Suspension Bridge, Waco, Texas, September 27, 2018

Suspension Bridge, Waco, Texas, September 27, 2018
Suspension Bridge, Waco, Texas, September 27, 2018

Monday, January 1, 2018

Out with the Old - Sunday, December 31, 2017

Did I mention I had five days off in a row, and now it's six? Wow, I feel like I got a whole vacation!

Last week, Delia asked me to trade Sun., Dec. 24, for Thurs., Dec. 28. I worked Sunday and she worked Thursday. That gave me Thursday through Monday off which included Monday's holiday. [NOTE: How we got an extra paid day off: Sun Communities had a challenge that if "x" number of manufactured homes were sold by year end (in parks that sell homes), everyone in the company would receive an extra paid day off. Those parks completed enough sales for us to have that extra day, and Tuesday is my day off with pay. Very nice! Thank you to everyone who made that extra effort!]

For New Year's, Bob and I were going to go to Fredericksburg, Texas, for two Volksmarches. However, Bob got the flu and could not go. He was achy all over, chilled, and had a bad headache. I was just about over my mild cold and I went. 

On a chilly Sunday morning, I drove to Fredericksburg and checked in for the day walk at 11:00 a.m. It was 33 degrees. My friends Susan and Darren had already started the walk, but they went to lunch. I was maybe a mile into the walk when I stopped to take a photo of the historic peanut factory.

Fredericksburg's historic peanut factory buildings
As I was putting my camera away, Susan and Darren caught up to me. They were doing the 5k walk as well. It was nice to have my buddies to walk with. The first half of our walk was mostly residential.

Just as we were coming up to our walk checkpoint, I saw a man and his puppy. The puppy looked just like him. I asked if I could take their photo and he said, "Yes." I asked if people tell him that his puppy looks like him, and he said, "All the time."
Joe and his pup, McLovin
With the first half of our walk and checkpoint stop complete, we continued on our walk and got confused by the instructions which had a couple of wrong turns listed. As we walked down the street we really weren't supposed to be on, we had someone with a telephoto lens taking our photos. Turns out, he works for the local paper and was doing a story on the walk. He was looking for people walking who were carrying the green sheet of walk instructions. Wow, we may have our photos in the Fredericksburg newspaper! He was using the same walk instructions we were and apparently we were the only ones who hadn't been given the corrections to the walk turns, so he found us.

The second part of the walk was down Main Street, past all the shops. It's so fun to look in all the windows, but we didn't take time to shop today.

Gillespie County Court House
The store below (Rustlin' Rob's Texas Gourmet Foods) is a favorite to shop in. They put out samples of jams, jellies, mustards, salsas, BBQ sauce, etc., and put out crackers or pretzel sticks to use for taste testing. You can eat your way around the store. Not today for us, though.

Susan and Darren window shopping
Fredericksburg was founded by Germans in the mid-1800s and many German traditions are upheld here. There is a Marktplatz in the center of town with a Vereins Kirche (now a museum). 

All about the Marktplatz
Susan in front of the Tannenbaum
When we Volksmarch, we earn pins and badges for kilometers and events walked. In addition, we can earn or buy badges. Below is a photo of my friend Susan's fleece jacket with some of the gorgeous patches she has acquired for completing various special programs.

Susan Medlin's badge jacket
Below is a 26-foot-tall, wooden, hand-carved Christmas pyramid. We'll be back to look at all this tonight.

26' tall Christmas pyramid
Vereins Kirche Museum in the Marktplatz
 Tonight's festivities at the Marktplatz are listed on the sign below.

Sign denoting Fredericksburg's sister city in Germany
After the Marktplatz, we scurried back to the Gillespie County Historical Society building where the Volksmarchers will hold their New Year's Eve activities. We checked in from our walk, had our books stamped by the wonderful volunteers, and chatted for a bit. We were thawing out, too. 

The plan for the afternoon was to check into our motel (Days Inn), for me to grab lunch, and then see a movie in the evening (Jumanji 2). Once we finished the movie, we would do the night-time 5k walk (that everyone else will be doing at midnight). We would then prepare snacks for the Volksmarch New Year's Eve Party. The party is from 10:30 pm to midnight. At 12:01 a.m., those who want to brave the cold can do a 5k or 10k walk to ring in 2018.

My experience checking into Days Inn was not good. When I arrived, I was given a room, went and unloaded all my stuff from the car. The room looked old and worn with mold or mildew on the ceiling in the bathroom. Ugh. But it was only for one night. As I went out the door of my room to go get lunch, I locked the door. Then I shook the handle to make sure it was locked. The door pushed open. I tried it again, four different times, and I could not get the door to stay locked.

I hauled all my stuff out to the Escape pod and locked it up. Then I walked down to the office to report I needed a different room because the door would not stay locked. Instead of just putting me in another room, he had his maintenance guy walk back up to the room to test the door. Same result: The door would not stay locked. 

I walked back to the office and was given another room. The maintenance guy came with me to make sure the door would stay locked. It did. I also inspected the room. The front drapes had two of the hooks at the top hanging off, so the maintenance guy got those put back up. I looked around the rest of the room and noticed there were no bath towels. We traipsed back down to the office and I was given bath towels. 

When I went back to the room, I noticed in the bathroom there was a plunger next to the toilet. The other room had not had a plunger in the bathroom. Uh oh, what could this mean? I flushed the toilet and the water came up, but it didn't flush down. I tried again two more times, same result. I went back down to the office and the maintenance guy came back up with me. He used the plunger as hard as he could three times before the toilet finally flushed. So, I got to stay in that room. 

It looked like the carpet hadn't been vacuumed in a week and there were hairs on the top front edge of the bathtub. When I hadfirst looked at the outside of the room, it looked like someone had bent the window screen. I checked the windows and they weren't locked. I locked both windows. My mantra: "Just one night...just one night." I guess you get what you pay for. All the nicer motels and hotels were getting $200 to $400 per night. I paid $56 for the night and I survived. Susan and Darren were staying in the Days Inn too, so at least I had friends nearby.

For lunch, I went to the Sozial Club and had a BLTA. It was okay. I don't think I'd order it again. The Sozial Club's specialty is pizza, but I couldn't eat a whole pizza by myself.

Jumanji 2 was playing at 5:45 p.m. so I had time to read part of my book and relax. Susan, Darren, and I loved Jumanji 2. We thought it was hilarious and exciting. It was much better than the first Jumanji movie. 

If you're not familiar with the story, Jumanji is an ancient game. Four high-school kids stuck in detention in an old room of their school, find a dusty machine with a "Jumanji" cartridge in it. They all wonder what it is. The geek of the group figures out how to make the machine work. Each of the kids has to choose a character to play in the game. 

They get sucked through the machine into a different world and all have been changed into their characters. Their arms have three bars, indicating the number of lives they have in the game. If they tap on their chest, a screen comes up telling them their strengths and weaknesses in the game. 

The action and interaction of the characters was great fun. You got to learn about each person's motivations and fears. Some deep emotions came out during game play and the kids developed a deeper understanding of each other.

After the movie, we played around at the Jumanji display.

Jumanji display at the theater
From the theater, we went to the Historical Society. Susan made sure the meatballs in the Crock Pot were getting hot. My plans changed as I was going to do the walk at midnight, but decided to go with Susan and Darren from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. The temperature was 24 with a wind chill of 14. There was a light, sleety rain coming down. I'm shivering just thinking about it!

We set out on the 5k walk. I have to say, doing the walk at night with all the Christmas lights and decorations was quite lovely. Our pace was quick, though. 

After a few blocks in a neighborhood, we spent most of our walk on Main Street. 

Church lights
Pioneer Memorial Library
Gillespie County Courthouse (compare this
with the daytime photo above)
Fredericksburg General Store
Because of the cold, we were dressed in multiple layers. I had so many clothes on, I told Susan I felt like the Stay-Puft marshmallow man from Ghostbusters. She said she felt like the Michelin Man. But our choice of warm clothing paid off. I was comfortable everywhere except my face and lungs. When we started out, my lungs hurt from breathing the cold air. Thankfully, I had a scarf around my neck. I wrapped the scarf up over my nose to protect my face and it helped, but it caused my glasses to fog up. Sigh. Breathing through the scarf made it so my lungs didn't hurt.

Ritzy window display
Another window display
Downtown Fredericksburg, TX
Attention-getting vehicle for a gallery
Quite unique
Cute decorations outside a wine store
Admiral Nimitz Museum
And then we returned to Marktplatz at night. It was just gorgeous. There was a live country western band playing in one tent. Another tent had an ice-skating rink. Not many people were there yet, but it was just cranking up when we got there at 9:15 p.m.

Marktplatz park all lit up
O Tannenbaum!
26-foot-tall, hand carved Christmas pyramid
Marktplatz park lights
Ready for the Ball Drop at midnight
Gillespie County Historical Society stained glass windows
The Marktplatz park was only a couple of blocks away from the end of our 5k walk. While we were away, the hall was decorated for the party. It looked so festive.

Once back at the historical society building, we finished prepping and setting up the food for the New Year's Eve Party. Susan had warmed up BBQ meatballs in the Crock Pot, made her Artichoke Heart dip in the toaster oven, and had spinach dip as well. We washed and cut up veggies for the veggie tray. Susan also baked a Texas Sheet Cake and boy was it good! Other people brought snacks as well so we weren't going to go hungry!

Part of the snack buffet, move arrived later
Guests started arriving at 10:30 p.m. We ate, drank, and made merry.

Richard and Cathy, early arrivals to the party
Just before midnight, we had a countdown and then, "Happy New Year's" ensued.

As soon as everyone was done wishing Happy New Year, those who wanted to do their first walk of the New Year were given instructions as they headed out the door. 

Then we cleaned up the food and headed back to the motel. 

Happy New Year to you and yours!

1 comment:

  1. As someone who blogs about his walking and cycling and drags a camera and monopod walking stick along on walks I loved this post and photos.
    Living in Houston and not being a motorist I still hope to explore beyond just Harris County.

    The Mad Houstonian


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