Sunday, December 30, 2012

We Picked Up a Hitchhiker... -- Sat., Dec. 29

...An unintended hitchhiker, but a hitchhiker nevertheless. As we were driving along a freeway access road, whoosh, a bird flew directly in front of the car. Oh, no! Bob was driving and I had visions of a dead bird on our grille.

When we reached the Camping World parking lot we headed into the store to find out about returning our outside surge protector. When we headed back out to the car, Bob said, "Look," as he pointed just above the front bumper. There, sitting on a little ledge between the bumper and the inside grille, was a beautiful young mockingbird, the state bird of Texas. It was alive.

We tried to shoo it away with our hands, but it jumped up higher behind the front grille. I tried to coax it out with a long pole that I stuck between the inside radiator grille and the outside decorative grille. Finally, we gave up and decided to let the bird stay there. It was protected from 70 mph freeway speeds behind part of the front of the car (no holes there to let air blast through).

Our destination was Pecan Park Campground in San Marcos, TX to meet friends Peri and Jim of Tales from the Camping House. By the time we arrived at their site, the bird was gone. We figure it must have jumped out at one of our stops along the way. Just as well. I don't know what we would have done with a mockingbird living in our car.

At Jim and Peri's 5er we sat chatting before we made our way to Lockhart, Texas, in Caldwell County, the Barbecue Capital of Texas

Caldwell County Courthouse
Our destination in Lockhart was one of the four barbecue markets (AKA restaurants).  Peri and Jim chose Kreuz (pronounced "Krites") Market for lunch today. 

Jim, Peri, Bob, Susan in front of Kreuz Market before lunch.
The way you order at Kreuz was a new experience for us. First you stand in line to place your meat order from the "pit" area. The "pit" is the room where all the barbecuing, cutting and weighing is done. (Zowie! Is that room smokey!) Choices of meat ranged from shoulder clod to ribs to turkey to chicken to brisket to pork to sausage. Each type of meat had its own per-pound pricing which was paid for in the pit room.

A whole room full of barbecue pits. You can see glowing wood on the bottom right.
Cutting our turkey breast to order.
This particular barbecue place does not put barbecue sauce on the meat, saying they're not trying to hide anything. Don't ask for barbecue sauce because it offends them. The meat is moist and tender. You can pull it apart and eat it with your hands. Once you have your meat, you make your way into the dining room where you get in line again to purchase your sides, drinks and desserts. I found a table for the four of us while the others went to buy their sides/drinks. We had a great meal and were pretty full at the end of it. 

From the restaurant, Jim drove us around the town of Lockhart where he showed us Smitty's Market, Black's Barbecue and Chisholm Trail Barbecue restaurants...all had lines out the door. We also drove past Caldwell County Historical Museum (formerly a jail) which is a great example of the Norman castellated style of architecture. (In other words it is built like a castle.)

From Lockhart, we drove 13 miles back to Pecan Park. We nestled into Jim and Peri's 5th wheel (with fireplace heater!) where we taught them how to play pinochle. Bob and I were impressed with how quickly they learned the game. (It can be a bit tricky in bidding and strategy.) As the games progressed, we had some really horrible hands, so we did a lot of re-dealing. 

During the afternoon, we snacked on chips, hummus, pretzel chips, praline nuts, smoked turkey, mixed nuts and pepper jack cheese. When the Alamo Bowl game came on TV, we moved the table into the living room to play cards and watch football. Jim and Peri wanted Texas to win. Bob and I wanted Oregon State to win. It looked good for Oregon State through the whole game until the very end. Boo!

Anyway we had a very fun day and capped it off with pumpkin pie and whipped cream. We didn't get home until around 11:00 p.m. 

Jim and Peri are invited to San Antonio to do a 10K Volksmarch with us on Saturday, Jan. 5. Actually, we plan to do two 10K Volksmarches that day, so Jim and Peri can meet us after we finish the first one. Then we are inviting them to our 5er to play pinochle and Sequence. We'll see if there are any good games on TV that day. 

(Note: I skipped blogging on Friday because it was typical chore day--vacuuming, shopping, laundry. Now you know.)

Today was a quiet day for me. I made pumpkin pancakes with cinnamon applesauce, fried eggs and turkey bacon for breakfast. Bob went to Gold's Gym to play basketball and relax in their indoor hot tub. I researched the cabins on site at our RV park for my Mom's and sister's visit in late March. I am also looking into booking their airfare. That's about it.

Travel Bug out.