Trip to New Braunfels to See Scott and Brandy

Several weeks ago, we took a trip up to New Braunfels Tx. Its about 4 hours north. Scott has a time share and had to use his points up or loose them. He decided to book a 3 bedroom unit in New Braunfels in hopes some of the family could get together. We have a niece and her family living their. He had hopes that us and maybe some of Mistys family could all get together. But unfortunately nobody could come but us. School was back in session and everyone was back to work. Scott and Brandy close the bar after the first of the year for 2 weeks so that was the only time to book it. So we went on up and met them and had a very nice time.

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The condo was actually in Gruene right along the Guadalupe River. It is a beautiful river that is actually 230 miles long emptying into the Gulf of Mexico. The lower part of the river empties out of the Canyon Dam north of New Braunfels.

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It is full of rapids and some fast moving water at points. It wraps around a very forested area with winding roads and some cabins, fishing areas and restaurants. It is a prime area for fly fishing, kayaking, and tubing. It is just gorgeous. Along the river is Gruene, which is a very cool little touristy area. It is full of antique shops, restaurants, and cafes, and little gift shops.

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This is a beautiful Mansion made into a Bed and Breakfast. Also standing high above the river was the Gruene Town Hall.

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Gruene Hall, built in 1878, is Texas’ oldest continually operating and most famous dance hall. By design, not much has physically changed since the Hall was first built. The 6,000 square foot dance hall with a high pitched tin roof still has the original layout with side flaps for open air dancing, a bar in the front, a small lighted stage in the back and a huge outdoor garden. Advertisement signs from the 1930s and 40s still hang in the old hall and around the stage.

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The interior if very rustic and old and so unique. It is still used for name band entertainment. If you look up on Wikipedia, or their website you will find many many famous singers and entertainers who have played their through the years.

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So we met Scott and Brandy at the Condo and checked. It was a beautiful rustic cedar décor.

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The condo had a master bedroom down stairs with full bath and 2 bedrooms up. It also had a full size washer and dryer which is really convenient. A very nice large kitchen and dinning, living room combo.

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Very nicely decorated with tile and carpeted floors. So we all settled in and immediately made plans to head to San Antonio for the River Walk. Brandy found out it was the last nite of the lights. Misty, Mark, and the kids came by for a short time, and we decided to get together the next day. We have been to the River Walk before several times, but Scott and Brandy has not. We found a place to park and walked down to the River. It is so beautiful. The strings of lights were cascading down all the trees in beautiful colors. They are on just for the Christmas season.

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The walkways were still full of people. We walked a bit and ended up at Rainforest Café for Dinner. After that we went to look for the piano bar, “Howl With the Moon”. We finally found it and got in line to pay cover charge. Wow, who did I see!!!!!! A girl that had worked at Cinemark in Harlingen. Kay was checking IDs, and collecting cover charges. It was so good to see her. She moved up to the BIG CITY life. She took us and stamped our hands, …..NO COVER CHARGE…..”Thank You Kay”. The bar was so full, we went out to the patio.

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It was a little chilly so they had their big overhead heaters on. We could watch the Boat Tours floating by from the balcony.

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They had lights around the perimeter of the boats that just glowed in the water. So pretty. Finally we left the River Walk area. Up on the streets were the beautiful carriages that were for rent. One could take a romantic carriage ride and see the magical streets of San Antonio at nite.

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The horses were so pretty . Their manes were combed, and decorated along with headdresses. We headed home and off to bed. The next morning we had an uninvited guest. Rich and I had been in the kitchen walking around and didn’t notice this….lol..

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OMG. Brandy came down and seen the Scorpion in the middle of the kitchen floor. He wasn’t dead but almost. Rich must have stepped on his tail in his stocking feet. Yuck...Misty, Mark, and the kids came over, and we grilled outside. The next morning, it was time to leave. We had to be back at the park the next day. They were staying till Wed. then on to Pensacola to see Brandy’s mom and brother. They wanted to be home by Sunday....Really.…I seemed to me that was pushing it…..But when they drive, they don’t stop…..Their young, they can do that…..So in their 10 day vacation, they partied in Austin Tx, New Braunfels, New Orleans, Pensacola, and then a friends in Tennessee on the way home. To much traveling for me at a fast pace. Before we left New Braunfels, Rich had found an In-N-Out Burger. Now we have never been to one but Ron and Theresa love them. It has been an ongoing joke about them. So we decided to stop and get them each a sandwich and high tail it 4 hours back home. The menu was rather simple.

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The decorating was rather cute and different, with red Palm Trees. On the way out their was a sign in the windows. They were hiring ….

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Wow, look at the pay……$12 an hour…..Now that’s pretty good….I posted on FB, “Look at the pay, …Think well head north and get new jobs…..I can take orders and Rich can flip burgers”.....It was a joke folks….lol...Do you know how many people believed me!!!…The next week, I had people coming in asking me….Its not true is it? Are you leaving....NO, IT WAS A JOKE….We pulled in and delivered our In-N-Out Burgers…..Ron and Theresa were so happy and Very Surprised. They loved them even cold.

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So Another Great Week and a Wonderful visit with Scott and Brandy. Thanks for the Condo, food and the good company…..It was really fun……See you in the summer.

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Seven Days Visiting Family & Friends

I’m back in Harlingen after being away for 10 days. Rich and I left for Illinois and spent 7 days full of visiting and attending my Class Reunion. We decided not to drive because Rich was staying to work harvest again this fall. We love the train, so that is what we decided to do. I bought our tickets on line for $107 each one way, from San Antonio to Bloomington Il. Quite a steal. But it only goes south as far as San Antonio which is 4 hours away. Our friends Marge and Gary took us up the day before. We arrived and checked into our motel. Then we went down to River Walk. It is such a beautiful place.

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It should be on everyone’s bucket list. It is a river that meanders through the city, 1 story below the street level. Every block is a bridge overhead where the city streets are bustling with traffic . Walk down the steps and enter another world where the river is lined with little outside cafe’s with colorful umbrellas, restaurants, and shops. The sidewalks are made of many a variety of materials, bricks, cobblestone, or concrete. They follow the river on both sides and have beautiful mature trees, plantings of flowers and tropical foliage lining the river and sidewalks.

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Every few minutes a Tour boat floats by with the Captain telling his Passengers the history of the River Walk. A new company took over the River Walk boats suppling all new designed boats. Their are Tour Boats, Taxis and also Dinner Cruise Boats, that comprise the fleet of 26 in September of 2017, expecting to peak at 44 boats in the fleet. Every block their is a beautiful arched crossover to get to the other side. We walked and found a little piano bar. It had a/c, how wonderful and refreshing as it was soooooo hot outside. I was a great place to just relax and listen to the piano man play his tunes and sing.

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My Favorite Building on the River Walk…Its an Optical Illusion….The building is triangle shape and looks like it would fall over. NIX Health Hospital

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We had dinner before we went back. Rich ordered this Shrimp Fest. It had 4 different types of Shrimp. Finally it was dark and was time to return to the hotel.

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Beautiful old Oak Tree near the Alamo

We actually walked, so by the time we got back, I don’t know who was more tired Marge or Me. lol. In the morning we got up early and Gary and Marge took us to the Historic Sunset Train Depot at 6:30. We boarded the train by 7am and pulled away soon after. Now to settle down for our 28 hour ride to Illinois. Cameron would be picking us up at Bloomington Il Amtrak Station the next day, Wed. around 11 am. The train is a great way to ride. The seats are fairly comfortable and spacious.

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The bathrooms are down stairs on the lower level. They are very tiny but serve the purpose. You can walk to the Observation Car.

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Their, people visit, play cards, read, or just watch the view out the many windows, as you fly by the country side. Down below is the Café’ that has everything you may need or want including alcohol. The next car is the Diner. It is usually fairly expensive but we usually eat one meal their.

We sat across from a family who couldn’t speak English. A lady several rows ahead helped to interpret to the conductor. It turns out they were from El Salvador. They had a new born and a small boy, maybe 4. They were going to Boston. Now this made me think. Their is no security in the train system. I bought the tickets online. You don’t have to check in at the train station. Board the train, and the conductor comes by and scans your phone. …..Hmmmmmm……So as long as you have your tickets on your phone, anyone can get on…….Something to Think About……After an uneventful restful trip, we arrived on time and Cameron picked us up. First stop as usual, of course....”One Paw’z Pub”…..Brandy had Chicken Fried Steak and mashed potatoes and gravy…..yum…..Tina, Ed and the kids were heading to Wisconsin early Saturday morning for the annual family fishing trip that Eds dad always has. They are sportsmans, loving fishing and hunting. Tina and Ed bought a new beautiful Camper. So we went over to see them before they left.

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It is really beautiful. Love the colors and the interior floor plan. It has a private bedroom and the bunks in the rear for the kids.

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Miley gets the top bunk

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Austin wouldn’t cooperate for a picture, so Aunt Beth got him down…..lol….time to tickle

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Austin and Grandpa Dolder doing what he does best…..Sleep….

It has a beautiful kitchen with a table and couch across in the slide. They left on Saturday for a week of camping, boating, fishing and visiting family. While they were their, “DeeDee” had her “First Birthday”.

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Happy Birthday Dee Dee “1”

So of course She had a Party complete with a Doggy Birthday Cake.

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Austin of course did his share of fishing and caught a 21″ Walleye. Tina said he was so proud. Fishing is his favorite thing to do. He is going to be like his Dad and Grandpa. Saturday nite was the Class Reunion, so Sunday Tammy and I took Carly and Cassidy to Peoria. We visited the Riverfront Museum. They had a showing of Unicorns and Mythical Creatures.

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Carly wore her Unicorn outfit….

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She was fascinated by the beautiful Pegasus. Then we went over to the Museum side. They had many activities for the kids. Actually adults too. This one was our favorite. You know those things you put your hand in that have all those pins. It makes the shape of your hand when you press the pins to the other side? Well this was “Body size” lol

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We had such fun with this. We all took turn. Cassidy has her eyes close and Carlys Unicorn on her head shows up. Tammy and I did it also, ours is a little “Wider”……lol...After that we went to Steak and Shake on the River Front in East Peoria.

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Love Steak and Shake food. We sat in a booth looking out at the Illinois River with Peoria across from us. After that Tammy took us by OSF Hospital and took us on a tour through her department. She is now a “Floor Charge Nurse”. It was a long day, time for home and some R & R. The next day is Labor Day and off the Toluca’s Labor Day Parade and Carnival with the girls.

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Carly got plenty of candy with her big bag.

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It was so hot, at the end the tank came through spraying water….Felt sooooo Good

This is one Parade that gives away so much candy. Their is so much that they seem to pick and choose after awhile and some candy is never picked up. Then off to the Carnival after the Parade.

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Of course when your young you ride all the rides. That was Carly, she had a blast. Of course you must have Carnival Food right? So Corn Dogs, Lemonade Shake Ups and more. Another day of fun. We were so hot and tired. The next day was Tuesday and my last day. I had talked with the girls from work and we got together at Cabin Fever in Peru after they got off work.

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It was so good to see them all. We spent over and hour, maybe 2 just visiting and catching up. Listening to their story’s made me realize how lucky I am to be retired living the life we are now. So glad I’m not their anymore. Back at Scotts, Tammy was over one day. He has one of those contraptions that you hang upside down and stretch your back ?

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Tammy strapped in her feet. We were dying with laughter. At first she couldn’t get upside down. Then Dad pushed her over and wouldn’t let her come back up.lol…It was so funny. The next day it was time to get back on the train. I was their 7 days. Rich is staying to work harvest again this year. This year he is hauling corn from the Elevator to the terminals on the Illinois River. This then makes space for the new crop of corn being harvested. He’s also hauling some corn from the field to the elevator. We drove back to Bloomington Normal and he put me on the train for my return trip. It was again a nice relaxing ride. I had both seats as we never were full.”

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I ate 1 meal in the Diner. Steak burger Meal…$18…..It was late the next nite when the train arrived in San Antonio. It was 11:15pm. But that didn’t matter. I took a Taxi to Greyhound. My bus left at 2am. I was really tired by then. Finally I boarded the bus. Lets just say, “I was not impressed with the bus”. I curled up and went to sleep. Thank goodness for GPS. I woke up and the driver spoke only Spanish to everyone. We were going through a town. I realized we were already in Harlingen. It was 6:30 am. I had been watching the GPS on the phone for the whole trip. It is a great way to find out on the train where you are. Ron from the park came and picked me up. So glad to get home....First thing on the Agenda “Shower”…..2 nites without…..Not Good….Then Sleep, So tired…..

So here I am back at the Park…..Working Cinemark on the weekends and starting a new project. Painting bathrooms at the halls...….Fun…Fun…Fun…Soon the New Season shall begin…..I’m already planning activities for all those Winter Texans that soon shall be heading south. One by one they will be hitting the road….Heading South for the Sunshine and warmth of the winter. Escaping the Cold Harsh Winters……Yes ….

This is the Life….going on 5 years with no Snow for Us…….lol…Heaven….