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

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

ZZ Top - Wed., Apr. 30

And here we are, the end of April's A-to-Z Blogging Challenge. I have now completed three years of this great writing exercise. Yippee!

For the letter "Z," I chose ZZ Top, one of the best classic rock bands. How could you not love, "Cheap Sunglasses," "Legs," "Sharp Dressed Man," "Give Me All Your Lovin'," "Rough Boy," "Got Me Under Pressure," "Tube Snake Boogie," "Tush," and "Pearl Necklace"?

"Every girl's crazy 'bout a sharp-dressed man."
ZZ Top, according to Wikipedia, is an American Texas blues, boogie rock, and hard rock band formed in 1969 in Houston, Texas. This is one of the few major-label recording groups to have consisted of the same lineup for over 40 years. Band members are guitarist and lead vocalist Billy Gibbons, bassist and co-lead vocalist Dusty Hill, and drummer Frank Beard.

ZZ Top is known for its strong blues roots and humorous lyrical motifs, relying on double entredres and innuendo. (In other words their songs are about sex, but they're trying to cleverly disguise the lyrics as innocent!) The ultimate performers, ZZ Top even has a trademark look with their chest-length beards.

And who can forget their "Legs" music video with classic cars dispersing dolled-up chicks in sassy heels with sexy ankle socks? Or the "Sharp Dressed Man" music video?

ZZ Top was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. They are the proud recipients of 11 gold records, and 7 platinum (13 multi-platinum) records.

Long live ZZ Top!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Yo-Yos - Tues., Apr. 29

Did any of you play with yo-yos as a kid? I loved my yo-yos and could do some of the simpler tricks: walk the dog, rock the baby, loop the loop, man on the flying trapeze, and around the world.

I was a tomboy back then. Our neighborhood had lots of kids and we could get pretty rough. We played games like "Crash Bikes" where each of us would draw a secret map. Someone would yell "Go" and we'd each follow our maps on our bikes. Invariably we'd end up crashing into each other.

When we weren't crashing bikes, my next door neighbor Susan Diane and I would go door to door in the neighborhood rustling up gossip, news and jokes for our handwritten paper called, "The Newsmonger." I was a writer way back when! We sold them to the neighbors for 10 cents a copy. In our modern times we couldn't do something like this. First off, who needs it with Facebook and Google +? We know everyone's business. Second, we wrote about who was going on vacation and when. Now we'd have to worry about thieves breaking in if we published that kind of info.

Our active neighborhood also played baseball in the street, did handstand, cartwheels and other gymnastic feats, made up episodes of Flash Gordon in the school playground on weekends, roller skated, and played hide and seek throughout the neighborhood. Craziness!

Yo-yos helped inspire a trip down memory lane. What fun things did you do as a young kid?

Monday, April 28, 2014

Xanadu - Mon., Apr. 28

My inspiration for today's blog came from our Wimberley Volksmarch. As we were walking along, I spied the following and immediately I knew my "X" word!

When I think of Xanadu, two entirely different things come to mind:
  1. Site of Xanadu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
    From the UNESCO website: "North of the Great Wall, the Site of Xanadu encompasses the remains of Kublai Khan's legendary capital city, designed by the Mongol ruler's Chinese advisor Liu Bingzhdong in 1256...the site was a unique attempt to assimilate the nomadic Mongolian and Han Chinese cultures. From this base, Kublai Khan established the Yuan dynasty that ruled China over a century, extending its boundaries across Asia. The religious debate that took place here resulted in the dissemination of Tibetan Buddhism over north-east Asia, a cultural and religious tradition still practised in many areas today. The site was planned according to the traditional Chinese feng shui in relation to the nearby mountains and river. It features remains of the city, including temples, palaces, tombs, nomadic encampments and the Tiefan'gang Canal, along with other waterworks."
  2. The 1980 romantic fantasy musical movie "Xanadu" with Olivia Newton-John, Michael Beck and Gene Kelly.

    At the time the movie came out, I fell in love with and bought the movie. When I watched it years later, I thought it was slow and rather silly. I love the concept of the movie, however. A down-and-out artist painting poster-sized reproductions of album covers wanted to freelance as an artist. However, he couldn't make money at it and went back to painting album cover posters for record store advertisements. One day, he is tasked with painting an album cover for a group called The Nine Sisters. A beautiful woman who had kissed him earlier in the day was one of the women on the album cover. He becomes obsessed with finding her. When he finds her, he learns her name is Kira, but that is all she will tell him about herself. Turns out Kira is one of the nine Muses (Terpsichore) of Greek mythology who enter earth through a mural portal painted on the side of a building. Kira encourages Sonny, the artist, to team up with Danny (Gene Kelly), a has-been big band leader turned construction mogul. Together Sonny and Danny create Xanadu nightclub. The music in the movie is wonderful with ELO and Olivia Newton-John singing beautiful songs, including "Xanadu."
You never know from whence inspiration will come!

Travel Bug out.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Draft Day Movie Review - Sun., Apr.27

Continued from previous blog ...

On our way home from Wimberley, we stopped to see "Draft Day" with Kevin Costner and Jennifer Garner. I am not a football fan and have never understood the game, but I loved this movie. The focus of "Draft Day" is on the NFL Draft and the wheeling and dealing that leads up to the draft picks. I even learned some things.

Thoughts and feelings of the players, coaches, owners and general managers were addressed as well as the immense pressure and tension placed upon the general managers of the teams involved. I found the offers and deals to be fascinating. Many strategies were involved.

Kevin Costner did a decent acting job and Jennifer Garner was her charming self, although I felt her character wasn't given a lot of depth. I hated the coach but respected the way Kevin Costner, as General Manager, handled him.

One way I judge movies now is whether or not they put me to sleep. This movie did not make me sleep. I was fully engaged with the story and the characters.

I give this four out of five stars.

Welcome to the Wonderful Wimberley Walk - Sun., Apr. 27

OK, I admit it, I put off my Saturday "W" word until Sunday when we did the Wimberley, Texas Volksmarch. On our 1-1/4 hour drive to Wimberley from San Antonio we had enough mist that I had to use windshield wipers most of the way.

We met Peri and Jim, Susan and Darren, and Susan's friend, Carol, at the Wimberley Community Center, the start point of the Volksmarch sponsored by New Braunfels Marsch- und Wandersgruppe and the Mayor's Fitness Council of Wimberley. Bob made the trip to Wimberley, but had to forgo the walk due to a basketball injury from yesterday. (He rolled his ankle.) He stayed in the air-conditioned community center and read his study book for an accounting exam he will be taking a week from Monday in Dallas, Texas.

Bob with his study text.
While Bob read, five of us headed out together: Jim, Peri and I opted for the 5K (3.1 mile) Volksmarch; Susan, Darren and Carol walked the 10K. The two walks shared the same route until the first checkpoint when our two groups headed in different directions and we agreed to meet for lunch.

Darren, Peri, Jim
Fragrant honeysuckle in bloom.
Dead trees carved into totem poles.
Wimberley shopping area.
Welcome to Texas!
Carol and Susan M.
Heading from downtown to The Blue Hole.
The Blue Hole swimming hole.
Darren, Carol, Jim, Susan A., Peri

Great photo op...Jim "Jimmy" Dean in front of the local
theater's marquee.
Wimberley Players Theater
Following the marked AVA route.
Wonderful Wimberley mural
Look closely at the boots in this photo then see below.
Old boots re-purposed as birdhouses.
Ino'z Brew and Chew
What-cha-ma-call-its and gew-gaws.
Cypress Creek in downtown Wimberley.
Wildflowers currently in bloom.
Luna moth.
Our weather was cloudy, warm and humid, but no rain. However when we reached The Blue Hole, we thought it would feel mighty good to jump in! We didn't though. It would have made for a miserable walk back in wet clothes.

After the 5K walk, we met up with Bob and headed into downtown Wimberley to window shop and look for a lunch place. We made it through two stores before Susan called to say they were finished walking and were driving over to meet us.

Meanwhile, Bob scoped out Ino'z Brew and Chew. It looked good, was close, and that's where we chose to eat. Bob and I both ordered the Grilled Tuna Sandwich. We were expecting tuna salad grilled with cheese. However, we scored. The sandwich was a big hunk of grilled ahi tuna on a whole wheat sourdough bun. Excellent!

After lunch, we took Peri and Jim to Jacob's Well since they had never been there. You can read more about it here.

Jacob's Well in Wimberley, TX
Jacob's Well - popular swimming hole.
Temperature outside today is close to 100 degrees.
After our side trip to Jacob's Well, we dropped off Jim and Peri at their car and headed home. But we didn't quite make it back right away.

To be continued in my next blog....

Friday, April 25, 2014

Vacations - Fri., Apr. 25

What does vacation mean to you? 
  • Is it a time to be off work, stay home, relax, hang out and do things locally (referred to by some as a "staycation")?
  • Does it mean packing up the vehicle, making various and sundry plans (camping, hiking, museums, beach days, whatever), and spending every waking minute traveling or doing something? (In our family we refer to this as a "trip.")
  • Or, do you want others to do the planning, e.g., cruises or guided tours? 
  • How about volunteering with Peace Corps, Habitat for Humanity, Red Cross, or other humanitarian organizations?
  • Maybe you like to do all of the above at different times.
  • And what is vacation to a full-time RVer? Is their whole life a vacation?
Mt. Washburn Volksmarch in Yellowstone National Park.
We are full-time RVers, but due to our circumstances we cannot retire yet and just vacation. We work and "take vacations" in our 5th wheel, even though we live in it full time. One nice thing about our vacations is we take our home with us: cats, belongings, vehicle, food, all our clothes, etc. What's nice is we don't have to think about what to pack. Not only that, but we have a house at the mountains, a house at the beach, a house by a waterfall, a house in a national park. Wherever we park is home.

Jenny Lake on Cascade Canyon Volksmarch,
Grand Tetons National Park
If we do fly or drive only our car to our destination, we have to pack and find a pet-sitter just like we did when we lived in a sticks 'n' bricks house. It's a different kind of vacation because our home isn't with us. We're free of those responsibilities for a short time.

Opossum eating a peach near Bowral, Australia.
In a more intimate sense, vacation means travel to me. I'm never happier than when I'm exploring new places and seeing what an area has to offer.

What makes a difference in destination choices? Weather, exotic animals, Volksmarching, walking and hiking opportunities, interesting sites such as museums, national parks, wildlife refuges, estates (Biltmore, Hearst Castle), gardens, caves, waterfalls, and zoos, cultural choices like comedy clubs, theater, ethnic restaurants, the people, and the surroundings.

Wentworth Falls area, Blue Mountains, Australia
Here's my favorite quote:
"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

In the end, it's all about your attitude and the way you experience the world.

Welcome to new follower Barbara of Me and My Dog ... and My RV. I've been following along with Barbara's (and Katie's) adventure and travel blog for quite some time. Thanks for coming along with us on our travels.

Travel Bug out.

Stuck on U - Thurs., Apr. 24

In our gate guarding get up from June 2012.
OK, this is the first time in the A-to-Z Blogging Challenge that I've been totally stumped on a letter. A "U" letter just isn't presenting itself for a good blog.

I've thought of:
  • under - that sounded too negative: undertaker, underground, underdeveloped, underutilized ... no, not my word.
  • ubiquitous - hmm, what does that mean exactly? Having or seeming to have the ability to be everywhere at once; omnipresent ... nope again.
  • utilitarian - pertaining to usefulness rather than beauty, ornamentation, etc.; designed for use rather than beauty. Sounds too much like a utility knife or an iron. Not my word.
  • understanding - a pretty good word, but not my word.
  • uppity - close, but not quite.
My aha moment, and this just came to me (a day late): unique. I am unique and so are you! Thank you, I take a bow for finally choosing a just-right word.

All it took was putting on the ole thinking cap and some free association.

Travel Bug out.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Texas (State Parks) - Wed., Apr. 23

Today's "T" word in the A-to-Z Blogging Challenge is Texas. More specifically, Texas State Parks we love.

Let's start with the one Susan and I Volksmarched yesterday:

This 10K (6.2 mile) walk hike started out in fine fashion ... straight up the rock. When we arrived at 8:45 a.m., the temperature was perfect at 68 degrees. However, there wasn't a cloud in the sky, so we were happy to start with the hard part first, get it out of the way.

Enchanted Rock - a pink granite batholith
This pink granite "rock" may look big to you, but you're only seeing a fraction of it. This solid rock covers 100 miles underground. What you see is hard rock that has not eroded as fast as the hills around it. Batholith = a very large, irregular-shaped mass of igneous rock, epsecially granite, formed from an intrusion of magma a great depth, esp. one exposed after erosion of less resistant overlying rocks. (World English Dictionary)

Yes, we both had to stop to rest, but I had the camera so it only looks like Susan is resting. Bwahahahaha.

Scenery from part-way up the rock.
Lots of resting on the way up.
The views of Texas Hill Country are getting pretty great now.
The top of the rock has its own little ecosystem. There are small ponds and islands of greenery.
At the top of Enchanted Rock.
Coming down!
Here we are, we survived the climb.
Here are photos of the hike AROUND the big rocks in the park on the Loop Trail, a little over four miles.

Wildflowers in bloom
Unique rock formations
Cacti in bloom
Cousin Itt's family
Strange erosion patterns.
Wine cup wildflower
Raccoon tracks in the mud.
Cacti blooms or berries?
 Susan investigates and, "Yeowch! Those have prickers on them!"

Susan investigates cacti "blooms."
Known as an exfoliation dome, this granite rock continuously "sheds" its outer layers of rock as it expands and contracts. The result is large, curved sheets of rock that can break up and eventually slide down. I wouldn't want to be under one of those slabs when it thunders down!! Regardless of their size, these granite fragments can be pulled down the rock by gravity or held in place by friction. Very interesting geology stuff going on here.
Granite batholith "shedding"
Texas earless lizard, and a fearless one at that!
Toward the end of our walk, a few puffy clouds moved in, we had a nice breeze, and a shady path to keep us a pleasant temperature.

After our walk we were hungry and Fredericksburg was just a few miles down the road. Wheeler's Restaurant was our choice. Susan had a burger, fries and onion rings. I had the #10 German plate with a beef sausage, hot potato salad, red cabbage and sauerkraut. Very tasty.

A couple of other Texas State Parks we really like are: McKinney Falls and Palmetto.

Our pull-through site at McKinney Falls
One of two swimmin' holes at McKinney Falls
Palmetto State Park
Darren and Susan at Palmetto State Park
Travel Bug out.