D drive blues

After arriving home I decided it was time to catch up on my financials. Pulling out the folder of receipts I booted up the laptop and inserted Mr. D., my external hard drive.

Once inserted no folders appeared in view. Concerned regarding this finding I shut down the computer and rebooted with the drive inserted. Still no luck. After an hour or so doing several permutations of the like I realized Mr. D. had died.

While I like to say RIP, (rest in peace), I knew my fate and this was not peaceful. Only two years ago I was in the same pickle and knew his demise would mean a trip to the office supply box store and a $400 fee. The last visit I was assured in my upgrade from thumb drive to Mr. D., this situation was resolved.

Don’t you just hate it when computers let you down? I think I’m returning to paper.

Arrival

Arrived back in Florida about 2 am after staying in Louisiana one night at an older, clean, but, very reasonable motel. Entering their office I daunted by a wall full of security cameras with views of every motel angle. While a bit unsettled by this I decided to feel secure and, if not, at least they had evidence.

Here they are …

Refreshed after a comfortable motel night I rose early to begin the last leg of the journey. All went well until the last three hours of the trip when u- hauls with cars attached were on the road in force. Guess those moving think nighttime is an opportune time for travel, however, they lacked the skills to see my vehicle. After two close calls I became wary of them. Not wanting a third incident I sped up when they were close, quickly passing them. Beware and take heed.

Grateful to be safely in Florida, I was energized and unpacked. Tomorrow will be mail and laundry. Thanks, Austin for a great trip!

And I didn’t even need the…

The Endless Return

Left Austin after a delicious breakfast at Phoebe’s, a local restaurant near my daughter’s abode. Besides making the most delicious omelet I had ever had, Phoebe’s, even cures meat. What a combination.

After breakfast we bid adieu..

Taking a different route home I found myself seeing more of rural Texas. Between farmlands with cows or fields of corn an occasional oil rigging was viewed. This gave me a better understanding of climate change and economy. However, if we want to save our planet we need to do things differently. We could always install wind turbines in those fields like they do in Europe or build solar panel factories…

The Fruit stand

When I found myself in Giddings, Texas I purchased fruit from a vendor who carried my watermelon purchase across the highway which was a dangerous plight and gracious of him.

The Taco Truck

I also obtained my last “fill up” of Texas tacos from a local Gidding’s vendor. Such nice folks in that town.

After “fill up” I found a mobile home park which specialized in small homes. I am fascinated by these and want one. In my first year in Florida there were 2 hurricane evacuations in 10 months. At this time I realized I needed another domicile for when Florida falls off the face of the Earth. A small home would be a perfect solution. Aren’t they adorable?

These homes made mostly of wood run about $70 to 80,000 installed. With a lot, electric and water hook-up the totals would run $125-135,000, depending on location. While compact there was ample closet room and some even had loft space. The interior captures much sunlight and the walls are wooden, therefore, no need for painting.

Then there are greenhouses to grow food in. Unsure of the prices for these.

Further down the road I found Brenham, Texas, a pristine town and the home of Blue Bell ice cream. Note how the government building is a perfect example of the early 1900’s with even a bandstand on its front lawn.

Blue Bell has a beautiful campus and large retail area. They have a visitor center but do not give tours and photos are not allowed through the glass windows which overlooked the plant floor. In the visitor center they have monitors in place to learn more about their operation.

From here I continued my drive non-stop grateful for the beautiful weather. When a ghastly traffic clog occurred in Louisiana I stopped by the visitor center to learn more of the area. I was told of a local restaurant and a 5 star plantation tour. Went to the restaurant which had interesting out buildings with traditional Louisiana food and then drove into the plantation parking lot as torrential rains began. Since 18 hours of rain occurred the day before along with tornadoes I decided to forgo my plantation visit and keep driving. Here’s some pics of the slave cabins and out buildings at The Cabin.

Gruene, Texas and Metalachi

Gruene Country Store

Today a friend of my daughter’s took us to Gruene, Texas. This is a historic town which was settled by German immigrants in the mid-1840’s. Beautifully restored it has various styles of homes with a famous dance hall and saloon to boot. It took my breath away when a gentlemen asked me to dance as I was exploring the dance hall. Now that hasn’t happened in 40 years! Guess it’s Texas hospitality.

Gruene also has an extensive river rafting operation, local wineries, and antique shops. It’s a great place for a visit.

After our trek my daughter informed me we had tickets to a band. Little did I know what to expect, however, I was prepared. On my last visit we went to a gay bar as her roommate was gay. Always the adventurer I was up for the challenge and to tell the truth the gay bar was fun so I expected the same from the concert this evening.

Metalachi is the first and only heavy metal Mariachi band. Besides their canned and original songs they also do comedy. As a senior I enjoyed the joke where the guitarist said he liked older women as they had a 401(k). Smart man..

They also brought up an older gal from the audience and gave her a few thrills by sitting on her lap and singing to her. It was a hoot and what a way to end my last night in WEIRD AUSTIN. You’ve got to see it to believe it.

The Band
Metalachi
Metal Mariachi

Commercial Time: Buc-ees

While at the San Antonio Museum my daughter heard from several folks regarding my visit and how it was going. Each of them said the same thing, “Take her to Buc-ees.” Unsure what this was about I volunteered to visit the place.

Buc-ees is a mega pit stop area along the highways of Texas and seems to be branching out throughout the South. Outside the store it has 100 or more gas pumps and pet walking areas. The actual store is probably the size of 2 football fields and stocks everything from hunting apparel to baby clothes, fudge to brisket and a wall full of coffee and soda dispensers. Food is ordered on line with computer terminals and they even pay their staff a good wage.

But the best is the bathrooms. There must be 50 stalls on each side that are clean, well equipped and affords enough space for a wheelchair.

So..even if you aren’t hungry, don’t need gas or have to pee, stop in for a look. You won’t believe it. Let’s hope they branch out nationally.

No monies were received for this endorsement.

San Antonio continues..

By 3 pm heavy downpours of rain had begun so my daughter and I went into the city to visit the San Antonio Museum of Art. Since HEB, (the famous supermarket), had sponsored a free visit from 4-9 we grabbed an adult beverage at the Emma Hotel.

The Emma Hotel was once a 19th century brewhouse and has been renovated to maintain that atmosphere. The man who owned the brewhouse was murdered by one of his girlfriends and his wife successfully continued the business through prohibition and beyond. San Antonio also has an amazing river walk with many quaint spots, however the rain precluded our outside visits.

At 4 pm we made our way to the museum and what an amazing place that was! As a former New Yorker who is a museum and arts hound I was extremely impressed. Oil money well donated and at work here. There was even a wing donated by Nelson Rockefeller, a descendant of Standard Oil fame, as well as a prominent New York State governor, and our 41st Vice President.

The Museum was formerly the home of Lone Star Brewery and while I enjoyed the Egyptian, Chinese, Greek, European and Latin American art I would have enjoyed a movie on how the building was renovated. It must have been quite a feat.

While I could rattle on about the glories of the Museum a picture is worth a thousand words so will close with these shots. It is a must see…

Thanks, HEB for your generosity. Local folks bring your children here on Tuesday nights 4-9.

Don’t miss the Dale Chihuly ceiling as you leave the museum.
It’s breathtaking. One of his finest.

San Antonio Hair Do

My Savior

Woke early to do my usual routines and the cleaning of the oven. Since I sprayed it the night before, removal of the grime was an “Easy Off.” The importance of a clean oven is prime for Feng Shui energy and I was pleased to contribute my talents.

After the oven cleaning I took out the trash, walked the dog, and said hello to some of the neighbors. I then got the blender going to make my watermelon juice. Now awake my daughter let me know our plans for the day – San Antonio. What fun!



We started at the hair salon as my daughter needed her roots done. The Mint was an adorable salon with much personality and I viewed many great hair dos as customers departed.

I decided to explore the Southside neighborhood of San Antonio surrounding the salon. What a quaint place filled with brightly colored, well maintained older cottages. My daughter requested iced coffee and she was pleased I found a place for this.

Another interesting neighborhood structure..
Mission Church of San Jose

Roots done we lunched at a neighborhood Mexican restaurant then were off to the Mission of San Jose. This Catholic mission was started by the Spanish who brought these indigenous people into the walled community. At its height in 1750 it held 350 Indians who farmed and herded cattle. While a Spanish territory it was managed by the Franciscans and known as the “Queen of the Missions.”

This magnificent church holds the finest example of baroque architecture in North America, the Rose Window. While on National Park lands the Church remains under the ownership of the local diocese and is an active parish.

Rangers give tours and there is a museum on the grounds.

There are several other mission churches in San Antonio, each with their own style and well worth the visit.

Distant View of the Church

Austin Landing

Being told by hotel staff that Houston traffic calms after 9 a.m. I began the last leg of my journey at this time. Katy Freeway is a 7 lane toll road, however, I am still unsure if I have a toll to pay. I caught a glimpse of a sign with the road website and called them. Friendly customer service folks told me to call again in 2 weeks. Huh?

Back to the journey.. And the award for best GPS travel navigator AP extraordinaire is Waze. She brought me directly to my daughter’s home. Thank you, Waze.

Upon arrival and after hugs, kisses and luggage duty we left for Elton John’s Rocketman at a local movie theater. I had brought a turkey and this was placed in the oven before we left for the movie. Elton’s movie was operatic with his songs explaining his life. Different.

Since my daughter is doing bathroom renovations we stopped at a big box store and Habitat for Humanity to check prices after the movie. In discussing the condo upgrades she mentioned the dials on her stove were backwards. Unaware I had placed a turkey in the oven on broil rather than 325 we rushed back to her home where we were met by clouds of black smoke as we opened the door.

Deer along the road

With dinner now blackened and her condo relieved of smoke we headed for a Lockhart barbeque restaurant in Hill Country, Texas. This area of Texas is green and lush with many winery signs dotting the roads we traveled. Dinner was ribs and once completed we explored further finding “Wizard College.” This appeared to be a place where urban professionals train, however, we encountered a couple marrying at their chapel overlooking the hills. Interesting combination.

Ending our day we visited a guy friend of my daughter’s to pick up Mo, the dog. She and her guy friend dog share. Oh, relationships, will we ever understand them?

Our final stop was HEB, the most amazing and probably only supermarket in Texas. With HEB you only need one as they sell just about everything. First on my list, oven cleaner, as repentance for my sins.

203 Blogs

I just checked my Word Press statistics and was impressed to see I’ve written 203 blogs. This is a bit of an anniversary for me! Yippee! In my senior years I have found something to do. BLOG. Wish it was a more catchy phrase, but I’ll take it for what it’s worth.

Wouldn’t you know it last night at the Motel 6 in Katy, Texas, I found a Wall Street Journal newspaper. It had an amazing article on how Florida is tackling their crumbling interstate around Orlando. I was impressed by the article and grateful to learn of their actions.

Let me paraphrase – urban density makes rebuilding highways a challenge. I understand that and simply wish they’d post signs when they close I-4 and I have to find the airport for a 6 a.m. flight.

203 Blogs – What an accomplishment. I am on my way. Something for me to do. I am a Blogger and have a new career. Austin here I come!

The Endless Journey Continues…….

After leaving Beauvoir, (French for beautiful view, sorry forgot to mention that), I continued the endless journey. Having a diet coke ice cream float at a fast food place gave me the sugar rush to continue. With Alabama completed and one third of Mississippi down Louisiana would be a breeze or so I thought.

Since it is the summer road construction was vast in every state on route 10. While I’d like to say this hindered my trip it did not. Everyone merrily passed me even in construction zones. Though not a fan of speeding in construction zones I picked up my pace for fear of being trampled. Those Ford trucks sure can move.

Once through Mississippi I was traversing the sole of the Louisiana boot. Route 10/12 was often a bridge over a bayou and I passed through parishes. Since this was a Sunday I wondered where were all these folks going? Maybe to parishes? Bad joke..

With Louisiana bidding me farewell I finally arrived in Texas. Thinking I was near my destination I checked with Auntie Google. Could that be possible another 4 hours to Austin??

Tomorrow: Destination Austin.