Friday, February 27, 2009

From Texas to Alamogordo, NM

We left San Antonio and Lake Medina behind yesterday morning, warm and very humid. We fought a horrible head wind all day causing us to get less than 7 miles to the gallon! We bypassed San Angelo our original destination and traveled on to Big Spring, TX. We located a county/city park called Moss Creek Lake Park. What a dump!! Dog feces and broken bottles everywhere surrounded by oil wells. To top it off, it was 99 degrees when we landed at this spot! At least we were only staying one night!

It did cool down when the sun went down and we all slept well. We were out of that place by 8:30am and stopped for fuel before heading down the road. We took a very scenic road, Hwy 82 up through New Mexico seeing signs that warned "Trucks over 65 feet prohibited" and "Steep grades, sharp curves ahead." Well, we have much worse roads in Montana and it was beautiful. Today we traveled with a tail wind and got much better mileage in spite of the elevation gain. When we reached the summit, the small town of Cloudcroft, we stopped for lunch. Pine trees, even some snow under the shade of the pine trees and clear blue sky all day. The road was not at all bad, just a steady elevation gain. About 2pm we arrived in Alamogordo, NM intending to head on to Las Cruces. But, we decided we liked the looks of this town and the surrounding mountains and started looking for a spot to light. Our trusty Verizon card worked and we located Oliver Lee Memorial State Park on www.rvparkreviews.com. It is about 12 miles from Alamogordo and a beautiful spot at the foot of these towering mountains.

We checked out the Visitor's Center and walked Jazzy before settling down with a glass of wine to watch the sunset.

There were windmills all across Texas yesterday as we traveled to Big Spring--hundreds of them, does that tell you anything about how the wind blows there??
Today we saw hundreds and hundreds of oil wells.The view out our rear window today

Alamogordo, NM sunset

What a wonderful day!!









Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Getting Ready to Move

It was warm enough last night to sleep with the windows open and we slept so well. Michael got up early as is his habit some times and I slept in getting up in time to get over to the laundry and get our clothes going before the laundry rush started. There are only 5 washing machines in a park with 90+ sites so you have to get going early to beat the crowd!

Michael took the truck up to the RV park owner's garage/barn and changed the oil and began packing up all the outside stuff. We had lunch then loaded the motorcycle on its ramp on the rear bumper of the 5th wheel.

We have discussed and discussed internet options since getting rid of our Hughes satellite internet dish. We had hoped to depend on RV park wi-fi and it worked most of the time in this park but we hope to try some boondocking and wi-fi won't be an option. Verizon aircards work great for lots of people but an aircard will not work at our home in Montana--too many mountains between us and a tower. I've done some research and found out than you can put Verizon aircard service on vacation for six months out of each calendar year so we made the decision today to go get a card. We will just put it on vacation when we are at home in Montana. We received awesome service at the Verizon store in Helotes and the guy even installed the card software on my laptop for me!

Auto Zone stores will take used oil so we dropped off the oil and picked up a blizzard at Dairy Queen before heading back to the park. Ralph had rolled his wheelchair all the way over to our rig from theirs which is no short distance and Angie was quick to follow behind him. We had a good visit and told them goodbye until the next time. We said our goodbyes to lots of people last night and today. Last night we attended a wonderful potluck at Rick and Judy's--many folks are leaving this week and weekend.

Ralph and Angie--Ralph had an ankle fusion surgery done a few weeks ago and cannot bear any weight on his ankle for 2 months--he is doing very well and so is nurse Angie.

We are heading out in the morning, on to the next spot--we've had a great time here visiting with old friends and making new.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Gruene, TX and the LBJ Ranch

Sunday found us on the road again, off to Gruene, TX. Gruene was having their monthly Market Days with an arts and crafts show. What a cool little town--I had been there many, many years ago in another life and it doesn't seem to have changed much. Lots of unique little shops, especially Cactus Jack's and a great restaurant on the river, The Grist Mill. It was a beautiful sunny, warm day and we had a ball.

Monday found us heading out to the LBJ Ranch in Stonewall, TX. We made a stop at Camp Verde and Jill liked that little store as much as I do. We had lunch at Mamasito's in Kerrville and then I insisted on stopping at Creations--the best quilt store ever. Jill and I both found some things to purchase there!

On to the ranch--there are no more bus tours of the ranch, the Park Service is trying out a new format. People stop at the State Park, get a free ranch pass and a DVD and drive their own vehicles onto the ranch while listening to the DVD. It was a part of our history that was very interesting and we enjoyed seeing the Texas White House office, the only part of President Johnson's house that is open to the public at this time. Lady Bird Johnson died in 2007 and the first floor of the house is being restored to its original condition while President Johnson was in office and will be available for tours.

On our way to the LBJ Ranch, Michael took us on a scenic tour--on a road off the beaten path and wouldn't you know it, I was driving!! The buildings of the old Morris Ranch, a former horse racing track and ranch are visible from the road--an old hotel, barns, all made from the limestone that is so common in the Hill Country.

Late in the afternoon, we headed home for a dinner of grilled hamburgers. The visit with Jill & Terry was fabulous--we took them to the airport early this morning. We made a stop at the local grocery store and Costco and managed to catch up with Laci, our granddaughter, for a while. We are both kicking back and relaxing this afternoon!

Jill & Terry in Gruene, TX


Gruene Hall--either the oldest dance hall in TX or the US, I can never remember which, built in the 1880's. It is still in operation and I have danced on its very uneven and sagging dance floor.


The Grist Mill, our lunch destination

President Johnson's Texas White House office. The press corps dubbed the white farmhouse on the LBJ Ranch the Texas White House and the name stuck.
The Texas White House















Saturday, February 21, 2009

Castroville, TX

Sleeping in is a good thing, we got a later start today and it was nice to take things a little slower. We started out about 10:30 and tried to pick up our mail only to find out the Pipe Creek post office is closed on Saturdays. We did manage to get a propane tank filled.

Our first stop on today's sightseeing venture was Bill & Rosa's Steakhouse and Saloon in Dhannis, TX.
Michael and the motorcycle gang had eaten here and it was as good as they all said!

After lunch it was on to Castroville where we visited the old historic church--St. Louis Catholic Church--built in the early 1800's. It was just beautiful--gorgeous architecture, stained glass windows--wonderful place.

We proceeded to shop some of the local little shops and antique markets, one of the shops is called Albros Casa y Garden. A great little place with unique gifts, I bought a beautiful necklace and cocktail napkins.

A stop at the local bakery completed our tour and it was back to the RV park for a light dinner after the big lunch. Another wonderful day!

Friday, February 20, 2009

River Walk and Missions

River Walk San Antonio here we come again. We wanted to get an early start this morning so as to ride the River Walk boat before the boats became so crowded--we tried--our boat was packed at 10:30 in the morning. The guide was very entertaining and Jill and Terry really enjoyed their River Walk boat tour. There was also an arts and crafts festival along the River Walk.

Michael and I on the River Walk and no, we did not plan to dress the same and I was dressed before Michael!

Jill, Terry and Michael at our lunch spot.Two years ago while here in San Antonio, we did an extensive tour of the five missions leading up to the Alamo. We went with friends Angie and Ralph and thoroughly enjoyed our day. We wanted Jill and Terry to see these missions--so after lunch we got started. We started with Mission San Juan which is in this photo.


Mission San Jose, the largest "Queen of the Missions" was next and we spent a lot of time there. The rest of the photos are from this mission. Mission San Jose was established in 1720 and the church was finished in the late 1700's. Mass is still celebrated at each of the two missions we visited on Saturday and Sunday of each week.
One of the entrance gates to the San Jose Mission compound


Mission San Jose. We have visited this mission twice now and each time there is construction equipment around the front of the church which kind of ruins the photos. This is a side view of the church.

Another outbuilding at Mission San Jose and a wonderful blooming plant.





A butterfly or flutterbye as Michael calls them.

Another wonderful day with our friends. We came back to the RV resort and relaxed then gathered for a dinner that involved eating anything that was in the refrigerator--leftover pork tenderloin, homemade bean burritos, salad--no one went hungry!





Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Fabulous Day

Bandera, TX, Cowboy Capital of the World, was our first stop of the day. We browsed the stores picking up a few small things--I can't get too carried away, after all, I am living and traveling in less than 400 square feet! Jill and I both found these really cool pots for planting spring flowers but couldn't figure out how to get them home to Montana!

Next stop was the Alamo Springs Cafe for the best burgers and homemade french fries. We all succumbed to dessert (they have the best homemade desserts), Jill had creme brulee, I had blackberry cobbler and the guys had plain old ice cream.

Jazzy traveled with us today so after that huge lunch we took a stroll then headed down the road to a Texas landmark--Luckenbach, TX where a guy that sounded an awful lot like Willie sang to Jill about Luckenbach with Waylon, Willie and the Boys. It is the coolest place, not what most people expect for sure!

We were headed to Comfort, ,TX when I spotted the sign for Sisterdale, TX and remembered there was a winery there. We toured the winery and sampled. Bought wine and some really cool appetizer platters made from flattened wine bottles. On to Comfort, TX and we browsed the many antique shops. I wandered into the Tinsmith's Wife and I could see why many people love knitting--the shop was beautiful with so many colors and varieties of yarn. Could become another addictive hobby like quilting!!

We decided then to go back to the RV park and do some steaks on the grill. We enjoyed one of the Sisterdale Winery bottles of wine before dinner. Steaks, pineapple on the grill and salad made for a great dinner.

Two Montanans in the Alamo Springs Cafe

Jill being serenaded.

It was an absolutely fabulous day!


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Baird's Arrive

We started the morning off at a run--I got up early and walked the Jazzy girl. We left around 9am and made stops at Wal Mart and Costco before heading to the airport. Jill and Terry arrived right on time, just before lunch. We then drove downtown and had lunch on the River Walk. It was 85 degrees and sunny here and they were loving the weather--when they left Billings this morning, it was snowing and the wings of the plane had to be de-iced.

After a leisurely lunch we walked over to the Alamo and did the tour. We sat and listened to one of the docents talk about what led up to the battle and what happened after the battle--very interesting--what the men inside the Alamo knew they were sacrificing.

We made a stop at the grocery store before heading out to the RV resort. This resort has three duplex cabins on the hill above the RV park--Jill and Terry will stay in one of these for the week. After getting them settled in and hooked up to the park wi-fi, we all gathered at our rig and had awesome buttermilk margaritas (don't say YUK until you try them) and munchies. It is good to see friends from home and especially these friends--we always have such a good time with them.

Jill & Terry on the right in front of the Alamo

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Busy Bees

We woke to the sound of huge drops of water falling on the roof, it wasn't really raining just misting enough to collect on the trees that overhang the roof and then dropping making lots of noise. It was nasty all day, warm, humid and misty.

I managed to get over to the laundromat early and get all our laundry finished before 9:30, then it was walk the dog. Winter of 2007 Michael had a broken ankle--the dirt bike got the best of him before we headed south for the winter. Now, when the weather is just right the ankle bothers him so he is resting as we will be doing lots of walking over the next few days.

Then I did some cooking intending to take dinner to our friends Ralph and Angie. Ralph had his ankle surgery last week and is still recuperating. Michael and I enjoyed our dinner by ourselves as poor Ralph just did not feel like company.

Our friends Jill and Terry from Montana arrive tomorrow just before noon. We have lots planned for the next few days. They are staying in one of the little cabins here at the RV resort.

San Antonio Bay
Me with San Antonio Bay in the background

Mr. Alligator

A busy, busy day.


Monday, February 16, 2009

Rockport, TX Trip

The second rig from the left end is ours--we were on a bay so the waves were not huge. The wind blew and it was cool the entire time we were in Rockport.


On Friday the 13th (good thing we aren't superstitious) we hooked up the RV and headed south to Rockport, TX. We had reservations at Goose Island State Park--our site was right on the ocean with our back window about 15 feet from the shore line--ocean front property for the bargain price of $20 a night!
Many RVer's with friends that also RV have a rule, "if you are traveling to meet friends at a particular RV park or spot, the travelers don't have to cook." Jim and Ellie have been in Rockport for a few weeks along with Mark & Dortha and they invited us for dinner Friday evening. They are staying at the Last Resort RV Park and we drove over and enjoyed an absolutely wonderful dinner with the four of them. We met Jim and Ellie while staying in Tucson last year and hit it off--could it be because they have two Schnauzers, one Mr. BoJangles who looks like Jazz's twin brother? Jim grilled pork chops and pineapple and the ladies provided the rest of the great meal.
Saturday we were bums, it was wonderful--no internet, very few TV stations, just quiet and the ocean. After lunch we drove to Wal Mart and purchased some bottled water, the water in the state park was very chlorinated and made the coffee smell terrible. A stop for ice cream and then back to the park. While driving into the park we decided to go see the Big Tree--a local attraction. The road was blocked with an accident--a motorcycle--I got out to see if I could help as there was no ambulance at the scene. It was a 16 year old young man who had done everything correctly, with the exception of wearing no helmet. He slowed down to make a turn, had his blinker on and a women in a large pickup hit him from behind. I think he will be OK, he had some major head lacerations and kept complaining of severe hip pain. The ambulance came and we went on our way. Motorcycle riding is extremely dangerous--you can be doing everything correctly and someone else can kill you!!
After the excitement of the accident, we forgot about seeing the Big Tree and instead took part in a photography workshop. I learned more about my camera in an hour than I have in the two months since I have owned it--very informative.
Sunday we drove to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge--it is so incredibly dry in this part of the country, the marshes and swamps are dry and there is concern for the habitat and food supply for the birds and animals living in the Refuge. It is one of the winter homes for the endangered Whooping Cranes. We saw alligators and we think we saw a Crane at a distance. In the evening we joined Jim & Ellie and Mark & Dortha for dinner at the Big Fisherman. It was a delightful dinner and we left with promises to get together this summer if not before.
Today we headed back to Lake Medina and spent the afternoon hosing the salt and sand from the RV and truck. I also attempted to vacuum some of the sand from inside the rig.
Three Brown Pelicans

Four in a row--four White Pelicans
Mark and Dortha are in the foreground of the photo, Jim & Ellie on the right at the back and Michael at the Big Fisherman.
It was a great little weekend trip and it was wonderful to see friends.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Seguin, TX

What a glorious day! It was very chilly this morning but warmed up to a wonderful 80 degrees this afternoon--sandal weather!

I scurried around this morning and left about 9am heading to Seguin, TX. I have a dear friend, Shirley, who lives in Schulenburg--we worked together for many years at Kimberly-Clark. Seguin was about the halfway point for both of us. Not knowing the area, we both had no clue where to go for lunch and I was burned out on chains. We drove by an interesting looking shop called Keepers and decided to stop and ask for suggestions. Great little home decor/decorating store owned by gracious, accommodating folks--they called and made a reservation for us at a place called Craig's. Shirley and I had the best lunch, a salad with lemon and truffle oil dressing that was to die for, panko crusted tilipia on rice and white Godiva chocolate creme brulee which we shared. I'm drooling just writing about it. It was so good to see Shirley--I won't tell you her age but if you met her, you would never believe her age--she is one of the most outgoing, vivacious women you will ever meet and she has the most awesome taste! She brought me a little gift and one of the things in the bag was a bangle bracelet that says--"Find your passion, Take chances." That's Shirley!

After lunch I headed back to Lake Medina where one little dog was very glad to see me. Tomorrow we are going to Rockport, TX for the weekend and will have limited internet--so maybe no more blogs until Monday.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Good To Be Home

In spite of Northwest/Delta, I arrived home Tuesday evening. I was due to arrive at 3:45pm but we had a mechanical problem in Memphis and were an hour and a half late leaving so I got to San Antonio at 5pm, just in time to join all the other folks on the freeway parking lot. Glad I arrived when I did, the wind was terrible last night, it rocked the RV!

It was so good to see Michael and Jazzy dog, she was ecstatic to see me, (Michael was just a little less ecstatic)! Today we decided to go into San Antonio and replenish our empty refrigerator and pantry.

The weather here today is gorgeous, sunny and about 75 degrees--very little humidity.

This little guy was in a tree just out our back window and posed for photographs.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Visiting in Arkansas

We've been having a great time here in Arkansas. Friday we met my niece Niki and her daughter Leah in Sheridan for breakfast at a fun little place, Brew Haven. Niki who is a nurse then took off to visit a patient and Mom and I drove over to Bryant and did a little shopping. Friday night the entire family gathered for a dinner.

Saturday Mom and I were lazy getting started. My sister Ann and her husband Danny were doing some yard work so after lunch we strolled over and "helped" just a little. In the late afternoon we four drove into Little Rock and went to the RV Show--I didn't find any I would trade ours for but it was fun. After the show we had dinner at Macaroni Grill.

Sunday it was church and more visiting, Ann & Danny cooked steaks on the grill and the food was wonderful. My cousin Mary Ellen asked me at church to go to the RV show with her in the afternoon so off I went again and low and behold, I did find one I liked--a motorhome but Michael told me I didn't have enough money in the checkbook to buy it, oh well!! Mary Ellen found several she liked, also!

Today we picked Ann up from her place of work and drove to a great little bakery and sandwich place for lunch and then Mom and I did a little more shopping, returning more than we shopped.

It is raining here and I fly back to San Antonio tomorrow, Michael and Jazz are ready to see me.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Family in Arkansas

I left San Antonio yesterday and took a Delta flight up to Arkansas to visit my family. Mom picked me up at the airport and today we took a drive down to Monticello, AR to visit my cousin Buddy and his wife Linda. They have a beautiful home and we enjoyed lunch with Linda and a quick visit with Buddy at his place of work.

Tonight my niece Niki and her two little girls came over--there is a reason I never had kids. I elected to help the older child, Elizabeth with her homework--we had to read two very simple books, write the titles and authors on a piece of paper, draw a picture and sign our names and I am exhausted!

Michael is back at Lake Medina enjoying the warm weather and doing some painting. I will be here until next Tuesday and as my Mom still has dial-up internet, blog posting will be sporadic--only when I have lots of patience!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Why We Go South

Today was a "why we so south" kind of day--very cold this morning but up to almost 80 degrees this afternoon and sunny. Michael and the motorcycle gang took advantage of the weather and went for a great ride--they also ate lunch at my favorite Mexican restaurant in Kerrville, Mamasito's!

I was lazy today, I drove out to the local dollar store looking for containers to put my required ounces of liquid so I could carry on my bags tomorrow and came home with ice cream instead. But, it is no sugar added, low fat ice cream and it even tastes good! When I got back I did go up to the clubhouse and sew for a while. Jazzy and I then took our ambling walk stopping to talk to all the neighbors.

Tomorrow I am flying to Arkansas to spend a week with Mom and the rest of the family. Michael and Jazz will be on their own, Jazzy thinks that is a scary situation!

A photo of our RV park, the park is technically full today, the only sites open are those without full hookups. When we were here two years ago, the park was not even close to full--this is way too many people and RV's--time to move to greener pastures the end of February!



The lake goes down daily, it is probably more than 25 feet down.


Monday, February 2, 2009

Walks and Weight Watchers

Well, there was probably never a more lopsided domino game ever than the one tonight for which I was on the losing team! If that is how the guys are going to treat me, I am going back to playing cards with the ladies!

We slept in this morning, all the way until after 7am, that is late for us! I had my coffee and read the newspaper online before heading over to the laundromat and getting our laundry finished. Then we took a long walk. Michael started his project for the day, we unfortunately had a sewer value leak which entailed his replacing the value. Took him about 2 hours and he was a happy camper and I was even happier!

I went to the Weight Watchers meeting and got the happy news that I had lost 3 pounds this week--awesome!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

We Take A Drive

Early yesterday morning, I woke sneezing and by the time I got up I was in a full blown allergy attack--the cedar trees wreak havoc on some people and I guess it was my turn. I downed an Allegra and a couple hours later was feeling better. Better enough to go look at a Jeep--we have been thinking of getting some type of convertible and I guess Jeeps classify as convertibles sort of. It wasn't the one we wanted but we did find a good lunch. The rest of the day was spent relaxing, reading and walking the dog.

Around 5pm, I joined our neighbors, Jan & Joe and Judy & Rick for happy hour--Michael said it was too cold for him to sit outside. These folks are all from Kansas and are just fun to be around. Rick has a real interest in training dogs, his dog Biscuit, a yellow lab, is a joy to be around, perfectly behaved, comes when called, does her business on command, etc., unlike our spoiled brat who says when you call her, "who me???, you talking to me????" After about 30 minutes of happy hour, it got too cool to be outside and I packed it in.

Michael suggested we take a drive today and visit some of the areas he has ridden on the motorcycle, Jazzy girl got to go along. We went west of here to a town called Camp Wood and had lunch, then circled back into Kerrville and then home. We stopped at the Dairy Queen in Bandera and I had a very small ice cream, Michael had a not so small ice cream! We both decided to walk the dog after sitting in the truck all day--it takes a while to walk her in this park, we are always meeting up with people we want to talk to.

Photos are from today's drive.

Texas Stonehenge!! The owner of this land had someone build this 2/3 size replica of the original Stonehenge in England. While the original Stonehenge is oriented to the sun this one is not. It sure was surprising to come around the corner and see this thing out in the field!
When we were here two years ago, we constantly remarked on all the beautiful gates leading to people's property, this is one we saw today. We drove by many more before I got the driver to stop and let me take a photo!
The Guadalupe River near Kerrville--it is so sad to see all the creeks and many of the rivers here dry. The Guadalupe is extremely low and to think many years ago I floated this year in a raft at flood stage!!


Isn't this a cool fence, made from cedar poles. All my photos show how brown and dry it is in this area this year.


Was today Super Bowl Sunday??