Along the Natchez Trace

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

A Night On the Town

Glen Rose is a small town located in the next to the smallest county in Texas.  But don't let that fool you into thinking nothing happens there.  This past Saturday evening, Bill and I, with our daughter and our son-in-law, went to the "Cowboys and Cabernet Gala".
As you can see, this was a benefit to support the Barnard's Mill Art Museum.  

This is the museum...  once the home of the Barnard family, early settlers of Glen Rose.
I took this photo during the day....  the event started around 6pm Saturday evening....  
It featured food tables (buffet style) from several restaurants in town.  It is surprising how many restaurants there are and the variety of foods they serve.  It might also surprise you that the quality is excellent!

Entry was through that white tent on the right in the photo above...
As you walked from the registration table through to the museum lawn, there was a silent auction set up for folks to bid on the objects displayed.  I browsed through this tent, and could have bid on paintings by local artists, lovely baskets of local products, art objects, tourist vacations and the like.  There were also tickets for sale to win a wine raffle.  Once through this booth, you could find a table to sit at...  or visit the wine/beer booth (lower right) and get a liquid refreshment.

The food tables were arranged alongside the museum wall and fence...
Everything from BBQ to gourmet wraps.....  fruit cups... side dishes...  and several tables of deserts.  The deserts were lovely...  fancy chocolates and candies and other sweets.   My dish got filled several times and nothing went to waste.

The entertainment was a country/western band and while they were exactly what a "Cowboy Cabernet" would have, truth is, they played a little too loud to be able to talk with your neighbor at the table.

My favorite thing was People Watching!
Beautifully tooled boots!  Lots of western hats!  Dazzling Southwest jewelry, including a fair amount of Texas emblems displayed.

Fringe!  Bolo Ties!  Concho Belts!
Lots of blue jeans and some really fancy dresses!
I loved it all!

There was an artist drawing a portrait from a photo...  doing a great job of it, too!

As the evening went on and it grew darker, the lights in the trees and alongside the buildings made for very festive outdoor dining.  That's the band on stage in the lower right photo.

Bill & I don't go out of an evening very often, but we both really enjoyed this outing.  The food was delicious, and the evening with Celeste and Victor was outstanding.  I think this is an annual fund raiser event for the museum...  if we're here this time next year I'm sure we'll be doing it again.  Next time Bill will probably wear his western hat and I'll dig out my cowboy boots!

That's All For Today!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Keeping Busy....

When I posted a week or so ago I wrote that we expected to start looking for airline flights to Puerta Vallarta.  As so often happens, plans have to be adjusted, and we found we still have some loose ends to tie up here before moving on.

No problem for us...  Bill just keeps on working...
He finished putting up that shed we bought at Lowe's.
It was kind of like putting Lego blocks together...  everything snapped into place, and then he had about 3 dozen or so screws to secure it...  as well as some pins to snug up the roof.  That's it...  from start... still in the box, to building the floor platform...  then putting down the floor and erecting the sides...  putting on the roof and doors.... and the lower right... you can kind of see it right in front of our Scion.  We've already put a few bins and other things in it...  mostly stuff we don't need on a daily basis, like the brake box, and some things we want to keep out of the weather like lawn chairs.  I think it will be really handy as time goes on.

That only took a few days.  I think building the foundation and leveling it took more time than all the rest of the building combined.  So... on to the next project...
A new water line needed to be laid between two different wells.  Victor rented a Ditcher to make this job easier.  In fact, hand digging with a shovel would have been impossible!  Look at all those rocks laying just beneath the ground!  The whole area is like that...  the only real good soil is what Victor has brought in from another area and spread around.

We've been going for a morning walk before it gets too hot.  Yes... it still has been in the 90's every day for weeks, often getting into the low 100's.  We have three "routes" we walk...  each a total of around 3.5 miles.  
This one is my favorite....  we walk along the county road to a dead-end road that is more like a lane.  We never see anyone here...  an occasional deer or roadrunner...  sometimes a feral cat.

There are lots of deer here...  it's nothing to see a dozen or more at a time.  I think that's a pecan tree at the lower right...  see the wire cage around it?  Hopefully that will keep deer from munching it before it gets a chance to mature.

Another walk we like is also on a dead-end road.
This is a good walking road because it has several hills and makes your legs work.  Also, it's a higher elevation and the views are fantastic.  That's a herd of goats on a hilltop about a quarter mile away.  And the lower left you can barely see the water tower to the right of the power line...  it's on the main road driving to Granbury.  

We see several species of birds along this road...
This looks like a young bluebird.  There are also mockingbirds, phoebes, woodpeckers and a few species of sparrows, as well as cardinals, bluejays and the like.  I've seen only one roadrunner so far.

The elevation here isn't very high and the land is scrubby desert/range.  Lots of junipers, types of oaks and such.
There is a lot of prickly-pear cactus.  That's a cholla at the lower right.  Like everywhere else we go, there's always something to sting you, stick you, bite you or otherwise make you itch or cause pain.  Fire ants are prevalent....  our daughter has several bites on her foot as I write.  They are mean little rascals and their bite hurts for a week!

At the top of the hill where we walk we see this windmill off in the distance.  I wonder how deep the pipes are that have to carry water here?   Our daughter has a well water, and so far it's held up nicely.

We do walk along another route...  I'll have to take my camera and see what's interesting along it.

One more photo before I close...
Evie, our Great-granddaughter lives in New York.  She was 5 years old last week and this is her first day of kindergarten.  That's her Mama, Heather, our granddaughter, seeing her off to school.
Look at that backpack!  I know all kids have them, but I'm glad I don't carry that on my walks!  

This hot, humid weather is supposed to break...  maybe we'll see some cooler temps soon.  Hard to believe it's autumn already...  maybe we'll see some signs of it before we leave.

That's All For Today!

Friday, September 16, 2016

More of Texas....

Last I wrote we were heading to Ft Worth after getting our lab work done.  We have our "route" planned ahead with stops at Trader Joe's, Barnes and Noble, Office Depot...  making sure we are close to the In 'N Out for lunch.
We're not vegetarians but seldom eat beef...  
But a couple times a year I like this big ole Double/Double with everything on it...  and a pile of crispy fries.   I even get a Coca Cola...  another rare item for me.  
And I enjoy every morsel of it!

Our doctor appointment is next week so we won't make flight plans to Mexico until we're done with everything here.  Our daughter here has a vacation home that she rents through Air B&B.  It needed some repairs and Bill worked on it between weekend renters.  It's looking good.

Since our family doctor is located in Granbury we are almost certain to be in Texas at least a few weeks each year.  Bill uses the workshop that our son-in-law has in his garage, but we carry around a fair amount of tools and the like wherever we go.  A couple days ago we bought a Rubbermaid storage shed at Lowe's....
It's not big (around 4' X 6')...  you can see the floor that Bill is building.  Bill set up a work area behind our motorhome and the shed will sit between some trees just across from us.  We have been leaving our motorhome here when we are abroad, so it will be nice to have a place for things like lawn chairs, garbage can, tools and the like when we're gone.  It's great that our kids welcome us and all our stuff!

We see a lot of deer...  8 or 10 at a time....  several bucks, a lot of does, and even quite a few young that still have faint "fawn" markings.  The hummingbirds are still at the feeders every day, but so far I haven't seen any roadrunners.  This year seems to be a big year for jackrabbits...
This doesn't really show how big he is, but he's big!  And his ears are huge.  His hind legs can stretch out and he can run like ... well, like a jackrabbit.  I often see one just a few yards from our rig, and when I'm driving see a pair alongside the driveway.  I know there are coyotes around so would guess these guys are always on alert.

I'd been seeing a flock of birds in the field just beyond our rig.  I had to use the binoculars to ID them...
I think the Lark Sparrow is one of the more attractive ones in the sparrow family.
This guy was perched at the top of the oak tree about 30' from our motorhome, but he kept ducking in and out of the branches and I couldn't get a photo of him until he finally settled in the tree top.  

Bill introduced me to Green Chilies thirty some years ago and they are a staple in our household.   Both of his daughters are avid chile lovers and buy boxes of Hatch green chilies to roast each year.
As it happened, the daughter in Pennsylvania was moving to Louisiana, and brought her chile roaster to her sister here in Texas.  (figure that one out...  yes, our kids also love to travel).  Anyway,  the girls roasted boxes of chilies recently, and yesterday I peeled and "de-seeded" a few bags they'd frozen.  Just looking at this picture makes my mouth water...  I believe I'll make green chile quesadillas for lunch today...  

There has been a butterfly migration here...  hundreds of them fluttering in the air, all heading in the same direction.  I don't know the species...  they are fairly small, maybe the size of a quarter...  not particularly colorful.  I think the wave is about over now, but it's been interesting watching them wing their way.

We'll be migrating soon ourselves.   Probably by the next blog we'll have plans underway....  and by October be on our way.  But....

That's All For Today!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Typical Texas Times...

We've been here in Texas (about 50 miles south of Ft Worth) a week now, and it's "normal" weather for this time of year...
The weather station we have in our motorhome records the temperature etc. from the outside sensor.  You can see that we're still having a heat wave here.  It also shows the temp. in our rig...  We seldom use the AC...  just use our vent fans....  and yes, it's 98 degrees inside as I'm sitting here typing this.  
I think the hurricane off the coast of Mexico will eventually bring us some rain and cooler temperatures.  The cooler temps we can use, but the ground still has muddy spots from the rain last week.

I finally got the windows cleaned in the rig.  Sure made a difference in how clearly I can see the critters outside....

Looks like 2 young bucks grazing....  and Celeste's 2 chickens in the foreground.  There are lots of jackrabbits out there, but I'm still trying to get a good photo of one.

We have the Tufted Titmouse in Ohio, but in this part of Texas we have the Black-crested Titmouse.  Not a very good picture of this one, but still identifiable.

Bill spent several days hooking up the new ice machine.  Somehow I didn't get any photos of all the pipes running in and out of the backside of it.  It's like one you'd see in a hotel...  about 6' or more tall, about 3' wide and 3' deep.  It has the capacity to hold 75 pounds of ice, and with the construction workers loading their ice chests each morning before they head out to the site, it should be able to keep up even in this heat.
The pipes feeding water into the machine and the drain pipe relieving excess water had a ton of fittings to make it all work, but then it all had to be tied into the water lines.  That box at the lower right holds the main valves and fittings for the shop and shed's water.  The new ditch was dug to tie in the water machine's water line and drain line.  Of course it required several trips to Home Depot or Lowe's for various parts, but it's up and running now.

There's so much going on here, what with Victor's company still based here for now, that it's nothing to see back hoe's, Bobcats, end loaders or dump trucks going past our rig...  either loaded on back of a trailer or motivating on their own.  A few of the men work 4 ten hour days and some work 8 hour days, so there's always some activity here.  I know Celeste will be glad when the new office is built and everything moves to the new location.

In Texas, a person has to have a physical every 2 years to retain their CDL.  (Commerical Driver's License).  Your family doctor can't sign off on your health, you have to go to a place that's registered to do such a thing.  This morning Bill went Granbury, to the Avalon Urgent Care center to get his physical.  Bill said they did a very thorough physical...  but no lab work.  It cost $85 but is mandatory to stay licensed.  We have our appointments to see our family doctor for our annual physicals... getting the lab work done tomorrow.  But that is necessary to get our prescriptions renewed for another year.  I know, we could get our meds in Mexico without having a prescription, but we both feel that the physical/lab work lets us know we're taking the right dosage.

Tomorrow, after we get the lab work done (7:45 am), we're driving up to Ft Worth.  There's a Trader Joe's I like, a Barnes & Noble...  and....  Oh Yes!  an In'N Out hamburger place....   can't pass up a greasy double/double!  

That's All For Today!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Six Days and 1,508 Miles Later....

We left Ohio last Friday...  headed to Texas, where we'll get our annual medical check-ups and get ready to winter in Mexico.
We've made this drive many times in the past and decided to drive through West Virginia and Virginia this time to get to the Natchez Trace.  The northern Terminus of the Trace is just south of Nashville...  I think that is milemarker 440.  We got on a few miles south of the terminus, and almost immediately had a fairly long detour off the Trace... around through the countryside...  and finally back on the Trace close to the Meriwether Lewis Campground, where we spent the night.

That campground has 31 camping sites.  We expected it to be filled as Labor Day was still a week away.  Not so....  there were only 3 other campers there for the night.  A couple of folks came in on motorcycles and had a picnic at one of the sites, but for the most part, the campground was empty.  Even the space for the Campground Host was vacant.  Needless to say, we had a nice, quiet night and headed on south the next morning.

A couple hundred miles from the Meriwether Lewis Campground is the Jeff Busby Campground...  just south of Tupelo, Mississippi.  Not as many campsites there, but since it was Monday we didn't expect it to be full.   There was nobody set up in any of the sites when we got there, only a lone bicyclist who had left his bike and was walking one of the trails.  By evening 3 other campsites were taken.  Our only visitors were that family of raccoons in the upper right photo.  We did have a nice visit with the folks a few sites down from us, and the bicyclist joined us for breakfast the next morning before we all headed off our separate ways.

We got off the Natchez Trace just south of Jackson, MS where we could catch I 20 over to Shreveport.  We have taken the Trace to the southern terminus at Natchez, MS, but that would drop us off at I 10, a lot further south than we wanted to go.

The Natchez Trace is a two-lane, non-commercial vehicle road.  There are no billboards, no gas stations or convenience stores...  only rolling hills, farmland and woods.  As always, we saw several turkeys and deer.  The speed limit is 50 MPH... all the 440 miles.  It's not for anyone who's in a hurry.  There are 2 free campgrounds as well as many historical sites, information centers and other facilities pertinent to the Trace and its history.  It's actually a National Park...  a very long, very narrow National Park...  on either side of the road, but not usually visible because of fields or woods, there are houses, farms and the such.  There are many access roads and you can get off and drive to a nearby town for gas or food.  I've lost track of how many times we've traveled the Trace...  but it's obviously one of our favorite routes.

We arrived at our daughter's place outside of Glen Rose, TX before noon on Wednesday....  1,508 miles and 6 days later from leaving Ohio.  Our daughter and son-in-law have an RV site near their home where we are welcome to stay.  After getting set up, Bill had to go check out Victor's latest project.  He's hoping to spend some time on some of that equipment.  Actually, the lower tier of photos above are where Victor will be building his new office/equipment buildings.  He is a gas/oil consultant/contractor and his business is booming.  Right now they've had a lot of rain and all that dirt in front of the loader is too wet to move.  

I've made our doctor appointments and made plans to get other things done.  Today we'll get the vehicles inspected (Texas requires an annual inspection), we have our new vehicle registration stickers...  that kind of stuff....  takes time and some planning.

So we'll be here a month or so getting ready to head to Mexico.  Oh yes... we're looking at airline tickets now that we have more definite plans.  As you can tell, we'll be kinda busy for a while.

Maybe I'll even get caught up on my blog and reading other folks blogs...  I've missed that.

That's All For Today!