Monster machine

This thing was LOUD when in operation!

A couple of years ago Sher and I were visiting our son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter in the Austin area.  We found an RV park  reasonably close to the family’s home. This campground was at the time in a major expansion project.

The pictured trench digging machine was in use during working hours. The dolomitic rock was not exceptionally hard, so no jack hammering was required, but this trenching machine really was loud and shook the ground if you were within about 40 feet or so. I did enjoy watching this machine operate.

Remember the Alamo… and other stuff

We’ve been to San Antonio a couple of times. Once was over New Years and was it cold! However, San Antonio is a wonderful spot to visit. The River Walk gives you a chance to stroll along the river and have a great meal. You can also take a fun boat tour of the river.  There’s lots to enjoy along the River Walk.

View of the River Walk from a pedestrian bridge

It was a nice warm day to explore downtown

The Alamo, a special place

 

 

The Alamo is just one of the many historic sites to explore and enjoy. Be advised the  Alamo is one of the most important and revered places in Texas. No pictures are allowed in the edifice. And men, be sure to remove your hat upon entering.

 

Pirates on the Gulf

We spent the winter of 2019 in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. Our RV Resort was located in Harlingen. One of the many day trips we took  was to the quaint town of Port Isabel. This was two years ago. All of the election brew haha was yet to come, and of course nobody was imagining the tragedy of the pandemic that was still over the horizon.

Sher with a Port Isabel pirate

I had to get into the act as well

 

 

 

 

 

 

Down on the Port Isabel waterfront we came upon some, ah, mean looking pirates. Not ones to miss out, we could not pass up the photo ops. With a hearty “Arrr, matey” and a “shiver me timbers” the images above became part of our photo record of the day.

A little over a year ago

Here is a look back to February 9, 2020. The concern over COVID was growing, and we were within a couple of weeks of leaving our RV resort near Austin to head back to the “safety” of our place in Indiana.

Solstice Outdoors is a unique gallery

Out side of Dripping Springs, Texas in the Hill Country near Austin is a thriving landscape design business that also doubles as a place to view and purchase unique outdoor artwork. Solstice Outdoors Ltd. is based in a former ranch home surrounded by 2 acres of what is now a whimsical display of outdoor works of art and decoration.

Solstice homestead

Outdoor fire pit complete with pyramid and butterfly seating!

 

 

 

 

 

Through an online mobile search Sher found this place while we were prowling about the Dripping Springs area. Thanks to google maps we soon found this surprising gallery of both indoor and outdoor craftsmanship. Each of the rooms in the house were used to display local artist’ works, including jewelry, tapestries and pictures.

Another metal man

Bull/man iron soldier

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By far the most unique part of Solstice is the “backyard”. As soon as you go out into the yard you are greeted with a variety of ‘creatures” in all sizes and materials. The company offers landscaping design and construction. Walking through the grounds was like walking through an outdoor arts garden.

This face is kind of creepy

A different media for a longhorn!

 

 

 

 

 

Often we don’t have a set itinerary some days when we explore an area. It is always an adventure to find things by just driving around looking for signs, or hitting up the mobile search for “things near you”. The day we found Solstice Outdoor, Ltd. was one of those days.

Jester King Brewery in the Hill Country of Texas

This time last year we were staying at an RV Resort near Lake Travis west of Austin. The first rumblings were beginning to be heard about some kind of new virus that was killing people in China, and it had already shown up in the Seattle area in the US. We were still enjoying our winter in Texas, appreciating the tag “Winter Texans” instead of “snow birds”.

Brew tasting at Jester King Brewery

One activity that we enjoyed while in Texas last winter was visiting wineries, breweries and distilleries. One brewery we liked was the Jester King Brewery. This is a brewery, restaurant, farm and event center. Even though it has an Austin address, the establishment is closer to Dripping Springs, in the Hill Country. We sampled some brews and bought a couple of take out growlers. This is a nice facility, worth a stop if you’re in the area. This is the Jester King website.

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema schedules Planet of the Apes

Full size statue from the from the 1st movie

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is a nation wide chain of “dinner and a movie” entertainment. While they are closed due the COVID-19 restrictions, their website still shows a scheduled showing of the 1968 cult classic “Planet of the Apes” for August 30th this fall. Whether this showing happens remains to be seen.

Sher and I and our Austin family went to one of these theaters during our Winter Texan stay this past year. The seats are large and comfortable, and the table for your dinner is more than adequate. Food was good, too. We saw and enjoyed  Little Women.

Anyway,  I wanted to show you the huge statue in the lobby of the theater we went to

Ad for an Ape movie marathon

in Austin. The statue is from the actual movie Planet of the Apes. I asked one of the employees where it came from. Turns out the owner of the theater chain also owns the rights to the Planet of the Apes franchise. There were movie posters for all of the Ape movies displayed in the lobby as well as ads for an APE movie marathon of the original five movies.

Have you seen the Planet of the Apes movies? Can you name the original five titles? Might be a good topic for a “stay at home in isolation” set of trivia questions. Stay safe, dear readers. Don’t go ape!

 

Texas distillery now at 100% hand sanitizer production

Treaty Oak Distilling in Dripping Springs, Texas is one of the best whiskey distilleries in the Hill Country west of Austin. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, has shut down their restaurant and their distillery. To at least keep some income coming in, Treaty Oak is now only producing hand sanitizer.

According to KXAN TV, the NBC affiliate in Austin,  on March 26th reported that the FDA is allowing distilleries to produce hand sanitizer. It must be at least 80% alcohol, have no other ingredients and be in a bottle with appropriate labeling. Starting next week Treaty oak will only produce the sanitizer, thus allowing some employees to remain working.

Last November we visited Treaty Oaks Distilling. Little could we guess back then that this distillery would be in the fight against a killer virus. You can read about our 2019 visit here. 

Remembering a distillery visit in Texas

I thought it was time for something different than a post about the COVID-19 pandemic. Allow us to share a few photos and text about a nice local distillery we visited during our winter residence in Texas a few short weeks ago.

Fast Eddy logo in neon

The Hill Country near Austin is home to several breweries, wineries and distilleries. Near Dripping Springs one will find the Fast Eddy Vodka distillery. We stopped there one day near the closing time. The place was absolutely packed as there were the normal amount of cars and two huge tour buses that had filled the place with folks.

 

 

 

The bar of course had samples of the many varieties of flavored vodkas bottled at the facility. There was a very large distillery room with lots of tables. We looked at the merchandise, but did not really find any shirts we liked. Our purchases were limited to a couple of glasses with the Deep Eddy logo.  We passed on samples as we had been out all day visiting breweries. I was not really in the mood for even a sample of vodka.

Here is the Deep Eddy website. Notice that now the place is closed due to, you guessed it, COVID-19 restrictions. When we go to Texas in the future, we do plan on visiting Deed Eddy again.