Friday, May 30, 2014

May 10, 2014 (19th Day)

It was cloudy and 68 degrees when we stepped out to check the weather, so we will know what to expect when we begin our trip again.

We had English muffins with jam for breakfast.  Then we had photo shoots of Patty and Paul, then Edith with Patty.

Patty and Paul

Patty and Edith

Left the Bussards' house at 8:30 am. Got on Hwy 105 from hwy 2854. Turn right on TX 6 N Loop in Navasota, TX to check out the attraction off that road - World's Largest Teapot (Roadside America).  

We got back to 105 toward Navasota.  While driving on Main Street we could see some damages on some buildings that could have been caused from the storm the day before?

Wheel hubs and antique car at 5177 Hwy 105 few miles north of Brenham, TX

We decided to turn right to 50 to check out Windy Winery and the Gun sculpture (Roadside America). We arrived Windy Winery at 10 am, but the shop was not open until 11 am.  A lady came out of the house that was next to the shop and told us she was going to call her sister (the owner) that we were here. We told her we were going somewhere else and then be back. We almost got stuck in the mud.  It took few tries before we finally got out.  It left tire tracks in the soft, wet lawn, apologized for doing that!

A couple miles down the road we stopped at Ammo To Go (closed) to check out 12 ft long Gun (Roadside America).  You would not want to burglarize this place!

We went back to Windy Winery. A young lady readily greeted us at the door, explained about the winery.  We got to sample 5 different wines. After sampling the lady lead us out to the back to see the vineyard.  There were two friendly German shepherd dogs, Mona and Indy. They protect the vineyard from different animals and predators. 

What?! Drunk already after one little drink??

We bought two bottles

According to the brochure listing local attractions we decided to check out Antique Rose Emporium.  It was crowded.  It was a very beautiful nursery. Lots and lots of flowers. There was a wedding going on in the afternoon, so we were not able to visit the chapel and the gazebo.

Fox Glove Flowers

Purple Poppy with Bees

We wanted to try Southern Diner for lunch, so we went to Brenham Municipal Airport. Edith had chili cheese dog with fries and Erwin had country fried chicken sandwich with fries.  Waitresses wore 50's clothing.  It brought back good memories for Edith because when she was in high school she had a tan poodle skirt that was made by her favorite aunt. She would wear a white shirt with the collar pulled up, socks folded down and black/white saddle shoes.  Good old days!

On way back to town we saw two longhorns! One was friendly enough to come close to the fence, but the other one kept its distance.

We went by Blue  Bell Creamery in Brenham, TX, but the factory tour is closed on weekends, but we were able to go inside the exhibit and sample the ice cream.

We got butter pecan and peach ice cream. While we were licking and enjoying our ice cream a couple from San Antonio, TX came over and asked us questions about our van. We asked them if they wanted to take a look at it and they accepted the offer. While there the couple gave us tips on what to see/do while in San Antonio.

Visited Moebus Coffee Shop in Brenham to check out Roadside America attraction. There is a life-sized, realistic papier mach sculpture of a man working on his laptop. The shop also has a giant red cup on the roof.
"Hey, you have the wrong link to my blog"

We were driving through the historic downtown on US 290 when we saw a truck with world longest BBQ grills.

We were getting ready to head down to Elgin to meet Edith's good friend, Jack Clifton.  She and Jack knew each other at Gallaudet College (now Gallaudet University) and they went out a couple times for fun. The last time she saw Jack was in 1966.  She texted Jack to let him know that we were on our way.  Jack suggested that we meet him at McDonald's for chat.  It was good to see Jack again.  Of course, we three chatted our heads off.  It was almost suppertime and Jack suggested that we go to his favorite BBQ restaurant - Meyer's Elgin Smokehouse that is right on US 290.  The supper was great.  Jack offered to let us stay his place for the night which we did. 
Edith and Jack

At Jack's place we were introduced to his roommates, Alan and Al.  

May 9, 2014 (18th Day)

After breakfast we four went to Best Buy to see if they have Mifi with ATT that Edith wanted, but they did not have it in stock, so we went to another Best Buy.  While at the 2nd store Paul recommended that we check Verizon out because of its better coverage than ATT, but the 2nd store was out of it, so we asked the clerk to call other stores.  Turned out that the first store we went to had it in stock.  Oh boy!

Patty wanted to get cupcakes from The Cupcake Cowgirls for dessert tonight.  They were in Cupcake War show with Food Network, and they won the competition. They had like 10-15 different flavors.  Each of us got to pick out two and Patty got extras for Pamela and her family. They were absolutely delicious and we can see why they won the contest!

It was fun shopping at H.E.B. Supermarket because there were lots of free taste samplings and some of them were very delicious! We almost had a full meal with the total samples. It is a very nice huge store that has lots of variety. 

After shopping at H.E.B. we went to Patty's house for lunch. Then we went back to Best Buy (the first store we went to in the morning), and Edith got Mifi with pre-paid cards. However, it took over an hour for the technician to set it up.  Edith walked away from the store with a smile on her face. No more searching for hotspots in remote areas or small towns.

Pamela and her kids came over for supper. Her husband, Ken was still on the road after getting off from work. We sat down and chatted, while Patty and Paul got the supper cooking.  It was good to see Ken again.
Ken, Emma, Evan and Pamela

The weather started to get stormy. Heavy downpour. Paul had to move the grill from the outdoor deck to the covered porch, so he can grill hamburgers and hot dogs.  Once the rain stopped the sky was orangy. And we all went out to enjoy the view. Lo and behold, double (almost triple) rainbow!

Delicious supper was served.  Then we had scrumptious cupcakes for dessert.  Edith had the salted caramel one and Erwin had coconut.  They tasted so heavenly and the frosting was made to perfection. 

Ken and Edith sat down, so Ken can show tips on transferring and storing pictures from SD card to external hard drive. He also showed few keyboard shortcuts. She is still learning about her new Apple products! While they were at it the rest of the family and Erwin chatted.  Pamela shared trip tips with us. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

May 8, 2014 (17th Day)

It was a relief that we had a good night's sleep at Patty's house.  Breakfast was served.  Erwin went with Paul to pick blackberries in their backyard.  They got about 3 quarts.

We all sat down to chat for a while before heading out to sightsee, shop, etc.  

We wanted to see and take pictures of longhorns, so Patty and Paul took us to FM 1097 and there were several nice longhorns.  Three of them were curious that they came up to the fence to check Edith out. Many times Erwin would watch Edith walk close to the animals without scaring them and sometimes they even come to her like these three! Paul was amazed!

We went to another ranch on FM 149, but there were none.  Tried another ranch on FM 1488, found some but they were too far away.

We stopped at RND Rustic Furniture, a huge Western store.  They had so many beautiful stuff, and if we were into Western decor this is the place we would buy stuff from, but they would cost us an arm and a leg! We like our arms and legs!
The store does not allow photography inside the store, so Edith did not take any :-(

We had lumch at one of Patty and Paul's favorite lunch stop: Texas Taco.  It was good.

Next stop was to pick up ribeye steaks at Ainsworth Meat Market that will be for our supper this evening. 

Paul showed us the town before heading to his daughter Pamela's house.  It was good to see Pamela again. She and her family moved back to Texas from Singapore where they lived for 4 years.

We went back to Patty's house, relaxed a bit while Paul grilled the steaks. While he and Patty were busy getting the supper ready Edith went outside on the deck waiting for hummingbirds to show up. They did.

The supper was good and plentiful. We all spent the night chatting our heads off before retiring for the night

Friday, May 23, 2014

May 7, 2014 (16th Day)

Nice weather we woke up to. Caught sunrise just in time before the sun was up. It was in mid 70's with gentle breeze

It was not exactly a restful night's sleep for us because the air conditioning was not turned on until after midnite as it started to get humid inside the van.

After having breakfast we left the campground at 7:15 am. Edith wanted to go to Starbucks first thing to get her favorite drink before we begin sightseeing. Then we went to the town district.

We drove on Seawall Blvd and saw some interesting attractions.  This is a picture of 1900 hurricane statue. 
In 1990 a hurricane flattened Galveston. In 2000 this statue was dedicated. Then in 2008 a hurricane flattened Galveston again, but the statue survived. They said the waves were as high as the statue's head!

Other interesting attraction was this big fiberglass blue crab on top of the restaurant
On the roof of Giado's Seaside Restaurant

Large fiberglass shrimp near Giado's restaurant

Edith goofing around at Rainforest Cafe area

In the town district we saw Giant Trumpet on Tremont St
Perfect for brass instrument appreciators everywhere. Great photo op
This horn is about 6 feet hight and 20 feet long.

While we were touring Edith's friend reminded her to check out Galveston tree carvings in some areas, so Edith checked the internet for more information. From there we were able to find some carvings.  They were on Church, Ball and Post Office Streets. 

On September 13, 2008, hurricane Ike hit Galveston full force. The seawall held, but Galveston was not spared. Those wonderful oak trees that grew to grace the streets with shade and beauty were also gone, so what was left were carved into beautiful sculptures.

When we were satisfied with what we wanted to see in Galveston, we left the town around 10:30 am, got on Highway 87 to TX 146. On the way we decided to swing by Kemah Boardwalk. Edith went there with her friend Patty in 2004 and she had fun, but this time it was not as excited as she remembered. She was disappointed. Probably because this time there were only a few people there and it looked dead! We did not stay long.

Along the route there were several pelican statues in Seabrook, TX. Here is one.
Now on our way to Montgomery, Texas to visit and spend a couple days with our good friends Patty and Paul.  Edith and Patty knew each other from the time when they were little kids. The last time we saw Patty was in 2007 when she came to Jacksonville to attend our housewarming party.

It started to get overcast as we approached Montgomery.  After arriving Patty's house we walked up to the door and rang the bell. There was a sign right above the doorbell that says "If there is no answer please pull the weeds".  Well, Patty's husband opened the door and asked Edith if she went out and pulled the weeds. She replied that she did not because you answered the door.  It was good to see Patty and Paul again. What a lovely house they have.  Of course, we sat down and tried to catch up on the news.  Then I spotted a beautiful male hummingbird sitting on the pole where the hummingbird feeder is hung from, Edith quickly told Erwin to go and get her camera from the van, which he did.

Paul already had planned to attend a meeting in The Woodlands, so it was just three of us, we went out for pizza at Pizza Shack.  Chatted non-stop for few hours before retiring for the night.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

May 6, 2014 (15th Day)

Heavy cloud cover when we got up at 6:15 am, and it felt so cool. See the rays of sunshine telling us it's going to be a gorgeous day, and it was!    


Paul fixed breakfast for us. Left Doris' house at 8:40 am.

Erwin wanted to go to L'Aubrge Casino and go inside, so we went there after leaving Doris' house.
It was early in the morning, but we were surprised to see the minimum bet at $15 and higher!
Of course, we did not play, just walked around.  The interior somewhat reminds us of Foxwoods in Connecticut. After having seen enough, we left to get on LA 3092 (Lake St) to get on 82.

We took the ferry ($1) from Cameron to the other side of Louisiana

We started to see several oil rigs in the Gulf.  Finally saw Gulf of Mexico.

Edith saw ranchers herding cows and calves and told Erwin to make an u-turn because she wanted to walk up to the ranch and take pictures. That was in Johnson Bayou. While Edith was fixed on what pictures she should shoot the head rancher on his horse came and talked with Erwin and explained what is going on.  It turned out that they are herding cows and calves from the winter pastures and truck them back to the farm they came from.  There were over 2,000 cows/calves in one pen and there was another pen that has that much!

We entered Texas state at 1:50 pm

Edith's cousin's husband suggested that we made a detour to Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge, so we did.  There were one new lifer for Edith: Common Nighthawks. They were perching on branches nearby and also some of them were in flight.  Lots of barnswallow nests in the pavilion.  We did not explore the area much, but Edith said she will want to come back here again

Common Nighthawk

We got back to Hwy 124S from the wildlife refuge and were on way to see Bolivar Lighthouse.

Crossed the bridge over Intracostal Waterway, arrived Bolivar Peninsula at 4:10 pm.  Now driving on TX-87.  Lots of nice oceanfront/oceanview homes on stilts, some really high. Even school buildings are on stilts!
We finally got to see the Bolivar Lighthouse, but it is on the private property; however, Edith managed to get some shots.

Before we could board on the ferry the agent told us we need to turn the propane tank off.  There was no charge for crossing Galveston Bay.  The winds were very strong while standing on the ferry

Arrived Galveston TX at 5:25 pm.  We decided to go to Willie G's Seafood & Steakhouse for dinner. Edith had center cut top sirloin steak and Erwin had Redfish Louisianne.

Redfish Louisianne

Center cut top sirloin steak

They were very good and cooked to perfection. After the dinner we walked to the harbor.  Toured the historic Galveston town district, but every store was closed.

We checked into Bayou Shores RV Campground. The office was closed but there was a sign on the door with information showing which sites are available.  So, we drove around and picked C-17 which faces the bay. Nice breeze.

Settled in for the night. It was a long day, but we enjoyed every bit of it.