Bob and Rigamarole at Texas Canyon Rest Area, Arizona, September 30, 2017

Bob and Rigamarole at Texas Canyon Rest Area, Arizona, September 30, 2017
Bob and Rigamarole at Texas Canyon Rest Area, Arizona, September 30, 2017

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Dwight D. Eisenhower Park - Monday, July 20, 2015

In her new position as Regional Director for the Southwest Region (New Mexico and Texas), my friend Susan is putting a lot of time into checking out new trails for Volksmarching. On Monday morning she wanted to check out how many miles of trails we could do in Dwight D. Eisenhower Park in northwest San Antonio.

She had never been to the park before, but I had hiked it a couple of different times with San Antonio Hill Country Hikers. I told her she needed to wear hiking boots and bring her walking stick.

We started hiking about 7 a.m. First we hiked the perimeter of the park which had some pretty good elevation changes. The hiking poles came in very handy going up and down some of those rocky "cliffs."

Right at the start of the trail we saw a bunny. Other wildlife included a very small frog, a snake and a lizard. We couldn't capture any of them in photos; they were too darned fast.

Steep terrain, Susan peeking out at top
Very rough hiking in parts
Very easy hiking in other parts
Shady trail

Bat boxes mounted in the meadow
You can see the level of difficulty on the
trail signs - Level 4 is the hardest
From the Observation Tower at the highest point in the park, I was able to zoom in on Six Flags Fiesta Texas about two miles away. If you enlarge the second photo below you can see some rollercoasters.

Observation Tower

Six Flags Fiesta Texas
Texas Hill Country view

Scenic Red Oak Trail
Fence and meadow
We were almost finished with our hike and had only an easy portion left to do. Thankfully it was nice and shady.


This was a challenging and beautiful walk with lots of different terrain. When Susan checked the mileage on her Jawbone device, we had walked 11K (6.8 miles) in three hours. It looks like this will become a new Volksmarch in 2016.

Travel Bug out.

Trying Different Restaurants - July 16 and 17, 2015

Bob and I like trying out new (to us) restaurants. On Thursday, July 16, we went to the Blue Star Arts Complex in Southtown San Antonio to try Blue Star Brewing. Neither of us felt like trying the beer, but we were hungry, so we chose to eat.

Blue Star Brewing makes their own brewskis on the premises.

Bob at Blue Star Brewing
Their brewing tanks are on display in the restaurant.
Bob ordered the mahi mahi fish sandwich which came with cole slaw and a green salad. He had the better meal.
Bob's mahi mahi fish sandwich dinner.
I ordered the red curry chicken. Mine was lackluster. While the curry spice was prevalent, it just wasn't as good as curries I've had at Thai restaurants. Bob's salad was a beautiful mixed greens salad and I got a head lettuce salad, which I don't care for.

Chicken curry dinner
On Friday night, we tried to go to The Cove because we love the atmosphere and I love their organic burgers. Usually we have a hard time finding parking. This time we found parking right away, but when we got close to the restaurant, the line to order food was really long. We backtracked to the car and decided to go elsewhere.

Bob wanted to take me to The Luxury, another outdoor food place where the bar, kitchen and restrooms are in remodeled shipping containers. We eat outside at big picnic tables. Not exactly luxurious, but its location overlooking the San Antonio River is pretty nice.

I ordered a hot dog "dragged through the garden" (hot dog on a bun topped with 3 cucumber slices, and 3 tomato slices), and Bob had the crispy chicken sandwich. When we ordered we were given a plastic brontosaurus, because how else could our waiter find us? Our food was very good.

Our brontosaurus
Bob at The Luxury
Nice table overlooking the San Antonio River
We enjoyed our food and our outdoor dining experience. Watching people walk by on the River Walk trail was a plus.

In San Antonio there are so many restaurants to choose from. You'll be seeing more of them.

Travel Bug out.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Boerne Cemetery Walk - Mon., July 13, 2015

Playing catch up...we did this walk on Monday, July 13.

This morning, Susan and I met at the Boerne, Texas Comfort Inn for the 10k Boerne Cemetery Volksmarch. Warm weather, humidity, and a long walk (6.2 miles) awaited us. We walked through a lot of neighborhoods on the way to the cemetery.

Giant hibiscus
Front yard fence in Texas: cacti and an arch to walk through
Another view of the cactus fence
Cool tree swing in a front yard
After walking through neighborhoods, we passed through the cemetery. Boerne was settled by Germans, so you see many German names on the headstones.

View through the cemetery
Many types of memorials

We continued onto the main street of Boerne and walked through part of town. This area is called "Hill Country Main Street Mile." Lots of cute shops and restaurants reside in an old, updated downtown.


We then turned off Main Street and headed along Cibolo Creek on the Cibolo Trail. High water flowed through here with the Memorial Day weekend floods, but nothing like Wimberley. Some trees had been flattened, but they were the exception rather than the rule.
 
Cibolo Trail  Heart of Boerne

We found the Loch Ness Monster!!
Cibolo Creek
We had one wildlife sighting in a church parking lot...

Texas spiny lizard
Texas spiny lizard
As we finished our walk, we started thinking about food. We remembered there was a Mexican restaurant, Centinela, close to the finish and gave it a try for breakfast. Both of us ordered pancakes, fried eggs and bacon. The food and service were excellent and the price couldn't be beat. Our comibined total was less than $10.

The day was young, so we went to the Boerne Starplex Theatre to see "Max," about a war dog and so much more. We both LOVED the movie.

Travel Bug out.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Baker's Dozen - Monday, July 13, 2015

I belong to the Randolph Roadrunner's Volkssmarch Club. In addition to earning credit (badges and pins) for my regular distance and event Volksmarch books, I am also working on my 50 states book, 51 state capitals book, and my Baker's Dozen book.

You may remember in 2013 I completed the Volksmarch Centurion book, 100 walks in one year. The Baker's Dozen book means I have to walk the 13 Randolph-Roadrunner-  sponsored walks in and around San Antonio. (The Randolph Roadrunner's are celebrating the 35th anniversary of the club.) Once those are completed and I turn in my stamped book, I have the option of choosing either a Baker's Dozen pin or patch.

Today, I finished my 13th walk. I chose the pin because I collect pins. The AVA (American Volkssport Association) pins at the top of the pin tree (that Louise, my mother-in-law made for me, are event pins. The pins in the fourth section of the tree are my distance pins. I am currently working on my 3,500k pin and my 350 events pin. I have been Volksmarching for 19 years.

Volksmarch pins
 The 13 walks are:
  1. Junction, Texas
  2. Boerne - Town
  3. Boerne Cemetery
  4. Boerne Nature Center
  5. Friedrich Wilderness Park
  6. Crownridge Natural Area
  7. Leon Creek Greenbelt
  8. DeZavala Neighborhood
  9. Broadway Neighborhood
  10. Old Schertz
  11. Schertz-Cibolo
  12. Palmetto State Park
  13. Gonzales, Texas
My favorite walk of the 13 is Palmetto State Park; however, many of the trails in the park were washed out during the flooding from Memorial Day weekend this year. It's a good thing we did the walk in February!

Baker's Dozen was a lot easier than doing the Centurion Challenge in 2013! My friend, Susan, is doing the Centurion Challenge this year and she has over 90 walks already. Good job, Susan!


Double Feature - Two Movie Reviews - Sun., July 19, 2015

Does anyone remember when movies used to be double features - two movies with an intermission in between them? When we were kids, it seemed most movies were double features; movies like "The Crawling Eye" and "It Came from Outer Space." We could spend a whole afternoon being scared out of our wits and we loved it.

Well, on this hot Texas day, Bob and I decided a cool movie theater would be the best place to hang out. So we went to see two movies, taking an hour between them to have dinner at Firehouse Subs.

Trainwreck with Amy Schumer, Bill Haden, Brie Larson, Tilda Swinton, LeBron James:

Whoa! People are either going to love or hate this movie. It's about a trainwreck of a young woman writer whose dad taught her early on that monogamy doesn't work, then left the family.

The movie fast forwards many years. She lives her life single, drinking heavily, and then hooking up in one-night-stands with guys, never feeling any depth or closeness to them.

She looks with disdain on her younger sister who is married and having children. You can tell both girls have issues.

At work, Amy (Amy Schumer) writes articles for a men's magazine, S'nuff. She would love nothing better than to be promoted to editor. Dianna (Tilda Swinton--I didn't even recognize her!), her boss, tempts and teases by dangling the editorship in front of her while giving her an article she is loathe to write: the inside story on a doctor famous for working with A-list athletes (LeBron James included) and volunteering for Doctors without Borders. Amy absolutely hates sports, thinks people who watch sports are unintelligent idiots.

The most predictable part of this movie is that she falls for Aaron, the sports doctor. But in a role reversal of sorts (usually the man is the commitment-phobe), Amy has a hard time believing this man could really love her. Any time he tries to be romantic/sweet/adorable, she puts up walls as high as the Empire State Building.

LeBron James is exceptionally good. He plays Aaron's friend and confidante, giving Aaron advice on how to deal with Amy. Every scene with LeBron is awesome.

All that being said, Bob and I really enjoyed this movie. It's hilarious, witty, irreverent, and has some hot sex scenes (no children to this movie!). After the movie Bob asked me what I liked best about this movie. I told him I like how heartfelt it is. There is a depth to the main characters, how they discover who they really are, and how their lives must change. It's not easy and there are issues with self-sabotage and self-doubt.

Look for cameos by Daniel Radcliffe, Marissa Tomei, and Mathew Broderick, along with many others.

High props to Amy Schumer for writing an interesting story. I give it four-and-a-half stars. I want to see it again to see what I missed.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Max starring Josh Wiggins (looking and acting like a young Matt Damon), Thomas Haden Church, Lauren Graham, Dejon LaQuake (as Chuy) and Mia Xitlali (as Carmen): I have a confession to make. This is my second time seeing this movie but I never got around to writing about it the first time. Shame on me...this movie is worth five stars!

Max is a Belgian Malinois war dog. Kyle Wincott (Robbie Amell) is the soldier who trained Max as a war dog from the time he was a four-month-old puppy. A strong bond is formed between handler and dog.

The movie starts tensely in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, where a group of soldiers is advancing on a town. Max is in the lead making sure there are no ambushes around the corner. The goal of the mission is to find Soviet weapons which the Army believes are hidden in this particular town. Max is trained to sniff out munitions.

Once inside the town walls, Kyle sends Max on a search for weapons. Soon Max is pawing at the carpeted floor in someone's living room. A cache of weapons is located hidden underground. The weapons are confiscated.

We learn from a military inquiry that someone is stealing weapons from confiscated caches. Kyle knows who it is, and says so to that person's face. It's his best friend, Tyler.

Next, Kyle Skype's his family and talks to his mom and dad. He tries to talk to his younger brother, Justin, but obviously his younger brother wants nothing to do with Kyle. Justin continues playing his war games on the computer.

Later in Afghanistan, during an advance on a known enemy position in the mountains, Max is sent ahead, again to look for ambushers. Max stops, meaning he wants the soldiers to stop advancing. Kyle's friend, the one who is stealing the confiscated weapons, insists they are under orders to move forward. Kyle gives Max the sign to go ahead.

At this point, an ambusher sets off a bomb that hurls rocks toward Max. Kyle runs to save Max while Klye's "friend," Tyler, runs and hides behind rocks. When the dust settles we see Kyle sprawled on the ground, dead. Max is freaking out. Tyler runs up and Max goes nuts, snarling and snapping at Tyler. Tyler pulls out a gun meaning to kill Max, but the other soldiers stop him. Thank goodness!

Back stateside at the funeral, the soldiers bring Max to pay his last respects. Max cries by the coffin, then lies down on the floor. When the soldiers try to take Max out, he fights them until he sees Justin. Max calms down. The family volunteers to keep Max because "the family cares for its own." That decision is fraught with challenges as even war dogs can develop PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

The young actress, Mia Xitlali, who plays cousin to Kyle's friend, Chuy, is fantastic in her role. We'll be seeing lots more from her! She teaches Kyle how to care for and train his dog, plus becomes his love interest.

The rest of the movie is about friendship, trust, thievery, loyalty, illegal weapon sales, and involves Justin's "friend" Tyler, who is a family friend. There are moments of edge-of-your-seat action, suspense, and some great mountain-bike-riding chase scenes.

For sure see it once, but if you're like me you'll probably want to see it again! As I said above: five stars!




Sunday, July 19, 2015

Blog Milestone - Sunday, July 19, 2015

My very first blog was January 8, 2011. As of today, I have written 1,000 blogs (this blog is #1,001). That's incredible!

When I started writing, we lived in Hawaii and traveled from there to the Mainland for our journeys. At that time, we stayed in timeshares and rented cars.

In October 2011, we started full-time RVing. Life has been great! We are so pleased that this blog has been a record of all we have been doing, thinking and feeling for the past 4-1/2 years. It's fun to re-read it and re-live everything. We've done a lot.

For those of you who have been following along, thank you for coming along with us. You are dear friends, even though we haven't YET met many of you. We plan to keep on traveling and our paths may cross.

"Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we will find it not." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Susan and Bob at San Antonio Missions baseball game
Susan at The Luxury, San Antonio, TX
Bob at The Luxury
Our mascot at The Luxury or "how our
waiter knows what food to bring to our table."
I hope you're having a fun summer. Travel Bug out.

Enough Activity to Fill Two Days (Part 2) - Sunday, July 12, 2015

The second half of Sunday, we drove to Wimberley, Texas on the Blanco River and Cypress Creek. You may remember all the flooding in our part of Texas on Memorial Day weekend 2015. Wimberley got the worst of it. A 40' tall wave of water slammed into a bridge, destroying it. Over 300 homes were either pushed off their foundations, floated downstream or had flood water flowing through their homes. Twelve lives were lost.

What led to this horrible destruction? Upstream from Wimberley, six inches of rain fell in three hours. That was in addition to rain that had already fallen, leaving the ground saturated. All that water had to go somewhere. It went downstream, picking up speed and debris as it swept downhill. Mashable.com has the best description of the chronology of events.

We love Wimberley and have done Volksmarches there, hiked with friends to the top of Prayer Mountain, explored Jacobs Well and The Blue Hole, and shopped and dined in this "little bit of heaven," as described by Wimberley residents. The "downtown" is just plain cute with good eateries.

But I'm getting ahead of our day's chronology. For our drive north to Wimberley, Bob wanted to show me the beautiful area he runs in when he's in the final days of training for the San Antonio Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in November.

The road took us along the Guadalupe River (which had no damage), through gorgeous Texas Hill Country, past many businesses where you can rent "toobs" to go down the river, and lots of RV parks. The route is lovely.

Tree tunnel along the Guadalupe River
Guadalupe River below Canyon Lake
You can get it all here!
RV park on the riverbank
American flag flying over the road

Lone kayaker on the Guadalupe River
A vintage Airstream food truck in Sattler, Texas
We drove through the town of Canyon Lake and meandered over hill and dale to get to Wimberley via a back way. The first sign of damage from the flood was the guardrail on the bridge over the Blanco River. You can see how the trees and debris bent the metal. Look how low the river is now. The main part of Wimberley's shopping/dining area was not damaged by the flooding.

Damaged guardrail on Blanco River Bridge
Wimberley storefront
By the time we made it to Wimberly, our tummies were growling, so we parked and headed to Cypress Creek Cafe for lunch. The cafe is decorated inside with guitars that have been turned into works of art and are available for purchase.

Cypress Creek Cafe
Two artsy guitars above our table
For lunch, I had the best Cobb salad ever (in my opinion). It was loaded with chicken, black beans, avocado, tomato, hard boiled egg slices and I ordered it with honey mustard dressing on the side. It was definitely yum-tastic! Bob had a mahi mahi sandwich which he gave two thumbs up. He helped me eat my salad. We resisted the urge to have a slice of their Italian Cream Cake (so excellent!).

After lunch we walked down to Cypress Creek (no major damage) and hoofed it around town looking at all the six-foot tall painted boots (Bootiful Wimberley). We loved them!

"Homegrown Music," by David Richardson
Cypress Creek
Turtles on the rocks - Cypress Creek
"Boot Hill," by Dan Moore
Boot painting by Bejat McCracken
"East Meets West," by Rozi Turnbull
Once back in the car, we headed out to River Road along the Blanco River. What we saw saddened us deeply. People's homes were gone or ruined. Bald cypress trees that started growing in the 1400s, were snapped, uprooted, laid waste...or not touched at all.


This beautiful home is ruined. You can see
the right side wall is no longer attached at the bottom.
Close up of the roof collapse
Side view of roof collapse
A whole row of old bald cypress trees downed
Once stately trees used to provide much-needed shade
Part of a house in the debris along the riverbank
Some trees seemed untouched, while others next to
them were down.
Stairs to the river were washed away - now
perilous ladders line the bank.
More devastation
A number of houses were gutted
The foundation is here...the house is gone.
We then drove back to the untouched part of Wimberley, past the Hotel Flora and Fauna. That's a place I'd love to stay.

Hotel Flora and Fauna was not touched
Could not find name or artist for this boot
The Blanco River in Wimberley
Driving home, we returned along the Guadalupe River. In Texas, toobing is THE thing to do on a hot summer day. You'll notice the cooler has its own tube!!

Must have the cooler along!
Toobing the Guadalupe River near Sattler, Texas
That's it for today. Thanks for reading.