Snow on the Montana mountains

Driving back to Indiana from Seattle always provides some really neat scenery. We stopped at Deer Lodge, MT to take in the view of the recently snow covered mountains south of I-90.

Snow shining on a sunny day

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Giant pumpkins at Washington State Fair 2018

Sher and I got to go to the 2018 version of the Washington State Fair in Puyallup. We went with our daughter, son-in-law and our 4 year old grandson. The fair was packed with all kinds of “state fair” type stuff, including a large midway, tons of vendors and of course, agriculture exhibits.

Giant pumpkins!

Pumpkin info

We went on the last day of the fair, and the fairgrounds were packed. A good time was had by all, and Sher and I had our first ‘Scones”, a jam filled biscuit type pastry that is a famous item at this fair.

Historic Oxford Saloon in Snohomish Washington

Snohomish, Washington is noted for its historic downtown Main Street stores, restaurants and other businesses. The Oxford Saloon is one of the most popular of the restaurants. Good food at reasonable pricing makes the Oxford a popular place for meals. Live entertainment most evenings attract lively crowds.

Even the exterior of the Oxford is interesting

Every bar needs a moose and a little red wagon

Sher and I had a very nice time at the Oxford. It was a great break from our checking out the shops and businesses on Main Street in historic downtown Snohomish. Hint: Park your car at the bottom of the hill on Main Street. That way when you walk up one side of the street and come back on the other side you’ll be walking down hill to your car.

 

 

Dodge City’s Boot Hill Casino

Dodge City, Kansas portrays itself as one of the historical sites of the old Wild West. In keeping with that tradition, the local casino is called the Boot Hill Casino and Resort. The site layout has the casino flanked by a large event center (for concerts, conventions, etc.) and a Hampton Inn hotel and suites.

We liked the casino. It is small compared to most, however it was clean and the staff was very friendly and helpful. What really stood out was the first time player Free Play program. When we signed up we both got player cards with $10 free play. We also learned that for our next four visits we’d get another $10 for each visit! That’s right, we went back the next day after we checked out of our campground. Yep, we put our cards into slot machines and Bingo! another $10 free play.

Casino entrance

That night we parked in the casino lot. The next morning before we headed out we went back into the casino and, you guessed it, we both got another $10 free play! We both got $30 in free play, and we each have another $20 if we ever go back. Best new player Free Play program we have ever come across.

Off to Seattle via Las Vegas

We are off again on what will be a rather long trip. We are planning to go to visit our daughter, son-in-law and grandson in Seattle. Not ones to take a direct route, we are going from Indiana to Seattle by way of Las Vegas. A quick check of the Rand McNally will quickly show that this is NOT a direct route.

Anyway, we’re off now. Our first day took us through Illinois. We had to stop at Casey, home to all of these “World’s largest” things. Wind chimes, pitch forks, golf tees and of course the largest rocking chair. (See below) Kitty cornered from the chair they were working on completing the World’s Largest Teeter-Totter. I swear they were….

This chair is HUGE

 

 

The Oasis Restaurant on Austin’s Lake Travis

The Oasis has a wide spread reputation in the Austin area. We wanted to check this restaurant out as the sunset views were reported to be spectacular over Lake Travis.

We really enjoyed the view of Lake Travis from one of the Oasis Terraces

The pretty drive to the Oasis winds through the hill country west of Austin. When you arrive at the facility there is parking and a short walk to the entrance to the restaurant. The exterior is interesting and covered with neat metal sculptures.  We arrived around 2 1/2 hours before sunset and were immediately taken to a semi-private room that would seat our party of ten. Our room had a good view out over the lake.

The plentiful veggie fajitas

Two Oasis signature drinks in souvenir glasses

 

 

 

 

 

We started our evening with a couple of signature cocktails in take home Hurricane glasses. Our meals were, in my opinion, very good. Sher and I both ordered fajitas, me the beef and Sher the vegetarian. The portions were large and the food very tasty. The kid’s menu was well received by our youngsters who also appreciated the portion sizes.

Outdoor seating on the many terraces

The Oasis restaurant has seating both inside and outside on a series of terraces built into the side of the hill. All of the terrace tables have a great view of the lake and the horizon where the sun sets. A running photo contest is one part of the Oasis tradition. The evening we went was, to say the least, not very good for an artistic sunset photo.

The Oasis Restaurant has a 35 year history in the same location. Over the years there have been several changes in services offered. Some reviewers have panned the food, however our party was pleased with the quality of our meals. A series of steps was required to get to our tables, but ground level tables are available.

Scenes of San Antonio

San Antonio offers visitors a wonderful list of things to see and do. Our family recently spent a day in this historic city. Sher and I really enjoyed taking our time strolling along the River Walk.

View of the River Walk from a pedestrian bridge

Restaurant on the second floor of this place. River tour boat is docked.

Beautiful and unique tiles on a step riser

The street signs provide great information

Where else would you find a longhorn head mounted on the third floor?

 

 

Corner restaurant offers “Flavors of Texas” in Austin

Our group found the Corner restaurant pretty much by accident. We had just parked our car after our trip from San Antonio, I needed a restroom and I saw the Corner sign a block north of Caesar Chavez Street. The rest of our family in the second car had parked south of the Congress Avenue Bridge and walked across to join us for supper.

The Old Fashioned Burger served with fries

The Corner is one of the newest restaurants in Austin.  It is in the J.W. Marriott hotel and offers both a sit down dining area and quite a lively bar as well. We all enjoyed a delicious and reasonably priced meal. The kid’s menu satisfied both youngsters in our family, no easy feat these days!

Roasted watermelon and tomato vegetarian plate

The staff was most helpful in assisting us with our plans to see the famous bats under the Congress Avenue Bridge. Timing is important when seeing the 1.5 million bats leaving their roost for the night’s bug catching. Location of viewing is of course vital, and the Corner staff helped us with that  too. Here is our bat watching adventure.

The Congress Avenue Bridge and the 1.5 million bats of Austin

Who would think that a winged visitor from Mexico would make such a splash in downtown Austin, Texas. Such is the story of the free-tailed bat. These critters migrate to Austin in March and stay through November. The colony spends each day under the Congress Avenue Bridge and emerges en-mass at sunset. This daily event has become a famous local attraction in Austin.

View of the watercraft waiting for the bats

We planned to see the bats after a day in San Antonio. Because it was a Sunday, free street parking was available if you could find it. A ten dollar garage was well worth the cost. When we got there I needed a restroom and found one at a great restaurant a  block away. The staff at the Corner restaurant where we had supper knew exactly what time the bats would emerge. (Here is my restaurant review.) After supper we walked the two blocks to the bridge. Because it was Sunday the crowds were not large and we walked right up to the bridge rail for a great view.

The bat colony takes flight

A viewing deck was on the river bank for a look up at the bridge. A wide variety of tour boats, canoes and kayaks were in place on the water of Lady Bird Lake waiting to see the show. And what a show it was! The first bats started to fly about 10 minutes before sunset. It didn’t take long for hundreds of thousands of bats to fly out from under the bridge. The sky was filled with masses of bats! This is a fun free attraction that with a little planning requires walking only a few blocks.