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Take Highway 17 the Queen’s Highway

Around 6:00 the sun starts its show.  With each moment the colors become more intense.

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Leaving the U.S. On to Canada. They don’t allow photos at the border. We did have to pull over so they could go through the trailer. They asked Jim if we had a gun. He said no. The lady border patrol said. “Your from Texas and you don’t have a gun?”  His reply “No ma’am, haven’t owned a weapon since Vietnam.”

Quite a bit of construction on the highway. Because we were going slower it was an opportunity for  Doogie to enjoy seeing things by nose perspective.

Never give up a chance for a good barn photo.

We got settled in at our new campsite in North Bay Ontario. Using the good ole iPhone I found the name of a resturant close by. A wonderful description did not disappoint us. It was a lovely evening in a comfortable setting and great meal. The neon sign is from the original place. It’s sad they said it hasn’t worked for many years.

Checking for routes available in the North Bay I thought I would print up a “mapmyride” route. I printed it, made a que sheet and was not very successful in riding the course. We eventually found a path and were trying to figure exactly where we were when this gentleman rode up. He got us back on route. He gave us the impression we were miles away from where we started. We were only about 6 miles from home. We did get a nice 30 miler in.

Crossing a busy road this is some of the nicest graffiti  I have ever read.                                                                       At this intersection all these kids were crossing the road.                                                     They were out on a bicycle outing.There were about 15.

This morning we took Doogie down to a public beach where he could play in the waves. Chasing the Canadian Geese off was first on the agenda. On to the sandbar and on the atttack. Run Mr. Jimmy!

Jim studied the bike map we got from the Chamber of Commerce. We got on the             Kate Pace Trail. Named for Kate Pace, an Alpine Skier born in North Bay.  She won 6 World Cup medals, 3 Canadian downhill championships and many more accomplishments. She retired in 1998.  The trail ended at the Cranberry Trail that would take us to the city of Callander.

To watch these kids play at the water park was really fun. The blue bucket fills with water then dumps it out…on whoever happens to be brave enough to stand under it. Down the road this version of a riding lawn mower was a great photo op. The gentleman and his wife were sitting up on the porch.

Wow, another gravel road! Along the way we pass these really small ponies. They surely were not interested in us.

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Off in the distance is Nipissing Lake. We are not far from the RV Park now.

Down the Cranberry trail and on to the Kate Pace Trail we got a 40 mile ride in. The weather was cool with a few sprinkles. Great day!

This is Art, our neighbor in the park. He is a welder for gas pipe lines. He and his wife live about 4 hours north of North Bay. He lives in his trailer in the park while he works in this area. It is our last evening here and we invited him to join us at The Owl. We so enjoyed our first evening there. He never knew it was around. His wife is coming down in a few weeks. She will enjoy an evening at The Owl as well.

1993 brought the Heritage railway to North Bay. Rod Johnston and Barry Jacobs in 1999 wanted to add a carousel. They found Edna Scott whose passion was carousels. Volunteers along with woodcarvers, painters and engineers brought the carousel to life. 3 years and 33 horses, a spinning tub and 2 chariots later they had people and businesses that adopted and named their charges.                                                                      It opened on Canada Day July 1,2002. How beautiful it is.

I love comic strips.  It made me smile to find Lynn Johnston’s comic strip characters from “For Better or Worse” on the carousel. She lives in nearby Corbeil and contributed the drawing so the project.

Ah, a beautiful ending to the day. You can walk about a quarter mile from the beach and never go deeper than your knees. The sand bars are so much fun. Watching the families play in the water just made it right.

Tomorrow we head to Pembroke Ontario. Each place is so different, we never know what to expect.

Phoenix, Seeing Friends and Cousins

 

It was an easy trip to Phoenix, we’re on I10 once again. A different place this year. An RV Park called Desert’s Edge. Completely on the other side of town from last year. I thought I had really messed up our plans by going so far out. We touched base with an old friend and customer from the 80’s,  James Yeager? He  has lived out here for about 25 years. Thank goodness we spent the next 3 days riding with him and getting comfortable on the roads here.

Out on the road again and James takes us another direction. The Bougainvilleas are beautiful here.  Back home we get seasonal bougainvilleas,  Here they have hedges! The rains in the fall have bushes, trees and cactus blooming every where.

This is awesome. We are having such a great time riding in a new area. Here we are riding on the roads. The bike lanes are great and the drivers are really nice. Today we rode to an area called Peoria and they have fancy manholes too.

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Jim wanted to catch up with Kathy Culp who was part of his groups of friends growing up in Nappanee. He remembers her most when they were 11 to 13 years old. She moved to Phoenix with her husband in 1984. Growing up she worked in the family business, Fred’s flowers. She and her husband eventually opened a Fred’s Flowers in Phoenix.  Stopping at the store, we picked her up for lunch. She is so tiny, I had fun with that. Not many people do I get to be taller than.  Listening to all the stories reminds me that Jim grew up in a Norman Rockwell town. It makes my heart smile.

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Heading over to cousin Pam’s home we make plans to go to dinner with her and other cousins at PoPo’s the next evening. Catching up with Pam is one of my favorite things to do.

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Just a short ride for the day and catching  up on some housekeeping. It’s Friday evening and we are headed to PoPo’s. It has been around since 1964. Going all the way across town it proved to be well worth the trip.Everyone’s here and catching up with Cousin Ronnie and his wife, Theresa made for lively stories. We are looking forward to seeing them this summer in Indiana for the Hoyt Family Reunion.

We have additions to the ride today. Our neighbor in the park, Josh. He is one big guy. I called him the wall. He was great to draft behind. Robin, Jame’s wife has joined us as well. She is adorable and rides really well. Then there is Curt, he is a riding buddy of James. He led the way and made sure we didn’t make a wrong turn and generally rode us in the dust.

Tonight we are off to dinner with Robin and James. We picked them up at their house and got to meet Eddie! He is 8 years old and is one busy pup. His food dish is a Tupperware bowl. He carries it around with food in it. Drops it and proceeds to eat. Funny dog.  I thought at first they had taught him how to pass out hors d’oeuvres.

Our last night in town we had to get a family photo of Josh and his family. I took all these photos as they tried to get it together for the picture. The 4 Pit Bulls are Knox, Roxy, Pebbles,and Violet. When you first meet them they get your attention. All 4 will just wiggle right up to you.They are so sweet. Marley, Stevie(Josh’s wife), Josh, Lilly and Madison make up the Conklin family. It was fun to get to know them. They will be off to San Diego for summer vacation. Have fun gang!

Tomorrow we head to Palm Desert California. This will be the farthest we have traveled west in our fifth wheel. Ready to move on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time Flys Win You’re Riding Bike!

We have two more weeks in Tucson before we move on to Phoenix. Weather has been awesome and riding the roads and trail system has been delightful. We went to Broadway Bikes today. It was a piece of cakes by bike.  Brian in the Blue tee was awesome with Etap that we have on our Bikes. This mountain bike scene is out on the wall of the shop and a interesting bike rack.

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Riding the Pantano Wash Trail a Dirt Devil sprung up. This was the first time we got blown around by one. It blew tumble weeds everywhere. One got stuck in Jim’s rear wheel. The dead Saguaro was along the trail. This is the first town we’ve been in where there are corrals full of horses  in the neighborhoods.

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Passing the Batty Biker we saw a little humming bird land on top of the bike rack. He’s gonna have to wait a long time to get anywhere on that bike. On into town we stopped for lunch and headed home with 43 miles under our wheels.

The Saguaro National Park East ( it’s in the Rincon Mountain District) is today’s adventure. Got my walking stick out and my raggedy ole hat and off we go. It’s not far from where we are staying. The Saguaros were nearly lost. Limekilns operated here and it took intense heat to make the lime mortar. Cutting down palo verde and mesquite trees for fuel caused the loss of the Saguaro. They needed the trees for shelter to survive in their early years. The Natural History  Society of the University of Arizona were tenacious and eventually persuaded Herbert Hoover to help preserve the area. March 1, 1933  he established the monument. Later Roosevelt transferred management to the National Park Service. Fast forward to 1966 President Kennedy added 25 square miles on the west side of Tucson to create Saguaro National Park West in the Tucson Mountain District.

The CCC built many improvements for the park. Including a knarly 8 mile drive. A lot of twisting and turning and quick steep climbs. So much so cyclist love to punish themselves on it.

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So we stopped in an area to do some hiking. The paths  were well marked. However we became concerned that we really didn’t know where we were going. Meeting a couple that had an awesome map we decided we needed to follow the trail back. Made it. We noticed a Greg Leitner, a park ranger and asked him where to get the maps. He said “Why you can get them from me. That’s why I’m here.” Boy Howdy sure glad we found him.

We had been lusting for new stairs of the fifth wheel. When we got to Tucson we stopped by an RV Dealer who carried the MorRyde stairs. Got the measurements and ordered them. Today we got them and OMG Jim installed them with my help. They were so easy and they are wonderful. No more spring board feel.  Yippee!

Wow, another day for a great ride. It’s starting  to warm up here. Everyday it’s up in the mid 80’s and climbing. Today we are heading down the Pantano Wash.  The trails here are entertaining. Be it landscape, roadrunners, ground squirrels, lizards and sculptures along the way. This is the first time we’ve seen a bird going into a hole in a Saguaro.  To early for venomous creatures. Fine with me.

Coming home we noticed flowers are starting to pop out on bushes along the path.

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Driving home after some errands we noticed off in the distance was the Saguaro National Forest and the Rincon Mountains. A long rolling road.

Tonight we decided to go out for dinner.  Fish Fry Friday!  Robert from the dog park suggested a place called Crown Canyon, an English style pub. Settling down at the bar eliminated a long wait for a table. The bartender, Bob made a nice Old Fashion and the fish fry was quite tasty. Sent this photo off to our Friday night Rock Fish buddies. Let them know we miss their smiles and  friendship. We’ll see them in April.

Taking a rest day. We decided to drive down to Bisbee and stop in Tombstone on the way. We were in Tombstone in 1990. It has changed into quite the tourist attraction. Here are the Earp boys and Doc Holiday waiting for the shootout at the OK Corral. BootHill is the cemetery for the town of Tombstone. Above are the most famous graves of Billy Clanton, Tom and Frank McLaury of OK Corral fame. There the rest of the cemetery is filled with those people who lived and worked in Tombstone.

The Crystal Palace was quite famous. The bar back has survived many stages of the building. Bob is like the resident historian told us it opened in May of 1882 and catered to the “finer elements” of Tombstone. As a result it didn’t have the bullet holes like so many of the other saloons. The most notable second floor resident was Virgil Earp. It came to an end when prohibition was enacted. When prohibition was repealed the saloon was back in business again. 1963 started the renovation of it and what we see today is the result of the efforts.

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There are several ways to get around the city a hear more about Tombstone’s history. Taking a picture of the stage coach I said “Smile!”  The driver said “Cowboys don’t smile.” I told him I was talking to the mules.

On to Bisbee. We stayed at the Copper Cow Hotel. It hasn’t changed much over the years. Copper mines were the big business here. There is a road going up and over the pass and it was the first way to get to Bisbee. It was a tricky road. Truckers were cautious and tourist many times did not want to try it. Finally Mule Pass Tunnel was completed in 1958.

The Bicycle Brothel was a fascinating place. Filled with tons of cycling memorabilia. We wandered through there fascinated. Owned by Ken Wallace, Jim had a grand time talking with him  about many of the items he had in the shop.

Parting shots of Bisbee. Over the years there have been bike races here. The roads in this town make for some serious climbing and descending on a very twisty course.

On on the road home we noticed this blimp up in the sky. It’s a surveillance blimp for along the boarder. As we are driving to the RV Park the big full moon was coming over the mountain.

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Sunday finds us riding back to town. Starting out on the Julian Wash and working our way around we should get a 50 miler in. We get down on to 4th street and there is a classic Ford car show. The one above caught our eye. The fellow who owned it told us this was his first show. His wife told us it wasn’t for sale.

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At this round about in town the sign post pointed to all the mountain ranges surrounding Tucson.

We stopped by Bicas again. It is an interesting bike shop. They repurpose bike stuff. It is fun to keep your eyes open for all the interesting pieces that they have created.

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We bought a small lock to hang on the heart sculpture. Our lock is the little bitty one on the 4th row down between the red combination and the green knob combination lock.  Gave it a kiss, locked it on and threw away the key. Stopped at a place for brunch and cruising  back home we decided this was a fun day. Got 55 miles.

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Just a spin down the Julian wash there are beautiful Agaves near a rest area.IMG_0542

While we’ve been in Tucson going to the dog park has been an afternoon must.  Above is Shaggy and Robert belongs to him ( they kinda look alike) Today is St.Patricks day and also Shaggy’s Birthday. We gotten to know most of the people who go to the small dog side of the park.

Robert brought chicken fingers for dogs and parents and lemonade too! A good time had by all. Tomorrow Robert and Shaggy are headed to San Antonio for vacation. Jim and I are continuing our travels. Heading to Phoenix to  visit cousins and ride bike for 12 days. We really really enjoy Tucson🍀🌵🚴‍♀️🚴🐶🐶

Off toTuscon

 

Spending time in Tuscon was such good fun we knew we would be back this year.The bike friendly roads and awesome path system was something we wanted to experience again. But first the drive there would be a comfortable two day journey.  New Mexico and Arizona were really glad to see us.

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Diggity was so excited he fell asleep.

The next morning we woke up to a perfect day to ride. This year we are father east in Tuscon. This location will give us some new trail areas we have yet to discover. It is the first time we have seen any water in the washes. The sculpture is known as the Batty Biker. Hired by Pima County, Stephen Fairfield made the Batty Biker to reflect the many bats that roost under the bridges along The Loop and human users that use the Loop. The response to the sculpture is so popular the County has him creating more. He says he is working on one the “Batty Biker Family”  A papa, mama and baby bat on a tandem bike. It is to be installed this month along the Campbell Ave. bridge.

Down The Pantano Wash this area is called The Garden of the Winter Solstice.. Along the way there are the more panels describing the families along this area. At the bottom of the panel are numbered dots. They denote trees along the trail with a plaque with the persons name who donated the tree. The Winter Solstice is when our dear friends Chris Kegel (who recently passed away) and Mary were married.

Dave our neighbor, who only rides mountain bike showed us a way to get to the Julian Wash which is a portion of the Loop. A little off road on our road bikes and we get on to the Harrison Greenway.

The Julian Wash parallels the Southern Pacific railway. The spot where we standing is where the original Tucson community was established. The railway ran from San Francisco to Los Angeles in 1876 and moved on to reach Yuma Arizona in 1877. The people of Tucson were so excited when the Southern Pacific finally arrived March 20,1886. They had a silver spike made from ore in Tombstone. The spike was dedicated to the Southern Pacific.  While we were here a train came through. Jim and I pumped our arms and sure enough the engineer blew the train whistle. That was very cool!

At this point you can see the different mountain ranges that surround Tuscon. The Catalina Mountains, the Santa Rita Mountains, Sierra Mountains and the Rincon Mountains. Great ride winding through the desert

When we travel to different places I try to find a dog park for the pups to play.        Ivan’s Spot is a great place. Seems no matter what time of day there are always dogs to play with. This park was dedicated to K-9 Ivan of the Tuscon Police Department. He lived in the neighborhood with Officer Chris Fenoglio and his family. Shot in the shoulder during an apprehension sadly he did not survive. His memory lives on at this park.

Taking the Loop into the university area of town. It is amazing to navigate by the trail system. It is also entertaining as well. Above is what they call the Basket Bridge and The Snake Bridge.

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Arriving in the historic 4th Street district we find these sculptures along the road with locks. Tradition around the world for hundreds of years, lovers have put locks on bridges, fences, gates and throwing away the key to insure their love. Here you can buy a lock from different stores along the street for several non profits. They will inscribe your names, initials. Then go and secure your love forever.

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Lunch at Magpie’s was delicious and made for a perfect ride back home.

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Tonight we decided to go out for dinner. We went to an Applebee’s. Sitting at the bar for dinner we met this gentleman from Boston who has lived in Tucson for a very long time. His father was a big fan of the Dallas Cowboys. So this guy’s name is Dallas!

Today has a 60% chance of rain. A great day to go to the Pima Air and Space Museum. Entering immediately there is a replica of The Wright Brothers Plane and around the corner the World’s Smallest Biplane. By the way we saw rain around us, but where our trailer is parked no rain at all.

Walking through I was fascinated by the art on the planes and helicopters. We bought tickets for the tram ride outside. You can walk around but the guides here have tons of information and great stories about the planes.

The nicknames and how the different planes got them are great. The one on the left is called the Flying Guppy, a research plane. The middle was used to train astronauts for zero gravity. It would climb and then drop. Padded on the inside it got it’s nick name, the Vomit Comet. The last is nicknamed the Liberty. It carried the 52 hostages freed from Iran in 1981 after  being held for 444 days ( 1 year,2 months, 2 weeks and 2 days.)

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These planes look the same but the one with the light blue above the gold stripe is actually an Air Force One, the President’s plane. The other without the light blue is still an official plane.

Just some fun planes on the grounds.

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When we first arrived at our RV Park. I was talking with a fellow and I notice a different plane flying overhead. He was able to tell me it was an A-8, Affectionately known as the WartHog. Designed for one purpose that it is extremely good at…killing tanks. A 30mm rotary cannon mounted on the front which can fire up to 4,200 thousand rounds per minute. Also it has a substantial amount of titanium protecting the cockpit, it is almost a tank itself. Almost scraped, it’s proven itself. The real name is A-10A Thunderbolt. Every day we ride we see them flying maneuvers overhead.

We did not take the bus tour of the “Boneyard”. When we ride we often are going right by it. There are over 4,500 planes parked out there. They seem to go forever. Many are sold for reuse and some are parted out. The guide said it is highly profitable they make $7.00 off of every $1.00 spent. The whole museum is operated by volunteers and you can tell they love their history. If you are in Tucson this is well worth the trip.

Today is March 1st and our neighbors are moving on. Fred and Chris with an Alpine trailer. They are moving on to Port Aransas. Chris needs a beach fix. They will eventually go home to Missouri.  Incidentally Dave made a hole in one playing golf last week. Fred and Chris with their Airstream. They will be working their way back to Wisconsin.

The ride today will take us down the Pantano Wash, part of the Loop. I wanted to get a photo of the summer solstice panel. Also the new Batty Bike sculpture by Stephen Fairfield. This is the tandem with Papa,Mama and Baby Bats. Just installed last month.

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The Loop is still being completed in certain places. Sure enough we Road up to a construction area. When we decided to turn around. Tim came up on a cart and lead us down into the wash on a hard packed road which lead us back up on the trail. Thank you Tim!

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On to the Julian Wash this archway is called Joining Hands. The row of figures is found on a bowl that was used by the Hohokam Indians in communal ceremonies about a 1000 years ago. Now the figures span the path of the park. It will be a part of the network that will encompass the City of Tucson.

We had to make it back to 4th street. We got all catty wampus the other day and missed a turn. A 40 mile ride turned into a 50miler. Yay, we made it! We stopped for lunch at Delectables. Above is the menu for pup dogs. Eventually our way back home was just shy of 40 miles again. But hey we can cover this town by bike path, nooo problem. We have a few more weeks of sunny warm days in Tucson. Then we move on to Phoenix.

 

 

 

Happy New Year! 2017

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On to Huntsville State Park. We will meet up with Mike and Judy Pluto and others. We stayed busy and unfortunately not many pictures were taken. Most of us stayed up long enough to bring in 2017. We were quickly off to bed.

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Huntsville State Park is known for it’s alligator.  Not many people get to see it. We got lucky it was hanging out in the water near our camp.

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Off to Fredericksburg. Been going to The Texas Hill Country seems like forever. For cyclist it is wonderful. Long rolling ranch roads that take you along the Pedernales River and the Guadalupe and up to beautiful vistas. But first we settle in at Lady Bird RV Park and wake to a lovely sunrise.

We catch up with John McManus. John and Brenda sold their house in Dallas and moved to Fredericksburg last year. They spend their time between Frisco Colorado and here. We meet him at the court house. Across the street is the first jail for the county of Gillespie built in 1886. Boos Lane is one way to get to River Road that follows the Pedernales. Unfortunately the road was closed. Construction of a new bridge stopped us. To make sure no one tried to cross they even had a police officer there.

Turning around we headed west. There are quite a few old abandoned barns and houses on the land that we pass on the ride. But what a treat we stopped at the Hilltop Cafe for lunch. A great 30 mile ride when we get done. YAY!

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Great day, a beautiful sunrise to start, fun ride and end it with a lovely sunset.

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At the Lady Bird we are set up right along the Gillespie County Airport. It is fun to watch all the planes coming and going. Today a Huey Helicopter dropped by.

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Tonight John and Brenda invited us to dinner to Brian’s on 290 in Johnson City.  A wine pairing made for a tasty evening. The ribbon above came from their opening night on March 14,2016. Everyone there for the first night signed the ribbon.

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John meets us at the trailer for one of our favorite routes. Doogie is hoping to convince John he should run along for the ride.

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Center point to  Bear Creek to Grape Creek to Old #9 Highway. Turning onto Muesbach Creek this pup dog was quick to make sure we didn’t get too close to his land. He was really fast running up and down the fence line, with only 3 legs. Old boots on the fence post. I wonder if people add to them or the person who owns the fence put them there?

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Tonight we catch up with Jimmie Vaughan a long time friend and his new wife, Jesse  at the Hill Top Cafe. The best news is they are pregnant with a little boy. Their son’s name is Aiden James Vaughan. It great to see Jimmie so happy.

Today we ride with Brenda and John down Old Mason Rd. to the Cherry Mountain Loop.  Off in the hills are the homes that belong to these mailboxes. There are quite a few donkeys in the hill country. They are known for keeping coyotes at bay. They will fight them off. A great ride on some old familiar ranch roads. Nice a warm today. Tomorrow the weather is changing with a front headed this way.

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Boy Howdy! Big winds brought in real chilly weather with lots of clouds and rain to boot. We decided to go into town for lunch and shop around. Fredericksburg is a great shopping tourist attraction. It is fun to wander in and out of the shops. If you grow weary of it you can take a break on the many benches along the sidewalks.  Or better yet there are many places for tasting the wines of the many winery’s in this region. If that doesn’t work then check out the brewery’s.

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We found this bottle cover in Port Aransas and had to sent it to Dr. George Markus, he is a fan of Bat Man. The covers I found out was an entrepreneur’s idea that was featured on the show, Shark Tank and was funded by one of the Sharks.

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Our friends Judy and Mike Pluto have this wonderful little dog they adopted named Pedro. In Fredericksburg there is a shop called Dogology. We found this hat and sent it to him. He is quite stylish in it.

John has a plan for today’s ride. We are off to Hye. The historic building here is the general store/post office where LBJ walked to mail letters. Now it is also a great lunch stop. Weather was perfect for their patio. A fun place for looking around a memorabilia.

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On the way out of town got a photo of this mail box. Had to send it to Gerald and MaryLynn.  They love to fish🐟.

Gosh another day of cycling. The Loop we ride from our campsite takes us down the River Road and on to Bear Creek Road that takes us to Grape Creek Road and back into town on Old #9 Highway. This stretch of road is only part of a long road. The other sections are known as Old San Antonio Road and Old Fred Road. I have tried to find the history of these names with no luck. Especially why it was called Old #9. Love the shaggy sheep and Brenda had a nice conversation with the horse.

Saturday is a great day to ride to Lukenbach. John, Jim and I decided to cruise on over there.  Music was happening and the great old Oak Tree was perfect to sit under at a picnic table. Jim was busy playing his air guitar. Along the way the geese in the field honked at us while we passed. A warm 80 degrees in January. Works for us.

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Sunday morning we decided a trip into town to the Old German Bakery. Established in 1975, we manage to go at least once when we visit here. Sure enough the wait was going to be a while. With the weather just the right chilly it was comfortable to wait outside. Chatting with others is always fun. We met a couple, Chuck and Pat from New Mexico.  Our name was called and when we found we were at a table for 4 we invited them to join us. The waitress let them know the German pancake was quite huge so they decided to share. Could not resist taking their photo with their pancake.

Monday Jim and I rode to Harper. Gosh, we love riding these roads. Rolling and winding through the country side. We get to Harper and pick up some snacks at the convenience store in town. Across the street is the Community Park. We sit down at a picnic table and a fellow joined us. His name is Joe Parker he has lived here his whole life. Only time spent in the service during the war and he met his wife and brought her back here. The cabin was built in the 1860’s. Families McDonald and Taylor lived in the cabin. Life was not easy then. It is said they survived  serveral  Kiowa Indian raids.

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Today we are on our way to Milwaukee for Chris’s son, Noel and his Fiancée, Katie’s engagement party. Dropping off the pups at “Paws and Claws” we head into San Antonio to catch a flight out. A front is coming in a makes a dramatic entrance.

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The flight in was flawless and we settled in our hotel. Went to visit Chris and Mary. Chris has changed dramatically. While we are there the kids call at different times trying to arrange for Chris to come to the party that evening. Noel  arrives. We do find out that they are actually going to marry this evening. We all have a good laugh because Jim won’t have time to spill the beans. By the time we leave Chris has decided that he will not go. It is sad. We do understand his reasons. On to the party!

We find friends from the bike industry there. Here are the guys. Richard from Moncton, New Brunswick, who owns a bike shop there. Chris Fortune from Madison, who owns Saris, John Burke, owner of Trek, and Jim who is now retired and in charge of trailer travel for the two of us. Also Sara, Chris’s wife.

Noel is on stage with his wife to be who had just made a surprise entrance in her wedding dress. They did a wonderful story about reach other. All of us know a little bit more about them and the paths that eventually lead them to each other…………………… then they became Husband and Wife!

Noel designed this beautiful ring for his wife, Katie.

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When we got back to Fredericksburg we made the decision to stay longer. Our concerns about Chris were becoming a reality. He has had goals to meet to keep him going. (Cancer is taking it’s toll) This way we can easily get to an airport.                       Plans to go to Big Bend have changed.

It’s February 1st. Watching the weather we have decided that we will ride an extended distance to Harper to get 69 miles  in to celebrate Jim’s birthday. John and Brenda are happy to join us. On the way back we rode Old Harper Road. This little foal was still getting his legs together.

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It’s Super Bowl Sunday and Melody and Jim Yuhn have invited us to Kuhlman winery for a wine pairing. They are in the club and they will pick up their wine as well. The winery was quite busy and everyone was having a great time. We watched the Super Bowl at John and Brenda’s. It was a  great game and half time show, Lady GaGa rocked!  The only thing  that would make it better is if the Cowboys had won it.

Feburary 7th our friend has gone home. Chris passed this morning. Family was there for his passing and sending him off on his new adventure. We will miss seeing you Chris when we are in Milwaukee. We will be among those many many friends you have gathered during your time here. Thank you so much, Chris, for the memories.

The Hill Top  Cafe is owned by Johnny Nicolas. It is said he one of the best blues/jazz musicians around. He played with the jazz group Asleep At The Wheel. After traveling, playing music. He took time out to help raise his children with his wife Brenda. She was Greek ( she passed after a having cancer) and Johnny who is Cajuns opened the Hilltop. With their own influences they offer a great menu. Tonight Jim and I invited our park neighbors, Patrick and Lea and Brenda and John to dine and listen to Johnny and the band Hell Bent play. NPR is there to record the evening and will have it on their show in a few weeks.

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There is a place in just outside of town The is called Sweet Dreams. All kinds of collectible old cars. Today they had a 1956 Nomad. Jim’s brother has a 1955 Nomad. We had to send him a photo of this one.

The today roads take us to The Black Pig resturant. Started by the ex wife of the fellow who owns the Alamo Springs resturant down the road. There seems to be an amicable arrangement. Above is Petunia who is eager to get a rub by anyone who comes by. Fed her my French fries she really snorked them up.

Jim and I rode today and explored some different directions. Eventually we made our way back to the Silver Creek. One of our favorite places for lunch. They have a comfortable patio with a massive Bodark tree. Today we met these cyclist from Minneapolis, Rhonda and Jim and Mary. It was fun to hear their cycling stories.

It’s Valentine’s Day and also our 31st wedding anniversary. Reservations at the Hill Top made for a special day. Johnny and his buddies played and the food was marvelous. Happy anniversary Jim, I love you😘❤.

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Wing night at the Buffalo Nickle we got to visit with some of our favorite people. My favorite, Jim. Then there is Lynn, the daytime bartender. James who owns the Nickle. Troy who handles the bar in the evening and makes an awesome Old Fashion.

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This is an awful picture of a cross country  cyclist who came in late in the evening with a fellow rider. We brought them 20 chicken wings from the Nickle. Needless to stay they had no trouble eating them up.

On our way to Milwaukee. Chris’s service will be this weekend Feb 17th and 18th. His priest was in Rome.  Chris told him to go ahead and go. He was gonna be here anyway. I would like to remember  Chris with photos of time spent with him in those last months. Wonderful times spent with a most amazing man.

img_0347After the service a luncheon for family and close friends at Kegel’s Inn. At 3:00 an open house began. People came and came. Good stories and  memories

We fly home on Sunday and pick up the pups. Trailer is packed and ready to roll. We are off to Tucson for a month. Ready to ride those great bike paths they have there. Fredericksburg was a lot of fun. Awesome riding and many old and new friends. A great place to be.

 

It’s Good To Be Warm

Actually it was still cool in Port Aransas. We just spent the day catching up with things. Ran some errands and the end of the day we found ourselves behind an Air Boat being pulled down the causeway. Sunsets are always a great thing to catch.

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Doogie making sure snacks Dad is eating are ok.

Wednesday brought more cool windy weather. Loaded with fishing rods, dogs and everything for a successful day of fishing we decided to drive all the way to Fish Pass which as far as you can go on the beach.  Checked with guys, they were just getting started.

Wednesday is all you can eat shrimp at Kody’s which is a walkable distance from the RV park. We went with John and Julie from Canada near Ottawa. When we get there we find many more from the park. Tom and Edy sat with us. He’s funny doesn’t hear well so Edy tells him everything that is said.

The day was going to be a gloomy day, so we headed into Corpus Christi to see the aircraft carrier USS Lexington. Her nickname is the “Blue Ghost”. The Japanese gave her this nickname. She had the tendency to reappear after being reportedly sunk.The aircraft carrier was launched on September 23, 1942. Extensive service in the Pacific War during World War II. Her history is fascinating. Going on to be a training ship and eventually decommissioned in 1991 and donated to Corpus Christi for a museum.

Jim in the Captains seat. On the flight deck is the gentleman named Ed. He volunteers on the Lexington. A retired pilot. I asked if he had landed on the Lexington. A big smile came across his face. He pointed to his hat and said you get those gold wings when you fly onto an aircraft carrier.

Some more shots around the ship. It’s really big!

It is amazing all the wonders you may have are answered there. From doctors, dentist, barbers. To where do they sleep,eat and even worship.

We went to the Christmas party for the RV Park. They have a Chinese gift exchange. Jim with his happy face. Brandon and Victoria own the park. Love their sweaters! It was a fun evening.

Christmas Eve finds us on a fishing boat again. This time we are going with Julie and John. They have the Red Dragon pirate ship that is really cool for kids. The pirate in the top photo is helping the boy get his eye patch on right so he will look like the scallywag that he is. More freighters and boats, oh my.

Pretty good trip, we moved all around the bay. John caught the most fish,8. I caught 1 and Jim caught 2. Julie, she just drown her bait.

Merry Christmas everyone!🎄 This was a great way to spend the day. Doogie was intent on burying his Christmas chew bone. We spent the evening with a small group from the Park. Unfortunately I did not get any photos. It was a great Christmas. Touched base with family and friends. Tomorrow we head to Huntsville State Park for New Years with friends.🎉

Oh What Fun It Is To Fly

We are off to Milwaukee for the Kegel Annual Christmas Caroling Party. It will be great to see Chris. Jim talks to him regularly. It will be awesome to give him a big hug!  We made arrangements for the dogs to stay at Barkaritaville, where it’s always a doggie party. They checked in at 4:00 Saturday and we checked into a hotel in Corpus. Our flight was at 5:00 in the morning. The most interesting thing happening is the artic front headed our way. We woke up to 40 degrees after an 85 degree Saturday. Even crazier we were flying into Milwaukee that will have a high of “0” for Sunday.

We went out to find a place to get a pizza. It was in the news that Corpus Christi was on a water ban. Something about a backwash of chemicals in the city water system. I found a place called “Franks Spagetti House.” This is a really cozy place. It has been in business for 40 years in a converted house that was built in 1921. They bought a 150 gallon tank and brought water from where they live outside of the city. They made a hand tossed pizza was excellent.

Yikes! There is a whole lot of snow in Milwaukee. But these people are just scooting around.  We went straight to Chris and Mary’s house. Mary is an excellent caregiver, she is so sweet. Chris is resting and getting ready for the evening. Around  3:30 Mary and I are off to the resturant. Jim and Chris are not far behind.

Let the party begin!  The Kegel party has gone on for about 27 years. This year starts a new tradition of it being held at the Kegel Inn. An accumulation of lots of friends and family.

Mary and Chris taking a break. Chris surrounded by brothers, Billy, Jerry, Dave and Ed.

Chris’s son Noel with his fiancé, Katie singing Carols with Mr. Jimmy.  Julian and his wife, Stephanie. They are the proud owners of Kegel’s Inn.

Amelia Caroling away while Tessa catches up friends.

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Jim and I are lucky to be friends and family.Chris is a gatherer of people. We are so glad he gathered us.

Friends  of all ages were here this evening and fun was had by all.

After helping get the resturant back to normal we made our way back to Julian and Stephanie’s home. It is amazing how cold it is. A good nights sleep and we are up and on our way to see Mary and Chris before we head back to Texas. Above is Julian and Stephanie’s snow castle. We touched base with Mary and Chris and made plans for our next journey north. Oh what fun we had and we are still smiling. Love you all in Milwaukee❤🎄.

 

Off for our winter travels

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On our way to San Marcos to see our grandson, Payton. He’s going to school there. Once we got settled we decorated our Christmas tree. Now our home on wheels for the next 5 to 6 months is comfy.

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We caught up with Payton and went out to lunch and toured around town and made plans to get together the next day. Above the Texas Pie Company was next store to the BBQ place where we ate. I love the big pie on top of the roof.

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Went shopping the next day with Payton for an early Christmas. We went to the outlet mall where he works at Banana Republic. After shirts, shoes and sweaters, We meet for dinner. It’s fun to spend time with just him. It was a quick two days. We are moving on to Port Aransas to spend the next two weeks and go fishing with Gerald and Mary Lynn.

It was an easy drive to Port Aransas. We had to take a ferry to get to the island. The ferry runs all the time, except bad weather like hurricanes. We had to wait for the big freighter to pass before we could go across. They have several ferries that go back and forth across the channel.

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I love coast towns every one of them you will always find a big ole shark that you walk into to get to the store.

Gerald and Mary Lynn have been coming to Port Aransas since 1989. They love to fish here. Over the years they have developed many friendships.We stopped by a shop where their friend Bob builds boats. The boat above is a replica of a 1941  Scow. It is a wide flat boat . A Skipper and up to two others made up the crew and they would off load ships out in the Gulf. This one was being built 15 years ago in Galveston and was moved here and now 3 years later they are still working on it.

It’s 1:00 and time to go fishing,YAY!  Jim, Gerald and Mary Lynn are ready to go. Pelicans are everywhere. Jim and I call them the B52s of birds. As we head out into the Gulf the big freighters are coming in. Off the front of the ship the waves ahead of the bow are dolphins. They are so cool. Jumping and diving and out running the big ship.

It’s a beautiful day and everyone’s got their rods out. We’re gonna catch something. Jim is with a fellow we met signing up for the boat. His name is Chris. He just bought a motor home, sold his house and is full time.we found it interesting. Most people we have met usually RV for a little while then eventually sell their homes and go full time.   He had some interesting stories.

At the end of the day  Jim was the big fisherman.  He caught 8 including the one big one.Gerald caught a few. Mary Lynn and I just fed the fish.

The next day brought a change in the weather. Strong winds and rough waters. Jim and I decided to drive the beach and see what it was like. Diggity found the beach to be wonderful to walk. Doogie on the watch for birds to chase. These chairs and umbrella were one of three set up along the whole beach, which was miles long. Out to lunch and hang out with Gerald and Mary Lynn. It was a great day just to chill out

Windy was the best way to describe the next day. Again, not good for fishing.So it was off to the Marine museum. Above in the large picture is the skull of a SEI Whale. The skull weighs in at 350 lb. It is part of the baleen whales. It is the third largest of whales after the blue whale and the fin whale. What is interesting is baleen whales are very rare in the Western Gulf of Mexico. The vertebra was found off the coast of Alaska. It has been sent here and they are going to conduct a DNA test to find out what species. The long bone on the bottom is the jaw bone of a Fin Back whale. Found southwest of Galveston.  It’s 14′ long and 240 lbs.  In 1989 to 1990 an aerial survey only 1 Fin Back was counted out of 7,438 whales and dolphins. Fin whales are what we saw when we went whale watching in St.Andrews, New Brunswick this summer.

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The museum was small but interesting. They are still trying to discover where these two strange species of marine life pictured above have come from.

Port Aransas is on Mustang Island. It got it’s name from the wild mustangs that lived on it. They came from shipwrecks and Spanish Expeditions. The island is one of 7 barrier islands along the Texas coast. Looking at the waves it is easy to see that fishing was not going to be great. However walks on the beach were awesome. Diggity found it easy on his toes so he could go a long distance. Doogie was able to run amok. He was now in charge of keeping the beach free of all birds. Gulls, grackles, sandpipers and herons were all barked to leave immediately.

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Monday a calm breeze brought beautiful blue skies. We started on the sea wall near the ferries and soon moved out to the beach to surf fish. But wait Jim’s got something on his line. Oh man, it was just his imagination.

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Surf fishing can be a lot more relaxing. As long as you stay out of the surf. There is a lot of core strength required to surf fish. Years ago a customer told me about a friend of his who came to visit him on the beach. The guy talked incessantly. My friend finally told him it was ok not to talk. They spent a lot of time enjoying the quiet on the beach after that.

Gerald and Jim were really getting into the surf. Staking out poles and feeding the fish a lot of shrimp and fish chunks. Doogie did his best to hang out with Gerald. Unfortunately when he would get to a sand bar and wave would come along and he quickly made his way back to shore via body surfing. A few catches for the day. Tomorrow the fishing should be great once again. We’ll try for more tomorrow.

We met John and Julie who are in the same RV park we are. They are from Ontario outside of Ottawa. There are about 5 RV’s in the park from Canada. We invited them to join us for surf fishing today. Everyone is out there in the surf. By golly the fish should be really frightened, we mean business.

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Joe “Shorty” and Mary join us. They live here full time. Gerald and Mary Lynn have known them for many years.  Joe crews on boats in Port Aransas. Mary works at a convenience store.

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A great day on the beach everyone had a marvelous time. The tide was coming in and we kept moving the trucks up and keeping the chairs from sinking in the sand.

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Today was a cloudy chilly day. Joe had come to the pier and caught quite a few fish the day before. We decided to try it today. Well I finally caught a fish. It’s called a hard head and not good for eating. So that fish got tossed back. Mary Lynn kept catching small perch. Diggity decided once again sleeping in the truck was better than getting cold on the pier. However Doogie met everyone up and down the pier and made it his job to run as fast as he could from one end to the other. Especially if there were birds to be chased.

We decided to go to the jetty to see what was happening. Lots of people out fishing. Gerald says it is not his favorite place to fish. It is a real long jetty. Huge square granite rocks make up the jetty. Herons are everywhere and they have no fear. They are waiting for you to get a fish.

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Tomorrow Gerald and Mary Lynn will be leaving to go back home. They will leave very early. Gerald is always up very early so it is easy for him. It’s been fun hanging out with them. Gerald gave us some fishing poles and tackle to use for the rest of the time we are here. Maybe we will also fish when we get to Baha later this winter. Out to dinner at Trout’s and get them home so they can get rested up for their journey home. Love you Gerald and Mary Lynn. We will do this again.