburb of Minneapolis probably 25 miles from my home.
Last night I baked a batch of cookies in the Breville Smart Oven. WOW! They came out much better in that little oven than they ever have in my big oven at home. I am impressed to say the least. Sometime, I would like to bake bread and see how it does. I think just for experimentation purposes, I will buy some of the frozen dough and test it out before I go to all the bother of kneading a batch by hand. I can honestly say I never thought I would like it as much as I do. It makes cooking fun again.
I took a quick picture with my phone and it didn’t turn out very well but at least here is “proof in the pudding”…they are baked.
We just finished getting the coach aligned and I was ecstatic that it was a minor expense, however, the recommendation to get new tires was not. Over this past week I discovered how to tell when your tires were made. Here is a little FYI for those folks like me. Since, RV tires never seem to wear out before they become damaged from sun exposure, I had not given much thought to the matter. Well, low and behold, big mistake. The tires on our coach were 10 years old. There is a four digit DOT number on the sidewall of the tire, that indicates month, day and year of manufacture. Ours was 4402…Yikes…Not safe due to sun-checked condition, although the tread is very ample. To make a long story short…we are in fact helping the economy in Louisiana. All in all, I feel much safer now. We are dry camped in the fabulous Walmart RV RESORT until tomorrow afternoon when we leave the area with new rubber all the way around. Somehow, it just doesn’t measure up to the peace and quiet of the state park.
It is my understanding that winter has returned to our home state. I am sorry and I feel your pain, just not enough to come back for a few more months. We will see you in the spring.
Thanks for checking up on us…. have a good day.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
It is very easy for me to see the attraction of being a “swamp girl” as one of the restaurant waitresses referred to herself. It is extremely dark, very soothing and peaceful with no sounds other than the frogs and crickets.
We have been staying in RV parks since first leaving Michigan which cannot come close to the imitation of Nature, like a State Park or Federal Reserve can.
The first night, after we arrived, I didn’t quite know how to handle the sudden change. In some respects it was almost a bit too quiet, but in no time a sense of calmness set in and I could feel every muscle in my body relax to the sounds of the swamp. Rain and thunderstorms rolled through the area which was welcoming to clear the high humidity of the air this morning.
The spot that we are assigned looks out over a thick covering of trees and underbrush, similar to the view we enjoy at our home in Michigan. I told Bob that it almost made me homesick (ALMOST). The sunshine streaming through the tall trees, leaves rustling along the ground and the crispness of the air…but NO SNOW
We had taken a short walk yesterday between rain drops but then drove along the Boardwalk of Lake Charles. The waterfront homes are certainly very interesting with all of their grandeur. I, myself, would feel much more comfortable living in their boat houses that double as guest quarters. At least I wouldn’t feel like I couldn’t touch anything. Nonetheless, the views from their front porch are magnificent.
This morning after a cool start we headed out to explore the rest of the park. I wish that Bob’s mobility was not hampered. I would have enjoyed walking some of the nature trails. The park is situated amongst a bayou and signage that cautions frequent alligator activity, it would sure make my day to see one.
We are scheduled to leave tomorrow. I have found a place in Lake Charles that is going to do an alignment on the front end. I am hoping it is just my imagination, but I have a feeling something is in need of attention. I can hardly wait to spread the wealth here in Louisiana.
Maintenance is a must!
Thanks for checking up on us. Have a good day
To be continued.................................
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
After spending an entire month in the Gulf Shores area, we headed west on I-10 and it really felt good to be on the move again for both of us. Bob seems to be back in the progress mode again with a recent surge in strength and desire to see and experience new things. It feels good once again and thank goodness life is feeling more settled.
Judy, we honked the horn and waved as we passed the Sandhill Crane NWR. You were probably out capturing more of those wonderful wildlife photo’s that you do so well.
We enjoyed a tail wind the entire day Sunday. It certainly made for an easy travel day and as we crossed the Mississippi River the sunset was whispering….”keep on trucking”
As I was driving along it suddenly dawned on me that nearly 12 years ago, almost to the day, my Mom and Dad were traveling with me in the very same spot however headed in the other direction. I had a “tired, old Winnebago” that I traveled in while working temporary positions at various airports. I purchased the poor beast with the intention of working and traveling while I was employed for Northwest Airlines. In my mind life in those days couldn’t get much better than being able to mix work and adventure. Ah, the memories!
Although in recent years, the airline industry has changed in such a manner that I could not imagine it ever would have, I am still very grateful for the doors that my career opened for me. I had the privilege of seeing much of the world, meeting new people, sharing in cultures I otherwise would have never been exposed to, and embracing the differences as well as the likenesses in people. I am a firm believer in staying just a smidgeon out of my comfort zone, …it has built a strong character! (As some would say, what a character)
I am certain that keeping life just a tad on the edge has helped me to continue on this trip of a lifetime even with the health circumstances and challenges. Life is good!
We are spending the next few nights at Sam Houston Jones State Park in Lake Charles LA…..still looking to see an alligator!
By the way, a big thank you goes to my blogging friends that suggested I try using Live Writer. It is making all the difference in the world…no problems, no frustration, smooth sailing. I was getting so frustrated with Blogger and it’s issues that I felt like throwing in the towel. Thanks bunches!!!
Have a great day
Sunday, January 15, 2012
It seems lately that I have been experiencing a host of difficulties with Blogger. Since I am not all that familiar with blogging, I have to assume that it is mostly due to being a newbie. Journaling has been very entertaining for me and recently I seem to be passing into frustration with a host of issues. On all too many occasions I will be typing along the keyboard and suddenly, I find the screen has gotten stuck on Save...so I close the file and return only to find it had saved just the first paragraph. Geeesh! Recently now I am unable to open the daily writings of blogs I am following. Double Geeesh! I have enough hair-pulling excitement in my daily life already, so I think I need to slow down, take a deep breath, smile and regroup. If anyone has any ideas send me an email... Thanks to Judy for her suggestion of contacting Rick. He certainly has lots of geek information on his blog, I have not taken time yet to email him.
We are packed up and ready to roll today. Sunshine once again and temperatures are going back towards the 70's. Gotta love this winter weather in the south. I will probably take a few days off of the computer while traveling. We will catch up with everyone a little later. Have a good week.
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Something other than Bob and I are happy to be in the warmth and sunshine. My few remaining house plants had been struggling to survive over this past year of turmoil. As we got ready to leave, I decided to put them in the coach since I knew that I would have more time to devote to them and I find I seem to need plants or flowers in my life . It is silly I suppose, however, for various reasons they each have a special spot in my heart. Sometimes I think they are more resilient than I am, because they certainly have been nearly forgotten. At any rate, I have them with us as well as a few pots of fresh herbs before they froze. I absolutely love fragrance of herbs. Isn’t part of the reason we enjoy traveling via our coaches due to our need for “some of ourselves” with us?.
We had an old bedroom analog TV and have been working on upgrading to a small LED flat panel. I had been doing some reading online as to how to make the change. I figured what the heck….I can read and follow instructions so I bought it and started by taking out the old TV…all went well until it came time to hang the simple wall mount. Let me tell you, those are only made to hang on a large wall…not a small space like a cabinet that housed a 13” TV. Bob is good about trying to help however his speech is still very challenging for him. What an exercise in frustration !!!!
Our neighbors, Bob and Sharon, had offered to help me on several occasions since he does all of his own work. I swallowed my pride this afternoon and finally asked for help. What a guy! Between our two brains and 4 hands, we finished in a few hours. He has been wanting to upgrade to the new digital set for their rig as well so he was happy to see what it would take. What a difference going from a 13” to 22” makes in a small RV bedroom. It was almost like going to the movies. We will enjoy the upgrade.
It was very windy here today and will be dipping into the 20’s tonight so we decided to stay for a few more days until the weather pattern settles down. It sure is nice not being tied to a schedule.
Ah the life of retirement. Have a good day
Afterthought: Is anyone else having difficulty posting pictures from Picassa? Within the last couple of days, after I have loaded pictures into Picassa and I go to retrieve them for the blog...they show as a blacked out temp 001, temp 002 etc. Has anyone experienced this..and does anyone have any ideas as to what have I may have changed to suddenly have this happen? Tonight, I wrote the blog in LiveWriter in order to include a picture. Is Blogger giving anybody else grief besides me?
Sunday, January 08, 2012
I know very little about "Alabama Crimson Tide" so I decided to pay a visit to Wikipedia to find out what they are all about.
The Crimson Tide is one of the most storied and decorated programs in NCAA history. Since beginning play in 1892, the program has accepted 13 national championships.
Every year, several publications release lists of the their ideal "team." The athletes on these lists are referred to as All-Americans. The NCAA recognizes five All-American lists. They are the Associated Press, American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), Sporting News, and the Walter Camp Football Foundation. Alabama has had 98 players honored 114 times as first team All-Americans (44 consensus) in its history, including 12 players honored twice and two players (Cornelius Bennett and Woodrow Lowe) who were honored three times.
A rivalry within the SEC Western Division occurs yearly between Alabama and the LSU Tigers. Starting in 1895, the Tigers were victorious 12-6 in the first meeting. The teams did not regularly meet until the mid-1960s, during Alabama's dominance of the SEC. Between 1971–1981, the Crimson Tide won 11 consecutive times. In the 1969 game, LSU defeated Alabama 20–15 in Baton Rouge. Alabama did not lose again in Baton Rouge until 2000.
In 2007, the meeting was more heated following Alabama's hiring of head coach Nick Saban, who previously coached at LSU. With the hiring, many media outlets dubbed the 2007 meeting as the "Saban Bowl" The Crimson Tide lost the first "Saban Bowl" in 2007, won the 2008 and 2009 meetings only to lose in Baton Rouge in 2010.
In 2011, both teams played as the consensus #1 and #2 ranked teams in the polls with LSU winning 9-6 in overtime. Alabama leads the head-to-head series at 45–25–5. After LSU's 41-17 win over Arkansas and Alabama's 42-14 win over Auburn, the upcoming BCS National Championship Game is being widely billed as 'The Rematch'.
So there you have it in a nutshell. I guess we will tune into the game tonight as well..because it may just be fun cheering them on.
Now for the rest of the story......the dilemma that we are facing is that we have an LSU sticker on our coach that was from the previous owner... HA!
At the suggestion of Wynn, Jen's boyfriend, we probably might want to put a piece of tape over the LSU sticker....while we are still in Alabama territory!!!
Thanks for checking up on us. Have a great day!
Saturday, January 07, 2012
There is such a great feeling of satisfaction when a shine is back on the beast. I don't remember the last time that I was able to wash a vehicle in short sleeves during the first week of January, so somehow the workout my shoulders got is not quite so painful. As Martha Stewart would say, " It is a good thing"
Recently, each night, thick fog has rolled in and hangs heavily until mid morning. I have enjoyed the blanket of quiet and peacefullness that comes with it, but I am not sure I would care to have a steady diet of it. I noticed as we had occasionally crossed the causeway into Mobile, AL one of the signs cautions of fog. We had not seen any sign of it until now. It reminds me of a fall day in Minneapolis when fog fills the Minnesota River Valley.
Speaking of Minnesota, I talked with my girlfriend Sharon yesterday, and she said it was 45 degrees, no snow and beautiful. Bob's family in Michigan was also enjoying 40+ temperatures and we hear reports that all of the snow we got at our home there is nearly gone. On more than one occasion, we have had colder temperatures here in Gulf Shores than our friends and family have had in the North. Strange winter! I do take comfort in the fact however, we can rest assured that the likelihood of us having to shovel snow, is very slim.
Thanks for checking up on us. Have a good day!
Wednesday, January 04, 2012
Yes, you are hearing an awful lot of whining and whimpering from this "snowbird". It is just plain cold. I know it is like a broken record hearing about the weather again, but I am amazed that the morning temperature in Gulf Shores is lower than the temperature in Minneapolis, MN. The only saving grace is clear skies, bright sunshine and the promise of this unusual cold front moving out. As I said in yesterday's blog, thankfully it is not 15" of snow!
A comment yesterday from Judy (Travels with Emma) prompted me to post pictures of my new toy. I have never owned a toaster oven before now and I am wondering why I waited so long. My answer seems to always be the same...I don't spend money easily without buyers remorse. This time is different. I baked chicken for dinner last night in it...Wow, crispy, juicy and delicious with nothing but olive oil, garlic powder, Italian seasoning and pepper. I am sold! So thank you to Judy, I am giving Breville a free advertisement for their Smart Oven.
Unpacking it, I was instantly impressed with the power cord of all things. You know how cumbersome the three-pronged plugs can be? This should be standard on all plugs for us nimble fingered seniors.
Bob has just gotten up for the day and it is showtime...have to go now. Thanks for checking up on us...have a good day.
Tuesday, January 03, 2012
There, however, is always a silver lining in life. We received several phone calls from family in Michigan yesterday, and our home is covered with 15" of that white stuff. Our home is in the snow belt, very close to Lake Michigan, and snowfall often rivals that of Buffalo NY. Needless to say, we are thankful this cold dip we are experiencing is not accompanied with snow.
I seem to be in a "Blog slump" lately. I suppose it was bound to happen sooner or later, when I would lose steam in trying to keep up postings nearly everyday. I follow several blogs and I am amazed at the ability of the bloggers to maintain not only daily entries, but also manage to keep their audience entertained. My hats off to those very gifted individuals!
Bob and I rarely purchase gifts for one another because we have years of accumulation which seems to have become more of a burden than a joy. I did however find one more thing that I absolutely love. I purchased a Breville Smart Oven since our coach is not equipped with an oven and the microwave/convection is not working on all functions. Oh my gosh, I really love it ! What a luxury it is to warm dinner plates. I have been missing the ability to bake since being on the road and I am hoping this will satisfy my cravings. Initially, I shuttered at the price tag but have since rationalized it in knowing we will eat out less and eat healthier ! Isn't it just like us women to rationalize ???
Folks that are full-timers here in the park are busy taking all of the Christmas decorations down. The wind is blowing and although the sun is shining, like I said it is cold. I am afraid that with it past New Years Day or not..the lights would have to remain until a warmer day. I am softening in my senior years.
We are so very fortunate to have the ability and the determination to carry on with our dream of RV travel, even with life's challenges. It is our hope everyone has had a wonderful holiday season and that 2012 will bring health and happiness to your doorstep.