This should be a short blog post (masked with lots of pictures to make it look longer than it really is) wrapping up the last week as I had a work trip and Greg has a full solar install. When I left Penn, I was given the opportunity to stay on part time for a while, which was unexpected and awesome. So, this past week, I returned to Wyomissing for a few days and also got to attend the Grand Opening of Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville, Massachusetts which is the first casino in Mass and a project that I spent a lot of time working on before I left. Was great to see it open, and also great to see it packed for opening—lines, traffic, etc. If you're in the Boston area, you should check it out.
Ultimatley had a nice visit in Pennsyvania and Massachusetts and even got to sneak in a quick visit with our Friday night Doachie's group (on Thursday!). Was great to see everyone and will be nice when we return to Pennsylvania in September for a bit as we'll have more time for visits.
Before I hopped on a plane, we did swing by and have a father’s day lunch with dad. First Father’s Day that we’d been together in forever!! Cool.
Greg kept himself busy with another successful solar install while I was in Pennsylvania, which worked out nicely since I was traveling and Kennedy was at orchestra camp.
Greg's supervisor for the week!
On Friday, I returned to Texas—and flew into Austin. Our original campground (the one next to lots of water) was closer to Austin, our current campground to San Antonio, so I had booked my flight out of Austin. Since Greg was wrapping up the install, my parents volunteered to pick me up as they live in between Austin and San Antonio. On our way back to their house, we stopped by Texas State University--where Kennedy was attending orchestra camp—to scout out the location of her performance. What should have been a fairly quick trip, turned out to take a lot longer than anticipated, which may or may not have anything to do with my lack of sense of direction. All I can say is that I’m really glad I wasn’t out in the wilderness or they would have had to send out the ‘copters to locate me!!
Luckily, I eventually located Evans Hall, the building where the concert was, and identified some parking spots that would work. Whew! Now the only challenge would be to find the spots again the next day, which we did after only two tries!! On Saturday, we arrived in plenty of time to get settled (I may have built in some time for getting lost) and watch a couple of practice sessions. There were two groups of middle school kids and Kennedy was in the second group, which was the Concertante group. She plays the viola and it was so awesome to see her play and the songs they played were really good. That’s not the proud aunt talking, they were good, honest!!
This is a picture of a picture...from the camp slideshow.
She's so hard to see, but she's in the middle, in front of the second base.
And....the look of joy (or relief) after the concert!
While we were in New Braunfels, we checked out some additional campgrounds in the area. We haven’t found anything we like better than the two Corp parks that are currently flooded, but we continued to look….and look….
We wrapped up the week with a nice drive throughout the Hill Country. Our original destination was Bandera, the Cowboy Capital, but we also hit some other areas and enjoyed driving around the hills and small towns. It was quite beautiful, and really enjoyed the drive. And of course, we checked out a few other campgrounds in our travels and actually found one that we liked, so at least we have a back up. We definitely got spoiled seeing the Corp parks; nothing seems to stack up!!
11th Street Saloon in Bandera, TX
Think I have been remiss with my black and whites!
This building was in the center of town. City Hall?
Guess I should have looked to see what it was!! Cool building nonetheless!!
Another "only in Texas."
Speed limit faster on a two lane--sort of curvy highway--than the interstate in PA!
What a welcoming statue outside one of the many ranches!?! 'Bout 10 ft tall.
Of course we were taking pictures when a few cars were exiting the ranch.
We quickly, and I mean quickly, got out of dodge....not taking any chances!
Medina River. One of the few rivers they are tubing on right now.
Uh, excuse us....just passing by!! And he looked mean!!
Not as mean as that wooden statue though!!
There are deer everywhere here. You can see the sillouette of one in the barn.
At dusk, we headed to Fredericksburg with Cheri (my sister) and Kennedy to see the bats at Old Tunnel State Park. The park is currently home to about a million Mexican free-tailed bats and by late summer that population grows to about three million. Not sure how you count that many bats, but they seemed to have figured it out, or at least are good guessers!!
The bat tunnel. A million bats in there!!
We could see some action inside of the tunnel.
But with a milion bats, I guess it might get a little crowed.
Prior to the bats’ exit, they had a nice 15-minute educational program on the bats, which surprisingly was very informative. The ranger who did the presentation really loves her bats, which made it a lot more interesting and now I know more about bats than I ever wanted to know. I’ll spare you the details, but suffice it to say, bats are good for the environment.
The educational portion, complete with visual aides!!
Well, with all the rain Texas has been having, the bats have plenty of food, so their departure from the tunnel didn’t happen until around 9 p.m. We could see them, lots of them, but unfortunately it was too dark for pictures. It was like a tornado of bats swarming the trees as they exited and they were still streaming out of the tunnel when we left—after 20 minutes watching them come out.
The cost to go to the lower section to watch the exit and get the presentation was $5.00 per person. There were two nice ladies collecting the money as we entered and very nicely (and somewhat apologetic) giving us the disclaimer that if it rains, we may not see the bats and we can’t get our money back. They were so cute and honestly, wouldn’t have even dawned on me to ask for my money back if we didn’t see any bats, but guessing they make that speech for a reason.
During the presentation we learned that the biggest bat colony is in San Antonio, with 20 million bats (can’t even imagine), but all the viewing sessions between now and end of July are full. Bummer. Maybe we'll make a trip to Austin, where the largest urban bat population resides…. but only a mere 1.5 million bats.
Well, that's a wrap for the week!! We're in Boerne for the rest of this week, then Sunday, we move to Gonzales for a week.