http://www.blogger.com/html?blogID=4316350785635987648 Cave Dwellings: 2008

Everglades National Park, FL

Everglades National Park, FL
Loop Road

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Taste of Texas History


For those of you who are crafters...and you know who you are..Here is a Texas Christmas wreath..just couldn't resist!!
Yesterday we decided to do some of the sites in the hill country of Texas...and one of the biggest was the LBJ Ranch, about 45 miles North of here. I am a history nut and we had never gone there in the 7 years we have been coming to Canyon Lake. First we went to Johnson City, which is where the Johnson Settlement is.. This is where LBJ's grandfather and his brother and family lived. They made a ton of money taking herds of Longhorns on cattle drives to Abilene, Kansas from 1868 to 1871, on the Chisolm Trail..Cattle selling for $6-$10 in Texas could bring $30-$40 delivered in Abilene. Here is a reproduction of the cabin his Grandpa and Grandma lived in while in the "settlement"..

This was called a "dog trot" cabin..The reason was it was an open porch from one side to the other right in the middle of the house so the dogs could go through...I know, I dont' get it either...
We wandered the settlement for about an hour. Then, map in hand, (courtesy of the visitor's center), we drove another 14 miles to the LBJ Ranch and Historic National park. Before LBJ died, he and Ladybird donated 600 acres of their ranch to the National Park Service with 2 stipulations..Never charge to get in..and keep it a working cattle ranch. Both are true to this day.
When you get inside you get a map of the ranch and CD to play which tells you about what you are seeing..also you get a free driving permit..yup, you guessed it..Everyone is able to drive the ranch in their own vehicle and listen to the Cd...You can get out anywhere you want and wander around..We did, and here are a few photos...The first is the birthplace of LBJ..

You may recognize the ol' cowgirl on the porch...

We stopped at the private family cemetery and took this photo of LBJ's gravestone..yes, he is actually buried here, with most of his family members..

Here is a picture of LBJ and Ladybird's home..called the "Texas White House" because he spent alot of his time here and signed many many bills into law right here in his office...


..and here is the desk and the office where he signed them...


Here is the fireplace in the same office...


We had spent most of the day touring the ranch, so we were REALLY thirsty..and by coincidence Luckenbach was on the way back to Canyon Lake, (if you take the backroads)...a beautiful ride, by the way.. And, as our good luck would have it, there was a cowboy playing his guitar and singing at the Luckenbach General Store/Bar...Here it is..


One more of the Luckenbach General Store/Bar...


Here is the front porch of the Luckenbach General Store...(I don't know who the 'ol cowgirl is that keeps following us around)....


I tell you, I took a ton of photos yesterday at the ranch everywhere we went, but can't put them all on the blog. I LOVED visiting the ranch where Lyndon Johnson and Ladybird lived...and we were only on the 600 acres he donated...there are thousands more!! We even saw a Hereford and her new calf lying in the field as we drove by..she must have just given birth to him, he was still wet and she was licking him off...I couldn't beleive it!! What a great day.. To top it all off, just as we were leaving Luckenbach, a nice young woman offered to take our picture together, which is hard to get!! I leave you with this photo at the end of an amazing day..Are we having fun yet??YES WE ARE!!!!..."Ain't nobody feelin' no pain"....

Sunday, December 28, 2008

More from Canyon Lake

Hello again from our little haven in the Texas Hill Country..We have been here 3 weeks tomorrow and will leave next Sunday for the Rio Grande. It is about 3 hours further South and usually warmer. January can be cool up here. Let me define "cool" in Texas terms..about 50-55 degrees during the day. I know...they don't know what really "cool" is until they've been sitting at a Chicago Bears home game at -15 with 25 mph winds!!
Christmas day was nice..we cooked steaks and visited with our neighbors, Wayne and Ronae. They had their 2 sons for a few days over Christmas and it was fun to meet them. We are still under a burn ban, so Wayne bent the rules a little and put a wood fire in his grill...one picture is worth a thousand words...also notice the sunset.


Here is a picture of their 2 sons, Eric on the left , Darrin on the right...They are really great guys and we enjoyed them! Hopefully they didn't leave thinking "those Illinois people are totally nuts...and did you see her outfit??"


Yet, another picture of the Road Warriors...imbibing in a little Xmas "cheer" by the totally illegal "campfire"..

Today is Dec. 28th, Sunday..The Bears game is on Fox and we won't get it here, so we are gonna try and listen to it on our computer on WBBM..Sunday is the day of rest so we don't do a 2 mile walk. There are a few more people here..I think some wait to come until after Xmas and arrive here about 3 days after. When we got up, the deer and ducks were begging for corn, so Den fed them.


...does anyone have ANY idea what kind of ducks these are? I am fascinated by their homeliness...and of course had to take a few pictures....


It was quite stormy to the South in San Antonio. We didn't get any rain, though, as usual. This is the 3rd driest winter in Texas history!! I took a photo of the lake this AM..the sky and lake were almost the same color blue..


Terrie called about 10AM and they were just leaving for the Seattle airport for their flight to Chicago...the busiest day of the year for airline travel, of course. their weather at O'Hare looks good, at least..
Tomorrow is suppose to be 70 degrees here, so we are going to take a ride up by Blanco and Fredericksburg, do a little sight seeing. This is some of the prettiest part of Texas, and the homes reflect it's popularity...San Antonio has not felt the decline in home prices that alot of the nation has.
Well, enough of boring you...I will post some of the stuff we see tomorrow on the blog..As for today, Den is dumping tanks again, and I put just started Italian beef in the crockpot..I know, life is rough for us...ha ha...Later!!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas in the Hill Country

Well, yesterday was Xmas Eve and it was actually a nice sunny day, about 74 degrees. We took our walk in sweatshirts and put our winter coats away AGAIN!! The campground isn't nearly as busy as last year...I think you can see the economic crunch here too. Diesel prices have gone down again to $2.19...unbelievable...We sat outside a little while and visited with the Sele's, our Minnesota neighbors. They were going into San Antonio airport to pick up their two sons who were flying in to spend Xmas with them. One is coming from Minneapolis and one from LA...
About 2:30PM we decided to go into Sattler to the VFW for a Christmas Eve drink...we hadn't been there yet this year, and it's always a good time.
The place was packed with people and I did remember the bartender from last year. Now is when I really miss the No Smoking bars in Illinois...you could have cut the smoke with a knife..Anyway, I had a Cabernet wine and Den had a Bud Lite(sorry, John Wolff) in a frosted mug...the total, you ask?? ZERO, ZIP, ZILCH!! The first drink was "on the house", come to find out..They had a menu of bar food, too. Your choices were large pizza for $5.50, 2 White Castle burgers..chips for 50 cents a bag..ya just gotta love this place..The only day of the year they aren't open is Christmas Day! Now, we GOTTA have another drink cause it is rude to just drink the free one and leave..We ordered the same round and got yet another shock..the total for the wine and beer was...get ready....$2.75. The beer was $1.00 and the wine $1.75..I AM an expensive date! Sandwich needs a place like this ..they would be beating down the doors!! Den had one more beer and we left about 4:30PM for the pretty drive back to our RV. I'ts about 12 miles of beautiful hill country.
When we got back, Den went out and fed the deer while I changed into my "uniform"..the sun was starting to get low in the sky and I took his picture out our rear side window...Now this is relaxation!


I went outside and we sat outside, feeding the deer,the ducks, and watching the sunset..I am sure some of the other campers that were outside were wanting to call the "fashion police" on me, but I really don't give a hoot. This is what our campsite looks like with our festive lights on:


Well, life is good in the Texas Hill Country..Dennis is going to cook some NY strips on the grill tonite and last night it was marinated shrimp served with garlic linguine...Yes, we eat pretty well.
To all of you in snowy Illinois, I miss YOU, but not the snow and ice. We talked to all of the kids today and we are blessed. Everyone is well and happy.We also saw Aiden dressed as Santa this morning, thanks to Chris and John taking some video for us! We may skype them later...I leave you with this very scarey photo of 2 old codgers living their dream..


FELIZ NAVIDADFROM TEXAS!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Back In The Deep Freeze

OK...Is this some kind of weird Santa Christmas joke?? I thought yesterday was a bit chilly at 38 degrees, but today is the ICEing on the cake, so to speak..We got up this AM for our weekly fun trip to the laundromat and it was 31 degrees..Needless to say I reintroduced my butt to my sweats. We try to get to the laundromat early to avoid alot of people because usually 60% of the dryers are "Out of Order"...It was really cold for down here and I blessed my heated leather seats in the truck on the way to town.
I gotta tell ya that I have been chasing ducks around the campground for a few days and am even starting to LOOK like Elmer Fudd..It seems that I have had goose and duck encounters with extremely strange looking water fowl on this winter's trip, and this strange pair have been quacking around the campground for a few days. I tried to sneak up on them a few days ago and mostly succeeded at making a fool of myself..I really wanted a photo of them cause they are really cool looking.
Well, lo and behold, when we pulled into our campsite this morning with our clean laundry, who was quacking around our RV????...Mr. and Mrs. Weird Duck..and a few bucks, too, as a bonus. I told Den to quick throw out some corn to "lure" them closer as I almost fell up the steps to grab my camera before they did the old "eat and run" scam.
I couldn't believe my good luck...They were creeping closer and dining with 3 bucks..wait a minute....not $3.00, but 3 actual bucks, as in deer. So I took a few photos which I shall now share with you.



Here are these dudes closer up...well, I'm not sure, but I think they are "a pair" ...not that there's anything wrong with that..to each duck his own duck...



After my big photo session, Dennis set to the dreaded "tank dumping" task and I went inside to get my crockpot loaded up with a beef roast, potatoes and mushrooms for dinner. So now think my thermometer outside is broken...it hasn't moved off 32 degrees since we got up. Somehow walking isn't quite as attractive in this weather.
Tonight I invited our friends Wayne and Ronae, along with our new friends, Lowell and Carol, for a few cocktails by the fireplace INSIDE...I'm sure glad we have that thing and I think our friends are too.
Well, I have procrastinated the walk long enough.."don we now our gay apparell"...or whatever...and do the 2 miles...
Ok, we made it back without incident. Dennis decided to take his GPS with and see exactly how far we really do walk. It turns our we are walking 2.29 miles..does that allow me more beef and potatoes tonight cause I plan on hogging out on it.
We are all snug back in our RV until our company comes over later. I will take a couple photos of our little group...that is IF we are not having tooo good of a time. I don't know what the capacity load for drinking adults is for this size RV, but I somehow think 6 of us all trying to crowd around our fireplace will max it out.
Today is Tuesday, the 23rd..and here are the pictures from our little party last night...
This first one is Dennis and Wayne..


Here is (left to right)Wayne, Lowell, Ronae, Me and Carol..


And, last but not least..The Three Road Warriors. We are the ones who read the maps, watch the road signs and tell our drivers where to go...frequently!!

Party was good..we didn't get too wild for a group of old farts...
Here are a couple photos of our little cocktail party . ..Don't feel tooooooo sorry for us... As you can see we are easlily entertained.....Later!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Finally some warm weather

Well, FINALLY we got some warmer weather...and a little sunshine!! It is Friday, Dec. 19th..the day started out foggy...I took a photo of the fog just over the lake, which was really pretty cool!


We had intended to go into Fredericksburg today, which is a town about 40 miles North of here, settled by German families, including the Nimitz family. Nimitz as in Admiral during World War II and he was the head of the South Pacific theater during the war. There is a museum there that we want to see, but today was just too foggy to start out driving these winding hilly roads, so we will put it off.
It certainly looked like Illinois got their butt kicked by snow and ice last night and this morning..I guess I should quit wining about our little cold spells. I was a little concerned because our daughter, Terrie, her husband, Tim, and their 3 kids were suppose to fly out of O'Hare about noon to Seattle to spend Christmas with Tim's mom, dad, and their families. It looked like a bunch of flights were cancelled out of O'Hare, but we talked to them about 11:00 AM and they were at their gate waiting to board, so I felt better. Dennis, the computer wizard, set us up to track their entire flight real time all the way to Seattle..
We tracked them into South Dakota and then decided we needed to get out of the camper for a while, so we drove about 10 miles down the road to a place called Lucky's for a cocktail...Here is a note to David Ikonen and Ron Schultz..they have "all you can eat" froglegs on Tuesday nights ( battered in a buttermilk batter) for $12.95..Dennis is considering it..me?...I will have the oysters, thank you, if we do go.
We stopped on our way back and picked up a "to go" menu at The Italian Garden to see what their pizza prices are...Here is a hoot.. A large (16") pizza with cheese, Italian sausage and Mushrooms is $12.50...Sounds like a plan for Sunday evening.
We have some deer that hang out around the campgrounds and we picked up a bag of deer corn when we got groceries yesterday...to the tune of $9.00 for a 50 lb bag..and they love it , so I guess it is a small price to pay for the pictures I get. I took this one out our back window of the camper.


I tried to get a photo of this 8 point buck, but it turned out a little blurry..I will try for a better one later.


Well, we watched as the Heisers landed in Seattle and I feel better...I am NOT a flyer and I like to know when my family is back on the ground~ I have a 3 lb pork roast marinating in dijon mustard, garlic powder, cumin and mustard seeds...Dennis is cooking tonight.....and he is also cooking breakfast tomorrow OUTSIDE.. consisting of eggs, sausage, fried potatoes with onions and toast...We DO eat well, eh? The sun is now setting and it is 75 degrees. Tomorrow is more of the same weather, but Sunday and Monday we are back in the deep freeze here...30 degrees again..I feel like I am in the movie "Groundhog Day"...However they are calling for the weather to be in the 70's for Xmas Eve and Xmas Day...perfect~~
Not many photos this time... I promise more later...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Are We Back In Illinois????

The past few days I have been asking myself if, indeed, we have magically returned to the midwest. For the past 2 days we have had "Illinois weather", or close to it. Just when I had thought I was done wearing the heavy coat, stocking cap and gloves, I had to drag it out of the back of my closet to take our walks. Sunday started the crappy weather with a low of 38 degrees and I was pissed...well, little did I know it was going down hill from there..Yesterday, Monday, we woke up to 30 MPH winds and the day's high temp of 33 degrees. woopie..We went into the big town of Sattler and did our laundry...Do I have to wash my coat and gloves?? Are we going to be wearing them alot more...and for how long??
On our way back from the laundry we stopped by the Fischer post office to see if the pkg we had been waiting for from Chris was there yet...I sat in the truck while Den went in..(Hey, it was too cold to walk the 20 ft into the post office, so I sat in the truck and watched the prickly pear cactus shiver.) Den walked out of the post office carrying what looked like a post card and looking confused..This did not bode well for our package..When he got in the truck he informed me that our long awaited package was waiting for us in San Marcos at the UPS office...huh?? Well, come to find out I neglected to tell Chris that you cannot send anything marked "General Delivery" via UPS..they need an address, and we don't have any. I now see a trip to San Marcos in the frigid day's plans.
We blew into the camper with our laundry. Now, our camper is pretty warm. We have our electric fireplace that is a heater plus a small little electric heater we take into the bedroom so we can have morning hygiene with some heat. Mind you, we do have a propane furnace in this thing, but why burn our propane when we can burn the campground electicity?? Also, another note..you can lose alot of heat through the camper windows, especially the huge picture window in the rear living room...these are not Anderson windows, kids, these have zero insulation qualities. What we do if it is severly cold and windy is NOT open the shades, thus creating a cocoon-like atmosphere inside..This is OK for about 48 hours and then you get a little nuts not seeing outside..nuts enough even to venture outside for a walk, albeit brief, in your winter coat, gloves and stocking hat.
And now for the tale of the trip to San Marcos. Did I mention that the UPS office in San Marcos (30 miles away) has weird hours?? Like, they are only open from 4PM until 7PM 5 days a week?? ...and if we didn't get our package by Thursday they would return it to sender?? Thus the reason we had to wait until late afternoon yesterday to venture forth yet again into the Texas "unseasonable cold".We decided to go a little early and run to WalMart there.
What we didn't remember was that "rush hour" is a universal time..3PM until 7PM...and we ended up right in the middle of it.
San Marcos is one of the bigger cities around here and we drove into it sitting in traffic bumper to bumper, armed only with our mapquest map of where the UPS place was. We managed to get to WalMart, only because we DID know where that was, having been there before. From there we were floundering around on and off I-35,(really busy interstate), looking for the UPS office. We were hopelessly lost and the air inside the truck was wrought with "tension" accompanied by a few foul words from the driver..AND.. now we could see it was starting to get dark..Don't panic, Donna...OK..but I do know how much Dennis hates driving winding hilly roads after dark..I also neglected to mention that the road we take from our campground at Canyon Lake to San Marcos is called "The Devil's Backbone"?? ..self explanatory.
To try to make a long story even longer, we went down a wrong road off the interstate... and MAGICALLY, ended up at the UPS office! Here is where I take credit for suggesting we stay the course and keep going that directions... Quick, Den, jump out, get the pkg, throw it in the back of the truck and let's "get the Hell outa Dodge"..or San Marcos. We managed to find our way back across the interstate and headed back out of town as the sun was setting (if there had been any sun yesterday). We made it back to the camper before it was totally dark, ran in and started a much needed cocktail hour.
Well, the package was worth every bit of the trip!! In it we had a brand new WebCam for our laptop, courtesy of Chris and John...PLUS 2 caps, a sweatshirt and a long sleeved T-shirt for me from John's sister, Crash Gladys..Let me explain that Crash is not her real name, it is the name she goes by on the TV/radio show in California that she is part of, called SpeedFreaks. She and 2 guys,(she's the only female), do a show about auto racing, NASCAR, stock, drag racing...all kinds of racing..One of the caps for Den was signed by all of them and I know when he wears it he"ll think he is King Shit!! It was just like Christmas opening all of the goodies..Will Den sleep in his new cap??
When we woke up today, it promised to be yet another "curtains pulled" day..temp was 28 degrees. We had coffee and peeked outside..hmmm...no wind...let's brave it and do our walk..We did and actually it was not nearly as bad as yesterday..no wind chill to deal with. We dealt with the curtains down until about noon, then I could handle it no longer and pulled up a few at a time..Hey, it was now 39 degrees, and I needed to see that I was NOT in a bad dream and back in Illinois..No, by God, I WAS in Texas!!!! AND they are predicting 70 degrees by Thursday!!
You may have noticed there are no photos in this blog...because our activities of the past few days have consisted of laundromats, post offices and kamakazee runs to UPS offices..Not great photo ops..I will blog more with photos when I finally see the sunshine and can get out of my sweatpants...Later

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Other "Windy City"

Today is Saturday, Dec. 13th. We had thought about going into the town of Sattler f or the Christmas Parade, but it is soooo windy, I doubt their floats will hold up...and Santa's hat will blow off. So, we stayed at the RV and made a great bacon, sausage and cheese omelet with toast for breakfast after our walk.
We have been having a campfire here every night, even though this county had been under a "burning ban"...Apparently, inside the park they were still letting people have a campfire as long as it was in the fire ring. However, last night they came around telling everyone that campfires are temporarily banned inside the park because of the extremel dryness ...Damn!
Thursday night was such a beautiful evening, we did sit outside by the fire until about 8PM. The deer were out and running all over by the lake, so I took the opportunity to get a pretty good sunset photo. I was totally unaware that the deer in the photo happened to be a nice buck, but when I downloaded it to our laptop I was pleasantly surprised at how it turned out! See for yourself...


This place is really pretty. The lake is fed from the Guadalupe River, which is sooo turquoise and so is Canyon Lake. Today it has white caps on it. Thursday nite when we sat outside I took a few more photos. That evening the wind was gone and the moon was full...sooooo peaceful and relaxing by the fire..

Tonight we are having grilled turkey bratwurst, scalloped potatoes, salad and some veggies. Before you think that I homemade the potato dish I wish to inform you that Betty Crocker made them..I will just cook them in a skillet. I don't use my oven a lot..I use the stove top or microwave, and Dennis usually grills the meat. I also have a crockpot onboard and I use that if it is rainy or too cool. It really makes the RV smell wonderful! I also have all of my Christmas CD's downloaded onto I-Tunes, so all I have to do is plug our computer speakers into our surround sound speakers and it is all around us in the camper. Den's next trick will be to find a way to wire from our surround sound to an outside speaker, so we can listen outside, too. I use to bring all our CD's and take a CD player outside, but I finally managed to download ALL of our CD's to I-tunes and we don't have to bring any with us, they are on our laptop.
Here is another picture of our campsite, before we had a burn ban in the park...


...and here is the view looking our our rear window of the RV..not too bad, eh??


Well, it's almost cocktail hour and my recliner is calling. Actually, the wind is gusting so hard that the camper is rocking a bit..now that's what I call windy!! More later...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Potter's Creek, Canyon Lake Texas

We arrived at Potter's Creek yesterday about 1:30PM. We drove from Lake Charles, Louisiana and it took about 6 hours with one stop for fuel..diesel was $2.39 a gallon. The weather here was 74 degrees, cloudy and very windy. We are set up right next to our good friends from Minnesota, Wayne and Ronae Seale. We were really happy that the spot next to them was vacant. It is really nice to see people you know on the road.
We got all set up. It was no problem to set up the satellite dishes, there are no trees. We are right on Canyon Lake and the wind was really hawking. I had to have Dennis help hold down my picnic table cloth while I clamped it down, and then put big rocks on top to help hold it.Hopefully it won't be as windy tomorrow.
Here is a view of the lake when we arrived.

We woke up this morning and took our walk in jeans and T-shirts. It was already getting warm. When we got back, we took our coffee outside and enjoyed the view...so peaceful. Of course, I just couldn't relax too much..Our RV needed a good wash and so did our truck, so I changed into shorts and I started out on the camper. Den went to find some firewood and he came back with a truckload. He helped me wash the camper and I finished the truck. By noon we had camper and truck both washed, firewood unloaded and the camper windows all washed...time to quit!! I took my book outside and honestly didn't read a word..It was so nice to relax in the breeze..I almost fell asleep.
Shortly,it started to get windy again, so I came in to blog. We are all set up so I thought I would tke a few photos of our home for 3 1/2 weeks..
This is our camper in the foreground and Wayne and Ronae's behind it.


Here is where we relax..do puzzles and read..our life is soooo busy...but just look at the view!!


Yet another view of our temporary little chunk of real estate ...We love it here~


I will blog more tomorrow..Our weather is suppose to turn cold...low 50's for the next few days and very windy tomorrow..I see some crockpot chili for tomorrow's dinner...Later

Saturday, December 6, 2008

More Swampland Photos

Today is about 58 degrees and Den and I took a walk around the lagoon about noon.

Here are some photos we took...
Now this is definitely NOT camping..This 5th wheel is 40' long,(ours is 30'), has 3 axles, and is pulled by an International Semi Trailer Tractor...also, notice the boat on top the truck..We talked to this guy this morning..they are full timers originally from Oregon..


We took a few more "bird" photos...You just cannot have enough pictures of Blue Herons

I have absolutely NO idea what the Hell these ugly-ass geese are..does anyone out there know? I so, email me...


I do know that this next picture is an "old bird"....

Well, enough of the swampland photos...We are going into town this afternoon to find a cocktail and maybe dinner to bring back to the camper...We shall see. Tomorrow is another exciting "laundry day"...always an adventure. We leave here Monday morning and drive about 350 miles to Canyon Lake, TX, just North of San Antonio...the route takes us through downtown Houston...pray for us..

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Our Last Stop in Louisiana

Yesterday we arrived at Sam Houston Jones State Park in Lake Charles Louisiana. We will be here till Monday. If you check your Atlas, we are just North of a huge bayou area and not far from the Gulf. I was hoping to take a scenic ride on what is called the Creole Nature Trail, but some of the roads are still closed due to Hurricane Gustav.
Our campsite is in the middle of the tall trees and Den thought it may be a challenge finding our satellites, but he had no problem and we have our Direct TV AND we are online. (This isn't really "camping"..this is "RVing"). When we arrived yesterday, it was 74 degrees and we sat by our campfire until 7PM in just a sweatshirt. Not JUST a sweatshirt, mind you. For those of you who know what I wear after 4PM..YES, I did have on my "uniform", striped socks and all.Sometime I'll post a photo. Dennis grilled some great lamb chops and we had our usual wonderful dinner.
This morning, unfortunately, the weather has changed and it is only 50 degrees and dreary. We walked our 2 miles and this is a very pretty park. We are camped just across from a lagoon,aka swamp, with bald cypress trees and dripping moss...and, I am sure, some alligators.

There are also some very strange looking geese that didn't appreciate us and chased us a few feet. I put Dennis in front of me in case they were going to get more hostile, and they are pretty fast if they get upset..which they were.

After lunch, I decided to get some more fresh air with my camera, going back around the swamp. I was hoping to get some strange bird photos and I was pleasantly rewarded for venturing back out in the chilly damp air. Here a few bird photos from the swamp..(Jane Hathaway, eat your heart out! All I need is khaki shorts..)This is the Mallard I spotted with a few other ducks..

I think the next one is a Pintail...

And now for the "weird geese"... what the Hell ARE they??


I walked out onto a bridge to see what the sign said that was posted there..I should have known.."DO NOT FEED THE ALLIGATORS"..Maybe they should tell the alligators NOT TO EAT US!! It was so eerie, creepy and quiet. I found myself looking all over, in case an alligator was lying as still as a stick, somewhere on the shore.. (where I was wandering with my camera)..Did I mention that Dennis was back in the warm RV doing Sudoku?? I DID take my cell phone with me..(as if that wouldn't get eaten right along with ME!) I crept back cautiously onto the road and started going back around the swamp. I got another bonus as I looked across the swamp...I believe this is some kind of Heron...

I was almost back to the camper, when I spotted a huge woodpecker flying over me. Of course I followed, and found him in a tall tree in the swamp..I carefully walked down toward the bank and got this shot of him..we never see Woodpeckers this big at home unless it's on cartoons, and his name is Woody.

Well, my adventure for the day was over and I scooted back toward the HitchHiker and safety. Here is a shot of our location in the woods.

I probably was never even near any danger, but the swampland made me remember the movie "Creature From the Black Lagoon"..Next time I'll take my bodyguard..screw the Sudoku!! Later...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Revisiting the Natchez Trace

Today we drove back out to the Natchez Trace Parkway to see a few sites we missed on the way in with the RV. There is a section of the original old trace that we wanted to walk into. We took this photo looking just ahead at that section of the old trace..


Keep in mind this was begun by the Indians about 1600 and taken up by the travelers going North. Here is another closer photo..as you can see, we couldn't get very far due to the trees, felled by erosion. The original trace eroded due to topsoil being blown off through many years..and the pathway virtually "sank" in many spots..


This whole thing just blows my mind..to think of all who came before us, walking, riding, pulling wagons..all along this trail to go North for prosperity. This next photo is one taken from the trace looking out at the parkway...Notice the old Indian Scout on the right...is he a ghost?? or maybe just my imagination..Oh..it's only Chief Drivealotamiles, Dennis.


We jumped back into the truck and went a few more miles up the trace to a National Historic Site called Emerald Mound. This is an old Indian Mound created by the Mississippian Indians,(who were related to the Natchez Indians). Best guess is that it was made between 1300 and 1600 as a place to build temples for worship of the sun, ceremonies, and burial spots of the chieftains. I seem to recall that there are some old Indian mounds back home in Illinois around Ottawa, on the way to Captain's Cove restaurant and marina. These mounds are formed like a platform of land with two 30 foot hight mounds at each end. At one time, on each of the big mounds were temples. Here is Dennis climbing to the main mound.


And here I am...at the top of the tallest of the two , standing where a ancient Indian temple once was..gives me goosebumps. I don't know where or how deep the burial sites are..I don't think anyone does for sure.

Here is the view from the top...If you look close, you can see the other mound at other end of this area.


On this sign in the following photo is a drawing of what it looked like and also what one of the temples might have been like. "How did they build those mounds and move all of that dirt?", you ask. So did I. Then I read more about them and apparently they carried the dirt in baskets and animal skins to keep building them higher..Amazing...

(Remember that you can click on any of these photos to make them larger and easier to see.)
Well, tomorow we move on down the road to Lake Charles, Louisiana. We will spend 5 nights at Sam Houston Jones State Park, just North of there. I fully intend to find a cajun joint with deep fried oyster poor boys...I will blog from there in a day or two. As for right now, Chief Drivesalotofmiles is building a campfire, and you know what the "Chief" says..."Too big fire, need sit away...Little fire, sit close"..whatever. Later