The Longdogs

The Longdogs
Harley takes his role as navigator seriously!

Pretty Quiet Here

The kids are gone and we all have a period of adjustment.  It's awfully quiet.  Steve and Dave have gone on a couple of decent motorcycle rides.  I've been doing a little cleaning and lots of washing.

My bushes suddenly burst into bloom after a rain the other night.  They have never had so many flowers on them but this year they have a lot more sun since we lost a tree that used to shade them.

My daughter-in-law's mom sent a box of beautiful home grown tomatoes all the way from Maryland.  She packed them in "peanuts" and they arrived just fine.  Some were totally green when they arrived several days ago but are quickly ripening.  Steve and I are doing our best to stay on "top" of them as they ripen but it is hard with Helen not here yet.  Dave doesn't like them because he says they give him heart burn.  I loooooove them so it's a big salad every night and what could be better than a BLT sandwich?
Thank you Helen.

Last Minute Fun on a Hot Day

It's been pretty hot lately so we were looking for an air-conditioned play space and Chacho's and Chalucci's fit the bill.  They have a big playground with lots of places to climb and slides to get down.  We took a young friend of Cameron and Morgan's along and he had just as good of a time as they did.  We normally sit in this room while the kids play but have to admit that it gets pretty deafening with excited kids playing.  So we found out that the next room has huge windows so you can see the kids just as easily.....maybe easier since you are back just a bit further and the noise is much reduced.  Steve is giving them the "rule of engagement" before playtime begins.

Here he is pointing out exactly where we are sitting.  I took the picture through the window so you can see we are very close.

A half order of chicken nachos for $6 was more than enough for all five of us.  The full order is served on a plate about the size of a turkey platter.  This is a half order.  They have lots of other food, lunch specials, etc.

Weekend at Canyon Lake, TX

Since we were unable to get spots at Inks Lake for the weekend, we put Plan B into action and I called one of my favorite Passport America parks, LaPointe RV Resort at Canyon Lake to see if they had room for us.  The front desk said come on down, we should have room so we headed off on a little one hour jaunt to our next stop.  LaPointe RV Resort is actually a membership campground but they do allow Passport America and Escapee visitors to use the park.  They do not reserve spots for either members or visitors so you just have to take your chances about availability of a spot but we have always been lucky.  I do call ahead just to ensure that chances are good though.  They have some spots with W/E/S and some with just W/E.  We actually prefer those as they are in a more natural area of the park.  Some of the members bring their rigs out and leave them so they won't always be occupied.  Here we are all set up.

The dogs are getting a walk before we hit the pool.  They are busy taking in all the old and new smells.  Steve has the poop bags in hand because we are always good visitors.

The members have added posts to hold the horseshoes since our last visit.  The laundromat is at the top of the picture.  Sometimes things are a little "shabby sheek" since a lot of the maintenance is done as projects by the members but we enjoy it anyway.

The kids love the large L-shaped pool.  As you can see, we had it pretty much to ourselves on Friday afternoon.

Steve is checking out Canyon Lake in the background.  The resort has quite a bit of undeveloped property and you can hike down to the lake and swim or boat there if you like.

Morgan is practicing her dives or belly flops.  She is quite proud of being the "queen" of belly flops.

Cameron is perfecting his diving technique.  This was not one of his best ones as he was just getting warmed up.

Since we were here last year, someone painted the pool maintenance building with this really nice mural.  It looked great.

The lake looks much closer than it actually is here.

This is across the lake at the COE day use area taken with a telephoto lense.  Saturday, it was packed but not too crowded at all on Friday and Sunday.

There is another smaller pool that is above the big pool and right next to the clubhouse.  It is reserved for adults only.

There are lots of deer roaming through the park.

LOTS of deer.  I think these campers were feeding them every day.

We had a wonderful time here.  Our original plan was to leave on Sunday but we stretched it out until Tuesday.  The weather was Texas warm but the pool was cool and we were having fun.

Inks Lake State Park

Shortly after our tire trials in Marble Falls, we arrived in Burnet TX and took Hwy 29 over to Park Road 4 on our way to Inks Lake.  If you come up Hwy 281 from the south, you will see a cut-off to Longhorn Caverns State Park and Inks Lake State Park but I recommend going on to Burnet and out Hwy 29.  Arriving from the Longhorn Cavern/Inks Lake cutoff will send you across some very exciting hill country drops......great fun on a motorcycle or car but not so much in an RV.  I've done it both ways and Moby Dick (my F250 diesel) laughs at the hill but there are also a lot more branches sticking out along the road as you get closer to Inks Lake from this direction.  And we all know that branches and RV roofs are not good companions.  Last year it really needed trimming when I went that route (state cut-backs, park road, etc) so I just recommend approaching from Burnet which is also the closest town and has a decent HEB for groceries.   It rained on us a couple of times earlier in the day then cleared up.  We checked in to the park and headed to our site.  We got all backed in but were still unhooking and setting up when a huge deluge hit us.  I jumped in the truck with the kids and dogs and Steve jumped in the 5th wheel since he was closer to that door.  It really came down hard.  Once it quit, Steve and I finished setting up outside.

Inks Lake is a beautiful small lake between Buchanan Lake and Lake LBJ.  While Buchanan Lake is really impacted by the drought, they keep Inks Lake full using the dams since it is such a small lake.  It is also one of the most popular Texas State Parks so be sure you have reservations for the weekends in the summer or you won't get a spot.

We stayed Wednesday and Thursday night and had a great time swimming in the lake, walking around the park, etc.  The ranger said I could come in Friday morning at 0800 and get on a list for any cancellations for the weekend.  That was our plan until Steve talked to another camper near us.  He told Steve that people start lining up at dawn or before and 0800 is just when the office opens.  He said he had gone over once at 4AM and found people already waiting.  Obviously it was time for plan B.

They also have some small cabins with A/C for those without RVs.  Oh, and we could have gotten a spot if we had been a "primitive camper" wanting a tent site in that area.

So I made a phone call Friday morning to another place I like and we packed up and headed out after a leisurely breakfast.

We'll definitely be back here some day soon.

On the Road to Inks Lake, TX

Finally, we packed up the RV and headed north towards Inks Lake State Park.  The anticipation level is running high.  Everyone is psyched.  We stopped for lunch in Marble Falls.  Kids get hungry on a real regular basis whether they are 7 and 9 or 42.  lol.  Back on the road......Steve has such good eyes....he noticed a tire problem that wasn't there when we left San Antonio this morning.  A quick check shows that a belt has let loose.  I do carry a spare and I even have a jack rated for the RV thanks to my husband who added that after had the same problem on the way back from Florida last summer. (I also have coverage that would send someone out to change the tire for me.)   I replaced the second tire in April before I headed to the Rio Grande valley.  So this makes the third tire.  We bought the RV new in 2009 but the tires were 2008 so five years old.....kept covered while parked, no crazing or cracking, belt issues each time.  Tires were checked before each trip and looked fine.  Very actual blowouts or RV damage any time.  We were just going to pull over and check the Internet for a Discount Tire.  I thought the closest one would be back in San Antonio when I spotted the sign a block up the road.  They just opened last November.

We pulled in and they had the right tire.  I thought about it and decided to replace the fourth tire as well if I could negotiate a good enough price.  Deal negotiated......shouldn't have to worry about tires again for quite some time barring road damage.

The dogs got walked and we all waited inside in the A/C.

Somebody worked real hard on these topiaries next door to Discount Tire in Marble Falls.

Back rolling on down the road again........see you at Inks Lake.

Lunch at the Gristmill with "Toby Keith" and Steve

Steve and I were out doing a little sightseeing in New Braunfels, TX and we decided to head over to the Grist Mill restaurant in Gruene.  We were enjoying ourselfs and lunch was great when we couldn't help but noticing one of the young waitresses spending quite a bit of extra time with one of the other parties.  A closer look and we realized that it was Toby Keith.  You just never know who you will run into.  He might have been playing at Gruene Hall over the weekend. 

Steve mentioned that he was very popular with the military because he has made numerous trips overseas to entertain the troops.  Steve saw him on his tour in Khandar.  He decided to go thank him for coming to Khandahar, Afghanistan to put on a concert for the troops there.  He walked up to him and apologized for interupting his lunch but said "I was at Khandahar in 2010 when you did your USO tour and I just wanted to thank you and tell you how much we all appreciated it. 

Toby said, "Thank-you but I'm not him. I'm a look-a-like."  He then googled an article and showed me on his smart phone. I think he was actually embarrassed and I know I was a little disappointed but then it's not every day that you see any kind of a celebrity.

Harley's Big Day

The youngest furkid is now 5 years old.  What's a birthday without cake and party guests?

What do you mean......I have to blow out the candles.....and then all I get is one of the doggy bones from the top of the cake......and no cake?????   What about ice cream?????   It's not chocolate.

Happy Birthday Harley.  Harley is 5 and Willy and Gretchen are 10.

What's New at the San Antonio Zoo????

Terrific Tuesdays!  There are a lot of great things to do in the San Antonio area but Tuesdays are a particularly good day for fun.  Universal City has free movies in the park on Tuesday night.  One of the movie theaters in town has free kids movies on Tuesdays at 10:00 AM, and parking is free downtown on Tuesday nights with lots going on there.  But I digress.  One of the best things going this summer is half price entrance fees at the San Antonio Zoo on Tuesdays.  The zoo is great at any time but you can't beat half price!  We headed out early because we knew it was going to be another scorcher.

Morning is a great time to catch more of the animals out but some of them were already lounging around observing the people.

The big news at the zoo right now is Thelma and Louise.  All the zoo personnel are excited about this.  They told us to be sure we didn't miss seeing "her".  Unfortunately there were spotlights on the sign but you can tell what it says.

This is Thelma and Louise and two of her siblings.  They are in a small aquarium in the big aquarium.  Cooter turtles are very small.  I think Thelma and Louise is probably about 1 1/2 inches across at the most.

One of the neatest things to happen at the Zoo was when we were looking at the hippos.  There is a big window in the side of their pool and they were rubbing right up against the window.  This is actually the side of the hippo's face.  All the kids were so excited.  It was really neat to see them so close.

Cameron was very thoughtful when the hippos moved further down the window area.

There are very cool aquariums full of small colorful fish in the Africa Live exhibit where the hippos are.

The okapis are neat animals.  They look like they are several animals put together.

This wild dog didn't look too friendly but he was very pretty.

Some of the kangaroos were hopping around in between bites of food.

This one doesn't smell so good Dad.

The zoo also had zookeepers giving talks at various locations around the park.  Here we were waiting for the zoo keeper to talk about the elephant.  We waited about 20 minutes but it was worth it.  Lucky the elephant is 53 years old and she has lived at the San Antonio Zoo for 50 years.  This zoo has been around for a whole lot longer....the zoo will be 100 years old in 2014.  Anyway, Lucky performed a number of tricks for the audience based on signals or verbal directions from her handler.  It is completely up to Lucky whether she wants to perform or not as it is all reward based.  She was happy to show everyone her talents.

This is the end of my pictures!   Sorry Judy but I couldn't resist.  At the end of Lucky's performance, her handler filled  a beer keg sized barrel with treats.  It was like a giant kong and Lucky knew exactly what to do with it.  She rolled it and shook it to get the treats out and ate them up before doing it again.

By this time we were hungry too.  Good thing they had a buy one, get one free deal on hot dogs and pop corn on Tuesday too.  Did you have a great Tuesday?