Out of the Deep Freezer, Hopefully!
It was a cold morning with frost covered trees and a beautiful pink/violet sunrise as we drove to Forest City to pick up the unit. Even more beautiful and clear as we looked through our new windshield without rock chips! After two weeks of the influenza virus, below zero windchill temps, and snow & ice it was great to be out and anticipating some warmer weather.
Our unit for this trip was a View. A small one with a Mercedes diesel engine that gives double the gas mileage, 13mpg, from other units. But we cannot pack our "stuff" in the cupboards so there is not a lot of room to move around. It does have a double bed in the back and a sofa bed, but no table. The colors blended to make it look "smart"--Bay Mist/ Calypso Spice/Honey Cherry--even sound good!
Snow cover was gone by the time we were through Kansas City. Flocks of wild turkeys were out feeding in the fields beside the trees. Flint Hills were brown, acres of prairie grassland ponds full of water, herds of cattle, some very small calves, some buffalo, signs showing where the cattle pens and truck entrances were located.
One of the towns along the Turnpike is Council Grove. It was named after treaty negotiations between U.S. commissioners and Osage Indian chiefs were conducted here in 1825. This treaty granted whites safe passage along the Santa Fe Trail. The trail was used to move cattle to shipping yards. Here at Council Grove Native Americans, explorers, soldiers and Santa Fe Trail traders met and camped. It was a rendezvous point for caravans moving west on the Santa Fe Trail and provided both Hispanic and American travelers a place to repair wagons and get provisions. Ample water, grass and abundant wood was available.
Oh, No, rain, sleet and snow! A good place to stop for the night and let it pass!
I-35 South through Oklahoma has a scenic area that goes through the Arbuckle Mountains. The highway was chiseled through the mountains leaving interesting rock walls on either side and a view of the valley cutting through the country side.
Everything is BIG in Texas! Big buildings, Big ranches, Big fields. Wonderful--first sightings of green fields of winter wheat. Motorcycles are out! Convertables with tops down! It is 61 degrees as we drive through Ft. Worth. Back in cactus country! They grow wild here in the pastures and ditches.
Buda, about 17 miles south of Austin, was established in 1881, when Mrs. Cornelia Trimble donated land for a townsite at an International-Great Northland Railroad depot. This area had earlier been settled as part of a Mexican land grant. The common explanation for its name is that it derives from the Spainish word, viuda, meaning widow. The town had gathered a reputation as a popular eating stop for rail travelers. The name may refer to a pair of widows who cooked at the establishment in the late 1800's!
We washed the unit, delivered it to the dealer, Crestview RV Center and took off north and west on Farm to Market Roads and State Highways. It is 90 degrees and sunny. Yes!! Out of the deep freezer!!
Texas Hill Country
You don't think of Texas as having hills, but west of Austin there is an area of rolling hills. It was very dry with burn ban signs posted, no green grass, trees are scrubby and short, water only in the largest rivers, and rocks all over. Many limestone quarries. We saw signs stating,"Blasting Area Active Quarry".
It is interesting to see the wide variety of "gates" to the ranches in Texas. In the hill country that is all you see of the ranches. They use rocks, stones, cement, cedar branches, wood, fencing, gates and design a walled area on each side of the driveway with their ranch name inscribed in the wall or over the top. The driveway winds it's way through the scrubby treas and over the hill.
Large areas are being developed and are advertised for sale.
There is a huge dome of high-quality pink and red granite, that is prized worldwide, near the town of Marble Falls. Quarrying began in the 1880's for construction of the Texas capitol. Even though an unending flow of this material has continued every since, the bulk of the dome has hardly been diminished. There is a roadside picnic area on R.M.1431 just north of town where you can view the quarry. We missed that corner, but did see the pink dome from the highway.
Ft. Hood, a modern Army post covering 339 square miles is located in Kileen, TX. Visitors are welcome to tour the 2 museums on the base. We spent the night at the Super 8 and enjoyed our supper at the China Star Buffet. The food was fresh & delicious. The restaurant was clean. The service was fast and efficient. They have take-outs and delivery service, too. We tried several "new to us" foods--Lobster balls, Potstickers, Bugoli, Green clams and a Sesame ball.
Prairies and Lakes Area of Texas
We are heading north and west into the prairies and lakes area of Texas. Acres of ranch farms with row crops along with prairie grassland for the herds of cattle and horses. Daffodils are blooming and iris is up ready to bud. Mistletoe, a parasite, grows on the trees in this area, too. It is very green even when the trees have no leaves. Yes, it is sunny and 70 degrees!
In the 1850's pioneers like Cleng Peerson and Ole Canuteson brought groups of Norwegians to the area around Clifton along the Bosque River. This is designated the "Norwegian Capitol of Texas"
Creation Evidences Museum at Glen Rose
Glen Rose is located on the Puluxy River just above the spot that it flows into the Brazos River. In the Dinosaur Valley State Park the Paluxy River flows over solid rock that contains the best preserved dinosaur tracks in Texas. The first sauropod tracks in the world were discovered here. It is in this area that human footprints have been found in and around the dinosaur tracks. They are under water now, but in the summer when it is dry they can be seen. Several years ago, we did see them.
The Creation Evidences Museum is about 4 miles west of Glen Rose. Their new building is scheduled to be finished this summer. You can see fossil displays, Acrocanthosaurus bones, dinosaur footprint casts and view a video showing a scientific look at creation. They are experimenting with a biosphere that will show how plants and animals grew before the flood. Because of the atmospheric pressure controlled by the vapor barrier and the pink light that came through from the sun, plants and animals grew larger and lived longer.
North and Home
Evading Ft. Worth we headed north on state highways and FM roads. Two of the towns we drove through, Grandby and Weatherford, were county seats with large historical courthouses in the center of a square. One had a round-about, which is a circle road one way around the square. You keep driving around until you come to the road you want to take.
Because we wanted to be politically correct and diverse we ate at a local Italian restaurant, Luigi's, in Gainsburg. Very clean, good service, good menu selection and delicious food. The Super 8 had Texas shaped waffles for our breakfast!
As we drove north it got cooler. Saw our first snow in Kansas City on the north sides of the slopes. Had a super meal at the Texas Roadhouse at Liberty, Kansas. Be sure to have their baked sweet potato!
We did drive in snow for the last 2 hours and are back in the deep freezer again!
Hall of Fames along I-35
Did you know that you could see the following Hall of Fames as you drive down I-35 from Iowa to Texas???
Agriculture Hall of Fame, Teacher Hall of Fame, Wrestling Hall of Fame, Texas Ranger Hall of Fame, Texas Sports Hall of Fame
Again we Thank the Lord for His provision for us as we traveled and for the opportunity to see His creation in another part of the US!