Mother-Daughter Day At The Beach

Yesterday my 17 year old daughter and I went down to Galveston for our annual mother-daughter day at the beach. We like to walk The Strand and window shop and then hit the beach for a few hours. Since nobody else likes to go window shopping with us we have made this our little tradition together.

Our day started out pretty good we loaded up an ice chest with soda and water and gassed up the car. It only takes us about 30 minutes from our house to get Galveston. We went to the Strand area first. I pulled into a little parking lot and the parking space that I had picked had something laying in it on the passenger side. I jokingly said “I’m not sure about this spot that looks kid of like a Voodoo Doll Head or something!” We got out only to find that it was a dead pigeon! We laughed our head off what a way to start the day.

I went to go pay for parking only to find this:

Parking Meter by you.

The note says: I went underwater during IKE and no longer work. Yay, parking is now free, it would have cost us $5 for parking.

We made our way up and down the Strand popping in and out of shops. It has been a slow road to recovery since Hurricane Ike last year but the Island is coming back. We ended our window shopping tour by going to our favorite place the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. My daughter had a chocolate dipped Oreo and I had a piece of Mint Fudge Brick. We shared a bottle of Chocolate soda which was awesome. We of course had to get a quarter of a pound of Chocolate covered Raisins for my husband and my younger daughter. Too bad they didn’t make it past the car ride home! We meant well!

After we were hyped up on sugar we took off to the Seawall. We found a spot on the beach and headed into the Gulf of Mexico. The surf was a little bit rough but we had fun! Right about the time we were getting ready to leave this guy in his 20’s came up and asked my daughter if I was her sister. She of course said “Eww… No!”and then he turned around and left. I threw her towel at her and said “Thanks a lot! You can’t just let me have one little moment!” I told her to remember Paybacks are Hell!

The Heat Is On

I live in Texas and it’s hotter than Hell right now. We have been in the 100’s most of this week. To cool down we have been going to the pool almost every day. It’s sad when you jump into the pool and expect to hit nice cool refreshing water but instead you hit water that is 85 degrees! YUK!

I did find one good thing about it being hotter than Hell: You can leave a cup of coffee in your car while you go shopping and it will still be nice and hot when you come back to it.

What can I say, I’m an optimist!

Update On An Old Post…

I posted an update to an old post that I wrote on the Balinese Room.

Galveston is on the mend from Hurricane Ike, but it is a very slow mend. We have always loved the Island and we plan on many returns to it. Some of our favorite places are no longer there but the people are.

Balinese Room Pre Hurricane Ike

The Balinese Room Pre Hurricane Ike


The Remains of the Balinese Room 1-17-09

The Remains of the Balinese Room 1-17-09

Where In The World…Palo Duro Canyon

Palo Duro Canyon 
Canyon, Texas

Less than an hours drive south of Amarillo, Texas is the mysterious terra cotta badlands of Palo Duro Canyon.  Coming off the staked plains of the Texas Panhandle, this 60-mile-long and 800-foot-deep canyon is surprise among these treeless plains. Surrounded by miles of open land and endless skies, visitors will be amazed at the towering cliffs, banded by a myriad of colors, and the amazing rock formations carved over millions of years by the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River.  

The second largest canyon in the United States, it is often called “The Grand Canyon of Texas.”  The term “Palo Duro” means “hard wood” in Spanish, and was named by those first explorers for the canyon’s abundant mesquite and juniper trees from which the Indians made their “hardwood” bows.

The first humans to inhabit the canyon dates back approximately 12,000 years, when the Clovis and Folsom people first lived in the canyon, hunting large herds of mammoth and bison. Later, the tribes of the Apache, Comanche, and Kiowa utilized the canyon’s abundant resources of ample game and edible plants, as well as the protection the canyon provided from weather and intruders.

The first European explorers to come upon the canyon were members of the Coronado expedition in 1541. At that time, the Apache people called the canyon home. However, they were later run out by the Comanche and Kiowa tribes, who had the advantage of horses brought over by the Spanish.

The canyon was first surveyed by a military team under the guidance of Captain Randolph B. Marcy in 1852.  Though white settlers were beginning to migrate to the area, the canyon remained the lands of the Indians until a military expedition led by Colonel Ranald S. Mackenzie was sent in 1874 to remove them to reservations in Oklahoma.  This resulted in the Battle of Palo Duro Canyon, the major skirmish of the Red River War. On September 28, 1874, Mackenzie led his Fourth United States Cavalry on an attack of the of Comanches, Kiowas, and Cheyennes encamped in the canyon. Though the tribes had forewarning of the attack, their camps were scattered over a large area on the canyon floor and they were unable to assemble a united defense.  In the end, the Indians were defeated and forced onto reservations in Indian Territory.

Two years later, in 1876, Charles Goodnight, famous for spearheading the Texas -Wyoming cattle drives, drove a herd of cattle into Palo Duro Canyon and began the first commercial ranch in the Texas Panhandle – the JA Ranch.  Over the next fifty years, the canyon remained the private property of cattlemen, but over the years, began to be an increasingly popular spot for tourists and local residents.

In 1934, the upper section of the canyon was purchased by the State of Texas and turned it into the Palo Duro Canyon State Park. Thanks to efforts by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and conservation groups, an additional 2,036 were added to the park in 2002.

Today the park, which includes more than 16,000 acres, annually receives over half a million visitors. Sixteen miles of scenic drives wind through the canyon and park activities include hiking, fishing, horseback riding, mountain biking, picnicking camping, and wildlife viewing.

For history buffs, a replica of Charles Goodnight’s dugout cabin can be seen in the park, as well as a number of historical markers. The Visitor’s Center provides a number of exhibits pertaining to the park’s geology and history.

            A summer musical pageant, Texas Legacies, is presented annually in the outdoor amphitheater from mid-June through late August.


Belive it or not:  

Tales of ghosts in Palo Duro Canyon and Tule Canyon abound, remnants of the area’s Wild West days gone by.

Canyon resident John Matthews filed an oral history narration at PPHM, telling of one haunting in Palo Duro Canyon. The story, told to him by a former Texas Ranger, goes something like this:

One cold winter night, in the late 19th century, a man was camping in the canyon with two other men watching cattle. The other two men went to investigate a sound and never returned. So the third man followed to find them both dead, with their throats cut. All three were working on the Charles Goodnight ranch. He buried the two men – one Anglo and one Native American – in the canyon. Later, people in that area, said they would hear the screams of these two men.

Here is another tale:

“The story goes that three outlaws robbed a stage wagon containing government money with Army wages. They buried the money near Lighthouse Rock, but were then captured and executed. They say during thunderstorms you can see them around the rock and hear their moaning and shovels scraping to dig up their gold.”

Then, there’s the mysterious ghost herd. Almost 1,500 horses and mules were slaughtered in the canyon on the order of Gen. Ranald Mackenzie, according to a story written by the late George Turner in a 1971 Globe-News story. Turner chronicled supernatural stories for the Globe-News and other publications in the 1960s and ’70s.

“For many years, the long western slope of the basin was piled deep with bleached bones. Eventually they were carted away by a fertilizer company. Today, none are visible on the surface, but a bit of scratching will uncover teeth and small bones,” Turner wrote.

“The area, between Tulia and Silverton, was long held in superstitious veneration by the Plains tribes. No Kiowa or Comanche would venture near the place for fear of being trampled to death by a herd of ghostly horses,” Turner wrote.


Palo Duro Canyon can be found on Wikipedia.

On a personal note: I have been to Palo Duro Canyon twice in my life as a kid. Both times I have had strange experiences happen to me.  I personally think there are spirits that still hang around the canyon. 

Where In The World…San Antonio

SA tower view from between.jpgSan Antonio, Texas  


The Alamo 

Riverwalk20.jpgSan Antonio River Walk

San Antonio, TX can be found on Wikipedia.

On a personal note: We absolutely love San Antonio! We try to take a family vacation to San Antonio at least every 2 years. There is so much to do there. We go to Six Flags over Texas, where I have to ride The Rattler. The River Walk is just beautiful and at least once every 10 years you have to take the boat ride. The Alamo is always on the list. This city is so full of history it is amazing. I never get bored with this city, I find a new place every time we go there.

Where In The World…The Balinese Room

Update January 19, 2009: This past weekend we finally decided to drive down to Galveston. This was our 1st trip back to the Island since Hurricane Ike. It was a very humbling trip for us.

Balinese Room Pre Hurricane Ike

The Balinese Room Pre-Hurricane Ike

Balinese Room Remains

What Remains of the Balinese Room 1-17-09

Update September 16, 2008: I would have never imagined that this beautiful place would be gone not even a month after I posted this. Unbelievable!

This pile of rubble is actually the Balinese Room on the Galveston Seawall



The Balinese Room in Galveston, Texas

“Deep in the South of Texas
not so long ago,
there on a crowded island
in the Gulf of Mexico

it didn’t take too much money,
man, but it sure was nice.
You could dance all night if you felt all right,
drinking whiskey and throwing dice.

And everybody knows
it was hard to leave.
And everybody knows
it was down at the Balinese.”

“Balinese” – ZZ Top – Fandango – 1975


The history of The Balinese Room can be found on Wikipedia.

On a personal note: I have been to the Balinese Room a number of times. We started hanging out there on the weekends when they were doing renovations on it. There are Ghost Stories to go along with the building and I for one believe them, as do my kids. On one of our visits we went into the women’s restroom and when I turned around to flush the toilet the toilet paper was thrown at my back. Another time we were in the old casino part when the jukebox started playing “old music” when we checked out the jukebox for the name of the song we found that it was unplugged. I just hope the ghosts are having as much fun now as they did when the place was in it’s prime!

Backyard Visitor

This is an aerial picture of our neighborhood back in 2002. Our house was not built when this picture was taken. We live in the entrance to the cul-de-sac and our backyard runs along a canal. On the other side of the canal there is nothing but ranch land, at least for now.
Our Neighborhood 2002

Our Neighborhood 2002

We have a great view from our upstairs windows of the canal and the ranch land. We are used to seeing cows and horses roaming around back there. We even get to hear coyotes at night. We have fished the canal and caught catfish, bass, alligator gar and we have even managed to catch a snapping turtle on a fishing pole!

Our backyard has seen it’s share of wildlife as well. We have a bunch of bunny rabbits that visit us, we have seen a skunk before and even an opossum. Because of the canal we get our share of snakes as well. As for birds, we have a nest right above our backdoor that has been home to a family of doves for about 2 years now. We also get to see a bunch of hawks, egrets, and disgusting buzzards!

Today we had a new visitor in our backyard. I was the person who found the little visitor as usual and of course, as usual it scared the crap out of me and I screamed! So what do we get to add to our ever growing list of backyard visitors but an armadillo. What can I say, only in Texas!

Our little backyard visitor

Our little backyard visitor