Friday, October 16, 2009

TGIF Day - Catch Up Day

We had a LONG day of traveling onTuesday the 13th. We usually don't go past 3pm or 300 miles or so. What's the hurry? We're retired. Well, today we wanted to make it to Austin, Texas & I knew we would be traveling around the loop of Houston & up into Austin via US Rt. 290 & I know Bill doesn't like to drive in the cities, so I had the wheel all day. Did great until we started looking for a campground. Did I ever tell you.....Bill can't read a map, nor can he figure out those big Trailer Life & Woodall books! We had a little "miss communication" regarding the name of the campground & when I tried to find it in Suzy (GPS), it was different. Well, we ended up in a "hole in the wall" campground with only one way in/out. Great. Good thing there was any empty spot as I pulled in front ways, backed it up & we got out of there! The neighborhood should have told me whoa, we don't want way back here. Back to the book & the GPS. We found the right address to plug in. Well, by now it's 5pm or so. Do you know what traffic is like in Austin??? Just like Baltimore, MD!!! Only they have side roads that are part of the Interstate. So confusing! Okay, we see the campground, but now we have to what????? Not U turn, but get off Southbound, go around a crazy left turn, try to turn left & watch the green arrow traffic on the passenger side, then GO! We finally made it! A little later than we like. Like 6:30 & the office closes at 7! Gated campground to boot. Whew! That was too close!

This was our friendly escort to our site on Tues. night. Here he is on Wed. morning picking up the garbage. We were out taking pictures of our neighbor's rig, so he got his taken too!
This was our neighbor. I was going to tell my grand kids, this was our new rig, but thought they might think they would have to travel with us. Then again, if you notice the "Cold Stone Creamery" ad, Chuck & Denice might want to move in with us! Isn't this a hoot though? I asked the lady if she cared if I took pictures & she said Heavens No. Then she brought me out samples. They even have Cold Stone Ice Cream flavor Jelly Belly's.

If the pictures aren't real clear, it's because it was so humid my camera lens kept steaming up.
She took our picture after she put the slide in. They were getting ready to go do a sample exhibit at a local grocery store. They do this 5 months of the year.
Okay, now we are off to Austin. We saw something on our map & decided it would be fun to just take a trip to Austin. We wanted to visit the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum! Bob was Bill's dad's name & also his brother's name. I wonder if he was related to us???

This is the only place his name is mention in & around the building except on the second floor where his bronze statue is & a video. He didn't want the publicity here in the museum.
Front entrance with Bill at the tip of the star.

Okay, now you are going to think I'm absolutely nuts. But I couldn't resist! This is a pretty fancy bathroom & this was the stall door. Wow! Pretty classy for public restrooms!
The lobby was the only place you could take pictures in the museum. Okay, Snookie, I tried a "shot from the hip" & it turned out blurry. I guess that told me huh?

The lobby showed the stair way leading up to all 3 floors of the museum. Very impressive.
On the First Floor we saw:
First Encounters - The Karankawa people in a canoe. These people inhabited the region along the Texas Gulf coast during the period of Spanish exploration.
Colonization - Overland from Mexico to Tejas. Mules were used for transporting over the rough terrain for early settlers traveling from Mexico to Texas.
Moving West - Buffalo Soldier. African-American soldiers served many forts following the Civil War

On the Second Floor:
The Road to Revolution Theater - the Alamo facade the day after the March 6, 1836 battle.
A Nation Becomes a State - Steamboat that shuttled travelers & goods between Houston & Galveston
Texas Centennial Celebration - Ft. Worth cowboy poses during 1936 celebration to promote Texas' identity.

On the Third Floor:
Texas Ranching - Longhorn cattle
Oil Changed Texas - Gas & oil signs, vintage pumps & videos
Texas & the Nation - AT-6 (1941-1942) trainer aircraft made in Dallas for more than 100,000 World War II pilots. Houston space center.

This is the terrazzo floor in the lobby. This you were allowed to take pictures of from above.
I did take pictures regarding the legend to the floor also.
Oh, ya, I took pictures of Bob Bullock's statue & other things too. Behind him it said "God Bless Texas". He was the 38th Lt. Gov. of Texas from 1991 - 1999.
These are his boots (with his name); a leather bound copy of Lonesome Dove; his rifle; Texas Ranger badges; & other memorabilia.
Looking out 2nd floor window.
These are some of the words shown on the screen depicting the type of man Bob Bullock was.
Mr. Bob Bullock
We ate lunch in the Story of Texas Cafe. Food was quite reasonable for a museum. This was what the table tops looked like.
This was the IMAX Theater movie we saw: Texas: The Big Picture.
Are you tired of sightseeing yet?
Well, if not, we are on to the Texas Capitol Building. We weren't sure if we could get in or not, but if you don't ask, you won't find out. A gal was waiting to cross the street when we were & she had a tag on so we asked her. She said, oh sure, they give tours every 15 minutes & she told us where to go. Bill said, aren't you glad we asked?

This was taken from down the street by the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum.
Wow! A long way down. This is the rotunda. We get to see this again later from inside.
Oh yes, now we are inside, and guess what? You can actually take pictures!

Inside the capitol looking up at the dome. Portraits of the Presidents of the Republic & Governors of the State circle the four public levels of the rotunda.
The star in the dome is approx. 218 ft. above, was installed in 1958 & measures 8 ft. from point to point.
Light fixtures in the Senate Chamber.
Looking down on the rotunda terrazzo floor. The Great Seal is surrounded by the six seals of the countries whose flags have flown over Texas.
This is the House of Representatives Chamber. It is the largest room in the building.
Another 5 points star fixture
We end up looking down at the same Texas star we saw from outside.
Hey, remember this guy??? Bill spotted Bob Bullock, Lieutenant Governor of Texas from 1991 - 1999.
This is the Visitor's Center for the Capitol.
The following are exhibits in the Visitor's Center.
Blue Glass Oculus was used in the capitol.
Beautiful quilts
This is an Artesian Well & Drinking Fountain on the East side of the Capitol. I'm not sure how you would drink out of it & when you stepped on the pedal you got a shot, straight up, of warm water! Maybe....bring your own glass?
Looking at the main entrance.
Goddess of Liberty
Thursday we left Austin, TX to head west. Didn't have a definite spot picked out, but hoped we could make it at least as far as Fort Stockton, TX. We opted to travel US Rt. 290 instead of Interstate 10 part of the way again.

I don't know what city in Texas is the worst, Houston, Austin or Dallas/Ft. Worth. I didn't drive all the way into downtown Houston only around the loop which was bad enough, but I think Austin's Interstate system is awful. Last time I drove through here it was pouring down rain. This time I got to see what I couldn't see & I realized I didn't miss a thing as far as the highways & traffic is concerned. Traffic was light once we got out of the city.
This was a Polo Club we passed on our way out of Austin.
Since I was driving, I kept telling Bill to take pictures of those yellow flowers. We later learned they were a type of sunflower. Several blossoms all on one stem. Quite pretty along the roadway.
We went through a town called Dripping Springs, Gateway to Hill Country. Yup, those are hills. We thought this was a school bus going somewhere since it wasn't time to let kids out along the roadway, but as I got closer & was able to pass, it was one bus towing another & the words "School Bus" had been x'ed out.
After passing through Johnson City, TX (LBJ's hometown), we stopped at the Lyndon B. Johnson State Park for a tour of the 600 acre ranch where he was born, raised & worked. When we got into the Visitor's Center we found out they no longer run a tour bus through & you have to drive on your own. Well.........not with my 40' trailer. Okay, so maybe a motor home can make it, but our turning base is a bit different. Also, if they don't have buses anymore, how do I know they keep those lower limbs trimmed on those trees? Guess we'll have to pass. Oh, but wait, they have a movie you can watch & it's from a TV show that ran years ago when LBJ was interviewed on his ranch after becoming president. Guess we got to see a lot of that ranch after all. Didn't have to use my diesel fuel either.
Flowers (Lady Byrd Johnson's favorites)
LBJ's Saddle, Boots & Hat. His boots were made by Dan Post ca 1965-1973 & it was a Stetson hat.
Quote from his dad
This quilt was made by National Park Service employees & presented to Lady Byrd Johnson.
When we came out to eat lunch in the trailer, we saw a REAL Texas Truck!
The following buildings were all in a town called Fredericksburg, TX. If you enlarge any of the pictures & see names, you will notice they are mostly all German. There was even a Bavarian Inn (which I didn't get a picture of). Bill was driving, but it was on the wrong side of the road.
Roses in front of Home Furnishings Store above.
As you can tell, I love old towns with old buildings.
This is a typical farm in Texas.
Before we got to Fort Stockton, we came upon a semi that had wrecked. Don't know when, but looks like he rode it out pretty well. Lost quite a bit of his load though. Hope he was okay.
We arrived around 5:00PM at Fort Stockton RV Park. Spent a quiet evening looking at brochures to see what we could do in town on Friday. This was the beautiful sunset outside behind our trailer. It actually was a whole lot prettier than the picture.
Friday we spent going to Fort Stockton, the actual fort. Rode around the town & went to Annie Riggs Museum (old Hotel). Even got to play her piano. (A little out of tune.) When we got to the fort, we found out tomorrow is the 150th Anniversary Celebration & they will have reinactments, entertainment, etc. going on for free all day Saturday. So.....since I forgot my camera today, we will go back tomorrow.

Tom Swartz contacted us through FB & was going to come out Sat. & spend time with us, stay over night & return back to his home on Sun., but he called later on this evening & said things fell apart this afternoon & he has to work tomorrow. Darn. Oh well, we plan on catching his brother Jim & his wife when we get into Arizona. Next time we go this way through Texas, we'll have to catch Tom. Sorry Bud! I was looking forward to our visit.

This afternoon I laid out by the pool (got a little wet - water was really cold) & read. Then came back & washed about 1/4 of the trailer. At least got the darn bugs off the front. That is the worst part of traveling. They really leave a mark if you don't get them off too.

Okay, I'm tired & going to bed. The clock is about to strike midnight!

So, until next time..........The Traveling Cardinal's

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