Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, June 14, 2017

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, June 14, 2017
Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, June 14, 2017

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Two Susans to Go - Sun., Mar. 30


Multnomah Falls, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
Our friend, Susan M., causally invited me to go on a road trip with her to Oregon so we could walk the Columbia Gorge Biennial Classic volksmarches sponsored by the Columbia River Volksmarch Club. For four days in June, 14 sponsored walks and one bike ride are put on by the volksmarch club. The walks/hikes are in the spectacular Columbia River Gorge; most walks include waterfalls or scenic viewpoints of the gorge.

Wahkeena Falls, Columbia River Gorge
We also plan to volksmarch a number of state capitals: Phoenix, Carson City, Sacramento, Salem, Boise, Salt Lake City and Santa Fe. She is working toward her State Capitals badge. I will sign up to walk the state capitals as well and work on my badge too.

If you know me, you know travel is my passion and I will do anything to go on a trip. I got to thinking about it, then my thinking got more serious. Why not? You only live once. This is going to be so much fun!

I asked my manager at the RV park if it would be okay to take four days off. [Note: I work two days per week, so taking four days off means our trip will be 2-1/2 weeks long.] She said, "Sure." It's our slow season, so I don't feel I'm leaving them in the lurch.*

*(Leave in the lurch definition = to leave in an uncomfortable or desperate situation; desert in time of trouble: Our best salesperson left us in the lurch at the peak of the busy season. Source: dictionary.reference.com)

Now we are planning where we'll go and other sites to see along the way. Ideas include Desert Botanical Garden (Phoenix), Lake Tahoe, Silver Falls State Park (Oregon), Timpanogos Cave (Utah), Mesa Verde N.P. (CO), Bandelier Nat'l Monument (NM), UFO Museum (NM).

Planning continues. I'mn sure between the two of us we'll have this whole trip set up in no time. We must remember to leave time to be spontaneous!

Today was a perfect weather day in San Antonio. The temperature was 82 with comfortable breezes blowing all day and humidity of 35%. With our windows open, we had lots of fresh air in the 5er.

That's all for now. Travel Bug out.




Saturday, March 29, 2014

Instant Replay of Our Week - Sat., Mar. 29

The calendar stares down at me from the wall. March 29th it says.

Soon we will enter April and the height of spring flowers in South Texas. With all the cold and rain we had this winter, the bountiful wildflowers have been slow to show their true colors. Last year the bluebonnets were at full strength in late February and early March.

I'm happy to report that bluebonnets and red lupine now carpet fields, freeway medians and shoulders. They're beginning to reach their full show of color. Indian blankets and evening primrose are also showing their stuff.

Monday I had a day off, so I slept in and did chores: bought more birdseed at Wild Birds Unlimited, had my tires rotated at Costco, got my hearing aids cleaned and eyeglasses cleaned and tightened up (also at Costco), and relaxed. Wild Birds Unlimited had bird feeders out on a tree in the middle of the strip mall parking lot. Pretty yellow birds were hanging all over it. I asked at the store what kind of birds were eating at the feeder. These lovelies are lesser goldfinches, female and male. Bob played basketball at the gym before work and then worked until late.

Lesser goldfinches
Tuesday and Wednesday were cool and rainy. I worked at the insurance office in north San Antonio both days. Wednesday night, I had a severe case of vertigo that caused me to retire for the night. Bob worked, played basketball Wednesday morning.

The kitties were all snuggled into one of their boxes and I HAD to take a photo!


Thursday and Friday, I worked in the RV park office. We were very busy. Making reservations, and checking people in and out kept me hopping. Bob worked, played basketball Friday morning.

Friday night, Bob was off work early and came home to kidnap me for a Friday night date as soon as I finished work. He whisked me off to see "Divergent." (He's not a big sci-fi fan so I was thrilled when he told me he was taking me to see "Divergent.") We arrived at the theater about 45 minutes early, so we had time for dinner at "Hurricane Wings."

"Divergent" is such a good movie, so exciting all the way through. Shailene Woodley is perfect for the part of Tris and the actor who played Four was the perfect blend of brooding, icy and caring. I love the story. Because I hadn't read the books, I wasn't sure if the story would make sense. (It did.) Bob thought the movie was "a morality play. Obviously, it was an interesting love story." He said he didn't need to see it again.

Saturday: Bob played basketball at the gym in San Antonio and worked a half day. Volksmarch time for me. Our friends, Susan and Darren, and I headed an hour east of San Antonio to Luling, the Watermelon Thump Capital of Texas, for a 10K walk throughout the town.

Luling was established in 1874 with the western expansion of the railroad. The big money in town was made with cattle, cotton and oil. The Zedler Mill provided water and produced electricity for town and is known for its grist mill/saw mill/cotton gin. Points of interest in Luling include and Oil Museum, great barbecue restaurants, and historic homes. Oil wells and pump jacks are scattered throughout town...some have been decorated by a local artist. During the Watermelon Thump Festival there are seed-spitting contests, champion melon growing contest, and watermelon eating contest.

Images from our walk in Luling...

Mr. Joseph Josey from Bavaria, Germany, was one of the founders of Luling. Below is a photo of his home.

The Josey House
Cool eagle sculpture
Darren with the eagle.
Susan M. and Darren at historic Zedler House
Zedler House Guest House and Event Center
The millrace at Zedler Mill
Darren checking out equipment in museum.
Equipment from the sawmill.
Cotton mill/gin.
Zedler Mill: the lifeblood of Luling
International Harvester 1-row cotton picker: 1949
San Marcos River at Zedler Mill
Grand old home.
Red and blue lupine (bluebonnets)
Muenster grave site in cemetery
Wildflowers and coal train
Waiting for the coal train so we can cross the tracks.
Susan M. hamming it up. We "trained" her well.
Welcome mural.
 Ladies restroom sign at th Watermelon Thump Pavilion.

Clever!
When we finished the walk we had lunch at Luling barbecue. I asked for a small plate with dark turkey meat. When I was handed the food, it was a chicken leg and thigh. I was very disappointed because I love turkey. There was a long line at the counter so I just ate it.

From Luling, we headed back to San Antonio where we went to see "Divergent." I was very happy to see it again. Susan M. and Darren had been wanting to see it. Both of them enjoyed the movie too!

From the theater we headed back to the 5er so they could pick up their car. Bob was home when we got there. We then headed out to dinner at Asian Fire, a Mongolian Grill-type restaurant. It was wonderful.

I finally had a chance to sit down and write my blog tonight. All for now.

Travel Bug out.




Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sunday lunch meet-up with blogger friends - Sun., Mar. 23

When we saw that Teri and Jerry of Just Wandrin' blog were in San Antonio, we wanted to meet them. Since both of us were busy, we ended up having lunch today at The Big Bib BBQ restaurant in San Antonio.

The only reason Bob and I knew about this restaurant was because they catered our RV park employee Christmas party. We remembered how good the food was and suggested it for lunch. The place doesn't look like much...it's a storefront in a strip mall in a run-down section of town. We didn't care.

Teri and Jerry were waiting for us at a table when we arrived. They were thrilled with our choice of restaurant. The waitress had already been by the table and offered to bring samples of some of their food. They said, "Yes, definitely." Soon we had little paper bowls with green beans, baked beans, sweet potato casserole, and baked potato casserole with itty bitty plastic spoons to sample the food. They also brought samples of smoked brisket, pork and sausage.

When we decided on our food, we ordered at the counter. Bob had a smoked turkey leg with potato salad and baked beans, I had smoked turkey breast with sweet potato casserole and coleslaw. Again, we shared our sides with each other.

Teri, Jerry, Bob and I shared an enthusiastic two-hour conversation about travel, civil war history, full-timing, Hawaii, life in the Pacific Northwest, museums, birds, photography, botanic gardens, and hiking trails. Our conversation wound down naturally and it was time to say our good-byes. We're hoping to see them again, if not in San Antonio, then somewhere down the road.

A huge thank you to Teri for the photos. I left my camera at the 5th wheel. 

Me eat now!
Bob and Susan
Bob, Susan, Teri, Jerry
Teri, Jerry, Bob, Susan
After lunch, Bob and I headed out to do errands. We took my Escape pod to the $5 Car Wash, got fuel at Costco gas station, and went to buy more bird seed from Wild Birds Unlimited. All missions accomplished except the bird seed. Wild Birds Unlimited closed at 4:00 p.m. and we arrived at 4:08 p.m.

Tomorrow and Tuesday I'm on call as a convention back-up worker at the Convention Center.

All for now. Travel Bug out.


Hunt with Friends - Sat., Mar., 22

The weather seems to be a deciding factor this winter when planning outdoor events in south Texas. Today's forecast called for fog and a 20% chance of precipitation, with a chance of thunderstorms after 1 p.m. Do we go or don't we?

I was to meet our friends Susan and Darren at their home at 7:30 a.m. At 5:30 a.m. I was up and at 'em. The weather forecast hadn't changed from the night before, so I decided to go. They were waiting for me when I arrived at their house. (Bob plays basketball with his gym buddies on Saturday morning so he went his own way.)

We drove 1-1/2 hours to Kerr Wildlife Management Area in Hunt, Texas - our start point for today's 10K (6.2 mi.) Volksmarch. This walk was an event sponsored by the Kerrville Trailblazers Volksmarch Club. At the start point there was a buffet of sweet snacks: cookies, brownies, doughnuts, and cookie sheet cake.

On our walk we learned about this area of the Texas Hill Country. Many years ago, the whole area was the southern portion of the great plains and bison roamed the countryside. Now the area is filled with mesquite, creosote, ashe juniper (cedar), cacti and grasses. Cows fulfill the role which was formerly filled by bison: they eat the grasses.

We saw (and heard) a family of turkey up on a little rise. Susan and Darren also saw a four-legged creature and weren't sure if it was a coyote or perhaps a bobcat in the vicinity of the turkeys.

Susan and Darren M.
Susan A. and Susan M.
The temperature on our walk was just right at about 70 degrees. The clouds hung around all day and we had a little mist for a few minutes on the walk. We finished our 10K in a little under two hours. By then we were hungry.

We took the scenic route along the Guadalupe River to Hunt and Ingram, then got on I-10 east heading for Smittyville Country Store and Cafe at Exit 533, our lunch spot. Susan and I ordered chicken enchilada soup and whole turkey sandwich combo. Darren opted to have a veggie sandwich.


Chicken enchilada soup.
We were very pleased with our food. Unfortunately they didn't have the cinnamon apple Danish today or we would have ordered them to go.

When I got home, Bob hadn't returned. I knew he had to go out to Random to take care of some work. He returned home about 4:30 p.m.

At 6:30 p.m., we went to the Farewell Dinner/Dance that our RV park put on to wish the Winter Texans a safe journey home to the cold northern climes. The park provided brisket, potato salad, baked beans, veggie and fruit trays, cake and beverages.

Chow line at the Farewell Dinner.
Another action-packed day in the lives of Bob and Susan.

Travel Bug out.


Random - Fri., Mar. 21

When a week flies by this fast either (1) I'm working too much, or (2) we're having too much fun. This week was a combination of both.

Wednesday through Friday, I worked in the RV park office. To me that is fun work.

Friday night, Bob and I had a date out to Random Beer Garden in Boerne, Texas, near Boerne City Lake. The place was crowded. At one point, there was a line at the 56-tap bar which required six bartenders to meet the demand.

The lights change color randomly.
Teka Molino Tex/Mex food truck
The Nor'Easter food truck (where we ate)
For our dinner, we chose The Nor'Easter food truck because they had cod sandwiches. And, oh, what good sandwiches they were. No deep fried cod, just thick-cut cod grilled to perfection with a few spices. Bob had coleslaw with his sandwich; I chose rice with veggies, and we shared our side dishes.

The pecan trees are leafing out.
Random is a beautiful spot to spend an afternoon or evening!


Line at the bar.
Bob testing furniture made from wine barrels.
For cool evenings, Random provides fire rings and wood creating a warm ambiance.



We had a very nice date and headed home about 8:45 p.m.

Travel Bug out.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Convention Work - Mon.-Tues., Mar. 17-18

Monday morning, I was awakened by a text message from Snelling asking if I could fill-in for a no-show on the convention staff. I told her I was available. She said she would let me know by 9 a.m. if they needed me. (I had volunteered to work as a back-up in case someone didn't show up.)

By 9:30 no one had called me back, so I called Snelling and was told things were good, but she'd keep me posted. At 10:30 a.m., I had a call that they needed me to be a room monitor and to be at the Convention Center by 1 p.m. When I arrived, I was told lunch was provided in one of the conference rooms and to help myself. I had wild mushroom ravioli, roasted vegetables, rice, and a chicken and sausage andouille. Very tasty.

The seminar I was to monitor was from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. Then that was it, I was done for the day. The Convention Center is only 3-1/2 miles from our RV park.

As I was driving home, I was able to capture this image of La Atorcha de la Amistad (Spanish for "The Torch of Friendship"). The sculpture, made of enameled iron, is almost 65' tall and weighs 45 tons. As it is in the middle of a traffic circle, I was able to take this photo while I waited for the light to turn green one-half block away.


The cats were being adorable when I got home, so here's a few more photos of the fur-kids.

Bowie and Sunnie
Awwww-some

Monday evening, Bob and I went to 54th Street Grill & Bar for their St. Patrick's Day Special: Reuben or Turkey Reuben sandwich, fries and a 16 oz domestic green beer -- all for $10 per person. Now that was a bargain and a very tasty one at that. We declined dessert even though they have an awesome dessert menu. Yay for skipping the sugar high.

St. Patrick's Day Special - 54th Street Grill
Turkey Reuben, fries, 16 oz domestic beer
Around 7:30 p.m., I had a text message from Snelling asking if I could be at the Convention Center at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday. Sure I could. 

Tuesday: This morning I worked as room monitor for another seminar from 8:00 to 9:30. That was it for today. I took a few photos in the Convention Center.

Lights over the escalator.
Statues of famous Texans.
Sam Houston
Quanah Parker, last great Comanche war chief
Then I settled in for an afternoon of bird watching out our window.

Red-winged blackbird
House sparrow
Mr. & Mrs. House Finch
White-winged dove
Brown-headed cowbird




Mourning dove
Travel Bug out.