Saturday, August 01, 2015

After the dance

After leaving the dance, a group of us WINs, started heading east to spend 10 months on the east coast.  Our first stop was Port Aransas, TX..  We were to park on the beach and enjoy the sounds of the waves and activities.   Unfortunately, it rained quite a bit.
View outside my window

A gentleman that had just joined the WINs, Bryan,, invited us for a barbeque at his home.  The place was beautiful.

Every morning we exercised on the beach by practicing the line dancing we had learned.
(Can't seem to get the video to post but as soon as I can, I will add it for your Enjoyment)

They had a sand sculpture contest while we were there.  What amazing artists.

Me, Patty, Jean and Lyn

Patty found the bar!

She and Lyn decided to make a run to the liquor store to celebrate the beginning of our trip.

I think we have enough to celebrate for the entire 10 months.

Jean and I decided to go out on our own for a day trip and found this beautiful building that looked like a sand sculpture on South Padre Island.

Going to sleep with the sound of the crashing waves and getting up each morning to dance or see the wind surfers on the beach was fun,  
Yes, we were sorry to leave the beach but it was time to move on.

Before we left the island, Ms. Kitty saw a sign that she wanted to take a picture in front of.

Miss Kitty's Beach Getaway

To get off the island, we had take a ferry. I took this picture for Jean as a record that she did drive onto the ferry and survived.

Just as we got off the ferry, we saw this sign.  I did not know you could rent a tire.

Our next stop was the Crawfish Festival in Beaux Bridge, LA May 1-4

 The festival has become one of the largest gatherings of world famous Cajun, Zydeco and Swamp Pop musicians.  There were three stages with music filling the air from morning to night for three days.  On Saturday we went to a Zydeco breakfast at CafĂ© Des Amis.  We had to be there by 6:30am to get a seat.

We were so early that Lyn and I went down to the coffee shop, it was not open but they let us in to buy coffee. We were told of a jam session that would start around 11 that morning so we decided to hang around. 

While waiting in line, I had a chance to try my hand at playing the washboard.  Don't worry, I am not giving up my day job.

At the restaurant, I had a chance to try Zydeco dancing with one of the locals.(There is a video of me doing Cajun dancing but you will have to wait to see it.  Can't get it to load)

The food was good but the dancing was better.

At 11am, off Lyn and I went to the coffee shop.  The music was great. 
I met a group there that said that they were camping a few streets over and invited me to come over to meet the others.  I dropped Lyn off and headed back .

This was a gathering of the southern regional branch of the National African American RV Asssociation (NAARV)

I met the president of the Northern Florida Campers RV Club and she took me around to meet everyone.

  As you can see they drove the big boys (Class A's).

I was welcomed and invited to stay for the crawfish boil by another Louise

I had never been to a crawfish broil, actually I had never eaten crawfish.  I found it was a lot of work for very little meat.

There was a parade with some great dancing and music by bands and dance troops.

Our next stop was Natchez, MS from May 4-9.  We drove to the Historic Natchez Cemetery, walked to the Natchez-Under-The Hill, and saw some beautiful historic homes.  Jean and I stopped to take pictures by the murals.

I had a chance to go to a wonderful musical event in Natchez, MS.  It was an evening of Robert Johnson performed by Vasti Jackson showcasing the best of the Mississippi Blues.  I enjoyed it more  because of the narration.  A gentleman told the story of how blues began and how one hundred years ago a boy was born in Mississippi dirt poor but would grow up to learn to sing and play the blues and eventually because known as the King of the Delta Blues Singers.
That was a really fun evening.  Vasti Johnson is an amazing performer.

From there we went to Vicksburg, MS from May 9-13. and French Camp, MS from May 13-15.  In French Camp we were given a tour and lunch at the French Camp Academy.  This is a boarding school for troubled girls and boys.  They are given a stable home environment which for some would be the first that they had ever encountered.  They live in small group homes with dorm parents.
  The children have to be recommended by the church or an organization and the children must come willingly to try to get their lives on track.

Jean wanted to see Elvis's birthplace in Tupelo, MS so Gene and I made an overnight stop with her on our way to Corinth, MS.  I have to admit, that the foundation did a good job of telling his story.

Jean and her Elvis

The three of us stopped at an Army Corp of Engineer Park instead of joining the group in Corinth, MS.  Gene decided it was time I kayaked.  Jean has a blowup kayak that seats two,  so we took it out.

Okay, we zigged instead of zagged.

We decided that I should try it by myself.  I found that I really liked it.  Gene stayed close since I can not swim.

I wonder if I can fit a kayak in Miss Kitty too...

The Three Amigos-Me, Gene and Jean

 I left the group in Franklin, TN,  to attend the reunion rally with the RV Dreams.  This took place from May 23-31.  I stopped overnight at the Tennessee Valley Winery which is a Harvest Hosts location.

The purpose of the reunion is to have a lot of fun and meet back up with people that we had met at previous seminars and rallies held by the RV Dreams couple, Howard and Linda.   I had attended two of their rallies when I first started on my adventures.  The first was on fulltiming and the second on boondocking.  

We had a Hawaiian Luau complete with roast pig.
Standing in line ready to chow down

I did not do a lot of excursions but I did go to the Biltmore House in Asheville, NC.  I have been to the area countless times but never went to the house. It was a little over the top but still very beautiful.

For me the highlight was the buffet lunch at one of the restaurants on the grounds and the greenhouse.
Group that ate at the restaurant

Don't you think this cactus looks like a Christmas ornament?? I do.

Evening bonfire

I was having another solar panel and a larger invertor installed by Greg from RV Solar Solutions while I was at the rally.  Greg had installed my original solar panels and I was very, very happy with his work. While he was rewiring the coach so that all outlets were live, he found this inside tire damage.

I am so grateful he found this before I had a blow out.

I had to stay at the rally location until that Monday to get the tire replaced then headed to KY to visit my Aunt, cousin and a family neighbor.  After leaving KY, I spent the night in Morrow, OH at a very fun Harvest Host location called Valley Vineyards. They had live music while I was there and I purchased some very good flavored oil and bread to snack on from the food vendor.  The staff was friendly and helpful.  I would easily stay there again.  Parking was on grass but pretty level.

I am presently in South Bend, IN, waiting on my friend Jean to get here.  I had to get a window replaced and some work done at the Nexus factory.  Jean just brought a new motorhome and I am going to help her get things from her old trailer and into her new home before we catch up with the WIN group in NY.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Bandera, Texas

There are several members of our band that also belong to other RV singles groups.  One of these groups is sponsored by Family Motor Coach Association called Singles International.  They have a dance every year and invite ALL singles to come join in learning new dances, finding new dance partners, and dancing the evening away for 10 days, April 5th to the 16th.

We arrived early to meet Gene since he wanted to show us his Texas. The first stop was San Antonio.
 Gene, Joanne, Cheri, Me, Jean, and Paul

 We took the boat ride along River Walk

The next day, we went sightseeing around Bandera. Everyone wanted to see the blue bonnets.  I wanted to lay in them.
Me hamming it up with Gene, Lyn and Anne


Lyn, Donna, Paul, Jan, Bob, Joanne, Me, Jean

Have you ever heard the song, Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love) recorded by
 Waylon Jennings?   Well, it is a real place.
I am still in shock.  I kept waiting to see this famous town. Little did I know that it consist of a blacksmith shop, general store, dance hall and post office.  How do you like this sign showing us where to park!!!

 The gang- Jan on the bull, Joanne, Jean, Paul, Donna, Me, Gene, Anne, and Lyn
That was a real bull.

The next day we went shopping and to the Bandera museum. They had an exhibition about black rodeo champions that was very interesting.
Bill Pickett invented the practice of bulldogging or steer wrestling.  He was born to former slaves.  He got the idea of bulldogging by watching dogs do the same thing when they were herding cows.  In 1903 when an unruly Longhorn steer tried his patience, he did something drastic-he rode his horse alongside the Longhorn then jumped on the back of the steer and grabbed its horns.  The steer resisted until Pickett bit the steer's lover lip, at which point the steer became downright docile.  Pickett wrested it to the ground with a compliant thud.  He was inducted in the 2010-2011 Texas Heroes Hall of Fame.

Cleo Hearn has been a member of  Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association since 1959.He was the first Black to go to college on the rodeo scholarship.  He also helped establish the American Black Rodeo Association called the Cowboys of Color Rodeo Association, to be inclusive of other cultures.

 Our new love... Quiet and manly

 Everyone told us that we had to go to the Eleventh Street bar.  So off we went, on several evenings.

 Yes... those or bras on the ceiling of the bar.

You have to go on Wednesday because they have a "burn your own" and live music.  So that means dancing.
Wednesday Steak Night at the 11th Street Cowboy Bar

Another reason we came early is because two of our friends had met at the Toucan Jim's Bar in Center Point. They have live music and a pirates theme. If you see their website you will see words like The Islands, Beaches, Tropical Getaway which sounds exciting until you realize that you are in the middle of Texas Hill Country with no beaches for miles and miles. Our friends wanted to celebrate their two year anniversary with friends.  Of course, we had to dress the part.
 Me, Jean, Lyn, Anne and one half of the couple, MJ.

RoadsignToucan Jim's
I know you are wondering when we are going to get to the dance... just hold your horses.

On Easter, there was an Easter Hat Parade.
Me, Jean and Lyn

and we went to the Western Heritage Cowboy Church in  Pipe Creek, Tx. This is a Baptist Church with beautiful singing. When you ask just why a cowboy church, you are told that it is a church coming from the days when in west most started in a barn, an arena or even in a field with cowboys on horseback instead of pews. The Baptisms are generally done in a stock tank.  The sermons are short and simple.  It is common to see a horse tied up out front. However the day I went, the parking lot was full of pickups and only the men wore cowboy boots.

 It was raining very hard so they had the children go out and all adults had to set out the eggs.


That is the largest ceiling fan I have ever seen.

I asked one day if anyone knew how to tune a ukulele because I was having problems.  It turned into a jam session everyday at my rig.  It was such a hit that the SI (Singles International) is making that (the jam session) a part of their schedule from now on.

At the dance rally, there was lessons in everything from Two Step, Cowboy Cha Cha to line dancing.  I did not go to many of the lessons except for the line dancing ones because none of the men that are in my traveling group went. That pretty much means I wouldn't have a chance to practice what I had learned down the road. Another time perhaps. 

The big fun was dress up nights.  One night was pajama night...

Jean, Lyn and Me

Jean, Paul and Me

Will aka Jane and MJ

Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves night...
 Jean and Me

 Jean, Gene and Me

Jean, Will aka Jane and Me.

If you have not guessed, I was a thief

There was lots of dancing

 And eating

Jean, Lyn, and I made dinner for Paul and Bob since they are always helping us with our RV's.  I was in charge of decorating so I decided on a cowboy theme.  I found this plastic ribbon that looked like barred wire to tie the napkins with.

One day we went to a western festival that was in the town.

More to come. It was a fun time.   
Next installment will be about our travels east.