Sunday, November 29, 2009

Don't Mess with Blanco

We are still camping at the Thousand Trails campground about 35 miles west of San Antonio Texas and finally decided to make the trip into town to see the sights. We went on Monday before Thanksgiving with a lot of people off work down here so the traffic was not bad in town.

We headed straight to the Alamo, paid our $5.00 parking and walked across the street to the site. We figured it out (hard math) that we were here 30 years ago. I guess there have been lots of changes in all those years but who remembers what it looked like that long ago? Not us.

We did all the tourist stuff, listened to a speaker, walked the grounds and the buildings, read all the history and spent about 2 hours there. It was all very interesting this big piece of Texas history. Sad but interesting.

Just a few pictures to share of the buildings that Dick took

We then walked across the street to the visitors center and got a map of the river walk. Left the building took a hard right down the stairs and there we were. It was just like we remembered it with lots of people enjoying the warm day, the sunshine.
We walked most of the river then took a barge trip that took about an hour and only cost us a total of about $6.00; love those senior discounts. The skipper did a great job with the history of the town and the river.

We headed to Dick's Place for lunch but because of all the smokers we moved to another restaurant.

Along the river was a stage and dancers performing in costume. We sat across the river on the lawn where the music was and enjoyed the show and watched the barge with tourists go by.

These three young girls did a very good job and it was fun to watch.

Bright colors, great music, warm sun what more could we ask for. Oh yes, and it was free. We like free.

On the barge trip in one corner of the river we circled this little island with a beautifully decorated Christmas tree. It's hard to think that it's that time of the year again.

Being this close to Luckenbach Texas and having danced to the song we decided we had better head up there and see the town. Except for an open dance hall across the street, this is the town. There was a post office here until about 1971 but now it's a gift shop and bar. But we can now say we have been to Luckenbach Texas.

And we can also say we have been to Blanco Texas. Before you ask what is significant about this town, well our son inlaw's last name is Blanco. So Rich, this is for you. Debbie you may want to click on the picture to enlarge it then print it and frame it for the basement.

To be continued...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving & Dick's new hobby...

We want to wish all our family and friends a very happy Thanksgiving. We are sad being away from family but will still have a good meal with lots of other people that are in the same boat here at the RV park. We are watching the parade on live feed out of New York and then maybe a football game this afternoon.

If you are out there reading this, drop us a line or two and cheer us up.


No travel Blog today, just showing off what Dick has been doing in his spare time.

It's interesting what you can learn from a book. Dick started to wire wrap some stones that he purchased and then moved on to use some of the rocks that he has found and polished.

I think this piece was posted another time. It is the first one he made.

Again this is a purchased stone and wrapped with silver plated copper wire.

Showing the front of another.

And the back. Still trying to figure out what to do with the top wires to make it look good.

Dick's Dad and Mom spent time on the beach picking up pretty rocks and his Dad polished them. Dick found his collection and thought it would be fun to wire wrap some of his rocks and thereby have two generations working to create one piece of jewelry.

This is another beach rock that Dick's father polished and Dick wrapped. Notice the new style at the top. Dick is also tumbling some of the ones his Dad never got around to and hopes to use some some of them in the future.

We picked up this fossil sand dollar from the Port Aransas beach at Texas. It's over one million years old. If you look close you can see the center of the sand dollar.

Dick decided to try something new so using one of the chalcedony stones that he picked up from Quartzsite, Arizona polished and turned it into a bracelet to fit Jackie's wrist.

He plans to try a ring and earrings in the future.

To be continued...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Utopia in Central Texas

Last Monday we finally departed the Gulf of Mexico where the temperature was 69/80 and headed Northwest 200 miles to Lakehills Texas, about 40 miles Northwest of San Antonio where the temperature when we arrived was 30/70. Wow was it cold at night.

The road exiting the park was a little harry as we were not sure we would fit under the trees, but all went well.

We arrived at the Thousand Trails park and found a sight in the lower section near the lake with lots of light. Remember the word "lower".

After setting up we took a walk down to the lake and found that they had moved it. Notice that there is not any water around the sign.

Or any water around the dock. If you look closely you can see the light brown area at the top of the picture that was the beach on the other side.

We spent most of the week checking out the surrounding area. Jackie had her 6 month check-up (which went very well) and the weather forecast for Thursday was for heavy rain. Let us tell you that during the night the rain sounded like it was going to come through the roof. We finally got up around 7:00 in the morning to take the dog out for her morning walk. Dick put on his rain gear and boots, it was still raining hard. When he went out the rig was in the middle of a river and the water was up to the bottom step, and rising. I guess the "lower" area was the wrong one to pick. Dick took that first step out of the rig it was over the top of his boots and they filled to the top.

He found a spot for the dog to do her thing and then had to retrieve our shoes, mats and lawn chairs which were floating toward the lake. We spent the day reading, relaxing and making some jewelry. Saturday, when the swamp drained, we hooked up and moved to another location (in the upper part of the campground) and started to dry off.

Dick took the ladder off the back of the rig and the local deer thought he was getting feed and they came from all over the park. There are literally hundreds of deer running around here that all the campers feed.

C C wanted to play with them but I guess because of all the other dogs barking at them makes them a little shy of dogs. She was able to get about 2' away before the deer turned and walked away.

This is what it looks like when the deer corn comes out. Could not get all of them in the picture.

When talking to another camper we turned around to see a little dispute between two bucks going "head to head".

They pushed from one side of the road to the other until one pushed the other between two trees and got it off it's feet and just held it there for about a minute before releasing it to run off. Kind of exciting because this is the first time viewing something like this in person.

We drove to Lost Maples State Park for a hike in the hills today. The sun was out and it was in the high 60s so was a great day to hike. On the way up there we stopped to take a picture of the FALL colors. Yes it's late November, but the leaves are about finished changing color in this part of the world.

The maples were beautiful. This is a shot of one side of the tree.

On the return hike we stopped to take another picture of the same tree but from the other direction.

We crossed the creek several times and after this crossing turned around and got a shot of the reflections on the water.

One more stop on the way home, the only problem was that we felt the same when we left as when we arrived so we guess it's just a name and not a feeling.

To be continued...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Still in South Texas with water, birds and fish

We took the ferry to Port Aransas to spend a day at the Gulf of Mexico. We started at the beach next to the south jetty at the entrance to the port. The area was feeling the effect of a hurricane out in the gulf so the waves were quite high. We walked out on the jetty as far as we could go and watched this fishing boat coming in. We also gave CC a chance to run on the beach, and away she went! (There are no "beaches" on the bays close to where we are staying, mostly bulkheads and small "beaches" of crushed shells.)

As it got closer we realized that it had nets in the water and was still fishing into the harbor.

We went to lunch and then visited a County park that was just about on the Gulf beach. Lots of picnic tables right on the sand. Not sure what keeps them from being washed away except the tidal range is less than a foot but because of the lack of slope to the beach at low tide there is a lot of beach showing.

The county was putting in this burm to protect the RV park on the other side from the swell that was predicted to come in because of the hurricane. Then the sand would be put in a pile for the next time opening up the beach for driving and camping.

After spending most of the day in town and on the beach we saw the results of the surge. It came up over and destroyed an asphalt parking area that had just been put in. There it is under the water and the sand.

We spent another day at Aransas Pass checking out the local port. Very small town but every place you go there is a place to fish. Not sure we would venture out on this dock but the birds like it.

On the way back home we checked out a marine area that had lots of places to bring your boat out of the water and work on it. Dick got inside this storage shed to take a few pictures on the premise he was looking for a place to dry-store his boat. This was only one side of the building and there were three more rows like this.

We decided to depart the park where we were staying early and moved to Goose Island State Park, only about 7 miles away but as you can see we have a beautiful view out our window and a nice cool breeze blowing in off the bay. (Dick is exaggerating here--the wind is moist from the humidity and not-so-cool.)
Got up this morning to 75 deg. and 90% humidity and no wind, but by the time we came home from church a nice breeze came up and the humidity dropped a little.

This was our neighbor fishing at sunset next to us. Dick took him over a copy of this picture in the morning and he was just thrilled.

The next morning Dick caught this lad fishing before the rest of the family got up and active.

We took C C for a walk down to the boat launch and found several people cleaning their fish from a productive day. It was interesting to see most of the cleaning was done with electric knifes and they worked great for filleting.
Quite a few pelicans were waiting in the water and on the dock for the left-overs.

And they continued to fly in to see what was going on.

Or just waiting on the dock for their share.

And those in the water had to fight to get a share. The water boiled with large fish taking the big pieces.

Dick is sad that we are pulling out in the morning and starting our journey to Arizona. If we rush we should be there to share Christmas with his brother. And if we take it slow and easy we should be there by Christmas. We think we will take it slow and easy with a week or two stop in San Antonio.
To be continued...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Kodak did us bad

This is the third Kodak printer that we have had in about the last 18 months and they all went bad. They replaced the first two Kodak printers that went out, but after spending over an hour on the telephone they refused to warranty a 5 month old printer. So we went out and purchased an HP and decided to destroy the old Kodak.

To be continued...

Monday, November 9, 2009

water, birds, tree, boat and sunset

First a congradulations to Jen Kaufman and Dick Whitfield for solving the question of the last blog. While checking a pond for aligators we found a 30' by 2" wide track of ants going both directions. Heading one way to harvest the leaves and the other to deliver them back to their nest in the ground.

This was a first for us to see what we have seen on TV in the past. Only ants but still a very interesting find.

And now a new blog...

How about a long walk on a long pier. Every place you look around here there is another long pier for fishing and enjoying the bay. On our first day here we found the local park and took the long walk. No one fishing here today.

At the end we turned around to really see how far it was back to the beach. What a view from the end of the pier back to dry land.

As we said all up and down the beach there are areas of one pier after another. Everywhere you looked there was someone fishing. I think there are even fish in the mud puddles around here.

Birds everywhere you look, these guys thought we were going to feed them and weren't very happy with us as we just took pictures of them.

Careful of the drop zone under this light pole.

This guy was posing for Dick's camera.

These guys really had an eye for the sky. They stood about 10' tall.

On a trip to one of the local State Parks we found this Oak tree that was over 1000 years old, not high but really big.

We stopped here for about one minute because as soon as we exited the truck we were surrounded by at least 100 mosquitoes. A quick walk around, took two pictures and headed back to the truck.

This is not the "love boat" that we remember. Regardless of the condition this boat was still taken out every few days. Lots of larger boats in worse condition still going out every day draging for shrimp to sell as bait at the head of the docks.

We went out to a local bar and restaurant and sat on the deck enjoying a light dinner, a cold drink and a beautifull suset over Aransas Bay.

Same place still sitting and enjoying the 75 degree temperature and watching the sunset and the boats going out for some night fishing.

To be continued...