Blue Angels Practicing, Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida - May 10, 2017

Blue Angels Practicing, Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida - May 10, 2017
Blue Angels Practicing, Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida - May 10, 2017

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Earwig - Sunday, February 28, 2016

You never know who you'll meet! This week, we had the pleasure of spending time with two Aussies staying a few days at Travelers World Carefree RV Resort.

Global Travellers is how Ian Hunt and Penelope (or Pen) Kentish describe themselves which is certainly apt. Their home is in the Southern Highlands of Australia's New South Wales (NSW) state (south of Sydney).

Ten months ago, they shipped their 22' Isuzu 4x4 Global Warrior all-terrain vehicle from Sydney to Los Angeles and started a year-long North American expedition. The all-terrain vehicle is fully self-contained so they are able to "free camp" or boondock. Of course, the steering wheel is on the right side of the vehicle which must make driving in the U.S. quite interesting.
Isuzu 4 x 4
This Isuzu can take them through the Australian Outback and they have used it in Death Valley and Marble Canyon. It's not your typical lightweight 4x4 used in Moab or BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land to off-road on small, rocky roads: no. This baby weighs 6 tons!


Ian and Pen are retired, but they used to be headhunters: recruiters in a temp. agency. Ian has two grown children and five grandchildren. Pen has one son, but no grandchildren. Their kids and grandkids live in Melbourne, about a 7-1/2 hour drive from them. Fortunately they do see them 3-4 times per year. They love traveling, but the trade-off is they miss their families.

In the Australian Southern Highlands, they live on approximately an acre which is part of a much bigger ranch. They have views of the ranch and own chickens. While they are on their world travels, they rent out their home.

[As an aside, 3-1/2 years ago, we were in the Southern Highlands of Australia and spent a week exploring around the area where Pen and Ian live. Here is a link to our blog from the day we explored in their neighborhood of national parks and waterfalls: Australia Southern Highland Waterfalls.]
"'Er we go" license plate = Earwig or "The Wiggy"
Ian and Pen from Wildes Meadow, NSW, Australia
Ian and Pen
From Los Angeles, Ian and Pen traveled to Phoenix, Death Valley, Yosemite, then through the Northwest all the way to Alaska. From Alaska, their travels took them north across Canada to Newfoundland. From their blog, Travels in the Earwig, I learned that they
"have driven to: the most Westerly (Homer, Alaska), the most Northerly, (Yellowknife, North West Territories), most Easterly (Cape Spear. Newfoundland), and now at Key West (the most Southerly) points on the North American Continent. We didn’t start our journey intending to achieve these milestones."
Oh, the things they have seen: the Dempster Highway in Alaska, the Canadian Rockies, Cape Breton Island (where they were able to attend the Celtic Colors Music Festival) and the Cabot Trail; Boston, New York, Washington DC, Gettysburg, Blue Ridge Parkway, Nashville, Grand Ol' Opry, Huntsville's NASA Space Center, Tallahassee and Key West Florida; a cruise to Nassau, Bahamas; Cape Canaveral, Kennedy Space Center, and Walt Disney World.

Eunice, Louisiana, impressed them with their parade during Mardi Gras. Called the Run, this  parade of horses and costumed characters on flatbeds starts in the countryside and makes its way into Eunice. 

Ian and Pen particularly enjoy going to music festivals or music entertainment venues, such as the Grand Ol' Opry. In addition to live music, they have a large collection of music they listen to when they travel.

Now here they are at Travelers World RV Resort enjoying all that San Antonio has to offer. Yesterday, they went to the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo to watch Xtreme Bull Riding, and they loved it. Today they opted to spend time at The Alamo.

When asked what surprised them most about the U.S., they replied, "The 'generosity of spirit' of the people, and the diversity of the landscape." Wonderful people have greeted them wherever they travel.

From San Antonio, they head off into the sunset toward New Mexico, St. George, Utah, and Las Vegas. Canada and the U.S. are the first two countries they will check off their list of 85 countries they hope to visit during their retirement.

We wish you safe travels on the remainder of your United States itinerary, Ian and Penelope. It was a pleasure meeting and visiting with you.

If you see "The Wiggy" on your travels in the next couple of months, be sure to say hello to Ian and Pen. They are delightful. Or you can keep up with them on their Facebook page: Travels in the Earwig.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Rodeo and Pat Benatar - Friday, Feb. 26, 2016

The show must go on. I'll explain later in the blog.

My work allowed me to leave a little early to head over to the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo with Bob. We have tickets tonight, Friday, Feb. 26, for the semi-finals of the rodeo, followed by a Pat Benatar and husband, Neil Giraldo, concert.

The rodeo starts at 7:30 pm, and the concert follows about 9:30 pm. The rodeo is held at the AT&T Center and Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio.

We found parking across the street from the carnival midway, so that's where we entered the grounds. No rides for us, but it was fun to see the carnival.
Great kiddie ride.




We arrived just in time for Bob to see the BMX stunt show. The vantage point and sun angle were awesome for picture taking this evening.

Pretty good trick!
Flying high
Jumping completely over father and son!
Can you spot both bikers?
Pretty cool trick, I think.
The bike almost got away. LOL.
Upside down in the flip
Tough cowboy dad with a tiger in his pocket.
After the BMX bikes, we headed straight for the turkey legs! 

Nom, nom, nom.
Now you see it...
...now you don't! Glad we could share!
We didn't eat dessert here, but it looked good!
Instead of dessert at one of the food stands, we shopped around the exhibits and ended up with toffee, taffy and chocolate-covered pecans to eat during the rodeo. [Note: We had leftover desserts to take home!]

All of our "looking around" time was used up and it was time for the rodeo. The AT&T Center where the indoor rodeo is held (and where the San Antonio Spurs play, though not at the same time!) recently underwent a major renovation. One new thing was a huge, colorful mural on the wall next to the escalators.

Big, colorful mural above the escalators
Our seats were pretty high up in the arena. Our row was mostly empty when we arrived so we didn't have to climb over people to get to our assigned seats. All the following photos were taken from these seats.


The opening flag ceremony took place first, followed by a female lieutenant singing the National Anthem. 

Presentation of Texas and rodeo flags
 Then the U.S. colors were presented.
Look at all that silver decor on the horses.

So patriotic

Let the rodeo begin! First was bareback riding; next was steer wrestling.

Steer wrestling. Gotta. Get. This. Steer. Down. NOW!
Next was the ever-popular mutton bustin'. This is when little kids are put on the back of a sheep and try to ride it across the arena. A four-year-old girl won. She just wouldn't let go...made it across the arena and two adults had to lift her off the sheep!

There she goes! She's got a good grip on that wool.
And here's our little winner with Miss Rodeo. Her prize
is that honkin' big belt buckle from State Farm Insurance.

On to team roping where two cowboys on horseback rope a steer: one ropes the steer around the neck; the other ropes the steer around both feet.

Team roping
Team roping
The last four events were saddle bronc riding, tie down roping, barrel racing and bull riding. These events are very exciting!

Saddle bronc riding
Saddle bronc riding
This horse went all out!
The wild mustangs
Tie-down roping
Tie-down roping
Tie-down roping
Barrel racing
Barrel racing
Bull riding.
All of the semifinal events had winners except bull riding. Something was making the bulls crazy tonight! One bull that must have weighed about 2,000 lbs came out of the chute and kept jumping straight up into the air with all four feet off the ground. It was like a Jack Russell terrier: up/down/up/down/up/down. Most of the other bulls were whirling dervishes going around and around.

To win, a cowboy must stay on the bull for eight seconds. Only eight seconds. Only. Ha! Most of them were thrown off within 4-5 seconds. One cowboy made it to 7.91 seconds. He was so disappointed! If a cowboy does not stay on for eight seconds, he doesn't win the whole pot of prize money for that event. So tonight, because no one stayed on a bull for eight seconds, the prize money was divided evenly between the six cowboys. And this is the semifinals. These are the best of the bull riders in the rodeo.


With the semifinals over, our price of admission to the rodeo included a concert. Tonight we get to see Pat Benatar and her husband Neil Giraldo (who used to play with The Derringers). So, after the rodeo ended, a revolving stage was brought out and set up for the concert.

Here we are just before the concert started..

Bob and Susan
As stated at the beginning of this blog: the show must go on. Two nights earlier, Pat Benatar cancelled her concert at The House of Blues in Houston, Texas, so she could attend her mother's memorial service. I'm amazed she was back on the road so quickly.

The Pat Benatar concert was awesome. She is my favorite female rocker, followed by Joan Jett. I sang along, Bob didn't, though I'm pretty sure he enjoyed the show. Her husband, Neil Giraldo (AKA Spyder) is a wonderful rock guitarist and played with Rick Derringer, Kenny Loggins and Rick Springfield. He also produced music for a couple of very famous musicians, wrote songs for other artists, and composed music for movies.

Pat Benatar
The whole band
An intimate moment with her husband, Neil Giraldo
Neil Giraldo and their bassist
Pat Benatar
Pat Benatar
If you are ever in San Antonio during the middle of February, make sure you spend time at the Stock Show and Rodeo! It is so much fun.






Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A Day at the Stock Show - Mon., February 22

Sunday night thunder and lightning, plus intermittent bouts of heavy rain woke us up.

Rodeo-goers staying at Travelers World RV Resort
Today, I plan to go to the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo. Bob is working all day, so he can't make it.

Forecasts predict rain ending about 10:00 a.m. Just to be safe, I don't head out the door before 1:00 pm. It's still cloudy as I drive to the AT&T Center/Freeman Coliseum.

Once parked, I made my way into the grounds of the stock show and rodeo. The first show barn I entered was swine. It looked like there was about to be a show or competition as the owners were brushing and oiling their pigs.

Walking around the grounds, you never know what you'll see. I came upon this cowboy out exercising his horse.


And these youngsters were practicing their lassoing skills on the fake steer.

Practicing steer roping
Then I headed over to the horse show arena and watched barrel racing. There are tractors that work like Zambonis only they rake the arena after a few barrel racers go through. None of my barrel racing photos turned out well...they were going too fast. I'll have to work on my shutter speed before we go to the rodeo Friday night!

The weather was very good in the afternoon. No high winds and the temperature was about 70-72 degrees with cloud cover.

Last year, we didn't go into the Rodeo Hall of Fame, so I made my way there. On one wall there are photos of all the grand champion bulls that have sold during the stock show over the years and the price paid for them. Back in the late 1930s, a bull brought in about $18,000.  Today, a grand champion bull bought at the auction is over $100,000. Wow! That's a lot of bull.

Stock Show & Rodeo Hall of Fame
History of the Stock Show & Rodeo

Beautiful performance costumes and ornamentation for the horse
The Western saddle below was donated to the Hall of Fame by Rodeo Announcer Randy Corley to whom the saddle was awarded in 2015 by the PRCA. This is Corley's 12th time winning Rodeo Announcer of the Year. Corley was a bareback and bull rider at amateur rodeos more than 30 years ago. As a result of his first-hand knowledge of rodeos and his big personality, he has received announcing honors across the country. This is his 17th year announcing at the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo.

Beautiful saddle!
The San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo is no stranger to winning awards either. It has won PRCA's Largest Indoor Rodeo for 11 years straight!

Award banners for Largest Indoor Rodeo
After spending time in the Hall of Fame, I wandered over to Brad's World Reptiles and  examined snakes, iguanas, a legless lizard, scorpions, frogs, trantulas, and turtles. More on those later.

The one show I didn't want to miss was the BMX bike stunt show at 3:30 pm. After settling into my spot on the bleachers, it wasn't long until the show started. The show had two parts: the BMX stunts on the ground, and the BMX stunts on the ramps and in the air.

Warming up
Instructions from the announcer
Catching some air
"Look, Ma, no hands."
Flying high
New way to ride a bike...
Looks like too much work!
He let go with his hands and feet!
Feet to the side

He's doing a 360 turn in the air.
Dual tricks
One in the air over the other
Leaps tall buildings in a single bound.
Doing head-over-heels flip
The end of the show
My next stop was the Texas Wildlife Expo. A reptile show was scheduled for 4:30 p.m., so after I looked at the animals from Victoria Zoo, I went to the shopping arenas.

Screech owl
Awww-celot (ocelot)
Shopping at the rodeo...

Awesome artsy dress
A real fox purse and fox vest
Belts in all colors, sizes and sparkles
Love all the Happy Campers!
A hide with this colorful scene embroidered on it. Wow!
After shopping where you could buy anything from saddles, to outdoor BBQ kitchens, to cowboy boots, to art, to old movies, I headed back to the wildlife expo for their 4:30 show.

One of the only frogs with teeth
Snapping turtle
Australian spiny lizard
Apparently these make good pets.
Ball python
Ball python
Whispering sweet nothings
Caiman
Ball python
After all the shows and shopping, I was ready for dinner. I checked out the food court options and decided on a Reuben sandwich with an ice cream cone for dessert. I passed up the Hot Beef Sundae (mashed potatoes topped by beef with gravy over all, and some cheese sprinkles), the turkey leg (my favorite, but too big to eat alone), Yakisoba noodles (my second favorite, but again too much to eat alone), and myriad other food court favorites. Desserts offered were deep-fried Kool-aid, deep-fried Oreos, deep-fried Twinkies, deep-fried butter, deep-fried cinnamon rolls, funnel cakes, chocolate-dipped cheesecake on a stick, chocolate brownies, strawberry shortcake ($10.00!!!), and so much more. If the Strawberry Shortcake wasn't so expensive, I would have opted for that. My ice cream cone (not a Waffle cone) was $4.00.

What a day. I headed home after dinner.

Yee haw!