April 1, 2013
This morning I looked for items the family left behind after a full weekend of Easter fun. Ken left his tennis shoes. Doug left a Care Package of chicken alfredo he wanted to take home. And Virginia left her shopping bags that she had previously left in my car when I returned to Murphys weeks ago.
The kids colored a glob of eggs. Ken colored one egg with a rock band symbol and told the boys aged 10 and 13 whoever found that egg on Easter morning and could name the band, he would pay $5. The boys got on the internet, figured out the band, Blue Oyster Cult and conspired among themselves that they’d share the 5 bucks and that way, no matter who found the egg, they’d both be winners. Smart kids.
Even though they are too old for the bunny, the fun is in the egg hunt. With 23 hidden eggs, it took them two hours to find them. The hardest was finding a purple egg hidden among the bouquet of lilacs, invisible among the flowers. And, one brownish egg hidden in the woodpile next to the stove. And, we who hide the eggs take pleasure in providing a challenge. I took great pictures.
Cedric loves to bake and he made a wonderful woven Easter bread. We all enjoyed card games, the food and sweets. Ken and Virginia are training for a 65 mile ride, so they got out twice on the bikes. Easter morning they road 45 miles with hills before the rain set in. Ah, well, we have to count our blessings. We had good weather between storms. The lightening show was fantastic. We skyped family members who couldn’t come.
But, getting pictures up in my blog is a challenge that get’s worse with everything I try. Maybe next week.
February 26, 2013
We read a forbidding weather report and the day dawned dark and cloudy. This squirrel outside our window didn’t seem to mind a bit.
We blogged, showered and breakfasted and got to the arboretum just as it opened. It is part of the park. The first raindrops had already started.
Inside, good displays, pictures of plants identified. Braille leaves like these and bird and animal sounds. Great stuff for kids and big kids. We took the trail maps and chose the shortest one.
I finely learned that this flower is a carolina jasmine. A woody, twisty vine.
The woods are gray and drab during the winter, but you get to see the “bones” of the forest.
Bright, shiny leaves against the forest gray, draw the eye. A swamp magnolia.
White patches of christmas lichen. Named so because you can also find it in pink, turquoise, green and yellow. Sometimes on the same tree.
More of it on this dead branch.
A toothache tree. So called because of the swelling bumps that develop on the bark. Double click to enlarge.
The rain chased us home.
Shortly after we settled in, the skies dumped and obliterated the air, the ground, everything. It poured, hailed, and quickly flooded the area around us. We gave up on the idea of hauling our clothes to the laundry. We stayed in all day and read, edited pictures, uploaded albums and took care of on-line chores. Not without jumping once in a while at a gunshot loud thunder-clap. It rained so hard, several times I felt the ceiling inside the closets because I feared they must be leaking. Thankfully not.
February 11, 2013
The city puts on a dinner called Taste de la Louisiane. The idea is to give tourists an idea what Louisiana cuisine is all about. we were in-line with Carla and Mitch, and we had dinner together. Mitch likes the idea of traveling in a motor home, so we filled him in.
The offering, if I can remember them all from top left to right, jambalaya, gumbo ,spicy okra, coleslaw, red beans & rice, etouffee, tomato shrimp, corn machow. I’m not sure I’ve got the names right. Then king cake and bread pudding for dessert. The gumbo was delicious but we thought the gumbo cook off was a better introduction to Cajun food and people here, and much more fun.
The big room at the Civic Center was filled with activities for children. We took a sweep through there, face painting, a bounce house, many games like ring toss, and hoops.
The kids were also entertained by various costumed characters like Shrek, Mickey and Minnie Mouse with whom they can have their pictures taken. Lake Charles does a lot for kids over Mardi Gras.
Jim mentioned when we wandered into the room, “Hey, this band is better than the two we heard yesterday.” And the two we heard yesterday were good, but these guys were better. A down home style that we associate with Cajun country music we like.
We spotted a costumed Eva Gidlow, center, who turned out to be an events promoter for Lake Charles. Jim asked her how we could find some French people? She was quick to get us acquainted with Renola Simon, on the left. Renola invited us to ride on the French float on Fat Tuesday. We were overwhelmed at such a special invitation. As for French people? There were plenty of them.
The two women on the right, (it was loud and I couldn’t get their names) are members of a very active Cajun Dance group that travels all over. Their purpose is to preserve Cajun Music and Dance. They have a membership of 2000 families in 7 Chapters in Louisiana.
Their official title means The Good Time dancers Assn. of French Cajun Music Lake Charles Chapter. Isn’t that amazing? We talked about our mutual French heritage, how my grandparents wanted to assimilate and wouldn’t teach my mother, aunts and uncles French, nor we grandchildren. These women, being Acadians, were punished for speaking French in school and made to feel inferior. We blogged about that subject in some depth in 2010.
Then, Eva introduced us to 82-year-old Lesa Cormier, whose father was a founding member of the Sun Down Playboys. He still plays. His grandson plays bass. His son plays with a different band. There were two players missing on this day, but I took pictures of them all. Only two original members of the band remain. They are one of the oldest Cajun Bands in the state of Louisiana, still playing music after 64 years. In fact, Eva told us, Lesa sent a pressing of a their music to the Beatles Apple Records and they liked it and promoted his music. He gave us one of his CD’s. You can read more about them at this address:
We so enjoyed August Broussard’s accordian and singing.
And, Red Touchet playing fiddle. Too fun.
I think this is Lesa’s grandson.
I just don’t know who is who. All I can be sure of is they are a great band.
Let the good times roll!!
We waited for the Children’s Parade. Just before the floats began to roll, it started to pour down and rain, and rain, and rain. These two ladies are sisters. The woman on the left was my favorite dancer, with her twin sister in yesterday’s blog. I didn’t know they were sisters at the time. The sister on the right said to me, “We’re six girls and everyone of us has gray hair. I’m only 50 years old.”
This is the twin sisters. They danced throughout the parade in between floats, in the rain, and while the floats were throwing goodies. I never saw such fun. They were born of a family of 12. (I hope I’ve got my info remembered correctly.)
The floats were fun, and wet. They threw candy, beads, cups, stuffed animals, plastic coins, and various trinkets.
As we got wetter and wetter, Jim kept asking, “Are we having fun yet?”
While I tried to take pictures and catch beads, the sisters would give the best ones to me. They filled me up with cups, coins, beads and stuffed animals. They were so much fun, generous and I didn’t even get their names. I didn’t have a hand free to write them down. I hope they read the blog and correct any errors.
We had clothing hanging from the cutting board, the visor, the steering wheel, the backs of the seats…
The heater was on all night trying to dry things with a huge thunder storm roaring outside. In fact, the signal was down for about three hours this morning, which is why we are so late to blog today. When life is wet, we still have fun.
February 7, 2013
We arrived at Sam Houston Jones yesterday mid-morning in a slight rain. The first critter we encountered was a mosquito with a bunch of relatives. I’m lucky in that they don’t bite me, or if they do, I don’t feel it or know it. But, I’m never sure. Are Louisiana mosquitoes different? The campgrounds are located next to this cypress swamp, so we know we are going to be buddies every day.
The park added shelters around the swamp for bats. Smart move!
The swamp is covered with some pretty green plant I’m unfamiliar with.
In the shallows near a cluster of cypress knobs, another bright green water plant I’ve bought in a pet store when I was still trying to raise gold fish in an outdoor pond.
It’s nice to see a healthy cypress swamp. These cypress are young and have made a comeback from the early days when lumbermen cut every tree. They regenerate from the knobs that come up from roots. At the park, they will never be lumbered to death again.
The rain came back in earnest and we cut short our walk.
We had a short opportunity to get out and see the park. It is from here we will motor into Lake Charles for Mardi Gras over the next few days. Lake Charles has the second largest Mardi Gras Celebration in the states, second only to New Orleans. We’ll keep you posted.
January 10, 2013
The motorhome is parked at Tropic Winds RV Resort. We’ll be moving along later this morning.
Yesterday, once again, we had planned a day trip to San Padre Island about 50 miles distant. But, once again, heavy rain with lots of thunder and lightning forced a cancellation of our plans.
As always you may left click upon an image to see an enlarged view and then click once again to see an even larger view…
So we put the day to good use by doing laundry, picking up Mary’s bicycle from the repair shop, visiting with a contingency of the my ex-RV singles group, for which I belonged to for 10 years and dropped out in 2007, who were passing through Harlingen and staying at the Elks Club. By time we returned at 6:00 PM, the sky was starting to clear, I thought, only to be followed by more rain, thunder and lightning during the night…
The weather forecast for today is sunny and 71 degrees. That’s good because our allowed time here at Tropic Winds RV Resort is up and we are obligated to move on. So today we’ll take both the motorhome and Bronco and head towards San Padre Island. The below Google Earth image shows the Harlingen area in the upper left. SPI identifies the island which is a strip of land that runs North for 70 miles and PI identifies Port Isabel, a small community with some museums we’ll likely visit…
By clicking the below link, you’ll get to see a local RV dealer’s Redneck RV Hall Of Fame photos which hopefully will provide you with a chuckle or two…
The red dot on the below map shows our approximate location in the State of Texas. You may double left-click the map to make it larger…
Enjoying 65-75 degree temperatures most of the year is a primary joy in the RVing lifestyle!
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving”…Albert Einstein
If you have not checked out my Ramblin Man’s Photos Blog, you can do so by clicking this link…
All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2013
For more information about my three books, click this link:
January 9, 2013
Our planned trip to South Padre Island got dumped on ALL DAY. That river is in front of the motor home.
The wind blew and blew. We braved the weather and took my bike to a bike shop. It needed a tire, the brakes adjusted and new derailleurs But, the derailleurs, he told me, will be just as bad in two months carrying it like we do without a cover. A problem to chew over.
The jack rabbits did their best to stay warm by curling up as tight as possible. This one took refuge away from the wind by backing up to a tree.
This one hunkered down in the grass and made himself as round and tucked in as possible.
It was a good day for reading and listening to the weather beat around the motor home giving us some unwanted rock n’ roll. The weather report is telling us we’ll be getting more of the same. With 100 percent humidity, it becomes hard to sleep at night as the temperature warms.
Even so, I don’t think it is a good idea to deal with climate change by salting clouds to reflect sunlight and heat away. It seems to me the more we mess with nature, without a clear idea of what can go wrong, things often get worse down the line. (Cloud salting is a new idea to help mitigate warming climate change.)
January 5, 2013
When Jim arranged to be near an airport I questioned Harlingen? Why drive the whole of Texas to the southernmost tip?. My weather wimp declared this is what they call Winter Texans, where retired Texans like to winter for the heat. Yesterday in the bitter cold we ventured out in the rain to visit the Harlingen Arts and Heritage Cultural Museum. And, yes, I’m poking fun at Jim about the horrible weather.
At the center, the staff was removing their Christmas Extravaganza and the museum exhibits were in temporary storage. The local organizations and businesses trim themed trees for everyone to enjoy for the season. A couple trees hadn’t been dismantled yet and the display must have been spectacular. Open for visitors were three buildings, Harlingen founder, Lon Hill’s house, Paso Real Stage Stop and the old Harlingen Hospital.
Lon Hill moved with ten wagons to this part of the world and built here and settled in and founded the town. The house above was his second house, which is open to the public.
The completely furnished house was quite beautiful.
Notes on various items were attributed to family members who donated stuff for the museum.
I was impressed with how prosperous the Hill family was, considering he was from the approximate same generation as my grandparents who struggled and worked very hard but didn’t live as sumptuously as the hills off the land. Then from one note I learned that Lon brought his slaves with him and it all became quite clear. I tend to forget that Texas was a slave state.
The curator’s told us the next cultural center exhibit would be their yearly quilt show, beginning January 16th. We will miss it, but the Hill house bedrooms had many nice quilts on view besides this crazy quilt. The house was very worth visiting and well done.
Someone rescued the school bell.
The Stage Stop had the most beautiful cash register. Makes one long for the days of such craftsmanship.
The old PBX machine reminded me of my first major job at age 17 working one not much bigger than this. The Stage Stop also served as a telegraph office and post office.
The hospital, like the house was so completely furnished, it made one think they just walked away and left everything in it. A very complete dental office above.
The color blindness test gave me a chuckle.
The eye doctor gave very simple tests, but, glasses were such a precious invention. The optician performed such a needed service for those times. And, I swear the eye chart is the same one used today.
The surgery, cribs, hospital beds, pharmacy, all so complete and well done. So often we see medical items in a museum, but the whole hospital completely furnished is an eye opener. The braces on this wall give evidence of the horrible polio epidemic that struck during my own time.
I’m beginning to rightly own the title of old-timer I suppose, though I certainly don’t feel old. The buildings were unheated and we moved through quickly and on to the grocery store to stock up on things I like to cook. (Jim is a mono eater.) But, I gotta have Greek yogurt, onions, garlic, lentils, lots of veggies and, the spinach souffle I made and the soup for today, heated up the motor home. Tasted great.
November 30, 2012
Yesterday, when I wanted to post pictures from Portland, the post managers changed the way pictures load. They never tell you about changes. They just arbitrarily let you figure it out for yourself. Jim admitted having difficulty as well. He figured it out and helped me out. The new process created an extra step to load pictures, and your pictures no longer load in sequence, they always move to the top position. Rather than improving the process they made it more difficult. We figure these guys want to impress the boss, or need to validate their presence as an employee so they suggest “improvements”. Hah! It would improve things if they’d get input from users first.
I have a hoard of bridge pictures. One of my brothers worked retrofitting and building new bridges for many years. He decided to move about the country and take pictures of bridges because many of them are replaced as roads expand and population increases. Now, wherever I go, I take pictures of bridges. This one brings you into Portland from the Southeast if I remember correctly.
And this picture tells a story. Makes you wonder if the quest was successful.
Pioneer Square in Portland is loaded with water fountains, water animal sculptures and fun. If you visit, don’t miss Pioneer Square.
It is raining outside. Supposedly we will get flood stage rains of 12 inches. Time to get out the rowboat or I’ll be stranded. My car is in the Toyota Dealership 60 miles away getting a new battery pack. Supposed to be windy, too. Time to make flight arrangements back to the Motor Home.
July 5, 2012
As a holder of the New Mexico Annual Camping Permit (non-resident $225), I can stay up to three weeks in a park, which I’m doing here at Heron Lake.
July 4th was a happy day for me. Right after breakfast I went out for my morning photography session. Among the places I stopped was at the Rio Chama Trail Head. If you are a regular reader of my Blog, you’ll remember I stopped there a couple of weeks ago and could only look down at and take photos of the suspension bridge that crosses the river 600 feet below. Yesterday, I felt so good that I actually climbed down and back up the 600 feet…without any apparent adverse effects this morning. I’ll show you some of those photos soon.
The accident occurred on May 27th and for the first time last night, I had the best sleep since it happened. As a matter of fact, I slept so soundly I overslept my normal rising time of 5:00 AM by an hour.
I have now gone 24 hours without the popping in my chest, when I breathe in and out, that I have complained of every day since that time. A cough or sneeze is still accompanied by the poppings. Nonetheless, I feel like a new man!
Even with this good news, my right ribcage area remains slightly swollen and tender to the touch. I remain taking Ibuprofen, icing my ribcage area 2-3 times a day and wearing an elastic bandage abound my chest. I realize that the healing process is not yet complete…but it sure feels good, both mentally and physically, to know it’s going in the right direction.
Here’s some more good news! Even though Heron Lake is at 7,200 feet of elevation, the hot temperatures that have been here since I arrived appear to be coming down, The high for today is forecasted to be only 78 degrees. Tomorrow’s temperature is forecasted to be 79 degrees. Hallelujah! We actually had a couple of hours of a heavy soaking rain during the night…the first time I’ve been near rain for quite a spell.
I feel so good after yesterday, that I decided to make today a real simple Blog entry..a sunset and a sunrise.
Here are the photos that I took…
As always you may left click upon an image to see an enlarged view and then click once again to see an even larger view…
The night before last, at 8:30 PM, I looked out of the bedroom window and the sky was a brilliant orange. The photo gives the impression that the trees are on fire…which thankfully they are not. It is tinder dry here and there are all sorts of fire restrictions in place….
At 6:00 AM yesterday morning, while doing my morning computer duties I looked out of the windshield of the motorhome and saw this pretty sight…
Enjoying lots of unusually beautiful sunsets and sunrises is another joy of the full-time RVing lifestyle!
All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2012
For more information about my three books, click this link:
April 14, 2012
Murphys had another bout of that thick rain, yesterday. Stockton, two days ago, experienced two mini tornadoes. Copperopolis had a thunderstorm with heavy winds during the night while Valley Springs had a heavy hail storm. What is happening?
My oldest daughter, who grew up here, wondered why it has snowed so many times in Murphys? I didn’t count. Her comment made me realize we’ve had more snow days this season than any previous time in my memory, which probably means nothing at 34 years. But, my old pal, Buster Riedell, an old rancher who died in his nineties, could tell you exactly what the weather would be like throughout the year. He warned about planting your tomatoes too early, never before the second week in May. Weather then seemed to follow a predictable pattern.
Though hardly measurable, the stuff hung around until 2:00 on the hillsides and patches in the woods. We don’t like to complain when the reservoirs are below normal, and we are thankful for any moisture we get. But, it is unsettling that the weather pattern is off. It makes me wonder what climate change has in store for all of us. If this is a predictor, it doesn’t bode well.
Guess we should just enjoy the flowers. Those who believe in man caused climate change, raise your hand. Mine is up!