Travels With Dick and Judy

Follow us in our trials, triumphs and tribulations, while on the road in our motor home "The Liberty Belle". We chose to forsake the conventional lifestyle in our 3,000+ square-foot home to move into a 40-foot Winnebago Ultimate Freedom. Travel with us as we take you on the road with us in our new lifestyle.
I may grow older, but I'll never grow up!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving Week Celebration

Well, here I go again.  Our blog would have been updated sooner, but I didn’t compose it in Word and, as I was adding the pictures to it, “something" happened and I lost it all.  This time, I’m doing it in Word first; then, I’ll copy it over to our blog.  I apologize for the length, but it brings us up to date.

We had a fantastic week approaching Thanksgiving.  Michelle and Logan drove up on Friday, the 18th, to spend the week with us, and Mike, April and the two boys drove up the following Thursday (Thanksgiving), to spend Friday and leave Saturday morning. Thanksgiving week was full of activities and good family visitation.

The Saturday morning before Thanksgiving, we headed for Waco to the Downtown Farmer’s Market that had its opening weekend.  It was super easy to find and parking was ample but, still, we were not early enough to avoid missing the good stuff.  There were tons of people and I personally was surprised at the variety of meats that were being sold by a number of area organic farms.  Everything from chickens to goat was being sold and we were told repeatedly the turnout was way beyond anything that was expected and, hence, everyone was selling out early.  Product variety was amazing and included honey, jellies, jams, preserves, pickles, delicious-looking mushrooms and mushroom kits, winter greens, flowers, cheeses, nuts, fruit and much more. This is one market we are definitely planning on returning to, only making it an earlier visit. 
Area Honey
The mushrooms were only samples
for the growing kits.  Really looked
yummee good!
Just Lookin'
Barnyard (free range) chicken

We left the market and drove up to Hillsboro to attend the holiday crafts fair being held at the factory shops.  This mall has suffered so badly that only one in five shops is now open, but the fair attracted hundreds of people and it looked alive and well.  Judy and Michelle used this as an opportunity to pick up a few Christmas gifts, and I found  a booth manned by the Lone Oak Winery from Burleson, TX.  There, I picked up a bottle of port to sip with after dinner chocolates.  My initial tasting said “buy it” but, after getting home and having a glass, I realized that I’ve had ports costing less than half of what I paid and tasting far better.  Lesson learned!

We returned to the campground early that evening to sit out on the patio and visit when a group of scouts who were bivouacked here stopped by to invite us to attend a Flag Retirement Ceremony and guitar singalong.  This was the first time any of us had ever seen this and it was really interesting.  After some patriotic songs, the group of scouts gathered around the flag, stretching it out.  One of the scouts with scissors began by cutting the stripes, one at a time and the others, each in turn, would take that stripe to the fire and lay it atop to burn completely.  When one had burned, the process would be repeated, until all 13 stripes signifying the 13 original colonies in their order of statehood had been burned.  Then, the remaining field of blue with its 50 stars, representing the great union this country has grown into, was laid atop the pyre and burned to ashes.  Nothing else was burned in the fire and, when cooled, the ashes were recovered to be buried as prescribed in the scout policy.  Afterwards, the scouts gathered round the guitar and America the Beautiful was sung to finish the ceremony.  As we mingled about afterwards, I was able to pick up some great scout recipes for fruit cobblers in a Dutch oven that I can’t wait to try out!
The flag was held as the stripes were
carefully and individually cut out.
After each stripe was cut,
a scout carried it to the fire to be consumed.

Finally the blue field, with the stars, was placed atop the fire.

Monday, we set out early to go to the Waco Mammoth Site, only to discover enroute that they were closed on Mondays.  I had heard the Mayborn Museum touted as a great replica of the site along with other discoveries, so we headed to Baylor University instead.  It wasn’t nearly as good as the true Mammoth Site, but Logan was given the challenge of a “scavenger hunt” for informative  tidbits and this, as well as their gift shop, kept his interest up for the duration.  On the whole, though, I felt the best part of the museum was the entry to the exhibits where a fossilized mammoth skull and tusk was suspended above a glassed-in case housing a “baby” mammoth and a 19-foot skull from a humpback whale that was discovered in South America were displayed. 
Those guys were BIG!!
Mammoth babies were the size
 of large dogs
19-ft. skull from a whale

Pre-historic turtle

A model of the original dig


After leaving the Mayborn Museum, we drove downtown to The Dr. Pepper Museum where the original Dr. Pepper was bottled and sold.  It was pretty neat, but I would have liked to have seen the actual bottling operation in action the way it was back then.  A real point of interest was all the other soda companies under the Dr. Pepper umbrella.  Jones Sodas, which includes “Turkey and Gravy” and “Candied Sweet Potato” flavors, all of the “Crush” sodas, and many other root beer brands.
Site of the original drugstore and plant
Judy had to buy our way in

The Pharmacy
Turn of the century soda fountain 
Need anything be said?
Ice-cream float break
It's scary, but I remember these.  And it's in a museum...
Our next stop was the Texas Ranger Museum.  This was an interesting exhibit that  featured some of the more famous Texas Rangers.  Sorry folks, but Walker was not one of them!  Here again, Logan was presented with an informational scavenger hunt that kept his interest up and gave him an education on the Rangers.  One thing I found amusing was a display of Bonnie and Clyde.  The museum displayed a picture (I have an original that I picked up a number of years ago.) of the guns that were taken from the couple when they were killed.  The display seems to lead visitors into believing they were captured (killed) in Texas.  If you read the really fine print under the picture, you see that they were actually ambushed in Louisiana…Oh, well…!
Logan wanted to practice his art

Bonnie and Clyde's legacy

On Tuesday, we headed for the Dallas World Aquarium that we had heard so much about.  This is a “must see” for anyone visiting the Dallas downtown area.  Not only is this a phenomenal aquarium, but it has a great series of zoological exhibits that top some we have seen in actual zoos.  For Michelle, the highlight was the live manatees, which she was able to view from only inches away through the Plexiglas enclosures.  For photographers, the presence of Plexiglas enclosures, rather than wire fencing, made capturing images as though in the wild much more pleasurable.  I think Judy’s pleasure here was seeing the way Logan bounced from one display to another, thoroughly enjoying himself.  All of us liked the “tunnel” under the aquarium that allowed you to sit and let the fish (sharks, saw fish. rays, turtles, etc.) swim all around you.  This was “quiet fun” as well as an educational place to visit.
Dallas World Aquarium
Candidate for the "Ugliest Bird" Award

On the way home, Logan developed a persistent, hacking cough that developed into a low grade fever later that night.  We attacked it with Musinex and Tylenol (children’s) and the next morning it was entirely gone.  We did take it easy, though, just as a precaution against its return for the whole day.
Judy and I had to work on Thursday but, since she took the first shift, I began preparations for the campground Thanksgiving dinner .  It was a potluck dinner and she and I were to bring a dirty rice dressing and Shelly wanted to make her green bean casserole from scratch.  Charles had me close up early and we all gathered in the rec room to give thanks and share the meal.  John, Joan, Charles and Mindy supplied the turkey, gravy, a delicious cornbread dressing and Logan’s favorite, candied yams. Jodie, Carl and Jerry showed up with some really good deviled eggs, and Valerie and Austin brought a corn casserole that her Aunt had made.  All-in-all, it was a super Thanksgiving get-together.
While dinner was going on, Mike and April arrived and April came over to the rec room to meet everyone.  Colby pulled a “shy" guy on everyone while Ben was “Mr. Personality.”   Valerie went out to get “Wilber”, her pet miniature hog.  I hate to say it, but this was the cutest little thing ever.
This is Valerie with Wilber
Although we had to work Friday, I had prepared a stuffed pork roast Wednesday and put it on for our family dinner here on Friday night.  Friday was a day for "catching up" and talking about "things" while the kids played and the adults talked.
Joe stopped by with Friend for a brief visit.
Morning gossip between "sisters"

Friday morning breakfast
He gets to read to them now

As Mike’s usual custom, he and his family were packed and ready to leave early Saturday morning and were on their way.  Later on Saturday, Dave, a long-time family friend, stopped by for a planned visit and treated Logan to some special tattoos (a sideline business he started).  Before leaving for Dallas, he and Shelly went out for a bite at “Up In Smoke”, a local bar-b-que place up the road with some really good food and pies.


The process begins
Prep work

Why does school have to be two days away?


Sunday morning, Michelle and Logan were packed up and ready to roll on back to Houston by the time I got up.  Strangely enough, she only left behind a couple of items this time.

Until next time!  ~dick~