Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Onward to Iowa

We left John’s cousin Nancy’s place in Richardson, TX on Saturday, April 20th at about 9:30 and reached Big Cabin, OK around 4:00 p.m.  We stayed at our usual spot at Cabin Diesel RV Park.  We were last here in late November of 2007 when we had the motorhome muffler replaced.  Quiet here….as usual…

On Sunday, the 21st, we moseyed on up to Springfield, MO and parked in front of Steve & Mary’s house for a couple of nights.  Steve was gone on a canoeing trip when we arrived, so Mary, John & I entertained ourselves playing with the Wii Fit Plus.  Of course, we all laughed so hard doing it, that John & I just had to go out to Walmart the next day and get our own!  Steve & Mary have done a fab job with their garden/yard, so I had a fun time taking pictures.  We had a nice time visiting, as we always do.  Thanks again for the fantastic meals, too!


Almost to Iowa!  On Tuesday, April 23rd, we left Springfield a bit before 9:00 and pulled into Walnut Woods State Park at a little before 4:00.  We haven’t stayed here before but liked it a lot. We had a lovely dinner with our friend, Max, in downtown Des Moines before he headed back to the office.

The next morning, April 24, we drove over to Jim & Darlene’s house for coffee.  Jim & Dar were good family friends from the Eldora church that my family attended and we had enjoyed seeing them when they visited in Alaska years ago.  Glad we were able to touch base with them again as they are preparing to move out east.  Then back to the state park to hitch up the car and head for the farm.  We arrived there at 3:00 and settled in for a month or so.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Leaving Texas….slowly…

It seems to be taking us awhile to actually leave Texas this spring.  I think this is the first time we’ve actually had some time to explore around here and we’ve really enjoyed it.

On Tuesday, April 10 I did some laundry (in Dick & Karin’s fabulous washer & dryer) and Karin & I did a little more shopping.  I’m still trying to find fabric for a new duvet cover and haven’t had much luck yet.  Karin did steer me to a couple of blankets that were on sale to replace ours that are pretty frayed.

We bade Dick, Karin & Bailey so long on Wednesday, the 11th, at a little after 11 a.m. and headed for Schertz, which is just north of San Antonio.  We had a great time with Dick & Karin in Victoria – thanks for everything, friends!

We pulled into Stone Creek RV Park at about 2:00 and got settled in before hitting the road for some shopping.  We found a “Streets & Trips” at Best Buy for John’s computer (it even has a little GPS, so we’re hopeful that it will work good in the RV) and I finally found a set of sheets at the outlet mall in San Marcos that is close enough color-wise to use as a duvet cover.

We spent the next couple of days, Thursday, April 12 and Friday, April 13, running errands and just dinking around, including a visit to the Riverwalk in San Antonio – one of our favorites.


We also made a first time visit to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin.  It was raining as we arrived but stopped shortly after.  Unknown to us, we managed to come on one of the bi-annual flower sale days.  Huge crowds and we had to wait in line awhile just to get in.  But, then we wandered off down the paths while everyone else “shopped”.


John’s cousin, Judy and her husband, Rick, came up one evening for dinner and a visit.  It’s been fun getting to know them again after all these years!

On Saturday, the 14th, we moved from Schertz to Fredericksburg.  The less than 100 miles was a piece of cake.  We settled in at the Fredericksburg RV Park just a little south of the downtown area.  We quickly decided that we like F’burg!  Great shopping downtown (hardly any of the usual junk/touristy stores) and just a nice size place to hang out in. 

On Sunday, April 15, we met up with RVing friends, Greg & Jean.  Jean & I wandered through the shops while Greg & John explored the Museum of the Pacific War.  They only got through about half of it – it’s big!  The day before John & I had wandered through the local visitor center, where the lady there told us about the concert series that was just finishing up.  So, after Greg & Jean headed back to their RV park, we drove to the local Methodist church for a free concert by pianist, James Dick.  He was good!  We enjoyed it tremendously, although it was a bit strange to realize we were probably the only non-locals there…

Of course, the main reason for coming to this part of Texas was to see the world famous wildflowers.  So, on Monday, April 16 we did a big loop north of town ending up near Buchanan Lake before heading back home.


Last day to explore this area, so on Tuesday, April 17 we headed east of town to the LBJ Ranch.  We took the audio tour and enjoyed seeing the family cemetery & houses and visiting with the rangers at the show barns.  While there, the former president’s grandson “stopped” by in his helicopter, which was kind of fun!  Then we saw “Air Force One Half” and toured the house, which has only recently been opened to the public since Lady Bird’s death.  I especially enjoyed seeing the Friendship Stones behind the house where many famous people engraved their names. 


On our way home, we stopped by Wildseed Farms.  Love this place!  I won’t bore you with all my flower pictures, but here’s a few…


On our way out of Texas, we made a swing west to the town of Granbury to see John’s dad’s cousin, Gene, his wife Ruth, and Ruth’s daughter & husband, Judy & Dewey.  We spent the late afternoon of Wednesday, April 18th getting new tires for the car and then had a nice dinner with everyone at Gene’s favorite restaurant.

Around noon, on Thursday, April 19th, we left Midway Pines RV Park and made the fairly short drive to Richardson to see another of John’s cousins, Nancy, and her husband Jim.  We parked the RV on the street next to their house and had a fun time visiting with them that afternoon and evening.
Thanks, everyone, for your hospitality – it was great!

Tomorrow, we finally leave the great state of Texas for this seasonSmile

Monday, April 9, 2012

Seeing Shiner, Texas

What a fun day!  The idea was to tour the Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner, Texas but – of course! – we found more to do than that!

We hopped in Dick & Karin’s car and hit the road about 8:30.  The brewery tour was at 11:00 and we wanted to be there in plenty of time.  Time to spare when we arrived, so Karin & I went through a couple of quilt shops while the guys checked out the Ehlers Cigar Factory and enjoyed visiting with some of the locals.  Then it was on to the brewery tour.

The Spoetzl Brewery was founded in 1909 and bought by Kosmas Spoetzl in 1915.  They produce seven different German beers under the name of “Shiner Beers”.
Here’s Dick, Karin & John waiting for the tour to start…
We couldn’t take pictures during the tour, so you’ll just have to guess as to what it looked like.  It was interesting and everyone enjoyed sampling the different brews afterward.

After a quick burger for lunch, we went for a walk to see some of the beautiful historic homes and Welhausen Municipal Park.

This beauty was the Walters Boothe Home and was built in 1896.  It had gorgeous gardens.

This one was the J. Wolters Home, built in 1895.
It had beautiful, intricate detail that appeared to have been recently refurbished.
Across the street was an old, rundown home with this on the porch!  ?????

Then we decided to go check out the Kaspar Wire Works, but found out from the receptionist that they no longer give tours.  Karin asked if someone could explain the various items they had displayed in the lobby and Brian, a 40+ year employee, was happy to oblige.  He knew the answers to nearly everything we asked!

Next on our list was the Edwin Wolters Memorial Museum, the main part of which was located in a 1915 former home.  It was free, but definitely warranted the donations we left.  The curator happily showed us around, including several of the outbuildings – a home, jail and workshop.  It’s always a little startling to realize that we remember many of the items in these museums from our childhoods.  Yikes!  Could we be “old”???

Didn’t figure we should leave town without seeing the Saints Cyril & Methodius Catholic Church that we had heard about.  The church was named after two missionaries who first brought Christianity to Bohemia and Moravia. 
The stained glass windows were imported from Bavaria and are gorgeous.

Shiner is billed as the “Cleanest Little City in Texas” and as the “Eagle Scout Capital of Texas”.  We surely enjoyed our day there with good friends!

After getting back home and taking Bailey for a walk, we headed to the La Tejanita Restaurant for dinner.  We do love Mexican food!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Sunday in Victoria

Well, hopefully we didn’t offend any of Dick & Karin’s neighbors today because we washed motorhome on Easter Sunday.  Needed to be done, but it was a pretty hot job!  Dick helped out by loaning us his lawn sprinkler which did a bang-up job washing the undercarriage.  We did our usual procedure of me washing the roof and John doing the sides.  Always entertains the neighbors when they see John sitting in a lawn chair giving me “helpful” suggestions while I’m up on the rig working!

Later we all took a nice long walk with Bailey and snuck into some of the houses being built in the neighborhood.  Guess we’re well-suited to this nomad life we’ve chosen, because those great big houses just don’t have any appeal for us anymore!  Still fun to see, but they sure look like a lot of work to maintain…

Saturday, April 7, 2012

On to Victoria

This morning, after John went to wash the car and shop for some shrimp, we put everything away and drove over to Victoria.  The roughly 80-mile trip was uneventful and we arrived at Dick & Karin’s in the late morning.  It sure was good to see them and their pooch, Bailey, again! 

We parked the motorhome on the street in front of their house, plugged in and then toured their house and gardens.  We’ve been wanting to go see their house since last year so were glad it finally worked out.  It’s lovely and their gardens are really beautiful!  They spend lots of time out there watching the birds and geckos.  Later we enjoyed eating the shrimp while catching up on all our respective news.  For those of you who don’t know Dick & Karin, they are the couple who were the weekend camp hosts the same two years we workamped at our park in the Rio Grande Valley.

Tomorrow we need to wash the rig after spending some time near the salt water.  Our previous repair job involving replacing rusty framework has made us (i.e. me) a little paranoid!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Crashing the coast in Rockport

Time for new scenery!  On Tuesday, we finally escaped from the valley heat and headed north.  But not too fast…  We’re not ready for cold yet.

We decided a few days in Rockport ought to satisfy our craving for water.  We selected Coastal Oaks RV Park to stay in and have enjoyed it.  So nice to look out the window and see some trees!
This guy (gal??) was on our car hood at the RV park – pretty cool, huh?

On Wednesday, we walked along the harbor and the jetty, toured the Rockport Center for the Arts and the Texas Maritime Museum, and went to see the wildflowers at the local cemetery.  Here are some pictures:
Vance & Jody – is this boat big enough to live on?
There were some neat sculptures near the harbor and art center:
We saw lots of tiny fish jumping near the jetty, but I couldn’t capture them with the camera.  Fortunately, these guys were a little slower…
The Texas Maritime Museum was well done and we enjoyed meeting another Alaskan couple there.  We keep discovering how small this world really is: the wife was [our daughter-in-law] Jody’s kindergarten teacher!
And, of course, there were flowers everywhere.
And, then to see more flowers, we drove over to the local cemetery because we had heard there were wildflowers there, too.  I assume they must mow this cemetery after the spring wildflowers are gone, but who knows?
Here’s an old headstone (you can click on it to enlarge it and read the dates).
Later, we headed back in to town and ate at The Boiling Pot.  We chose to eat outside where the waiter covered our table with paper and then dumped our dinner straight onto the paper from a large stew pot: blue crab, shrimp, new red potatoes and small cobs of sweet corn.  Makes life simple for the staff: no dishes and no silverware!  Fun and different!!

Thursday dawned bright and sunny again, so we headed back down to the harbor to the aquarium and the Bay Education Center.
Aren’t the brown pelicans cool/weird?
Not sure which type of pelican this one is…
And, even though they are annoying sometimes, I still enjoy watching the seagulls!
The Rockport Aquarium was nothing fancy and not very large, but we still enjoyed it.  The star of the show there is Marley, the Honeycomb Moray Eel.
And a few other aquatic creatures from the area…
On to the Bay Education Center, where they had beautiful flowers….
…and the most amazing globe!  It shows real satellite images of recent weather patterns, but the MOST amazing was…
…this display of – get this! – all the Facebook members around the globe connected by lines!  There were no continents or any other world features on this – only the FB members and connecting lines.  You could actually pick out the continents by the density of the dots.  It was incredible and, for us “senior citizens”, a little frightening!
After the presentation, we couldn’t resist a picture of me holding up the Earth!
We were just getting in the car when this gentleman rode by on a very tall bike!  Wonder how he gets on and off…
Then we checked out some of the shops and art galleries in town.  One advantage of living in an RV is that we are seldom tempted to buy art or other decorative items – just don’t have room!

Today, Friday, we rented a double kayak and toured the backyards of all the million dollar homes in the Key Allegro subdivision.  A few had boats tied to their private docks that were probably worth a million!  And, as an added bonus, we got to see dolphins in Little Bay! Fun, fun, fun!  Sorry, I didn’t take the camera in the boat so no pictures…

I did, however, take a few of this egret fishing from the dock while waiting for the kayak.

Tomorrow we’ll head inland a little farther and visit friends, Dick & Karin, in Victoria.