Saturday, March 19, 2011

Greetings from Mason, TX

We have been in Mason for three weeks now, heading to Abilene State Park in Buffalo Gap next week. After leaving the valley, we had planned on spending a few weeks at Mustang Island State Park near Corpus Christi. Shelby had other ideas when she got sick so we came to Mason instead. Her vet (one of many) is in Brady just 30 or so miles north of here. Shelby is now on heart medication (after all she is 77 in dog years!) and is feeling better.
Below are photos of Mason and the surrounding Hill Country. Those of you who are familiar with the area, stifle those yawns, and bear with me!! Ha!

Our site in the Mason City RV Park just southeast of town. This is one of their better spaces with a large front yard. Even though it is near the golf course we haven't been hit with a golf ball (unlike previous visits), but Donnie did find one under the fifth wheel yesterday!
Oh yeah, check out the little red Tracker, that we tow behind the fifth wheel. Great for running around the countryside, it has kept us from putting a bunch of miles on our truck.

Sunset looking towards the park entrance on Hwy 87.

Mason City Courthouse. The Chamber of Commerce has a good website with a webcam:

Seaquist Home in Mason. Construction began in 1887 and was completed in 1919. The house boasts a 3rd floor ballroom.

The Broad Street Bridge, built in 1918, is a single lane bridge crossing Comanche Creek.

This building, near the bridge, started out in the late 1910s as a grocery store. The North Side Cafe has one of the best burgers we have ever tasted. I'm sure the other menu items are good too, but I wouldn't know as we always order the big cheeseburgers. Their soft drink machine is stocked with Dublin Dr. Pepper and RC Cola. Does it get any better than that??

The Doss Lutheran Church built in 1913.

The back of the church is as charming as the front.
The Doss community is about 25 miles south of Mason. There is a post office, school (grades K-8), and General Store/Feed Store in addition to the church. We drove out there a few days ago to check out the place and also to sample the chicken fried steaks at the cafe inside the General Store. The CFS was pretty tasty and we were told their burgers are good too.

While looking around Menard, 40 miles NW of here, we noticed this neat old Sinclair gas station. Built in the 1920s, it has been converted to a living space with a nice covered patio in back. I told our son, Casey, that we planned to buy it and move in. Needless to say, he didn't think his Mom was very funny! Oh well...

Two old churches and old general store in the community of Katemcy, north of Mason. This area is supposed to be a good place to hunt for Texas topaz, but it was too hot there yesterday to be a rock hound.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

One More Trip to SPI

Last photos of South Padre Island for this year. We have really enjoyed the time we spent in Rio Hondo, making new friends, seeing new sights and we look forward to being "Winter Texans" again next year.

The South Padre Island Convention and Visitors Center.

Feeding the gulls one last time. Shelby ate almost as much bread as the birds!

Beach at Boca Chica

The following photos were taken at Boca Chica, which is the southern most beach in Texas. It is also where the Rio Grande runs into the Gulf of Mexico. Donnie and I had seen Boca Chica on one of our previous winter trips to the valley, but were unable to drive out on the beach as we have only two wheel drive. Bob and Karmen asked us to join them for a trip down there in their 4X4 pickup so we actually got to explore the entire six miles of beach. When we first arrived the sky was a little overcast but then cleared up and we had a beautiful day for shelling and exploring.

Karmen and I just had to pose in our beachcombing attire. Check out those boots! Bob, thanks for loaning me your "waders"! We girls had a great time collecting shells while the guys watched the dredger in the ship canal.

A tug boat in the Brownsville ship canal. The canal runs between South Padre Island to the north and Boca Chica to the south. You can see the SPI high rise condos in the background.

A dredger at work clearing sand from the shipping lane. You can see a dolphin to the right of the dredger. Donnie said he and Bob watched several dolphins swimming in the canal.

A Mexican fishing boat in the Gulf.

At this point, center left of photo, the Rio Grande flows into the Gulf. You can see Mexican fishermen on the other shore. This is as close as you can get to Mexico without a passport!!

It was really interesting to watch these men casting nets into the river, each time bringing in several large fish.