Day 36 – Alaska by midnight

texasToday is the start of our vacation….we often get days away, in between events, but during the season…and it’s not the end of the season yet, getting a real vacation is hard to come by.  We planned this trip to Alaska to see our grandkids.  It’s been a year since we saw the little ones and we just couldn’t wait anymore.

We have the truck parked near Dallas so our friends could help us out with watching the cat.  So this morning we got up early and headed out to do some quick errands.  They say that everything is bigger in Texas, so I guess we shouldn’t have been surprised when everything was over the top…everywhere we went.

First stop was a boot repair shop just outside of Wylie, the place looked like it hasn’t seen paint in the last 15 years, probably longer.  I told Big, I had to go in with him.  The place was just as I expected, it was over the top.  I swear if anyone moved anything in the place, the roof was caving in.  Next stop, the WalMart, always a treat, if I could avoid that store, I would, but I needed to pick up some cat food to make sure Callie was handled ok.  Standing in line, I watched one clerk watch another one with the MOST disgusted look on her face before she took over the register, wow! was all I could think.

The next stop was the Starbucks, Big and I both have an affinity for vanilla lattes, but we don’t speak Starbuck.  I can never remember how to order a large –you know the biggest – that’s what large used to stand or, so we ended up with tiny little Frappacinos, because we didn’t know how to order blended lattes.  Someday I might learn how to order, but I have to learn the language first.

Up to this point, I was just kind of in awe at all that I was seeing, and then we hit the McDonald’s drive-thru, always a treat.  The girl who took our order was interesting, she noticed the mud on our Jeep and said “You went mudding with out me?”  We smiled, told her we got the mud in Georgia, she looked back at us and said, and I sh** you not…”that was just incredibly and horribly wong”  Yep, wong! “Next time, you have to take me!”  We smiled and moved to the next window.

I was so happy to get to the airport and get on the plane…let’s hope Alaska is a little less over the top.

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Day 127 – Ode to Beer

brewOur racers and rockcrawlers have the best sponsors!  Not only do they keep them in parts, and funds to travel, but sometimes, they add to the party too!  Pedernales Brewing Company supplies one of racers with beer, now that is a good sponsor.  Each of the Central Series races, Carl regularly comes with a keg of beer, or two to share with the rest of the racers.  We have had dark and light, ale and Hefe, all of it delicious.

When we were in Fredericksburg, Carl arranged a tour of the brewery.  Technically, they are a micro-brew.  In 2012, open only for 8 months, they produced 750,000 cases of beer.  In 2013, they are set to exceed that amount.  Last year they were ranked #14 for microbrews in Texas in production, this year, they will exceed that amount, growing to the #2 or #3 producer.

We were lucky and the owner, Lee Hereford, gave us the tour.  Lee and his brewmeister have put together an impressive operation.  They brew to the German standard, which means only four ingredients can be in the beer:  water, hops, barley and yeast.  That’s it, just four, only when they brew Hefeweisen to they add an additional ingredient in wheat.  Now you would think that with just four ingredients, all beer would taste the same, not true, not true.  Their beers are as individual as any you will find, and I think it’s because they do something pretty special.

Each beer is made from an old recipe, some from the 1800’s, some from the 1900’s.  Each of them comes from a specific location, so to be able to match that beer and that location, one of the four ingredients must be changed to match.  That’s the water.  Pedernales filters their Fredericksburg water to its’ purest possible state, then through research on the part of the brewmeister, the water minerals and salts are added back to match the water that would have originally been in the beer.  One example is a recipe they use from St. Louis in 1910.  The water is brewed, just as the beer would be to match the water that you would have drank in 1910 right from the tap in St. Louis.  I believe that is what makes their beer unique, attention to detail.

So, when you are hanging in Texas, stop by and ask for a Lobo…it will come from the Pedernales Brewing Company and I guarantee it will be great.  Enjoy it and bottoms up…for the rest of you, watch for them, they are growing by leaps and bounds.

Day 348 – Don’t Mess With Texas

It’s seems everything’s bigger in Texas, we just spent a couple of weeks in Texas off and on and have found the bugs to be humongous, even ginormous.  Every time we turned around there was something bigger than before.  I posted this furry caterpillar on Facebook and one of my friends, at quick glance, thought it was a yorkie.  Now, while they aren’t quite that big, the dire warnings we heard about touching these little beauties, we paid attention to.  The Apatelodes torrefacta can cause burning and itching to the skin, thank you to my Texas friend, John for naming the scary bug for me.

Texas bugs

 

I spent a lot of my formative years in Texas, when we moved back to San Antonio when I was in the fourth grade, we moved in to a brand new house in a brand new subdivision on Connie Mack Drive.  We had just come from the jungles of Okinawa, so I thought I’d seen a lot of wildlife already, but nothing really prepared me for Texas.  The first week we were there, I found a scorpion in my closet, horses in the backyard, a snake in the air conditioner…but the coup d’etat was the bull on the front porch.  School had just let out and I was on the school bus, as we pulled up in front of the house, my bus driver refused to let me off the bus.  We sat there for a few minutes staring at the bull, then she took off down the subdivision and dropped off the rest of the kids.  We returned and she dropped me at a neighbor’s house and told me to go straight in, she would wait until I was inside.  After I got inside, the phone rang, turns out my mom had been watching out the window, she was stuck on the inside of the house.  It turned out to be a bit of a wild afternoon, eventually the local caballero came and loaded up the bull and I was able to go home.  I’m pretty sure, I sat at the table and cried that afternoon that I wanted to go home.  The trouble with going home then is the same as I have now, that was it, home is where you are parked.