Saturday, February 18, 2012

Texas fun....from Bill

Texas came in like a lion and we hope it goes out like a lamb. After visiting Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico we headed out just after the rain stopped, but I guess we were going faster than the storm because we caught back up to it in Texas. We were on our way to Hamlin, Texas to visit Pam and Derrel, friends from the Philippines that I hadn’t seen in about 30 years. Our route had us taking some back roads, that didn’t look too bad on the map, but when we turned off the four-lane road and onto the narrow two-lane-with-no-shoulders-and-lots-of-trucks-going-70-with-a-strong-crosswind road, driving the RV became a harrowing experience. It was white knuckle time for about 25 miles, then toned down to just driving at night in the rain on country roads. Against all odds, and with only one U-turn, we arrived safely in Hamlin and parked on the street in front of D&P’s guest house. Let the fun begin!

We hadn’t been there half an hour when Barb Baillie, another friend from the PI that I hadn’t seen in 30-some years, called from Maui. I answered the phone and had some fun with Barb before giving up who I was. Coincidence or telepathy? We’ll never know. But we do need to plan a trip to Maui very soon. That evening we caught up on the last 30 years, drank some yummy rum drink that Derrel learned from his son (rum, ginger beer, and something else), and enjoyed a delicious venison stew prepared by Pam. Terrific night and we went to bed exhausted.

The next day we went to the lower forty (or rather 160 to be precise) to visit the “man cave.” Derrel bought a quarter-section about 20 miles outside of town to use for deer hunting. He built a large storage shed on it, half of which he turned into a game room (the man cave). We road around the property on his ATV and a converted golf cart and watched a beautiful sunset. Much beer was consumed and the wild hog that I was supposed to shoot never showed up. It was a blast. And then we went back for another special crockpot meal prepared by Pam. We were experiencing some very special Texas hospitality for sure.

The next day we were off to Austin to visit my brother Kurt. That was not to be, however, as Bebe wouldn’t start up after we had stopped for gas outside of Abilene. We had to get towed to a Ford service center to get a new starter. I had to pull Bebe back out of the gas station with the Subie so the flatbed could get in front of her. Watching Bebe on the back of that truck was almost as bad as the drive into Texas. The folks at the service center were great and had us back on the road in no time. Meanwhile, Derrel and Pam had gone to their Lake House, about an hour south of Abilene and on the way to Austin, so that’s where we went to spend the night.

We had another great night with the Texas land barons and after breakfast we were on our way to Austin; Smithville actually, just a bit east of Austin where brother Kurt and Chrissy were waiting with much food. Obviously, Texas is not the place to go if you’re looking to lose weight. It had been about 10 years since Kurt and I had been together, so there was lots of catching up to do. Kurt played some music on his guitar, the doves flew around the house, and Chrissy served up a delicious meal; one of many we’d be enjoying with them this weekend. After breakfast on Sunday we did a walking tour of Smithville, which didn’t take very long and we ate, and ate, and ate. Love this place.

Monday was a work  day for both of us, but there was much music to be enjoyed in Austin, so we made plans to drive into town to see a show. We had a quick dinner and drinks at Maria Maria then went to Antone’s for the Blues Jam. Lots of great music, highlighted by a chubby 12-year-old that played a mean guitar and had a stage presence that could get him into the final round of American Idol. On the way home, we almost got wiped out by a guy that fell asleep at the wheel and after just missing us, went bouncing off the retaining walls like a pinball with car parts flying all over the place. We called 911 and checked to make sure he was okay (which he was) before heading very carefully home. Phew.

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