Sunset, Kailua-Kona, The Big Island, Hawaii, March 11, 2024

Sunset, Kailua-Kona, The Big Island, Hawaii, March 11, 2024
Sunset, Kailua-Kona, The Big Island, Hawaii, March 11, 2024

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Walkin' the Malls -- Thurs., Feb. 28

42 degrees outside, cloudy, with a cold wind blowing in our faces and we decided to do a 10K (6.2 mile) walk? What were Peri and I thinking? We met at 10:30 a.m. at the San Marcos Tanger Outlet Mall Visitor Center where the walk box is located. After signing in, we headed out the door and basically walked the outer perimeter of two strip malls: Tanger and Premium Outlets.

Peri prepared for the cold way better than I did. I had on a fleece sweater with a T-shirt under it. She loaned me an extra pair of gloves she had in the truck. I was so thankful because the wind had a very cold bite to it, it went right through the fleece. 

Nice architecture on the Premium Outlets side.
These signs reminded me of Europe.
The view from outside the arches.
And the view from inside the arches.
But no Golden Arches here. The restaurants included Cracker Barrel, Outback Steakhouse, Subway (two locations), Johnny Rockets, River Grille, Wendy's, Taco Bell and a food court. About an hour into our walk, we stopped in the food court for lunch. Peri had a foot long turkey sandwich and I went to the Italian place and had a side of mac 'n' cheese with marinara sauce added to it. My lunch wasn't very big. Because Subway is having their "Februany" $5 foot long special, Peri bought the foot long because it was the same price as a 6" sandwich. She couldn't eat all of hers and offered half to me. Thank you, Peri. Your sandwich choice was very good. 

All in all it was a fun walk because we got to window shop along the way...check out all the colorful spring fashions. The following shoes are for your self protection, ladies. All you need is a bruiser dog collar and some big spiky bracelets. If your "dogs are barkin'," these are the shoes for you. LOL.

Who let the dogs out??
1960s revisited?
Neiman Marcus. See how pretty the day turned out?
I was intrigued by the 24-hour clock on Neiman Marcus. On the outside ring are Roman numerals up to 24; the inside ring has signs of the zodiac.

We had a choice on our 10k of walking two 5Ks (basically walking the mall twice) or walking the mall once, then walking three miles round trip on a sidewalk along a busy street. We chose to walk the mall twice. That way if we got really cold we could go into a store or restaurant and warm up. Plus we had the windbreak protection of the mall stores. I'm very happy we didn't walk on the main street. We would have been blasted by the wind coming from cars and trucks.

We could hardly believe how soon our walk was over. I guess Peri and I could say we Volksmarched into March.

Peri invited us to go with them to the Austin Kite Festival this coming Sunday. We will drive up to San Marcos and ride with them the rest of the way to Austin. Maybe we'll get in another Volksmarch in Austin. We'll play it by ear and see if it fits into our day.

Here are our watchcats. They keep an eye on the RV park for us, sort of, when they're not sleeping.

Bowie and Sunnie
Bob enjoyed his basketball last night. He went to the Spurs game with a co-worker. Then he came back to the 5er and watched the Portland Trailblazers. Unfortunately both teams lost at the end, but the games were exciting. As he watched the Blazer game, Bowie claimed his usual spot on the footrest lodged between Bob's legs.

Bowie bonding with "dad."
That's all folks.

Travel Bug out.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Snowbird Tax Article -- From Woodall's 2/13/2013

Cuckoo! Cuckoo!

I just had to share this article. If you've already seen it, just ignore it; but if you haven't, I think this is the stupidest idea I've seen in a long time. It's just plain bird-brained.

Are You Ready for a Snowbird Tax?

The state of Florida has it right. If Minnesota enacts this tax, Florida would make a mighty good home for the snowbirds to migrate to...and STAY. Then if they wanted to, they could visit Minnesota for a week or two at a time.

Who  has time to think up these ridiculous taxes? Politicians, that's who.

As Bob would say, "Susan, why don't you tell us what you really think?"

Well, I think that's pretty clear in this instance.

Travel Bug out.

One Day They're Bare, the Next Day... -- Wed., Feb. 27

they're all leafed out. I love spring. (Even though it's not REALLY spring yet by the calendar, the plants in this part of Texas think otherwise!) The newly green leaves on the trees look so vibrant and alive waving in the breeze. As reported on Sunday, the bluebonnets and firewheels are starting to bloom. If we were in the Northwest (our home for over 30 years), the crocus and daffodils would be coming up, but we'd be in rain, cold and gray, murky days. Here in San Antonio, it is sunny and 63 degrees at 2:30 p.m. Very pleasant.

Tonight Bob is going with one of his co-workers to the Spurs game. He will have a blast! I get to go once in a while too.

Tomorrow, Peri and I will do a Volkswalk around the outlet malls (Premium Outlets and Tanger Outlets) in San Marcos, Texas. I bet that walk will take a lot longer than usual what with all the window shopping! There are also restaurants at the malls and surely we will need to eat. Can you believe we will do 6.2 miles around an outlet mall? Believe me when I say that place is huge.

Our new next-door neighbors moved in at the RV park. I haven't met them yet, but they have a gorgeous seal-point Siamese cat who sits and suns in the front window.

Welcome to our new followers, Sam and Donna of 5th Wheel Vagabonds. Sam spent 4 years in a Navy Rescue Helicopter Squadron as a rescue aircrewman, then 30 years in Law Enforcement retiring with the rank of sergeant, unretired, and spent seven years as the chief of a small community, retired again, and drove a motorcoach for Trailways as a retirement job. Donna worked in the trucking industry and as an accountant. I bet they have a lot of interesting stories to tell. Thanks for joining us on our journey.

So that's it for today, short and sweet. I'm off to Petco for Sunnie's canned food.


Enjoy the rest of your Wednesday.

Travel Bug out and about.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

When Bloggers Meet... Tues., Feb. 26

...friendship blooms. Or, in the case of Karen, friendship looms. You see Karen is a very crafty person, a fiber artist. She makes beautiful weavings on her loom. She has an Etsy website (currently on vacation) on which she sells sea shells, oops, I mean hats, socks, and rugs. If you want to learn more about fiber arts, she has a Loom-a-tic Workshop with instructional DVDs.

I have been following her blog for a while. When Colleen of Traveling with the Long Dogs told me Karen was going to be in our RV park, both of us were delighted and wanted to meet her. Wouldn't you know, Karen and Steve are in the site next to us. When they were parked and situated, they came over and we talked for a while. Colleen arrived from Schertz, Texas, a half-hour later.

Karen and Steve
Steve and Karen wanted to see Riverwalk and The Alamo. We started out by going to lunch around 1:30 p.m., but that took longer than we thought it would.

Karen & Steve at Taqueria Guadalajara.
Colleen, Susan, Karen & Steve
Next we went to Mission San Jose where we caught a 45-minute, ranger-led tour through the mission grounds. People were asking about the round "balls" in the trees. She explained that they are called ball moss and are epiphytes. Epiphytes do not cause damage to the trees and live in harmony with the tree. Mistletoe, also in the mesquite trees, is a parasite and competes with the tree for nutrients and water.

Ball moss in the mesquite tree.
Our ranger talks about ball moss.
The ranger also pointed out the following golden-fronted woodpeckers.

Golden-fronted woodpecker.
I had to use a strong zoom on this so the bird is hard to see.
Steve and Karen in front of the mission church door.
Inside the church sanctuary.
Detail of the cement work over the church door.
The altar area.
Pretty flower on the mission grounds. Identification anyone?
Spanish Dagger blooming (Yucca agavaceae)
Steve checking out the Mission San Jose Bastion.
When the tour was over we finished looking around inside the mission. Before we knew it, it was 4:15 p.m. and The Alamo closed at 5:00 p.m. Whoa, Nellie! We would be hard pressed to make it downtown, find parking and tour The Alamo in that amount of time.

We decided to finish at Mission San Jose by watching the movie, briefly scanning the museum and looking in the gift shop. From the mission we headed back to the RV park, passing by the old drive-in theater which is being refurbished. Here is what the newly painted facade looks like. At night, the painting is outlined in white neon which looks very retro and beautiful.

Once back at the RV park, we sat in Steve and Karen's MH shooting the breeze. Then it was time for Colleen and I to say our good-byes for the night. Karen told us to wait a minute because she had something for us. She then handed us each a pair of socks she made! What a sweetheart. The socks are nice and thick and will be toasty on cold nights. Thank you, Karen! We are happy ladies.

Colleen, Karen, Susan, Duke
Then Karen and Steve were off to explore the Riverwalk and have dinner. You'll have to check out her blog for the rest of their evening out.

We want to welcome new subscribers JWB (no name or website given), and Karen and Steve of RVing: The USA is Our Big Backyard. Karen and Steve set out full-time RVing and after five months bought another sticks-and-bricks house which they have been making their own. Now they have the best of both worlds, a stationary place to call home and a home on wheels. 

Time to call it a night. It's "a night!"
'Til tomorrow, sleep tight.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Blowin' in the Wind -- Mon., Feb. 25

Our strong winds at the RV park Olympics yesterday afternoon were just the tip of the iceberg. (Oh wait...that's a mixed metaphor.) Today, the winds whipped up into a frenzy. This morning I woke up to the sound of something hitting the top of the RV and making a racket up there. It sounded like it hit, then scraped across and fell off because the noise was quickly gone. I don't think it did any damage, probably a small branch off the tree.

The RV was rockin'. Winds gusted up to 50 mph in San Antonio; outlying areas had gusts to 62 mph. On the news tonight were reports of metal roofs coming off a few buildings, trees uprooted and fires here and there. When the winds were going strong, you could hear the roar.

Amarillo, Texas, up in the panhandle, had a blizzard today that broke records from 50 years ago. They had snow and 75 mph winds. I'm glad that stayed to the north. Hopefully no RVers got caught in that storm.

Speaking of RVers...While sitting in the 5th wheel, I watched as groups of RVers piled into the park today, six at one time, three at another, two more sitting out in front of the building. RV park workers knew they were coming and were out front directing people which lane to go down so they could get everyone in off the main street. I can't imagine being out traveling in an RV in this wind. I bet they were happy to come (in from the storm) to our little enclave.

If anything lightweight was left outside today it probably ended up along a fence or at someone else's campsite. I found a pot holder on our patio. Underneath our neighbor's 5er is a small, rectangular red reflector light cover. It's not from our or our neighbor's rig, doesn't match. I saw outdoor rugs blown into heaps.

I ventured out to the post office and Walmart this afternoon. A few smaller branches were on the side streets, no big trees like the ones we saw on the news. Flags were standing straight out and my hair was blowin' in the wind!

When I went to the laundry room, I had to make sure to have a tight grip on all the laundry in the basket so it didn't fly across the RV park. For once there was no one else in the laundry room this Monday afternoon. Usually I'm fighting for machines on a Monday. Why is it that people do their laundry on a Monday? I know my Mom always did. Is Monday designated laundry chore day? I've tried to vary the days that I do laundry, but today we needed clean clothes, so Monday it was.

San Antonio art along the Museum Reach of the Riverwalk was damaged in the wind. Underneath one of the freeway overpasses hangs an art display of fish. A number of the fish broke due to the wind. We've seen them during the day. However, I've always wanted to see them at night when they light up. Here are pictures from a previous blog of the fish I'm talking about...

The photo below is of a plaque along the Riverwalk showing what the fish look like at night when they're illuminated. I hope they can repair the fish because I'd really like to see them at night.

The winds are supposed to die down tonight. Tomorrow should be a much calmer day. I plan to relax because it seems like all we've been doing for the last week is go, go, go.

On another note, The Mamas and Papas sang these lyrics, "Monday, Monday, can't trust that day. Monday, Monday, sometimes it just turns out that way. Oh, Monday mornin' you gave me no warning of what was to be..." (oh wait, there was a warning with a branch on the roof); scratch that.

I leave you with Bob Dylan's lyrics to "Blowin' in the Wind." Such a great song and it certainly came to mind today.
How many roads most a man walk down
Before you call him a man ?
How many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand ?
Yes, how many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they're forever banned ?
The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

Yes, how many years can a mountain exist
Before it's washed to the sea ?
Yes, how many years can some people exist
Before they're allowed to be free ?
Yes, how many times can a man turn his head
Pretending he just doesn't see ?
The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

Yes, how many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky ?
Yes, how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry ?
Yes, how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died ?
The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind.
Travel Bug has not been blown away. Have a good Tuesday everyone.

12K Walk and RV Park Olympics -- Sun., Feb. 24

Our day started out at 9:47 a.m. when we hit the Riverwalk in front of the RV park for a 12K (7.44 mile) walk from Mission San Jose to Mission Conception and back. We've done it before, but it's so convenient to where we're staying we'll probably do it again.

Part of the walk was along Mission Road.
We got a big kick out of St. PJ's Counseling Center. We're picturing saints in their PJ's. However, upon closer inspection, St. PJ's is short for St. Peter and St. Joseph.

The entrance gate to the Home of St. Peter's and St. Joseph's.

Lantana on the corner of a yard.
The public golf course was busy this morning!
Nice, wide sidewalk along Mission Rd.--next to golf course.
We saw the usual birds on (or next to) the river: cormorants, great white egrets, Northern shovelers and coot. There were also two turtles sunning on a rock in the river. But the nicest surprise today were the early signs of spring in south Texas. We saw our first bluebonnets, the yellow fuzz-ball blooms of the Huisache (sweet acacia) tree, Indian Blanket (firewheel), and pink evening primrose. I was so thrilled to see the first bluebonnets next to the trail. I hope they're still blooming at the end of March when my mom and sister visit from Oregon.

Texas state flower: bluebonnets
The next flowers are called Indian Blanket or firewheel. Quite a few of these plants were blooming along the Riverwalk. Pretty good for February.

Firewheel or Indian Blanket
Pink evening primrose.
Following are the prolific blooms on the Huisache tree, also known as the sweet acacia. The common name, Huisache, is derived from Nahuatl and means many thorns. In southern Europe this species is planted extensively for its flowers which are used in making perfume.

Huisache blooms.
Five main missions lined the San Antonio River during the 1700s: Mission San Antonio de Valero (The Alamo), Mission Nuestra Senora de la Purisima Concepcion, Mission San Jose, Mission San Juan and Mission Espada. We saw a history marker on our walk today which told of another mission in 1722: Mission San Francisco Xavier de Najera. It was in the general area of the golf course, just south of Mission Concepcion. Being a smaller mission, its Indian neophytes passed into the care of the missionaries at The Alamo in 1726, and the land was granted to Mission Concepcion in 1731.

Great signage along the Riverwalk.

We completed our 7.44 miles in two hours and 15 minutes, returned to the 5er, showered and got ready for the RV park Olympics. We didn't take time to eat lunch. (That was an error in judgment on our part.)

The Olympics were supposed to start at 1:00 p.m., but it was pretty disorganized. There were seven teams of 10 people. Five events required two people from each team to compete to earn points:
  • backward basketball shoot, 
  • ladder (bolo) golf, 
  • washer toss, 
  • Frisbee golf and 
  • towel/bean bog toss.
Wow! The above events took forever to complete. Only one competition went on at a time, so there was a lot of standing around and waiting.

Once all the preliminary events were completed, we moved on to team relay events. Each team of ten raced through five events from start to finish. Once they finished the next team went, etc., until all seven teams had completed their relay events. The relay consisted of each team completing the following events in this order:
  1. Blindfold wheelchair race: One person sat in the wheelchair and a second team member was blindfolded who had to steer the wheelchair through a course of orange cones. The seated person was not blindfolded and had to give directions to the "driver." This event was funny to watch. Good communication and sense of direction (left/right) were key.
  2. Nerf football hockey: Hit a nerf football from the goal line on one side to a bucket on the other side using a hockey stick. Then your other team member takes the nerf football back to the goal bucket on the original side.
  3. Straw Tissue Pass: All ten team members used straws to pass a piece of tissue paper using suction only from person to person. Points were deducted for touching the paper or dropping the tissue. This was made more difficult because of the wind.
  4. Clothing exchange: Four team members competed in this part of the relay. Two people were at each goal line across from each other. One person had to put on huge pants, suspenders and a shirt with help from another team member. Clips on the suspenders, three buttons on the shirt, clasps and zipper on the pants all had to be done. Once the person was dressed, they ran to the other side where two teammates helped undress that person. Then a different team member (one of the helpers) had to get dressed and race back to the start line.
  5. Hula hoop pass: All ten team members participated in this last event. A hula hoop was on the ground. The first person in line stood in the hula hoop, picked it up and passed it over their head to the next person in line. The second person stepped over a line, then dropped the hula hoop. This continued until all people on the team had been through the hula hoop.
By this time, everyone was cold and hungry. As soon as the awards ceremony was over we all headed into the event hall for hot dogs, the fixin's, chili, chips, and brownies--all provided by the RV park. By the time we returned to the RV it was almost 6:00 p.m.!

We watched 60 Minutes and The Amazing Race. Then we watched our Netflix selection, "A Dangerous Method," starring Viggo Mortensen as Sigmund Freud, Michael Fassbender as Carl Jung and Kiera Knightly as Sabina Spielrein. The movie was okay and had some interesting moments when the psychology of Freud and Jung, who were friends, was debated by the two.

What a busy weekend! Whew.

Travel Bug out.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Walking with Art, Johnson City, Texas -- Sat., Feb. 23

Once in a while in life a surprise gem turns into a treasure. Today's Volksmarch was once of those times.

The sky was blue, the temperature 72 degrees, and a cool breeze kept us comfortable. At 10:00 a.m. we met Peri and Jim at Benini Galleries and Sculpture Ranch in Johnson City, Texas, for a 10K Volksmarch. This is one of those, "I never would have known this place existed," moments. The Benini's graciously opened up their ranch for today's Volksmarch event sponsored by the Selma Pathfinders Volksmarch Club.

The Benini Gallery--Peri (left) filling out her Volksmarch start card.
Detail of the bird atop the gallery.
By the butterfly garden, was this adorable statue and bird house. (Yes, the statue is small.)

After we signed in, off we went on a great walk through acres of property to see all the sculptures contained therein. I am posting some of my favorites and a few not so favorites so you can see the diversity.

Rock Paper Scissors
Remember When
The Great Benini by Perkins
Mujer Alta by Beckelmann
Higher Education II by McGehearty

Part of "Five Bucks, One Blue" by Benini
Five Bucks, One Blue by Benini
The following sculpture changed color as you walked around it and saw it in different light.

"The Great Mother" by Mother Nature
Beautiful clouds
More beautiful clouds.
Our course was hilly so we got a good workout. The art walk was great because there was lots to look at as we traversed the Hill Country.

Our view as we climbed the hill.
Bob, Jim, Peri (behind Jim) and other walkers.
Laughter Rising by Michelle O'Michael
View of the lower trails.

King of the hill.

Sculptures all along the way...

Top of the hill.

Blue Waterfall and Moon.
Red Cross by Bobby Hamric
The art was along the first 5K of the walk. When we exited the Sculpture Ranch gate, we followed ranch roads through the Hill Country for the next 5K. We saw lots of live oak and some juniper trees.

Long views.
Live oak forest.
Road warriors--Bob, Peri, Jim
Free range--beautiful blazed horse.
A friendly mule.
Bad boys in the desert.
At this point, we re-entered the sculpture ranch. After we checked in at the finish table, we toured the gallery. Gorgeous primary-color paintings and bright secondary colors greeted our eyes.

3-D Wall Sculpture
Up high on the wall...see the ceiling?
I like this one.
The rose is bright emerald green...much prettier than the photo.

If you did not know this gallery was here, the only clue on the main highway (TX 290) is this sculpture of a longhorn and a sign that says, "The Preserve at Walnut Springs."

Very shiny longhorn sculpture.
You see this sign after you turn onto Flat Creek Road.
As usual after walking 10K (6.2 miles), we were hungry. We stopped for lunch at The Country Cupboard. Their menus are pasted on brown paper bags, you remember the big ones?

Brown paper bag menu and Peri hamming it up for the camera.
One of their specials was chicken and dumplings. Peri and I opted for that. Jim chose chicken-fried steak with mashed potatoes and gravy and Bob had the teriyaki catfish. The Country Cupboard has been in business since before Lyndon Baines Johnson was president.

Speaking of LBJ, the second part of our day was to explore the LBJ Ranch (since we were in the neighborhood). All of us piled into Jim and Peri's car for the 13-mile drive to the ranch. Once there, we briefly went in the Visitor Center to find out about the house tour. Peri and I stamped our National Parks Passport books.

Our first stop was the Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm. There wasn't a lot going on here today as far as the living history part, probably because it was late in the day.

Five-day-old piglets. Very cute.
Mama boss hog.
The farm.
Lynx-point Siamese farm cat.
A handsome ram walked right into my photo to say hello.
Mom and her calf.
Saddle and tack room.
From the living history farm we had to hustle to the LBJ home to try to make it on a tour before they closed it down for the day. We arrived just in time to get in with the 4:35 p.m. group. No photos were allowed inside the house, but we could snap away to our heart's content outside. Below is Air Force One-half. This is how LBJ referred to the Lockheed jet that flew him to the ranch.

Lockheed jet, formally referred to as Air Force One with the President on board.
LBJ called it Air Force One-half.
This is where LBJ spent 25% of his presidency. The big live oak in the front yard is 500 years old and is named The Cabinet Tree because LBJ would hold cabinet meetings underneath it.

LBJ ranch house.
You can see supports holding up the branches of the Cabinet Tree.
Their pool.
Ladybird and Lyndon's daughter was Luci. Here's the gift she was given two weeks before her 18th birthday. Nice!

Also on the grounds near the house are buildings for the Secret Service and Communications teams.

About four mobile homes make up the command center.
Lovely butterflies were flitting around and feeding on the mountain laurel plants in the front yard of the ranch. Here are a couple of photos of them.

There's even a spotted beetle to the left of the butterfly!
And what would a trip to the ranch be without a couple of photos of the big, wide-open spaces of the ranch itself?

Wow, you're probably thinking, that's enough for one day. But wait, there's more. After the ranch we all thought Dairy Queen sounded really good. We stopped at the one in Johnson City for Blizzards. As we were sitting eating our Blizzards and sampling each other's flavors, a bizarre little "car" was pulled over by Johnson City's Chief of Police right outside the window of the DQ. The photo op was too good to pass up. Here's what we saw...

A 1988-vintage motorcycle.

Not being very shy about asking strangers questions, I went up to the officer in his car, stuck my head in the window and said, "What is that?" He said, "I don't know, but I'm fixin' to find out. I stopped him because I didn't see a license plate, but now I see it." Frankly, I think the officer stopped him to find out about it and to have his picture taken by it. (Which did happen, by the way. He asked a curious bystander to take his photo next to the motorcycle.)

The rest of the picture.
Pretty soon people were appearing out of nowhere to find out about the strange little vehicle. The owner said he gets stopped by police all the time. I can understand why when he recounted his story to Jim about going 165 mph, saw a policeman up ahead and had slowed it down to 125 mph by the time the policeman clocked him. He said that was a very expensive ticket.

Owner in the blue shirt, his wife is to the right of the officer.
So there you have it...something you don't see every day (or maybe never!).

Welcome to new follower: New Age Nomad. We hope you find some tidbits to keep you interested in coming back.

And that was the end of our fun day with Jim and Peri, other 5th wheel full-timers. You can learn more about them at Tales from the Camping House.

It's getting late and tomorrow is another 10K walk for Bob and I, plus our RV park Olympics will be in the afternoon. I'm on a team called The Internationals and Bob is on the Dixie's Cups team. I will be competing in the washer toss and the team relay. Bob doesn't know yet what he'll be competing in.

And that's life on the road. Travel Bug propping her eyelids up. Good night.