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

 

 

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Fun muddy day at Crater of Diamonds State Park

Today Sher and I gambled on the threatening rain and went to the Crater Of the Diamonds State Park. We had an absolute blast even though the ground was very very muddy and hard to walk in.

Getting ready to head to the muddy field and begin our search for diamonds

 

Here I am shovel in hand and ready to find one of those huge diamonds shown in the picture next to me

The shed in the background is where you screen the soil for diamonds and gems stones

Little Shop of Horrors is at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre

Prepare yourself, Indianapolis, for the off-beat, dark musical comedy that is Little Shop  of Horrors! The show’s premier was in May of 1982. The Off-Broadway run was a great success, and during that run a star studded film was also produced.

Picture a skid row flower shop struggling to stay in business. Assistant Seymour Krelborn comes into possession of a strange plant. Named Audrey II after the girl of his dreams, Seymour discovers that the strange plant talks, sings R&B, promises fame and fortune, and needs human blood to survive and grow. Starting  in a flower pot, the blood thirsty creature soon is a monstrous size.

Seymour Krelborn (Joey Boos), center, introduces Mr. Mushnik (Douglas E. Stark) and Audrey (Jenny Reber) to his strange and unidentified plant

Mayhem breaks out as Seymour tries his best to keep feeding Audrey II the human blood that the creature demands. “Feed Me!” becomes the mantra for the monster, and the terror for Seymour! Side story lines keep the show rolling along as Seymour keeps loving Audrey, who is stuck in a violent relationship with dentist Orin Scrivello. How does Seymour keep Audrey II alive and well? Let’s say that people start to disappear. Laced throughout the show are some wonderful songs and dance routines.

The B&B production is filled with stage favorites. Joey Boos returns to the Beef & Boards stage in the role of Seymour. Also returning are Jenny Reber as Audrey,  and Logan Moore  as Orin Scrivello, DDS. Douglas E. Stark plays the role of Mr. Mushnik, the hapless owner of the skid row flower shop where Audrey II lives. It is interesting to note that the voice of Audrey II comes from Josiah R McCruiston and Josh Maldonado is the talented puppeteer of the creature. You never see either on stage!

Seymour (Joey Boos) is horrified by the demands of Audrey II

 

It is easy to see why Little Shop of Horrors has a nearly cult status.  The sci-fi hit about a carnivorous plant with world domination on its mind is just too much fun. Rated PG-13, the production does present some violence and graphic references and a touch of sexual innuendo.

Little Shop of Horrors is rated PG-13 and is on stage through Nov. 17. Tickets  include Chef Odell Ward’s dinner buffet, fruit & salad bar, unlimited coffee, tea, and lemonade. For reservations, call the box office at 317.872.9664 anytime between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays. For complete show schedule, visit the Beef & Boards website here.

Camping in the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia

The Monongahela National Forest is a national forest with over 920,000 acres located in the Allegheny Mountains of eastern West Virginia. We recently camped at the Horseshoe Recreation Area in the forest. The campground is at the extreme northern end of the Forest, surprisingly close to not only Maryland, but also Pennsylvania as well.

We drove from the Columbus, Ohio area after meeting up with one of our sons a and couple of grand kids. I must say it was quite the adventure driving the narrow, nearly one lane roads as we approached the Horseshoe campground. We got to the campground mid afternoon. The camp host was very friendly and delivered our purchased firewood right to our site.

Large campsite: I am standing in front of the tent

Starting out on a leisurely hike

Our site was huge! The asphalt pad for our Four Winds RV was long enough for our son to also park his SUV. Large rocks strategically placed did keep vehicles off the grassy areas. A picnic table and fire pit with built in grills added to the comfort of our site, with plenty of room for the tent.

We all enjoyed cooking over the fire, watching the lightning bugs, stargazing at night and hiking some of the many trails. The kids and grand kids took a side trip to nearby Blackwater Falls State Park to see the surprisingly tall waterfalls.

Sher enjoying a relaxing time in the Allegheny Mountains

Our last night at the campground turned out to be quite an adventure. Even though rain had been forecast, the sky was putting on a grand lightning light show. For at least two hours we watched the sky with almost constant lights. No thunder until close to bed time. We had everybody in our Thor! Sher and I had our bed, one son and grandson slept over the cab, another son reclined the front passenger seat, and our granddaughter slept on the bench seat at the table. We have never slept 6 before.

The next morning the creeks and rivers were up and roaring. Remember that narrow road coming in? Well, we were told that it had washed out in a couple of places, so we -returned via a north route to I-70. All in all we had a great time and would consider having a large family get together at Horseshoe Recreation Area.

 

Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story rocks Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre

Everyone received a pair of Holly’s signature glasses in their program. Group photos followed

Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story received a standing ovation after last night’s show. Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre audiences rarely give a standing ovation.  I could stop my review right now. However the show is so great that I want to share more details. This musical is filled with over 20 of Buddy Holly’s greatest hits as well as other numbers from Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper. The show tells the true story of Holly’s phenomenal rise to fame after his first hit “That’ll Be The Day” hit radio in 1957.

Holly is played by Kyle Jurassic, making his debut at Indy’s immensely popular dinner theater venue. Jurassic is no stranger to this role as he has held the title role prior to this production. He has devoted much time to learning about what kind of man Holly was, and this ads a flavor of authenticity to his portrayal of the man with the glasses.

Among  Holly’s greatest hits featured were  “That’ll Be The Day,” “Peggy Sue,” “Everyday,” “Oh Boy,” “Not Fade Away,” “Rave On,” and “Raining In My Heart”.  In addition  Ritchie Valens’ signature song “La Bamba” and the Big Bopper’s trademark song “Chantilly Lace” are also included in the show.

Chuck Caruso plays the Big Bopper and Edward LaCardo is Richie Valens. Both do a great job portraying the characteristics of these iconic performers. Josh McLemore is outstanding as drummer Joe Maudlin. James Daley shows you things you never thought were possible when playing the bass as Jerry Allison. Beef and Boards favorite Sarah Hund shows off not only her voice but her fiddle playing as well. All supporting actors and musicians add to the incredible talent offered to the audience in the show.

Kyle Jurassic plays the iconic title role in Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre’s production of Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story Photo courtesy B&B Media

Of special note is the immensely powerful voice of Tara Conner Jones as Mama Pearl, lead signer at the Apollo Theater in New York. Her electrifying version of “Shout” brings the house down.

There is of course a touch of grief as you know what happens. Holly, the Big Bopper, Richie Valens and pilot Roger Peterson were killed  in a tragic plane crash shortly after the Iowa concert. The news is given on stage with gravity and sadness. However, more music follows leading to a grand grand finale.

Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story is on stage at B&B through August 18th. For tickets, which include the dinner buffet, call the box office at 317.872.9664. For show details, including performance schedule, visit Beef & Boards website here.

 

Ohio’s Kiser Lake State Park

Entrance to the RV park, lake in the background

Sher and I just had a really great weekend at a nice Ohio State Park. Kiser Lake State Park is near Urbana in the east central part of the state. The lake was formed during the ice age when a glacier scoured out the depression that is now Lake Kiser. The lake is a popular stop for fishing, boating and camping.

We met our son and grandson at our campsite. (Our son had made the reservation and invited us to join him for the weekend.) The RV park was clean and very well maintained. Our site was a pull through with an asphalt pad on a slight incline. We had a concrete pad for the picnic table, and a fire ring with a flip grill. Our son and grandson pitched a tent in the grass next to our RV. The shore power box was new with all three services.

Our campsite, tent is out of site on the left

Geese in flight over the lake

Our site overlooked a grassy area next to the lake. There were tent camping sites right on the lake. The view of the lake was beautiful. Anytime of the day you could see the fish breaking the surface of the water. Canadian geese made themselves know with their calls. In fact, the geese were really interesting as they flew in and out of the lake, squawking all the time. There were so many birds to watch at the park. Big birds, little birds and medium sized birds were everywhere.

Really nice ‘bubbling brook’ one of the trails crossed

Recent rains had made a lot of the trails very slick and muddy, but we did enjoy a short hike Saturday. Camping is fun, especially when you can share the time with family. Kiser Lake is a beautiful setting for a weekend of bird watching, cooking over a fire, and peaceful quiet nights. We also saw the Blue Flower Moon as an extra treat Saturday night.

Sher and I were both impressed with this park. Lots of wildlife to see. The lake does not allow motorized boats: oar or paddle driven only. Rentals are available. There are reservations available for some of the RV sites, and some sites are drive up. Note there are no showers and the rest rooms are your typical glorified outhouses. There is a dump station with handy sewer hose wash out hose. There is also a potable water spigot.

Gorgeous end to the day

 

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.