Texas


Trailside Shopping Ops

Cottonwood campground in Big Bend National Park, Texas, has many usual campground attractions and way more.  We watched coyotes trot casually across our backyard.  Roadrunners scurried a few steps, cranked their tails up and down, scurried, cranked, scurried, cranked. Then a neighbor alerted us of spectacular nature trail sunsets–and shopping.  Not just any shopping, illicit border infiltration shopping! Before we got to the nature trail to peruse the wares, we discovered another shopping outlet on a scenic overlook.  As we took in the view, Steve noticed a man across the Rio Grande who climbed into a boat and rowed our […]


Midnight Raid

Camped along the Rio Grande in Big Bend Ranch State Park, we were pretty much alone in the campground and miles from most everybody.  The night was dark and chilly, so when I heard a clank very near the camper, I stayed in bed and listened rather than leave my warm covers to peer into darkness.  After a bit there was ticking on roof followed by a trill that made me think of a cricket though it was clearly not a cricket. Then there were sprinkles on roof.  Had the ticking only been raindrops?  What could the trill have been?  […]


Discovering Meaning II—Sotol

Mind boggling, the truths archeologists can tease out of an ancient glob. First inhabitants of Seminole Canyon in Texas used bulbs from a yucca-like plant called sotol to cook up portable, storable cakes. Raw sotol bulbs are soapy and painfully gut cleansing. Those problems were overcome by covering them with prickly pear leaves and hot coals to bake, letting them sit for a time before grinding them into meal, adding water and forming them into cakes to be seared on a hot rock. This painstaking process produced a  cake with a dirt/yam fusion flavor. Obviously food options were scarce in the west […]


Crustacean Liberation Cruise 2

“See the lady in the pink shirt? I think she’s from Colorado. She’s got a blog and everything.” I was actually wearing green, so I overheard Emily Ford, the event organizer, pointing a faux me out to her setup team. A retired Water Resources Director and lobbyist from Houston, was also awed that I’d come 1000 miles to the Texas gulf to rescue crabs from derelict traps. Well, excuse me, but Abandoned Lost and Discarded Fishing Gear (ALDFG) kills countless sea creatures every year including dolphins, whales, turtles, seals, and yeah, crabs. Why wouldn’t I want to help? An unexpected bonus came in my being assigned […]


Where To Hear Tunes

What city is the live music capital of the US? Austin? Really? How does Austin out croon Nashville, Branson, and Vegas? Willy, Waylon, and the Boys I guess. Luckenbach is right down the road.


South Padre Sign

Can you give me a clue to step two? Jump?  Head between knees?   Fire!?


What’s it Mean?

This flag on South Padre Island, Texas kept me puzzling for some time. I came up with several ideas, none of which were correct. Thanks to the Historical Flags of Our Ancestors website for providing an explanation: “Thin Blue Line Flag…a testament to the valor of police officers across the country. The courage exhibited by officers in the line of duty is represented by the Thin Blue Line in the center of the flag. The solemn black background acts as a memorial to the lives lost while shielding citizens from danger.” I’m glad I asked.


Galveston’s Rescued Tall Ship

Standing on deck, soaking in the masts, rigging, and other nautical necessities* was extra thrilling after seeing Elissa’s history video.  Built in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1877, she sailed the seas for 90 years and was bound for a scrap yard in Greece when the Galveston Historical Foundation bought her.  It took 4 years just to strengthen her enough to survive the tow ‘home.’  Had the Foundation known how many volunteers, historical craftsmen, and donations her makeover would take, she’d have probably stayed scrap.  Little wonder that Elissa is one of the world’s oldest sailing hulls still in operation. Galveston has to be proud of her as well as their fortitude in seeing the […]


Forth Worth Five

The problem with being a slippery sort is that it’s so easy to slip up.  Kid Curry–the most wanted outlaw of his time and cohort of Butch and Sundance–probably changed his alias more often than his underwear.  He and those he ran with were so careful to ride under the radar that even when they made the mistake of having their picture taken, lawmen spent years looking for someone who could identify them. It was the already widowed bride from the wedding the fellas dressed up for, who finally provided aliases. Even she didn’t know their actual names. I learned the iconic tale […]


Cement Sinker? 2

Concrete seemed not to be the best choice for shipbuilding. Who would have thought? The U.S. government tried using it during World War I because steel was in short supply. One of those ships, the SS Selma wasn’t completed until the war was over, so she was used as an  oil tanker for 11 months.  It wasn’t her fault that a reckless steersman put a hole in her, or that no one knew how to fix it.  She’s still toughing it out in the shallows off Galveston almost 100 years after she was abandoned there. As a shipwreck she’s a grabber. I wish I […]