Saturday, March 4, 2023

Happy Purim 2023! Fun and Ridiculous Stuff From Our Current Trip!

Here is some fun and ridiculous stuff from our current trip, for your Purim enjoyment. Also silly pictures! Not in any kind of any chronological order. There is a lot of stuff, you might say a Whole Megillah of stuff, cause we've been on the road a long time. 

1. Bob sometimes wears a Maine baseball cap. People always ask if he is from Maine. His answer always gets a laugh - No, I am from New Jersey but why would I want to wear a New Jersey hat?

2. Everyone has to comment on our NJ license plates. For example - NJ, huh. Where in NJ? I’m originally from NJ. My (insert family person here) lives in NJ or is from NJ. You’re a long way from home. Did you come all the way from NJ just to see (insert current location or attraction). Are you from the north, south, or the famous central NJ? Etc.

3. Early in our trip we took a 2 week Caribbean cruise from Tampa. One of the tour guides on a ship excursion was named Eliezer. He started to explain his name - Abraham’s servant who was sent to get a wife for Isaac - and we were, yeah, yeah, we know the story.

4. I went to the gym once on our cruise. The last day - to weigh myself.

5. A Wynn Dixie near Ocala, FL, labeled Wolffs kasha as “Grits” .

6. We were stranded in Pedernales State Park near Austin, TX for several days towards the end of January as the whole center of the state (including DFW airport) shut down for a week due to only ½ inch of ice and or snow.

7. We saw someone who looked familiar at a restaurant in Dallas. It took a while for us to remember that he was someone who had us for a meal on a Shabbos. But we couldn't remember which city. Bob had to check his email to see where it had been (Houston).

8. A Texas put down - He’s all hat and no cattle.

9. Texas has a great supermarket chain called H-E-B with 350 stores and a giant H-E-B sign at each one. The first time I saw the sign I thought the store was something Jewish, but the name is the initials of the founder, Howard Edward Butt. (Must be why he used his initials, not last name) Many of the stores do have a very nice kosher section though.

10. We always ask park rangers, tour guides, etc., for the stupidest question they have ever been asked. Here are some of our favorites from this trip –

a. The Cruise Director on our cruise had an irate passenger complain that he was supposed to have an unobstructed window in his cabin. She replied, “Just wait till we move away from the dock.”

b. A park ranger in a visitor center was once asked, “How long is the 10 min video?”

c. A Carlsbad Caverns Ranger was asked, “Is this underground?"

d. Another Carlsbad Caverns Ranger was asked, “How much of the cave is unexplored?”

e. A Texas State Park with a river used for tubing has a sign that says, “Once you leave the park, you won’t be able to walk or take the river back. The river does not run in a circle.” This reminded me of a guide on a whitewater river rafting trip in Massachusetts who told us he was once asked, “When do we get back to our starting point?”

11. There were clouds of biting midges in Big Bend National Park everywhere near the Rio Grande River. Every time we got into Our V, tons of the little pests got in with us. For some reason, they were attracted to the windshield. So, every time we got into Our V, we would spend a few minutes squishing the midges against the windshield. This was the first time I have ever had to clean bug smears off the inside of a windshield. 

12. We have spent a lot of time in the wilderness. And by wilderness, I mean No Internet Connection.

13. There is a kosher fleisching (meat) restaurant in Dallas called Milk and Honey.

14. The major of Lajitas, TX‘s name is Clay Henry. And is a goat. His campaign slogan is, “The World’s Most Honest Politician.”

15. Danger! Travel can be dangerous! We have seen signs warning us about: Flying Discs, Dangerous Banks, Historic Steps, Falling Rocks, Tornados, Water on Road, Rip Currents on Road, Flash Floods, High Winds, Wind Currents, Wind Gusts, Dust Storms, Blowing Dust, and Zero Visibility. And the dangers of wildlife such as Bears, Wild Bison, Wild Horses, Mountain Lions, Wild Alligators, Alligators, Snakes, Loose Cattle, and Crazy Tawney Ants. One campground helpfully included this sheet in their handout:

Miscellaneous  and photographic proof of some of the items on the previous list

Great quote seen in the Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience, New Orleans : "No Jew is ever the first Jew anywhere. There is always one before him." Jacob Rader Marcus, Founder of the American Jewish Archives.

Saw this in the Japanese garden of Bellingrath Gardens, Alabama. It looked like Hebrew but we couldn’t figure out what it said. That’s because the sign actually says, "Drink Coca Cola," in Japanese. We confirmed it with Bob's former boss Ito San. Walter Bellingrath made a fortune from having the only Coca Cola bottling plant in the whole southeast in the early 1900's.

We Were Like Two Cruise Ships That Pass in the Night

A Log Jam

Road Ends Here. Gee, I would never have noticed.

A Smoking Manatee, Homosassa State Park, FL

After they fixed the Smoking Manatee. Not sure this is any better.

Adult Supervision, Fort Desoto State Park, FL


Wolffs Grits

The River Does Not Run in a Circle. In case you thought the river is an Amusement Park Ride. Clearly, and sadly, a lot of people need to be told this. Brazos Bend State Park, TX

Tree of the Year, McKinney Falls State Park, TX. It did really well in the talent competition.

Weird dollar amount. Ochlockonee State Park, FL

You never know what you are going to see on the road. Hope he doesn’t go over a bump. Somewhere on I-95.

You never know what you are going to see in the campground. The guy who built this was great fun to talk to. Emma Long Municipal Park, Austin.

World Famous Clay Henry, mayor of Lajitas, TX, posing for a campaign photo.

We Drove by This Artist and an Hour Later Passed her Again. Look at the paintings.

Don't Text and Drive

Numerous Road Signs (This is not a CAPTCHA)

More Signs

Happy Purim from the Lanseys ©2023

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Keeping Up With the Parental Units - Photos of the Day Part 2

Continuing with Photos of the Day... 

Rest area, Big Bend Ranch State Park, TX Feb 21

So many of these highway views look like painted backdrops. Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Feb 22

Carlsbad Caverns. We were here 38 years ago, and I have been a cave junkie ever since. Put this on the top of your bucket list! Feb 23

After well over a month in Texas, we are moving on! Feb 24

We drive into a blizzard near Tucson, on the way to see spring wildflowers. Feb 26.

Picacho Peak State Park AZ Superbloom - from a blizzard to spring wildflowers! Feb 26.

The temperature went up a few degrees and all the Poppies opened. Picacho Peak State Park - Superbloom AZ. Feb 27

Lost Dutchman State Park, AZ. View from our campsite. Feb 28

Bev and Ivan insist we pick some citrus in their backyard to take with us. Phoenix. Mar 1

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Keeping Up With the Parental Units - Photos of the Day Part 1

Traveling the way we do, I don't have time to blog reliably. What I have been doing instead, because it takes no time, is to post “Photos of the Day” on Facebook. This way, at least any of my Facebook friends who are interested can keep up with where we are and what we are doing.

I’ll start posting some of those photos on the blog.

Going back a month…

Missing My Kids, Dallas Zoo. Feb 6

Caverns of Sonora, TX. I love caves! This one was one of the best ones with possibly the worst tour guide. Feb 12

The rest of these are Photos of the Day are from Big Bend National Park, where we were for a little over a week. A very tiring week.

Hiking in Chisos Basin. Feb 14

Historic Rio Grande Hot Spring building. Feb 15

Hola Desde Boquillas del Carmen! We took our passports and were rowed across the Rio Grande in a rowboat from Big Bend National Park, to Mexico then walked ½ mile into town. Feb 16

Texas Bluebonnets (lupines to the rest of us) Feb 17

Lost Mine Trail. Feb 17

Blue Creek Trail. Feb 19

We meet Randy and Georgia, aka, Windtalker and Mom, on this hike. Windtalker graciously gifts us with an impromtu performance on the Native American Flute. His music in that setting was magical!

Inside Santa Elena Canyon. Feb 20

Coming soon – From Big Bend to now

Friday, February 3, 2023

Texas State Parks 1: Brazos Bend

Currently in Dallas for Shabbos. But earlier in January -

Brazos Bend State Park. We came for 1 night and stayed for 3. It was a wonderful introduction to Texas State Parks. See for yourself:

This picture doesn’t properly show what a lovely campsite this was. It was in a serene meadow dotted with live oaks with no other campers nearby.

Fishing Dock

The trail along 40 Acre Lake to the observation tower provided excellent birding! Birder friends, help me out here if I mislabel.

Whistling Ducks (next 3 photos)

Synchronized Upside Downs

Synchronized Sleeping

Scarlet Tanager! I don’t think I ever saw one before!

Coopers Hawk


Little Blue Heron?

The labels mark past floods. See the one Bob is pointing to? That was the flood of December 1913. This entire area is totally flat for miles and miles. I can’t imagine the amount of water in the Brazos River to flood all this land up to that height.

On the White Oak Trail, Red Buckeye Trail to the Brazos River and Big Creek, and Creekfield Lake Woodland Trails...

A Vulture Condo. There were lots more on this tree!

Birder friends?

This trunk was at least several feet across. The tree had fallen and blocked the trail.

Interesting Stuff (it's a technical term) and Pretty Views

This trail was full of Dangerous Banks

The observatory was closed, but we walked over anyway and talked to the guys trying to fix the telescopes

The Nature Center

This Great Horned Owl makes her nest right behind the park office every year, then glares at everyone who comes to see her

Technically these Whooping Cranes were not in the park. But because they were in fields 10 minutes away, I have included this photo. My first time seeing a whooping crane. We (me) had seriously considered going 400 miles (round trip) out of our way to the Whooping Crane Festival near Port Aransas, TX and we (me) regretfully decided it wasn’t worth it. But I got to see them anyway!

Fun Fact: Although I have not been posting bird pictures, I have tons of great ones from other places. Maybe a future blog post?