An interesting sky and old time transportation

Sometimes Nature puts on an interesting show, to say the least. One day the sky over our RV resort displayed a set of wispy and stringy looking clouds. I had to snap a couple of shots.

Deep blue sky painted with wisps of white

Soon after you enter La Hacienda RV resort you will see a couple of neat old wagons. These coupled with a longhorn outline provide a neat piece of Texas atmosphere and ambiance.

Looks like a chuck wagon

Love the sign: “The Original RV”

You know you’re in Texas!

We’re enjoying our stay here at  La Hacienda RV Resort. Lake Travis is nearby, as are good restaurants. Austin is reasonably close as well.

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Gloria’s at the Domain in Austin

Let me explain: The Domain is a large upscale shopping, dining and residential complex in Austin, Texas. Our daughter recently flew in from the WestCoast for a business meeting in the Westin Hotel at the Domain. She had a few hours before her flight back  so we took advantage of the opportunity and met her at Gloria’s.

My two best girls enjoying time together

Gloria’s is a sophisticated and upscale restaurant a block or two from the Westin. We were seated immediately after we got there. Sher and I had a delightful visit with our daughter, catching up on all the news of her husband and our 5 year old grandson.

Good food at a decent price

Gloria’s offers a great menu. We all found items we liked, portion sizes were fine and everything tasted great. The service was attentive but not overbearing. For a nice, quiet and private place for a family get together, I don’t think we could have found a better place.

 

Nancy’s Sky Garden in Austin is a hidden gem

Want to eat healthy? This restaurant in Cedar Park is truly a hidden gem. The menu is unique, to say the least. You pick your protein, pick your carb, pick your veggies, and finally pick your dressing. Get ready for a totally different, delicious and remarkably filling meal that you can consume with no regrets.

Signature plate. So much good stuff here!

Signature Plate protein choices feature varieties of chicken, fish and tofu. Don’t want protein? No problem. Veggies include rainbow salad, with fresh fruit. For your carb you have the choice of sweet potato noodles, baked or a tasty purple rice. Top it off with one or two of seven different dressings.

The smoked salmon Poke bowl featured a very generous portion of salmon

Other menu items include poke bowls with fish on a bed of veggies, purple rice, seaweed salad and other delicious items. In addition, soups, prism rolls, MixMix and Buddha bowls are also part of the unique offerings at Nancy’s Sky Garden. And don’t miss out on the hot and iced teas.

Store front at the Cedar Park location

This dining experience is most enjoyable. Look for all four Austin area locations at Nancy’s Sky Garden website. You won’t be disappointed.

 

Bull Creek Park in Austin

Bull Creek Park is rather small, (48 acres) but is large in activity. Trails criss-cross the park, however Bull Creek itself is the highlight. The limestone riverbed, flanked by even more exposed outcroppings bring the Wow! factor into this delightful green space. We visited with family on a warm Saturday afternoon.

A beautiful Saturday

Natural water slide into a deep swimming hole!

Hiking and swimming are two of the favorite things to do at Bull Creek. I can imagine this park is packed with water seekers during the heat of the summer. We had a most enjoyable time walking along the river.

Enjoying Austin Texas for a while

We made the trip from Indiana to Austin in a few short days. We had some fun stops along the way including the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas.

    Our site is very level gravel with a nice concrete patio including a picnic table. We are very close to the swimming pool laundry and all of the facilities.

We are going to be here at the La Hacienda RV Park and resort for a couple of months. We are looking forward to exploring the area. From what we have read it seems like there is a lot to see and do in and around Austin Texas.

The park has two swimming pools one of which is this delightful adults only pool complete with nice hot tub

 

 

Haunted Hotel in Texarkana

The Grim Hotel in Texarkana was built in 1925. At the time of its construction it was considered an architectural marvel of the day. With its massive ornate lobby, upstairs ballrooms and highly elaborate room furnishings it soon became a hotspot for the rich and famous.

The original sign still clings to the rooftop of this now rapidly decaying building

There have been many reports of paranormal activity in the hotel both during the times it was opened and since it was finally closed in 1990. Many famous and infamous people have visited here including Bonnie and Clyde.

This shot shows the massive size of the eight story structure. A recently posted sign states that by 2021 the building will be completely remodeled and filled with apartments for rent

 

Volunteers build an RC (Remote Control) car track in the RV park

A group of remote control (RC) car enthusiasts at the Park Place Estates RV park decided to pursue the construction of a track at the park. The RC car hobby is fairly big in the Rio Grande Valley, as I’ve been told there are at least eight other parks that have an RC track for competitions and the fun of running.

Over the past few weeks a bunch of guys got together and built the track. About 90 yards of dirt was trucked in, walls set and a rather extensive covered platform for participants was built. The talent of these guys is very apparent in the final product.

Proud Sign

Make an adjustment

It’s been fun watching this project progress during the construction. It’s more fun to watch the guys race their cars. These cars really fly.

Very nice covered platform

Port Isabel Texas and a birthday

Yesterday Sher and I had a fun day. It was my birthday (I’ll admit I’m over 30) so we decided to celebrate a bit and enjoy some sightseeing. We started with birthday lunch at the Harlingen Olive Garden. They give you a free desert on your birthday, and we enjoyed the lasagna chocolate cake after a great meal.

The lighthouse with the keeper’s cottage to the right

Then we drove down to Port Isabel to see the light house. It has not been in service since 1905, but remains an important attraction. The keeper’s cottage next door is a recreation of the original and houses some interesting displays and the local Chamber of Commerce.

Sher with a rather unsavory pirate

As we had just had lunch, we did not go to any of the restaurants. The Pirate themed one looked interesting, but was not open. There was a long fishing pier and several charter boats at the docks. It was interesting that when we got to Port Isabel, the sky was clear. However the fog rolled in while we were there. You couldn’t even see the long causeway bridge to South Padre Island.

I had to get into the act as well

There are several shops  around the lighthouse square. The shops included many local artist’s creations. There were original paintings and prints of the same available. The jewelry selections included nearly all types and styles. There was even one shop where the artist was making chainmail. Yes, like the medieval armor chainmail made with small rings of metal.

After the fog rolled in

All in all we had a great day, and I thoroughly enjoyed my birthday with Sher.

 

 

Bascilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle is a National Shrine in Texas

The Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle is a remarkable place in the Rio Grande Valley. The Basilica has a fascinating history that traces back to the 1600’s in Mexico with a reported miracle. The current location has been the sight for pilgrimages for decades.

The bell tower

The Sanctuary

 

 

 

 

 

Sher and I decided to go to the Basilica on a Sunday for mass. The Sunday schedule has masses all day, with Spanish, English and bi-lingual. There is a mariachi band providing the music on Saturday and Sunday masses. We opted for the 3 o’clock English mass. The mass was very inspiring.

Free Holy Water fountain

First Station of the Cross

The sculpture on the back sanctuary wall

When we arrived, the 1 o’clock mass had not yet let out, and the parking lots were very full. I was able to find a handicapped spot. The complex has lots of support facilities. There is a hotel for pilgrims and a very large gift shop. We went to the gift shop as we had time before the 3 o’clock mass. The gift shop was filled with about any kind of religious item you can imagine. The stations of the cross are set up along a beautiful path that winds through the grounds.

When in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas you should consider a visit to the Basilica. Read up on the history and other information before you go. This is the website link.

Jason Coleman keeps Floyd Cramer’s piano genius alive

Jason Coleman is the grandson of famed pianist Floyd Cramer. If you don’t know Floyd, you do know his music. Sher and I were lucky enough to hear a concert by Jason at the Park Place Estates RV Park where we are official Winter Texans in the Rio Grande Valley this year.

Jason on stage

Coleman puts his music heritage out there with a dedication and sincerity that he gets honestly. His show not only is performing classic songs, but also a fascinating  look into the history of Floyd Cramer’s signature style of piano. Cramer’s piano is heard on just about all of the greats of country and rock from the fifties and sixties and beyond.

I had a nice chat with Jason

Applause from the large crowd rippled through at the start of most of the pieces Jason shared with his audience. He personality and the nostalgia of the music is magic. Not only did Jason play the tunes, but he also shared some poignant video of his time as a young man with his Grandpa Floyd. These clips included his performances with Floyd on TV.

Of the entertainment shows offered at the park, we both agreed that Jason Coleman’s performance has been the best.   I recommend that you check his website here for his concert schedule and available CD’s.