Archive for August, 2010

Back Home – Sea Level, Finally

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

Click for Weslaco, Texas Forecast

Normally you might expect that the Rio Grande Valley of Texas would be sweltering in the summer months.  Well, yes it is, because the normal highs are in the high 90’s.   The area has stayed pretty much to the normals, holding in the mid to high 90’s.  As warm as it is, we feel pretty lucky because northern Texas and the Midwest have been much warmer this summer.  With all that said, it’s great to be home.  Being “flatlanders”,  sea level is our mecca.

Since our return, we’ve investigated a few new restaurants.  In Nuevo Progreso, Mexico,  we found the traffic to be considerably less than you would find in the winter.


Following a suggestion from our friends Richard and Barb, we tried out a restaurant that we had not visited before, SeñoriaL.  The restaurant is located on the left side of the road, near the end of the second long block and next door to the Galeria store.  Access to the restaurant is by a stairway in the downstairs farmacía.

SeñoriaL has good, live music, a broad menu, and a nice relaxing decor.  The food is prepared in a kitchen located on the first floor, which may be the location for the restaurant in the winter months.  We’d definitely keep this on our list of Progreso stops.  Oh yes, happy hour runs most of the day.  Two margaritas for $1.50.

Our next new restaurant, Santa Fe Steakhouse in McAllen, was yet another suggestion from Richard and Barb.  Leaning toward the high end, we reserved this for our anniversary dinner.  (Click here for their menu)


Tinka went for the appetizer route, choosing the  “Mini Beef Wellington”, “Angels on Horseback” and their “Pastry Wrapped Twice Baked Potato”.  Rick went for the prime rib and the twice baked potato.  The prime rib “end cut” was one of the best pieces of meat in years.  They could have had a little more something in the twice baked potato, perhaps cheese or bacon.

No complaints from Tinka on anything.  She had a nice Sauvigon Blanc from their broad wine list and Rick went for a Martini or two.

Lukenbach, TX, Population 3

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

Click for Fredericksburg, Texas Forecast

Located a few miles east of Fredericksburg is the “town” of Lukenbach, Texas,  population 3.  Below is the old post office and general store that is now used as a souvenir shop.


Made famous by Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings song, Lukenbach has been a famous country music stop since 1970. During the day, bands play outdoors on an open stage.


Adult beverages are available at the outdoor bar under the huge oak tree.


Then you can find your way through the license plates to the bathrooms.


At night, bands play in the indoor dance hall.


Our short trip to Lukenbach was enjoyable. There were dozens of motorcycle enthusiasts there also.  They have an added benefit of a closer parking lot.

Museum of the Pacific – Fredericksburg, TX

Saturday, August 21st, 2010

Click for Fredericksburg, Texas Forecast

For decades, Fredericksburg, Texas has been a well known destination, in the Texas Hill Country, for shopping and antiques.  The general theme is old world German food and crafts.  The long main street has hundreds of shops.


We were joined on our short Fredericksburg visit by nearby locals, Nan and Dave.  Living in an RV and having no place to put new items, shopping wasn’t at the top of our list of things to do.

Fredericksburg is the birthplace of Admiral Chester W Nimitz and is, naturally, the location of the National Museum of the Pacific War and the Nimitz Museum.  The two museums share entry fees.  One entry fee allows two days to tour the facilities.


The displays are vast and include airplanes and a submarine.



They have a copy of the nuclear bomb Fat Man that was detonated over Nagasaki, Japan in 1945.


Pacific War Museum is quite large.  Allow yourselves most of the day to tour it.  We didn’t have time to tour the Nimitz museum, maybe next time.


Next up, detour to Lukenbach.

Marfa, Lights And More

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

Click for Marfa, Texas Forecast

Marfa, Texas is located in the high desert plains about 20 miles from Fort Davis.  Marfa replaced Fort Davis as the county seat for Presidio County, TX in 1885.  It looks like they bought the paint for the courthouse from Susan G. Komen.


Aside from that distinction, Marfa has a few other areas of notoriety.  Among these are the site of the filming of the movie, Giant; the site of the Marfa Army Airfield; and the mysterious Marfa Lights.

In 1911 Marfa became a site for a Calvary post and in the early years of World War II, the government built the Marfa Army Airfield.  Purchase price for the land was a whopping $6.50 per acre.  The airfield was decommissioned and permanently abandoned in 1985.

In 1956, the film Giant was released.  Giant was filmed in and around Marfa and the prestigious cast included the likes of Elizabeth Taylor,  Rock Hudson, and James Dean, who died before the picture was complete.  During the filming, most of the cast stayed at the Hotel Paísano .


The lobby and common areas remain much as they were in the 50’s.



The courtyard is still a popular meeting spot for happy hour.


We were fairly early for dinner so we were pretty much by ourselves in the dining room.  The food and service were very good.


Part of the hotel is set aside for the sale of Giant memorabilia and a photo wall.  (Most of our photos of this area lacked a certain level of clarity)


After dinner we headed about 8 miles east of Marfa toward Alpine to the mysterious Marfa Lights viewing area which is on land that was once home to the Marfa Army Airfield.



In the daylight, you have to look pretty hard to find the beauty in the area where the lights can be seen.


After the sun went down, we stared out into the darkness.  Some nights are better viewing than others.  This is a loop of some of the lights that we saw.


Our visit to Marfa was a side trip from Fort Davis to where we returned following the light show.   Our next stop will be Fredericksburg, TX and the Museum of the Pacific.

McDonald Observatory

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Click for Fort Davis, Texas Forecast

A trip to the Davis Mountains  would not be complete without a trip to the McDonald Observatory.  Here is one of the many telescopes.


A little closer view.


We took a tour of the facility which included an interesting presentation about the solar system.  Keeping track of solar flares is one of their prime tasks. We’ve been on a lot of tours over the past few years and found no guide who knew more about the subject than our guide at the observatory. With a degree in broadcasting and a master’s degree in astronomy, she believes that telescope binoculars for astronomy have particular advantages. We were quite impressed with both the knowledge and the presentation.

At the entrance to the visitor’s center was a good sized sun dial.


A view of the valley and the road to the Observatory.

Here’s another one of the telescopes. (How’s that for blue sky?)  We were allowed to climb into this one. They also have kids astronomy telescope.


The entire ball shaped structure rotates to find the intended target in the sky.  Guess who got the opportunity to operate it?


Thank goodness that we didn’t need our liability insurance.