Warning: mysql_real_escape_string() [function.mysql-real-escape-string]: Can't connect to local MySQL server through socket '/var/lib/mysql/mysql.sock' (2) in /home/content/10/4843010/html/reddgranite/wp-content/plugins/statsurfer/append.php on line 285

Warning: mysql_real_escape_string() [function.mysql-real-escape-string]: A link to the server could not be established in /home/content/10/4843010/html/reddgranite/wp-content/plugins/statsurfer/append.php on line 285

Warning: mysql_real_escape_string() [function.mysql-real-escape-string]: Can't connect to local MySQL server through socket '/var/lib/mysql/mysql.sock' (2) in /home/content/10/4843010/html/reddgranite/wp-content/plugins/statsurfer/append.php on line 285

Warning: mysql_real_escape_string() [function.mysql-real-escape-string]: A link to the server could not be established in /home/content/10/4843010/html/reddgranite/wp-content/plugins/statsurfer/append.php on line 285

Warning: mysql_real_escape_string() [function.mysql-real-escape-string]: Can't connect to local MySQL server through socket '/var/lib/mysql/mysql.sock' (2) in /home/content/10/4843010/html/reddgranite/wp-content/plugins/statsurfer/append.php on line 285

Warning: mysql_real_escape_string() [function.mysql-real-escape-string]: A link to the server could not be established in /home/content/10/4843010/html/reddgranite/wp-content/plugins/statsurfer/append.php on line 285

Warning: mysql_real_escape_string() [function.mysql-real-escape-string]: Can't connect to local MySQL server through socket '/var/lib/mysql/mysql.sock' (2) in /home/content/10/4843010/html/reddgranite/wp-content/plugins/statsurfer/append.php on line 285

Warning: mysql_real_escape_string() [function.mysql-real-escape-string]: A link to the server could not be established in /home/content/10/4843010/html/reddgranite/wp-content/plugins/statsurfer/append.php on line 285

Warning: mysql_real_escape_string() [function.mysql-real-escape-string]: Can't connect to local MySQL server through socket '/var/lib/mysql/mysql.sock' (2) in /home/content/10/4843010/html/reddgranite/wp-content/plugins/statsurfer/append.php on line 285

Warning: mysql_real_escape_string() [function.mysql-real-escape-string]: A link to the server could not be established in /home/content/10/4843010/html/reddgranite/wp-content/plugins/statsurfer/append.php on line 285

Warning: mysql_real_escape_string() [function.mysql-real-escape-string]: Can't connect to local MySQL server through socket '/var/lib/mysql/mysql.sock' (2) in /home/content/10/4843010/html/reddgranite/wp-content/plugins/statsurfer/append.php on line 285

Warning: mysql_real_escape_string() [function.mysql-real-escape-string]: A link to the server could not be established in /home/content/10/4843010/html/reddgranite/wp-content/plugins/statsurfer/append.php on line 285
2010 June

Rain Feels Good

On June 30, 2010, in Uncategorized, by admin

No doubt about it. When you live in Texas, rain feels frigin great. As I sit here cooking my buffalo sirloin on my handy dandy little patio grill, the rains outside are torrential. No problem. Covered balcony lets my cooking expedition continue in my second home here in Texas. Just a nice time. Seems the dog gets a bit freaked, and I have to dope him up to keep him from heart failure. For you dog owners out there, it is Benedryl that does the trick. Do not try this at home under my watch however, I do not want a bunch of you dog owners coming back with worthless accusations that you followed this advice and your long term family puppy, the one no one in the family could live with out in your family yet stayed tied up under a tree for hours on end, ended up four paws in the air cause you gave them Benedryl. Forget I said that. Looks like this particular rain is here to stay for a while. So I will take my buffalo off the grill, and experience a taste test. Kick back everyone, get a glass of wine, turn on Pandora radio on your computer www.pandora.com, create a station of songs you wish to listen to, and transcend to another place

Peace

Tagged with:
 

People Can Really Be Annoying

On June 27, 2010, in People Are Strange, by admin

People Can Be Annoying

Nothing can be more obvious on how annoying people can be than on a crowded airplane. People are crammed next to each other so close even your family members will be jealous.  There is more human contact on an airplane than in most family reunions. Just back from travel after a long break from business travel, it reminded me of the many experiences on travel. This is a not so blatant commercial for Bose noise canceling headphones. (nope, no ads for Bose below…just have to go to their website and purchase www.bose.com) .  I can catorogize the offenders:

THE SNORERS. These are the obvious group. You can usually see who they will be in advance of sitting.  They are the usual overweight, many times older business men with hair coming out of their nose and ears…(sorry, this would have been an ad for Sharper Image nose hair removers, if they were still in business).  They sit, spend far too much adjusting their shit in the space before…ad a few snorts along the way, then settle in.  All is good until after take off, and for the marathoners, after beverage service.  soon, you hear it.  The buffalo snorting, long drawn out annoying snore.  You look back, and of course, there they are. Head back, mouth wide open, druel down their cheek, snoring, completely oblivious to those around.  Bet these are great guys to be married to.  No wonder we have a high divorce rate.  CAUTION. For you who bit on the Bose plug, beware, many times the buffalo ass snorers overrun the noise canceling feature of the headphones. These are the most common annoying people on commercial airlines.

THE ARM REST HOG. This one can come in many flavors.  Fat (which we will deal with in a second) skinny, chicks, petite, you name it.  All it takes is a good dose of “its all about me and you don’t exist as a result” to be one of these.  BTW, my wife says I am one of these….OK.  I accept.  Many times these are business guys so engrossed in their little business world, pounding away SO IMPORTANT e-mails that I am sure just cannot wait.  As they type like a Banshee in heat, their elbows get further and further on the arm rest, reducing you to a bean stalk with your arms crossed on your lap.  Advice to counter, just do it yourself.  Sooner or later, they will get it, or confrontation will happen, and thats when it gets fun.

FAT PEOPLE. Sorry folks.  I do not mean to be mean.  I am no small guy, and carry 20 lbs too much.  But in the end, many people just have no business stepping on a airplane.  These large beasts try to fit in seats clearly designed for stick figures.  This one is on the commercial airlines.  Blame them for their corporate greed that tries to cram every penny of revenue into an airplane. But in the end, we suffer.  You sit next to one of these, and well, there is no arm rest. no nothing.  They spill over into your area by up to 40%….space you clearly paid for.  I remember coming back from Europe, sitting next to a lady roundly 150 pounds overweight.  The good news, she was a charming lady and conversation was good.  She was apologetic. The bad news?  I spent the trip wedged under her massive arms and right side. The normal too cold airplane became a  way too warm blanket of body fat. I clearly had to ‘go to another place’ in my sweaty existence for those 10 hours. Whew.

THE ‘I WANT YOU TO LISTEN TO MY MUSIC TOO’ KIDS. No, its not enough they want to go deaf, they somehow feel they need to draw you into their musical word of Hip Hop or whatever, sucking the very IQ down that you have spent a life time building up.  You hear the high end treble coming from their little white ear pods.  Kids, get your own Bose Noise Canceling headphones, then we would not hear your crap.

THE CHOMPERS. Oh, this by far, is my favorite.  you know them.  Whether it is gum or their shitty smelling sandwich they brought on the plane, when they chew, they smack.  They are the pigs in dirt in the barn, chewing their cud so viciously. Even worse are the gum chewers.  There are those out there so unaware of others that they regularly chew their gum, purposely popping it.  You the the type.  They have that type of chew that signals their type A, and “involved” personality….they have their act together, and they chew to celebrate. Go ahead.  Put a bullet in my head.

But, in the end, all of the above except the occasional heavy snorer can be cured with Bose Noise Canceling Headphones.  But, in the end, you have to remember to take them with you on your trip…..and that my friends, (and those I have offended in this post) is where I failed this last trip

Tagged with:
 

Happy Father’s Day

On June 20, 2010, in Uncategorized, by admin

On this Father’s Day, I woke up in a rather somber mood. I am acutely aware that Father’s Day does not have the Hallmark marketer’s successful importance placed on it as Mother’s Day, but, should it? Right, wrong, or indifferent, and no matter your political view, fact is, that men still are the main wage earners in many families. And, most of these are fathers. But in these difficult economical times, many are struggling to provide for their families due to job loss. Many are faced with daunting tasks to find equal employment. The economy is supposed to be picking up, and it is. But as they had predicted spot on as this recovery began, employment was going to be slow to recover this time around.

I look at my last year. This is what has me very reflective this year. Basically from last father’s day (or there abouts) I experienced: job loss, unemployment, the struggle to keep family insured (with medical challenges in the family), two additional jobs, underemployment, improved underemployment…..you get it, I am sure. It has been a tough year. The result of all of this is that I am still underemployed, although now a bit by my own design, in a job where my family is split up during the week. These have been very tough times. It has left me in a state that is very difficult to get enthused about anything. Do not get me wrong, I am thankful for many things. I am thankful to the company that employed me after a 4 month layoff, underemployed? Yes. But very thankful they gave me a chance, and that the underemployment at this company still basically paid the bills (however, the wife works and brings in significant $$). I am thankful for the current company as well that has let me improve my underemployment lay. I am thankful to my family for sticking by me through these difficult times.

I am in a somber mood today. I feel for all of those people struggling with this continued poor economic environment. Their struggles are not insignificant, and we should never assume this is the case. Be thoughtful this Father’s Day of those in this dire situation. Be kind today to Fathers. Encourage someone that maybe, just maybe, things will be better if you just hold on a little longer

Tagged with:
 

Small Town America

On June 18, 2010, in People Are Strange, by admin

Recently I have found myself in the middle of small town America.  Now by small town America, I do not mean like in the few thousands of population, I mean more like 100K in population.  Many of you would say this is not small town America at all, rather a larger city.  OK.  You are right.  But residing in a major sized city all for the last nearly 30 years, I have become very used to what life is in the big city, the positives and the negatives. Flash to my story on he small town America. While I still live in the big city, I now work in a smaller city.  So what to do on weeknights?  Well, last night I was invited by a friend to attend the ‘summer concert series’ of one of the local community colleges, on their stage on the river. Brave Combo, a popular North Texas band from Denton Texas (likely all graduates of University of North Texas music school and the One O’Clock Lab Band) was playing this evening.  I have heard of these guys before, but really did not know what kind of music.  What we were expecting was jazz.  What we got from Bravo Combo in small town America was Polka music, and polka dancing and conga lines….yes a Thursday night Conga line formed.  At a certain moment, all of this was very surreal.  These people are out there dancing with apparently little care in the world.  They certainly did not care what they looked like dancing up there as well. How refreshing. There was the couple who really like the Polkas, and went at it on the stage twisting and turning with professional Polka precision nearly all night.  There was the guy in the suit who bothered not to take off his suit coat while he dance rather oddly all night…to the point he is sweating in the 90 degree heat completely through his suit jacket. There were the obligatory ankle biters, screwing up the stage path for the ‘serious’ polka kings.  (after all, this is small town America, this must be a family event).  There were the few minx’ dancing uncontrolled and unconcerned to the well pleased crowd. After all this, it occurred to me the obvious cliche, things are different and more relaxed in small town America. How trite, but true.

On top of this, this is a really cool venue.  How does a town or community college like this spend what I would estimate was at least $2M on a venue with great stage facing a beautiful river, fixed seating for about 200 in comfortable spacious aisles, and a killer sound system, with great facilities and concessions. Free entry, and you can bring anything in you wish, EVEN THE DREADED GLASS CONTAINERS as a lot of people crack open a bottle of wine on the events that have more cultured performers (sorry Bravo Combo)…docks for boats, for which my friend says at times several ‘party boats’ have roped up there….and in the end, this is one great facility.

Bravo Combo was very entertaining. They immediately got on my good side by opening up with their version of the Doors, “People Are Strange”, polka style!  They held the audience attention all night, playing 1.5 hours in the heat…creating the dance squad and conga line.  And in the end, I think it was no accident they started with ‘People Are Strange”, because this evening proved that thoroughly in a fun sort of , wedding reception sort of, care free sort of, way.

Peace

 

Well, it is now official apparantly, the Big 12 is staying together. The Big 12 will now be a 10 team conference, preserving many long standing rivalries and traditions. Of course, following up the last post, it was, indeed, all about money. Seems the steps taken by some of its memebers bought enough time for commissioner Dan Beebe to get busy and renegotiate a TV contract, one that was not due to come up for two years. Hats off to him, he pulled it off, and now the great Big 12 whore University of Texas will get its own TV network, and the rest of the schools will share mega bucks. One can neer phathom what took place in back rooms, but, I think Texas was playing a bit of shell game here. They had to look real interested in the Pac 10, threatening, of course to gut the Big 12 south with it so Pac 10 could create a super league. But, it was the Pac 10 only, who had a new TV contract. That is what started this whole mess. Weaker Big 12 schools jumped quickly to preserve there standing somewhere.  This cut off other weaker links in the Big 12 from going anywhere, threatening a hard landing to nowhere. In fact, I like the leadership the weaker Big 12 schools showed.  Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Iowa State, and Baylor all quickly banded together to show support for Big 12 survival, even going so far as to hold their own meetings without Texas and the other Big 12 South schools. All the while, Beebe was rushing to get a new TV deal done.  And now that it is done, the Big 12 smell just got a lot sweeter for everyone remaining with the new deal.  It reportedly brings in between $17-20M per school, over twice as the previous deal. And, to make matters worse for the departing Nebraska and Colorado (don’t let the door hit your large Buffalo Ass on the way out), they must give up half of their revenues next year while they are working out their final seasons.  Of course, these will be split with the remaining schools.

I am extremely happy about the developments, and hats off to Beebe for pulling this off.  I had wondered where he was all this time, seemingly real silent as his conference literally fell apart on the runway.  Well, he was at work, and in order to pull this deal off for a new TV deal, HE HAD TO HAVE THE COMMITMENT OF TEXAS IN HIS BACK POCKET ALL ALONG….afterall, without Texas (UT) there is no TV deal or conference, for that matter….shell game?  You bet.  Using media to move negotiations along, you bet. Stroke of genious if your (UT) intention was to keep the Big 12 together all along, getting your own network and huge revenues out of it?  You bet.  And as is with all carefully negotiations, there is always risk you loose a few weeklings along the way, and risk even greater issues…..

What a wild two weeks with a stellar ending.  I will sit at my BU bball games now resting assured that solid recruiting can continue, and the programs can continue to elevate their status.  Now BU just needs to get its football act together….but that, my friends, is another story

Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)

Tagged with:
 

Big 12 and Big Money

On June 13, 2010, in Other Interests, by admin

I am sure many of you around the country have followed the upheaval of college sports conferences, specifically the Big 12 conference. I will save my opinion of the activities happening surrounding the Big 12 conference….as most of you know, I am very biased when it comes to the Big 12 conference, with my avid support of Baylor athletics.  No, this column is one of a different variety. I want to go on record stating what hypocrites our society is when it comes to college athletics.

No question the upheaval of the Big 12 conference is driven by money.  Specifically, the Pac 10 conference is going for the golden nugget….Texas.  You see, their television contract is up this year.  In order to get a much more favorable renewal contract, they have eyed the Big 12 conference…..most specifically Texas.  Yes, Colorado went first…this was just a smoke screen, make no mistake.  Colorado was nothing to the Big 12 conference.  Do not let the door hit them on their big buffalo ass….but UT (Texas) is what Pac 10 really wants. Seeing that Texas is valued ($$) far higher than the second school, when it comes to collegiate valuations anyway.  What an add…and if they have to aggressively create a 16 team conference so the other Texas State schools can come along, well, that is what they are trying to do.

While the above is concerning for many reasons, and my biases, again, this post is about something else completely.

The point of all this is simply, when do we get to a point where we stop considering college sports as furthering athletes scholastic endeavors and just admit this is nothing more than a pro league subject to all the short term greedy corporate board rooms intentions?  We go about with our “concern” for these athletes, their education, their potential future without professional sports, have all these goofy rules which many schools (including my beloved Baylor, at least in the past) violate.  Nope.  Its all about money, and money only. Everyone should get off this high horse they think they are on and call it what it is. Go ahead and pay the student athletes…they are the ones bringing in all the money anyway, and many schools find a way to do this anyway, whether intended or not.

Shame on the NCAA that allow such money grabbing few in executive conference rooms dictate fate of so many in a program that is supposed to be about the students.  I am tired of American hypocrisy.  Just say it like it is…and the above actions just smell of another notch of greed in the corporate charts. 

And clearly, the schools are willing participants as well.  Hell, the Big 12 Conference shuffle has touched off a fury of strategies and political dances. A&M wants to go to the SEC, Kansas and Baylor do not have a home.  Long standing rivals of Texas and Texas A&M split if A&M goes to the SEC like they would like to.  Kansas and Kansas State likely would no longer be rivals…Baylor may have to go to a much lessor conference, risking many recruiting efforts for largely the basketball programs (which went to the Elite 8 ((men’s)) and Final 4 ((women’s)) respectively). Why would a recruit who signed with BU want to continue if they end up in some nothing conference like some would like to see, a conference without, you guess it, TV exposure and revenues to promote their own professional goals.

Yes.  Shame on the conferences, shame on the NCAA for allowing this, and to a degree, shame on the schools for jumping on as well.  Come on everyone, just admit it.  College sports is nothing more than the minor leagues for the respective pro sports, and we may as well begin paying the athletes who are responsible for getting all these revenues the corporate greed monsters insatiable appetite desires…..

Peace

Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)

This time he is off to Rapid City SD….where man is not meant to exist…here is his informal review:

Just got back from a short trip to the beautiful Black Hills. Disclaimer: I went to high school up there(back in the early Cretaceous) so I am unabashedly a fan of the sights, the people, the things to do. I just want to be up front with the background. Arrived after lunch to the efficiently cozy Rapid City Regional Airport and called the car rental company to come pick us up. On our way in to the rental company to sign the necessary paperwork, I was surprised at how much Rapid City has grown. It is the second largest city in So. Dakota and now has over 80,000 people. The city is spread out and because of the geography, doesn’t look half that size. A large ridge of tall hills separates the city into an east/west breakdown. I also noticed the altitude, as it will take a few days to get acclimated. Rapid still has a small “home town” feel to it. It turns out the owner of the rental car company was the son of an old family friend, so while filling out the necessary paperwork we talked family and friends. Soon we were on our way up to Mount Rushmore and environs, a drive of less than 30 min, unless you stop at any of the several fun tourist attractions along the way. This day, however, we were on a schedule, so no stops, just enjoying the rising terrain and the dark trees of the National Forest until we reached the parking area for the monument. While having a variety of trees, depending on the terrain, the most prominent species is the Black Hills spruce, an evergreen, pine-tree that is unique to the area. It’s needles are a very dark green, so from a distance the hills look black, hence , the name. These “hills” are well over 5000 feet in altitude, Harney Peak, the tallest is over 7000 feet high, the highest peak between the Rockies and Europe. They rise from the surrounding plain like a bulls eye. There is an outer ring of mostly sandstone formations, bright red or grey/yellow, and an inner ring of metamorphic rocks, like granite (from which Rushmore is carved) with lots of mica and quartz. Gold (with some silver, etc) has been mined from the hills for over 100 years. General Custer (yes, that Custer) led the first expedition to the hills in 1874 and found gold.
Mount Rushmore itself is incredibly impressive. The pictures and video’s just cannot do justice to the size of the monument. A number of years ago, the Park Service removed most of the original 1930’s CCC buildings, which were the beautiful, “national park” style architecture, mostly wood and stone, and replaced them with square, squat, gray ‘granite-looking” buildings that were supposed to meld with the mountain. I am not a fan. However, as you walk through the entryway to the monument, you pass a gallery of all 50 states’ flags. That is well-done. One of the additional changes with the reconstructed buildings was a “Presidential Pathway” that leads from the main gallery viewing area down to the base of the mountain, something that was never possible before. It makes for some up-close and different angles for pictures of the four presidents. I have heard that with current erosion levels, the faces will still be mostly visible over 2000 years from now. This being the Wed before Memorial Day weekend, the traditional kick-off to tourist season, the monument was not crowded at all. While walking the path, we were able to get some excellent photos of two large mountain goats we had spotted grazing at the foot of the mountain. While mountain goats are not unusual in the Hills, I had never before seen them at Rushmore. They were unconcerned that the tourists were acting like paparazzi 40 feet away. After a visit to the extensive gift shop, we headed back into Rapid City, to meet an old friend, Bruce and his wife that we were staying with this trip. His house was on the far west of the city, overlooking a beautiful canyon and the Hills beyond. There were only four other houses to be seen for miles. Soothing and peaceful.
The next day we were off to the Badlands, my favorite site in the area. They are about 45 min east of the Hills and look like a moonscape, caused by wind and water erosion. Starkly beautiful peaks with teeth-sharp serrated edges mixed with little round mounds of colored dirt the size of haystacks. Tiny ‘hoodoo’s” and flat-as-a board table-top mesas with tall prairie grass growing like a bad haircut. My friend Bruce drove and we picked a route neither of us had taken before, a “back-way” through parts of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and along some well-maintained gravel roads. I was initially concerned, as Bruce has gotten us stuck numerous times in the past in mud, snow, ice, washed-out roads, etc. It is almost a tradition. This time however, the roads were in good shape and we saw wildlife not often seen. Free roaming Buffalo, pronghorn antelope, deer, prairie dogs, golden eagles, chipmonks, were all seen that day. Well worth the drive. After leaving the Badlands we proceeded to world-famous Wall Drug. A tourist-attraction extraordinaire, it must be seen to be believed. Plan on several hours, however. Everything from a great café (coffee is still only 5 cents a cup) with buffalo burgers and buffalo hotdogs, to T-shirts, to tacky tourist souvenirs and bumper stickers, to an incredible bookstore specializing in Western writers and themes, great Western Art for sale, and Native American jewelry and crafts, including, of course, Black Hills Gold, with it’s distinctive red and yellow colors. A true American Icon of tourism. From there we drove back interstate 90 through the grass-covered rolling prairie to the hills on the main road to Mt Rushmore, where we stopped at a couple of small wineries including The Prairie Berry. After tasting several unique wines, we picked a couple of favorites to take back for the evening’s dinner. There is something very relaxing about dinner on the back porch, watching the sun go down over the mountains, the light setting the clouds and the peaks as pale gold as the chilled wine we toasted it with.
Friday, we headed into the northern Hills. Higher in elevation, with steeper roads, deeper canyons alongside clear-running creeks. The northern hills always get more rain and deeper, more frequent snow. 10 days earlier they had an 18 inch snowfall. Taking smaller gravel roads we visited several small former mining towns. Bruce, being a long-time history buff of the area was currently researching the various railroads that ran through. We followed old rail beds and saw ghost towns, and empty meadows where once locomotives hissed and steamed their way, carrying gold, timber and tourists. We stopped for lunch at The Moonshine Gulch Saloon, in the town of Rochford, population 26. The Saloon is a popular spot with the bikers that come up from Sturgis for the annual Rally. It is a true fascinating dive. On Saturday nights, musicians from all over the hills show up for a jam session on the front porch. I would have loved to sit in. Ask them about the flying monkeys….after lunch we drove down Spearfish Canyon to visit several of the waterfalls and just enjoy the sheer cream and black limestone cliffs with birch, aspen, lodge pole pine and of course, black hills spruce trees. We saw eagles soaring high over the canyon with several other bird species and wild turkeys. We finally arrived at Deadwood. This small historic town has seen a major change in its fortunes since South Dakota approved casino gambling. A dozen or more small-stakes casinos/bars are now mixed in with the t-shirt and souvenir shops on the main street. The world-famous Homestake Mine has finally closed, leaving tourism as the only major employer in town. We visited several places both outside of town and in town, catching a “Wild-West Shootout” on the way, a recreation of one of the many gunfights that occurred in this wild town back in the 1880’s. We saw the original, No 10 Saloon, where Wild Bill Hickok was killed from behind while playing cards, and we even played blackjack ($2 table) in the “new” No 10 Saloon, with sawdust on the floor and dealers in string ties. I was up about ten bucks when we left. We ate at one of the buffets in town, crab legs and prime rib. The prime rib was very good and I let the rest of the group enjoy the crab legs.
For our final day in the hills, we drove down to the edges of beautiful Custer State park, down parts of Iron Mountain road, where along some of the curves and tunnels you can see glimpses of the presidents on Mt Rushmore. We stopped at several overlooks on The Needles Highway to admire the granite formations, worn over the millennia to spires and, well, needles. From there we went to the Crazy Horse Memorial. This site was the dream of one man, to carve from a mountain, a sculpture of the famous Sioux warrior chief Crazy Horse. If ever finished in size it will dwarf the carvings on Mt Rushmore. The pace is exceedingly slow. While the original sculpturist has passed away, the family continues the work. The plans are to house a Native American school, hospital, cultural center, and more. The artist’s studio was open with numerous artwork and a gift shop, restaurant, and building where handcrafted native American items could be purchased. I had not seen it in over 20 years, and it was good to see that the face of Crazy Horse had been mostly finished, but little else has been done. On the way back we stopped in the small town of Keystone, a great tourist town for shopping. We hit every shop in town, purchasing some Black Hills gold and, of all things, a Hawaiian shirt for me for under 5 bucks. While the ice cream looked good, we bought some delicious chocolate-mint fudge at a candy factory.
The next morning we slept late, packed, and had one final adventure. Bruce decided to take us on a tour of his property. Driving up and down steep meadows and canyons in his old pickup, bouncing up and down on the rough track like a balloon on a string. We were crossing from one meadow to another when, yep, we got stuck up to the hubcaps in the soft dirt, now mud from rains they had had before we arrived. We had to hike close to a mile up the steep hill back to the house. Like I said earlier—with Bruce, it’s a tradition. After some oxygen recovery, we said goodbye to our very gracious hosts and friends and headed out to the airport and home. To summarize: It was great to get back to area, seeing my old “haunts”, visiting old and dear friends. The Black Hills are as beautiful as ever, with friendly people, enough things to do and see for 7+ days (Devils Tower is a little over an hour away), good food, reasonable prices, and great weather. While one day it was 84, most days were in the 70’s and humidity was roughly 20%. For us Texans that was ahhhhh-some. I can’t wait to get back!

Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)

Tagged with:
 

Back from a wonderful three day weekend at the above resort. A full review follows. However, first things first. This was a trip for our 25 wedding aniversary. It has been a wonderful ride…and we can both look at eachother and say 80% of the time.  Hey we are honest, you all should do the same.  It is refreshing. We went to the Resort at Artesian Lakes , formerly Chain O Lakes resort in Rayomar, Texas.  This is deep east Texas for you Russians who constantly spam this site and have no idea where Texas is. In our family, this resort has always walked on water.  Well, somewhere along the way, they must have taken thier eyes off of God, as they began to sink.

First, a little about the resort that makes them unique.  This property is built around a series of small lakes that were created when a back jam on the Trinity River swirled over a long period of time to create this web of small lakes. The resort has many small cabins facing the lakes, many providing privacy from others. This is what you come to expect from Artesian Lakes, and this is where they went wrong.  I digress.  Also on the property is a restaurant called Hilltop Herb Restaurant.  This was a in nearby Cleveland, Texas that was move many years ago to this property.  This is the star of the resort.  Great menu items, all created around the fresh herbs they grow on site create a vibrant train of tastes that never cease to amaze at their creativity.  Long ago we discovered their margaritas.  Creamy, smooth, sweet, these are to die for.  Their secret?  The recipe includes their Lime Tarragon Jelly. Yup.  That’s right, he said ‘jelly’ with tarragon in it.  Is he high?  If anyone requests, I will post the recipe and the link to get the jelly.  Sidebar.  Tonight I tried another jelly of theirs, Jalapeno Jelly, on my pork chop.  I added a touch of tarragon here as well. Heavenly. Their food overall is tremendous.  There are a few misses.  The biscuits and gravy are poor. Their rib eye, while prepared perfectly medium rare to my wife’s requests, had a great taste, but a piss poor fatty piece of meat. I had scallops.  Masterfully prepared and tasty. The one interesting point over the years is that this restaurant does a lot of buffets.  They used to be fixed menu based upon chefs creations.  A step backward, undoubtedly to cater from the many ankle biters this resorts now touts.

Our cabin was excellent. The neighbors sucked. We purchased a package that was marketed for privacy and personal catering.  When we pulled up, the cabin next door had six vehicles parked, and clearly a coven of rednecks ( not meaning to offend…but could not think of any other description) lining every wall of the cabin.  I guess I should be thankful.  I learned a new language.  How often does this happen?  I learned “F”Bonics.  This is where chief redneck uses the F Bomb for two thirds of his words, and mixes in some other language I presume to be English.  I could not tell.  Look, I am not prude and do not care….but when I am looking for privacy, I do not need someone forcing their lifestyle on us. Further, the resort seemed uninterested in doing anything for this since they had rented three cabins.  Oh yes you money people, the almighty dollar had spoken once again.

But, inspite of this, the weekend, for the rest of it was terrific, and we will go back ( the resort did offer us “substantial” discount on our next visit and said they had marked our file as such….we will see).

This was a nature laced trip….from feeding the two alligators bread from the balcony to the birds and the squirrels that would come right up to you to get bread…in fact, I had to protect myself from the squirrel so he would not get on my chair. Check photo.  Very cool.

Feeding Gators

Overall, I still highly recommend this resort.  I do now suggest that if you are considering going, do not go during summer season between memorial and labor days.  I think fall would be the best time overall

www.artesianlakes.com

Peace

Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)

Tagged with:
 
SEO Powered by Platinum SEO from Techblissonline