Monday, March 29, 2010

The Sheep-& Lunch with the Girls

We arrived in San Angelo last Wednesday. We have just been relaxing and enjoying being with family again. We decided it would be fun to take the kids to lunch. So on Friday the boys went with us and unfortunately I didn't bring the camera with me, so no pics. We had a great time anyway. Today was the girls turn, so they picked this Mexican Restaurant pictured above, located in town.

After lunch we went to the Visitor's Center in San Angelo. This is a picture in the back which is nicely landscaped and right on the Concho River.

Here is the front of the Visitor's Center.

We stopped at the Eggemeyer's General Store in San Angelo. A neat little store that seems to have everything. It would definately be a good place to find a unique gift for someone.

Some of us remember "penney candy". There was a nice collection of all the different kinds of candy we enjoyed as kids. They even had candy cigarettes (Yuck!)

Emma is really serious about her ballet. This is one of her practice studios. She has been in many different performances in San Angelo. Every year she performs in the Nutcracker. Just this past year, she has learned Pointe. She loves ballet so much that she is always dancing around the house and if you have a conversation with her expect a twirl or two during the conversation. She is now 13 and is a little taller than me at 5'4". She is as sweet as she is pretty!

All around town they have these adorable sheep. I guess this area used to be known for its sheep and wool. So, many businesses have decorated them and they are scattered throughout the city. The lovely young lady here posing with this one is 9 yr old Ellie.

Another one we drove by.

This one is called "Common Cents" If you click on it, you might be able to see why it's called that. It is covered in pennies. This was one of my favorites.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Rally Over-Back to San Angelo

Well, we finally got to enjoy some of the events at the Montana Rally. They had a White Elephant gift exchange which was loads of fun and there was lots of laughter. Also on Tuesday night we went to a catered BBQ dinner. We had a good time in spite of our bad start! There were a couple of people we knew there from previous rallies. Ron and Rose from California were there and it was really good seeing them again. It was also nice to put faces to some of the names we have read about. We also got to meet Myrna and Bob. Myrna reads my blog, so I knew I had to meet her. We sat with them at the White Elephant Gift Exchange and finally got to visit with them. We are familiar with most of the people from the forum through their posts, but had not met most of them. They were a friendly group of people and we look forward to seeing them again in the future.

We left there on Wednesday after saying goodbye to Bill and Helen. They were staying an extra day and were headed to explore Fredericksburg some more. Like I said in a previous post, they always seem to find the neatest places. They are very good at smelling the roses along the way wherever they go!

It was only about 150 miles to San Angelo, our next stop. We needed our grandkid fix, so we are here until next Tuesday, camped out in their yard. Yesterday, when we arrived we had help from Erik and Ellie in getting the camper in the right spot in the yard. And of course, lots of company in and out of our little house throughout the day. We all got together for an evening meal after their Dad got home from work. It really seemed good to be back with our family again!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Luckenbach, Texas

This is in back of Post Office, a little bar area and in the corner (not shown) an area where you will sometimes find musicians playing especially during the week.

Helen is looking to buy a cowboy hat and I think this one sure looks beautiful on her!

We met Casey. She and her hubby own the hat shop here! Casey is originally from Johnstown, NY (a town near my hometown). She says she ran away from home after a fight with her father 30 years ago as a teenager. She wanted to follow Waylen, Willie and the Boys! She ended up in Luckenbach, and met the man of her dreams and has been here ever since, (except for the times she and hubby have spent travelling all over the US). She finally spoke to her father after 27 years just 3 years ago and he has come here a couple of times since to visit.

This is the Post Office. It had all kinds of things you can buy and a bar in the back room where singers and players get together and play.

One of their outdoor stages. Since it was so cold outside today, it was held inside the saloon.

When we were at the restaurant in Fredericksburg, Bill told us before we leave we might want to use the restrooms there as we might not like the ones in Luckenbach. Gee........I don't know why!

Helen and I sure think we have the most handsome dudes here!

Thomas Michael Riley and his band...........They were GREAT!!!

Most of us have heard the song "Luckenbach, Texas" sung by Waylon Jennings that became popular, over 30 years ago . Well, there really is a little town that the song is all about. It's only a short drive from where we are staying here in Kerrville. Since Al and I both have been sick and are now feeling better, Helen and Bill, friends of ours from the Montana Group asked us to lunch and a little side trip to Luckenbach. It was a rather cold windy day, but the sun was shining. First we stopped in Fredericksburg, which is on the way, to have some lunch at a German Restaurant. Fredericksburg is a German town and in my opinion it's one of the nicest towns we have seen anywhere. They were having "Trading Days" in Fredericksburg so it was very busy. It was so cold and so busy, I neglected to get any pictures of the town. I promise next time we go back there, I'll take some. It's a must see, if you are traveling through the Hill Country in Texas.

When we arrived in Luckenbach, it felt like we were in the middle of nowhere. But there were tons of cars in the dirt parking lot. Bill and Helen are the best tour guides anyone could ask for. They have traveled the whole US and seem to know where every little hidden place of interest is. And this place sure hit the top of our list! It's a very unpretentious place. You know right away why you are here. You are here to hear some of the countries finest music and taking in the sites around you is just an added bonus. Most of us remember Willie Nelson's "Farm Aid" concerts. They were held here until 1993 until it was decided the place wasn't big enough to accommodate the crowds and it had to be moved elsewhere.

Nowadays, there are singers and bands that go there every single day and perform for whoever happens to be there. Many of them have written the very songs that sung by some of the top performers in the industry. Today's performance was given by Thomas Michael Riley and his band. We thoroughly enjoyed their music and had a wonderful time! Oh, one thing I forgot to add about our day here is......It was all free! You don't have to spend one penney! In todays economy, why not take a ride out there if you have nothing else to do. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

We had the greatest day with our dear friends, Bill and Helen. We were so happy to get a chance to spend a day with them. We got back to the campground in time for Happy Hour at the Rec Hall and finally had a chance to meet some of the Montana people here at the rally. We only have 2 more days left to the rally, so we are looking forward to the last couple of nights events and meeting even more people.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Rally in Kerrville

We were supposed to arrive at the Rally on Monday, but over the weekend we started having problems with the truck. At first Al thought it was the brakes, but on further inspection he discovered a bearing that needed replacement. It's Sunday, and of course nothing is open, and we are in a very small town. Luckily, he spoke to one of the camp host here and he was able to direct Al to a garage just a few miles away. Al called there first thing Monday morning and got right in. They were really great and he was out by noon. It was an expensive fix, but worth it to know we are safe to travel.

We decided to wait until Tuesday to go to the Rally. It didn't officially start until Wednesday anyway. We drove to Kerrville and really enjoyed the scenery along the way. The hill country in Texas is really pretty. I won't say as pretty as the Adirondacks, but beautiful country anyway.

Not too much was going on on Tuesday, but we did get to visit with a couple of our friends here before heading out to dinner in the evening.

The next morning I woke up sick, with a stomach bug. Not sure if it was something I ate at the restaurant or just a bug, but I was very sick all day yesterday, and today I felt somewhat better but not great. So, we missed the first night festivities, "The Meet & Greet". I was supposed to be in charge of the "Potluck Supper" on Thursday night, and still did not feel well enough to attend. Luckily, 12 couples had signed up as volunteers to help, so it went off smoothly without me. I can't tell you how disappointed I was to miss this and everything so far. I have been looking forward to the rally for a long time. Things like this happen sometimes, so I'll just have to move on. We have some other fun things planned and I'm sure by tomorrow, I'll be back to normal again.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

San Antonio-Revisited

We decided since it was a beautiful day yesterday, it would be nice to go to San Antonio for the day. We were there in early January when the temperatures weren't too great, and the River at the Riverwalk was being cleaned. So it was kind of a mess there, and we originally planned on going back there when the weather improved and staying at a campground there. Our plans changed and we are staying at Canyon Lake which is only about 50 miles away.

So, we got there in time for a lunch at Rita's Mexican Restaurant at the Riverwalk. We also wanted to go to the Marketplace, which is a Mexican market where they sell everything and anything. It was quite a walk from the Riverwalk to this place, so we really got our exercise and were pretty tired at the end of the day.

There were lots of different stores inside and out.

Lots of pretty things here. It's a good thing I don't have room for any more stuff!

Shirts, purses, you name it........They have it!

I thought this was an interesting display!

See, they even have a food line with my name on it!

As we were taking the steps to the Riverwalk look who is here sitting on her nest. She totally ignored us, so it was easy to snap a picture.

As you can see, the Riverwalk is much nicer and cleaner than it was in January. We took a boat ride while there. See the boat in the background. They have several of these boat and they run continuously throughout the day.

Check out this picture, I took it as we were on the boat going under a bridge and looking up. When you look up at it, you will see it looks like a card standing on end with no sides. However, it is just an optical illusion! Very interesting to see in person. They pointed it out to us while we were on the boat ride. We went back to look at it from the walkway and it still appeared that way.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Visit to New Braunfels

It was a beautiful sunny day yesterday. It actually got up into the 80's! Al and I decided to take a ride to New Braunfels. We had heard it was a nice town to visit, and we needed a couple of things at the store anyway. New Braunfels is a little German Town, population 40,000+. We walked around the downtown area which was busy for a weekday. We found it to have unique little shops and some nice architecture. The Gazebo in the center of town was barricaded off for some reason, so you couldn't go to the cute little park that was there.

This is the County Courthouse. I just loved this building. It reminded me of some buildings back East, except for the top which appeared to be more of a Spanish influence. If you look to the left of the building, this is the annex of the Courthouse. I thought it was interesting that they would choose red brick as this building was actually attached to the Courthouse.

When we first arrived we parked right across the street from the New Braunfels Railroad Museum. As our luck always seems to be, it is only opened from Thursdays through Mondays and is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. So, we were unable to go in. We did, however walk around the outside and were able to get a few neat pictures.

Here is the Steam Locomotive! There is something majestic about these old trains that are so lacking in the more modern ones.

Now, to us, this is the most significant picture of all! If you can't see what the sign says, click on the picture for a better look. Railway Express Agency, which is no longer in business, is where Al's father worked for many, many years. In fact, Al worked there with his father for a short time before going into the service, and then again after he got out for a year or two. We are always looking for any memorabilia of Railway Express, and seldom find anything these days, so we thought it was pretty neat!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Potter's Creek Campground on Canyon Lake, TX

View of Canyon Lake

That's us from roadway taken from our truck

Can you see the sailboat?

This is a group camping area. Three sites are linked together. Good for families and friends.

Overlooking some of the campsites

I took this picture when we first arrived, standing in our doorway looking out.

We arrived here on Wednesday. It was a nice drive from Brazos Bend and we saw some pretty country on our way as well as when we arrived here. We had checked this place out when we were in San Antonio 4 years ago. It seemed a little remote, but we loved the scenery here. This is a Corp of Engineer Campground, and we get to stay here for $9.00 per night (sometimes it pays to be considered a senior). Not bad for such beauty that surrounds us, is it? We are about 50 miles from San Antonio and less than 25 miles from two other rather large cities, San Marcos and New Braunfels.

Yesterday, we took a ride to San Marcos, as we knew they had a Sam's Club and there were a few things we wanted to pick up. Al needed to go to Lowe's and an auto supply store as well. I managed to do a little shopping for myself, something I don't get to do much lately. Before coming home, we stopped and had dinner at Johnny Carino's, an Italian chain restaurant. Al liked it better than Olive Garden for his favorite dish, Chicken Parmeson.

With the price of our campsite being so reasonable, and our need to conserve at least a little, we decided we will stay here until the rally. We are leaving here and going to Kerrville on March 15. After the rally we will head back to San Angelo on March 24. We get another chance to see the grandkids, and of course their mom and dad, whom we also love dearly. We got a good dose of them for the 6 weeks we stayed there through Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year, but we would like to see them again before heading home.

Thought you might like to see some pictures of the campground and the lake here. Pictures never quite capture it. There appears to be a hundred or more campsites here and they are nicely spaced apart. Most have lake views, and some (including ours) are right on the water.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Brazos Bend State Park

Here is our campsite....nice and level

One of the cute little baby alligators!

Yikes! This is a Western Pigmy Rattlesnake! Glad he's not running around!

Warning sign! They also tell you if you have a dog, keep on a very short leash!

Doesn't this look peaceful! (Great Egret)

This is the path we walked on where we spotted the alligators!

I think this was the largest of the three alligators we spotted.
(we weren't that close, across the pond, but I zoomed in and then croped the photos)

This alligator was in close proximity to the other alligator

Can you see the turtle?

This one is a little harder to capture on camera even though we were closer to it! We didn't want to get too close!

We left Galveston Island on Sunday and headed just 60 miles northwest to a state park not far from Houston. Brazos Bend State Park is not like any park we have ever stayed at. Wayne and Julie told us about this place and suggested we might enjoy seeing all the wildlife here, and in particular, the alligators. Brazos Bend is a paradise for nature lovers. They have a nature center here that is run primarily by volunteers, so we headed there first. They had several venomous snakes and some baby alligators there. We even saw a tarantula. All these critters were live, so I'm really glad they were in glass enclosures. The baby alligators were adorable. They were born in August. We talked to the ranger there and he suggested which trails to take and where to look for alligators. Not only are there alligators here, but all kinds of wildlife.

We went on a couple of different trails. The first one we saw mostly birds, but we enjoyed the scenery. It was so peaceful walking on the paths and just being surrounded by all the sounds of the different birds. We stopped home for lunch and then headed out on another trail, where there were supposed to be alligators. We were told they like to come out on the banks of the pond and lay in the sun. Since it was a sunny day, we had hopes of seeing at least a few. We didn't have to go far and we saw two in fairly close proximity to each other. One was fairly large and the other one was huge.

We headed back to our truck and saw another couple headed out on the path we just came from. We told them about the two alligators we found, and they told us about another one not too far from where we were. I'm sure we could have found more, but we figured three was enough for one day.

We had a nice time today. We also are enjoying our campsite here. This is very peaceful, and our campsite is very spacious. We are just relaxing tonight and getting ready to hit the road tomorrow. We will be headed to Canyon Lake and staying at a COE park there.