And back to AZ

Hanna On The Road
On The Road In Texas

We have returned home completing another “there and back again” (Thank you Mr. Tolkien) adventure, this one 5,272 miles long.  We went to a few familiar places and a plethora of new ones.  This is a wonderful land we live in, overflowing with interesting places and people worth remembering.  This trip was no different from our others in that we made some new friends and created new memories.

Segmented Bowl
Segmented Bowl

On leaving Rockport/Fulton we headed north to Austin where we went to an RV Show to check out the “au courant” of 5th wheels.  While there we should have checked out The Broken Spoke, one of Texas’ famous dance venues, but it was mid-week so we took a pass.  By the way, we really did not see anything electrifying at the show though there are a couple of units in Tucson that we want to look at in a week or two.  From Austin we took another short drive to Bandera, which bills itself as the cowboy capital of Texas.  We shopped Bandera, Comfry, and Boerne from there.  Elaine found really great fiber arts supply and I found some very nice woodwork by some local craftspeople.

A Texas Honky Tonk
A Texas Honky Tonk

And one night we danced at a bona fide, indubitable, unimpeachable, Texas Honky Tonk.  Would you go in here in the dark of night?   Yes those are brassieres hanging from the ceiling.  No I am not dancing, I’m taking the picture.  We drank some beer, danced a little on the concrete floor had a good time and went home sober.  From Bandera we went to Fredericksburg for mexican food at Hilda’s (You have to try it! It is great.) and you guessed it more shopping.

Camping 81 Palms
Camping 81 Palms

We spent our last night in the same place as the first, 81 Palms, in Demming NM.

All natural myrtle wood hand carved armadillo, by your ever modest author
All natural myrtle wood hand carved armadillo, by your ever modest author

Oops, this is a post script.  I just realized that the myrtle wood armadillo that I carved somehow got left out and Elaine says he must be included so here he is.  His name is Dilly if you are curious.

Thank you all for spending time with us on this Texas odyssey, Y’all.  And yes your comments are welcome.

Gordon the Random Rover

Sights Around Fulton Texas

Fulton Mansion
Fulton Mansion

As I mentioned in an earlier post we are staying in Fulton as “Winter Texans” this year.  The lead picture for this post is of the Fulton mansion which was completed in 1877.  This amazing house had central heating, indoor plumbing including hot and cold running water, and gas lighting.  Three floors over a daylight basement, this beauty has survived hurricane country due to its stacked lumber and steel beam construction.  Elaine and I both enjoyed our visit.

Wooden Tractors by Ralph Smith
Wooden Tractors by Ralph Smith

I saw these fantastic model tractors in the town of Kingsville on the day we went to find out about the King Ranch, once the largest cattle ranch in the United States.  They are made from many species of wood by a craftsman that I sure wish I had been able to meet.  Each tractor demonstrated an uncanny knack for authentic detail.  I can’t imagine all of the different skills and the amount of patience required to construct these show pieces.  By the way while at Kingsville, besides going out to the King Ranch, we went to the King Museum where we learned a lot of history of the ranch and early Texas.  One of the highlights for me was this 1949 Buick custom made for the Kings as a hunting car.

Orchids of South Texas Botanical Gardens
Orchids of South Texas Botanical Gardens

We have taken numerous trips to Corpus Christi (about 35 miles) but mostly to shop or take care of business.  This particular trip was specifically made to visit the South Texas Botanical Gardens.  The setting is very nice and the grounds show lots of tender loving care.  Not very much was in bloom in January which is not particularly surprising, however the orchid house was abloom with variety and color.

Local Birds
Birds Abound!

Everywhere we go we spot birds.  There is a superfluity of bird varieties in this area that brings “birders” from all over the world.  hopefully before we leave I will get to see a whooping crane and a roseate spoonbill.

Mardi Gras @ Lamar Texas
Mardi Gras @ Lamar Texas

The Lentin season is almost here and that means Mardi Gras!  Elaine and I had a fine time supporting the Lamar Texas Volunteer Fire Department at their small town Texas style parade and 3 day party.  As we are old folks now we came for the parade, bought a pretty darn good gumbo for lunch, toured the craft and food booths, and then headed back.  No more all night revelry.  Oh Well!

Roseate Spoonbill with Great White Egret
Roseate Spoonbill

There it is!  I finally caught a roseate spoonbill in my viewfinder.  With a seemingly inquisitive great white egret here is a spoonbill getting his brunch feast.  I would be lucky beyond belief to catch a whooping crane with my  camera before we leave as that will be in about 9 days  if things follow our plan.  We have enjoyed our time here and look forward to our next trip.  Oregon here we come!!  We have several stops planned for the way home and are not in any rush to get there.

Keep the shiny side up and a smile on your face and happy roving,

Gordon

Busy In Texas

OctoBench
Pool Bench With Table

Just a quick post to let you all know that I haven’t been completely idle.

Park Bench
Park Bench

This 10 foot long bench and the octagon pool bench with table are two of the six that I have made for the park here with a skill saw and screw gun from stock lumber.  Nothing fancy but comfortable, durable places for people to sit and enjoy this areas wonderful winter weather.

2 Spoons
2 Spoons

These are 2 spoons I carved to amuse myself when I did not wish to do anything complicated or particularly difficult.  The top spoon is made from a piece of madrone that was a gift from my good friend Gerry in Medford, Oregon.  The bottom spoon is of eucalyptus that I collected in Arizona.  It is from a tree that was killed in the freeze of 2011.

Small Caricature
Little Man

I finally finished this little guy.  I started carving him at Cape Disappointment where one of my fellow campers who saw me carving said he was a cute little man and the name has stuck.  He is a freehand caricature, my very first.

Happy Travels,

Gordon

December In Fulton Texas

Here we are!  I don’t know where we are.  The signs, the GPS, and the map tell me that I am in Fulton.  The closest post office is the Fulton post office.  But, if you don’t put Rockport (the town about 10 blocks SW of us) on the envelope we won’t get the mail.  Where am I?

Our Campsite Blue Lagoon Resort
Our Campsite Blue Lagoons Resort

The Blue Lagoon RV Resort is our home base for the December, January, and February.  It is pleasant, small (110 sites) campground right on the Texas Intracoastal Waterway portion of the Gulf of Mexico.  We have had mostly very nice weather in the mid 70’s.  Murphy lives here too and he enforces the same rules as everywhere else!  The only bad weather occurs on the days when we are outside.

Christmas Boat Parade
Christmas Boat Parade at Rockport
Christmas Potluck
Almost Time For Christmas Potluck

Christmas here was nice even though we miss family and friends.  We have made many new friends and did have a good time at the Christmas “Potluck”  with the other “Winter Texans”.  We also shared the day with the kids and grands via telephone.

1892 Victoria County Courthouse across the street from the De Leon Plaza
1892 Victoria County Courthouse across the street from the De Leon Plaza

The very pretty historic part and the bustling newer section of Victoria made for nice diversion on one particularly rainy day.  We did get a number of nice breaks in the weather but also had to make some mad dashes to stay somewhat dry.  Elaine suggested and Gordon, with twisted arm ;-), went along with the idea of an ice cream lunch.  On the way home we saw the outskirts of Port Lavaca a future day trip destination.

Birds at Aransas Refuge
Birds at Aransas Refuge

Even though we did not see much wildlife the Aransas National Wildlife refuge was very nice.  The weather wasn’t conducive to birding, it was cool enough that the reptiles were still in bed, and the mammals were hiding because we went in mid day.  We did see some very good exhibits and met some of their friendly volunteers who encouraged us to apply to work with them.

Goose Island Live Oak
Big Tree

I had to go see this tree!  It is known by various names: Goose Island Live Oak (It is on Goose Island), Lamar Oak (The port of Lamar was bombed and burned during the civil war), Bishop’s Oak (St Joseph’s Chapel is nearby), and simply Big Tree.  It is a 1000+ year old example of Virginia Live Oak (quercus virginiana) with a trunk circumference of over 35 feet, a crown span of 90 feet, and a height of 44 feet.

Wishing all a happy and prosperous New Year

Growing old beats all viable alternatives, especially on the days when you refuse to act your age.

Gordon, The Random Rover

Canyon Lake, Texas

A buck at Potters Creek
A buck at Potters Creek

There is a lot of wildlife at this Corps of Engineers park on Canyon Lake.

Ducks
Ducks
Elaine with fawn
Elaine with fawn

Ducks, squirrels, deer, and Elaine!

Downtown Gruene
Downtown Gruene

One day we went to Gruene and to the Museum of Texas Handmade Furniture in New Braunfels.

Museum of Texas Handmade Furniture
Museum of Texas Handmade Furniture

Oldtown Gruene was a pleasant place with a lot of history and some interesting shops. The museum, in New Braunfels, was really nice and I enjoyed the visit. The very nice handcrafted furniture was worth the trip plus our tour guide was pleasant, accommodating, and helpful. Go to www.nbheritagevillage.com to see more.

The Fisher Store Museum
The Fisher Store Museum

Our second day we started out by going to the Fisher Store. Originally built in 1853, it has served as a home, a general store, and as a Post office. From there we went to Wimberly, TX which is a quaint town that caters to tourists (antique stores, trendy shops, museums, galleries, and tourist traps) where we saw lots and had a good time.

Tomorrow, 11/30/2012 we will head to Rockport / Fulton where we will spend the next 3 months.

Keep the shiny side up!

Gordon

Heading To Canyon Lake, TX

121128PottersCreekDeer (2)Sunday morning after Thanksgiving and we are on the road again. This trip is planned to be 3-4 months and not nearly as many miles as the last 2 adventures.

The freeway rest area at Texas Canyon just a few miles east of Benson Arizona.
Texas Canyon

Texas Canyon is a boulder strewn wonderland where many of the large rocks are impossibly perched atop one another.  It is very close to home but I am including it for readers that are not familiar with our area in hopes that they will enjoy seeing some of what the Arizona desert has to offer.

Amerind
Amerind Museum

As we were driving down the freeway I was reminded of The Amerind Museum in Dragoon, AZ which is just a few miles from Texas Canyon and is a very worthwhile stop. It seems that even many local people are unaware of it, which is a shame as they do a wonderful job of preserving American Indian culture, art, and craft.  Go there if you can.

Our overnight sight at Deming, NM
Our overnight sight at Deming, NM

We took it easy today, only 215 miles, but it was a start. We have stopped here (81 Palms) before and for Deming, NM it is a very nice place. There are some interesting sights and stops at Deming including a couple of wineries, an awesome museum, great rock-hounding, and Pancho Villa State Park about 30 miles to the south.  On another trip I will take you to some of these places, but not for this time. The downside of Deming is that it seems to be perpetually windy and is located right on the major east/west rail line so you get to listen to those lonesome whistles and the rumble of the rails all night.

The Organ Mountains overlooking Las Cruces, NM and our overnight sight at Fort Stockton, TX
The Organ Mountains overlooking Las Cruces, NM and our overnight sight at Fort Stockton, TX

Around 340 miles to Fort Stockton, TX today. Stopped at the rest area just west of Las Cruces, NM and were disappointed to see that the giant roadrunner sculptures weren’t there anymore. It was a long day through El Paso and then miles and miles of no real scenery. We knew this would be just a lot of driving, but still weren’t prepared for how long and boring it would be

Fall Colors In Texas
Texas Hill Country In Her Fall Coat
Potters Creek Campsite
Potters Creek Campsite

Another 340 mile day but the Texas hill country is much more scenic. Potters Creek is a Corps of Engineers campground on Canyon Lake. It is very beautiful here and we will spend a couple of days exploring the area before heading on to Rockport, TX.

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