Moving slower than molasses, I’m still in Ohio but determined to leave this week for Pennsylvania. It’s cold, it’s flat, and women are often treated as objects, and men are reluctant to stand up for a woman when they see a man verbally abusing her in public (a church-like environment). I didn’t witness that event, but heard of it in detail from a man who was bothered by it. A few of the other men listening said it was none of their business to say anything to this man they knew, a man who had done this before.
As the only woman present for this discussion, I was quick to tell the men who said it was none of their business that it was, in fact, their business to teach the other members of the fellowship how to treat people, to be respectful. I pointed out it was easy for me to see why I was the only woman there… they had chased all the others off as much by the aggressive behavior of some as the passive behavior of the others.
I probably just lost all male readers in Ohio, but I call them as I see them. Needless to say, this is not an isolated incident in that town but rather an underlying part of the culture in this area (near Dayton). It’s not everywhere, but it is a far more common and accepted occurrence than I’ve encountered in a long time. But this happens to some degree every day all over this country…
The day was hot – hot like only central Texas can be in mid-August. The kind of hot that would burn an egg on the sidewalk. Waves of heat radiated off the asphalt road. We were headed to Rough Canyon at Lake Amistad for the day, pulling a boat behind us. It’s a long drive from north Hill Country to Lake Amistad, a long barren drive through miles of nothing, punctuated by the rare intersection named as if it’s an entire town.
It was in the middle of this long stretch of nothing, the kind of nothing where cell phone signals are non-existent, that we got a flat tire. Because, you know, that’s where stuff happens – in the middle of nowhere with no cell signal.
Parked off to the side of the road, an area covered in fire ant hills (for you non-Texans and non-southwesterners, those are aggressive red ants that leave a burning bite) my friend fixed the flat with the help of a roadside mowing crew that I flagged down. (Because your tax dollars are hard at work, mowing the sides of roads in the middle of NOWHERE.) They didn’t speak English, and my limited Spanish wasn’t much help, but we all used hand signals. (All joking aside, I’d like to add that country Texans and native Mexicans are some of the kindest folks, always ready to lend a hand to someone in need.)
After numerous fire ant bites (on everyone), a nasty gash on a finger or two (not mine), and a string of cuss words (also not mine), we were back on our way to Lake Amistad. Like the weather, the truck was running hot for most of the trip but we finally made it to…
Rough Canyon at Lake Amistad
It’s a BIG lake… this picture doesn’t do it justice, but it’s the only long-shot I took.
The following is a slide show of the high cliffs and caves. Native Americans once lived in these caves. But, wait! There’s more…
This wasn’t my first time… I’ve been down before. Twice. But my trip to Indian Echo Caverns in Hummelstown, PA, is the second time in my life I’ve been underground. It was cool, literally and figuratively speaking.
This is the pond/lake! The blue color doesn’t show up as well on film, but in person it’s a lovely light turquoise.
Like many caverns in the Mid-Atlantic states, Indian Echo Caverns is a limestone cave. Cut through Beekmantown limestone, which is over 440 million years old, they were formed through the erosive properties of water. As time progressed, geological forces led to an “uplift” of the surrounding limestone, eventually allowing more and more water to flow through the formation. As the water flowed over the limestone, it began to create small crevices, these small crevices led to larger ones, and eventually, over a series of millions of years, it created the caverns as they are today.
The temperature inside the caverns is 52 degrees year around.
‘… 52 degrees year around.’ See? It’s “cool.” *rim shot*
(A southern saying indicating surprise or astonishment. And that, my dear Kernutties, is your lesson for today.)
Imagine my surprise and delight when I discovered there was a Toilet Seat Art Museum in San Antonio. I know!
Toilet seat art – “Time is precious. Don’t waste it.” This one has tiny colored lights!
Barney Smith, the toilet seat artist, the toilet seat museum curator, and the toilet seat tour guide, recently turned 94. He’s been creating toilet seat art for over 50 years and is still going strong. Each toilet seat has a theme: there are toilet seats for most every profession, events, and for many celebrities.
A seven-foot-tall jackalope was spotted in Wimberley, Texas!
The furry jackrabbit-antelope hybrid was seen wearing a horse saddle, and galloping through Hill Country after throwing a unknown blond rider.
I have a feeling none of you are surprised by my attempt at a shocking headline.
I can’t even surprise you all anymore, can I? *sigh*
Pioneer Town, Wimberley, Texas
Pioneer Town, Wimberley, Texas – Home of the Jackalope
Pioneer Town, a replica of a mid-1800s western town, has all the requirements of an old western movie set: a dirt main street, a blacksmith shop, a livery stable, a post office, a print shop, a general store, old houses, a steepled church, and an opera house. It also has a cowboy museum and requisite souvenir shop,… and a giant jackalope.
Because every mid-1800’s western town had a giant jackalope. Probably.
Well, this post is loooong overdue. (Yes, the extra vowels help. I don’t know why, they just do.) Be prepared for the possibility of more long overdue posts – I’ve got a new gig working as an editor/reporter at a local newspaper.
This car is made of spoons, forks, and other pieces of scrap metal.
Scrap Art Cars in Beeville, Texas
Beeville is a cute town, just on the edge of the Eagle Ford Shale (the big area of land running diagonally across the middle of south central Texas where most of the oil and gas come from). There was a fantastic art car and scrap metal exhibit at the Beeville Art Museum almost a year ago (that there is the long overdue part). The exhibit was one of the better museum displays I’ve seen, and this was in a small town with a population of about 13,000.
The artist, Mark “Scrap Daddy” Bradford, makes cars out of gazillions of shiny spoons and forks, or random metal scraps. He’s talented, artistic and a tad quirky. Not to mention he’s rather easy on the eyes.
And he lives in Texas, somewhere hear Houston, a few hours from my current location. I’d like to meet this man.
The current weather seems to have more temperatures than a faucet, much like some of my recent dating experiences. This past weekend it was hot and heavy at 105 degrees in southcentral Texas. At the moment, the weather is a chillingly cool 80 degrees at 9pm.
When I lived in Santa Barbara it reached 124 (or 126?) degrees one year — we beat Death Valley’s record temperature that year by a degree or two. The black top at school was melting. You couldn’t stand on it for very long because your shoes would melt, too. It was the one day we kids got to wear shorts to school.
Hmm, closing the school might have been a good idea, ya think? School Official: Nah, let ’em cook their little brains out on the blacktop on the hottest day of the last 100 years. This may explain a lot about me.
With the current heat wave sweeping over parts of the world, I thought some of you would enjoy seeing some snow. The snow comes with a tiny church. (Quite a segue, eh?)
Faith comes in all sizes.
Wayside Chapel in Luverne, MN, another World’s Smallest Church
This is from my trip a couple months ago to the frozen tundra that was South Dakota after the worst storm in twenty years. After completing my mission, I But, wait! There’s more…
That’s not one of my many typos — I really see butt cracks.
A lot of butt crack, enough crack to swipe a credit card.
I changed to a new space at the RV park: it’s on the water with spectacular views of the setting sun. There were two open spaces in this row. I took one next to a friend, and a couple moved in to the one on the other side of me.
And that man must not own any belts to hold up his shorts.
The couple parked in front of me have a motorhome, but prefer to be outside all day long, no matter how hot it is. They cook all meals outside. They are really tent campers who happen to own an RV.
But no belts.
It is probably clear by my tone that the aforementioned butt crack is NOT the hot one.
Statue of David in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Ahh, now there’s a nice butt crack.
Now there a nice butt crack.
Be grateful I did NOT take a photo of my neighbor’s butt crack.
With an abundance of my much-missed Starbucks/any coffee shop and health food restaurants, Austin reminds me a bit of many cities in California. And there’s quite a bit of fun, wacky stuff to see in Austin, the capital of Texas – besides the big blue spider butt.
This post was going to be about the Largest Urban Bat Colony, but my photography skills the photos suck could be better (but are shown below anyway because I still think that’s much more interesting than a state capitol building).
You’ll just have to trust me… there are hundreds of bats in this photo.
Really, there are hundreds of bats in the above photo. See that blotch that looks like a swarm of bees going across the center? That’s the bats. I’m so glad you can see them. (Just pretend you can.)
They live under the Congress Avenue bridge in downtown Austin. They fly out around sunset, usually between March and November. The photos below are of the bridge. If you go to see the bats, wait on the other side of the bridge because this isn’t the side they fly out of. But the pictures are prettier on this side.