A precious gift, and a truly Enchanted Rock

It has become a standing joke that because of my not very good luck at Farkle and Bingo, I am going to have do something like sacrifice a goat in order to win. Naturally I have NO intentions of really sacrificing a goat. However, a gag gift given to me Wednesday night at Farkle by my friends Colleen, Ron, Brian, and Peggy has resulted in me being the proud owner of a tiny plastic toy goat. I was so touched by this funny loving gift, that little goat, who we named Freddy Farkle, is now one of my most prized possessions. The fact they told me after giving it to me they had been searching for 2 weeks for some kind of toy goat for me, makes that gift even more precious to me.

Thursday I headed off to Enchanted Rock with Colleen, Ron, and Brian. There is no way, even if he had 2 good feet, Mr. Grinch is ever going to hike up a huge rock, so I was really pleased to be able to take that journey up Enchanted Rock with 3 good friends. We swung by Walmart first so I could pick up a backpack, and get Mr. Grinch a few things to make sure he had plenty to eat and drink while we were gone. I found a really nifty dark blue, trimmed in pink backpack that says Peace, Love, and Joy on the front of it, and has groovy peace symbols for zipper handles.

I took Freddy Farkle along with me on the trip up Enchanted Rock for good luck. After all, goats are natural born climbers. I am pleased to say Freddy brought us all great luck since we did reach the top of Enchanted Rock without mishap. I even posed Freddy for a couple of shots as we made our way up. And posed him after we arrived at the top with my brand new backpack, and the walking stick I bought when Moonie and I were in Big Bend.

The journey up Enchanted Rock was an incredible experience for me. The views are really magnificent. I did forget to take my good digital camera with me, so had to snap what photos I could with the iPhone camera. Next time I'll pack the good camera in my backpack along with trail mix and other goodies. In a way forgetting the other digital camera was good for me though because it allowed me really experience this fantastic journey on the level I needed to.

I rediscovered parts of myself I thought I had lost along the journey of life while we hiked to the summit of that magnificent rock. As I stood on the summit of it, 2 days shy of my 54th birthday, I remembered that in my impetuous youth I had once climbed to the summit of the great Ayers Rock in Australia. How wonderful it felt to know that all these years later, I could still make it to the top of the largest pink granite monadnock in the United States.

To see more photos of Enchanted Rock, Click Here

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Stonehenge II

Yesterday Mr. Grinch and I went to Ingram, Texas to see Stonehenge II. Stonehenge II was built by Al Shepperd and his friend Doug Hill. Constructed from plaster and graphite-covered steel and metal mesh frameworks this is a more faithful replica of what the original Stonehenge looked like. The finished replica is 90% as wide as the original and 60% the height. There are also 2 13' Easter Island Heads that stand a respectful distance from Stonehenge.

Being able to go to this replica was awesome for me since I have featured a "replica" of the original Stonehenge in The 13th Witch. And that Stonehenge is continuing to be used in the sequel to that. I walked the outer and inner circle, sat on the altar stone, and of course took some pics. I am going to go back there again and spend a little more time walking around the replica, and getting some more pics.

After visiting Ingram we decided to just keep driving around and see what other neat sights we might run across. This beautiful Hill Country is just filled with interesting places to go to. We took The Old Tunnel Road for a few miles, and saw some really beautiful scenery. Too bad Mr. Grinch wouldn't slow enough for me to get pictures that would do it justice. I manage to turn loose of the door handle I was gripping for dear life long enough to snap a fairly decent shot of a really awesome two story house.

Mr. Grinch decided after a few miles he was ready for something to eat so we we turned around and headed to Waring. We intended to get a burger, but they had been so busy they were were out of beef patties so we opted for BBQ sandwiches. Those were some of the best BBQ sandwiches with homemade fries and onion rings I have ever tasted!

As I sit here sipping my first cup of tea this Thursday morning I am once more feeling so very lucky to have found this wonderful place that has so many neat things to see and do. The icing on the cake though is that I was able to end the day by sharing photos and good chat with my friends last night as we played Farkle. It's those good friends really make living here so wonderful. Yes, some of those good friends are only here for a little while before they continue their traveling lifestyle. But, thank goodness we have phones, Facebook, email and messenger services to keep in contact with.

What could be better than living a life in which there are lots of interesting things to do, and fun friends to share those interesting things with?

To see more photos of Stonehenge II click on the photo with this entry.

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BB does Luckenbach, and gets a Fast Armadillo!

What a great day it's been! Took off for a drive to Luckenbach Texas this morning. The scenery along the way was really beautiful. Unfortunately I couldn't get Mr. Grinch to slow down enough to get a decent picture, much less stop. After going past it, then turning around, I made my way into the little Gift Shop that if you are coming from Sisterdale, is after the turnoff to where the dance hall and old Post Office building are.

I was glad Mr. Grinch missed that turn off the first time because while getting directions, I also got a really cool hand engraved with a Drimmel drill while I watched, Fast Armadillo wine bottle. Now, if you are coming from Fredericksburg, then the Gift Shop is before you get to that turn off. No matter which way you go to Luckenbach, be sure and stop at the Gift Shop and get your free Fast Armadillo wine bottle! They have all kinds of other neat gifts and souvenirs you can buy as well.

When we finally got to the downtown loop of Luckenbach, I went into the old Post Office building, which is now a really cool gift shop, and bar. There I politely inquired if those porta potties I saw outside were the only facilities in Luckenbach. I was really relieved to discover that no, there are other real restrooms in Luckenbach. The Ladies room is awesomely rustic, complete with little curtains across the stalls instead of doors.

After my brief trip to the Ladies Room, I went back to the old Post Office building and bought Mr. Grinch a hand made in Texas, big knobbed walking stick that has the words, "Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting...Holy Sh_T, what A Ride!"

I intend to go back to Luckenbach again and visit both the Fast Armadillo Gift Shop, and the downtown loop as well. Next time, Mr. Grinch is going to let me stay longer or I'm going take that big knobbed walking stick and.....

Click on the pic of the Fast Armadillo bottle to see more Luckenbach photos.

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Seminole Canyon

I have been so badly bitten by the travel bug, I spent the weekend happily "camped out" in Seminole Canyon State Park. Larry is convinced I have lost my mind.  As people would pass us on the road he would mumble, "Yeah, my wife is crazy."  Everyone time I saw another RV on the road I would point to it and say, "Look, more crazy people."  There is one RV near our campsite. It belongs to the Camp Host.  Our hosts are snowbirds who are escaping the snow in Illinois by staying here for the winter.  We heard a vehicle around 5 pm, and I went outside to investigate. It was another RV pulling into the campground.  I walked back in grinning and said, "Hey!  That was another RV.  Looks like some more crazies have arrived."

I was pleasantly amazed by the beautiful hills we passed through on highway 285 to Sanderson on our way to Seminole Canyon.  I must get some pictures of those beautiful hills on the way home if possible.  But, if I don't get them this trip, I will the next time we come here.  I knew there was going to be a next time when I took a very short walk after getting the trailer unhitched and set up.  The views all around me are just magnificent.  The heavy cloud cover is preventing me taking a good sunset shot tonight.  With a promise of clearer skies tomorrow afternoon I am hopeful I can get a nice sunset shot then.

The unhitching process went without, pun intended, any hitches.  There were a few moments of amazed unhappiness when the connection holding the kitchen faucet in place developed a bad leak after turning the water on.  We quickly fixed that problem though, and I learned to turn the water connection to the trailer on very slowly at first, and let the air work out of the lines good before turning it all the way on.  Other than that, everything worked as it should when the water and electricity were connected and turned on.  The furnace and little electric fireplace had the inside of the camper toasty warm in no time.  Accompanied with some veggies and bread, the oven fried chicken I fixed the night before made a quick and delicious supper.

Saturday morning dawned cold and cloudy.  After a breakfast of ham and eggs we took off and did a little sight seeing in the truck.  We drove to just outside Del Rio, then turned around and headed back towards Seminole Canyon.  I paid special attention to attention to RV parks on the outskirts of Del Rio with a future trip to Del Rio in mind.  After checking out the
Broke Mill RV park while driving past it, then further exploring the web page when we got to our campsite at Seminole Canyon State Park, we decided on staying there when we come back to Del Rio.

We decided to go to Langtry before returning to Seminole Canyon.  I am very glad we did because Larry took a little side road that ended with a spectacular view of
Eagle Nest Canyon.  On the way back to Seminole Canyon we stopped at a rest area along the way that offered a scenic overlook view. By the time we did get back to our campsite the skies were clear and the temperature much warmer.  Which was good because after settling Larry in with plenty of beer and snacks, I drove to the Information Center, and took the Fate Bell Shelter Tour.  As advertised, it is fairly rugged hike.  Going down into the canyon wasn't so bad, but coming back up all those steps sure got the heart rate up.  The views, and American Indian rock paintings were well worth it though.  David, our guide was excellent, and obviously enjoyed the tours as much as the people participating in them.

By the time I returned to our campsite I was pleasantly tired, and very hungry.  Thank goodness for that left over piece of chicken that provided me with a quick and nutritious snack.  After eating, then resting for a little while I stepped outside and managed to get a few nice sunset shots.  While walking to the area behind the trailer where I took the shots at I saw some deer droppings.

Seminole Canyon proved to be a very beautiful and interesting place to me.  I intend to return again in the spring or fall and take the White Shaman Tour.  If I'm in good enough shape by then, perhaps the Presa Canyon Tour as well.  Hiking into the canyon is only on a guided tour basis, but there is plenty of beautiful countryside all around the campground to hike through as well.  The campsites are quiet, well maintained, and offers water, electricity, a dump site and WiFi.  The campsites are back in only though, and a bit tight, but Larry had no problem backing our 29' trailer into one. 

To see photos of Seminole Canyon Trip
Click Here

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How I Became An RV Convert

My life has taken an amazing turn the past few weeks. I have been on 3 road trips in the last 30 days.  The last one spent in the comfort of our new RV the OverlandTrail Campground & RV Park in Fort Davis, Texas.  Yes gentle readers, BB is now an RV camper convert.  It was spending several days and nights in the comfort of Moonie's Dutchman travel trailer while attending the 2009 Chili Cook Off in Terlingua that made me a convert to the RV way of life.  By the time I returned home, I had already started discussing us getting a travel trailer in my twice daily phone calls to Larry.

Once Larry gave the go ahead for me to start looking for an RV for us, I began to search the internet for a good deal on one.  He figured I wouldn't be able to find one to suit us anytime soon at the price I wanted to pay.  But, thanks to Mike Spencer at
Fun Time RV, I found the perfect RV for us, at a really great price.  Our lovely new home away from home is new 29' Keystone 2008 Summerland 2670BH pull type travel travel with 1 slide out.  It has a fully functional kitchen, and bathroom, a roomy dinette, and a couch so comfortable Larry nearly dozed off watching tv on it one evening. The front master bedroom has a queen size bed in it. Storage space is something I certainly don't lack.  Besides having a carpeted through and trough at the front of the trailer, and a good size "toy box" compartment at the back, there is storage space under our queen size bed, the couch, and dinette bench seats.  There is also a set of bunk beds I have utilized as storage space.  Basically, I have a lot more storage space than stuff at the moment, but I'm working on evening that situation out.

Fun Time RV is great about showing new campers the ropes.  We did a full walk through and systems check in the trailer, then went through the hitch and unhitch process.  After that it was off to the Fun Time RV accessories section to get a starter kit that included a fresh water hose, sewer hose, mirror extensions, and a few other necessary odds and ends. By the time we pulled out with our new travel trailer in tow, I was reasonably sure I could handle hitching and unhitching her, as well as hooking her up to all the amenities. It took Larry a bit to get used to the electric brakes on her, but once we got back on I 20, he relaxed and the drive home went well.

Our first camping trip went beautifully.  Moonie and family were parked beside us, so for the first time in all these years we have known each other, we were temporarily next door neighbors.  Wednesday night's temperature were predicted to be below freezing. Moonie and I earned our eskimo camping spurs when we had to put some back up water in our fresh water tanks, then disconnect the water hose from the faucet and drain it so our fresh water hoses wouldn't freeze during the night.  Thanks to the fact my 50 ft water hose easily reached the fresh water fill valve on her trailer, we were able to accomplish this task quickly and easily.

The water hoses may have been in danger of freezing if we hadn't disconnected them, but we sure weren't.  Though we have a good furnace in the camper, I also brought along one of our little electric fireplaces.  Between the furnace and little electric fireplace, we stayed comfortably warm no matter how cold and frightful it got outside.  Larry had also insisted on us getting a heated mattress pad for the camper, so our bed was toasty warm when we slid between the sheets that first chilly night. And by turning the tv around, we were able to watch it from the comfort of that warm snuggly bed.

Thursday we all celebrated Thanksgiving with a potluck feast that consisted of Cajun turkey breast, Cornish game hens, ham, candied yams, cornbread dressing, gravy, potato salad, and brown and serve rolls.  While the men recovered from stuffing themselves by watching football via the cable tv hook up available at the park, Moonie and I worked some calories off by walking around Fort Davis.  The courthouse looked gorgeous already decked out for Christmas with garlands of holly and big red bows.  Later that evening I enjoyed the lavender bath salts and pomegranate scented soap I bought at Javelinas & Hollyhocks as I took my second bath in our new home away from home.

Friday we took the scenic 75 mile loop drive.  As we wound our way through the mountains I let my eyes feast upon the beautiful scenery around me.  I also hung out the window and took a few pictures and videos.  Mostly though, I simply enjoyed every inch of that drive. Before it was over Larry happily agreed return to this area again in the spring, and take the drive again from the opposite direction.  We also agreed it would be wonderful to camp in the
Davis Mountains State Park for a few days.  This state park has full hook ups, including cable tv, as well as some other scenic drives, which will keep Larry happy. Plenty of hiking trails and viewing areas will keep me happy. And yes, I said hiking.  Those fancy fur lined hiking boots I bought for sashaying around the mall in, are about to really go hiking.  Hell, I even bought a walking stick during the Terlingua Chili Cook Off trip, and will be putting it to good use in the future on some hiking trails.  The hikes will be only be 1 or 2 miles to begin with. But in time, who knows what trail my hiking boot clad feet might venture down some day.

And with our camper in tow, there is no telling what road we may venture down someday.  My goal is to see as many different views as I can through the windows of my home away from home. To roll the electric canopy out, sit beneath its shade, and see mountains, rivers, lakes, and other natural wonders.  Which is why I am studying the maps of the campgrounds carefully, and making notes about the best spots in them.  We had a camping trip planned for Seminole Canyon State Park for December 1-5,  but between stumping my toe so badly I fear it is broken, and a nasty turn of cold wet weather, we had to postpone those plans until my toe gets better, and it warms up. I will put that down time to good use adding and reorganizing stuff in the camper so that when we do get to Seminole Canyon, we will have everything we need.

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The Samhain Sashay

For the past two weeks Moonie and I have been traveling around west Texas, and seeing some of the most beautiful scenery it offers. Some of the scenery we had seen before, and some we hadn't. No matter what the view was, us galavanting girls had tremendous fun watching it. I came back with a ton of pictures and memories that will make me smile for many years to come. The first road trip we took was to Alpine and Marfa to see if the mystery lights would come out and play, and to celebrate Halloween at the annual Halloween Bash at Railroad Blues. We wound up taking a detour to Sonora on our way home to see the Caverns of Sonora. Here are some notes and photos from that first trip.

The Samhain Sashay

The music blaring from the radio was that good old rock and roll. As the wheels of the truck spun us down the road towards Alpine, Texas, we were happily singing along with it. We had high expectations that we could turn this little overnight Samhain Sashay we were taking into a memorable road trip. We were enjoying the scenery after leaving Ft. Stockton, when Moonie looked at a road sign and said, "I wonder why that sign said Sanderson, but didn't mention Marathon?" We had decided to go to Alpine via Marathon so we could drop by the White Buffalo Restaurant and eat lunch.

I pondered that for a moment, then replied, "I don't know. But I don't remember going through Sanderson the last time we went to Marathon. Of course, I'm lucky to remember my own name half the time, so that doesn't count for much."

After thinking about it for few moments Moonie said, "True, but I don't remember this scenery. Especially that one big rock." We both suck at remembering names, but we remember big odd shaped rocks." We continued down the road a little farther and as another sign mentioning Sanderson popped up Moonie said, "I think we can cut across at Sanderson and get to Marathon. I'm not sure though." After driving few more miles she said, "I know that little roadside park wasn't this far down the road. I think we better go back. Maybe even buy a map."

I nodded in agreement and replied, "Or at least ask directions." Moonie slowed downed, then stopped and turned the truck around. Neither us of giving a damn if we had driven a little out of our way for nothing, or not. As long as we finally wound up pointed in the right direction, with Ft. Stockton in our rear view mirror again, we were happy.

A sign we had missed in Ft. Stockton the first time clued us in as to which road we should be on. With a couple of correct turns this time, we were soon headed in the right direction. We thought the scenery not as good as that of the other road, but we hoped to score lunch at the White Buffalo at the end of this road.

We soon found the little road side park Moonie wanted to stop at. Partly because we had recently been confined to short day trips, our definition of Road Trip is not as rigid as some. Anything that involves at least one out of the way unnecessary road stop just to enjoy the view at the beginning of the journey, qualifies as a Road Trip. That criteria had been met. The Road Trip now truly begun. Life was good. After admiring the view, and taking a couple of pictures, we started dancing around like a couple of teenagers yelling, "Road Trip! Road Trip!"

Buffalo Magick

We were to find out how good life was for us when a few more miles down the road, we braked for a herd of buffalo grazing beside the road. The sight of a herd of buffalo grazing beside the road just blew us away. I fought my way through waist high grass, and began snapping pictures. The first one was of the herd bull. He even turned his head coyly and posed for me, then scowled and gave me his profile again when the sight of him awed me so much I didn't snap the shutter quickly enough. I was happy though, and softly thanked him for blessing me with the wonderful moment he had.

I fear he was still muttering, "Silly blonde tourists." under his breath as he ambled off. Moonie was not muttering as she told me come look at the calf. I went to where she was standing and tried to snap a picture of it. Unfortunately the mother seemed to be convinced the camera would steal her baby's soul, and kept it from the sight of lens. I thanked the mother for allowing me the gift she had, and praised her parental protectiveness. Then began to snap pictures of other members of the herd.

I have seen far more spectacular shots of buffalo than those I took. Though none that I will ever treasure as much as the ones I snapped that day. Here, in front of my very own eyes, stood a small herd of incredible animals who once roamed these plains in such vast numbers, it could take days for a herd to go by. I thought of that as I tried to get as many of that small herd into the picture frame as possible, and thanked them for sharing this moment with me.

I felt so humbled, yet richly blessed as I climbed back into the truck. Until that point in our journey, neither Moonie nor I had a clue that a small herd of buffalo existed. To stand so close, and capture within the camera's lens even such a small remnant of these magnificent animals, was pure magick to me.

We discovered after finally reaching Marathon that the White Buffalo Restaurant was only opening in the evenings. We grabbed a delicious burger at the Marathon Bar Soda Fountain, and made a note to visit Marathon one evening in the future. We figured after being blessed with the touch of Buffalo Magick we had just experienced, it would be churlish indeed to gripe too much about missing lunch at the White Buffalo Restaurant because of their evening hours only policy.

A room with a View

After checking a few places out when we arrived in Alpine, and being charmed by the courteous and friendly service of one young man we spoke to, we decided a night at the Hampton Inn was going to be part of our Samhain treat. We knew it was going to be a really wonderful treat the moment we saw our suite. Moonie nearly swooned with delight at the long, set at JUST the perfect height for us, black and white marble topped vanity sink.

After doing a little unpacking, we opened the curtain, settled in around the window, and enjoyed our room with a view. To some who have seen the seven wonders of the world, it may not have seemed much of a view. But, to someone who has been viewing nothing but a big mesquite patch, and a few precious flowers for way too long, it was lovely. It had trees, mountains, and a couple of horses. What more could one who would also be remembering some of her dearest deceased equine friends that Samhain eve ask for?

As we sat and chatted about our room, and the great service we were getting, we both had blonde moment, and couldn't remember if the young man who checked us in was named Jeremy, or Jeffrey. We decided to call him concierge J, until we could remember, or find out which J name was right.

Moonie was also amusing herself reading some of the pamphlets that were in the room. The peaceful easy silence that had settled in was suddenly broken when she exclaimed, "Don't get too comfy. They have free cookies in the lobby in the afternoon! We can ask concierge J about that lap tray, and find out which J name is right when we get our free cookies."

I had become instantly enamored with a wooden lap tray that had been sitting on the bed we had decided was mine. It had big handles for grabbing it, elastic straps at the corners, and best of all, a comfy little padded cushion attached to the bottom of it with some velcro. I had mentioned asking J if the Hampton Inn would sell me one as soon as I saw it. After all, stealing it from them after being treated so well by them seemed terribly tacky. Not to mention blatantly obvious if the lap tray vanished when the forgetful blonde who had enquired about buying one checked out of the room.

Unfortunately because it was the weekend, there were no cookies. The good news was because it was Halloween, there was plenty of candy in the lobby. As we happily munched our candy treats I asked J if he could sell me one of those cushioned lap trays like I had found in our suite. I looked pleadingly at him, then dropped my eyes as if embarrassed at asking such a question, checked out his name tag, and made a mental note Jeremy was the right J word. Then gave him another pleading looked.

He said he wished he could, but I would have to talk to the manager first. And that it would depend if there were extra trays in stock. I feared she would deny my request, or there would not be extra trays in stock, and tried to resign myself to having find another lap tray like in the room, somewhere else. I thanked him for his help, then we took the rest of the goodies we had snared from the big candy bowl in the lobby back to our room.

I didn't recognize Jesus

Though the Marfa lights did not come out and play for us, we did have a blast at Railroad Blues listening to some good live rock and roll, and watching the costume contest. The place was so packed it was impossible at times to see the contestants on the stage as they vied for the prize money, which is why I missed seeing Satan. But when Moonie mentioned the good looking Jesus to me later, I slapped my forehead and replied, "Oh hell that's who that guy was? I didn't realize he supposed to be Jesus."

Moonie rolled her eyes at me and said, "Trust you not to recognize Jesus."

We also met a Blade character who's good looks rivaled Wesley's. Marie Antoinette was also there, and kept her head through out the entire evening. There also seemed to be plenty of doctors and nurses in the house, along with several fine looking cowboys. One so tall he had to bend down to enter the building. And though we didn't see them leave the building, Elvis and Priscilla were also there.

We reveled in the company of all those characters, and made merry with them. What a joy it was for us to be in among so many people intent only on having fun. It was well past the witching hour when we returned to our suite, and dawn was close to breaking before we finally quit chattering like a couple of girls at a pajama party, and went to sleep.

I praised the service and accommodations to the woman at the desk the next morning as we were checking out. I mentioned who I was, and that I would be giving the Hampton Inn a rave review in my next blog entry. Then said, "The only gripe I have is I can't buy one of those neat lap trays." She raised her eyebrows and said, "Who says you can't?" I told her Jeremy had informed me I would have to talk to the manager, and it would depend if there any extra trays in stock. "I am the manager." she replied. "And we have plenty in stock." By the time we left the Hampton Inn, Moonie and I both had handy cushioned lap trays.

We left Alpine happy and content with the way our little overnight Samhain Sashay had turned out. Moonie had decided to go home via Marathon, then Sanderson so we could enjoy the scenery along that first "wrong" road we had taken. When we reached Sanderson we stocked up with some fresh cokes, snacks and even a road map. Moonie sat studying the map for a moment, then said, "You know if we went to Comstock, then Juno, we would wind up in Sonora. We've been talking about seeing the Sonora caverns, and now is as good a time as any." I didn't hesitate for a second in agreeing with her. We grinned at each other, then speed dialed our husbands to inform them we would be gone another night. Our Samhain Sashay had not yet ended. The trip to the
Sonora Caverns was just beginning.

Journey to Sonora

After taking photos of some beautiful rock paintings in a small park at Sanderson, we began our journey to the
Sonora Caverns. We would make so many stops and little detours along the way, darkness would fall long before we reached Sonora. But we would not regret one of those stops or little detours because in making them, we saw some superb scenery. Since Moonie had designated me the official photographer on this road trip, not even bringing her camera along, I did my best to photograph as much of that superb scenery as possible.

The first scenic stop along our way was at Langtry. Langtry, Texas, was the home of Judge Roy Bean, and named in honor of Lillie Langtry. I was pleasantly amazed to see how much time and effort had gone into preserving this little piece of west Texas history. The exhibits inside the visitors center were excellent! I loved the old phone ear piece you lifted to start to the hologram show inside the little window into time exhibits. I just wish the holograms had showed up when I tried to photograph them.

I was eager to see what lay beyond the information center, and left it before Moonie did. I took a quick shot of the original Jersey Lilly saloon/courthouse. Then one of a cactus towering far above the white Opera House Town Hall and Seat of Justice building.

Moonie caught up to me at that point, so we stepped back in time, and entered the original Jersey Lilly. We stood and absorbed the ambiance of the room for a few seconds, then I zoomed in on the sign hanging behind the bar. After snapping a picture of it, I angled myself in the corner of the room, readjusted the zoom, and tried for a good shot of the room I was in. Very pleased with what I saw in the preview of the picture, I moved on to the Billiard Room. Drawn to some photos on the wall I studied them for a few moments, then shot a fairly decent picture of those old photos.

No billiard table was in the room, but what was left of the original billiard table legs were resting in peace in front of a sunny little window. I snapped a good clear shot of them, and we enjoyed wandering around the room a little longer. We both knew the history of Judge Roy Bean, and enjoyed discussing it as we walked across the wooden floors of the rooms that history happened in.

We enjoyed our walk through the cactus garden just as much. I snapped a few pics in the cactus garden, but mainly focused on simply relaxing, and taking in the beauty of that well tended little cactus garden. By the time our walk through the gardens was over, we were more than ready to hit the road again and see what other sights we could find on our journey to the underground treasures of the
Caverns Of Sonora.

The next scenic stop we made was at
Eagle Nest Creek. This magnificent creek, also known as Eagle Nest Canyon took our breath away when we first saw it. I walked back across the bridge we had just crossed, taking several shots over it as I did. Then I looked both ways, and carefully crossed the road to take some shots of the other side of it. After previewing the last of those shots I carefully crossed the road again, the joined Moonie on a short hike down closer to the edge of Eagle Nest Creek. We got as close to the edge as possible, then sat for a moment on the edge of the creek, and soaked up the wonderful vibrations all around us.

Had we not seen another awesome sight on our journey to Sonora, we would have been perfectly happy. The road had another surprise in store for us though in the form of the mouth of the mighty Pecos River. We didn't even realize we were crossing the same river that trickles along nearby my house. All we knew at first was there was bridge work ahead resulting in only one lane of the bridge being open. As we sat waiting for the red light to change so we could safely cross the bridge I said, "I hope this isn't a really scenic creek or whatever it is under this bridge, because we won't be able to pull over on the bridge to take pictures with all this work going on."

The light finally changed, and shortly after we began crossing that bridge Moonie exclaimed, "Oh BB! I think this is going to be a very scenic crossing!" She was right, and imagine our surprise when we finally saw the sign at the end of the bridge that told us we had just crossed the Pecos River. Then we saw where we could pull into a place that would allow us to take some pictures of the mouth of this still mighty river. As we stood there and looked over its banks into the hills of Old Mexico, I found myself awestruck at just how far our Samhain Sashay had already taken us.

Not long after crossing the Pecos we discovered a place called
Seminole Canyon. After a quick look around, we both agreed that this was where we wanted to come back and spend a few days and nights in. Our next stop was at the little town of Comstock for some drinks and directions. When we asked about the road road to Juno the man told us Juno no longer existed, but yes, that road would take us to Sonora. He warned us it was a narrow winding road, that the river ran parallel to in many places. He also mentioned deer and other critters being abundant along that road.

We found out very quickly he wasn't kidding about the river running what seemed to be perilously close to the road in places. We also saw several deer along the side of the road. We were enjoying the scenery when darkness seemed to suddenly fall upon us. Moonie remarked it didn't usually get dark this early. And that's when we both realized we had forgotten about the time change!

We were to drive that weird winding road the rest of the way in pitch darkness. Our eyes peeled for deer, and night birds that would suddenly fly up from the pavement. Moonie did a great job of dodging those as we cautiously made our way down that road. By the time we finally arrived safely in Sonora, we were convinced we had just come from the Twilight Zone road. Oddly enough, when we mentioned traveling that road to a store clerk in Sonora, he said, "Oh, you took the Twilight Zone road to here."

As we crawled into our motel room beds that evening we were two tired but very happy women. We had been touched by Buffalo Magick on our journey to Alpine. Had fun celebrating Samhain there. Walked through the buildings that were named after Lilly Langtry. Seen the mouth of the still mighty Pecos. Discovered Seminole Canyon. And survived the Twilight Zone road. Tomorrow we would go deep beneath the earth and discover the underground treasures of the
Caverns of Sonora.

Cave Kisses

Drops of water that fall upon you while exploring the Caverns of Sonora are called Cave Kisses. I was fortunate enough to have received two such kisses while exploring those beautiful caverns. We were also fortunate enough to be blessed with a wonderful guide! Brandy made our journey through caverns a very memorable one. Her love and respect for the caverns very evident as she led us through them.

I found the
Caverns of Sonora every bit as beautiful and awe inspiring as those at Carlsbad. Going through both those caverns was a reminder of just how old our earth really is. And how our lifetime is nothing but the blink of an eye compared to the living wonders still slowly growing beneath our earth.

Sadly, the beautiful and unique butterfly formation that once graced the caverns, but was recently vandalized is a reminder of just how fragile that ancient beauty is. The vandalization of it a terribly sad reminder of just how thoughtless humans can sometimes be. I hope he receives the maximum prison sentence possible for robbing all of us who would have been content just to gave upon it, perhaps photograph it, but leave that natural wonder safely intact for all those would come behind us.

Making the trip the
Caverns of Sonora was well worth it. Even if the vandalization of the butterfly formation made it a bitter sweet journey. The caverns held so many other beautiful sights, one would miss seeing so very much if a person did not make that journey through them because that unique formation is no longer as it was.

My journey through the
Caverns of Sonora is something I will never regret doing. It gave me an even deeper respect and love for the natural underground wonders that caves offers us. It's a very intimate journey, the trails much more narrow than those of Carlsbad. It's a journey through the corridors of time that left me totally awestruck.

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Big Bend Balloon Bash

Big Bend Balloon BashWith a long boring Labor Day Weekend looming ahead of us, I decided to follow Moonie's excellent example, and Sunday morning Larry and I headed to Alpine for the Big Bend Balloon Bash. This little hot air balloon extravaganza has been held every year since 1987. Each morning of the event, weather permitting, a number of hot air balloons rise from the ground and drift up into the sky. This year the thermals weren't very good, and none of the balloons got very high, or far from the lift off area. However, watching those colorful balloons rise as high as they did, and drift as far as some did was an experience I am so glad I decided to try.

Part of what made the Balloon Bash so much fun was that Moonie and her husband were attending it too. While we waited for them to get the room Larry and I had reserved for Sunday night cleaned and ready for us we decided to drive out to the RV park and visit with them. We got lost trying to get out there, but a phone call to Moonie had her where we were waiting to be rescued in no time. While our husbands sat and told tale tales, we headed to the Museum of the Big Bend. After enjoying the exhibits and buying a couple of souvenirs we headed off to do a little more sight seeing, and find the stadium where the Fire Concert would be held that evening.

The Fire Concert on Sunday evening was a very unique and interesting combination of orchestrated two part harmony between music, and the flames put forth from the butane burners that fill the hot air balloons. The sound of the burners going full blast drowned out the music where we were sitting, but the sight of the burners doing their thing to the beat of the music was pretty awesome. And once again, thanks to Moonie's suggestion, I used the video feature of my camera for the first time. The video I kept is at the end of a number, and all you could hear is the crowd clapping in the background as all burners roar at full blast, so I added a little music to the video while preparing it to give viewers a little more of a "feel" of what the Fire Concert was like.

I also took still pictures and videos Monday morning when the hot air balloons were taking flight. I did a couple of voice overs in the finished video so those who have always wondered what I sound like can hear me narrating parts of that video. The first balloon lifted off just as I got out of the truck and started walking towards the area where all the rest of the balloons were preparing for flight. I got a nice little video clip of that balloon going right over the top of my head. I know my eyes were as big as saucers when I shut the video off, then turned around to find a man staring at me. I grinned and said, "Man, that was totally awesome!" The man looked at me like I had a few screws loose and said, "I would have been ducking instead of filming!" And as the still picture by this paragraph shows, while others might have been ducking again, I was busy zooming in under another very low flying balloon.

Click Here to view the video directly from this website.
Click Here to view the video via You Tube

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