It's Family Time!

We've been in the SKP Park in Benson for a little over a week now while we wait to get into the Ft. Huachuca RV Park in Sierra Vista on Saturday. What a week it's been!

We arrived early because our dear friends Tom and Murline Georgeson were coming down from Eureka, Ca to visit some mutual friends (Pat and Dale) who live in the park. Our history goes back to about 1980. The six of us such a great time while they were here that I didn't get any photos. Well, you gotta have priorities.

We visited with Steve and Christy and our precious grandaughters over the weekend. We got a tour of the beautiful new home they will move into on Monday, had a picnic, and visited with the Easter bunny amongst other things.

At the picnic, Maddie chased bubbles that Christy blew for her.

And Caty was the soccor queen.

Then it was off to the mall for a quick firetruck ride.

The Easter bunny was finally free, but things didn't go exactly as planned.

After many trys, the Easter bunny hid behind the sofa and Mom and Dad joined the girls. But, these girls are smart. They knew something was amiss.

When we got home I checked my email and saw that Charlie60 had a new entry on her blog. She's part of the Graduation Class of '06 that belong to the Escapees. I immediately sent her an email when I saw that she was somewhere in Benson! Half an hour later there was a knock on the door and there was Charlie and Shirley as in Shirley and Gene. S and G were parked 8 spaces down from us! They invited us for a BBQ and there was no hesitation on our part to put on some shoes and join them.

Chris, Mike and Charlie, Shirley and Gene (AKA Reb)

It was so much fun we did it again last night at Mike and Charlie's beloved bus TAD (The American Dream)

We were joined by Dave and Diane in the background and Richard in the foreground. What a fun group!

Fredericksburg, TX

We just spent a wonderful week in the quaint village of Fredericksburg, TX. The town was founded by 120 Germans back in 1848 and has maintained its German/Bavarian flavor. The downtown is loaded with unique shops, great restaurants, wine tasting rooms, art galleries, and a couple of museums.

The primary museums are the Pioneer Museum that provides reenactments for the visitors. It's like a living walk through history. The other is The National Museum of the Pacific War. It is devoted exclusively to telling the story of the battles in the Pacific during World War II. Admiral Nimitz was born in Fredericksburg and remains their shining star.

Although we didn't get to see everything, we did come away with two favorite stores and we were several dollars lighter. Der Kuchen Laden (The Kitchen Store) lives in the old hospital building and has kept the original floor plan.

We are now the proud owners of a pasta maker, thermometer probe, ravioli mold, and several other items.

Rustlin’ Robs adopted a more Texas theme and sells…

What makes this store different is that they let you sample EVERYTHING! They have large bowls of Wheat Thins and pretzels throughout the store and open samples of hot sauces, salsas, mustards, jellies, dips, honey, etc. You could practically have lunch there.

They also make homemade fudge, but I noticed kids couldn’t get a sample without a parent’s permission.

Now I’ve got all this food that’s so good that I don’t want to use it up. Well, they do have on-line ordering too.

There are also things away from Main Street that are worth a visit. We drove out to Luckenbach, TX to see the old West town made famous by “Willie, Waylon, and the boys.”

This post office is now a souvenir shop with a beer hall in the back.

The historic dance hall regularly hosts the best of live boot-scooting music. Musical events are held under the huge oaks during the summer.

You have now seen all of Luckenback—2 buildings!

The Wildseed Farms and Market Center is the largest working wildflower farm in the U.S. In addition to flower seeds, they sell home and garden items, women’s clothing, plants, wine, pottery, and specialty items.

The LBJ Park had a little of something for everyone, including a nice RV Park. If we make it back this way, we would probably stay there. It was easy to find a quiet spot for Ranger to “zoom,” so we came back often.

We saved The Bavarian Inn for our last night. My food was wonderful, but Chris’s sauerbraten was full of gristle. We apparently had a new waiter because we waited forever after the salad until Chris called him over. The food arrived shortly, but the spell was broken. Oh well, everything else was great.


A Good Day for Fishing

If you like to fish, then you'd have been a happy camper yesterday. We drove over to Matagorda to visit friends Lois and Terry. They were here, but moved over to the County Park that is right on the Colorado River and near the Intercoastal Waterway. It was to be a day of great fishing and good food.

Terry, Chris and Ed all snagged a Black Drum within minutes of each other. For awhile we thought Ed and Terry may have caught the same fish.

Ed, wife Dorothy, and Lois

Several folks stopped by to help. Unfortunately the Black Drum is not edible, so was thrown back.

Terry has one on the line.

I believe it measured about 43 inches.

Chris was next up.

He's almost got him!

What a beauty!

And another one with the next cast!

In the meantime, between taking pictures, the women were putting together a great fish fry with bread, salad, potatoes, and condiments. Chris actually thought he could load up his plate and take it back to the water. No, no. We enjoy this as a group.


Valentine's Day

Some of our new friends invited us to join them for lunch on Valentine's Day at the Blessing Hotel in nearby Blessing, TX.

The hotel is quite old, but still functioning as a place to stay. All the floors were wooden and the rooms had the oldtime high ceilings. Lunch consisted of a buffet of an assortment of homecooked vegetables, meat loaf, roast, breads, salads, and desserts. The beverages were ice tea and coffee. As with most buffets, this was all-you-can-eat, but for only $7.50! It was obvious that those who had been here before had saved their appetites for the trip.

Terry, Lois, Joan, and Madonna. Remember Madonna from the parade? She was Queen of the Senior Center and today was her birthday.

Chris, Jack, Barbara, and Bill

Barbara and Madonna are sisters and are only 9 months apart, which Barbara enjoyed very much.

(Chris blames me for this picture of him, but he knew the camera was pointed at him.)

Kingsville and The Parade

We spent a week in Kingsville still looking for the sun. Actually, we spent 3 days driving back and forth to Corpus Christi to sightsee and get 2 new tires for the right side of the RV. Two fellows waved us over on our way into Kingsville because they thought the tread was coming off the tires. As it turned out, we had a large bubble on the inside of both tires. The tire guy said we had probably hit a pothole. Anyway, Chris now knows how to change the tires with the slides out.

While we were there we took a bus tour of the King Ranch.

The Ranch is 825,000 acres large, which makes it slightly larger than Rhode Island. It was founded by Richard King in 1853 and he led a very interesting life. He was the son of Irish immigrants who gave him away when he was 9 years old to a family that promised to train him in jewelry making. As it turned out, they really wanted a babysitter and house cleaner. At the age of 11 he ran away and stowed aboard a cargo ship. After 4 days at sea, he was discovered and they made him a cabin boy. His first career was in the shipping business and he was quite successful.

Once he had bought the first 15,000 acres of the ranch (for $600) he went to Mexico to buy some longhorn cows. He bought all of the cows one village had and promised a lifelong job to anyone wanting to become a cowboy on his ranch. The next morning he found the entire village packed and ready to travel to their new home. Thus, the ranch is more like a little town with houses, a school, a general store, and a Catholic church.

On February 8th we drove to the Serendipity Bay RV and Marina Resort for our next stay. They put us on a lot that had ruts so deep we couldn't get level, so we moved across the street the next day. We both hate that! There are some paved sites, but someone has to die to get one. Yes, that's exactly what we were told.

Terry and Lois have been here for 2 months and have a paved site. Remember, we met them in Idaho last summer and visited again in Houston? Anyway, they've been showing us around and introducing us to others.

Lois and Terry (Yes, it's still cold)

The town of Palacios holds an annual Valentine Parade and it's a really big deal here. So, last Saturday several of us walked into town for the grand event. I think half of this town of 5,000 were in the parade and the other half watched. Even the school bus went by.

Red Hats are everywhere!

A walking shark

Shouldn't the "mounted drill team" be mounted on horses?

The inevitable beauty contestants

Looks like the Shriners had a good time.

Queen Madonna is the sister of one of the RVers in the park.

It was a hoot! We all cheered and clapped to encourage them on, then went out for seafood and Margaritas.

Ecology Day

Yesterday was all about the local ecology and was quite interesting. First thing in the morning (10:00 a.m.) we went to the Sea Turtle Rescue Center.

They rescue sick and damaged sea turtles and try to mend them. They are then returned to the sea unless the damage is too extensive. At that point, they are sent to an aquarium or zoo. Usually, they rescue about 30 turtles, however, a couple of weeks ago they had about 140 staying at their "hotel." They had to be resued from hyperthermia, because this winter as been so cold.

Green Sea Turtle

We were able to feed some of the turtles and that was fun.

After a little teasing through the glass, the lettuce was tossed over the top and into the tank.

There are two sea turtle rescue centers in TX - this one and one in Corpus Christi. In the spring, after the turtles have laid their eggs in the sand, volunteers and workers move the eggs to a protected area to assure a maximum number of turtles survive. We would definitely volunteer for that if we were here in the spring.

In the afternoon we boarded the Getaway for an eco tour and dolphin watching cruise.

Like the fishing trip, it was cold! This time I wore my warm jacket, but it still made for a bad hair day.

We probably saw half a dozen dolphins, which is nothing compared to what we've seen off the southern California coast. Here's a view of S. Padre Island from the mouth of the bay. The weather was as miserable as it looks.

Toward the end of the trip, one of the crew tossed a net off the stern. After cruising about for 10 minutes, they pulled it in and shared some of the critters with us.

Five rayed starfish

Brown shrimp


Hard-nosed catfish

Puffer fish

Spider crab

Sponge crab

This was definitely the best part of the trip.

Tommorrow we leave for Kingsville, TX and will explore Corpus Christ from the Navy base that is there.

S. Padre Island

We left Del Rio and stayed overnight in Laredo. We found a park that offerred electic, cable, and water and we didn't have to unhook. I've decided that's as close to boondocking as I like most of the time.

The next morning we left under a light rain and it continued until we got to Port Isabel. When we pulled into Park Central we were told a gravel truck was spreading gravel on our site and got stuck in the mud. They put us in overflow and that was also in the mud. Four feet and four paws can make a mess quickly. Only Miss Kitty stayed clean.

The next day we looked around the park and the site and started looking for another park. It was full of old, very permanent trailers and the site was a mud hole. Woodall's gave this park a "3 W" rating out of 5! I'm starting to learn how to ask more specific questions like, "Is there a cement pad?" If not, what will be under the rig? We found a site in the KOA on S. Padre Island that's quite nice and quite expensive - $280/week. Ihe Island is charming even though major road construction is happening.

On the way into Port Isabel (just across the bridge from the Island) we saw this weird building.

Apparently this is what they make. You'll see similar statues around town, especially fishes.

After we settled into the KOA we decided to treat ourselves to lunch. We discovered Amberjacks with a big sign that read: "If you can get here, we offer 2 lunches for the price of 1." That was because of the road construction. The Mahi Mahi and Amberjacks Road Rage cocktail were wonderful and the service outstanding. All for $13.60!. This was part of our view...

We'll be back!

Yesterday we boarded one of those party fishing boats. There were probably about 20 people including our next door neighbors. These pictures describe it fairly accurately.

No one caught a thing, but we got to see lots of the bay because the Captain kept moving in an attempt to find a good spot. The water was just too cold.

Hey, Herman, you took a wrong turn!

We're in the RV park at Laughlin AFB in Del Rio, TX. That's on the south western edge of TX. The weather is supposed to be mild and it certainly was when we arrived. We even barbequed some steaks for dinner.

The next day came the freezing rain.

Ranger was not happy that his toilet facilities were outside.

Then came the......

The clerk at the Exchange said this was the third time it snowed in the last 20 years! Aren't we the special ones to have been here to see it? NOT!

We're really in south TX. It just looks like South Dakota. We even lost our Internet connection due to ice on the satellite dish.

The most exciting thing we've seen in Del Rio has been a collection of catfish heads on a fence. They were, undoubtedly, caught in Lake Amistad just outside of town.

We'll head down to Port Isabel next week and see if we can find the sun again.

Ancestor Search

My mother's maiden name was Bailey. She always told the story of being in Columbus, NM when Poncho Villa raided the town. She would have been 5 at the time and possibly visiting relatives. Since we were in Deming, we decided to pop down to Columbus and see what we could find out.

It's a very small border town and the raid was it's claim for fame. We stopped at the museum and asked if there might be a roster or list of the residents present in March 1916. She didn't know of any, but sent us to the City Clerk. Nicole was very nice and called the Bureau of Statistics in Santa Fe, but lost the call. Then she called a local fellow, Richard Dean, who was the "keeper of the archives." Struck out again, so we went back to the museum to see if there were names that might give us a clue. While there, a man came in and wanted to know if we were the folks looking for Bailey relatives. It was Richard.

He asked us to come to his office at his home, so he could share what information he had. It turned out a fellow named Col. Andrew O. Bailey was the founder of the town and town postmaster a few times. He had 2 sons and 3 daughters. Richard gave us a copy of an article talking about the family that provides us with some details for further research.

We haven't established the connection yet, but we're hot on the trail.

Yesterday was a red letter day - we updated our map!