Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Willkommen to Hill Country!

Hill Country is in central Texas. Characterized by rolling terrain covered by oaks, it's like a larger version of our own Mesa Grande. It is known as bluebonnet central and a wildflower destination in April. It's also home to many German immigrants, esp. Fredericksburg (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fredericksburg,_Texas).
Hi! I'm back! Been awhile I know, but Texas has been full of good stuff to explore, see, and do - leaving less time for blogging! But I'm trying to get back in the saddle a bit... So, on March 1st we moved to Johnson City, home of LBJ and central hill country. It was still mostly winter when we got there, but temperatures moderated and a few trees started blooming while we were there.
Ouray's my copilot as we gas up for our relatively short trek from Junction to Johnson City (because of the short distance, Bill and I will be driving the vehicles separately).

Hey! They're wrong - the scenery DOES change, even when you are NOT the leader!!

Peaceful trio.
Don't see the third party? Look closer...

Tractor takes a break during his desk maintenance work...

The house Bill lived in while attending the University of Texas in Austin (it wasn't purple back then though...hmmm...)

Cats up a tree.
This fantastic tree was right behine our RV and a safe place, so we let the kitties go free and climb to their hearts' content. Big lateral branches made for great runways! They went high and far out on teeny branches, while Mommy worried and Dad was proud! Bet you can't see the kitties here - I can't! But I do know they're in there!

Scratty: The Ascension

Bill's birthday meal - and then some! This place made the BEST chicken-fried steak!! And we love their promo: "nearly three dozen sold!" poking great fun at McDs! In fact, they sell several dozen daily!!

More fun at home: Tractor jumps down behind the computer/desk equipment, into a tall, very skinny space. Luckily for him, we could remove the printer (which was only velcroed down) and get him out...! What a little fart!!

Dog x 2

Roadside art (advertising a gallery we didn't make it to). Awesome longhorn though!!!!

The real thing.

Just a weird, cool place. Looked like it used to be a tourist trap of some sort - but not any longer.
Bisbee, revisited?

The Miller Creek, for which our Miller Creek RV Park was named.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

At the Junction

Our next stop was Junction, TX (just NW of Fredericksburg). From Feb. 25 - Mar. 1, we stayed at a beautiful KOA, which had the N. Llano River running right behind it! And wow, the pecans!!!! Huge, old, majestic pecan trees towered over all our RVs, scattering pecans everywhere! I love being surrounded by food! Maybe I never evolved out of the hunter-gatherer stage, but it was like a giant camouflaged Easter egg hunt! We came away with bags of pecans! They're a bit tricky to open (with a clumsy pair of pliers...!) without squishing the meat, but it's fun and rewarding! Yum!
Ray-ray enroute (are we there yet?!).

Ouray's going to kill me for posting these photos. Really blows the mean ol' dog image, don't it?! We're pretty sure he's learned to share with his little kitty siblings OK - what d'you think?

Couch potatoes for sure. Twice baked, I'd say...

A look at this pretty RV park - still mostly winter. Must be pretty incredibly green and gorgeous once those trees leaf out!!

Scratty unleashed. Look out! Their daddy decided it was a safe place for them to run wild, and thus, Miss Barton heads out...!

However, Tractor's attention is immediately stolen by a pair of ducks. He ain't goin' nowhere! The KOA was home to a bunch of these white ducks. They'd go out and play in the river during the day and then come waddling back to their pen at sunset. Very cute! They seemed to also know that this silly orange cat wasn't going to jump in the water after them anytime soon!

Under surveillance, but safe!

You can almost hear them saying "Bring it on!" Can't you?

I hadn't realized before, but Scratty's eyes are almost Llano-colored!!

Quiet Llano at the end of the day.

Looking back to our RV. Great campground, eh?!

Kitties watching the Duck Parade?
Ah yes, could be!!!

Tractor wishes, oh how he wishes...
Those ducks. Mmm, how delicious!
(they are going back in their pen for the evening - little white spots in the background)
Miss February?????
Another pretty evening along the N. Llano.

Clouded vision.

Pecan trees and sunset clouds.

Pecan tree sillhouette.

Odessa Files, Part III

Looking down, one can see how barren the Odessa area is! Nothing but cropland.
Ha! Nah, this was a close-up of ice on the ground in our RV park! Hee-hee! Yes, like the snow photos, it was THAT cold while we were there! But this photo so looked like an aerial to me! The grass shadows looked like forest shadow and the lines just topographical crop delineations or gullies...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Odessa Files, Part II: Good friends

Odessa may not be the prettiest place, but our visit there was a great one! Not only did the Freightliner there take good care of us (and actually FIXED the airbag problem - the first thing successfully repaired by a "pro!!!"), but we had a wonderful time visiting one of Bill's best friends from high school! David Lemaster, one of his sons, Marv, and his daughter, Chyree, all treated us with exceptional hospitality - from the yummy homemade chili and stew to the great restaurants to the catch-up chats. We felt right at home - and with family!!! Thank you guys!!!!! We're looking forward to seeing you again!

David & Marv.

Marv, David, & Chyree.

Uh-oh. One of the fun surprises the snow left us... On Wed. AM, we needed to get our RV to Freightliner for repairs. But the slide-outs wouldn't slide back in! Bill had a guess as to why...and he was right!!! Climbing up on the ladder and peering on top of the slides, he found large solid chunks of ice! He was able to slide them all off, thank goodness!

Some of the ice.

Close-up: BIG chunks!

David & Bill in front of their alma mater - Odessa High School!

Once again walking the hallways - enroute to the principal's office?!!!

Dapper Duo.

Yana's - a cute litte restaurant that David & Marv took us to. It's in a house!

The four of us celebrating long-term friendship! (over food! what better way?!!)

More celebrating - at Venezia, a great Italian place.
(now that's how you do spumoni!!)

The Odessa Files: Still Winter in Texas?!

On Feb. 22nd, we moved to Odessa, TX. Unfortunately, while we were washing our RV (one of the neat things offered at the Lost Alaskan RV Park!) before heading out, I got a migraine! I crawled my way back to our bed and the next thing I saw was sunset in Odessa. That turned out to be only a short break though, as the migraine came back on full-force right after dinner, and I didn't get any relief until 2:30am when I finally decided to give the vicodin another try - hadn't helped for stuff before - at double dose. Bill had to do the whole moving and hook-up himself, but at least it was a relatively short drive that day, and hooking up is usually pretty easy.

So this is what our RV park looked like that evening. There were a lot of RVs, a little bit packed in and a lot of people living there, but it was pretty tidy and a nice enough place. Called the Midessa Oil Patch, the only thing really wrong with it was its location - while Bill spent many of his growing-up years there, Odessa/Midland is not a very pretty or appealing place! It is largely industrial.

And...here's what we woke up to on the 23rd! The overnight snow made even that area look pretty! It also prompted us to delay our appointment with Freightliner till the next day - they agreed that this wasn't a good day to be driving a motor home!!!

Tromping to the fenced-in pet area.

Like their mom, the dogs LOVE the snow!!!! Woo-hoo! Playtime!!!

Brrrrr!!!!!!!!!!! Billy is not as keen on the cold, and can't wait for the warm sun to make a comeback!!

Next up: Kitty Walk! Scratty struts her stuff in the white powder!

Tracky tires and decides that a shoulder ride is preferable.

Dad and Son.

Mom and Daughter.
(my new point & shoot has a great wide angle, which makes self-portraits - which include the whole self! - possible!)