Tuesday, September 30, 2014

San Francisco Views

Kathi and I are still on Lake Georgetown and will probably be here at least three more weeks. It has been a quiet day today and not much activity on the lake. I do have some bird pictures taken from right outside my window, but not good enough to post, since they are clouded by our window screens. The birds are still fun to watch. They stop on a tree limb and dash to the ground to dig little critters out of the clover.

I am going to post some cityscapes from San Francisco today. If you have never visited San Francisco, you probably do not realize how many hills they have in the city. There are about fifty distinct hills in San Francisco. People who are old enough to see “Streets of San Francisco” on TV or the Dirty Harry movies got glimpses of how the streets run up and down hills.

One trip to SF, I flew out alone to visit my son, A. J. when he lived there. We had no transportation -- so, we just walked. He is six foot seven with long legs and I am six foot two with short legs. When we walked around town, he had to wait for me to catch up at every corner. It is hard to walk down steep hills slowly.

San Francisco covers about 47 square miles and has near a million residents. It is the second most densely populated city in the United States, following NYC.

A view across the wharf to Alcatraz.

This is a view looking over Lombard Street, the crookedest street in the world. The white car is just entering the S curve that goes one block. It was made that way so street vendors could get their carts down the hill.

I found going down just as hard as going up.

AJ with city in background.

A similar view to AJ, but I probably block more scenery.

A hilltop view of downtown.

That is a school in the center of this picture. The kids look like they are walled in. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Flowers at Golden Gate Park

In October 2003 Kathi and I were in San Francisco visiting our oldest son. We spent an afternoon at Golden Gate Park, enjoying the beautiful weather and colorful surroundings.

Many people do not know that San Francisco city and San Francisco County are exactly the same piece of ground. Not many cities are their own county. San Francisco is on a peninsula with San Francisco Bay on the east side and the Pacific Ocean on the west side. The Golden Gate Bridge connects San Francisco to Marin County on the north side.

A side note into my history: In June 1963 I went under Golden Gate Bridge on a troop ship headed for Korea. I was seasick before the ship left the dock, so I was leaning back against the bulkhead holding my breath, with my eyes closed when they played Tony Bennett singing “I Left My Heart In San Francisco”. I bet the ship’s crew thought that playing the song was funny, but it just felt lonely to me at the time.

Golden Gate Park is huge with over 1,000 acres. One of the attractions is a Conservatory of Flowers which is a greenhouse and botanical garden with many rare and exotic plants. I think the thing we enjoyed the most was the dahlia garden.

A working clock in a bed of yellow marigolds.

The dahlia garden

A beautiful purple dahlia.

A rainbow of colors

There were bees everywhere. I never could get a picture of a bee in a flower.

Fine dahlia specimens, I love the red and yellow flowers together.

My favorite person in front of the Conservatory of Flowers.

Friday, September 26, 2014

More Catfish

Here at Lake Georgetown we have electricity and water at our RV site. We have to go every seven to ten days to empty our tanks. I was a day late emptying my gray tank this week and ended up with standing water in my shower which is where we keep our laundry hamper. So, this morning after solving my tank problem we had to go to the laundry and wash our clothes. Living in an RV you actually have laundry day, unlike people with houses and indoor washing machines.

We do have a washing machine that holds up to two towels at a time. It works best when we have sewer hook-ups. Today's wash at home would have taken three days and two trips to the dump station.

Kathi has been telling me lately she is keeping an eye on me. I took her to the optometrist today, so in the future she will be able to keep both eyes on me. I always like that better.

Afterward we went to Catfish Parlour for a late lunch. At normal lunchtime at Catfish Parlour you go to the counter and order your catfish and shrimp, then help yourself to side dishes. Since we were late today we ordered off the dinner menu and our waitress brought our meal to us. I usually just eat catfish, popcorn shrimp and French fries. Today I added a Caesar salad. Kathi eats catfish and coleslaw. She loves their cole slaw. It was another great meal at Catfish Parlour.

Sign on Williams drive for Catfish Parlour.

Williams Street side of Catfish Parlour. The entrance is on the right side of the building.

There are a lot of people in the parking area for this walking trail at Lake Georgetown. I did not realize there was a river here.

I always think the signs are interesting. I am glad this one glows in the dark.

This is the road that goes directly to the boat ramp.

Life jacket loaner station.

I wanted a close up to see what the blue and white sign said. It says do not dig for fossils or relics or pay a huge fine. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

This Week at the Lake

On Monday, September 22, 2014 Kathi and I attended an off-season basketball game where the Hutto High School hosted Liberty Hill. We attended to see our grand nephew, Austin Clark play for the Liberty Hills team. At this time of year most high school athletics are centered on football, since basketball season does not start until November. We enjoyed the game and appreciated the hustle the players displayed, especially on defense. This is 4-A basketball with much smaller rosters than I am used to seeing in the 5-A games we used to watch at Deer Park.

We are still at the Cedar Breaks Park on Lake Georgetown. I had two deer walk by the window of the RV this morning. I always enjoy them. The deer pictures are cloudy because I took them through the window. If I open the window, they run away. They are very cautious around people, although I have never seen anyone try to approach them here. I guess skittish is in their nature. I'll wait for better deer pictures to post them.

Fredrickson Builders are erecting a new housing addition near Lake Georgetown. The addition is approached using the Cedar Breaks inlet Road. Not many houses yet, but I have a couple of pictures for examples. 

Another neat sunset taken from the Cedar Breaks Park Road.

Austin Clark and his Dad John.

Nice new house near lake Georgetown.

Sign at entrance to Fredrickson Ranch. It was getting dark at the Time.

Big house with four car garage. I'm sure one is for the tractor they will use to mow the lawn.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Washington Side of the Columbia River

This is my second post about the Columbia River and there may be more in the future. Can you tell I like the area?  The last post was on May 29, 2014 and showed pictures taken on the Oregon side. Because this is one of our favorite camping spots I am posting again about the area. We always park west of the John Day Dam on the Columbia River at the Giles French Corps of Engineers Park near Rufus, Oregon.

We normally stay there in the spring going out to the Oregon Coast and in the fall when we are headed back to Texas. There is usually a breeze blowing and the river has a lot to offer for viewing pleasure. Sitting in the COE park we see Washington across the river. There are well traveled highways on both sides of the river, railroads on both sides of the river and windmills on both sides of the river.

We like to see small boats and barges being pushed by tug boats through the lock of the Dam. Sometimes the spillway on the dam is opened and water mist goes 100 feet into the air. This makes a spectacular view, especially at night.

Pictures today are taken on the Washington side of the river. I hope you enjoy them.

I could not help myself. I had to have a picture of this colorful sign for the Maryhill Fruit Stand.

This picture is at a turnout looking east on Washington 14, also called the Lewis and Clark Highway. Click to enlarge the picture to see the windmills at the base of the distant hills.

A view of the John Day Dam from the Washington side. The little sliver of water at the bottom left is the inlet to the lock which allows boats to pass through. This sliver of water is about 60 feet wide. 

Sign explaining Stonehenge.

A Stonehenge Replica.

I love this picture. Oregon on the far side of the river, the river itself, farm land at the river's edge and sunflowers at the side of the road.. Click to enlarge the picture for a better view of the farming area.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Sunset at Cedar Breaks

Kathi and I are still at Cedar Breaks Park on Lake Georgetown. Since we are here for a month or more to visit our oldest son in Austin, Lake Georgetown is the logical place for us to stay, as long as I limit the drives into Austin.

With our Golden Age Passport card we can stay on Lake Georgetown for $12 per night. We have to pay twice that to stay at an RV park in Georgetown and Round Rock. Staying at an RV park in Austin is minimum $38 per night. You can get Passport America rates for a couple of days, which means half price, then the price reverts to $38. There is also an RV park in Buda, but the gravel road though the park has so many ruts we do not want to drive our motorhome through it. Every time we have been there it has been full, with mostly permanent people.

Traffic is usually bad on I-35 going into Austin, so we like to miss peak traffic times. People are still flooding into this area and the highway system cannot keep up.

They are building big houses all around Georgetown and you see new apartments all along the highway going into Austin. I can understand the apartments, but I do not know who is buying all the big houses in this economy.

We always enjoy being on the lake. Today I am going to show some pictures we took in February 2012 along the road into Cedar Breaks Park. We think the pictures are pretty special.

We came over the hill and saw this site. My Jeep helped itself off the road so I could stare.

As I panned around the sky I saw different colors and hues everywhere.

Isn't it great how the pink fades into the blue colors of the sky.

How do they do this?

I use this one for my screen saver.

Click on the pictures to make them larger. This one is worth a closer look.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Wildlife at Lake Georgetown

Kathi is out doing girlie things with our niece, Shanna today and I am home writing. I did take time out to pick up a pizza for lunch.

We had heavy rain last night and the passenger side of the Jeep had standing water this morning. I dried out what I could and now am leaving the windows open to air dry, until the next rain storm.

I have mentioned seeing black squirrels here at Lake Georgetown and I was finally able to get a picture of one yesterday. They move so fast, I normally cannot capture them with my camera. Also yesterday morning I saw a red bird. It flew across the street in front of me and all I saw was red feathers, everywhere it had feathers. This morning when we were driving out of the park and three deer crossed the road in front of us. I managed to get a few pictures of one of them hiding in the brush beside the road.

We have seen a lot of deer around the country and I still get a thrill every time I see another one.

This spider was a big as my fist. We spotted it in the middle of the road here in the park a few years ago.

I am not sure what this bird is, but many people probably will. This is another picture from 2010.

Many deer are killed by cars in early morning and early evening. Buzzards are always flying around the park.

This deer was hiding from me.

A little curious about me, so I sat still.

Relax and eat breakfast, Arlon means no harm.

Deer are always vigilant when man is in the forest.

Black squirrel. I have also seen a few brown squirrels in the park this year.

I was very quiet and got several pictures before he spotted me.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Adelman Peony Gardens

In June 2009 Kathi and I had some RV problems and had to put our RV in the shop for a few days. One day when we were out for breakfast, I saw a beautiful spray of flowers sitting near the cash register. I asked what they were and they told me they were peonies from a local garden. I had never heard of peonies before and I asked my personal gardener. Kathi told me she knew about peonies being used for weddings, but had never seen them growing.

They were such big beautiful and colorful flowers, I pressed for more information and they gave me a business card for Adelman Peony Gardens. After breakfast Kathi and I went to explore the Gardens. We found Adelman’s on Brooklake Road east of I-5. We found they had twenty acres in their garden featuring over 250 varieties of peonies. They also had beds with a variety of other flowers, but their specialty was the peony.

Look at the detail and all the different colored parts to this peony.

This yellow peony was in the shade, but it seems to provide it's own light.

Peonies grow on trees and bushes. The gardeners cross breed the bush and tree varieties and call them intersectional peonies. The cross breeding produces a lot of unusual colors.

This was a great color to see and the yellow stamen makes a great combination.

Several flower beds were near the sales office and cross breeding shops. 

I think the reason we had not seen them growing before is that peonies require a cold winter dormant period.

Kathi's hand holding the peony to get a better picture.

Peopnies are normally large flowers. Kathi's hand gives some perspective.

We must have enjoyed the gardens, because we returned in May of 2010 to see them again. I hope you enjoy the pictures.