Tuesday, December 29, 2009

SMALL TOWN SURPRISES

Monday, December 28 - We are going to explore Columbus, TX this morning. That should take about five minutes! Surprise, surprise....we spent most of the day exploring this neat little town. There are historical markers everywhere and a tour of many of the historical sites. Marsha is always amazed to see flowers still in bloom.

flowers-still-blooming

downtown-2

The strangest thing is…you can be driving down the road and all of a sudden there is a big tree in the middle of the road. They have the road go around the tree. Now in Ohio, they would just cut it down.

trees-in-middle-of-road

First of all, the Colorado River, the 18th longest river in the United States and the largest in Texas, begins and ends within the state's borders. Since it was navigable from Columbus, the county seat, to its mouth, Columbus became a shipping point for cotton and a stopping place for wagon trains. Colorado County was organized in 1837 by Stephen F. Austin, an early Texas hero. The first Anglo settlers arrived here around Christmas 1821. The town was burned during the Texas Revolution by General Sam Houston's Army as a part of his scorched-earth tactic.

colordo-river

bridge

Are exploration included the Stafford Opera House, the largest flat-floored opera house in Texas. It is now open for dinner theaters, wedding receptions, etc.

stafford-opera-house

Across the street on the corner of Courthouse Square, is the United Daughters of the Confederacy Museum, housed it what was the city's original fire tower. Built to hold water for fire fighting. Its walls are thirty-six inches thick!

daughters-of-confederacy

The Colorado County Courthouse, takes up the remaining part of the town square. Built in 1890, it is currently undergoing some renovation. It was named the capital of the Texas territory by Stephen Austin prior to the City of Austin being named the State Capital. Can you find Paul in the picture?

colorado-county-courthouse

Around the Court house they had many Christmas signs. Each sign was design to fix a certain company in town wishing everyone a Merry Christmas. Marsha took pictures of every sign. Her favorite is the second one below. It is the dentist office. Here are two but you can see them all by clicking this link.

contractors

dentist

The Alley Log Cabin was built by one of Stephen Austin's colonists in 1836. It is one of the oldest surviving structures built during the Texas Revolution, built after General Sam Houston ordered the area’s building be burned to the ground.

log-cabin

We stopped in at Beckey’s Cafe for a bowl of soup lunch just across the street. Excellent Sante Fe Chili and Chicken Noodle Soup.

On the same street corner as the log cabin is the Dilue Rose Harris House Museum. This house was built in 1858. Miss Rose is famous for her reminiscences of early colonial Texas.

dilue-rose

Next door is the Mary Elizabeth Hopkins Santa Claus Museum. Someone told Mary Elizabeth Hopkins that if you have three of more of anything you are a collector. Hopkins was certainly that. Today, her legacy includes a museum that houses over 2000 representations of Santa.

claus-house

We also toured the Tate-Senftenberg-Brandon House Museum. The exterior and interior depict small-town life a century ago.

senftenberg-brandon

The Live Oak Art Center was built by Robert Robson as a small castle on the river and began providing home to local and itinerant artists. Today this beautiful structure provides workshops for all ages, hosting rotating exhibits, and maintains an outstanding permanent art collection.

downtown

We stopped at an old City Cemetery and walked through to see some of the old head stones. Marsha loved this old cemetery. It had so much charm she couldn’t stop taking pictures. If you want to see more, just click here.

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We found a head stone of a Confederate solider that died on Paul’s birthday….only 47 years earlier.

paul-marker

Across the street from the cemetery is the second largest Oak Tree in Texas. It is on private property, but you can walk over and see it close-up. They have steel posts embedded in the ground to hold up some of the lower limbs to keep them from breaking....pretty neat!

big-tree-sign

big-tree-

big-tree-branch-held-up

big-tree-branch-marsha-arms


A surprising little town (population about 3400), with many historical sites and a thriving downtown district.


Tuesday, December 29 – Got tons of “running around” chores to do today. Marsha flies to Ohio tomorrow and wants be to be all set for her absence.

We visited Heinsohn’s Country Store in New Ulm. Operating since 1920, this old-time general store stocks everything from meat-grinders and sausage stuffers to Purple Martin houses and Tex-idermy. We actually found two things we couldn’t live without.

heinsohns

While we were driving back we came across this little guy. We pulled over to watch him eat. Next thing you know he was mooing at us. I think he was saying “Howdy Y’all.” Pretty cool.

cow-eating

cow-moo

We stopped to eat at a Mexican restaurant called Los Cabos. It is right down the road from our campground. WOW! what delicious food. I had the Super Burritos, and Marsha had the Chipotle Tacos with beef fajita. There was so much food, we each took home plenty for supper. We highly recommend this place!!!

los-cabos

It has been a pretty busy three days for us. Marsha is now off to Canton, and I am doing all the odds and ends I saved until she left. Most of the odds are watching FOOTBALL!!!

For more fun photos, click right here.

Happy Trails….stop back soon.

SCHULENBURG AND PRAHA TEXAS

Sunday, December 27 – We pulled out of Rainbow's End, Livingston, TX in route to Columbus, TX. We are staying at Columbus RV Park, which is about 90 miles West of Houston. It is located in the middle of 12 quiet acres within the city limits of historic Columbus,Texas. "Quiet" because it is not on the freeway, and there are no railroad tracks nearby. Obviously, the owners have not stayed in the Park. We hear train whistles several times a day and night. We agree that the railroad tracks are not next to the Park but to say no railroad tracks is a bit misleading. Bella is having a big time here. There is a lot of wooded areas, and a trail in the woods that she just loves. The bathrooms here are so clean and very pretty.

outside-bathroom
Can you tell which on is for the men?
bathroom-columbus
Cleaner than some restaurants!

The campground brochure mentions that we may see deer grazing in or around the campground.....well Bella (our cat) found some animals grazing near our Motorhome.....NOT deer but CHICKENS!!!! She certainly was ready to pounce!....ha ha ha!!!

chicken
Such a pretty little thing
chicken-2
Just strutting her stuff

Here is something you don’t see in Ohio. This is a new mix.

double-shot


We drove to see an original saloon and dance hall in Schulenburg, TX. This was a very old town, with many historic buildings.The dance hall is called the Sengelmann Hall. Sengelmann Hall is a restored 1890’s Texas dance hall, restaurant, saloon, biergarten & Czech bakery. In the saloon and biergarten, they have 14 beers on tap, a lively menu of pre-Prohibition cocktails and a secret recipe Sengelmann Hall Punch.The saloon has a dance hall upstairs. The dancehall features live music and dancing on the original 115 year-old, long leaf pine floor every Friday and Saturday night. Dance to traditional Country, Texas Country, Western Swing, Cajun and Polka music. Unfortunately, due to the Christmas weekend there was no live band today. You know how good a polka dancer Paul is…..LOL.

sengelmann
Original building
bar
Original bar….really beautiful
dance-hall
Dancehall upstairs
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Seating area in dance hall
ice-chest Original ice chest still being used.
original-staircase
Original staircase. Really beautiful

More pictures of Sengelmann Hall.

After a beer at Sengelmann Hall, we drove to Praha. A penniless immigrant from Czechoslovakia, Mathias Novak, settled in the area in 1854 and is credited with creating the mother colony of the many Czech settlements throughout Texas. As time passed, other Czechs immigrating from Europe joined him and the town was given the name Praha which means "Prague" in the Czech language. The town became the center of a rich agricultural area and by the 1880s had a population of seven hundred residents. Today, the Czech colony remains quiet and seemingly almost abandoned except for Sundays when worshipers come from afar to attend services in the church. Praha population is 37.  St. Mary’s Church is located in Praha. This is one of the famous painted churches. Awesome.  They are very ornate, and the ceilings are beautifully painted.  St. Mary's was built in 1895, making it one of the oldest of the painted churches. It is a large, sturdy church. The front fa├žade of St. Mary's is of stone. There is a bust of a crucified Christ in a niche above the main entrance. The bust is painted in realistic colors. It foreshadows the bright painting and exuberant decorating that awaits inside. We were told there are about six of these churches in the area. Have to see how many we see before heading West.

front-of-church
Beautiful outside
cross-in-front-lawn
Outside church
main-aisle
Wooden altar
organOrgan
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Painted ceiling
pretty-ceiling
Beautiful ceiling

More pictures for you to enjoy.

Thanks for visiting. Y’all come back now…..hear!?!

Monday, December 28, 2009

HOLIDAY TIME

Monday, December 21 – Beautiful day. Just hung-out around campground. We did go on a tour of Escapees CARE Center….Continuing Assistance for Retired Escapees. CARE is a Texas-licensed, adult day-care center here at Rainbow's End. Its mission is to provide a safe haven with professional assistance at affordable prices for members whose travels are permanently ended because of age or temporarily interrupted because of health problems. The facility provides older RVers who need medical attention after surgery, a heart attack, stroke, or those who are suffering from other medical issues. You receive three meals per day, a place to park your RV, help with laundry, cleaning, rides to doctor visits, and any support you need. You still live in your RV at night but spend days in the care center, as needed. All of this at about a third of the cost to comparative adult care facilities. They have a neat train set up for the holidays. Check out the additional pictures to see the train.

TV Room
TV-room

Gift Shop
gift-shop

Dining area
cafe

Meeting area
meeting-area

Garden Sitting Area
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Garden Walk
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See additional pictures

Wednesday, December 23 – Texans are proud to say that everything in Texas is BIG! Well, let me tell you about one thing.....when it rains in Texas it R – A – I – N – S !!!!!! It comes down in buckets! Guess it's better than S#&*W! Turned out to be a pretty nice day....but humid.

Have to take care of final preps for departure to Tyler tomorrow morning. Need to go up to the office and pay my electric bill. Moving the bikes over to our neighbors/friends site so I don't have to load them until we return here on the 26th. Putting things in place so they don't roll all over the place and making sure Santa will know where to find us!

Marsha baked some more cookies today to take to Kelly's house. Did some house cleaning and took Bella, our cat, for her daily walk. People around here get a hoot out of seeing her walk on a leash....just like a little dog!

Off to “social” at the activity center to say “good-bye” to everyone, and then we'll play Mexican Train this evening . We'll miss our new friends!

Thursday, December 24 – CHRISTMAS EVE! WOW! We experienced our first Texas thunderstorm over night. Quite a bit of thunder and heavy lightning and of course the accompanying wind. A tornado “watch” was issued for our area....wonderful! No problems but the noise...all was well!

We had to switch to “Plan B” due to severe weather. We were suppose to have storms and WIND warnings so we decided to leave the MH here in Livingston and drive the car to Kelly's. We'll all crowd in with her for the weekend! The important thing is to be together for Christmas!!!!

Kelly and Scott adopted not one but TWO kittens.They are so little compared to Bella. Bella was traumatized by Kelly's two new kittens. Bella spent most of the time in the bedroom trying to maintain her space. A lot of hissing and pounding of her chest!!!!!! We now know where the term “scaredy cat” originated.

Kelly’s kitten, Chloe
cleo


Scott’s kitten, Abby
abby

Christmas Eve church service was AMAZING! We again worshipped at Scott’s church, Colonial Hills Baptist Church. The music, singing, entire service was beautiful. The choir director sang the Lord’s Prayer. Not a big surprise here…Marsha had tears in her eyes. What a push over! After we got back Carrie and Marsha went to work putting out about ten different hour 'droves for us to eat. I ate too much!

Friday, December 25 – MERRY CHRISTMAS! Had a wonderful holiday at Kelly's.......Santa was very good to us!  Scott is a great cook. He started our day out with a super breakfast of French toast, bacon and toast. We had a delicious dinner. He made a Carolina Barbecued Pork….WOW! This was dynamite. He then made a new recipe…Crock Pot Stuffing. I forgot to get the recipe for this one. Marsha is waiting for Kelly to email it to her. If anyone is interested in either of these recipes, send Marsha an email, pmbweaver@gmail.com. She would be happy to send it to you. Carrie and Marsha also contributed to the dinner with salad, rigatoni, and a fresh green bean, mushroom and onion dish.

Marsha, Kelly, Paul, Carrie
family-1

The girls get a Peppermint tree.
peppermint-tree


Chloe gets into the act.
cleo-in-box

Abby follows Chloe's lead.
Christmas-morning

The girls always get lottery tickets in their stocking. This year Santa brought Marsha some Bingo lottery tickets. She and the girls took about an hour uncovering the numbers. Marsha was the big winner….winning $18.00. She even took a picture of the winning card. She thinks we should visit Las Vegas real soon. She feels lucky….Geesh!

lottery-ticket

Eastern Texas has a tradition of shooting fireworks off on Christmas Eve through New Year’s day. It was way too cold for us to do it Christmas Eve night, but Christmas day was beautiful. We got out the sparklers and celebrated like a real Texan does.

The girls had a big time.
k_c-sparklers

Marsha was having a great time.
marsha-sparler


Not sure what Paul was having.
paul-sparkler














See more pictures of Christmas day.

Saturday, December 26 - Returned to Livingston this morning and Carrie went on to Houston. We had a great Christmas at Kelly's........except Bella. Bella spent most of Saturday sleeping. She was so happy to get back to her own stomping ground.

We “chilled-out” the rest of the day in the MH. Watched some football and rested for our travel day on Sunday.

Thanks for visiting. Y’all come back now!