Cave Dwellings: February 2012
Cave Dwellings

Buckhorn Creek, Lake O' The Pines, Jefferson, TX

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

We’re In Fossil Heaven!

  The Hiker has once again landed for a stay of 2 weeks. We are working our way into North Texas before the 2-3 night hop back to Sandwich, IL.  We left Goliad yesterday about 8:30AM.  Boy, it sure is handy to be able to just walk outside stoop over, pull the levers and “la dumpo” is “la dune-o!”..( yeah, I know..I ‘m considering the Rosetta Stone for Spanish.)
We did just fine on the drive, having programmed “Carlton the GPS”, and sitting back, cruising up Rt 183 to I-35 just North of Austin…Diesel prices snapped my head around like the Exorcist though, as we cruised through Luling and Lockhart..with prices as high as $4.11 a gallon.WHOA!!Surprised smile  We seriously MAY have to take out a 2nd mortgage to get home!…About 15 miles South of Austin, we ran into major road construction.   They are making some kind of 4 lane road (interstate?) going to Austin from the Southeast.  (No recession here in Texas!) We were detoured around and about , up and down, all over the place.…Poor Carlton..He’s an elderly gizmo..about 5-6 years old…and wasn’t aware of any road building on his pre-programmed route. Being totally a techno toy of rules and routines, he was now showing us on his screne going through pastures, wildflowers and mesquite with nada a road near us….That was one of the few times Carlton was totally quiet (which I quite enjoyed) , as he tried to re-calculate on his electronic fingers and toes just exactly where the road went!..Finally, he managed to get his act together as Rt.183 moved back into the spot is was suppose to be.  Ya just gotta love progress!
Lake Georgetown was formerly known as North Fork Lake, on the North Fork of the San Gabriel River in the Brazos  river basin.  Lake Georgetown, formed by a rockfill dam 6,947 feet long, is used for flood control and recreation and as a water supply for neighboring communities.  Georgetown, itself,  is considered the gateway to Texas "Hill Country" (an area of gently rolling hills that stretches across Central Texas). The city was founded in 1848 by Thomas Huling and George Washington Glasscock (the city's namesake). Like many towns of the era, Georgetown started as a frontier town, but it quickly grew in both size and importance.much of this history has been preserved, both in the city's architecture and its fondness for tradition. In the Historic District in Georgetown, TX and you’ll see restored homes and other historical buildings offering a glimpse into the city's past.”
You know darn well McGyver and I will be exploring the historic district of Georgetown!!…Anyway…here is our little slice of “Fossil Heaven”…
WE are sitting high on a limestone bluff, overlooking Georgetown Lake…and OH!! THE ROCKS ARE ALIVE WITH FOSSILS!! .(A fitting spot for a couple of “old fossils” to camp).  I know this, because last time we were here, I took home enough for a large fireplace…JUST KIDDING!

This particular rock was sitting next to our firepit…Note the shell shaped fossil in it…This place could get me in a lot of trouble with McGyver .  If you have ever seen the movie “The Long, Long Trailer”, you will remember that Lucille Ball gathered so many rocks , hiding them in the camper from Ricky, that the “trailer” would  barely climb any hills…And by the way, if you haven’t seen that movie, rent it.   I think Lucy and I are somehow related.  We seem to find trouble wherever we go..We own this movie…and it is one of my “fav’s”…

This park is called Cedar Breaks….loaded with Cedar trees (NO, REALLY?? DUH!)..What a sweet smelling fire that wood makes.  McGyver managed to drag what looked like a partially burned stump as big as a Redwood over to our camp.   It was seriously HUGE!!  He drove the truck and put it in the back of the GMC, then hauled it out and cut it up with his little electric chain saw…McGyver just loves his “man toys”, and is a typical Caveman..He is definitely a hunter and gatherer…Me?..Well, I like to think I am Wilma Flintstone…I love her outfits…and the bone in her hair is really a lovely accent piece. HMMM>>>>Maybe I can steal one from the dog in the RV next to us…(now you know why I am in trouble so often).
Yeah, I know…I’m already getting on your nerves with my rocks and fossils obsession…I have a tendency to grab on to a topic that I love, and go nutso with it until Dennis has to remind me to “step AWAY from the computer, Donna”…So, I guess I will.  

Oh, wait!!!…I want to give a shout out to Judy, the very oh soooo sheek  birdlady of blogland.  She is a great sport to model her evening wear for us… in an attempt  (however feeble) to compete with “moi”…and my fine sense of “haute couture”…I shall have to take you under my wing, my dear,  showing you the advantages of Tweety Bird  “happy pants” , tho the Mickeys ARE quite stylish, a Rummage Sale lighthouse cardigan.. and also some stripe socks…You ARE, after all, a work in progress… a Jr. Fashionista in the making!!(please note..the photo left is NOT Judy..don't hang THAT on her!)
“Fashion magazines are society’s way of saying,” If you don’t feel inadequate already, read one of these!”~ Maxine

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Last Blog From Goliad, but great memories!…

  Today is my last blog from Goliad, Texas.  We will be hitchin’ up the Hiker and moving farther North, and closer to the final leg of our Winter journey this year.  We are heading to Lake Georgetown, which is Northwest of Austin.  It’s always fun to move on and set up in a different neighborhood.  We are staying at an Army Corps Campground, (1/2 price camping for us elderly!), called Cedar Breaks.  Though we  have been there before, each experience brings it’s own surprises…and I usually manage to find some trouble to get into where ever we areAngry smile!!
I noticed that Northern Illinois got some icy “snain” the last few days…so we say, with love, to all of our dear friends and family back sucks pond water to be  you!!  There isn’t too much new up there back home.  At least nobody has let us know if there is!  We need to call our brother-in-law, Big Fluffy,  who lives 2 blocks from us to make sure our house hasn’t blown up or burned down.
I spoke with our oldest daughter, Terrie, on the phone this morning.  She will be walking in the  Susan G. Komen 3- Day Cancer Walk in Chicago this August 10-12th.  Breast Cancer is always at the top of our causes .  Terrie is walking in honor of our youngest daughter’s best friend, Sandi, who passed away last November, waaay too young,  after a 5 year long battle with Breast Cancer…(Actually, Cancer of any kind runs rampant through our entire family.)

Left is our daughter Chris, with Sandi…when they visited us in Rockport, TX, 2008.
For anyone interested in Terrie’s walk for Sandi, here is the link…Sandi McCool. That should link you to Terrie’s donation page…  Sandi ‘s battle touched our family’s heart in a very special way.

I need to mention something about what they call the  Texas Paddling Trails.  Goliad State Park is on the list for great “paddling”….There are places to put your canoe in the San Antonio River here at the park.
Myself, I would really rather “pedal” than “paddle”….I am not a lover of getting in a water craft smaller than a Bayliner 8 passenger cruiser.  Those canoes and kayaks look like just another way for me to end up “over my head” in trouble.
This morning, McGyver and I went “into town” to have breakfast.  Our original plan was to walk into town, but after checking the radar, we opted to take the GMC…Good thing we did, it rained shortly after we got back.  We ate at a little restaurant called the Empresario. The Empresario is just across from the courthouse in the quaint town square.
Notice in the photo on the right, the top of the building next door.  It was apparently an old furniture store…If you look close you can see the words, “coffins”, left..and “caskets”, right.  Back in the day, the people that ran the local furniture store were also the town undertakers.  I KID YOU NOT!!   “The casket industry originated in the United States in the 1800s. The city funeral director, known as the undertaker, usually operated a furniture store in addition to selling caskets.  Funerals were held at home, the only outside help which a family needed was in supplying the coffin.  Since it was made of wood, it was bought at the store that also sold wooden furniture.  Some people even built their own coffins, if they had the time and talent.  As funerals became more elaborate, the people who ran the furniture stores branched out, to supply a hearse or the other accoutrements of Victorian mourning.  Eventually the modern funeral home as we know it evolved.”  AND  YOU THOUGHT YOU ESCAPED ANOTHER HISTORY LESSON!!!  GOTCHA!!!
The Empresario is much like a bowling alley…in that it is reeeeeeally long and very “deep”…
101_1902 101_1901
See??? And the kitchen was even farther back, beyond the bathrooms.  I know because I used the bathroom, and had to hail a Taxi to get back to my table..…Roller skates should be issued to all servers…This place also sported some great old tin ceiling tiles, worn wooden floors, and a very “austere” interior…There was only one other table of customers in there and they were the owner’s daughter and grandchildren..I have to say that the breakfast was good, but not “remarkable”.  However, it’s a neat place to visit, and there are NOT a plethora of dining spots in Goliad.
Steve McKinney, the owner, was a very pleasant and personable chap…asking where we were from…HMMM..You mean to tell me that McGyver and I don’t sound like native Texans???Winking smile…Steve and his wife came from Nashville, where they had a business.  They moved to Goliad to be near their daughter and grandkids…buying this business and never looking back.  Like Steve said, Goliad is NOT for anyone who looking for the “action”…If you’re looking for nightlife here, you could always work the graveyard shift at one of the 2 small local motels.    There isn’t a “pub” to be found here.Confused smile
I’m thinking, though, that things will be changing in Goliad shortly.  They are building a big new Best Western on the East edge of town, and Rt 59, the main drag, is the new corridor for the new Interstate 69…Yep, things will change when that whole route changes to an interstate…I sure hope it doesn’t change too much…Sad smile.
OK, …We are leaving here Monday morning for Georgetown.  We will be “incommunicado” until Tuesday sometime.  All of you followers,  please pick up all of your personal belongings, sleeping bags, candy wrappers and empty beverage containers….Before you pile into the GMC Monday, make sure you hit the shower house for a potty stop… and I don’t want to hear any whining about wanting  a “Happy Meal”Don't tell anyone smile…I have peanut butter crackers in my purse.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Just a couple of “ol’ birds”..

Before I forget, (and you know I will), McGyver and I want to give a shout out to our new followers, Kate and Terry.  They own a Lazy Daze motor home and they also own a great sense of humor…check them out!..OK, all of you in the truck need to …SHIFT…, and no pinching or pulling hair!! We will be back on the road Monday!

I have visited our new neighbors, Hank, Jasper …..and their “mom”, Maryann. Yesterday, I was just about ready to go over to their camper and ask if Hank and Jasper could come out and play,  when I noticed that Hank and Jasper were indeed “playing” outside.   I strolled over, (camera in hand), and asked if I could visit with the Macaw family…up close and personal.  Maryann was very gracious, and said I could “go ahead and get closer, but don’t offer your finger”…NO, REALLY?..DO I LOOK THAT STUPID??..never mind.



These birds have a regular “jungle gym” right outside their camper.  ..and they were busily rope walking, pecking, and staring …at me…Dressed in one of my most festive outfits..and with my very large nose, they thought I was one of THEM.

What a play area!! I want McGyver to set me up a swing, some monkey bars and a maybe a cuttle bone in our camper backyard.  No, make that cuttlebone a “Hostess Twinkie” Bar…OH, YEAH… I ‘d be there every day!!.  What a workout area these dudes this dude and dudette have!!




Maryann was very kind,  informing me about her “kids”…Hank, on the left, is the oldest, at 37.  These birds can live very long lives…even up to 60 years…However, they do have issues( just like us “old birds”)…Hank has granulomas on his lungs and is developing cataracts. (I feel your cataract pain, Hank).. Jasper, on the right, is the girl, age 13…She has Congestive Heart Failure…And  you can’t just take these flyers to any old veterinarian..WHOA NO!! They need a specialist…an AVIAN Veterinarian!!

They are both rescue birds, and Maryann said that Jasper had been badly abused when she came to Maryann…GRRRR! I hate ANY KIND of abuse to ANY LIVING THING!!!…While  I was standing there, I was becoming an embarrassment…talking my own form of  “bird language to” these kids…This involved tongue clicking, saying “hello!” in pinched voice ..the kind you use when your bra is too tight, (you ladies know what I mean)Sleepy smile, and repeating the words “pretty bird” so many times even Hank was beginning to dose off. Actually, Maryann informed me that Hank wasn’t being rude.  Just like all  us “old birds”, Hank was in need of his daily nap…

I gotta tell ya a story that Sam, one of our followers related to me in a comment about birds..

“My Donna had a couple of big cockatiels named Zack & Zelda when we met.Evidently Zack didn't perform his manly duties so Zelda plucked every hair out of his head, and then shortly thereafter killed him. Watch out Den,Don't know if this is normal bird behavior or what..Be safe out there.” Sam & Donna..

Sam, I laughed out loud at that comment..I even did the nose snort!! Thanks for the comment.!

Maryann and our other neighbor, Bob Jones, came here together, but each in their own camper…They both belong to a “singles” RV Club, and have been following each other around these past few months.  Bob has some health/lung issues, which inhibit his walking any distance. So, what did Bob do??? He invested in a really neat mobility device…



Oh boy!! Can you just imagine the trouble I could get into if I owned one of these???

  First of all, it would take me at least one  year to make that thing move by leaning the correct way.  I would end up somewhere in the brush,  taking out small trees and rodents that got in my way…But,…I would be the hit of the RV park, segwaying down the park roads, having donned one of my  fabulous“ensembles”, camera around my neck, doing the “parade”wave…I wonder it these things come with drink holders??Martini glass

..No history lesson today, kids.  I could feel the tension in the classroom , and the snoring coming from a few in the back row…I will, however, close this blog with a few photos we took when we went to the “town square” of Goliad..Clik to enlarge and get a better view…


“Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
Apple Inc.

Monday, February 20, 2012

More Texas History..and some “colorful” neighbors….



“Francita (some say Francisca), Alavez came  from Compano Bay, TX, to Goliad with Col. Telesforo Alavez. History is not sure if he was her husband, but he was a colonel in the Mexican Army.  They were living in Goliad at the time of the Goliad Massacre. She is credited with persuading the officer in charge of the fortress not to execute the men, who had been brought from Copano to Goliad.  In addition, it is believed that Francita entered the fort the evening before the massacre and brought out several men and hid them, thereby saving their lives.

Francita and Colonel Alavez proceeded to Victoria, where she continued to aid the Texians held prisoner at Goliad by sending them messages and provisions. When the Mexicans retreated from Texas after Santa Anna's defeat at San Jacinto, Francita followed Colonel Alavez to Matamoros, where she aided the Texans held prisoner there. From that town, she was taken by Alavez to Mexico City and there abandoned. She returned to Matamoros penniless, but was befriended by Texans who had heard of her humanitarian acts on behalf of Texans captured by the Mexican army.

Dr. Joseph Barnard and Dr. John Shackelford, two of the Goliad prisoners spared by the Mexicans, later testified to Francita's saintly behavior, thus causing her deeds to be more widely known. She came to be called the Angel of Goliad and gained recognition as a heroine of the Texas Revolution.”



…Ever wonder why the margueritas are flowing on May 5th, Cinco de Mayo?? Well, it is because of this Mexican hero, General Ignacio Zaragoza…and here is why..

“Ignacio Seguin Zaragoza was born March 24, 1829 in Goliad, Texas across the street, so to speak, from the Presidio La Bahia. Ignacio's father was an officer at the Presidio La Bahia when Ignacio was born. The Family lived in a dwelling that was provided for the officers.( This site has been reconstructed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and is now a State Historical site.)  He studied for the priesthood in Monterrey, Mexico but left his studies to become involved in the Civil War that ravaged Mexico.

On May 5, 1862, General Zaragoza and his command of 4,000 men defeated 8,000 men of Napoleon's III's army at Puebla, Mexico. This defeat was a great morale booster for the liberal Mexican army in the civil war that engulfed Mexico. Zaragoza died from typhus contracted from visiting his ill soldiers September 8, 1862. He was 33 years old at the time of his death. He was buried in the Liberal Mexican Army Cemetery in Mexico City. His body was transferred from Mexico City to the City of Puebla on May 5, 1962.

Cinco de Mayo (the 5th of May) is celebrated in honor of the victory at Puebla May 5, 1862. It is a national holiday in Mexico, and is celebrated in many south Texas towns and cities, including Goliad, his birthplace. “..Left photo is his birthplace, rebuilt.

I found it interesting that they moved his body back to the Mexican town he saved..very neat, in my opinion.  Even back in Sandwich, IL…far away from Puebla, MX,  our restaurants celebrate Cinco de Mayo…and the local Mexican Restaurant, the Sante Fe, REALLY  gets into it!! Of course, McGyver and I have never partaken in the celebratory event…yeah, right. 

I mentioned that we have some colorful new neighbors here at Goliad State Park.  We got to meet them yesterday, when they were outside sitting on the picnic table …..fluffing and adjusting their colorful “garb”..

I now present to you our new neighbors, Hank, age 37…and Jasper,(a girl) age 13…..



101_1841   101_1840

Yep …We got ourselves “the Macaws” living across the street.  As you may guess, I am a little distressed at being upstaged by these two guys…Their outfits FAR outshine my  humble colors…If this is to be a competition, I am going to have to “ramp up” my repertoire of ensembles to a more eye popping  blend of hues!!!  All I know is the bird’s names and ages…Why do I NOT know more?, you ask….I sent McGyver with the camera to get their photos because I was in my socks…Never send a man to do a very nosy woman’s photography…NAMES AND AGES?? THAT’S ALL I GET??? ARE THEY  UNDER SEVERE INTERROGATION??  Den did encounter their owner, but never inquired as to WHY she is has such  “bird brained” traveling companions….


…Trust me…If I get the chance I will find out the complete history of Hank and Jasper….FYI, when these birds squawk, the whole campground hears them…Surprised smile!!!!

So, yesterday was sunny for a change and I got to spend some time reading in the sunshine..That’s ONE day of sunshine and SEVEN days of gloom and /or rain, because today is the both gloomy AND rainy!!…I need to cozy up to those Sun Gods just a little bit closer!!  Thanks to those who are tolerating my zest for history. I understand that not EVERYONE has such interests, but if you did read this far you were rewarded by meeting Hank and Jasper, eh??  See ya again in a few days with more about these two potential Easter Bonnets..JUST KIDDING!!!


                                             ~ Mel Brooks

Saturday, February 18, 2012

“REMEMBER GOLIAD!”….the story.

  In this blog I shall try to give you an idea of why this town of Goliad is included in this battle cry..just like “Remember the Alamo”….Before I begin, I want to show you a few photos we took at the Presidio La Bahia.  This presidio played an instrumental roll in the Goliad Massacre.


Above, left is the entrance to the chapel…

This is the sanctuary of the chapel..still used for Sunday church services.

There will be no humor in this blog.  I just cannot bear to “get cute” while re-telling the story of so many men dying.  I know this seems long, but there just isn’t any way to make it shorter, fearing I would leave an important fact out.

“As part of the Mexican invasion of Texas in early 1836, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna and his main force of at least 5000 men followed an inland route toward San Antonio. At the same time, Mexican General Jose Urrea with some 900 troops, left Matamoros and followed a coastal route into Texas.

Citizens of Refugio, the town in Urrea's path, were slow to evacuate. To provide assistance, Col. James W. Fannin, commander of forces at Goliad, sent two relief forces. The first of these groups numbered about 30 men , followed by a larger group of some 150 men . Both of these groups were eventually killed or captured by the Mexicans.
Meanwhile back in Goliad, Fannin and his remaining force of about 350 were called on to aid William Barrett Travis and the Alamo defenders. Afterwards, he was also ordered by Sam Houston to retreat  back to Victoria. Due to indecision and carelessness by Fannin, however, he failed to accomplish either of these missions.
After a delay of about five days following Houston's order, Fannin finally began his retreat. It was not long, however, before the Texians found themselves surrounded on open prairie. After several attacks by Urea ,the Texians were being repulsed by the deadly fire of the Mexican Army. By dusk, the Texans had lost about sixty men.  Some killed, others wounded against some 200 of the Mexicans.  The next day, the Mexican Army received reinforcements and heavy artillery.

Now heavily outnumbered and with no water and few supplies, the Texians waved the white flag of truce the following morning. Believing that they would be taken captive and eventually returned to their homes, the Texians surrendered the morning of March 20. The were escorted by the Mexican Army back to Goliad, as prisoners of war, to the Presidio La Bahia.

When news of their capture reached Santa Anna, however, he was furious that the Texians had not been executed on the spot. Citing a recently passed law that all foreigners taken under arms would be treated as pirates and executed, Santa Anna sent orders to execute the Goliad prisoners.  Palm Sunday, March 27, 1836,  303 Texians  were marched out of La Bahia into three columns on the Bexar Road, San Patricio Road, and the Victoria Road, between two rows of Mexican soldiers; they were shot point-blank, and any survivors were clubbed and knifed to death.   The Texian soldiers corpses were stripped, partially burned and left unburied. Forty Texians were unable to walk. Thirty nine were killed inside the fort.

Colonel Fannin was the last to be executed, after seeing his men executed. Age 32, he was taken by Mexican soldiers to the courtyard in front of the chapel, blindfolded, and seated in a chair (due to his leg wound from the battle). He made three requests: he asked for his personal possessions to be sent to his family, to be shot in his heart and not his face, and to be given a Christian burial. The soldiers took his belongings, shot his face, and burned Fannin's body along with the other Texians who died that day.  The entire Texian force was killed except for twenty-eight men who feigned death and escaped.”…           (How some escaped will be my next blog .)

This atrocity happened 3 weeks after the fall of the Alamo,  and gave Texians the battle cry “Remember the Alamo” and “Remember Goliad”. General Thomas J.Rusk and the Texian Army, afterwards marched to the La Bahia and gathered the bones of Fannin’s men from the terrain to the presidio.   From the Presidio La Bahia, the remains were carried in procession to a mass grave and given a military funeral and burial on June 3, 1836.”


Here is the burial site of those brave men…..On each side of the tall center piece you will find engraved all the names of those who died and were buried here …Just walking up on it and sensing the history beneath our feet brought tears to my eyes…





This is the stone relief carving showing the Goddess of Liberty lifting a fallen soldier in chains…very moving..This whole monument is actually a very large gravestone marking the many souls buried beneath it.








And here is a stone plaque at the gravesite, noting the men who were killed on the battlefield before the surrender of the troops to the Mexican Army…They fell at what is now called the Coleto Creek battle..the rest of the men were marched to the Presidio and are beneath the big monument.




Part of the presidio walls..The yellow arrow points to one of the holes for their rifles to fit through…If only these old stone fort walls could talk..sooooo much sad history here.

As I alluded to , there is another story related to the Massacre at Goliad concerning a young woman called the “Angel of Goliad”…I will provide you with that story soon. 

I really, really hope you actually took the time to read the whole history of this terrible time in history…
And if you ever, ever get the chance to stop by the little Southeastern Texas town of Goliad… , I dare you to just stay only one night!!

“There never was a good war, or a bad peace.”

                                            ~ Benjamin Franklin