Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Mount Rushmore

We arrived at the park about 7pm because we were told to go for the evening lighting ceremony as it was quite impressive.  Agreed.  We were treated to the Army Band who were there from the time we arrived until the ceremony began at 9pm.  They played a big selection of patriotic, swing and jazz -- very nice!

The ampitheater filled up quickly around 8pm, and at 9pm the park ranger gave a 10 minute talk about the Lewis and Clarke expedition as they played a large part in the creation of the park. 

Then there was a 30 minute movie about the park, the sculptor and his work, and the entire park.  At the very end, the mountain side was lit up with some huge lights, illuminating the faces on the mountain.  Everyone was flashing away, cameras and cell phones were going off like a light show.

Then they asked all veterans, active service members and retirees to come up to the stage (yes, John went up there!) and a boy scout troop that was visiting retired the flag for the night.  It was great!

Of course, getting out of the park afterwards was a pain, but thankfully we were staying only 2 miles away, so we got back to the lodge fairly quickly.  It was a very busy day!

I'll tell you all about Deadwood, Devil's Tower, and Wyoming tomorrow! 

Monday, July 26, 2010

Custer State Park and Black Hills National Park

Bison, prairie dogs, pronghorn antelope, white tail deer...and more buffalo.  The entire herd in Custer State Park walked right behind our truck as we were parked on the side of the road.

Interesting noise the big males make -- they stick their tongues out and bellow!  Something else I totally was unaware of, they seem to be walking and socializing together in a typical male, female and baby group.  Everywhere we looked they were in this threesome group.  So, do they mate for life, or for a season?  I have questions!

They were totally unconcerned about us, but after reading the sign above, I wasn't taking any chances.  A typical adult male weighs in at 2000 pounds (that's a TON) and I don't think I want to take the chance, so we stayed right by the car and even jumped inside when they started coming our way. 

Those little prairie dogs were hilarious, darting here and there and jumping into their holes when they knew you were watching them.  Real funny guys.  I know that ranchers hate them because cattle and horses can break a leg walking into their holes, but they are fun to watch.

We went to Mount Rushmore tonight for the evening program.  I'll write it up tomorrow, because we're exhausted.  We're leaving here around noon tomorrow to places unknown.  We have no plans and no reservations.  I think we'll decide at breakfast in the morning, so I'll see you next from ???

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Dodge City

After we left the hotel this morning, we were off to explore Dodge City to get a taste of the city that Marshall Dillon , Miss Kitty, Doc and Festus made famous.  Guess what?  They weren't real.  I know, I know...we knew that it was just a TV show, right.

Anyway, we found out that the city started as Fort Dodge, and with the Indian's raids and killings, along with the arrival of the railroad, the town father's thought that the best way to get rid of the problems was to kill off the buffalo that sustained the Indian tribes around the area.  They invited buffalo hunters and they arrived by the hundreds and wiped out the buffalo in no time.  Unfortunately, buffalo hunters weren't the law abiding citizens that the town fathers had envisioned.

Thus they had to import Wyatt Earp and his brothers, along with Bat Masterson, who cleaned the city up so well, they were then invited to leave.  Some gratitude, huh?

We visited Boot Hill, the burying place for the town indigents, gun slingers, and ladies of ill repute.  It truly was on a hillside.  Their bodies were moved when the property was sold and divided up.  The museum believes that there are still some bodies left there, though.

It was great fun, and I can cross Dodge City and Boot Hill off of my bucket list now!
On to Mount Rushmore!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A few items crossed off our bucket list!

Today we left for our trip to Mount Rushmore and places northwest!  First travel day started at about 7am, later then I thought we'd get out, but not too shabby.
Our trips always start with a stop for breakfast tacos - it's our good luck charm!  So after we accomplished that in Boerne, we headed out towards Oklahoma, on to Kansas, eventually landing in Dodge City for the first night.

Every time I travel through Texas my thoughts are often about the hardy souls who first settled this hard country.  So much land, so vast, so wide.  I was surprised with how beautiful the Texas panhandle was.  Some beautiful country.  Interspersed with some really harsh, flat and dry areas.  We passed so many small towns that seemed deserted - the small downtown areas with buildings made of red or tan brick, their window fronts deserted or often stacked with flea market finds, some cracked and taped, but mostly empty.  Not a soul in sight. Are the young people so anxious to move to the big city that they just don't come back after going away to college? That would be my guess.  Sad to see as we drove through.

Lunched in Childress, one of the few towns that had some folks out and about on a Saturday.  Then on to Oklahoma, and in to Dodge City, Kansas right about 7pm.  John was very ready to get out from behind the wheel.

We got settled in at the motel and then went out to find a Dodge City steak.  John talked with some of the staff downstairs who suggested Casey's Cowtown Steak House.  Great steak and a very interesting place.  He (Casey, I guess..) has collected some really beautiful art pieces, many American Indian artworks and some really nice collectables.  There was a train station clock that was just beautiful and was something I'd love to have.  Wonder where he go it?

Now, off to bed so we can get up and explore Dodge City in the morning.  We only have to make it to Keystone, South Dakota tomorrow, so it should be a more leisurely day!  Touch base with you tomorrow!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Herbert Russell Schwencke

My dad in the Air Force.  Guessing 1945?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My Grandfather Ed or my Uncle Ed??

They looked so much alike, if I had to guess from the clothing and the type of picture, then this is my Grandfather, Ed Vahalik, on the right.
What do you think?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

What's wrong with me?!!

I'm addicted to food sites on the internet.  It all started when I ran across this cute site called Epitcute.  They post pictures of pretty, cute, and usually tiny food.  And sometimes they link to the site that they found it on.

Then I go to the link and can spend loads and loads of time just reading and looking at the pictures and recipes.  Then I add them to my Google reader in my "Food Stuff" folder, where I kid you not, I now have 11 different sites that post recipes, pictures of making the recipes, and funny stories about those recipes. I absolutely love them!  

And it's not like I can actually make most of these since I'm usually trying to watch my weight, and John can't eat anything too salty or full of cholesterol, but I just love to look at them.  I may actually be getting an overdose of calories by just doing that.  

I need an intervention!!!!
A couple of my favorite?
Confections of a Foodie Bride
Homesick Texan
The Pioneer Woman Cooks
Use Real Butter

If you find any great sites, send them my way.


No, no, do.
Go ahead.
I promise not to make any of the recipes.

Well, not really.  My fingers were crossed.

The sound of heaven....

Last night I was brought to tears by the beautiful, giggly, gorgeous and angelic sound of KT giggling!!!  My breath caught in my throat, and my heart just did a double beat at how gorgeous that sound was.  It brought back the memories of my own babies laughing for the first time.  Something you have to experience to believe. 

There's hope for the world in the sound of a baby's giggles.

PS: If you get the chance to babysit your grandchildren, take it! You may get to experience some wonderous sounds!

Monday, July 12, 2010

What are you reading?

I'm listening to Labyrinth, by Kate Mosse. It's fascinating - bouncing back and forth from modern times (2005) at an archeological dig, to 13th century France.  Its a holy grail story.  I have to say that the reader for this novel was an inspirational pick, Donada Peters.  Excellent.
Down side, this books is something like 16 discs long! Good grief!  It's an investment in time, for sure, but so far quite worth it. 

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Introducing Michael and Angie Wren!

Beautiful wedding!  Now for the adventure of married life.  Much love you two!  For the pics, go here!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Hoyt-Wren Wedding Rehearsal

Rehearsal went off without a hitch!  One take!
Then we were off to rehearsal dinner at Brick's in Bandera.  Delicious chicken fried steak! Michael's family were so nice, many of them staying in and around Bandera for the weekend. 
When this bumper sticker arrived in our mail about three weeks ago, I was completely mistafied, until I turned it over and found the invitation to the dinner printed on the back! Very cute idea!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Daniel Paul Schwencke

Danny, I miss you....
I wish you were here to see our beautiful granddaughter, KT. 
I wish you could see the pavilion that we've built.... you would have loved it.  We miss your advice on it, that you would have had some wonderful ideas for us.  You did love to build things.
I miss your opinions, your funny stories, your emails....
Love you -- your sis!
(PS: Dan, I think you're missing a button there.  Just like you to wear a shirt with a missing button to school on picture day...ha!)

Happy Rehearsal Day!

Today we begin the celebration!  Angie and Michael will be getting hitched tomorrow!  Can't wait!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Independence Day!

We enjoyed a more low-keyed holiday at Mike & Kathy's this year.  A smaller crowd due to lot's of people working on the weekend (that's just wrong!) but it was very relaxing and enjoyable - we all caught up on everyones news and everyone got to gush over KT. Ha!  At least, that's what I did. There were a few strong souls who actually tried to play some volleyball, even though the humidity was high.  I enjoyed the air-conditioning.
Jeff spikes the ball
Kathy watches KT being cute
KT's sandals, which were too big (awful cute, though!)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Happy Fourth of July!

Miss KT Koenig, The Day Before Independence Day,
July 3rd, 2010