Hurricane Harvey, 2017

We were very lucky.  “Harvey” missed us.  It came in on shore a little over 200 miles north of us.  It directly hit Rockport, Port Aransas, Victoria, Refugio, and Port Lavaca.  Corpus Christi was just a little south of the eye.

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One thing we realized down here in Texas living near the Gulf is, Hurricane season is taken very seriously.  The weathermen are always reporting on storms coming off the coast of Africa.  We knew this season started in August and ended the first of Nov.  Here is Eastgate we knew that all annuals or anyone who left their camper here for storage, had to anchor their units to the concrete pads.  Now after this past week, I understand why.  438842BA00000578-4818354-Hurricane_Harvey_is_expected_to_become_a_major_storm_once_it_mak-a-80_1503611478314

This storm started a week or two earlier as a depression #91.  As they watched it cross the Atlantic it escalated as it reached the Yucatan Peninsula.  It slowed down over land and then as it crossed into the Gulf of Mexico it started to escalate from a tropical storm to Hurricane.  They initially knew it could come ashore as a Category 3, but the warm waters escaladed it to Category 4, which meant it contained winds of over 125 mph.  It was predicted to land a little more south.  The Rio Grande Valley started to prepare.  Everyone was stocking up.  South Padre Island closed all beaches and they started boarding up windows.  If the winds reached over 45 mph, they would close the bridge to all traffic.  They have an Emergency text system in place for their residents, that you can get this information as it develops.  We took down our screen room, and put in all our awnings.  When Rich put up the shed, one of the requirements was also to anchor it.  So he constructed a wire anchor system that runs through both sides of the shed and is anchored to the concrete.  The park went around putting all the pool chairs and anything loose away.  They also inspected some of the homes of people who were not here and made sure everything was safe as possible.  We were suppose to receive up to 70mph winds at one point.  Also 4″ – 6” of rain.  Well, not a whole lot happened.  I woke up at midnight to hear the pitter patter of the rain.  The wind wasn’t bad.  It was suppose to escalate in the morning.  Nope, we were very lucky.  It came ashore around Port Lavaca, which is a little over 2 hours north on the coast.

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We caught some of the outer wind bands but not fierce.   Up around Corpus Christi, Port Aransas, Victoria and Port Lavaca, it destroyed the towns, hotels, homes, Rv Parks, and Boat Harbor’s.  Some of the smaller towns evacuated.  One of the Winter Texans from last year, said she had workamper friends in one of the parks.  They could not leave until all the guest campers were gone.  Then they could leave.   I don’t know if I like that or not.

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The towns were really tore up.  The rain was horrible.  They said that some areas around Houston could receive 50″ before it was over.  Just imagine that much rain and it comes ashore at 125mph.  “Harvey” came ashore and hovered for awhile.  It actually moved like it was a drunken soldier on shore.  It was downgraded finally to a tropical storm, but the tail end was still feeding the bands over the Gulf with water.  It continued to rain.  Houston started to flood.  Houston is a very low city.  It is only 50 feet above sea level.  It was built on flat marshy ground. It is prone to flood but nobody expected it to flood this much.  Reports started to come on tv of all the rescues.

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The interstates started filling up.  Some of the drivers just didn’t understand.  They continue to think they are almighty and can drive right through, including semis.  We seen reports of so many people just walking through the water to safety.  Abandoning their vehicles or homes.  The 911 calls were coming in.  People were beginning to be trapped in their homes.  The water kept rising.  Some were in their attics with nowhere else to go.  They were advised to bring an axe with them so they could chop a whole in the roof if needed.  …….”Get out of your house”…..”Stand on your roof”….  “Bring a piece of material with you that you can wave to draw attention”.  The calls kept coming in.  The people were told they were on the list.  But the Emergency people couldn’t help until daybreak, and even then, it was still impossible in many places.  Finally you seen boats coming down the streets.

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Individuals were going out with their own boats, canoes, airboats, even jet skis.  They were going out into the neighborhoods and picking up people and bringing them to high ground.  The local Convention Center opened up for the victims.  They kept running short of cots for them to sleep on.  Some people slept the night on the floor.  But at least they were safe and dry.  This flood had overwhelmed everyone.

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The news showed so many people being rescued with dump trucks.   Many times they used ladders to help the people get in and out.  So many people, young and old were carried through the water.  In one case, Nursing home residents were trapped and needed someone to come get them.  No one came.  Finally the nursing home owners were so devastated and helpless, they took a picture of all these poor people sitting in chairs and the couches waist deep in water looking so forlorn.

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I can’t even imagine their thoughts.  I’m sure they thought they were at deaths door.  She sent the picture to her daughter for help.  Her daughter put it out on Social Media and the news.  In less than 2 hours, Help Arrived.  Here’s all those people today smiling, happy, warm and dry.  So Happy to be Alive.  How awful for them.

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The National Guard was called out.  National Guard brought in around 30 helicopters for air rescue.   The US Coast Guard also brought in their helicopters Every available resource, was called in.  Fema, Red Cross, so many agency’s arrived, their was help arriving from all over the US.  Even the Border Patrol from the Rio Grande Valley came with over 30 different types of boats.  Of course all the news people arrived.   The reports and pictures on tv were constant the first 2 days.  It was ongoing for so long.  The storm stagnated in the Houston area, then went back out over the Gulf.  It reentered east of Houston around the Beaumont area and headed north west, slowly dissipating, but did much more damage and dropped a lot of rain in the Beaumont area.  They faced so many dangerous issues.

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Now they also had floating islands of Red Fire Ants.  They had come out of the ground and attach themselves to each other and become a floating colony.  You certainly don’t want to get into a nest of them.  Also, now the bayous had filled up and the city had to release some of the water in the reservoirs so they wouldn’t break.  Now Alligators were also swimming in the water along with Snakes Sewage and Chemicals had been leaked into the waters by now.  It was so dangerous to be in the water, but many had no choice.  Now here it is a week after “Harvey” landed, and the city still has water.  They said it may take weeks in some areas to totally empty.  Another occurrence they may find is floating caskets.

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With the ground being so saturated, some caskets may just surface and float.  How awful it would be to come across a casket.  The latest count of deaths was 39, which I thought was pretty good.

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Through all of this their is always “HERO’S” that give selflessly of themselves and their money.  In Houston Jim “Mattress Mack” Mcingvale has 2 very large furniture stores called “Gallery Furniture”.

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He opened his doors to anyone who needed shelter.  They made his new furniture their home.  A place to rest and sleep.  He fed them, and donations of all sort came in.  He even gave out his cell number for anyone who needed help and couldn’t get it.

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He not only let the flood victims sleep in his beds, he also let the National Guard rest.  “What a hero”.  He also did this for Hurricane Katrina.  He wants to help and share all he has to the people who need his help.  It was said he was losing $30,000 a day.

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Hotels and Motels all over are filled.  Some people left before the storm and some left after and found a place to go.  I believe Fema or the Red Cross is paying for the rooms for most of this month to give the families time and everyone to make plans for the future.  They are located all over Texas and probably Louisiana.  I do know that here in the Rio Grande Valley, we have many families that are in our motels.  All across the valley, the school systems are going motel to motel, enrolling the children in school.  All they want is the child’s name and info.  Their not requiring Birth Cert.  or papers.  They just want them in school so their life can continue as normal.  Country Suites here in Harlingen posted on FB the other day, the items they needed.  It contained from a Wheelchair and cane, on to clothes and personal care items and food.  They alone have 22 families.  We have at least 6 motels full.  Before you knew it, the word got out.  They have so many contributions that they are sharing across the Valley.  One person thought it was important to give the families a Cook out on Monday for Labor Day.  So many people have volunteered to help to put on a Celebration.  H-E-B is a huge chain grocery store in Texas.  In fact in the valley, their is no other.  …..No Krogers, Hyvee, Albertsons, just H-E-B…..  They deployed a convoy of 15 vehicles including 2 Mobile Kitchens, water and fuel tankers and H‑E‑B trailers, that will deliver much‑needed relief supplies and services to the communities in the affected hurricane area

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The H‑E‑B Mobile Kitchens, are two 45‑foot‑long food preparation facilities that are each designed to serve up to 2,500 meals per hour, will set up and serve hot meals to first responders and storm victims.  Also H‑E‑B’s DRUs that are fully equipped with an H‑E‑B Pharmacy and Mobile Business Services unit, which allows displaced residents to fill prescriptions, cash checks and pay bills, as well as provide access to an ATM.  One of the kitchens stopped in the Victoria area.  The other went on north to Houston.  Another fact to mention is the pets.  Anyone who had a pet, it was rescued with them.

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Pets have become a family member and they were treated as so.  The shelters have included them.  Their were pictures and stories of all the pet rescues.  So many people came out of their homes with their cats and dogs in carriers.  The ones that are found without owners have been taken to shelters.  Some are being shipped out of state to no kill shelters to find new homes.  Our shelter in Harlingen has made several trips up to take homeless animals.  They are all asking for donations of food, blankets and money.  The animals are being taken care of which is wonderful.  They all need a home.

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A week later, everything is still in turmoil but they are getting a handle on it.  Their were 3 large shelters open in Houston, but they are back down to one.  Their were actually around 142 shelters open around the area.  Over 100,000 homes are affected with flooding in Texas alone.  Over 300,000 homes were without power.  A state of disaster was declared in 50 county’s.  The discussion has been ongoing…..Should the mayor have evacuated Houston???.   It had happened in the past for another Hurricane that never happened after all.  Their was traffic jams and people died in the heat.  The mayor didn’t evacuate do to that reason.   I do agree with him.  Houston is the 4th largest city in the US.  How do you evacuate a whole city.   Where do they go.  If you’ve ever been through Houston in rush hour, you would know how bad it is.  That is only a small portion of the people.  To my understanding he made the right decision.  When you realize only 39 lives were lost, that is a small percent considering the population.  Some of those lives were lost in vehicles trying to escape the flood.  Some of those did not use common sense when traveling in flooded waters.  So many near fatal accidents happened that we seen on video.  It is sad that anyone died but you have to pick the best scenario for all.  I believe they were so fortunate that only 39 lives were lost so far.  It could have been much worse.  But I’m sure it may go up as they continue the search.

 

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White Caps on the Houston Interstates

 

Now we start watching the weather forecast…..Another storm coming off the coast of Africa.  Already a massive Hurricane.……IRMA…..Of course their are many storm tracks.  This one they think,  will follow up the East Coast of the US…..So we Wait and Watch

 

 

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Boyhood Home of Lyndon B. Johnson, Johnson City Texas

Texas Hill Country is so beautiful.  After traveling mostly in eastern and southern Texas, this was such a gorgeous area.  Full of Beautiful scenery.

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It is the area where the desert meets the high plains and plateaus.  It can feel the harshness of the summer heat and drought, and also the winter storms, the cold and the snowstorms.  It is also the home of the beautiful wildflowers in season, most famous is the Bluebonnets.  This is the area our 36th president (1963-1969) Lyndon B. Johnson was born in and grew up in.  He loved and cherished it all his life.  We finally arrived in Johnson City (named after his ancestors) on Tue afternoon.  We found a reasonable campground right in town.  We had just enough time to find his Boyhood home.  The Lyndon B Johnson Historical Park is divided into 2 pieces.  His boyhood home and other exhibits in town and 14 miles west is the LBJ Ranch, the family home for over a century, his home and also the Western White House during his presidency.

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We decided to find his Boyhood home.  In town we could have seen many things such as history of Hill Country, restored structures of towns past, photos and movies of LBJ and Lady Bird, but it was so so hot, we decided to just see his Childhood Home.

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We was able to park right out front.  it is situated on a city block, comprised of 1 3/4 acres.  It is surrounded by a white picket fence.  Lyndon moved here in 1913 at the age of 5 and lived here for the next 24 years.  He moved from the farm as they called it then, west of town 14 miles, along with his parents and 2 sisters.  His dad, Sam Ealy Johnson Jr. paid $2,925 for the house.  It was called a Folk Victorian house built in 1903 by W. C. Russell, the Sheriff of Blanco Co.  

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As we approached the house the Park Ranger was swinging on the porch.   It turns out we were the only ones for a tour.  It was really causal and the Ranger did an excellent job.

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As we entered the house, this was the first room.  This was the office of Lyndon’s dadSam Ealy Johnson was a State Legislator for 12 years.  This house was originally very small.  It as constructed with a “dog run” or “dog trot”.  The main room is separated from the sleeping quarters by a breezeway that is covered.  It makes for more cool breezes.  It cools and circulates the air when the windows are open.  This room was the breezeway at one time until it was enclosed as a room.

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Off to the side was a bedroom.  This was the Girls Bedroom.  Eventually the Johnsons had 2 more children, a girl and a boy.  They raised 2 boys and 3 daughters in this house.

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We crossed back through the office to the Dinning room.  This was the center room for the house.  Now with time, a room was added on each side of the house off this dinning room.  Therefore, there’s  a door on each wall to a connecting room.  Also they added porches to each corner of the house.  It was surprising to feel how comfortable the temperature was inside the house.  Because of the porches shading the house and the open windows, their was a nice air flow even on 90 degree days.

floorThe back Sleeping porch and porch to the Tub room were screened in.  This also made 2 more doors in the Dining Room.

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This is the kitchen which was quite cheerful.  Because of its location, it didn’t heat up the house in the summer and had plenty of cross draft from the windows.

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One the other side of the Dinning Room was the Parents Bedroom.  Their bedroom was facing the front of the house and they also had a porch.  It was covered but not screened enclosed.

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This was the door to their porch.  They sure made beautiful wooden screen door back then.  Love the detail.  Notice the worn threshold?…..Years of the Johnson family walking and running out the door.

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The next room off the parents bedroom was…..of course the boys…..The parents had to keep a close watch over them…lol…also since this was the farthest room from the dinning room and the fireplace, they had a stove for the winter.  It is hard to see, but Rich spied a bucket under the bed.  …..Now we all know what that was used for….

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Off the boys room was a room they called ….The Tub Room….I believe this was pretty elegant and modern in that era.  Love the picture above the tub.

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This is the screened in porch between the Tub Room and the Dinning Room.   So beautiful isn’t it.  And this design allows the girls to use the Tub Room without going through the parents and boys rooms.  Really quite an amazing design.  Finally, back to the Dinning Room.

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To front of the house was 1 last room, The Parlor.  This was a rather formal room.  Lyndon’s mom was Rebekah Baines, one of the few college educated women in the area.  Education was her passion.  In this room she taught Elocution lessons (public speaking) and Debating techniques to the neighborhood children.  I asked the Ranger more about her.  He said, just remember, the Johnson men seemed to know how to marry women with money….lol….She came from money.  For her first years of marriage and during Lyndon’s first young years, they lived out at the farm, surrounded by other family members as it was owned by an Aunt and Uncle of Lyndon’s.  Life out their was much harder.  So that was when Sam moved the family in town to the more modern home.  She was so much happier to be able to live a more comfortable lifestyle, raise her family and be able to still teach.  I also asked about the authenticity of the furniture etc.  The ranger said it has been restored to 1920s era.  The only authentic pieces of the Johnsons are most of the things in the Parlor.  The furniture is original.   Most everything else in other rooms are replications.

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We walked out the back door to the beautiful yard.  It was full of beautiful Oak trees.  You can see the water system they had rigged up, and in the distance at the end of the path was a small barn for livestock.

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The windmill through the trees….It was a beautiful blue sky day.

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This picture was taken from near the barn looking to the back of the house.  You can see a small shed that I think was used for butchering and smoking meats.

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This is the back of the house.  The kitchen is in the middle, Sleeping porch in the right and the porch connecting the Tub Room on the left.   During the years after the Johnsons lived their, it had been altered and changed quite a bit.  It was given to the National Park Service and with the help of historians, architects, carpenters, stonemasons, and many local business people the restoration was completed.  It was opened in 1973 after 3 years of construction to restore its originality.

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This was an amazing tour to see where this little boy grow up to be the man he became…..

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…..The 36th President of the United States of America….

One can surely see where he received his roots.  His father was a State Legislator.  He helped his dad campaign for re-election and sat in on legislative sessions.  His mother was well educated and taught him public speaking and debating.  His life was formed as a child to succeed in life, to serve the people of the United States.   He was an Amazing Man.   

After we left their, we were hungry, so we scouted around town.  It is a town loaded with little antique shops and stores.  You can only imagine through the years since he was president, the amount of visitors they have had in this town.  All over the country and also the world.  I’m sure many world leaders or representatives and families have shopped in this town on the way to the Ranch.  We found a cute little restaurant that had its own winery inside.  Prices were a little steep, but we had the BEST CHICKEN FRIED STEAK ever.  It as awesome.  Finally back to the Motorhome.

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Tomorrow we would head out to the LBJ Ranch …14 miles west

…..IT WAS MAGNIFICENT….

 

 

 

 

Winterfest at South Padre Island on The Gulf

Winterfest is held every year on the island.  It is an all day music festival of 5 musical groups that are playing in the Valley for the winter.  Last year we went and the weather was so cold.  They had it in the indoor water park at Schlitterbahn.  It was still cold   They had patio heaters running but it didn’t help.  I usually get a pair of tickets free as its one of the perks with the job.  Rick from Schlitterbahn came up and gave me my bundle of tickets to sell in the park.  He is the manager or chairperson for Winterfest.  As the date came closer we realized it would be warmer weather.  We decided to spend the nite at Schlitterbahn.  They were running a special of $59  for a nite.   Great way to spend the evening.  Finally the day came and the weather turned out to be beautiful.  It was a little chilly but sunshine blue sky and no clouds.  We met some friends their.  Ron and Theresa Fisher our friends from AdventurelandS met us their, and Alice and Tom met us also.  20170125_115012.jpg

We enjoyed watching and listening to the bands at the Outdoor Water Park.  It was a beautiful outdoor Tropical setting.  We were served a Shrimp or Chicken Basket from Shrimp Haus.  Then we decided to take a walk to the crossover bridge that took us to the beach on the Gulf.20170125_115134.jpg

This is the bridge view from the concert area.  The water park of course is drained right now for the winter.  We took a walk up the stairs behind the stage area to get to the bridge.

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From the top of the stairs we had a great view of the Concert area.  Onward we went, all 5 of us, as Tom stayed back.  He can’t walk that far.   We crossed over the bridge and the boardwalk extended a long distance ahead stopping at the beach with the ocean lapping on the sand…..20170125_133033.jpg

What a beautiful view it was.  Left to Right.  Alice from Maryland, Theresa and Ron from Nebraska, and Rich.  Were all Eastgate folks…..lol….We headed on down the boardwalk to the Gulf.  20170125_133548.jpg

It was a beautiful day, a little windy and beautiful blue sky.  The sand was so pretty and the sea gulls were flying around enjoying the wind and the waves.

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The view up the beach to the hotels was so beautiful.  The haze in the air made the hotels look so magical.  People were just walking and enjoying the sun, water and the sounds of the waves lapping on the beach.  Rich found a chair that someone carried down from the Water Park….lol….received_1354518004569754.jpeg

Theresa snapped this picture.  One of the few pictures that I allow of me…..lol….

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We walked back up to the Concert   This is the view from the top of the bridge over the drained Water Park.  20170125_115045.jpg

We went back to our seats by Tom.  This was the view of Schlitterbahn Water Park from our table.   We stayed for the rest of the performances.  20170207_075654.jpg

This is John Sager.  He is a performer from Branson.  Very Popular in the Valley.  He is an Awesome singer and has won many Awards.  The last performers were the Port Isabel Mariachi Band.   They were awesome also.  Wonderful musicians and singers and only High School.  They played last year also.  We all finally left, and stopped at the Schlitterbahn Resort to check in.  Alice and Tom and us were staying the nite, and Theresa and Ron heading home.  But not before we had supper together.  We headed to Louie’s Backyard.

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Its a really cool restaurant on the Bay side of the Island.  Most everyone had the Sea Food Buffet.  Of course I don’t like fish so I had Prime Rib.  After a great dinner and conversation we all left.20170125_182519.jpg

Outside was a Catamaran taking off with a party group.  The music was blaring and laughter in the air.  Such a beautiful Sunset.  The lights on the boat were so pretty as it went floating by.  Finally we said goodbye to Theresa and Ron as they were driving back to Harlingen.  Tom and Alice and us went back to the hotel to enjoy a peaceful evening in our hotel room.  In the morning we headed back to Harlingen 20170124_140710.jpg

We have been doing crafts on Tues.  This is our latest one.   I’ve been trying to do things cheaply and using recycle.  These are water bottle made into Whirlygigs.  They are colored with permanent markers.

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This is the finished product.  Really easy and very cute.  Great project for kids….lol

or Seniors????

 

Still at the Gate….and Hill Top Cemetery

Chris came the other morning and finally brought our License.   We are now Level 2 Private Security Agents registered and certified by the state of Texas…..Rather impressive I think….lol…We can now get jobs at any Company in Texas that is looking for Security.  It is really quite a business down here.  The fingerprinting stations rotate in different towns through out the state.  Their were at least 6 different towns just in our section of the state open when we were fingerprinted.  They move around every week within that section, so no one has to drive very far.

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We are still at our Gate 15.  They don’t have much left to do, but they are spending most of their time at other gates, trying to get them closed.  Out of 25 gates, only 3 are still open.  We thought we would be done last weekend, then we were told this Friday.  Now today we were told they might not be finished till next Wed.  Hopefully we will be done by Sunday.  Their not closing the gate this weekend, working through to get it done.  They still have concrete work to do at the valve area and build a fence around the valves.    So the days stretch on.  Last Friday we had a bad rain storm and left early.  When it rains in Texas on the back roads its not good.  They had to grade the gravel road because of all the ruts.  The weather has turned hot again, It was over 100 degrees, the last several days.  So glad this is almost over.

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I went to visit Hill Top Cemetery the other day.  It was formed in the late 1800’s after Boot Hill Cemetery was closed.  When Choke Canyon Reservoir was formed in the 1980’s, the remains of another Cemetery was relocated in the Hill Top Cemetery.  I didn’t find as much history on it as I thought, but did find some interesting stones.  You might think it rather strange that I seem to enjoy Cemetery’s, but many people do.  Many stones tell a story of a person.  How many children, what type of job in life, how old they were and sometimes how much they were loved by their family.

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Here is one that I thought was special, as the wife had written this beautiful passage about her husband, for all to read.  They must have shared an amazing Love.

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Some were very sad.  This plot was a father on the left Abel and his 2 little children, Mark 4 and Alicia 8 on the right.  All three died on Oct 9 1994.  One would assume it must have been an accident.  The wife is still alive.  They planted palm trees and bushes on either side.  On the far left is another stone.  I believe it was Abel’s mother.

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This is the back of her stone.   It is a family tree of her children and Abel’s name is on it also. This was a very beautiful setting, but so sad when you try to imagine their story.

I also found some simple stones, some cross’s.  Homemade. The one on the left is simply wood.  The one on the right was made with concrete with colored stones pressed in to decorate it.  He passed in 1948.

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Many of the plots are surrounded by rusted iron fences.  It must have been the thing back then to surround the family with fence to keep intruders out.

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This must have been an infant.  Behind this plot across the road was another family plot.

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It was surrounded entirely by a crumbling stone wall.  Ironically, their was no gate or way to easily enter.  The stone on the left was Mary, she died when she was 29 in 1889.

As I walked around you can see the grass was dead and brown.  The heat has been 90-100.  I seen many places that there are water spigots located through out the cemetery.

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Some were actually being used.  The family must spend lots of time coming out to take care of their family plots.

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I seen only 2 mausoleums.  This one was really old and crumbling.   The headstone  was on the top and at the other end must have been a ventilation pipe.

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Here Lies Our

 Beloved brother

Tommy Sotello

There was a lot of love and thought put into this one.  I has a concrete base with wooden sides.  Alphabet beads were used to write his name and a plate of glass was sealed over it.

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Another one similar to the last.  It is formed with concrete.

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This lady was also very loved by her family.  Her photo was their along with a coffee cup, and a ceramic grocery store.  Flowers, a solar light, metal rose and an arbor completed the plot.

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Here is a row of  identical cross’s.  Their wrapped in Christmas tinsel that has faded and grown old with time.  It makes you wonder how long its been since the last family visitors’.

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This one was really constructed with LOVE…..concrete blocks and wood posts….created a garden fence with flowers inserted.  The flowers were all silk and also very pretty.  They hadn’t been faded or wind beaten yet.

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This plot was all by itself under a tree.  It contained one headstone and had a single faded silk flower attached to the gate.   ……Simple Beauty……It is a really beautiful Cemetery sitting on a hill top.

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This is the view looking out over the country side.  So tomorrow is another day.  My turn at the gate.  The temperature is coming down a bit.

“I think only 94…lol…”

Our Trip to San Antonio to see the Riverwalk Decorated for Christmas…Amazing….

Last year when we came down in late September, we seen the city workers climbing the trees in the Riverwalk area and hanging lights….I was hoping I would be able to see them lite before we went home that week end.  lol….Well It turns out, they start over 2 months early.  Its all for Chrismas.  It is quite a process.   At that time I wished I could see them some day all lite up.    Well my chance came, and its only a year later.

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A little history on Riverwalk. The San Antonio River Walk (also known as Paseo del Río) is a network of walkways along the banks of the San Antonio River, one story beneath the streets of Downtown San Antonio, Texas, USA. Lined by bars, shops and restaurants, the River Walk is an important part of the city’s urban fabric and a tourist attraction in its own right. The Riverwalk is a pedestrian walkway, one level down from the automobile street.   The River Walk winds and loops under bridges as two parallel sidewalks lined with restaurants and shops, connecting the major tourist draws from the Alamo to Rivercenter Mall, to the Arneson River Theatre, to Marriage Island, to La Villita, to HemisFair Park, to the Tower Life Building, to the San Antonio Museum of Art, and the Pearl Brewery.  In 1939 the WPA  was in charge of the initial construction of a network of some 17,000 feet (5,200 m) of walkways, about twenty bridges, and extensive plantings including some of the bald cypress (others are several hundred years old) whose branches stretch up to ten stories and are visible from street level. In 1968 San Antonio hosted the Worlds Fair.  It was called Hemisfair 68 and the construction of the Convention Center and Tower of Americas was completed as well as many other buildings and sites.   The expansion extended the Riverwalk beyond its natural banks at the horseshoe bend to the new convention center and theater by excavating much of the block bordered by Commerce, Bowie, Market and Alamo Streets.  Today the Riverwalk consists of over 15 miles….It is really a place of Magic….below the streets of bustling traffic and city busses.

So we decided to leave Saturday morning.  We went up for breakfast with the other neighbors, Duanne and Cheryl.  After we came home we packed for an overniter and took off.  Now of course we decided someone should come in and check on Kitty.  Here we are abandoning him again, now in the Camper.   Who else better than my neighbor Roberta.  She has such a gift with animals.  She is the momma of the birds Maui and Lovelove, from one of my other blogs.  She was very gracious and said of course she would come over.  Roberta came over the nite before and fell in love with Kitty.  We felt safe that Kitty would be looked after with love and care.  So we took off for our 5 hour drive to San Antonio.  We got their around 3 and got a room at Econolodge.  Then we Looked up the nearest Longhorn Steakhouse….So away we went to feast on a Steak….

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Thank You Advantage Log.  Darden Resturants #1 gift card……lol….We feasted on a $41  Porterhouse for 2….It was a 24 oz. steak…..mmmmm mmm good….Bill came to $51 plus tip.  Not bad at all.  Left with a doggie bag.   One for me…..baked potato and steak for breakfast and another one with the left over bone for our neighbor dog, Jill.  Jills mom and dad are Cici and Larry.  lol.  After that we headed for down town…..OMG….the crowd.

Now we were their last year and had it all figured out, but this year we lost our bearings.   Traffic was backed up every corner….wait….wait wait….stop…stop…go …stop…lol…Finally we found a $5 parking lot.  We waited for people to leave and then raced to see who could get it first.   Took us about an hour to park.  Finally made it down to Riverwalk.   OMG.  The people, but it was so beautiful.  The trees were all lite up and so were all the bars resturants , etc.  Now the trees lites all start in the top of a tree in a clump and then fall down in single strands….So much time and care to lite all the trees.  Their were over 6,000 luminaries lining the sidewalk by the river.  It was just DAZZLING.  We decided to buy tickets for the boat ride.  We took it last year and enjoyed it.  So we went to by tickets and then searched for the end of the line…..Wow….finally almost over a half a block later, we found the end.  While we were waiting, some of the boats were loaded with carolers singing Christmas carols as they floated by.  All laughing and having fun.

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It moved much faster than we thought, and finally got our seat.  It is the best way to see all of the touristy area of the river.  It is magnificent.  The tour guide gives the tour and tells you all the facts, down to the building of the new parts of the river for the Worlds Fair.  Meanwhile you are just sitting their meandering down the river with the gorgeous lights overhead in the trees and the sounds of the people and the restaurants on the sidewalks.  Many of the restaurants have entertainment, like Mexican music or something jazzy.  It is a little bit of heaven.  A fairy tale.   Finally we got back to the boarding area, and the line was still long….Our guide told us their is over 42 boats for the river, and at least 40 were out.  So we finally made our way back to the truck and made our way out of the mad rush and back to our motel.  In the morning, I looked at fb and Roberta, who was watching Kitty posted a Wonderful post.  I have to repost it….So Beautiful…

They all worry about us when we don’t come home…there was a warm spot on the couch but Kitty must have heard me coming for he jumped off the dash when I opened the motor home door (he’s allowed) looked behind me for Mom and Dad but I was alone. The catnip mouse was nowhere in sight – I’m sure he knows where it is. He’s eaten, drank each time I’ve been there but the only solid matter left behind was from the first time. I tried to reassure him as best I could, verbally, he allowed me to pick him up and snuggle with him on the couch – even accepted a kiss on his head – for a few minutes he was a sweet little kitten again – then caught himself and jumped down to do figure 8’s around my legs and have ear scratches. But a couple of times he thought he heard something and ran to sit by the door and a couple of times he checked the bedroom as though to tell me they were supposed to be there… bless his heart! Now he’s fine, temperature inside comfortable, has a nightlight and filtered light from outside, and he’s somewhat of an independent fella. He would not have enjoyed himself had they taken him along. I asked that they leave the bed unmade so he could snuggle in the covers and be comforted by their smells – done. But it’s not the same of course. They did the best thing by letting him stay in his own environment. Wish there was more I could do – he’s such a sweet Spirit! He’ll sure be happy to see them walk through the door tomorrow. Wonder if they’ll be in trouble after he figures out they’re OK? Stay tuned….

Isn’t that just Beautiful……She is so Special.   She can read any animal and she loves them all.  So homeward bound…..Stopped at our favorite Restaurant on the way home….Choke Canyon Barbeque.  We got 4 sandwich’s of barbeque brisket….2 for us for supper and 2 for Roberta and Ken.  Finally returned home before dark.   Seen Roberta and gave her her sandwiches.  She so enjoyed Kitty.  He had the best of care, probably better than we give.  lol.   And then I went and gave Jill her bone….Of course she loved it.   Visited with Cici a bit and Now……….relaxing….

 

Christmas is almost here and we have downloaded Skype with the kids.  Here is a Pic of Austin, and Carly talking to Grandma and Grandpa….They were so cute.  They were so excited to see us and talk to us.  Carly kept looking under it and saying…..”Grandma, come out of their.”…so so cute…..So we will be Skyping with the kids for Christmas, and we have a Dinner planned here.   Rich is cooking for Christmas dinner for the Campground….I guess you can say we are the organizers……lol….That’s a whole nother Blog…….lol….