We’re those people. You know, the ones who stay home on holidays because they don’t like traffic. It worked out well for us because we ended up being able to sit in our loveseat recliner, along with the dog, and watch the campground 4th of July fireworks through our front window…with the AC going. Pretty smart, right?
This past week has been filled with cleaning out unused items in the motorcoach and putting up fresh produce in readiness for our departure this Wednesday. We’re so looking forward to getting out of this humidity and into cooler weather.
We took the motorcoach in for its annual inspection and we were in and out in 15 minutes and the cost was half of what it costs to get a car inspected. So, all in all, it was quick and painless.
What wasn’t quick and painless was when I opened the pantry door after getting home and getting knocked on the head by a can of tomato paste. To add insult to injury, I then opened the cupboard where our dishes are…only to have the bowls and saucers come flying out and shatter into a zillion pieces. Yes, a zillion pieces. I had glass shards from the front of the motorcoach to the bedroom. I couldn’t believe it. I’m through with Corel dinnerware. This has happened before when a plate has dropped and, then when a ceramic knife was used to cut an apple and instead cut the plate in two. It won’t happen again!
Saturday found us walking through Old Town Montgomery with the kids and grandkids. The town was celebrating being 175 years old. We’ve seen the guys pictured above play before…usually sitting on the porch of one of the antique stores here in town…playing cowboy songs from the 40′s and 50′s. It reminded us of when we were kids and things were simpler and people seemed to like each other better than they do now.
The temperature was 94 degrees but felt like 115 with the humidity. Addie & Luke found the swing on the porch of the Rhinestone Cowgirl. They were hot and the slight breeze from the swing helped just a bit as it gently rocked back and forth. In fact, we all seemed to be mesmerized by the swaying motion…nodding our heads in time, bodies rocking side to side and watching Luke’s eyelids slowly close, then open a bit and drop back closed.
Truth Disclaimer: I have to tell you that we were all ready to fight Luke for room on that swing.
As with all celebrations there were stalls selling crafts, veggies, flags, etc. And, you just know that there was BBQ…Kickin’ Ash Cookers BBQ! We didn’t get any because we all ate Tex-Mex before touring the town. Remember…we’ll be gone from our favorite food for a couple of months and we’re getting it while we can.
We got another confirmation from the RV park where we’ll be staying confirming two adults and one furry child! Maria has been a huge help in answering questions and we’re looking forward to meeting her and her husband.
Next week’s blog will be from Angel Fire and we are excited about getting into cooler weather and seeing the sights. I’m doing subliminal suggestions to the Pilot that we get a hammock to use while in the mountains! We both love New Mexico. Well, not as much as Texas and thank goodness no one’s asked us to choose! Hopefully, we’ll see some of you on the road.
Stay strong and steady with the wind always blowing at your back
as you travel down the road to your next adventure.
Until next week…keep creating Sentimental Journeyz in your RV.
Are we in heaven? We were on our way home Friday and noticed the marquee at the KOA where we home base. Our eyes lit up when we saw the word BBQ. There was going to be a BBQ cook-off on Saturday. And, if that wasn’t enough excitement they were also having a car show!
The Pilot said, “It looks like the fun is coming to us this week!” With that thought we were ready for it all to begin.
We saw this red canopy, complete with tables, chairs and big lights, late Friday afternoon. It looked like it was the main party tent with music being played and people gathered already having a lot of fun.
Early Saturday morning I walked Bella outside while yawning. That yawn turned into a long drawn out “Ohhhhhh!” I was surrounded by the smell of dozens of smokers going full steam. I wish I could have shared that delicious aroma with you.
The park had filled up and it seemed that every pick up truck had a load of wood spilling out of it’s back. Looking across the park I saw men sleepily drinking coffee while half draped over the picnic tables. They’d been up all night tending their fires. Okay, some looked a little hung over. Hey, it’s hard work watching a smoker all night!
I headed out a little bit later to take a closer look at these smokers. I was impressed with all the different ones that were here for the cook-off. However, this log cabin smoker was my hands-down favorite. I introduced myself to the people sitting outside and that’s all it took before my hands were filled with samples of brisket and ribs. They tried to get me to take a shrimp taco but I didn’t have room or more hands to hold it all!
This is the side of the camper complete with a smoker and kitchen area. That was the biggest smoker I’d ever seen. They were smoking 4 briskets, 3 slabs of ribs and 4 chickens for the competition.
At the front of the smoker/camper was a small counter area and bed. But, most importantly, an air conditioner. These are serious competitors.
Just down the street I was greeted by a couple of M&M’s. They were challenged to make sure they didn’t “melt” while smoking the meat!
I moved on past the smokers while munching on a rib. I needed to get over to the car show before it ended. This 1935 Buick seemed to call me over to admire it’s beauty. I have to tell you I was really impressed with this car. Can you imagine its history? It kind of makes you feel glamorous just looking at it.
There’s something about luggage racks on the back of a car that has always intrigued me. This is a pretty spiffy little red car.
Can you imagine passing this on the road? Can you imagine all the wrecks or near wrecks from staring at it? I wish I could tell you the make and model but I forgot to even look!
This is the car that made the Pilot drool. It’s a Shelby Cobra 427. Does anything more need to be said?
This appears to be a 1936 Chevy Coupe. I didn’t have free hands to write things down (please refer back to the BBQ rib saga.) so I’m going on memory.
We made our way back home, pleasantly worn out from visiting all of our “neighbors” in the park. Bella seemed happier than usual to see us until I remembered why…I’d tucked away a slice of brisket in my pocket. Smart dog, isn’t she?
I have to admit the heat has made me lazy and almost a complete recluse. I mean, who wants to leave the comfort of the RV to go out into weather that sizzles and cooks your meal at the same time? I prefer my eggs either cooked in olive oil or boiled in vinegar water to give me a perfect hard-boiled egg. Cooking on pavement or the hood of a car never held any appeal to me.
However, I was ready to get out when the Pilot got back from visiting up north. So, we ventured out for dinner on a couple of occasions this past week. In that vein, let me tell you about a couple of places we tried that are close to where we’re staying at the KOA Campground in Lake Conroe, Texas.
We went back to Vernon’s Kuntry Bar-B-Q because we’ve become hooked on their food ever since finding them while looking for storage units. It fits our criteria of a hole-in-the-wall and, that’s said in a complimentary way.
“If you wanna go and have a good time without getting too fresh, try going to the hole in the wall” Urban Dictionary
“A place that’s off the beaten path, nothing fancy but, welcomes everyone. Food resembles home cooked and served on either paper plates, brown paper or chipped dishes. Red plastic baskets are optional.” Medley Criteria
The first thing that happens when you go to Vernon’s Kuntry Bar-B-Q is to find a parking place. The parking lot is usually pretty crowded because others have discovered this long time establishment.
Side Note: I specifically used this restaurant’s full name again so as not to confuse you with Vernon’s Kuntry Katfish…just up the road, whose food is every bit as good.
It’s hard not to take in the whole place once you walk in the door and not just because it’s a small place. It’s filled with friendly help and has a line of people waiting to order their food. It has a eating area with a lot of tables that extends to the outdoor porch, attached at the side of the small building.
Once you’ve placed your order, from the list on the four blackboards nailed to the wall behind the counter, you grab your drink and find a place to sit.
All the tables are furnished with the requisite salt, pepper, catsup and hot sauce in a six-pack, devoid of the beer…the bottles long since drained. Alongside that is a roll of paper towels that you are surely going to need while eating.
Your appetizer is already waiting for you at your chosen table. A red tin pail, filled to the brim, with peanuts in the shell is waiting invitingly for you to partake. You plunk down your drink of choice, grab a paper towel, then a handful of peanuts and start conversing with whoever is joining you for this feast. In this particular instance it’s the Pilot who’s smiling broadly. He loves peanuts…and beer.
By the way…it doesn’t matter if the shells miss the table and hit the floor. Vernon’s just isn’t that picky that they’ll shoot you a dirty look for messin’ up their floor. They expect things like this to happen. They just want you to be comfortable and satisfied.
About the time you feel like you’re getting full from the peanuts, your meal arrives.
All of a sudden you’re hungry all over again. All that’s missing from this sandwich is the coleslaw that you ordered alongside it. Once that’s on, you’re all set to sink your teeth into a little bit of heaven.
Someone puts money in the jukebox and country music drifts from the speakers adding to the already friendly ambiance. This is Texas and this is living. Before long, your little red basket looks like this:
When you leave, you’re smiling. You know you’ll be back again…soon. Cause, now you live just up the road from this marvelous hole-in-the-wall.
Because the hot weather is lingering, she said tongue-in-cheek, we went out another night to a place just up the road in the other direction. It’s called Ransom’s Steakhouse and Saloon on Highway 105 in Montgomery, Texas. This isn’t a hole-in-the-wall but more like a walk-back-in-time place.
You can belly up to the bar either inside or out. They, too, have an outside eating area with windows to the inside and bar stools pulled up close. The only thing missing from that outdoor bar were horses tied to a hitching post.
The ambiance in this saloon fits the decor. It’s lit by antler chandeliers, while country music plays in the background, not overwhelmingly loud but enough to get your toe tapping in time to the music. Again, this is Texas and that’s the way it’s supposed to be.
The restaurant has ceilings pieced together from slabs of tin. Those same slabs cover some of the walls. Long rows of tables fill the room just like out of a western movie. You think that maybe John Wayne might have liked this place.
As we were waiting for our dinner, my eyes kept roaming all over the walls. Different animals were mounted at various intervals interspersed with signs proclaiming all sorts of things Texas.
I’ll write more on Ransom’s after we go back on a Thursday. That’s the day that they have specials on prime rib…and, we plan to partake of a couple.
These are just a few of the reasons we are such loyal Texans. We love this land and we love the people. This is Texas…and, that’s the way God intended it to be.
It’s rodeo time in Houston and and you can feel it in the air and see it everywhere. Our friends, Sal & Patty Gambino, tell us that it was originally called the Fat Stock Show & Rodeo. Patty & Sal, would know. They’ve been involved in the rodeo since the 1970’s. We’ve only known it as The Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. We’re glad the name has been changed because some of us feel vulnerable when we hear “Fat Stock.”
Sal has served on two of the many committees that the rodeo has. Since 1970, he’s been on the Scramble Committee and, in addition, served on the the Hospitality Committee since 1975. Sal and Patty also rode with the Sam Houston Trail Riders for twelve years. They would start from Montgomery, Texas and ride the 90 miles to Houston. Sal said that the Sam Houston Riders Association would have different places blocked out for the riders to stay at the end of each day, such as ranches along the route. Two of the horses they rode were named Thunder and Lightening. Those names might make you think twice before mounting them!
Sal talked about how much fun they had and the great memories that were made. Yes, they’d party along the way. So much so that one of the riders tied his horse up to a parking meter and forgot him. Horse and rider were eventually renunited.
The Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo begins this year on March 1 and ends March 20th. It never fails to excite even the most jaded. People come from all over the country to see it. People even come from out of the country to see it. You’ll wish you wore more comfortable shoes if you decide to see what we’re talking about!
Planning for the next year’s rodeo kicks off the day after the current rodeo ends. There is no rest. There is no breather. Just getting in there and getting it done. The committees immediately start planning for the next year so that every detail is in place for the final production that everyone has come to expect…and enjoy. There are committees that meet on almost everything from the Agriculture Committee to the Western Championship BBQ Committee. There are approximately 74 committees. This isn’t a small time set-up kids. We’re playing with the big boys…make that big cowboys…and girls!
Rodeos have existed for over 100 years and came to be featured at the Houston Livestock Show in 1932. It features all ethnicities and is known for its famous calf scramble for the young kids. The rodeo is a huge draw and cowboys and cowgirls who ride and rope can have a chance to earn part of the 1.5 million purse.
Last year the rodeo brought in revenues of approximately 85 million dollars. It’s big business here in Texas…Houston, specifically. But, it’s not all about the money for most people.
There is one event that I find as exciting as it is historical. More than 3,000 riders saddle up their horses and recreate trail drives of years ago. In 1952, four men from Brenham made the first trail ride to Houston to make people aware of The Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo.
Beginning every February there are 13 groups of trailriders that come into the city, some from as far away as Louisiana and Mexico. Tired and weary, but filled with pride, they ride into Houston the Friday before the rodeo kicks off. All the riders, horses and wagons gather in Memorial Park for a well-earned overnight rest. On Saturday, with energy running high, they ride in the Downtown Rodeo Parade.
Texas Independence Trail Ride
It gives me goosebumps to see them riding along the trails into Houston. Aside from the history that they are honoring, you’re also aware that this is officially the beginning of The Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. The trail riders will have covered a combined total of 1,943 miles. The Los Vaqueros Trail Riders come the farthest, riding 386 miles from Reynosa, Mexico to Houston, Texas.
They are a salute to the old west and stay true to the history by dressing in the same style of clothing, using the same type of transportation, i.e., horses, chuck wagons, etc. and cooking the old way. I know some of you have seen pick-up trucks and RVs riding behind them. But, let’s give the trail riders a break. When they travel during the months of February and March (depending on the dates of the rodeo), the weather is pretty unpredictable. But, they weather it out (no pun intended) as much as they can. I give them snaps for just getting out there on a horse and riding for miles each day when these same people have probably been at their desks for years in their daytime jobs.
SIDE NOTE: Many of the horses on the ride have been rescued from less than stellar circumstances. They are given a second chance in life and you can see from their proud carriage that they know it!
At the rodeo, neon signs swirl, blink and yell out to the crowd their message of “Its rodeo time and we’ve got it all!” Okay, the second part to that neon subliminal message is to spend, spend and then spend some more. And, trust me, the rodeo has any item you could ever possibly dream of owning. Let’s not even talk about buying boots at the rodeo…cause they sell some of the finest leather boots from some of the finest bootmakers. FYI…my favorite are Lucchese Boots. You just can’t ever have too many boots. You never know when you’ll need them. Like on a trail ride. Goin’ out boot Scootin. Or, getting married!
And, for heaven’s sake, don’t come to the rodeo if you’re on a diet! I’m warning you that even the steeliest willpower will puddle at your feet in defeat. The food vendors are outrageously brazen with the fares they offer. First, and foremost, is the BBQ. That’s a given. Actually, that’s a must. You just aren’t a good sport if you don’t have yourself some BBQ. If you don’t know what brisket or fajitas are…don’t own up to it in public. Quietly get on your Smartphone and look it up for heaven’s sake. You’re in cowboy country…at a rodeo. I don’t want you embarrassing yourself.
After that, it’s fried, fried, fried. If your arteries aren’t screaming for help yet, then you can move on to the desserts. Yes, some of them are fried. The rodeo is not, I repeat, is not a nutritionists dream!
And, so it continues…my Texas saga. Oh, come on, I know it peaks your interest too…all those cowboys, the food and, most of all, the myths that surround our great state. If you want to know more about this great event, go to http://www.hlsr.com/. It should give you a fair idea of what this ruckus is all about. And, as a sign of the times the rodeo has now issued an app for Smartphones called RodeoHouston. It shows you what the traffic and parking conditions are, who will be entertaining at the rodeo, plus other activities related to the rodeo.
Now that you know what’s going on in Houston most of this month, let’s sign off this blog with my all time rodeo favorite…George Strait. The rodeo just isn’t a rodeo unless he’s performing.