Friday, April 22, 2011

Back in the Saddle...So Long, San Antone

Lise (right) and me at the Alsatian Inn & Spa, Castroville, Texas

I have been so lucky to have a second great week of staying put for a while, spending time with friends. I spent the earlier part of this week making my way from El Paso to San Antonio, where I've been staying at the home of my dear childhood friend, Lise Larsen Pyles.

The trip across West Texas was interesting. I spent one night in the desert near the Pecos River at Seminole Canyon State Park, out of cell phone range on a night when it seemed like all of my friends wanted to talk to me, and, heck yeah, I wanted to talk to them, too. It was an eye-opener to realize how much I take instant communications for granted. Wow, people used to have to write letters and wait God knows how long for a response, and I get twitchy just going one night without my phone.

Driving so far south, close to the border, was hot. I got out to look at the Roy Bean museum and historic buildings in Langtry, but I didn't want to leave Sonja in the motorhome for very long in the heat. Usually I pack my own snacks and beverages for a driving day, but I had to stop frequently in West Texas for ice cold drinks, fresh fruit, and once for ice cream.

It's been a joy to spend time with Lise and her family. Lise and I lived across the street from each other in Minneapolis, from second to eleventh grades, and we spent a lot of wonderful times together and have lots of shared memories. We lost touch for a while during the years that I moved to the Pacific Northwest and Lise traveled all over the world as a federal employee and spouse of Bill, another federal employee. Lise found me quite a few years ago when she read an article I'd written for a website, and we got to reconnect once in Waco. That time, though, Lise was traveling solo, having flown in from Australia to visit her parents. So a big part of my enjoyment of this visit has been to spend time with Lise and her husband and two grown up sons. I have felt so at home and cared for.

Another total surprise was that I got to meet Kay Clarkson ("AuntKay" from the PseudoBabblers of the World), who lives on a farm south of San Antonio. I didn't realize Kay lived here until I posted on FaceBook that I was headed this way. So it was fun and unexpected to get together. Kay came over to Lise's house and hung out with me for several hours, and we got to talk all about our lives and families, and I showed her a bit about how to sell stuff on eBay. So many people in our generation have inherited so much STUFF. And we already had our own! Kay is going to make a bundle and then I can say, "I knew her when."

I've had a fun time doing some sightseeing in this area. Yesterday, Lise and Bill and I drove to Castroville to do some junkin' and eatin'. We lasted a couple of hours in the antique shops before having our way with the Mexican lunch buffet at the Alsatian Inn & Spa, a beautiful spot that looks like a south European vineyard. Then today Lise and I remembered the Alamo, took a barge tour of the Riverwalk and...hmm...what else? Oh, yes, of course, we ATE!

The amazing thing about this trip is that, even though I indulge in eating whatever I want, whenever I want to, the pounds keep dropping. I bought two new pairs of Lee Riders just before I left Oregon, and they are at least two sizes too big now. My diet plan has two elements, and they aren't, "Eat less and exercise more." Freedom and happiness are what I've needed to shed these last pounds.

Tomorrow morning I'm gonna saddle up and move out, heading south to Rockport, on the Gulf of Mexico. I'll spend the weekend there and then keep heading east to Georgia, where my housesitting gig starts in about three weeks.


  1. What a thrill it was to meet you face to face. You are definitely as sweet in person as on-line! Thanks for all the wonderful tips about e-bay, and I'll certainly keep you updated on my progress. May the rest of your travels be safe and exciting!
    Your Babbling Buddy,

  2. Kay, it was delightful to meet you, too. Thanks for the good wishes! I want to hear all about your eBay adventures--don't forget to call or email if you have some questions when you get started. I'm so glad we're friends! Sue

  3. Just got back from Big Bend, this week. I like your page. Come and give mine a read. See how a real novice does it.

  4. LOL Michael,I'm a novice,too! I've only been on the road since mid-February.

  5. Enjoyed reading your blog. I'm getting ready for some extended traveling in my new Class C. Just me and my 2 cats and 2 dogs. Getting really excited about it. This is the next chapter of my life that I call, "The Gypsy Boho Freedom Express."

    Happy Trails