For Travel Tuesday", let's explore the Texas Hill Country some more.
But first, yesterday was President's Day, what does that mean to you?
February 20, 2012 - "The meaning of Presidents Day may have largely been forgotten. Should it remind us of certain significant things?" From: http://www.ucg.org/beyond-today-daily/united-states/presidents-day-what-does-it-mean-you
And Today Starts Mardi Gras:
Mardi Gras, Just Harmless Fun?
"Billed as the “greatest free party on earth,” Mardi Gras is celebrated by millions around the world. But what is the origin of this event—and should it be celebrated?"
The Real Truth at: http://www.realtruth.org/articles/416-mgjhf.html
"Early in the year according to the commonly accepted civil calendar (the Gregorian calendar), a strange custom called "Mardi Gras" or "Carnival" is observed widely in allegedly "Christian" nations. What is the origin of this weird festival, and is it truly Christian in nature?
The nature of Mardi Gras is epitomized by the namesake for the oldest carnival organization in New Orleans, the "Mistick Krewe of Comus." "In Greek mythology, Comus or Komos is the god of festivity, revels and nocturnal dalliances. He represents anarchy and chaos. During his festivals in Ancient Greece, men and women exchanged clothes. He was depicted as a young man on the point of unconsciousness from drink. He had a wreath of flowers on his head and carried a torch that was in the process of being dropped. ... Comus was a god of excess. He is a son of Bacchus and Circe" ("Comus," www.wikipedia.org).
But these practices, honoring idolatrous customs, public nudity, cross dressing, drunkenness and revelry, are all specifically condemned in Scripture and are the exact opposite of real Christianity. Paul wrote that those who practice such things will not inherit God's Kingdom (Galatians 5:19-23)." Complete article at: http://www.tomorrowsworld.org/commentary/mardi-gras
Now, let's get back to The Texas Hill Country:
"The Texas Hill Country is also defined by the rugged limestone hills that separate the coastal plain from the Edwards Plateau.
There are widely different views of which towns and what land is in the "Hill Country". Some folks are passionate about inclusion of their favorite town and very few want not to be included, possibly because of marketing implications and pride. The boundary areas (there are no hard "lines" or other official demarcations or definitions) thus are very fuzzy.
The "blending" of lifestyles and culture in such areas is perhaps what makes the subject so hard to define. Folks often live in the fringe hilly area of the Hill Country but work in the neighboring town just down the road in the flat-lands, their kids go to school in that town, they trade in town, many of their every-day friends are in town, so for many it all becomes one and the same. A good example of this is with Sabinal, located less than 10 miles from the last hilly area to the north. Folks there believe that Sabinal is in the Hill Country.
Some folks put it in more simple terms, based on what it is not. If it is not "hilly" then it is not in the Hill Country. It it is not "country-like", then it is not Hill Country.
Some make it even simpler. If it is big city (like Austin, San Antonio) it is not in the Hill Country. Everything else is Hill Country until you get to the flat plains.
And speaking of hills, what about mountains? It is pretty clear we do not have any big mountains as in Colorado, but we do have a number of hills and areas with the word "mountain" in their name, such as "Round Mountain" (Hwy 281 between Johnson City and Marble Falls); Rattlesnake Mountain (just W of Round Mountain); Bell Mountain (near Hwy 16 just north of Willow City and Fredericksburg, El 1950 ft); Lone Man Mountain (E of Blanco, El 1421 ft); Long Mountain in Mason County; and Mountain Home." More at: http://www.hillcountryportal.com/Hill%20Country%20Information.htm
Junction is on the north western edge of The Hill Country.
Junction, TX and Kimble County offer a wide variety of experiences for visitors.
"Canoeing, kayaking and tubing on one of the rivers is a great way to enjoy the outdoors. Bring your own or rent from one of the local businesses which will also drop you off and pick you up.
Fishing is always available. It doesn't matter if you're after that lunker catfish or wanting to try your hand at fly fishing the spring fed waters of the South Llano River or North Llano River.
Visit the Kimble Country Historical Commission Museum for a look back at the way our pioneer ancestors lived. Apart from the collection of interesting artifacts, the museum is also a great resource for genealogical research.
Relax and enjoy the views and people of Junction and Kimble County. The country is beautiful, the people are friendly and the lifestyle is relaxed. Be sure to visit the SOUTH LLANO RIVER STATE PARK located 3 1/2 miles south of Junction off Highway 377 South. The park offers 58 full service hookups for RV's and miles of hiking and backpacking trails."
"More than 150 bird species may be seen either on the South Llano River State Park or the Buck Area during different periods of the year. The endangered Black-capped vireo and the common Western Screech Owl have been documented on the Buck Area for the past several years. There is one birding blind located within the South Llano River State Park and one located in the Buck Area. Both blinds have water and feed, which attract many different bird species.
Wildlife movements are at the highest during dawn and dusk hours of the day. Wildlife viewing may be difficult during periods of good forage conditions within the dense vegetation of the Buck Area. Visitors may want to visit any of the water sources found on the Buck Area early in the morning or late afternoon in order to improve their odds of viewing wildlife." From: http://www.junctiontexas.net/todo.htm
"South Llano River State Park is surprisingly a decent place to ride and one you probably never thought about. Sure, it has around 22 miles of multi-use trails, but when you look around the internet, South Llano River is probably the last place you will find listed as far as where to ride. That’s too bad, though, because even though the trails are 99% doubletrack, they aren’t like most Hill Country trails as far as rocks are concerned. Yeah, South Llano River has rocks, but for the most part the majority of them are confined to low lying areas, such as water crossings." From: http://www.mountainbiketx.com/texas/trails/region_6/southllano.php
"The brave souls who finally tamed this wild valley were rewarded with a beautiful "Land of Living Waters." Junction sits at the confluence of the North and South Llano Rivers, where the Hill Country meets the wide open spaces of West Texas. Easy I-10 access is the clincher. You MUST explore Junction and Kimble County!" By John Hallowell
The Land of Living Waters
"Junction is named for its location at the meeting of the North and South Llano Rivers, and the abundance of springs and streams among the hills around Junction gave rise to the area's nickname, "The Land of Living Waters." At the same time, the rugged terrain and the vast expanses to the west of Junction have led many to call Junction "The Front Porch of the West." This is the place where the Hill Country meets West Texas, and the town's name seems doubly appropriate.
Before modern roads were carved through the steep hills that surround the town, Kimble County was quite a forbidding place, and only the most courageous..." [read more]
South Llano River State Park, Junction, Texas
"From turkeys to tubing to butterflies, South Llano River State Park offers something for every season. This Texas hill country park, near the town of Junction, is a favorite of many Texans for its scenic beauty, clear river and diverse wildlife. For more information, visit www.LifesBetterOutside.org "
"Whether your passion is water, woods, or wildlife, 507-acre South Llano River State Park has much to offer. Fishing, canoeing, tubing and swimming opportunities are available in the park's 2 miles of frontage on the spring-fed South Llano River. Facilities include developed (water and electricity) and walk-in campsites and restrooms with showers. Four miles of hiking and mountain biking trails are available in the "Turkey Roost" river bottom area of the park.
Visitors should not overlook the park's adjoining 2,123-acre Walter Buck Wildlife Management Area which contains 16 miles of hiking and biking trails, as well as 18 blinds for wildlife viewing, photography or hunting (in season).
South Llano River SP is home to one of the most significant Rio Grande turkey roosts in Central Texas. Observation blinds are available for visitors to observe turkey visiting the roost. White-tail deer, ducks, squirrels, jackrabbits, javelinas, beavers, bobcats and armadillos may also be observed. Exotic species such as Axis deer, black buck antelope and fallow deer are often spotted in the park.
To protect to the roosting turkey population, the park's river frontage and Turkey Roost area are closed from October 1 to March 31 annually. During the roosting season closure, the park's campgrounds remain open and more than 16 acres of the South Llano River remain accessible outside the park, at the low-water crossing bridge." From: http://wildtexas.com/parks/slrsp.php
On This Day:
Cherokee receive their first printing press, Feb 21, 1828:
"The first printing press designed to use the newly invented Cherokee alphabet arrives at New Echota, Georgia.
The General Council of the Cherokee Nation had purchased the press with the goal of producing a Cherokee-language newspaper. The press itself, however, would have been useless had it not been for the extraordinary work of a young Cherokee named Sequoyah, who invented a Cherokee alphabet.
As a young man, Sequoyah had joined the Cherokee volunteers who fought under Andrew Jackson against the British in the War of 1812. In dealing with the Anglo soldiers and settlers, he became intrigued by their "talking leaves"-printed books that he realized somehow recorded human speech. In a brilliant leap of logic, Sequoyah comprehended the basic nature of symbolic representation of sounds and in 1809 began working on a similar system for the Cherokee language.
Ridiculed and misunderstood by most of the Cherokee, Sequoyah made slow progress until he came up with the idea of representing each syllable in the language with a separate written character. By 1821, he had perfected his syllabary of 86 characters, a system that could be mastered in less than week. After obtaining the official endorsement of the Cherokee leadership, Sequoyah's invention was soon adopted throughout the Cherokee nation. When the Cherokee-language printing press arrived on this day in 1828, the lead type was based on Sequoyah's syllabary. Within months, the first Indian language newspaper in history appeared in New Echota, Georgia. It was called the Cherokee Phoenix.
One of the so-called "five civilized tribes" native to the American Southeast, the Cherokee had long embraced the United States' program of "civilizing" Indians in the years after the Revolutionary War. In the minds of Americans, Sequoyah's syllabary further demonstrated the Cherokee desire to modernize and fit into the dominant Anglo world. The Cherokee used their new press to print a bilingual version of republican constitution, and they took many other steps to assimilate Anglo culture and practice while still preserving some aspects of their traditional language and beliefs.
Sadly, despite the Cherokee's sincere efforts to cooperate and assimilate with the Anglo-Americans, their accomplishments did not protect them from the demands of land-hungry Americans. Repeatedly pushed westward in order to make room for Anglo settlers, the Cherokee lost more than 4,000 of their people (nearly a quarter of the nation) in the 1838-39 winter migration to Oklahoma that later became known as the Trail of Tears. Nonetheless, the Cherokee people survived as a nation in their new home, thanks in part to the presence of the unifying written language created by Sequoyah.
In recognition of his service, the Cherokee Nation voted Sequoyah an annual allowance in 1841. He died two years later on his farm in Oklahoma. Today, his memory is also preserved in the scientific name for the giant California redwood tree, Sequoia."
NASCAR founded, Feb 21, 1948:
"On this day in 1948, the National Association for Stock Car Racing--or NASCAR, as it will come to be widely known--is officially incorporated. NASCAR racing will go on to become one of America's most popular spectator sports, as well as a multi-billion-dollar industry.
The driving force behind the establishment of NASCAR was William "Bill" France Sr. (1909-1992), a mechanic and auto-repair shop owner from Washington, D.C., who in the mid-1930s moved to Daytona Beach, Florida. The Daytona area was a gathering spot for racing enthusiasts, and France became involved in racing cars and promoting races. After witnessing how racing rules could vary from event to event and how dishonest promoters could abscond with prize money, France felt there was a need for a governing body to sanction and promote racing. He gathered members of the racing community to discuss the idea, and NASCAR was born, with its official incorporation in February 1921. France served as NASCAR's first president and played a key role in shaping its development in the sport's early decades.
NASCAR held its first Strictly Stock race on June 19, 1949, at the Charlotte Speedway in North Carolina. Some 13,000 fans were on hand to watch Glenn Dunnaway finish the 200-lap race first in his Ford; however, Jim Roper (who drove a Lincoln) collected the $2,000 prize after Dunnaway was disqualified for illegal rear springs on his vehicle. In the early years of NASCAR, competitors drove the same types of cars that people drove on the street--Buicks, Cadillacs, Oldsmobiles, among others--with minimal modifications. (Today, the cars are highly customized.)
In 1950, the first NASCAR-based track, the Darlington Raceway in South Carolina, opened. More new raceways followed, including the Daytona International Speedway, which opened in 1959. Lee Petty won the first Daytona 500, which was run on February 22 of that year. The Daytona 500 became NASCAR's season opener and one of its premiere events. Lee Petty's son Richard, who began his racing career in 1958, won the Daytona 500 a record seven times and became NASCAR's first superstar before retiring in 1992. On February 18, 1979, the first live flag-to-flag coverage of the Daytona 500 was broadcast on television. An end-of-the-race brawl between drivers Cale Yarborough and Donnie and Bobby Allison was a huge publicity generator and helped boost NASCAR's popularity on a national scale.
In 1972, France's son, William France Jr., took over the presidency of NASCAR from his father. Over the next three decades, the younger France (1933-2007) was instrumental in transforming NASCAR from a regional sport popular primarily in the southeast U.S. into one with a global fan base. France led NASCAR into a new era of lucrative corporate sponsorships and billion-dollar TV contracts. Today, NASCAR has three national series as well as four regional series and two international series. The organization sanctions over 1,200 races at 100 tracks across North America."
Misty and I went to get Jay, so she finally had the walk that she missed the day before.
Jay has a very keen sense of smell, and the Puddle Jumper had been hauling a wet Misty and other dogs, plus animals that we have trapped, so he kept on saying that it stank. (I had others say that they couldn't smell it.)
I washed the seat cover that I put on the back seat where Misty rides. Even though in the back there is a big rubber mat which we always cover with a big piece of cardboard, I guess the trap smell lingers. (Remember, I have cysts in my sinuses, so I can't smell things as well as other folk.)
Jay shampooed all the seats and carpet, so it smells like new now. Also because I had some of that ‘New Car Smell’ in a spritz bottle! It has over 200,000 miles on it, and the velour seats are not worn at all. Even though it is a 1988 Mercury Tracer station wagon, it was one of the first, and made by Mazda. Claudia also has a Tracer, but a later model, so it was made by Ford.
As I have had the new computer for a couple of months, I thought I had better start using it. I had strung a long Ethernet cord into the living room so I could use my laptop while the yard sale was going on. We moved the new computer into the living room, onto the 'new' computer desk. But first the flat monitor wouldn't plug into it, so we dug out an old big square monitor. That worked. Then I tried my old favourite clicky keyboard that I spilled the juice on, and it worked! I was ecstatic…for a while. I found out that there is still one key that doesn't work, and it is in my sign-on name. So I am still stuck with using a full size keyboard, but just can't get used to my mouse being so far away.
The high was 63, but as it didn't rain any more, it felt like a jolly good day.