No, it’s not a new dance craze. We did this particular step when cleaning out the house in record time. Our buyer has, in fact, brought this deal to close in record time. If we had it to do over again we’d have put our foot down and refused to close that quick. It’s great exercise but extremely hard work and total hard core stress. It wore us out completely!
We’ve been hustling not only to pack but to find an interim place to stay until we buy our RV. The Monaco that we were very interested in buying was snapped up by someone else who was also very interested in buying it. The downside, besides missing out on that opportunity, is that we didn’t even have time to spare to go look at other RVs before the closing. We were hoping to have a smooth segue from sticks to bricks to RV. We’ve now moved on to Plan B. We’ve put off looking at more RVs until this week…when we can breathe easier…when we have cash in our hot little hands from the sale…when we don’t have a myriad of deadlines to meet.
Oh, by the way, we did all of this while still running the business which picked up more than usual, creating tons of paperwork. No, we’re not complaining and we don’t expect a pat on the back. We’re just identifying with Murphy’s Law.
Looking back at this past year and our journey towards this day, the only thing I would have changed is the above mentioned closing date…to a more reasonable time frame.
I’m glad we took the time to do our due diligence and research every aspect that we could about changing our lifestyle. I would highly recommend this to anyone making a big change in their life.
I can’t say enough for all the books, eBooks and DVD’s that we bought to help us with our research and to read how others have done it before us. The information was invaluable and we will still continue to use the books as reference points for many years to come.
What a great experience it was to learn about all the different makes of RVs, how they’re made, what all goes into building one and what to look for. Our list of what we wanted vs what we needed changed over the months. Different items began to take higher priority than they had in the beginning.
In the beginning I was adamant about wanting an oven. I love cooking and didn’t want to rely solely on a microwave/convection oven. In the course of looking at dozens upon dozens of RVs and the amenities that each one had, the oven moved down on the list. It wasn’t so much a trade off as it was just common sense in some units. If I find that I still long for an oven after we’ve been in the RV for awhile then maybe we can put one in.
I’ve learned how to give and take and reevaluate according to each unit that we looked at. I must admit, at times, that I would end up on brain overload when we looked at a lot of RVs in one session. I took copious notes each time we toured an RV. At one point when talking with a salesperson, his eyes sort of popped when I referred to my spreadsheet for information.
Side Note: If you are looking for an RV, I found that keeping a spreadsheet of favorites was a Godsend. I would list the item number, year, length, model, number of hp, number of slides, miles, price and date in columns and then fill in for each RV that we were interested in. I would check the RVs on a weekly basis and enter any change in price and the date. I also had a photo of the floorplan and one of the inside of the RV. By following the price drop, it gave us a good idea of whether the sellers were upside-down in their loan and an idea of how low they would go in price. This also provided us with information on how long the RV had been on the market.
So, yes, we hustled, bustled and twisted our way to closing on our sticks and bricks home…in record time. Quite frankly, we’d rather been doing the Electric Slide or Line Dancing. But more about that later when we do our Honky Tonk Tour in the Hill Country.
To help create the mood of being on an open range, with wide open spaces, cattle and cowgirls, click on the The Cowgirl Song link below and hear Patsy Montana sing about these amazing women.
I was going to write about Cowgirls and Saloon Singers. However, as I delved deeper into my research, I realized I had enough information for two separate blogs. So, this blog will concentrate on the wonderful women who helped shape our country and gave a lot of the men a run for their money…literally! Next week we’ll feature Saloon Singers aka Soiled Doves.
I must still be in my Texas mode. I can’t seem to stop researching all things Texas. Of course, this is good I say to myself. I mentally start counting the things that I love about living here…bluebonnets, wide open spaces, the Hill Country, wonderfully historic places to visit…and revisit. You can never have too much history to absorb. I think that it’s time to sit down with the Pilot and discuss our RVing travels.
I tell the Pilot that I want to research cowgirls, not just in Texas, but all over the country. There is The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Fort Worth that I’d love to visit. That would be a great start.
I could maybe qualify for a cowgirl. I’m skilled with a firearm, tamed our dog and can outride most of my neighbors. Well, maybe not on the last one! But, I’d sure be willing to give it a try.
Cowgirls, or cattle women, know how to do more things than just Boot Scootin’ Boogie. There are plenty of cowgirls around today and many of them are running their own ranches. They work at the same tasks as cowboys do. Today, they have gained more respect for their work than they did years ago.
A cowgirl has to love the land because that’s where it all begins for her…that and the open spaces. A heady experience to say the least wrapped in days that sometimes seem to run into each other with all the hard work that needs to be done. Her livestock are dependent on her to stay alive in conditions that can range from ideal to harsh, never knowing from one day to the next what she will experience. Her land is generally isolated from many conveniences such as stores or the vet. She’ll undoubtedly spend some long nights helping a sick animal or bringing a new calf or colt into the world. You won’t hear her complain though. This is her world and she can’t imagine doing anything else…except maybe participating in a rodeo or helping other ranchers find ways to improve how they work the land.
“Cowgirl is an attitude, really. A pioneer spirit, a special American brand of courage. The cowgirl faces life head on, lives by her own lights, and makes no excuses. Cowgirls take stands, they speak up. They defend things they hold dear.” Dale Evans
As I was researching cowgirls I came across a treasure trove of information at http://cowgirl.net/home/, this is the website of The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Fort Worth, Texas.
The number of cowgirls that they have honored was inspiring. These are just a few:
Prairie Rose Henderson (c. 1880-1939)
…was from Wyoming and made a name for herself as a champion bronc rider. She was a relay racer who loved a dare. On the flip side, she was known for the fashions that she wore during per performances. Unfortunately, Prairie Rose’s life ended in a snow blizzard while trying to get her favorite pony to shelter.
Sandra Day O’Connor
…is a cowgirl turned Supreme Court Justice. She was born in El Paso, Texas but was raised on the family Arizona cattle ranch learning to shoot and ride and rode that pony all the way to the Supreme Court.
…was born in Oregon and began the rodeo circuit at age 16, riding bucking horses. She made a name for herself by riding “slick”, without hobbles. She was approached by Hoot Gibson to join him in Hollywood and make movies. She turned him down, preferring see the world via the rodeo circuit.
At age 20, Ollie signed on for a season with the B.B. Irwin Show for $60 a month plus room and board, plus half of her earnings in the arena. Ollie was quoted as saying:
“It wouldn’t have amounted to more than $100 a month,” she felt. “Purses then were quite a bit smaller than now and besides, we girls competed against the best men rodeo stars in the business.”
Ollie went the entire season without a buck-off. Not bad for a girl, right? If you would like to hear Ollie give an oral history of her life, go to the link listed and put in her name in the search area. She was 85 years old at the time of the interview. http://www.opb.org/programs
…was captured when she was nine years old during a Comanche raid on Fort Parker in 1836. She was raised by the Comanche’s and eventually married one of the war leaders. They had three children, one of whom was the famous Comanche Chief Quanah Parker. She was “rescued” twenty-four years after her kidnapping and was returned to her family. She never got used to living in the white world and missed her husband and the life she had known.
…was familiar with being on horses at the age of three and was still barrel racing at 76 years of age. She was a respected horsewoman. She trained the horses that helped her consistently win contests. In later years Dora began writing horsemanship articles for major magazines. She died at age 91 in Amarillo.
…best known for her “Little House” books, Laura was born in a log cabin in Wisconsin and saw the frontier as her family traveled west. It is through those books that we have been able to get a glimpse of life and it’s hardships during that period of time. Laura’s first book wasn’t published until she was 68. She continued to write until her death.
…bested most cowboys in rodeo events, including bronc and steer riding, roping and trick and roman riding. She started riding in relay races, and then added steer roping and trick riding. She was a famous champion in all three events. Mabel began the Association of Film Equestriennes. She retired in 1941 to raise appaloosa horses.
… became a cowgirl by default. Her husband wouldn’t let her stay at home at the ranch, even though there was a rifle in each corner of the cabin, because Pancho Villa and his men were raiding in the area at that time.
Hallie was born in Waco in 1897, but her father kept moving the family. They finally settled in Alpine in the Big Bend region of southwestern Texas in 1910. She married in 1920 and moved into a one room cabin, displacing the three ranch hands who had shared it with her husband. They were disgruntled until they realized that Hallie was a better shot than they were. Hallie rode horseback by her husband’s side for 30 years as she learned the cattle business.
Hallie lived to be a few months shy of 100. She is a Texas legend known as the Queen of Big Bend.
…whose real name was Phoebe Moses was born in Ohio. As a child she would hunt and sell game, or wild animals so that her family could eat. Already knowing how to use a rifle, she then became a skilled sharpshooter and entered contests. It is rumoured that she met her husband, Frank Butler, in a shooting contest and that she won the match with 25 out of 25 shots, to his 24.
Once married, they created a show and travelled around the country giving shooting demonstrations. While in a circus they were billed as “champion rifle shots.”
They next joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show in 1885 and toured with the show for sixteen years.
Though most heroes of the “Wild West” were men, Buffalo Bill’s show celebrated Annie Oakley’s skills, and she became one of the most famous women of the West.
…was born Martha Jane Canary. Jane had been a nurse, a dishwasher, a waitress, a cook and an ox-team driver. She was a frontierswoman and professional scout most well-known for being a close friend of Wild Bill Hickok’s, but also having gained fame fighting American Indians.
She had a reputation for being able to handle a man, shoot like a cowboy, skills that took her into Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show where she performed sharpshooting astride her horse. During the 1870′s, Jane was the subject of some dime novels which brought her national fame. She is buried in Deadwood near Wild Bill Hickok.
I could go on and list more women who made significant contributions to our country as it went through it’s growing pains. And, in some ways, it’s almost a disservice not to mention them…to just let their names blow away in the dust of the past. We’ll pay our respects as we travel around to the different monuments in their names.
At the rate that I’m discovering more and more about my beloved state, we may never get out of here because of all the places to explore. And, let’s not forget…The Law West of Pecos! Here’s something until next week:
In case you didn’t know….
»Edward Lytton Wheeler, author of Deadwood Dick, set his cowboy series in the Black Hills of the Dakotas. However, he never visited the West.
»Circling the wagons to ward off Indian attacks is a myth. Buffalo Bill Cody had that act as a part of his Wild West Show…not out on the actual proverbial range.
»Even though Dale Evans was born in Uvalde, Texas, she never lived on a ranch or rode a horse…until Hollywood beckoned. The rest is history!
»The Great Train Robbery, the first western film ever made, was entirely shot in New Jersey. Say what?
“Nobody gets to be a cowboy forever.” Jack Palance to Lee Marvin in Monte Walsh.
The other day I was reading the RealTexasBlog.com, a wonderful blog that I follow, and the topic was a Texas Bucket List for places to visit in 2011. This blog is written by David Werst, with contributions of Real Texas Recipes and videos by his wife Ramona. In this particular blog, David invited all readers to contribute to the Texas Bucket List so that we could all share in Texas’ great history and the land. David is a newspaper editor/publisher and shares his love for all things Texas on his website, including Texas Tidbits.
That got me to thinking about the bucket list that the Pilot and I already had going for when we were finally on the road in our RV. We love Texas and will always be loyal to it so David’s article was very timely. I’ll be checking regularly at the Real Texas Blog to see what readers recommend for places to visit in Texas.
We already had Fredericksburg and the surrounding Hill Country on our bucket list. Fredericksburg is a beautiful German settlement that still has the Sunday Houses that were built over 100 years ago. Most of them are now quaint bed and breakfasts. The German food is superior, along with the wide variety of shops for every shopping pleasure imaginable. I have already been to Fredericksburg a couple of times but the Pilot has never been.
One of the things I wanted to show the Pilot was the Nimitz Museum, now known as The National Museum of the Pacific War, and is exclusively dedicated to the Pacific and Asiatic Theaters in World War II. It’s an impressive museum and a emotional walk back in history. Another reason the Pilot will enjoy this museum is because when he was based in Guam with Continental Airlines, Admiral Nimitz was looked upon with absolute awe and respect from all who live in the wartime Pacific areas. The Pilot visited the counterpart museum of the Pacific in Guam.
Admiral Chester W. Nimitz was a much decorated and devoted Navy man. The Pilot will want to spend a lot of time looking at the different exhibits. He was in the Navy too doing helicopter search and rescue missions during two tours of Viet Nam. We’ll linger as long as he wants. For more information on this unique museum, go to http://pacificwarmuseum.org
After leaving Fredericksburg, we’ll go down the road just a bit and stop at The Johnson Settlement. This is where Lyndon B. Johnson’s family had settled in the 1860′s and was restored by the former president after he left office. This living history farm is like walking straight into the late 1800′s, complete with guides who are dressed in period clothing. You are shown through the house and the barn that includes canned foods and a look at how life was during that time. I was fascinated by the fly paper hanging from the ceiling and the crushed egg shells drying in the oven.
NOTE: They dried the egg shells out, crushed them up and fed them back to the chickens to give them more calcium. Recycling even before it was “in”.
If our timing is just right, say we arrived in Johnson City in late November, we would be able to see the Lights Spectacular, Hill Country Style and watch the courthouse lighting ceremony. This is billed as “the Centerpiece of one of the biggest shows on the Texas Hill Country Regional Christmas Lighting Trail.” Shoot, count me in!
All around this area are wineries and more scenic spots that are too numerous to mention. We would wind up our tour of the Hill Country in San Antonio and eat at the Tip Top Restaurant. Of course, if you’ve followed this blog you know that I will be finding some out of the way places to eat great Tex-Mex food. After all, it’s purported to have started here with the Chili Queens. Oh, we would also see the Alamo because you can’t come to San Antonio and not see it.
Next on our bucket list is visiting Quartzite, Arizona. We’ve read so much about this town and how popular it is with RVers. We want to see it too! While in Arizona, after visiting with family, we want to see some of the ghost towns…and you can’t leave Arizona without visiting the Grand Canyon.
We are already scheduled to be in Corpus Christi in April of this year for the Pilot’s Viet Nam Navy Helicopter Squadron (HS-6) Reunion. We’ll be touring the USS Lexington where the Pilot did his first carrier landing qualifications. He will also present a symposium concerning rescues by his squadron during the Viet Nam War. It’s a moving time and makes you realize how much these men sacrificed for our country.
We then plan on being at the Oshkosh Air Show this year whether we’re in the RV by then or not. The air show is being held July 25-31, 2011. Several of the Pilot’s Navy buddies are planning on being there too, so it will be another mini-reunion with a spectacular air show to cap things off. Oshkosh is said to be the biggest airshow in the world believe it or not!
Also on our bucket list is Chincoteague Island, Virginia. The island sits on Virginia’s eastern shore, close to Maryland. This will enable us to see the island and then see the Pilot’s brother and a close family friend.
Chincoteague made our list after we saw a program on CBS News Sunday Morning. We watched in awe as we saw wild horses making their annual trek and knew we had to see it in person. Here is a short explanation of the event taken from their website:
Two herds of wild horses make their home on Assateague Island, separated by a fence at the Maryland-Virginia line, and they are often seen wandering the beaches, roadways, trails and campgrounds on the island. These small but sturdy, shaggy horses have adapted to their environment over the years by eating dune and marsh grasses and drinking fresh water from ponds. While they appear tame, they are wild, and Park Rangers urge visitors not to feed or pet them. The Maryland herd is managed by the National Park Service. The Virginia herd is owned by the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company and allowed by permit to graze on the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. Each year the Virginia herd is rounded up for the internationally recognized Pony Penning and Auction.
For more information on this wondrous event, go to www.chincoteague.com/pony/ponies.
We want to stop in Georgia and eat at the Whistle Stop Cafe in Juliette, home of Fried Green Tomatoes…the food and the movie. I had to laugh as I read their menu. There was a request at the bottom of the page saying, “Please, do not steal the menu.”
And, of course, roam on over to Savannah to experience southern charm and perhaps Paula Deen’s restaurant.
These are just a few of the spots that have made our bucket list. So, we tip our hat off to David Werst for bringing the subject up and reminding us to update our list.
As I read back over this it looks like we’re doing an eating tour but that’s not really the case, even though I adore cooking. We plan to soak up the atmosphere everywhere we go. What better way to learn more about our country than to visit places that catch you eye…and heart?