Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Forth Worth and Dallas

Monday came and it was off to the Dallas-Fort Worth Area to visit Tom's cousin and her husband. They are staying at a campground just South of Denton Texas. When we arrived, all Tom had to do was pay for the site as his cousin, Connie, had everything setup for us.

On Tuesday morning Tom set out to have some keys made. While in Austin, I lost my motorhome door and compartment door keys. After getting the keys, We struck out to see some of the sites of Dallas-Fort Worth Area.

The first place we visited was the Mustangs of Las Colinas Statue. What a site! You can just let yourself imagine a small herd of Mustangs running across a small stream and the pounding of hoofs. What talent to be able to bring this much emotion to a statue.

Off we went to the Fort Worth Stock Yards where many, many years ago cattle were shipped from this location. This area has under went a rehab and has been turned into a tourist area with shops and several places to eat. A cattle drive is held twice a day and we arrived just in time for the afternoon cattle drive.

Next door to the Stock Yards is Billy Bob's, the largest honky Tonk in the country.
It has a large show area, several bars, a gift shop and a bull riding ring (the real ones not the mechanical ones).

Our final stop ot the day was the Fort Worth Water Gardens. This is another area that is very relaxing in the heart of a city.

This was our last stop of the day. Tomorrow, Dallas...

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Austin, Texas

The first stop on our return trip to Maryland was in Austin, the capitol of Texas. We are staying at the Austin Lone Star RV Resort which is located 5 miles south of Austin.

The fact that it has "resort" in it's name should have clued us in that it was going to be over priced and it was. It costs us $90.00 for two days. The sites are tight and the roads narrow. WIFI Internet access and a two pancake and coffee breakfast are included in the cost.

Anyway, we wanted to see some of Austin. Sunday, after the "free" breakfast we drove into Austin and stopped at the LBJ library. This is a free library on the campus of University of Texas. We toured the exhibits about the great socitity and though many of the laws LBJ pushed for were needed, many others are part of the problem the USA is in today with many government give away programs.

Our next stop of the state capitol building. What a great building this is. We were taken back about how open it is to the public. Every half hour there is a free tour that takes you to various parts of the building. We could not go into the house chambers as there was a reception of some sorts going on. If ever you are in Austin, make certain you visit the capitol.

Our final stop was a late lunch-early dinner and than a walk down 6th street. This is the area that is known for the music scene. We were too early in the evening for the place to be jumping. We decided to call it a day and go back to the motorhome and get ready for Monday's travels to the Dallas area.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Moving North

Well, after two months, we are on the move towards Maryland. Our first stop will be for two nights in Austin, Texas. On Monday we will move to Denton, Texas for 3 nights and visit with some of Tom's family. After that it is on towards Maryland and home by Easter.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Chocolate Babka and Orange Blossoms

After church this morning we drove over to a Breadsmith Bakery and purchased a Chocolate Babka and a couple of scones to have for breakfest. Since we know about a Sienfled show in which a Babka was mentioned, we got a discount on our purchase.

All week long we have been smelling orange blossoms. It sure beats the smell of someone empting their black tanks. Citrus trees bear fruit and blossoms st the same time. This is quite a sight to see and smell.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Don't Shop at Brady's Duty Free Hidalgo, Texas

Today on our way to Reynoso Mexico we stopped at Brady's Duty Free Store to make a liquor purchase. If you have not shopped a duty free shop on the border, it should be a simple process, you make your purchase and pick it up at a location in the next country. Well we made our purchase, crossed into Mexico, but was not able to locate the pick-up location. We asked around, but nobody was able to direct us. In fact, everyone looked at us like we had two heads. We were able to locate to other duty free stores, but not the Brady's Duty Free.

In short, if you are going to get something from a duty free store don't buy from Brady's Duty Free.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle

We visited the Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle National Shrine. The Basilica was dedicated on April 19, 1980. The present structure replaces one that was destroyed on October 23, 1970 when a pilot flew his airplane directly into the Shrine. Very significant for the many pilgrams visiting the shrine was the fact that the statue of la Virgen was rescued from the flames completely intact.

The inside of the Basilica is very modern looking, as I hope everyone can see from the pictures. As you enter, your view the alter area your drawn to the rear wall and the ststue of the Virgin Mary.

The North side of the Basilica has a big Mosiac of Jesus and the Virgin Mary which can be seen when passing by on the expressway. Even viewing it up close it is still quite a sight to see.

Winter Texan Appreciation Day at Pepe's

Today was another Winter Texan (snowbird) Appreciation Day. It was hosted by radio station KBUC and held at Pepe's by the River. Pepe's is a big open air pavillion right on the banks of the Rio Grande River.

A DJ from KBUC was the MC for the affair. Everyone was given a free hot dog and chips. Also various vendors were present with some give aways. We signed up for the drawing and won a bag of Texas grapefruit. Even without winning anything we had a good time.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Rained Out Golf, Lunch At Rudy's BBQ & Napolitas

I went golfing this morning with 3 friends from the RV park. We got to the 5th hole and saw lighting and heard thunder a second or two later. We picked up our golf balls and headed for the club house. It was raining buckets by the time we got there. The course issued rain checks for those who did not want to wait the rain out. I was happy because I was not hitting my middle irons very good today.

When I got back to the motorhome, Leah had company, so we visited for a while.

After our company left, we decided to go out for a bite of lunch, cash in a big six dollar winning lottery ticket and pickup a few items from the grocery store.

We decided to go to Rudy's BBQ for lunch. ( I know, so many places to choose from and so little time to do it.) We have been there before and had excellent brisket sandwiches! Today, Leah and I chose the BBQed turkey. What a good choice that was. The turkey was hot and juicy and loaded with flavor.

With full bellies we left Rudy's and made our way to the H.E.B. food store.

At the food store I saw a package of Napolitas and decided to buy it. Napolitas are Prickly Pear Cactus. The thorns are removed and the peddles are chopped up like green peppers.

Leah ask me what in the world was I going to do with them. I told her I did not know, but had seen them sold everywhere and would check the internet for ways to fix them. I asked the check out person if she knew how to prepare them. She said to boil them for about 10-15 minutes and then fry them with onions and tomatoes. I figured they were not expensive and would be worth a try. Leah being the trouper that she is jumped right in and fixed the napolitas with onions and tomatoes. She also prepared some beans and rice over which the napolitas were served. Not bad...

Friday, March 09, 2007

Off the Main Road

After the ferry ride and potty break at Los Ebanos, we stopped at the Riverside Club for a bite to eat and check on getting reservations for a curise on the Rio Grande River. I had been told that the Pork Tenderloin sandwich was the item to get, so I ordered one. Leah ordered a hamburger. When our food came, we noticed the hamburger appeared to have been deep fried and was concerned it might be kind of chewy. My Pork Tenderloin sandwich was not a disappointment.

We came across a field of cabbages being harvested. We were surprised to see the heads were being put into boxes while still in the field. I thought this step would have been done at a warehouse or processing plant.

Next to the cabbage field was field of Texas Sweet Onions. Down here in the RGV they do not lack an availability of fresh produce.

Hand-Pulled Ferry

After going through the pumphouse in Hidalgo, we drove to the Los Ebanos Ferry. The Los Ebanos Ferry is the only known government licensed hand-pulled ferry on any boundry of the United States

The fare is $.50 per person and $3.00 per vehicle one way.

Once you get over into Mexico, there is a small town about a mile away. Some people take a $5.00 taxi ride into the town to eat and do a little shopping. Some of the campground bike clubs come here and make a day trip bike ride into Mexico.

Leah and I just rode the ferry over and back just to say we did it.

On the US side of the river, there is a little store where you can get a drink, buy a few trinkets and use the bathroom. The men's urnial has a very unique decor. :-)

Water to make the Valley Grow

This morning we drove to Hidalgo, Texas to see the old Pumphouse location. Back in 1909 a steam driven Pumping station was constructed. The function of this station was to pump water from the Rio Grande River to the Hidalgo County area of Texas. The main channel was dug on the western edge of the county and feeder canals were constructed to flow the water towards the East. This new source of water made it possible to grow almost anything. There were a number of these steam powered pumping stations along the Rio Grande River, but this is the only station remaining. All of the pumping stations are electric powererd today.