Archive for October, 2011

Musings at Journey’s End, Sunday, October 16, 2011

October 16, 2011 - 4:39 pm No Comments

Today would have been my Mother’s 90th birthday.   She’s been gone 8 years, and it’s still hard to believe.    She would be so excited to read about our travels.   We’ve had a wonderful trip, once again.    We are happy to be home and we’ve already had a visit from Allan, Catherine, Olivia, and Grayson.   Olivia is talking up a storm, and Grayson is crawling and pulling up.   They’ve changed a great deal since we left.

Here are some final thoughts:

1.  We drove 5,000 miles

2.  America is beautiful

3.  We are so glad Ben moved to Austin, Texas

4.  Tennessee is beautiful in the fall

5.  We LOVE Santa Fe, New Mexico

6.  If you see something you want, better buy it!!

7.  The state of Colorado is one of the most beautiful we’ve ever seen

8.  We’ll definitely go back to south Louisiana one of these days

9.  McDonald’s coffee is excellent

10. The aspen tree is one of the prettiest we’ve seen

11. Campground book exchanges are awesome

12. It’s great to visit old friends

13. We’re so lucky to have good health and good resources

14.  We missed the grandchildren more than we thought

Hope everyone has a healthy and safe year ahead.   Stay tuned to see where we go next year.   Bonnie and Greg

He’s studying at the Library, Mrs. Trotter, Saturday, October 15, 2011

October 15, 2011 - 2:27 pm 1 Comment

It was cold again last night —what crazy weather.   Very warm during the day, and at bedtime we have the air conditioner running.   Then around 2:00 a.m. we need to get blankets out and turn on the heat!    But we continue to have beautiful weather.

We were passed by a View, exactly like ours, outside Baton Rouge, and we trailed each other until they split off to New Orleans.   It’s always fun to see another View and they seemed to enjoy seeing us as well.

Speaking of New Orleans, and the reason for naming this entry as I did, when I think of New Orleans, I always think of a time when Allan was a student at the University of Tennessee.   He lived with a great group of guys, two of whom were Monuj Bashambu and Jim Copeland.   One weekend we called Allan’s apartment just to say hello and Jim answered the phone.   We spoke briefly and then I asked to speak with Allan.   Jim, in his usual polite manner, said “He’s studying at the Library, Mrs. Trotter”.   So I assumed he meant the University of Tennessee Library.  Isn’t that great, I said to Jim, and we’ll just check with him later.    We found out MUCH MUCH later that this was Mardi Gras weekend and he was actually in New Orleans with Monuj Bashambu.   They could have been “at the library” at Tulane, because Monuj was going to attend medical school there.   Maybe they were checking out the library, but at the same time, I bet they were checking out the Mardi Gras.   We cannot ever think about New Orleans that we don’t remember that evening when sweet Jim Copeland told us Allan was studying at the library.

We skirted by New Orleans and I made a mental note that we should make a trip down this way again.    This is such a pretty area of the country.   Very low lying land, and it really looks coastal.   Lots of marsh lands that you will see in the photo.   Lots of waterways.

We stopped for the last evening of our trip near Meridian, Mississippi.   It’s actually a very nice little quiet campground and we even have cable TV so we are watching the LSU/UT football game.   By the way, when we drove through Baton Rouge (home of LSU) we certainly got plenty of smiles and looks from the locals (who were all dressed in their school colors).

I’ll have a brief entry tomorrow of “Musings at Journey’s End”.   Stay tuned.  Bonnie

Homeward Bound, Friday, October 14, 2011

October 14, 2011 - 3:02 pm 1 Comment

Today is a travel day.   We left Austin around 8:00 a.m. and stopped at a Super Walmart to get enough sandwich stuff to last until we get home.   Our sight is set for Hixson today because we are anxious to see the grandbabies.

We drove 370 miles today and are in Duson, Louisiana at the Frog City RV Park.   Roast pork for dinner—-can you believe I still have enough meat in the freezer to get us home?

Weather is beautiful and high is 86 degrees.   Not a cloud in the sky!

Stay tuned.   Bonnie

A Day at the San Marcos Outlet Mall, Thursday, October 13, 2011

October 14, 2011 - 2:59 pm No Comments

Ben took us about 30 minutes south of Austin today to the San Marcos Tanger Outlet Mall.   I’ve seen a lot of outlet malls in my life but this is by far the biggest.   Every store imaginable—including Crate and Barrel, Williams Sonoma, Pottery Barn, as well as all the regular stuff.   I think Ben outshopped me, and that’s the truth!!!   LOL

We had lunch at the Cracker Barrel and did a little more shopping before leaving San Marcos.   Tonight we had dinner with Ben and a couple of his friends at a restaurant called “Hop Doddy”.   It’s a gourmet hamburger joint.   People are everywhere on the streets and in the restaurants and it’s Thursday evening!!    One reason these restaurants are so successful is parking is available all up and down the streets and there is no cost.   And you BACK into the spot rather than pulling in head first.   This makes traffic flow easier when cars are pulling out of their parking spaces.   Austin’s folks love to be outdoors, walk around, and enjoy the weather.   It’s really like early fall at home—-warm during the day but cool in the evening.

Ben dropped us off after dinner and we bid him farewell because we won’t see him in the morning.   We plan on getting an early start toward home tomorrow.   We’ve enjoyed our visit with Ben and he will be home for Christmas.   Another bonus for him living in Austin!

Stay tuned.   Bonnie

A Quiet Day in Austin, Wednesday, October 12, 2011

October 14, 2011 - 2:52 pm No Comments

We spent an hour at the Austin Java again this morning trying to get the blog set up.   I will not make another trip without having a verizon card for my computer.   Depending on WIFI from others does NOT work!

We spent the morning at the Sycamore, the group of townhouses that Ben has chosen.   They will start building his townhome by the end of November.    He is very excited to be a home owner.   These townhouses are not connected which is good—they are very modern, each has three levels and he can use the third level for his office.   The middle section is two bedrooms and two baths, and the bottom level has the kitchen, half bath, and living area.  The patio is out back.   He will have a carport and a single garage.   So he’s anxious to get going with it.   Greg looked around and asked a few questions but he seems to think it is nice.   This is a great relief to Ben!   Ben has made decisions on colors, and he’s in the process of choosing the hardwood for the floors.

For lunch we went to a little cafe called “Foodheads” and had a great sandwich.   Austin has the most independent food places we’ve ever seen.   Great little cafes and lots of outside dining available.   It’s really a great city for Ben.   He loves it already.

Ben plays in a kickball league and had a game tonight so we called it an early evening after dinner.  Stay tuned.  Bonnie


LBJ Library and the Texas State Capitol, Tuesday, October 11, 2011

October 12, 2011 - 7:29 am 1 Comment

This morning Greg and I went back over to the Austin Java to get a cup of coffee and catch up on the blog.   This is a real pain in the neck NOT to have WIFI in the campground.   But on the positive side, we are getting to know the waitresses at the Austin Java really well.   One waitress looks exactly like Cheryl on “Dancing with the Stars”.   She’s a cutie pie.

Ben had a business meeting this morning so we hung around the RV park until he picked us up around 11:30 a.m.   I made several phone calls this morning to make appointments for next week when we are home.   My hairdresser was top of the list.   We both really need haircuts, as we usually do when we return from a long trip.

We had lunch at one of the “lunch trailers” around Austin.   Austin has made a science of the lunch trailers.   They move all around town in lots designated for them and there are several trailers in each lot.  Plenty of parking spaces.   Sandwiches, tacos, desserts, kabobs, anything you can eat, you can find in a trailer.   And the price is right, and the food is very good.    We got some great soft tacos at “Torchy’s Tacos”; actually they were fajitas wrapped in a flour tortilla.   And we had some of the best chips and guacomole/salsa we’ve ever had.   Everything is homemade right there on the spot and after we made our order, we sat down at one of many picnic tables.    They brought our food to the table and we enjoyed an outdoor meal.   You won’t believe the temperature was 86 degrees today, so we are in shorts for the day.

After lunch we visited the LBJ Library, which is on the campus of the University of Texas in Austin.   Ben was very interested in the history during the 60’s and how things have changed in America since then.   We saw a lot of gifts that were given to the Johnsons while they were in the White House, and a lot of documents from that era pertaining to the Viet Nam War and civil rights demonstrations, etc.

After the Library, we visited the State Capitol which was a beautiful and elegant building.    When we were walking out the door, Ben ran into a tour group of high school students from Japan.   He started talking with them and when he told them (in Japanese) he attended the International Christian University in Tokyo in 1999, they were very impressed.   The students grinned and wanted their photos taken with him.   So we all stood around while Ben talked with the students in Japanese.   It’s always fun to see the interaction.   From their responses, it seems he can still speak Japanese fluently.

We spent some time at Ben’s apartment after our tours and rested while he did some work.   We had dinner tonight in south Austin which is a hip and happening part of Austin.   The restaurant, Botocelli’s, was really authentic italian food and we enjoyed it.    We now know why Ben has fallen in love with Austin.    The weather is still awesome, lots of open air restaurants, people walking around, shops open late, and those food trailers are everywhere!!!!   After dinner we looked at the trailers, ice cream, cupcakes, everything imaginable, and Greg and Ben had an “ice cream house”.    It’s a homemade ice cream sandwich, with you choosing the cookies that make the “house”, and your choice of  ice cream.

Tomorrow we meet with the realtors to finalize Ben’s color choices, tile, hardwood, etc.   He’s very excited about being a first time home owner.

Stay tuned.   Bonnie

Fredericksburg, Texas, and the Lyndon Johnson Ranch, Monday October 10, 2011

October 11, 2011 - 8:07 am 1 Comment

Can you believe our RV Park does not have WIFI?    We have cable TV and everything else, but there is no WIFI.   So this morning after breakfast we took the laptop a couple of doors down to the “Austin Java” and had a cup of coffee while we used their WIFI.   But we really like the park.   It’s by no means modern, in reality, it is very old, as in probably built in 1950 or so.   But the people around us are very friendly and we feel very safe; it’s quiet and close to Ben.

I had a lot of blogging to do since we’ve not had WIFI since last Thursday.   We worked on the blog for a couple of hours and then Ben came over to get us to start our day.   The weather is a little overcast but the temperature is very good.

We drove northeast of Austin to Fredericksburg, which is a little German influenced town.   We found a restaurant that served authentic German food, so Ben and I chose something German and Greg had a club sandwich.   He’s not very adventurous.   After lunch we walked around town and Greg actually purchased his first item from this trip (except for the slide whistle)—a beautiful leather belt.   After we had our fill of shopping, we stopped at the Lyndon Johnson Ranch for a tour.   This is a state park and you can actually do a driving tour of part of the property.   There is a total of nearly 2500 acres but only about 600 belong to the park service.   The rest is still in the family.   This property belonged to a long line of President Johnson’s ancestors and he loved it more than anything.   He lived only a few years after he left office and died here at his beloved ranch.   He and most of his family are buried on the property.   The plane given to LBJ was called “Air Force one-half) rather than Air Force One.   Air Force One flew into Austin, and

After touring the grounds we had a tour of the house where they lived.   I must say I was a bit disappointed in the tour because we only saw two or three rooms, and you couldn’t use your camera inside the house.   Since Lady Bird died only in 2007, they are still getting most of the rooms in the house ready for touring.  We only saw his office, a den, and living room.

After our afternoon of touring we stopped at a famous restaurant outside of Austin called the Salt Lick.   I saw the Food Channel do a story about this restaurant.   It was founded in 1967 and has been a mainstay in the area ever since.  The barbeque pit was beautiful with all the meats smoking inside the restaurant.   Ben’s friend Dusti stopped by and joined us for a terrific dinner of smoked turkey, sausages, and ribs.

Ben dropped us off at our RV around 7:00 p.m. and we were whipped for the day.  Just enough energy to watch two hours of “Dancing with the Stars”.  LOL

Stay tuned.  Not sure what all we will do tomorrow.   Bonnie

Dinner at salt lick

October 10, 2011 - 3:42 pm 1 Comment

We ate at the famous salt lick with Ben and Dusti!


Goodby Ada, Hello Austin, Sunday October 9, 2011

October 10, 2011 - 7:53 am No Comments

This morning we had another wonderful breakfast of pancakes before we left Ed and Judy.   We had such a greatl visit with them and we all vowed we would see each other again soon.
We drove through some much needed rain today and arrived in Austin around 4:00 p.m.   Ben guided us to his apartment and then led us over to our campground for the week, the Pecan Grove RV Park.  This is a funky little park near downtown Austin.   Several years ago, Matthew McConnehey kept his airstream trailer here.
Ben followed us over to the campground and when we got settled, we went over to his apartment to have a little tour.   Then we drove over to the complex where Ben is going to purchase a condominium being built in the next couple of months.  He’s very excited about being a first time homeowner and we enjoyed touring the complex.
After our tour, we had dinner at a nice little restaurant called the Eastside Café.   Ben brought us back to the park around 8:30 p.m.   Tomorrow we will drive over to Fredericksburg and hopefully visit LBJ’s ranch near there.
Stay tuned.  Bonnie

An Emotional Day at the Oklahoma City National Museum and Memorial

October 10, 2011 - 7:43 am No Comments

After a good night’s sleep, we awoke to Ed and Judy cooking breakfast out on the patio.   We had a good breakfast of bacon, eggs, grits, biscuits and gravy and we enjoyed the beautiful start of the day.

We drove about an hour north to Oklahoma City to visit the museum dedicated to the victims of the Oklahoma City bombing by Timothy McVey.   The museum is in Journal Record Building, which is the building next door to the Murrah Building.  The Journal Record Building, which sustained some damage in the explosion, was left standing.  It is currently on the National Historic Register.   The museum is very well done with an exhibit that guides you from the first moments of the explosion to the aftermath.   Many survivors tell their story on video.   Family members who lost family tell their stories on video.   You experience the chaos of the first frantic minutes after the bombing through detailed artifact cases, showing shoes, glasses, car keys, etc. of the victims.   The most poignant part of the museum is the exhibit dedicated to the children in the day care center who did not survive.  It was very difficult to see this.

The outdoor symbolic memorial is excellent.  The monumental twin gates frame the moment of destruction, with the East gate representing 9:01 a.m. and the west gate representing 9:03 a.m.  The reflecting pool occupies what was once Fifth Street where Timothy McVey parked the Ryder truck filled with explosives.   Each of the 168 chairs in The Field of Empty Chairs symbolizes a life lost, with smaller chairs representing the 19 children killed.  The field’s perimeter matches the footprint of the former Murrah Building.   It is lined by a granite path—granite that was salvaged from the Murrah Plaza.

The Survivor Tree, a 90+ year old American Elm, bears witness to the violence of April 19, 1995, and now stands as a profound symbol of human resilience.  The symbolism of the Memorial is one of the best we’ve ever seen.  On our way back to Ed’s house, Ed drove around Norman, Oklahoma, which is the home of the University of Oklahoma and Judy’s alma mater.  Ed is a graduate of Oklahoma State University and believe me, there is some real school pride in this household!!   You’ll see some examples of Ed’s granite work in the monument for James Garner, the movie star from Norman, and the maps of the city carved in the granite.   This evening, Ed got out our old high school yearbooks and we talked about all the friends from Elberton, what they are doing now, etc.

We had a wonderful day with Ed and Judy.   They are great hosts and we felt right at home.  Tomorrow we’ll drive down to Austin, Texas, to visit our youngest son, Ben, for a few days.

Stay tuned.  Bonnie

2008 - 2010