Thursday, November 22, 2007

More wonderful Texas adventures

Week #3 Texas; Nov. 18 to 22

Let’s do our best to make the time we have count. Rather than live with reluctance, let’s live with exuberance. Instead of fearing what’s ahead, let’s face it head-on with enthusiasm. And because life is so terribly short, let’s do everything we can to make it sweet. – Pastor Chuck Swindoll

I’ve discovered the sweetness of life by traveling in Jeremiah with my Cat. And the sweetness of friends and family. I’ve appreciated hearing from family and friends and glad to keep everyone posted to my whereabouts.

Since I last wrote, I’ve had some great adventures.

Marathon, Texas

Carol Rayburn, Elizabeth Baldridge and I left Big Bend National Park on Sunday morning (Nov 18), driving about 70 miles to Marathon Texas: elevation 4040, population about 600. So many friends have talked about this small town it was imperative to spend some time there. We spent the night at Marathon Motel and RV Park, a delightful place that was even more delightful when I discovered it was near the railroad tracks. I actually love to hear trains in the night, and I was not disappointed.

Marathon was named in 1882 by retired sea captain, railroad surveyor and local landowner who said the locale, a high desert basin surrounded by mountains, reminded him of the famous Marathon in Greece, home of the first “marathon” The small, mostly ranching town now has its own race – M2M (marathon to Marathon) that goes from Alpine to Marathon each October.

The well-known historic Gage Hotel was a must-stop for our supper/happy hour. Dinners are pricey, mid $30s, so we choose to go to the bar and order from the less-costly bar menu, combining our nightly Happy Hour with a light dinner. A step into the hotel is an experience of days gone by when all a cowboy needed to feel alive was a breath of fresh air and the magnificent night sky filled with stars. The hotel was built by a wealthy rancher in 1927. In those days, Marathon was a bustling town of about 2,000, a railway shipping point for cattle from ranches as well as silver and mercury from mines to the south. It had the only U.S. factory for natural rubber made from the desert plant guayule.

The other draw to this small town was Shirley’s Burnt Biscuit Bakery. Early Monday morning that was our stop before leaving town. As we enjoyed our baked goodies and coffee, the waitress took our picture. The sign on the wall says: “If it ain’t burnt, Momma didn’t make it”

Langtry, Texas and Seminole Canyon State Park

On Monday morning, our destination was Seminole Canyon State Park, about 140 miles east. On the way we stopped in Langtry, Texas. The guide books described Langtry as “a ghost town with a Visitor’s Center. It is where the (in)famous Judge Roy Bean – the law west of the Pecos – had his Jersey Lilly Saloon and Courtroom. Texas has preserved the original saloon on the grounds of the official State Visitor’s Center. The Center has great interactive displays, a delightful cactus garden.

The next two nights would be spent at Seminole Canyon State Park, near where the Rio Grande and Pecos River come together.

Both rivers have cut deep, jagged canyons through the Chihuahuan Desert wilderness. As with much of the southwest, this area was home to “the ancient ones”. These early inhabitants, hunters and gatherers, lived in natural rock shelters carved into the canyon walls by the river. My late supper was daughter Sue’s delicious Chicken tetrazini. Thanks, Sue!

Nights come early – it is pitch black by 6:30 p.m., and the stars were dazzling. However, in the mornings, the area was completely fogged in and the humidity was high! Reminders of those foggy mornings of my Carlsbad, California, home.

On Wednesday, besides the hiking Carol R and I did, the plan was to pack up and move the motorhomes from our campsites to the visitors parking lot in order to participate in the Wednesday guided hike to see pictographs in the canyon.

After the hike, we drove about 40 miles to our “home” for the next two nights – Buzzards Roost in Del Rio, Texas.

Along the way, we went through Comstock, Texas. We didn’t expect much because the guide book said, “the highway frontage is littered with failed businesses and the liveliest building in town is the U.S. Border Patrol Station.” After a peak of 2,000 hardy souls during WWII, current population is about 400.

Del Rio, Texas – a border town with Acuna, Mexico

Our camping sites at Buzzards Roost were in a tree-shaded area. Normally that would have been great, but the weather has turned cold and more sun would have been nice. However, we did have WIFI Internet.

First stop after parking was a bike shop for bike repairs; both had flat tires. Even though it was the afternoon before Thanksgiving, the shop was still open and the tires were fixed quickly. Second stop was Walmart for various needs.

Thanksgiving morning we woke to 44-degree temps with a stiff breeze that made it even colder – with dinner reservations made for 2 p.m., we headed to Acuna, Mexico. After parking Carol R’s tow car at the US side of the border, we walked the nearly mile sidewalk to the Mexican town. But before we could enter the walkway, we each had to deposit 75 cents.

We enjoyed the walk even though it was quite cold. Those familiar with the geography of Texas know that the Rio Grande (river) forms the USA/Mexico border in Texas. As we crossed the actual river – quite low – we enjoyed some bird watching. It was interesting to spot the American Wigeon (duck) that summers in the lagoon behind my Rio Rancho home.

We walked the main street for several blocks, going into several stores. Soon I was asked by “Armando” if I wanted a shoe shine; I said maybe later. I did have on some very dusty shoes badly in need of a shine. We saw him again and he flashed me a smile saying, “Later, OK?” So when we neared the Crosby restaurant and bar where we had decided to have a very early happy hour, there was Armando. So, for $2 he did a great shoe shine.

I soon caught up with my two traveling friends at Crosby’s where we enjoyed margaritas and nachos.

We considered getting a taxi back to our car, but then thought of our Thanksgiving meal coming up and decided to get the physical exercise; we planned to eat heartily. The dinner was quite delicious – turkey and all the trimmings.

I have so much to be thankful for! I am blessed with family, friends, health, and the gumption to get out and see the world in Jeremiah. In retrospect, I’ve had a wonderful life, and have no regrets about any of it! It is a great feeling.

I’ll sign off with this quote by John Randolph (no, I don’t know who he is/was):

Time is at once the most valuable
and the most perishable of our possessions.

Please make time for those things and people you love and value.

Since leaving Las Cruces, we’ve driven 700 miles in 15 days!

Tomorrow we’ll be on the road again – this time heading north/east to Fredericksburg.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Onward to Big Bend National Park

Saturday, Nov. 10, 2007

But first, Terlingua, Texas

Terlingua is fairly near the west entrance to Big Bend National Park. With a goal of arranging a Rio Grande rafting trip, we stopped at the Big Bend RV Park in this small Texas town. Then we set out to check out the three companies offering river adventures. Sadly, the river was too low for a raft trip. All they could offer was a canoe ride – two to a canoe and one of us with the guide. And it would be an all day trip. Well, this didn’t sound very relaxing to us – and we’d have to work instead of sitting back to enjoy the river and take photos.

With quite a bit of daylight left, we decided to take one tow car into the park to explore the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive that would take us to the Rio Grande near the Santa Elena Canyon – dubbed one of Big Bend’s most scenic spots. Back at the RV park we were treated to a beautiful sunset and a night warm enough to sleep with windows open.

On Sunday morning, we drove our motorhomes into Big Bend National Park, stopping at one of the Visitor’s Center for information and more brochures. Then we went to the Village Campground for full-hookup RV parking.

During the week we took quite a few hikes: Hot Springs (the long, difficult one), Sam Nail Ranch, Rio Grande nature Trail, Boquillas Canyon, Window View, The Window, and Dave’s Cattail Falls. We drove several park roads: paved, well-maintained gravel and one intended for high-clearance/four-wheel vehicles. Note, Carol R’s car has neither. At one point, as we went down and up a fairly deep wash, I got out to take photos. Sadly, the photos don’t look like it was a very tough time.

Hot Springs on the Rio Grande

The historic hot springs were developed by a ‘big thinker.’ Oscar Langford came to the area in 1909 for his health and bought the section containing the hot springs. He built a resort and touted the healing properties of the spring. Health seekers came from distant places, terrible local roads notwithstanding. Langford left in 1914, then returned in 1927. At some point in time, he left again and the property became part of the National Park.

There are two ways to get to the hot springs from the RV camp – drive several miles and then walk in less than a half a mile. Or, leave from the RV area on foot. This trail is close to three miles long, and is anything but flat. Carol R and I chose to walk, Elizabeth decided to drive (she recently injured her knee and has been taking it easy). As we trudged up and down, up and down, along the river and back up again – always on the lookout for rattlesnakes – we were thankful that we would not have to hike back. We were rewarded with some great vistas, Carol R went to the edge of a very steep and very deep river canyon (I don’t do canyon edges) and took some great photos.

When the trails get tough, I call to mind what Writer Doris Dillin had to say:

“May you remember that though the roads we take can sometimes be difficult,

those are often the ones that lead to the most beautiful views.”

Finally we reached the hot spring – that is separated from the river by only a short rock wall and are fairly well silted in from previous high waters of the Rio Grande. Shoes came off, hiking slacks were rolled up and our feet enjoyed the 105-degree water. I sat on the rock wall and put one foot in the cold river and one in the hot spring.

I had two favorite hikes, the Boquillas Canyon and Dave’s Cattail Falls

Boquillas Canyon

Soon after we started up the canyon trail and had rounded the bend to look up the canyon, we heard singing in the distance! Mexican songs, male voice. And a wondrous echo from the canyon. What? Next we saw someone in a red shirt on the Mexico side of the river. The singing continued. When we were fairly close, a man was waving to us and calling out: “Hello, I’m Victor the singing Mexican!” Then he continued singing until we were opposite him. He assured us he was friendly, and that he had operated the ferry between the village of Boquillas and Big Bend. His English was quite good. Victor told us about his

poor village that is now cut off from Texas. Since 9-11, the ferry had to stop operating and tourists could not go into their village to shop and eat. The village is more than 100 miles from any services or stores. We certainly enjoyed his singing.

Dave’s Cattail Falls

The trail sign says just Cattail Falls, but another camper – Dave – told us about it. The trail is no longer in any park brochures because it ends where the spring water (that originated above the pour-off) is pumped into the park for use. Dave asked if we wanted to hike the trail with him and Carol R and I eagerly accepted. It was a great hike and beautiful scenery. Photos just don’t do it justice.

The entire Big Bend National Park was beautiful with surprises around every bend. As we drove into the park on the first day, I didn’t think I would like it – too much of the ‘same old’ desert setting. I’ve definitely changed my mind! With the exception of one windy evening and night, the weather was perfect. It is worth a return trip or two.

NOTE to my hiking friends – if you haven’t been here, you are missing out. The tent camping areas are nestled among trees.

Tomorrow morning we leave Big Bend, and I leave my readers with this:

Cherish the significant happenings of your life. Memories are a lot like fine wine – the older they get the more precious they become. Take time to make them, and remember them, lest you find, as you grow old

that your glass is half empty rather than half full.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

From New Mexico to Texas

Sunday, Nov. 4, 2007

A passionate life. What feeds passion? Enthusiasm. Perseverance. Intuition. Explore new horizons. My passion for the RV life is alive and well.

Things are wrapped up at Pancho Villa State Park: my volunteer vest is returned, the keys to the laundry and computer room have been handed back to Ranger/Manager Victor, and good-byes have been said to the other volunteers. Yesterday evening was a farewell-to-Carol/welcome-to-Scott and Carole Happy Hour at Gwen and Jim’s RV. Cat is in the Jeremiah and things are stowed for travel.

I’m off to the beginning of a three-plus month trip. But, first stops in Deming for groceries. I was expecting a 90-mile drive from to Las Cruces, NM. That relied on finding the right Interstate exit. That was not to be and it turned into a 113 mile drive. No problem. I finally found Sunny Acres RV Park and met up with friend Carol Rayburn and her cat Zia. About an hour later, friend Elizabeth Baldridge, and her three cats, Cady, Sunny, and Tux, arrived. The “Winnie Trio” were gathered and ready to start our Texas Adventure.

And here the three of us are at Boquillas Canyon, near the canyon’s mouth. L to R: Carol R, Carol A. Elizabeth

We gathered and discovered we all had blue shirts on! It was time to roll out on I-10. We entered Texas near El Paso, stopping at the Texas Visitor Center where we gathered up pounds of glossy, colorful brochures and maps that covered areas we planned to visit. Here we became Winter Texans – what the Texans call winter visitors, instead of snowbirds.

The loose plans are to wander around southern Texas, including the Big Bend area, San Antonio and Fredricksburg before arriving in the Corpus Christi area by the end of November. Never having been to south Texas, this would be a ‘first’ for us. Itinerary would be worked out along the way – the only ‘for sure’ thing is to have short driving days, keep speed under 60 mph, and have Happy Hour each evening.

Starting December 1, we will meet up with another Winnebago friend, Roberta Cox, to spend December and January at Driftwood RV Haven in Fulton, Texas, a couple blocks from the Gulf of Mexico. The goal is to avoid harsh winter, have fun, and explore the Gulf area – oh, yes, also to continue Happy Hours.

First Texas stop was Mountain View RV Park in Van Horn, Texas

Monday’s drive was 160 miles east to Van Horn, Texas. The drive was livened up by the passing of a lot of NASCAR 18-wheelers – on their way west to a race in Phoenix. The trucks were brightly pained with drivers’ names and sponsor logos.

Another brief stop was the U.S. Border Patrol station. Carol R in the lead with Elizabeth behind her were waved through – I was stopped. The agent asked, “Are the three of you traveling together?” I answered, yes. His next question, before sending me on my way, was, “By yourselves?!” I smiled and said, yes, before driving off. Even though there are plenty of single gals traveling in RVs, we still seem an oddity to many. The usual comment is: “You are so brave!” Or from many women, “I could never do that.”

At those times, I remember what William Least Heat Moon had to say in his book Blue Highways:

The hardest thing – having the gumption to live different

and the sense to let everybody else live different.

During this leg of the trip, we realized how confusing it was to have two people with the same first name, and we didn’t want to ‘advertise’ our names. So we established “names” to communicate on our CBs. With two “Carols” out of the three, it would be confusing. We decided to call ourselves “Winnies” because we all drive Winnebagos. I pulled Age Rank and became Winnie 1, Carol Rayburn is Winnie 2, and Elizabeth is Winnie 3.

The RV Park in Van Horn was nothing special, we parked on grass/weeds, and I managed to track in a bunch of sticky thistles. Morning brought a pretty stiff wind, giving us a headwind for much of the drive to Balmorhea State Park. It is a delightful Texas State Park. We made the most of the rest of the afternoon and early Tuesday morning.

Balmorhea State Park (Bal – mor – ray)

The drive to Balmorhea was a whopping 50 miles! The park has a huge V-shaped hot spring-fed swimming pool that is naturally heated to 72 to 76 degrees, and a large wetlands preserve. We drove to a nearby lake – the only body of water for miles around – and drove through the tiny town. The most interesting sight in the town was this old vehicle. Perhaps it was someone’s homemade motorhome! In the evening, we roughed out our itinerary – promising to be flexible as opportunities arose.

Davis Mountains State Park, just outside Fort Davis, Texas

After three days if driving – albeit short ones – it was time to settle in for a few days. As we checked in to the park, it made sense to purchase the Texas State Park annual pass. It provides us with reduced camping fees, camping coupons, discounts at park stores, entrance to non-camping state parks/attractions, and the Texas State Parks magazine. Jeremiah nestled nicely in a camping spot that would give nice shade.

We were barely set up when the “locals” came to greet us. They were overly friendly and a bit of a nuisance until they realized we would not be feeding them. During our three days at the park, they visited at least twice a day.

We had other less-welcome visitors.

Carol Rayburn helped me get a harness on Cat. I put Cat on a leash and took her outside a bit. Cat was not thrilled because she is used to running free, but this will not be an option on the trip. When the three of us met at a picnic table for dinner, I had Cat on a leash and Carol R had Zia on a leash. As we sat around after dinner, it got dark and we just had a small light on the table. A rustling in the nearby bushes interrupted our conversation. A flashlight beam showed a short, bristly-backed animal – a javelina. (ha veh LEE na)

Nearly in unison we said: “Get the cats!” Carol R. headed to Zia, I turned to pick up Cat. She had already managed to escape her harness/leash and run under Jeremiah. Elizabeth jumped up on the picnic table! What a hoot! At least once the cats were safe and our commotion had sent the javelinas away.

I had bought a small book on javelina and now seemed a good idea to read more about this critter. First of all, they are not pigs or hogs. They have large heads, delicate, slender legs, and relatively small feet. Their hair is wiry and bristly, some hairs reach six inches in length. Also called collared peccaries, they are near-sighted. They live in a word of scent and sound. And they also have a pungent, skunky odor. They can grunt, bark, woof, and growl. They have four toes on their forefeet, but only three on the hind feet, short tails usually hidden under their hair, and short, rounded ears that stand upright. They have 38 teeth – including two straight, canine teeth that protrude upwards from their lower jaw. Babies, called piglings, are one-pound miniature javelinas and trail mom like little stick-tights. What starts out as a cute, tiny baby will one day become a 40 to 50 pound adult with an attitude – and a javelina’s razor-sharp canine teeth inflict a nasty bite.

We had been warned not to put any coolers outside on the ground. But my two heavy-duty, securely-lidded storage boxes only had tire covers and canned goods inside. So I locked them below my picnic table. The next morning it was very obvious that my boxes were tempting to the javelinas. Here’s what one box lid looked like in the morning.

The state park was our base for exploring the nearby attractions.

Fort Davis National Park

This early fort was home to many of the Buffalo Soldiers – black soldiers who had been called “buffalo” because of their stiff, curly and furry hair reminded them of buffalo hair/fur. The fort was restored by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps). Our tour of the several of the buildings are furnished as they were in the olden days, started with a video.

The town of Fort Davis

At a little more than 5,000 feet elevation, this is the highest town in the state. Carol Rayburn and I explored the one-street downtown of Fort Davis, and were amazed to find a broom maker at work. PHOTO of broom maker. As he worked, he explained his process, told about the very old jigs and machinery he used. And, I bought one of his “utility brooms.”

The McDonald Observatory, near Fort Davis

The observatory, with three telescopes, is one of the major astronomical research facilities in the world. We were in time for the 2:30 tour which started in the theater with a presentation and viewing of “live” pictures being taken of the sun: sunspots, flares, etc. The original telescope was a joint venture between the University of Texas (which didn’t have an astronomy program at the time) and the University of Chicago. The newest telescope, the Hobby-Everly, has the world’s largest telescope mirror. Check it out at

Marfa – and the “mystery lights”

The “famous and mysterious” Marfa Lights enticed us to make the drive to the railroad town of Marfa. After a delicious barbecue dinner, we drove nine miles out of town to the viewing area. Here’s what is said about them: “Marfa Mystery Lights are visible n many clear nights between Marfa and Paisano Pass as one looks towards the Chinati Mountains. The lights may appear in various colors as they move about, split apart, melt together, disappear and reappear. The lights were first sighted in 1883. Viewers’ theories range from scientific to science fiction – UFO, ranch hose lights, St. Elmo’s fire or electrostatic discharge, swamp gases, moonlight shining on veins of mica, ghosts of Conquistadors searching for gold. The mystery remains unsolved.” Skeptical me – actually saw it/them.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Additional PVSP Comments

Wouldn’t you know it? The day after I posted my most recent blog entry I remembered two things I had meant to include. So, here they are.

End of the Continental Divide Trail. There are three official endings to the nearly 3,000-mile Continental Divide Trail. This CDT trail starts at the USA northern border, and has three possible endings at the USA southern border. One of them is through Pancho Villa State Park to the USA border at Palomas. Hikers usually start up north in June, and it is late October/early November when they end. Many times they are solo hikers, but last year the park had some duos and one family (mom, dad, and two teenage girls).

Those who end at Palomas usually stay here at PVSP for one or more nights, camping in their trail tent. PVSP keeps a “Trail Ending” photo book; each hiker gets a page in which we put a photo and they write briefly about their experience. They have adventures that make my “adventures” pale by comparison.

Brad – who lives in Alaska – arrived last week and stayed three days. His solo hike had taken 127 days, and he calculated his trail to have been 2,800 miles!!!!!! Check out a map. This trail is not flat. It goes through some mighty rugged mountainous terrain. Not only did he conquer the CDT, he has also hiked the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail! He said the CDT was the most difficult of the three.

Here’s Brad after a long, hot shower.

San Diego Fires. My Palomar Mountain friend and former neighbor Bonnie Phelps (well, yes the Phelps mountain home was 12 or so miles from my home – but still a neighbor) did an awesome job of keeping residents and folks who love Palomar apprised of the fire status. She also is the local Realtor; the one who handled the deal when I bought on Palomar and when I sold. On her business website I discovered that my former mountain home is for sale again. Pictures on her website sure brought back wonderful Palomar memories – three years of adventures of living off the grid, four miles from the closest ‘neighbor’, and an hour from town. Thanks to the fire fighters, "my side of the mountain" was not in danger from the fires.

Stay tuned - next post will probably include Texas travel plans.

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Thursday, November 01, 2007

There are pictures for you on this entry

Well, just a couple more days before I leave Pancho Villa State Park to begin my winter adventures. Can you see the headlines now? Trio Terrorizes South Texas. This starts on Sunday when Carol Rayburn, Elizabeth Baldridge and I meet up in Las Cruces, New Mexico. We’ll be looking at maps, RV park directories, and deciding on a loose itinerary through south Texas, The next blog entry will start this adventure.

But first, I finally have some pictures to share with you. Remember to enlarge photos, just click on them.

Highway 9 runs from the Arizona border to the Texas border, and along the way it goes along Pancho Villa State Park. This two-lane highway is the route of choice for over-sized transports and their accompanying escort vehicles. There are no bridges or underpasses. Some mighty interesting stuff passes by and often stops in Columbus where there are a couple large areas they can pull off the road to rest, eat, or fix tires. One vehicle - reportedly a nuclear reactor for a submarine - has been here all month. I've been told there are two more between Columbus and El Paso, Texas. I heard they are awaiting permits to enter Texas. I heard the huge loads will be loaded on ocean-going vessels and taken to the East Coast. This particular vehicle is both very wide and very, very long - there are 74 wheels. My pictutre doesn't show its massive-ness.

PVSP sing-a-long, wiener roast, S’more-making evening

The Friends of Pancho Villa Park couldn’t let these lovely fall evenings go by without an outdoor activity. Campers and park volunteers gathered for an evening of singing and eating. We missed the full moon by just a couple of evenings, but that didn’t dampen our fun. Twenty-six of us sat around the fire and had a great time. Friends President and his wife – Bud and Jeane Canfield – led the singing and also sang to us some of their favorite songs.

Here we are enjoying the lovely evening.

Another weeding surprise

It was very early one morning last week. The outside temperature was about 50-degrees. I bundled up and headed out to finish weeding an area near the restrooms. I was determined to get it finished – Just had a small area left. This area had a couple tumbleweeds and several gourd plants. This area did not get done last year so the creeping weeds (gourd plant – think pumpkin plants) spread out to about ten-feet or more in diameter. I like these weeds. When I find the center/root of the plant and cut it and pull, a huge area is cleared. This particular plant had grown up and through a large prickly pear and ‘cows tongue’ cactus plants. I cut and gently pulled in order to get all the spreading vines to follow without being cut by the cactus. No way did I want to get close to the cactus to pull. Slowly the vine was clear of the cactus. Out of the corner of my eye I saw movement at the base of a prickly pear. Looking closer, I saw five shivering kittens – looking at me with eyes open on their sweet faces! I quickly picked up some smaller weeds from my pile and tossed them on the plant to re-create their cozy area. Mom cat was nowhere to be seen. No more weeding this morning. When I looked later in the morning, the kittens were gone; evidently Mom Cat moved them.

Here are the kittens – a.k.a. mouse catchers

Halloween Carnival and Costume contest at Columbus Elementary School

The park, being in the small town/village of Columbus provides lots of community activities. Volunteers Diane Patton, Gwen Young and I were asked to judge the costume contest. We thought it would be easy. Wrong! What a challenge! Fortunately we didn’t know any of the children, so had no biases. The coordinator gave us guidelines: creativity, originality, spookiness, and colorful-ness (I’m sure you know what I mean even if I did invent a “word”) There were four age categories: 0 to 4, 5 to 11, 12 to 15, and 16 and older. So many costumes were great – and I’m happy to say many were homemade. I had thought we’d just see the ‘costume of the year’ that is mass produced and available at the dollar store – those would be very hard to judge. The hardest ages were the 5 to 11 because there were so many entries; about 35.

Here is the 0 to 4 winner

Here is the 5 to 11 winner

A surprise visit from Selma and George

A morning phone call from my friend Selma turned my day from “write and edit all day” to “go with George and Selma to the Pink Store for lunch” day. What fun. The two of them had been in Silver City (about an hour drive from here). We had a great time. George and Selma bought some Mexican treasures.

Here we are after demolishing our lunches.