Going On a Bear Hunt; Gonna Catch a Big One!

Do any of you recognize that childhood song?  Well, that’s what kept going through my head on our last night in Red River.

Gary and I made another trip to Taos to eat and shop.  The weather was a little iffy, but that’s never stopped us before.

Ate at a little “hole-in-the-wall” (which is a typical restaurant in Taos) called Orlando’s.

   

I made the mistake of taking my camera inside, and this was Gary’s first attempt to take my picture.  Honestly, we have some work to do.  🙂

While shopping back in Red River, one of the store owners told Gary that if he reeeeeally wanted to see a bear that we needed to drive the streets between 11:30 p.m. – 2:30 a.m.  They would be roaming the streets for food.  Well . . . you know Gary; he was ALL over that!  So, we met some traveling friends at a local bar called Lost Love, listened to Lisa and Art (musicians and singers from Bandera, Texas), and hit the road!  We drove around until I fell asleep, with Gary gearing up – the later it got.  Little did I know, that around 2:00 a.m., Gary got back up and roamed the streets again.  The next morning, he confessed that he felt like he had gone on a “Snipe Hunt”.  He saw lots of ducks (15), elk (10), raccoon (1), but no bears (0).  So, as we left the campsite, I took these pictures to remind him that bears and elk really do exist in Red River.

    

We drove to Amarillo and will head home today.  It’s been an amazing trip, and one that I will hold in my memory for a lifetime.  Gary asked yesterday, as we left, “Are you going to be alright; we’re leaving one of your favorite places on the planet?”  My response:  “Yep!  I just need a moment . . .”

Until then . . . carry on!!

You Just Never Know Who’s Watching!

Picture this: You’re sitting at a musical festival, with a thousand people, drinking your favorite beverage, whooping it up to the current song, and someone taps you on the shoulder and says, “Are you Mr. Jones?”  It reminded me of when people used to ask, “Are you Casey Boyles’ mom?”  There is that moment when you hesitate. 😊

We were so fortunate to run into these two women who Gary knew from his work in Castleberry ISD.  (Andrea, do you recognize the one on the left?)

And, then there are these two guys from Amarillo.  We met them last year and reconnected this year.  Yes, they are a lot younger than we are (they call us their grandparents), are much rowdier than us (back-in-the-day, that wouldn’t have been the case), rode their Harleys to Red River instead of driving an RV, always manage to find us in a crowd – making sure that we are having a good time, and would be happy to be our bodyguards.  Is it wrong, that we wanted to bring them home with us??

The day was filled with sampling awesome chili and barbeque and great music, but I have to admit that our two favorite bands just happened to be from Fort Worth.  The Tejas Brothers and Josh Weathers put on a fantastic show – making us proud to be from Texas and the Fort Worth area.

    

    

    

We relax today (may make a trip to Taos) and will start home tomorrow.  Or, as Gary said last night, “We could just stay.”  Don’t tempt me!

Until then . . . carry on!

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

Remember when I said that RV camping is full of adventures?  Well, this was a first!

Gary and I were reading by the stream next to our RV when we heard loud gun shots just down the creek from us.

We didn’t really know what it was, but thought it might be a vehicle backfiring.  Later in the day, we found out that a black bear had come down from the mountains right above the campground.  The park rangers had spotted it several times before and had “urged” it back up the mountain.  Apparently, it had gotten braver and braver and much more aggressive.  When they couldn’t get it to leave (and, it was trying to get into an RV door), they shot it.  This made us sad, but grateful that we are so well protected.  Do I have to tell you what I would have done had it walked up on us??

We closed down Red River last night by listening to great music and visiting with friends.  Even though, we haven’t seen these people since last year’s festival, it still reminds me of a family reunion – sharing pictures, stories, and travels from recent months.

    

    

Today, we will be listening to lots of great music, eating chili and barbeque at the cook-off, visiting with locals, closing down Red River (again), and watching for BEARS!

Until then . . . carry on!

These Are the Things That I Now Know!

Traveling in an RV is one of the perks of our retirement.  It can be relaxing, exhausting, entertaining, and memorable.  However, there are things I’ve learned along the way . . .

  • In an RV, there is a place for everything.  (Why is it that no matter where Gary leaves his shoes, I trip over them?)
  • A good book is a necessity; however, always carry an extra.  For my girlfriends: I just finished reading the Mary Higgins Clark book, All By Myself, Alone – 3 stars, and I started reading Karin Slaughter’s book, The Good Daughter – so far a 5-star.
  • An entire day can be spent reading and sleeping.  I know that’s hard for you to visualize Gary doing that, but when we travel, he does.
  • RV campgrounds are like small communities; everyone helping their neighbor.
  • There are campsites in an RV park that are labeled “Adults Only”.  I thought that was odd, so yes, we checked it out.  Obviously, dogs are allowed.
  • There are a bazillion different models of RVs, and it’s truly a personal choice as to why you buy the one you buy.
  • There is definitely RV envy!!
  • Don’t worry, friends; dogs are being rescued!!
  • Most people are “up-and-at-em” by 8:00 a.m.  P.S. Not us!!  Well, I am.
  • In the mountains, when the sun is out, you’re hot.  When the sun goes behind a cloud, you need a jacket. Keeps you guessing.
  • And, finally . . . cue the song: “What the World Needs Now”.  There is limited cell service, Wi-Fi, and TV channels in the mountains.  Consequently, most people are oblivious to world problems.  Maybe that’s why it’s such a happy place!! (Well, that and the amount of alcohol consumption.) 😊

Until then . . . carry on!

This is Our Happy Place!

When you leave hot weather, flat land, the stress of all the world’s problems, and arrive in a secluded town at the base of the mountains with weather that is IDEAL, you can’t help but be happy!  Your shoulders drop, your worries are gone, you roll down the windows, and you feel as if you could hike straight up the mountains . . . you can’t, but you feel like you can. 😊

    

We felt so welcomed when we entered the RV Park, and the guys that met us asked, “Hey, do you all know where Bowie, Texas, is located?  We’re looking at some property to buy off Hwy 59 .”  After a lengthy discussion (telling them that our property is off Hwy 59), a new friendship was established.  And, then . . . the guys that are camped next to us are from New Braunfels and have entered the Chili/Barbeque Cooking contest held this weekend.  My point??? It’s a small world (after all), and with all the troubles in the world, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else right now.

We spent the day in Taos shopping and eating.

You know Gary . . . he’s going to find the best “hole-in-the-wall” places to eat really, really good food.  He didn’t disappoint.  The Guadalajara Grill was amazing.  Now, I ask: “Where in Texas do you get Chicken Quesadillas like this?”  Gary’s plate wasn’t too shabby, either.

    

As we left, Gary said, “Hey, jump out and take a picture of this place. It reminds me of the series, Breaking Bad.”  You won’t understand if you haven’t watched it, but we thought it was pretty funny.  P.S. Gary’s mind is a dangerous thing!

The “Hot Chili Days and Cool Mountain Nights Musical Festival” begins today.  This town’s population (of about 450 people) explodes!  They are expecting thousands to arrive today.  Thankfully, we have bought our tickets, have an awesome campsite, and are rested.  The next 3 days are going to be c-r-a-z-y, and I can’t wait!

    

Until then . . . carry on!

And, Why Are We Making This Detour?

Who leaves the main highway going to Amarillo to make a detour through a little town called Groom, Texas?  Well, Gary does, and here’s why:

Built on private property donated by Chris Britten to avoid legal issues with the ACLU at a height of 190 feet, the Groom Cross is reported as being the biggest cross in the northern hemisphere.  It was built by Steve Thomas in 1995. Mr. Thomas, disgusted with the huge billboards advertising XXX pornography locations along 1-40, wanted to make a public profession of faith along the Interstate.  Originally, he wanted to put up his own billboard with Bible verses, but could never find the appropriate verse.  Instead, inspired by a cross built by a rancher in Ballinger, Texas, Mr. Thomas knew that he would build a cross.

And, that’s why we made the detour.

The structures surrounding the cross feature life-sized sculptures of the events leading to Christ’s crucifixion.

    

    

There are no words to describe the replica of Christ’s tomb.


So, the next time on you’re on your way to Amarillo, take an extra 15 minutes detour and visit this magnificent site. You won’t regret it!

P.S.  Thanks, Dean Robertson, for suggesting this; we would have never known about it.

Until then . . . carry on!

Whoa, Nellie!!

To say that it was an exciting night isn’t exactly accurate; it was many things . . . relaxing (for a while), cool temps, and very, very scary!

We arrived in Amarillo for the night and quickly set up camp.  Just before going to bed, the RV began to shake and sway from side-to-side.  Gary quickly brought in all the stuff from outside, and we started checking our phones.  Now, I’m sure this doesn’t sound that unusual, because most of the times when this happens, we are sitting or sleeping soundly and safely in our homes; however, being in an RV, in Amarillo, Texas, with the wind blowing like a banchee, and feeling like you’re going to tip over is an entirely different experience.  I was reminded of the movie, Cars, that we’ve watched about a billion times with our 5 grandsons.  Remember when they “tipped over” the tractors???  That’s what it felt like . . . just trying to give you a visual. 🙂

It’s always interesting, I think, to recognize the difference in people when something like this happens.  Gary’s response was to check his phone (constantly) and give me a minute-by-minute update.  (Knowing Gary, you know that his protector gene reeeeally kicked in!)  My reaction was to go to sleep.

I’m awake, feeling rested, this morning, and Gary is still snoozing; I’m sure he stayed awake ALL night.  Can I just say that it’s easy to sleep when you have someone like Gary making sure you’re okay (in my defense)?

Today is sunny and a cool 62 degrees.  We leave for Red River in a couple of hours; thankful for another day on the road.

P.S.  My blog today was going to be about an awesome stop-off before we got to Amarillo, but that can wait.  And, Casey, stop worrying; we got this!  🙂

Until then . . . carry on!

Who Wouldn’t Love a Good National Soccer Championship Game? Part Two

Gary is such a “rock star” when it comes to the grandkids!  While Michael and Wesley were visiting this summer, he found out that the soccer team, Manchester United, was playing for the first time in the United States, and it just so happened that the game was in Houston.  Since that is Michael’s favorite team (trust me; he knows all the players, stats, and scores), we decided to make the trip to watch his team play.  We left on Wednesday (thinking the game was that night) with a yard FULL of people finishing our landscaping.  Did we care??  Nope!

After checking into the hotel, Gary went downstairs to print the tickets.  Michael (checking his phone) asked, “Trix, are we sure the game is tonight, cause on my phone, it says that the game is tomorrow night?”  We did a couple of searches, found out that the game was on Thursday night, called Gary (who couldn’t print the tickets for Wednesday – ;)), and made plans to eat at Gary’s favorite fish-food restaurant, The Monument Inn, near Deer Park.  The boys remembered eating here with Leon, Gary’s dad, several years ago.

    

    

Need I say, that the wait was worthwhile???  We truly enjoyed the ENTIRE experience of watching two amazing soccer teams play in the International Cup Championship game.  The tickets were great; the boys enjoyed the game and watching the players; and, I learned a whole lot about soccer and the fans.  When I asked Gary how much the tickets cost, his answer was, “Don’t ask!”  🙂

    

    

We drove home on Friday in time to see a movie and visit the Lego store (while waiting for the movie to start).  Do guys EVER get over Legos; I think not!

    

    

This week was, perhaps, the most enjoyable time spent with the boys, thus far.  Gary loves that he can teach them “boys’ stuff” (I don’t even want to know what that means.), and I love that they seem to enjoy being with us in Texas.  We are already looking forward to next summer!  Sidebar:  I remember that Casey would always want to go to my parents’ house in Pecan Gap during college for some R & R.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the boys will feel that way, as well.  And, yes . . . that’s Gary, the Rock Star, under the blanket!!  🙂

Until then . . . carry on!

Michael, Wesley, and Others; Oh, My! – Part One

Michael and Wesley, our two oldest grandsons, have been coming to Texas every summer since they were born – that’s been 15 years.  I say, every summer, that it will be their last (not seeing any sign of that, yet – thank goodness) .  The activities have changed, but the love for fun and adventure just keeps growing – even for Gary and me.  In the past, we have visited waterparks, adventure-seeking rides, wild-life preserves, trampoline centers, movie houses, and eaten at different restaurants.  Somehow, we manage to entertain them for a week to 10 days, and all-the-while, enjoying EVERY SINGLE MINUTE.

This year was different . . . in a good way.  Michael has a good friend, James, who has sisters who live in Dallas, so when he asked if he could ride to Texas for the week with us, we said, “Absolutely!”  James spent a lot of time with us, and we loved having another teenager in the house.  Of course, the fact that he was sweet, mannerly, very well-behaved, and very appreciative helped tremendously.  And, let’s not forget about Zachary, our neighbor, who has known the boys since I moved here – 13 years ago.  He’s the same age as Michael (15), so let’s count . . . 1, 2, 3, 4.  Yep, that’s 4 big boys, and we loved it!!  P.S.  Gary thinks we may have to rent a bigger car next summer just to haul them all around.  🙂

       

    

It’s become a tradition to stop off at Six Flags on our way home.  Sooooooo, after driving 8 hours to get the boys, as usual, we closed down the park on Saturday night.  Where do we find the energy, you ask?  Somehow, when you see the excitement in those boys’ eyes and hear the chatter in the backseat about the newest rides, you find it!

    

On Sunday, we rested; however, I decided that it was time to teach the boys a new skill – grilling.  Because I enjoy it, I do all the grilling, and the boys think it’s sooooooo funny that a woman can do that.  Seriously???  Have they met Trixie??  This was perhaps my most rewarding moment, because the boys really took an interest.  They grilled steaks for us, and to quote Michael:  “I can hardly stand the lusciousness of this meat!”  Winner/winner!

    

    

The week began (you guessed it) with spending the day at Six Flags, and I mean the WHOLE DAY!  I took the 4 boys for about 5 hours while Gary worked.  (Sidebar:  Yes, he’s gone back to work temporarily – or so he says).  The boys kept checking on me to make sure I wasn’t getting too hot or tired.  See???  Teenagers can think of someone besides themselves.

    

We came home and grilled hamburgers (yep, the boys grilled hamburgers for all 4 boys), and Gary took them back to Six Flags to close down the park.  Wonder if they checked on him . . .  🙂

As they went to bed that night (completely exhausted), they asked, “Can we go to Altitude Trampoline Park tomorrow for a reeeeeally long time?”  Oh, to have that kind of energy!  And, I bet you can guess my answer . . . “Of course!”

One of the many things that has changed over the years is that the boys have gone from waking early and going to bed at a decent hour, to staying up late and sleeping till noon.  In this house (with Gary, especially) that’s a blessing!  So, with 3 guys asleep, I managed to stay ahead of them for the day.  Now, I know when Casey gets all of her work done!

Part Two will follow soon . . . it was just too much to put in one blog post.  And, in case you’re wondering, Michael DID have other shirts; he just wanted me to wash this one and wanted to wear it everyday.  Only in Texas!!  🙂

Until then . . . carry on!