Wednesday, May 31, 2017

A Mini Tour of Hoover Dam -- Sunday, May 21, 2017

Hoover Dam is a popular destination for many tourists, as well as travelers like Herb and myself.  

I break my rule of not taking any/many photos on this trip, as I am so impressed with this project. From where we park the car, we are not able to see the dam and water flowing, but I get as many photos of the water as I can.

From the Orange County Register, I learn more about the dam and Lake Mead.  At full capacity, the lake is the largest reservoirs in the United States.    Even at low levels, due to the severe drought, it is still one of the largest man-made lakes in the country.

Built between 1931 and 1936, the dam is an architectural marvel, and considered one of the seven modern civil engineering wonders.  It spans 1244 feet across Black Canyon and rises 726 feet from the Colorado River.

A guided tour of the power plant includes a view of 30-foot penstock pipes that control the flow of water, as well as massive generators.

We should return on a winter day when it is cooler and take some of the tours.  Today we resume our drive into Las Vegas and to our hotel for the night.

Willie of Willie's Tug,
   and of Walldog, Willie and Jake
   Sunday, May 21, 2017

Change of Scenery in Nevada! -- Sunday, May 21, 2017

OK, Willie, I tell myself, Don't take photos.  You have seen this scenery and have a ton of photos of the majestic mountains, valleys, rivers.  Sit back and enjoy the ride.

Just gotta shoot this one!  I know as we go around the curve, we will see an awesome valley. Camera is ready.

Yep!  There is a scene I like.  Down, down the hill.

And soon we are at Hoover Dam.  

Herb reminds me about previous rides across the dam on the motorcycle, when we were allowed to stop anywhere to view Lake Mead and the power generating structures.  However, the last time we came, we were on the BMW motorcycle soon after Nine Eleven and security was heightened.  There were officials stationed along the road over the dam to keep traffic moving, moving, moving, and we were not able to stop to enjoy the views.

Today it is different.  The road has moved from on top the dam, but has areas to park near the Visitors Center and beyond.  We chose to drive across, then find a parking area so we could walk to the different views.

Did I mention it was hot?  Really hot!  We saw folks walking across the bridge for a vantage view, but the lines seemed to stretch for miles and it would take a really long time for us to do this in the oppressive heat, so we opt to get quick shots and back into the air conditioned car.

Willie of Willie's Tug,
   and of Walldog, Willie and Jake
   Sunday, May 21, 2017

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Pizza! Pizza! as we Arrive to New Mexico -- Saturday, May 20, 2017

Yes, some scenes just need to be photographed, and I really like this NM Department Of Transportation Visitors Center in Glenrio.

Surely there is some Italian in my DNA, because I always want to stop for pizza; Herb does not.  But today we laugh when we see a Godfathers Pizza, as it brings back memories of our daughters Patrice and Vicki working at a Godfathers in Baton Rouge LA when they were in high school.  It was a mile from our house to their school, so they could walk or ride the school bus, but they convinced us that if we would buy them a car, they could get a job after school to earn money for fuel and to supplement their allowances.

So we bought them a quite used convertible that would probably be safe only on the neighborhood streets, and told them in no uncertain terms, that they were not allowed to get on major streets or the Interstate.  

"Yes, Sir; Yes, Ma'am."

So it is many years later when they are adults and we can no longer punish them, that they tell us how they volunteered to drive from Baton Rouge to Lafayette LA -- on the Interstate! -- to another Godfathers to fetch supplies.  Their manager could always count on them.  I suppose the manager gave them fuel money.

Today this pizza parlor definitely needs to be photographed to fondly remember those days.  We also think it is a great place for lunch.  

We laugh again when we see one of the young employees climb on top of the Coke machine -- no proper ladder -- to do some type electrical work.  Is she qualified?  Horrors!  My thoughts are, "Little girl, do your mother and father know what your duties are at Godfathers Pizza?"  Again, we think of Patrice and Vicki.

Lunch is really great!   Especially the Canadian Bacon with pineapple.   Herb enjoys it, too.

We finally make it out of Texas and stop for the night at Gallup NM.  I don't shop here, but enjoy the art.

Willie of Willie's Tug,
   and of Walldog, Willie and Jake
   Saturday, May 20, 2017

Still Not Out of Texas! -- Friday, May 19, 2017

This year I really wanted to take a road trip to leisurely come and go, to see again scenery we saw years ago on a trip in the motor home.  So Herb cancels our flight (which we can use later) and we load everything but the kitchen sink into the BMW.  Auto, not motorcycle.

"Willie, you are bringing too much stuff."  (I probably am.) 

So on the road again this morning, nearing Wichita Falls TX we do run through the rainstorm we had seen west of Ft. Worth yesterday.  The clouds are scattered by the winds, giving us intermittent rain, but we are soon on the sunny side of the system.

I told myself I would not take a lot of photos this year, because then I would have to write a blogpost.  Isn't that the 'rule?'  However, some scenes just need to be photographed. 

So I behave myself and take no other photos on today's travel westward, but when we get to Amarillo TX, I see what reminds me of a cruise with some boating friends years ago, where we went ashore for a hike and visited Ole Man Conover's truck.  It was abandoned, rusty, and our friends' tradition was to have a photo taken inside it.  Others hopped into the bed of the truck, but as I stepped up onto the bumper, that last vibration caused the tailgate to fall -- onto my foot. Ouch, that hurt.

Today I don't go near this truck.

Willie of Willie's Tug,
   and of Walldog, Willie and Jake
   Friday, May 19, 2017

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Finding the Segars -- Thursday, May 18, 2017

Once we catch our breath from being so busy with Sweet Caroline's needs, we turn our thoughts to the fact that since moving from Port Isabel, we haven't seen Joe and Pearl on a 'regular' basis like when they would come to their vacation home at The Point.

So we give them a call.  It is a perfect time for us to come see their new home, one of the three penthouses on the 32nd floor of their building, The Omni Hotel in downtown Ft. Worth.  The view is awesome and Willie gets her camera!  So does Herb.  

Pearl points out their church shown near the bottom and center of the photo below and says it is within walking distance.  It is St. Patrick Cathedral.

We stand on the balcony and look through the glass wall.

They have memories of having lived in Ft. Worth before and Pearl points out  the hospital (then named Harris Methodist) where seven of their nine children were born. Reminiscing further, she tells me that when she graduated from nursing school, she worked at St. Joseph Hospital until she and Joe married. When she went back to work after rearing her children, she chose to work at Harris.

Hearing the name, Montgomery & Ward, really takes me back to my childhood, when in the rural town we had to buy our clothes by mail order and filled out an order form torn out of the back of the catalog, mailing it by US mail.  One had to plan ahead.  No Amazon Prime then.  

The brick and mortar store was also connected to the catalog shipping facility. 

Turquoise is one of my favorite colors and this building catches my eye immediately.  Pearl says it is The Tower, which was struck by lightening years ago, but the engineer said it was structurally safe, so it was converted into condos.

Joe and Herb spend some time catching up, and I grab a photo of Herb talking with his hands.   Well, actually it is only one hand; the other is holding a glass of wine.

The weather news warns of a possible tornado in the area, and we watch the sky as clouds come and go, but thankfully leave us with just a tad of rain.  We walk out on the balcony for more views of the city, but the sprinkles chase me inside.  The storm system stalls to the west of Ft. Worth, so we may have to drive through it tomorrow.

Once the threat of rain is gone, Joe and Pearl take us down to ground level to see the landscaping, and I especially like the fire pit area with its stone steps.  If you walk to the far side, you can see a panorama of the city of Dallas to the east.


Later we get a brief nice sunset when the sun peeks out to share its pinks and oranges below the dark moisture laden clouds above.

Herb adds these photos for me.  The white round dome in the third photo is Ft. Worth's Convention Center.

Their daughter Becky and friend Ron come for Happy Hour and she takes over the kitchen.  She makes cream cheese stuffed jalapeƱos, wrapped in bacon. 


For dinner her entree is pecan encrusted chicken breasts.  The entire evening is so delightful, and we have so much fun no one takes the time to shoot a photo.

Willie's Tug is calling us to Seattle, so the next morning we get an early start on the day's drive.

We don't work very hard on the lighting for the inside photos, but I definitely know who these people are.

Find Willie and Pearl....

Willie of Willie's Tug,
   and of Walldog, Willie and Jake
   Thursday, May 18 2017

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Corbetts Come to Town -- Thursday, March 30, 2017

Five D Steakhouse has been in business in Avinger for many years.  Denise is the manager and agrees to a photo of her checking on a customer's table.

This Spring when we arrive in town, we are delighted to see there is a new restaurant in town, bringing in more business to the community.  I walk across the street to say Hello and the owner, Sterling, and he tells me they are not open yet.  It will be a few more days until all their kitchen equipment arrives.

A couple of days later David, former mayor of Avinger and Texas State Senator, invites us to a Tasting on the day before the Grand Opening.  We give thumbs up to the seafood platter we are served.  And Sterling's signature bread pudding is wonderful.

I am particularly impressed with the decor, and learn that Sam, Sterling's brother, was a professional singer at one time.

On the evening of the formal opening of the restaurant, we are happy to visit again.  We enjoy conversation with folks at the table next to us.

Sam tells me that before he retired, he sang professionally at many places along the Gulf Coast, hence the nautical decor, and poster of Emmylou Harris.

I am amazed at the wonderful voice I hear when Sam sings, and the food is fabulous also!  We will visit again.

Willie of Willie's Tug,
   and of Walldog, Willie and Jake
   Thursday, March 30, 2017

Thank You, Pam! -- Wednesday, May 16, 2017

Are we on vacation yet?

We make one more trip to Avinger to say Goodbye to Sweet Caroline.  

And to Pam at City Hall next door.  She is a good neighbor and friend, and offers to keep watch over the motor home while we are away.

So, who needs cameras Arlo and Barlo!!!

Thank you, Pam.

Willie of Willie's Tug,
   and of Walldog, Willie and Jake,
   Wednesday, May 16, 2017

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Securing Sweet Caroline -- Wednesday, March 22, 2017

So now that she has a new home, Sweet Caroline must be secure for when we travel to parts known and unknown.  Herb tells me we are not done yet, we should go to Home Depot and get fence boards.  I lose count of how many 30 minute trips we make from Avinger to Longview for our supplies.  Boards, nails, -- or maybe that should be screws -- 

Herb places a board between the posts for a spacer top and bottom and says, "Willie, come hold this post straight.  Be sure it is exactly perpendicular to the Earth.  A little more forward.  No, the other way forward."

"Now hold it for a moment.  Push slightly.  OK, great!"

Cuts another spacer.

Lays boards out.

Uses his new from Home Depot screw gun to attach another fence board on the alley side.  The six foot ladder leaning against the building used to live in my closet in Port Isabel for fetching items on the top shelf.  Now it is repurposed.  The level concrete slab 'breaks' into a ramp, and asphalt further continues the ramp to the street.  The dark area is an extension side to side with new black asphalt.  I wanted Herb to paint it beige, but he refused.  -- No, just kidding.  

With the alley side complete, we begin work on the side toward our parking lot and the highway.   Pink caution tape still attached.

This view shows the completed alley side of the fence.

Work on the parking lot side begins.  First you measure.

One more trip to Home Depot for yellow paint for the bollards to warn traffic of the corner, and red paint to renew the "No Parking -- Day or Night" sign on our garage door and driveway.  We are good neighbors, but need access to our property.

While we are away, a camera at the parking lot side watches for motion.  Because it is Arlo brand, Herb names it Arlo.  The camera at the back of the motor home is also Arlo, but I name it Barlo.  It was raining the day I took the photos.

Sweet Caroline winks at us and thanks us for letting her rest.  She has been to Alaska, as far north as Fairbanks, but balked at traveling over the Top of the World Highway from Chicken AK to British Columbia. The unpaved road connects Dawson City Yukon to Tok AK.   We had stopped at a restaurant to ask about the road conditions ahead, and the lady asked us, "Did you like the roads you just travelled?"  We replied, "Not really; it was quite a washboard."  So she advised us to turn around because the road ahead is worse.

Canada is one country Sweet Caroline enjoyed, where Dr. Jake swam in the Yukon River at Whitehorse.  He swam once, but because it was so cold, he refused to fetch the ball a second time.  He told us, "You go get it!"  We had warm towels ready for him, after he shook some water off.

She also travelled to visit David and Patti at LaSerda del Norte, their cabin near Henry's Fork of the Snake River in Idaho.  Many states from Louisiana, then Texas to the Pacific Northwest, including Oklahoma.  Here she breaks into a song, "I've never been to Heaven, but I've been to Oklahoma."

Also to Missouri to visit Dwight and Nancy.

Now we are delighted to have a visit from our friend Donna, who was a neighbor when we lived in Avinger many years ago.  Life has moved us on, but we love these impromptu reunions.

Willie of Willie's Tug,
   and of Walldog, Willie and Jake
   Wednesday, March 22, 2017