Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Day Three - The Three Sisters

Good morning...

We did the unthinkable ..  we stayed at a Bed and BREAKFAST and skipped out before breakfast.... eeeek!  Breakfast was at 9:00 and, well, we had a full day of riding to do so we split shortly after the above sunrise.

Stopping briefly in Kerrville for breakfast at Del Norte Restaurant (where I dubbed the place "Where Service Still Matters") we headed out toward our ride destination.

SR 39  out of Ingram was an exciting surprise.  This little windy road ran along the Guadalupe River and crossed it about a dozen times along the way.  I quickly realized the frustration of being in a beautiful setting yet riding your own motorcycle.  Lack of a free hand, combined with very few places to safely pull off the road, came with a realization that my pictures were going to be fewer than I had planned, but I would try to make them worth it.



The Three Sisters

Tx SRs 335, 336, 337.  100 miles of windy, twisty, hilly roads ...  a bikers destination that did not disappoint.  335 is all up and down and sometimes called "The Roller Coaster".  336 is full of twisties with a solid wall on one side and a sheer cliff on the other .. exciting a beautiful ..  We dubbed 337 the "Sleepy Sister" ..it was a bit of a break from the other two ..

Again, both hands on the handlebars and few places to safely stop .. but I managed to get these:


Couldn't be complete without a tarantula, huh?




Lunch at Mama Chole's in Leakey

We ended up in Rocksprings, which put us about 80 miles from the Mexican border, before heading back to Comfort.  Arriving shortly after dark, we retired quickly - exhausted - and vowing to start tomorrow much slower and enjoy breakfast before leaving Comfort behind us.

The end of a mile-eating day on the motorcycles..  our reason for this vacation .. and the satisfaction of having ridden the Three Sisters..
Goodbye Day Three.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Holekamp House - Comfort, Tx

We arrived the afternoon of day two ...  and wow!  Greeted at the door by our hosts (and the owners) John and Mary, and shown to our room - Cecilia's Sunrise Room upstairs.  TWO queen beds and plenty of room to sit and stretch out ..  fresh baked cookies on the night stand ..  we were home (for the next two nights anyway).




The breakfast table.

A quick trip into Comfort netted us a bottle of  Singing Waters Vineyards "Sweet Lupe".  We really bought the bottle because of the cute Yellow Lab on the label .. but it was JUST the kind of wine that we like ..  a semi-sweet merlot.  Description on the bottle reads:

"With a sugar content of about 3%, Sweet Lupe emerges with a wet nose, sturdy legs, a regal body and a playful exuberance. She always delivers a soft, sweet finish. Sweet Lupe is a semi-sweet Merlot. Enjoy!"

We arrived in Comfort on the opening weekend of the Scarecrow Invasion. Although there weren't many (and Steve seemed to not be in the mood for scarecrow hunting) I did manage to snap a few shots.





After dinner at a little family-owned place called Gunther's (where I had the most TENDER pork tenderloin I've ever had) we sat in the swing on the front porch of the B&B and began to enjoy our bottle of Sweet Lupe. 

Much to our delight and surprise, John and Mary joined us (after asking permission) for some lively conversation and GREAT history lessons about the area.  John is  a fabulous historian.

Then two other guests, Marion and Evelyn, joined us also and it was just a beautiful cool evening filled with laughter and joy - made complete by  a half dozen deer that wandered through the front yard.

A beautiful end to day two.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Day Two .. Vacation

Before settling into The Faust Hotel for the night, we were delighted to find the Huisache Grill.  It was within walking distance of the hotel, a half block off of San Antonion Street, and 15 feet from the railroad track.  In an old storage building, it has been beautifully remodeled and decorated into a very comfortable and inviting place for good eats.

We shared the Asain Salmon Salad and each had a bowl of the most delicious Roasted Chile Corn soup ..  yum yum ..


On our walk back to the hotel, we popped into Callahans Irish Pub for a brew ..  Samuel Adams, I believe ...


Yes, I've even included the rare picture of me..

The next morning we were off to start DAY TWO ...

Silver K Cafe, Johnson City


We love this place and were not disappointed after our ride out there just for lunch.   



Silver K Café's Famous House Salad
Mixed greens tossed with toasted pecans, gorgonzola cheese & balsamic vinaigrette. With Chicken.

Prickly Pear Cactus Tea

Buttermilk Pie and Bread Pudding

A beautiful start to day two, but we need to get to Comfort and our B&B .. 




Saturday, October 23, 2010

Faust Hotel - New Braunfels


We headed off on our first day of "motorcycle vacation" with a leisurely drive to New Braunfels.  We parked the bikes in the square of downtown and celebrated with a beer at the Black Whale Pub.  While we don't typically drink when we're riding the motorcycles, we were about a block from our destination for the night, so the location was perfect!
While we sat on the sidewalk enjoying our ale, we had the pleasure of sharing conversation with Brandon and Joey, two head injured men both riding bicycles.  Brandon just turned 30 (Happy Birthday Brandon!) and has lived in NB his entire life.  Joey was older and sustained his injuries on a motorcycle years ago.  They were delightful and a reminder of treasures found in the most unlikely places.

On to the Faust Hotel.
An old, supposedly haunted hotel that has been kept pretty much as it looked back when it was built.  The lobby was filled with period furniture and fixtures.


The cash register.

An old phone booth .. actually working!

The hallways reminded me of The Shining. 
"Come play with us Danny." 
It definately had the "creep factor".  The 4th floor was empty and also the floor with the most "activity"..  Of course, we had to go up there .. about midnight ... to take pictures. 

There were many old photos on all the walls ..  I wondered who these people were and what part, if any, they played in the history of this old place.
Rumor has it that part of the "activity" in this hotel is the tendency for the elevators to move up and down between the floors all by themselves.  Not a fan of elevators anyway, we climbed the stairs most of the time.  On that night that we were on the 4th floor taking picutres, we did snap a picture of the elevator that seemed to have something rather odd.

I'll leave it for you to decide.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Wait for it.....

.


.

.

Boo!


I think he has NO resemblence to my husband AT ALL!! 

(And when we showed these pics to the fellow that runs the desk the next morning ...  he shook his head and said
 "I'm not even going to ask."

It was a good time!


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

.. may not impede ...

Bicycles. 

Who didn't love to ride bikes when they were a kid?  Who doesn't recognize bicycling as a great form of exercise, especially as an adult?  Who doesn't see bicyclers riding to raise money for charity?  Texas hosts several MS-150 rides every year.

So, why do I feel more than a little angst when I see cyclists traveling "my" back country roads?  Why do I have a hard time even SAYING the word 'bicycle' without a bit of a scowl?

It seems so may cyclists - in my area anyway - have this 'entitlement mentality'.  They ride as though they are entitled to the entire road.  These roads are small, two lane, no shoulder farm roads.  They curve and they rise and fall with many areas that are blind to oncoming traffic.

How many times I've come around a curve, started up a hill, only to discover two cyclists riding abreast, taking up the entire lane, oblivious to the world around them.  My choices?  Slam on my brakes or cross the double yellow lines to try and pass them.  I brake.  They continue to take up the entire lane, impeding my progress until we crest the hill and I have clear view to pass.

Oh, and many cyclists will tell you that they HAVE the right to the road and cars MUST yield to them.  So I did a quick google search of Texas laws.

Sec. 551.103.  .. a person operating a bicycle on a roadway who is moving slower than the other traffic on the roadway shall ride as near as practicable to the right curb or edge of the roadway

(c) Persons operating bicycles on a roadway may ride two abreast. Persons riding two abreast on a laned roadway shall ride in a single lane. Persons riding two abreast may not impede the normal and reasonable flow of traffic on the roadway. Persons may not ride more than two abreast unless they are riding on a part of a roadway set aside for the exclusive operation of bicycles.

Just Sayin' ....




Sunday, October 10, 2010

Congratulations Jus and Jen !!

10/10/10

Whatever the meaning of this day is because of the numbers ..  ?? ..  it is now special to me because my only nephew is marrying his love!

Congrats you two .. love you and wish I could be there!

Aunt Debbie

Friday, October 8, 2010

A Glimpse of the Small Town I Love.



Montgomery, Texas. 

When I moved out here 22 years ago, Montgomery was an intersection of two two-lane Texas farm roads with a gas station on each corner, a donut shop, and some antique shops.  Everyone knew everyone - and everyone's business.  You could still buy stuff at the feed store and sign a ticket for credit.

Now we are 5 lanes in two directions, grocery store, gas stations, and McDonald's where cow pastures used to be.  Just down the road are apartment complexes, and a Walmart.  Businessess are thriving and weekends are busy in this small town. 

And while progress isn't neccesarily a bad thing, it does cause a town to lose that "small town" feel and some days I can go into Montgomery and not see anyone I know.  -- shocking, right??

So, today when I filled my truck up at the gas station in front of the grocery store - you know, the one with 24 pumps -- I was surprised and touched by a glimpse of that small town I love.

We have to back up more than two weeks ago when my daughter and I had to rendezvous at that same gas station so we could both fill up. 

I was on the motorcycle and was waiting on her.  The little man that works the service booth at the station was sweeping and such and we had a little conversation until she showed up.  After filling, I took off on the motorcycle only to realize on the other side of Montgomery that I didn't have my sunglasses on.  I had left them on top of the pump.

Already running late, I decided to ride on into work without them and just stop at Target on the way home and buy another pair .. which I did.

Fast forward to today .. I'm in my truck filling up and the little man walks up to chat (he is a friendly bloke) and he says "Don't you have a motorcycle?" .. I replied "Oh yes, but it's been a little chilly for me to ride in the mornings."  He says "I have your sunglasses."

This dear sweet man found my sunglasses after I pulled out two weeks ago and had put them in a ziplock bag.

"I figured I'd see you again sometime."  he says.  "Have a nice day!"

God, I love these small towns .........

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A year ago today ... Ugh, Rain!

This was my post on BackyardChickens.com this time last year.

Ugh .. any other time, I love this time of year .. the fronts move in .. spectacular thunderstorms .. cooler weather .. mud .. fog .. everything screaming "Fall is here .. winter on the way" ...

But "RAIN" has become a "four letter word" in our house .. Until the slab and piers are poured, not a whole lot else can be accomplished. Everything is WET and MUDDY ...

So, THANKFULLY, there was a bit of a break in the weather this week and they managed to get the piers poured. What is visible in the pictures are the forms that are above the ground. What you do not see are the holes they drilled way down into the ground, and filled up with concrete ..


Here is the garage slab form .. still filled up with water .. unable to be poured yet.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We've come a long way, baby. April 2010


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

"The Divine Chromosome"

October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month.

A few weeks ago I happened upon a blog called Daily Smiles .  This beautiful blog lead me from link to link and blog to blog about one Down Syndrome child after another; the joys and challenges of parenting; processes of adopting; and medical issues of children with this chromosome disorder.

Although not a parent of a Down Syndrome child, I have known several and interacted with many.  There is something undescribably special about these children (and adults).  Emotions are pure, love is genuine, joy is tangible.

I could never say it as lovely as Doug Billings did in his article Down Syndrome and the Devine Chromosome.  His writing about his son, Michael, is a "have to" read.  A small excert is as follows:

"He has something inside of him that purges prejudice, eliminates personality venom, deletes pride and encourages happiness, promotes joy and sustains unconditional love.
If we each had just a little bit of what these people have in them, the world would be a better place."

and

"To identify what it is about these special people that allow us to glimpse the divine isn't difficult. It's something most of us pursue and long for - even if only subconsciously. It's the purity and innocence they have within them.
I suppose I could credit that small, extra chromosome #21 for this. That's why I call it the "divine chromosome"."

There is more to this disorder, and these children,  than their unique physical features, their medical conditions, and their delay in development. 

Doug nails it perfectly in his article.










Southern Comfort

Comfort, Texas actually.

Several years ago, while Steve and I were visiting the Texas Hill Country, we discovered this little town.  Complete with antique shops, historic buildings, and wineries .. it was our choice for a first stop on our Texas Hill Country visit this year.






We'll be spending two nights at the Holekamp House Bed and Breakfast. It should be a relaxing couple of days .. of course, I'm not sure how excited they are going to be to see us arrive on our motorcycles ..  LOL.

Then on to Bandera and the Three Sisters (or the Twisted Sisters, if you prefer).  These are 3 very scenic and very curvey highways that God put on this planet strictly for motorcyclists  -- well, not really, but we like to think so.

Can October 14 come any sooner??

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Home, sweet Chicken Coop.

It's finally finished ..  well, apart from the built-in nestboxes and the yard.





It all went well right up until the time I put Cocoa .. the wicked hen of the west .. in the coop.  She has to terrorize all the youngsters ..

It all worked out .. except for the silky (Whoopie) .. she's just tooo passive, so I had to take her out and put her in her own pen .. which suits her just fine.