|The girls are all ready for Christmas!|
Only a few days until Christmas! By far, our
favorite holiday. So many memories of the kids growing up. One that comes to
mind immediately is the one where Barb was pregnant with Forrest and Jessica's broken arm was in a sling. Jessica would put out a plate of
cookies and coco for Santa and of course some celery and carrots for the reindeer!
|Hard to believe this was over 30 years ago!|
We always lived in the country and one of our
annual traditions was going out and cutting our own Christmas tree. This was not an event to be taken casually,
it was a 2-3 hour event at the tree farm where we walk through hundreds of trees looking for just
the perfect tree. We would walk and walk and walk…..narrowing our choices down
until we found the perfect one.
Christmas on the road is really hard for us to
get used to. Oh, we still spend hours looking for the perfect tree (well at
least it seems like hours) but now it is at Home Depot and there are only about
20 to choose from.
|Our Home Depot tree|
We hear the Christmas music and see the lights
but with no snow and no family nearby it just does not seem like Christmas.
They still send us gifts but even that too can be a challenge. Last year when
we were in Quartzsite we were able to send and receive packages at Quiet Times.
They are a reliable business that you can send and receive packages from. This
year however things are a bit different. We are a moving target. The kids have
asked several times where they could send packages and there are several things
I would have liked to order but the lack of a reliable place to ship to
prevented both. Since we were always moving, we were rarely in one place long
enough to wait for a package. When we were in one place for a week or more or
when we could predict our location long enough out to have packages shipped to
I could not find a place I trusted to have packages delivered there. I researched
many shipping stores but review after review said they lost packages (even the
UPS stores). So in the end, the kids held onto their packages and I did all my
shopping at brick and mortar locations.
Regardless of where we are or who we are with Christmas
will always be special in our hearts.
Leaving Red and Pam in Junction we headed 4
hours north (and a little east) to Granbury where we were going to meet a friend of Barb’s who had
moved to Granbury a few years ago. Chris and Barb were barrel racing buddies
traveling from Wisconsin to Oklahoma for various barrel races. They had not seen each
other in several years and spent hours over the next two days talking and
|There was our welcoming committee at Chris and Charlie's (Lexi, Gracie & Peanut)|
Granbury is a cool little place. Chris and her
husband Charlie took us on a tour of the town square which was decorated for
Christmas and we went out to eat twice at Hoffbrau Steak House
and Babe’s Chicken Dinner House
. Both excellent restaurants.
Two days was too short and we will be back to
spend more time exploring and visiting the area.
|Chris and Charlie outside of Babe's|
Our next stop was Waco. Since it was only an hour and a half and we were not in a hurry, we took the scenic route.......which was fog the entire way.
Up until a couple of
years ago the only thing we heard or knew about Waco was the Branch Davidian
incident. Certainly not a very good event to be known for. More recently
however, it has gained notoriety for the show Fixer Upper which we are huge fans
of and the main reason we came to Waco.
show has done more for the city of Waco than any ad campaign could ever do.
We camped at the Airport COE Park on Waco Lake
$24/night (Water/Electric) this is a scenic park right on the lake and close to
|Our site at Waco Lake|
Based on what we had seen on Fixer Upper
, we had
envisioned Waco as this quaint, quiet country town. They would show these cute
houses in the city and out in the country and set about remodeling them.
Although the country is very appealing what we encountered in the city was a
different story. What we found was a rather large city that was rundown and
somewhat dirty. Oh, there were pockets of nice neighborhoods but for the most
part….not so much.
Our first stop was the Magnolia Market Silos
which is featured on many of the episodes. Man, was it packed, it seemed like
everyone else had the same idea as we did. A converted grain elevator, the
shops were quite cute with lots of country décor that we envision ourselves
decorating our place with. My sister Carol had given us a gift card for
Magnolia Market last summer so we were anxious to find just the right thing to
use it on. We ended up buying two things; a really nice bottle/vase type thing
(that is how I would describe it) and a jingle bell wreath.
From there we went to Magnolia Baking Company
right next door where we each got a delicious cupcake. The perfect way to end
|Ready for a cupcake?|
Lunch was at Chuy’s. We had never heard of it
before visiting Red and Pam last week but when I asked Red’s brother Greg where
his favorite place to eat was he did not hesitate when he replied “Chewies” (At
least, that is what I thought he said)
when I goggled it, it came up Chuy’s
. It is a Tex/Mex place and there just so
happened to be one in Waco. When we pulled in, the parking lot was absolutely
packed! I ordered a chicken enchilada while Barb got the Stuffed Avocado. Barb is
a connoisseur of Mexican food and thought it was outstanding. I took one bite
it mine and my mouth was on fire, it looks like Barb had her dinner to!
|The Stuffed Avocado meal|
Then it was off to Brazos Valley Cheese where we taste tested some cheeses and bought a few.
Curiosity got the better of us and drove out to the Branch Davidian Memorial and we had to see what was out there. Not much really, it is still an active Church group with several houses behind a locked gate. The sign said, visitors were welcome if the gate was open. Here is a picture of the memorial from the website.
|The Branch Davidian Memorial|
Two days and three hours later we found
ourselves at McKinney Falls State Park
in Austin. We were only able to get a
site for 3 nights so we had to make the most of it! We first stayed at this
park in January of 2015. We remember it well, as this is was the park where we
had one of our most stressful moments as a FT’er and where we learned our second
valuable lesson (our first was Don’t Trust Your GPS
). I remember and can still
see Barb walking away from me in frustrated and in tears because I being
stubborn trying to fit into a site.
was at this park we learned not to try and squeeze into a tight spot just because
you think or know you can do it. Funny thing is when I went back to reread that post it mentioned nothing about this incident. I guess it was something we just wanted to forget!
But back to 2017….. Austin is well known for two
things; food trucks and their BBQ and we planned to take advantage of both. Our
first day we went downtown to visit the food trucks! We were quickly reminded why we have always lived in the country. Austin may be smaller than Dallas, Chicago, Minneapolis and others, it was way too busy for us. We researched a couple of food trucks we wanted to try the first one was Angry Egg Roll. We drove around until we found it, parked and walked over. Unfortunately it was closed, actually we were glad it was closed as after looking at how run down it was and the trash outside, we were not going to eat there anyway.
|Who would want to eat here?|
We went back to the truck and headed over to Torchy's Tacos where the results were much better. We finally got the egg rolls we were craving at the Little Thai Food trailer. Both were excellent and would highly recommend both of them.
Rain prevented us from going out on a planned hike our second day but we did get some Christmas shopping done, presents wrapped and some house cleaning done. Time to swap out the South Dakota clothing for the shorts and t-shirts. The highs have been in the mid 70's and lows in the 60's. The dogs are panting and I am panting. We actually turned on the AC to cool everyone off a little.
We did brave the rain and get out to our #1 favorite BBQ so far in our travels. The Salt Lick
is located in Driftwood Texas and only about 30 minutes from McKinney Falls. A quick check of our blog from when we were here last reminded me to get the sausage and ribs. They allow you to bring your own beer so I brought a couple of Revolver Sidewinders (Thanks Chris!) and Barb brought a Coffee Porter. The food was great and we got out of there under $70 for dinner, dessert and the tip.
|The smell and sight or smoked meats was mouth watering!|
|Very comfortable atmosphere|
Today we head south for Christmas in San Antonio, the River Walk should be beautiful!
You didn't think I could have a post without a deer picture did you? I took this one in Austin