( Pondering semi-permanence and Port Aransas )
( Pondering semi-permanence and Port Aransas )
Earmworms are songs you just can’t get out of your head. Endless repetitions of even the best tunes and lyrics are guaranteed no-fun after the 50th loop. I happen to like fairly complicated songs, and usually only learn some of the words so it’ll be a chorus or at most one or two verses firmly lodged in my brain. In this case, it was "El Paso", by Marty Robbins. It’s a beautiful melody, a classic western theme, and far too catchy for me.
Every time I saw a sign for El Paso there went Marty, warbling away about his hapless lovesick cowboy and his very bad end. But wait: there’s more! Since I don’t learn songs all that well, about the 30th time or so another complicated melodic tune (that I know about half of) supplanted Marty with a Viking theme. It turns out that the words to “Song of the Shield-wall”, by Malkin Grey and Peregrynne Windrider, scan very well to the tune of “El Paso”, with only minor tweaks.
Click on the links at your own risk; I’m not responsible if you find yourself singing of Saxons in the Old West!
We spent Thanksgiving in Arkansas with my MIL; it was a nice long weekend with family members arriving at staggered intervals as their schedules permitted. Sunday we got back on the road after roughly two weeks in Hot Springs, headed for Sherman, TX, on the first stage of our long drive to California for the Escapees’ Rose Parade HOP.
( South and West into Texas... )
We came up from central Texas, leaving the lush spring behind for the high desert. The bright greens went dull as we drove, blue and orange and purple wildflowers gave way to white ones, and the soil changed to red and tan adobe. Here the fields are full of juniper and cactus.
Cochiti Lake Campground is a Corps of Engineers park sited on rolling hills by a flood control lake in the Pueblo de Cochiti area. We can see mountains all around this plateau. We’re at just about 5500 feet elevation here - climbed up from Texas flatlands in one day. That explains the wheezing (both the truck and I are panting when we exercise.)
( Scenery and shopping... )
But for now we’re in Texas in springtime, and the wildflowers are in bloom. Coming up from Houston, we drove north to Ennis, TX for a brief stop at Waxahachie Creek Park, a Corps of Engineers campground on the lake there. The campground was pretty and the lake was beautiful. We had the loop we were in all to ourselves; the only loop that was full was the one which was all pull-through sites. I’d rather back in and have no neighbors.
We’dve headed more directly west from Houston, but I had arranged for a mail delivery to be sent to us just before we arrived there. So while we got yanked to Houston, our mail went to general delivery at the post office in Wylie. We looked into our options for getting the mail redelivered but they all suffered from too much lag and uncertainty. Easier just to run north and drive into Wylie on Saturday. That let us get a nice brunch in the little café we like there – bonus!
All the way north, the wildflowers were blooming along the freeways. We saw billows of bluebonnets, pure deep blue tipped with white, thick enough in places to resemble a foam-flecked sea. Right along with them were orange and red indian paintbrush; low growing pale pink flowers which looked like poppies; and even some mounds of crimson clover, which isn’t crimson at all but a deep velvet red. Spring in Texas would make a gorgeous quilt.
Ok, we can do that. It’s roughly 260 miles from East Fork Park in Wylie, TX, down to New Caney, TX, just north of Houston. Not too far to go in a single day, and it was early enough we’d get in before dark. I called the campground we’d stayed in the last time his work dragged us down here, and they were able to find a space available for a week. Coming in at the last minute the way we are, we’re shoehorned into a tiny site barely wider than the rig with the slides out. But that’s ok, we’re in, we’re set up and we’re on time for his work.
( Ramblings about our recent travels... )
Fortunately we got lucky with this one:
( Two days at the lake then back to Texas... )
Other than the storm it was a nice low key couple of weeks. Our head colds gradually cleared up, and we took some Sunday drives, ate some good down home cooking, and generally relaxed until it was time to leave for Jackson, MS and yet another customer. I went looking for a campground and found Le Fleur’s Bluff State Park right in the middle of Jackson, just three miles from J’s customer. We exited the freeway and drove the four lane surface road for just a mile, turned off into the campground and the city just fell away. A winding gravel road led back into the woods to a campground on the shore of a small lake; our campsite overlooked the lake and the fall colors reflected in the quiet water. It was beautiful.
The ranger stopped by to chat and pointed out a large alligator in the lake; J thought he was kidding and talking about a log until he saw the beast move. (I didn't know they had alligators this far north.) It was a good eight footer, and the ranger said it had washed into the lake with the last flood. It turns out that this park is part of the flood control system for the City of Jackson. When the Pearl River threatens to overflow its banks, the excess water is diverted into this area. It’s not quite correct to say “into the lake”; the campground is on low ground and pretty much floods right away. Once we found that out, we spotted a few other things. The bathhouse is a two story building, facilities up a flight of stairs. Along the entrance road there are large concrete columns, taller than the rig, with grates at the tops. They’re *storm drains* to curtail the flooding and send the rising water along to the next flood control stage. Storm drains. Fifteen feet up. O_o
I got a (marginal) photo of the gator on the far bank of the lake. My poor camera is nine years old at this point and doing the best it can; it glitched a bit but I think you can make him out. Click (2x) to embiggen, as always.
( Visiting, quilting, and heading for Texas )
( Mardi Gras and back )
So the photo today is about half of the total number of blocks for the current Sea and Shore quilt. Only 80-mumble more to go. The sashing that goes along with these blocks gives a sort of nine patch effect at the corners, so that’s getting worked on too as leader-enders to the blocks. Hopefully if this week goes well, next week I will be able to post pictures of the fun part: actually laying the blocks out and arranging them in pleasing combinations. This past week there wasn’t too much sewing happening, but it was for a good reason, as our travels took us to Houston and the IQA quilt festival.
( Fun times at the International Quilt Festival )
We’ve left southern Texas, dry and hot, for central Arkansas, which so far has been wet and cool. It’s raining this morning with occasional bouts of thunder. Mister Guy, attempting to seem unconcerned, nevertheless somehow winds up on someone’s chest as soon as the thunder starts to roll. He’s curled up and sleeping on J’s chest at the moment, only opening an eye when the rain picks up.
J’s work is pretty much wrapped up; enough that he won’t have to go to the customer site this week. Since we’ve already extended our stay (no refunds, the signs say sternly) we’ll be taking the time to recuperate from all that driving and do some spring RV cleaning.