Rolling into “The Big Easy”

And so begins our next big adventure. We have a job in Alaska this summer but we have to get there first. I spent weeks planning our route. Where to stop, what to see, how long to stay…all while keeping in mind we have to be in Moose Pass as close to May 1st as possible. If we had chosen to drive straight there from Daddy’s house, it would have been 4773 miles. Instead we decided to go west, then north, making the trip 6110 miles.

Our first big stop was The Big Easy, The Birthplace of Jazz, Crescent City, New Orleans, NOLA, N’Awlins, whatever you chose to call it, it is a happening place with so much to see! We only had time to stay 3 nights with our somewhat rigid timeline so we wanted to make the best of it. You could stay there a week and never get to take it all in. We used  Pontchartrain Landing as our base camp, only 15 minutes from the French Quarter. With our Passport America discount, it was only $41 a night.

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The first thing we did was drive by the house my dad grew up in. I hadn’t been there since I was about 5 years old and it didn’t look anything like I remembered, but lets face it, that was many years and several hurricanes ago! We wanted to check out some of the plantation homes gracing the banks of the Mississippi River, so we headed towards Vacherie. It was a little further than I thought, but it was a nice ride. Just before we got to Oak Alley Plantation, we caught sight of the Queen of the Mississippi

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We found a place to park and walked up to the bank to admire her. The Mississippi River is a busy river! All types of ships and barges travel it’s waters…

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After watching the river traffic for a while, we got back to the original reason we were there. Plantations! We weren’t going to have time to tour any of them, but we wanted to drive by and see as many as we could. Oak Alley gets its name from the 28 evenly spaced live oak trees lining the front walkway. These massive trees are thought to be about 300 years old, man, if trees could talk!

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My picture really doesn’t do the scenery justice! A bit further, we saw a single live oak in the field, with no one standing near it, it is hard to give a sense of scale, but it was a beautiful tree…

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Not all the plantations have been restored, some are in the works and others are in pretty poor condition. Sugar cane is still grown in the area and we passed lots of freshly planted fields…

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I had to ask Steve to turn around so I could get a picture of this oak lined driveway…

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A quick stop at another plantation…

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Then back to New Orleans and the French Quarter! Parking is very pricey in the French Quarter but I found a neat app called Spot Hero . With the app, I was able to find parking right on the edge of the French Quarter ($17 for 12 hours on a Saturday!) We hit the streets and tried to take it all in…

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There were all kinds of street performers. each vying for your attention (and cash)…

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Then, there’s the people watching! A never ending stream of people from all walks of life…

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At night, Bourbon Street really comes alive with music, neon and people…

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We stopped in at Ticklers and listened to the house band for a bit. I noticed the neon board and paid my dollar to change the phrase of the night…

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This should be quite a year to visit New Orleans as it is celebrating it’s 300th birthday…

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I never gave it much thought, but apparently getting married and parading down Bourbon Street is in!

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The morning we left, I climbed up on top of Waldo to get a shot of the park…

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We will probably go back to New Orleans when we can stay a little longer. There is still so much to see!

Have you ever been to the Big Easy? What was your favorite thing to see?

The End of the Road

In the middle of our Big Cypress adventure, we decided to take a road trip. Yes, we were already on a road trip, but this time we wouldn’t be taking Waldo. According to the map, Key West was only about 4 1/2 hours south. A little long for a day trip, but not quite long enough to make it worth packing up Waldo for an overnight. It had been about 25 years since I had been there and Steve hadn’t ever been there. I didn’t really give much thought to how much thing change in 25 years. Mistake number 1!

With Waldo safely tucked in at Burns Lake Campground, we set off early in the Jeep for our trip south. Key West, here we come!

Once we got south of Homestead, traffic began to back up. We crawled along as the scenery changed from mangrove swamps to views of the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Gulf of Mexico on the other. We stopped at a pull off and saw the remains of the old bridge to the Keys…

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Many of the old bridges have been converted into fishing piers

There are over 1700 islands in what is collectively known as “The Keys”. The road through the Keys is called The Overseas Highway, also known as US Route 1. Seven Mile Bridge being the longest of the 43 bridges along the way. If you glance towards the Gulf of Mexico while you are on Seven Mile Bridge, you will see Pigeon Key. Notice the gaping hole in the old bridge. Pigeon Key is now a marine research facility and only accessible by ferry.

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There was still plenty of evidence of the destruction caused by hurricane Irma, travel trailers on the side of the road and boats yet to be recovered.

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Finally, we made it…Welcome to Key West!

 

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We spent the first hour or so just driving around. We drove by the marker for the southern most point in the continental United States. I snapped a quick picture with my phone, thinking we would come back to it later for a proper picture. It’s a good thing I did because when we drove by the following day and the line to get a picture was huge.

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Since we had been driving for hours, we decided to find a place to park and walk around. We found a spot in Old Town near the Waterfront Brewery.  I loved the murals on the building…

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The wall of the Cuban Coffee Queen building offered tourists a neat place for a photo op.

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The waterfront was packed with shops and eateries. So much to see…

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And all types of boats line the docks at the marina…

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Instead of thinking about where we were going to spent the night, we headed over to Duval Street, probably the most famous street in Key West. It runs north/south and stretches from the gulf to the ocean. Stretches may not be the right word since it is only 1 1/4 miles long, but what makes it so famous is the fact it is lined with bars. Both sides of the street, for its entire length – bar after bar after bar! Every kind of bar you can think of, from an upscale piano bar to a gentleman’s club. Duval Street has it all.

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If you had one beverage at every establishment, 43 drinks later, you would have completed what is known as the Duval Crawl. We didn’t crawl!

With sunset coming quickly, we walked through Mallory Square and found a place to enjoy it…

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After sunset, we began to think about a place to spend the night. 25 years ago, there were lots of, how should I put this, hole-in-the-wall places. You know, the kind that line every beachfront everywhere. Well…not anymore…not in Key West! A quick internet search told us the average price for a room in the cheapest of hotels was going to run us about $400 for ONE NIGHT. I almost choked on my beer! We talked about driving north until the prices dropped some. Another internet search told us that wouldn’t happen until we were off the Keys. It was getting late, we were tired and I was getting a little cranky. This all brings us back to that mistake number 1. After 25 years, things change! Finally, with the help of my Hotels Tonight app, we pried $300 out of out wallet and got a room at the Margaritaville Resort. It was a nice room, not $300 nice but that was better than the regular price of nearly $600.

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The view from our room

Wanting to make the most of our last day, we booked a trip with Fury Water Adventures and it didn’t go out until noon and the resort was nice enough to let us leave the Jeep there. We walked around Mallory Square and killed time until the trip went out. Pride of Key West is the name of the glass bottom boat and we found it at the dock…

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After we boarded, Steve and I split up. He stayed on the upper patio and I was lucky enough to get a spot at the bow. This lady held the other great spot on the bow…

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As we were going out, we passed another Fury boat heading in…

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Once we reached the coral garden, the captain did a great job of drifting us over the sea floor and the presentation given was excellent…

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On the way back to shore, Steve and I posed for this picture before relinquishing out spot on the bow…

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Although we still had over a 4 hour drive ahead of us, there were a couple places we wanted to hit before we left the island…

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Is it the end of the road?
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Or the beginning?

I guess it all depends on if you are going north or south. The other place we wanted to get a picture of was the lighthouse…

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Our Key West adventure was over and it was time to head back to Big Cypress. Here is where we made mistake number 2. We hadn’t listened to any local news. If we had, we would have been forewarned about the wildfires. The traffic came to a complete stop when we got to Key Largo and we had no idea why. Up ahead, we could see flashing lights and detour signs. Route 1 was closed – completely! But we still didn’t know why. We followed the traffic and found ourselves on Sound Card Road, the only other way off the Keys. We soon discovered the source of the problem, a wildfire…

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I sincerely hope it is the only wildfire we ever drive through! It was more than a little scary since the top was off the Jeep, as were the doors. Smoke blanketed the road. We could feel the heat and hear the crackle of the flames. I read later, there were actually 2 separate fires and we lucked out because both Route 1 and Sound Card Road had been closed earlier. Had we checked the news, we would have known.

It was late when we finally made it back to Waldo, but we made it. We really had a good time in Key West, but learned a little planning goes a long way and nothing stays the same for 25 years!

Have you ever been to the end of the road? Or done the Duval Crawl?

 

 

 

Not nearly long enough!

You’ll have to forgive me as I go back in time a bit. I know I already did my 2017 in review post, but I have to tell you about the last weeks of 2017.

As you know from my Goodbye Wind Point Park post, we left Lone Oak, Texas, but I didn’t give any hint of where we were heading. Galveston! My parents really enjoyed staying at Galveston Island State Park (GISP) and since we were ready for a bit of down time that’s where we went. We arrived after hours and found our site number tacked to the bulletin board. Setting up in the dark isn’t my favorite thing to do, but we managed…

I was quite surprised when I woke up in the morning and realized we were right near the water’s edge…

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As you can see, the skies had cleared and the weather looked promising. I grabbed my camera and set off to explore a bit since Steve was still sleeping…

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Funny, our address in Lone Oak was State Park Road 55

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When I got back from my walk, Steve was up and about ready to roll. Since it was our first day, we figured we’d just drive around and make note of things we wanted to go back and explore. We stopped at the visitors to get a map and learn a little more about the island. Our friends had given us lots of suggestions of things to do and places to see, but no one told us about the Tree Sculpture Tour. Since we were already right near the beginning of it, we decided to do that first. The artistry is amazing. I’m not going to post pictures of all 24, but here are some of my favorites…

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Steve getting the shot
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This tree had 17 birds carved into it
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Getting into the holiday spirit
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Very cool mermaid
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The only one we found which was painted
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So much talent!
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Probably the most intricate of all and definitely my favorite.

The next day, I wanted to find some of the places where you can drive on the beach. We headed to the west end of the island and after a few dead ends we found a neat little place to do some birding…

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The pink bird is a roseate spoonbill, they are so cool!
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I saw this one later at the campground
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The sound was incredible when this flock of birds took off
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Heading out for some surf fishing

From here, we headed to Fort San Jacinto Historic Point on the east end of the island. It is a great place to watch the ships come into Houston Bay and do a little fishing…

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Then it was (literally) on to East Beach…

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I loved the designs in the sand made by the waves.

Since it was getting on toward dinner time, we looked through the coupons we had gotten at the visitor’s center and decided to do the totally touristy thing to do. We ate dinner at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company. I my opinion, the meal was completely forgettable and over priced, but that what you get for being touristy!

One of the best things about staying at a state park in Texas is you don’t need a license to fish as long as you are on the property. We decided to take advantage of that and get in some fishing. I was first to pull in whopper…

Okay, not really a whopper

The next big catch wasn’t exactly a keeper either…

Perhaps Steve would have better luck…

Looks impressive until you put it in the larger picture…

One of the places everyone said we needed to go was Moody Gardens. I checked it out online and it looked amazing, but I wasn’t sure we could really swing the price.  I pretty much put it out of my mind until I called my dad. He mentioned that when he and mom were in Galveston, they visited Moody Gardens and really enjoyed it. Then he offered to get tickets for us as a Christmas gift! Woohoo! Thank you! Since quite a bit of it is inside, Steve and I picked the coldest upcoming day to go. We woke up bright and early, had a good breakfast then headed out. It was only about a 15 minute drive and we had 10am tickets for the Ice Land exhibit. I know, I hate the cold, but who could resist a rain forest made completely of ice? If you want to read about the history and the how, click here, it’s definitely interesting! Here are a few of my favorite sculptures…

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The kids were having a blast on the ice slide

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Doesn’t Steve look good in blue?!?

Moody Gardens has 3 pyramid structures and each one contains a different theme. We started at the Discovery pyramid and enjoyed the Da Vinci exhibit. I never realized just how many things he was into. I didn’t take any pictures because it was fairly dark inside, plus, sometimes it is just nice to enjoy something without thinking about images for the blog.  Next we headed to the rain forest pyramid. After the near freezing temps in Ice Land, the rain forest seemed downright comfy!

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But, my favorite pyramid was the aquarium. Again, I didn’t take a lot of pictures, I just enjoyed…Moody Gardens-4339

It was starting to get dark by the time we left the aquarium.  We had almost an hour before our “sail” around the harbor on the paddle boat, so we walked around and checked out the holiday lights.

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Just before it got totally dark, a zip-liner went right over our heads…

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From the paddle boat, we had a good view of the pyramids…

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As we were getting ready to head back to Waldo, we noticed the Chinese lanterns.(these were done in honor of the Chinese ice carving team who made Ice Land into a rain forest, here’s that story) …

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Now, how it I get the title of this post? The next thing we knew, it was Dec. 26th and time to leave. 7 days is “Not nearly long enough” to see everything in Galveston! But we will definitely go back!  And once again, we packed up in the rain…

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Have you ever been to Galveston? What did you enjoy most?

 

A Year in Review

With 2017 and Peterborough in the review mirror, I realize just how much our life changed last year. When 2017 began, we were still living in a stick and brick home, we owned a business and we were still making our plan to hit the road. Then, something happened and it all changed. Accelerating our plan to move into Waldo full time a year ahead of schedule required quite a lot of work. First, had to decide what we wanted to keep and what needed to go, then we had to get rid of all our belongings that weren’t going with us…

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One of our many yard sales

We had to get the house ready to sell. Clean, paint, new flooring…

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And, of course, the we had to wait for the weather to warm up…

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Sometimes, you just have to take a break!

Then, there was all the work we needed to do to Waldo before we could leave. My favorite “upgrade” was our new curtains…

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What do you do with family photos?
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You turn them into iron-ons and make curtains!

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We said goodbye to family and friends…

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Finally, Florida bound…

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By far, the biggest improvement we had to do was get a new roof. We decided Florida was where we should get that done. The benefit of being able to stay with my dad while the repair was done, made the decision an easy one…

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Steve began to adjust to not going to work every day…

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It was July before we truly ready to hit the road. We had a job waiting for us in Texas and it was time to go…

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Our first meal living full time in Waldo.

And then, our new temporary home in Texas…

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The next 5 months seemingly flew by, bringing us to December and the impending new year.

How things can change in 12 months! From this view…

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To this view…

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From using wood for winter heat…

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To using wood for camp fires…

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It’s been a year of major changes, all for the better. We’ve visited beautiful places and made some wonderful new friends. It means so much to me to have you along on our journey. Thank you.

May 2018 be your best year yet!

Goodbye Wind Point Park

When we first arrived at Wind Point Park, we had no idea what to expect. We had a basic idea of our job descriptions but we were stepping into unknown territory. Our initial commitment was 3 months. We said, “Beyond that, we’ll stay as long as it is mutually beneficial.” Time passed quickly. We made new friends. People who truly impacted our lives. To be quite honest, we also met some people we weren’t terribly fond of, but, let’s face it that happens everywhere. Our overall experience was a happy one.

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And we got to see some really cool things…

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Our daily visitors
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The Texas Eiffel Tower
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The Salt Palace in Grand Saline
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The wine festival in Grapevine
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The Texas State Fair
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The Grapeland Safari
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A night with the Marcus Linsdsey Band
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Turkey Drag 2017

When we set out on this new adventure, it was never our intent to find a happy place and call it home (at least not yet). Each place we stay is meant to be a visit. There are far too many places to see to put down new roots.

We decided to leave on Dec. 19th, a little over 5 months after we arrived. The week before we left, was filled with evenings with our new friends.  Dinner with Ivan and Josie…Dinner with Jerry and Janelle…Dinner with Scott and Reja…Dinner with Nancy…Hugs and well wishes from so many people…and our final campfire…

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Before we left, we walked over to see Meda. She is a long term lease holder who moved in a few months ago. She had just gotten her smoker and we wanted to see it…

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Is that cool or what!

Nancy gave us an early Christmas present…

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In case you are wondering, the “dog butt” is a leash holder. The “Where’s Waldo” candy bar was perfect!

The morning of the 19th was rainy and miserable for packing up…

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Thank you Josie for taking the picture

Despite the rain, lots of people stopped by for a final farewell…

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My apologies to Jerry and Janelle, we didn’t get a picture with you, but your homemade road snacks were awesome!

I haven’t come close to mentioning everyone who made our time at Wind Point Park so memorable.

A part of us will stay in Lone Oak with all of you…

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And I painted a reminder, in case you do start to forget us…

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A special “Thank you” to the park owner, Ryan, for giving us our workamping start.

Next stop…Galveston!

A Texas Tale

While researching day trips, I stumble across a website listing all of the towns in Texas. As I started reading the list, I laughed and told Steve, “There has to be a story in here.” So, here it is! Everything underlined below is the name of a town in Texas, or at least it was at one time. If you don’t believe me, check out Texas Escapes.


A blog Post by Laura Mahoney

Uncertain of her Fate, Mary stood with her arms around Granny’s Neck, Salty tears streamed down her face. While Granny was Happy to Comfort her, she had Little Hope Mary would not end up in Exile. Mary released her grasp and sat down next to the Running Water of Devil’s River, a Big Stinking Creek. A Big Lump rose in her throat as she sat to Ponder the Odds of her Birthright as the Diddy Wa Diddy of Toadsuck would earn her any Goodwill. Granny was the only person in her family who understood what she had done was as natural as breathing Air or putting Gasoline in a Mercedes. To her dad, what she had done was worse than drinking Java from a Teacup.  Her bothers, Mutt And Jeff, were squarely in Dad’s Corner. There wasn’t much Time to set the Record straight. With Dad being the Admiral of Zipperlandville, he had Ample time to Call Ranger Squeezepenny Who’d Thought It would be Best if Mary lost her Liberty. Squeezepenny was on the Cheapside and wouldn’t be swayed with the Dime Box that Fairy Kickapoo had given her. He had no sense of Fair Play and was, just in general, a Fink.

“Stop Weeping Mary, I have a couple ideas how to get you out of this mess,” said Granny, “I want you to get pen and paper so you can Jot ‘Em Down.”

“Granny, that Round Rock you are sitting on looks terribly uncomfortable. Don’t you think we should Retreat to the Alligator School House and sit on the Couch with a Blanket?”

“We don’t have time to go to the Boys Ranch if you want to keep your freedom.”

Granny was Midway through her sentence when the Bishop from Martha’s Chapel galloped out of the Green Meadow. He rode atop a Grey Mule and his Silver hair shone like a Gem in the Rising Sun.

“Mary!” he hailed. “I’ve just come from The Woodlands. Fairy Kickapoo told me of your troubles. I wanted to be a Good Neighbor and offer a Blessing from Saint Hedwig. And, as a Bonus, I’ve asked Saint Jo to ring the Bells at Fort Godbehere.”

Welcome, Bishop Ysteta. Thank you for your concern for my Welfare. How are things in the Woods?”

“Ah, I’m afraid the woods have turned into a Shadowland. Commerce has slowed down and there is no pot of Gold at the end of the Rainbow. Mercury, Pluto and Mars have fallen out of the Zodiac like a Comet and folks have lost their sense of Security.”

“Isn’t a Mercury a Sedan not a Star?” asked Mary.

“Actually, it’s a planet discovered by the Gent on Science Hill. You are thinking of Saturn, which used to be a Car made in Detroit.”

Granny cleared her throat and said Point Blank, “If I could have a Word, Bishop Ysteta, we can Circle Back to your troubles in a moment. Right now, Mary has a few things she needs to do before Sundown! After which, I will be Content to Converse with you over a bowl of Oatmeal, if you brought a Raisin.”

“You are quite right, it won’t be long until Sunset. As I see it, there are Four Points Mary needs to make to keep her Freer than Shacklefoot.”

Three points,” interrupted Mary.

Okay, it’s your Choice, but you can’t make a Circle if you Zigzag all over the place.”

Just then an Easterly breeze crossed the Trio as a Canadian Crow flew to a nearby Arbor. It was like something out of Dreamland, it had a Bigfoot and a Baby Head. It looked more like a Turkey. It didn’t even look like it could Fly. As it started to squawk, a Chickenfeather fell from its beak. Granny turned Lily White and cried “Eureka! Now I know the Link between Frog and Frognot.”

Mary and the Bishop wondered if the entire Universe had gone Plum Looneyville. “Why the White Face Granny,” they cried in unison.

“I know how to get you a New Deal and that Nimrod Squeezepenny won’t be able to get a Nickel from your Old Dime Box! Gather around and I’ll tell you the Ideal plan,” said Granny with a Wink. It only took her Nine minutes to lay out the details. If things didn’t work out, they would have to Cut and Shoot their way back to Utopia.

The first part of the plan hinged on being able to get some Coldwater from the Artesia Wells and the Wizard Wells for a Bath. This would not be an easy task. The wells were at the back of a Cactus filled Canyon, just past the Burning Bush. The Stagecoach only ran as far as Electric City, so the three of them piled into a Van for the remainder of the journey, stopping once at the Oasis Gas Station. They were nearing Bug Tussle when Granny saw the Big Lake created by the Beaver Dam. Luckily, Hinkle’s Ferry was on the far side of the lake, so the Guy piloting it did not have a View of them.

“The canyon should be just around the next Bend,” Mary said. The only container they had to Draw the water was a Leaky bucket Granny had taken from Skellytown.

“We Needmore water or it’s going to look like we came from Mudville,” said the Bishop.

“Well, that’d be a Damsite better than Cementville, if you ask me!” replied Granny.

Thinking quickly, Mary grabbed some Clay and used a Sharp Stick to plug the hole in the bucket. Now I won’t lose another Drop she thought. After cleaning up, everyone put on a Crisp pair of Knickerbocker(s), anxious for the next part of the plan – the disguise!

Granny sat Mary in the Center of Ransom Canyon and wished she could have gone to Paul’s Store or Twin Groceries to get supplies, but keeping the Cost down is the number one Rule when you are on the Run. The Key is being able to Roundup whatever you need.

“We’ll just have to make do Mary. First, we are going to Dye your Golden hair Black, then we’ll use a little Carbon to add a Dimple to your chin. Bishop, hand me those Scissors, I need to Cutoff the Dull Swastika on her shirtsleeve. It’s nothing but Scrap anyhow.”

Granny beamed with Pride as she thought about her days in the Orphan’s Home. Who would have known all those Art classes would come in handy. Now, you couldn’t tell if Mary was a Pearl or a Pebble. Just a bit of Cologne and they would be ready for phase three. They Heard the Boom of the Cannon before they saw the Gunsight, but Mary had Grit and wasn’t about to let the Hunter find her.

“Run child, you know what to do now,” hollered the Bishop as the Impact of the cannonball sent Deadwood flying around them. It was looking like Gun Barrel City as Mary reached the Junction of Moonshine Hill and the Medicine Mound. As she turned West, she saw a Mustang standing on the Lawn of Chapman Ranch, almost as if it was waiting for her. Not wanting to look a gift horse in the mouth, she swung her leg over his back and began to gallop. She was beginning to have Hope.  As the Pony began to tire, she decided they should stop and rest awhile near Cat Spring. Perhaps she could catch some Catfish for dinner and she could really use some Coffee or a Coke. She dismounted when she found an area with some Seclusion. She didn’t want the Hunt to be over just yet. Exhausted, she had almost let the sound of the Dripping Springs Lull her to sleep. When she heard a Click in the distance she was instantly alert. Mary yelled Geronimo and threw herself into The Ditch. Keeping her head low, Mary was able to see through the Groves of Cedar trees. It turned out to be Joe Lee from Fort Spunky.

“Mary,” he whispered. “Mary, are you here? Bishop Ysleta send me! He said the password was Ding Dong. We have to hurry, Mary, Ranger Squeezepenny is Hot on your trail!”

Mary rose from her hiding spot and came face to face with Joe Lee. He was a handsome young man, but a bit of a Lone Wolf. Mary was leery of accepting his help, but sundown was only hours away. Without him, she’d never make it across Iron Bridge and would be captured before Dawn.

“Captain Crawford told me to assist you any way I can. I’m ready to be your Shield, Ma’am, your Humble servant. The Captain told me there were others indebted to you but they will remain Nameless.”

“I don’t think that will be necessary, but, you are right, we should ride.”

Joe Lee was not a Novice horseman and the miles flew by. Finally, they reached Newcastle, alit in all its Glory.

As Mary walked across the drawbridge, Prince Onalaska ran to meet her. “Be Careful my dear, the moat is full of Quicksand. How did your family take it when you told them I asked you to be my Valentine?”

Since the Pickens were slim around here, Mary knew she had to get her Hooks in him before the last Sunray crossed the Earth. “Father was beside himself! He sent Ranger Squeezepenny to Pflugerville to find me. They want to exile me! But, my Loving Granny has a plan. She said if I make you my Groom and we decorate a Nursery, they will have to let us live happily ever after.”

Since Prince Onalaska liked living on the Edge, Mary was just his Type. “We will be Trueloves forever,” he proclaimed.

“I will Telephone the Temple and Tell them the good news,” Mary promised.

“And I will send a Telegraph to your father, at once.”

It was a lovely spring wedding up on Flower Hill. Everyone was in attendance and as the happy couple rode off into the sunset, the last thing anyone heard was Goodnight.

 

THE END


Have you ever visited any of these places? What is the strangest town name you know of?

Day Tripping

Striking a balance between work and play is something everyone strives for. And when it’s time to play, lots of things factor into how that time should be spent. I know I’ve repeatedly said how much I like free things to do. We’ve found, if you plan it right, you can get LOTS of fun for free. Our last 3 day trips are great examples of frugal fun!

DAY TRIP #1 – The Salt Palace – Grand Saline, Texas

Grand Saline, Texas is home to one of the largest salt mines in the US. The underground salt dome is 1 1/2 miles wide and over 4 miles deep, yes, I said MILES. In the late 1890’s, there were several salt producing companies. Around 1920 The Grand Saline Salt Company acquired them all and later became known as Morton Salt. By 1930, they were mining over 500 tons of salt daily. The building which houses the salt museum has the distinction of being the only building in the world built entirely of salt blocks…

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Inside is a neat collection of Morton Salt memorabilia…

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Morton stopped doing mine tours in the 1960’s. but there was a 20 minute movie showing some of the history and the mining operation. The cost to visit – nada! But donations are accepted.

DAY TRIP #2 – Grapefest, Grapevine, Texas

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We chose to head over to Grapevine on Thursday because…wait for it…it was free admission day!  Score!! There was free parking and a free shuttle. Every year Grapefest highlights different regions. This year it was wines from the Finger Lakes Region of New York and Canadian ice wines. Several years ago, Steve and I did the Seneca Lake wine tour, so we were already familiar with a few of the wineries. Of course that didn’t prevent me from sampling their goods.

Historic downtown Grapevine would have been worth the visit even without Grapefest, from the train depot…

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To the arts…

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But, it really was about the wine…

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DAY TRIP #3 – The Eiffel Tower – Paris, Texas

You don’t have to travel to France to see the Eiffel Tower. You do, however, have to go to Paris. In our case, Paris, Texas. This was another cool Atlas Obscura find.

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Right next to the tower is the Red River Valley Veterans Memorial…

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The memorial is only partially completed, but it is really well done.

So, what are we gong to do with all the money we saved by finding free day trips? Well, you’ll find out next week!

How do you find free things to do?