Exploring Kansas!

July 21– Larry and I traveled to our state capitol.  The Statehouse of Kansas has been under renovation since 1999.

http://www.kslegislature.org

“After 13 years and a $332 million renovation, the Kansas State Capitol Building is complete and gleaming like the day it was built. Touching every part of the Capitol, from two stories below the underground cornerstones to the top of the 306 foot dome, the renovation restored the original architect’s vision while increasing accessibility and safety for years to come.”

 

I must say that no matter your political stance, all Kansans can be and should be proud of what has been accomplished in this renovation.  Paintings were uncovered, gold gilt was discovered when paint was removed, and stencils look as they did in the early 1900’s.  Tours are given, explaining the renovation of the statehouse itself.2014-07-21 12.07.58 2014-07-21 12.08.04 2014-07-21 12.36.02 2014-07-21 12.36.06 2014-07-21 12.36.25 2014-07-21 12.36.28 2014-07-21 12.36.37 2014-07-21 12.46.31 2014-07-21 12.46.39 2014-07-21 12.46.46 2014-07-21 12.47.08 2014-07-21 12.47.15 2014-07-21 12.47.30 2014-07-21 12.48.09 2014-07-21 12.48.17 2014-07-21 12.49.50 2014-07-21 12.49.59 2014-07-21 12.53.31

“Experience the Dome Tour

The Dome Tour is spectacular and breathtaking – literally – with 296 steps and no elevator, but it’s worth the effort. The Kansas Statehouse is the only U.S. capitol building where the public can go to the top of the dome and walk along the outside balcony for a birds-eye-view of the city. Beginning on the fifth floor, the tour explores the area between the inner and outer domes – what is visible both inside and outside. Connecting the two domes are a series of stairs and landings that offer an unparalleled look at the elaborate architecture. After scaling the 296 steps to the top, step outside onto the cupola balcony for a unique view of Topeka.”

The photos are from various viewpoints of the dome tour!.

 

After this adventure, we went to Cedarcrest.  The governor’s residence is available for tours on Monday afternoons or by appointment on Tuesdays.  It is a beautiful home, first built by an early Topeka Journal owner.  It was totally renovated during Governor Anderson’s term, in the 1960’s.  An update happened during 1999.

The floors are beautiful and among  the best features in the home–oak with walnut pegs.

A day at the beach

DSCF9090.d DSCF9120.l IMG_9328.dMarch 2 was Kite Day at the National Seashore on Padre Island. What a sight it was! The wind was brisk, but enjoyable as we saw kites of various sizes and shapes soaring in the wind.   It was a fun day to get out.  Good thing, too, because the temperature fell rapidly later in the day.  I will give the weather forecaster credit.  He said a front would be in Aransas Pass by 7 pm.  At 6:45 the wind shifted and and the thermometer went down quickly.  We had 80’s in the afternoon and by 10 pm we were in the 40’s!  Fortunately, this location is just below the freeze line.  Morning temperature was only 34.

Don’t believe we will go to the beach today!

New Home!

Larry and I have purchased a lot in Aransas Pass and will be using this gated community to call home for whenever we want to get away.

Once we have finalized the purchase, our new “park model” will have a permanent home in Texas.  Until then, we will move it to storage, once we are ready to go home.  This is what we now have:

 

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I wanted the awning out, but it was a bit too breezy for it to be extended.  The inside is really neat!

ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage It is amazing what a few extra feet will give you in a trailer type house!  That is the big excitement for this week–other than a bout with food poisoning for Larry (diagnosis–but I ate the same food!).  All is well.  Happy Valentine’s Day!

February 9, 2014

The weather in Texas has been cooler than usual, according to the natives in Aransas Pass.  Last week we had 70 degrees and then a front came through.  In 10 minutes the temperature had dropped a good 15 degrees.  It has been chilly at night, hovering right around freezing, and climbing to the low 50’s with misty, foggy, dreary skies all week.

We thought we’d look to see if any electric heaters were in any of the stores.  Lowe’s, Walmart, and the hardware stores have not been able to keep them on the shelves!  Locals don’t do too much in the way of heating their homes…until this winter!

Today the sun has started to peek out and we have reached the mid 60’s.  Time to explore!

Aransas Pass is bordered by the IntraCoastal waterway.  Crossing it by ferry lets you arrive in Port Aransas. port aransas

The ferry system is free and operates constantly.  I counted six docks on each side of the waterway.   Today, there were four ferries in operation.  Vehicles are loaded just as fast as they can be.  The ride takes maybe 5 minutes, so it is not a great distance across.  Gates are down, vehicles are off and the return trip is loaded!  Our ferry was escorted by two pelicans!  ImageCrossing the barrier island, we arrive at the beach, which is on the Gulf of Mexico.  We decided to drive down the beach to see how far we could go. ImageIt looks like a long way down this very flat, very straight beach.  The sand is extremely well packed.  For the first 2 miles we were able to drive and enjoy the people, the birds and the waves.  ImageImage  I have often wondered how people could fish from shore in an area that has waves coming in.  ImageThis person has bib type waders and is out in the water hip deep.  The line is cast waaaaaay out, then the reel runs as the fisherperson walks back to shore.  Some of the rods are stuck in the sand, others are held while the fisherman sits in comfort in a beach chair.  I didn’t see anything caught, but fishing takes a great deal of patience.

Two young men decided to feed the gulls while on the beach.  I don’t know if they were trying to recreate Hitchcock’s “The Birds” or if they have never seen it! ImageImageImage Even when they had run out of food, the gulls followed the car.  Image

I have been to several coasts whose homes and rentals claim to have beach access. This area really  does!

ImageImageImageImage Image I think the only access to these places is from the beach!  One of the hotels that had unique architecture is here.  ImageIt did not have driving access to it from the beach.  One must get to it from the road on the other side of the dunes.  After we had driven three or four miles, we saw a posted sign saying “loose sand”.  IMG_9271The truck has 4-wheel drive, so Larry engaged it and we continued our drive down the beach.  Going 15 mph on sand allows you to see a lot of scenery at a leisurely pace, but we were starting to wonder if there was an exit from the beach!  We finally came to Beach Road #2 and exited from the sand to solid road.  Curiosity got the better of us, so we clocked the mileage from Beach Road #2 to Beach Road #1.

7 miles!  Our entrance to the beach was another 2 miles or so, so our excursion of beach driving was close to 10 miles…and the beach kept on going!

http://www.sorvresort.com/  Southern Oaks RV Park and Resort is our new “home.”  southern oaks 2 southern oaks  These pictures make it look like the Serengeti!

Last night was a ham and bean dinner at the clubhouse at our resort.  Tonight was an ice cream social, and Friday will be a Valentine’s dinner.  I am really going to hae to start intensive walking and continue with the yoga sessions every morning!  Larry meets for coffee M-F with the men who want to chat.  The women have different types of exercise available.  Some of us do yoga and others do step-aerobics.  This is a very social and community oriented RV park.  We like the space between lots.  southern oaks 3                     s.o 4             This resort even has a gated community where people own their own lots and can keep their travel trailers on the site full time, if they so choose.      s.o.5

Walking to the clubhouse tonight was beautiful.  The fog came in and made the area rather mystical.  IMG_9289 IMG_9288 IMG_9287 IMG_9286.  A lot of residents bring their dogs.  There is a nice dog park area where the pets are free to run.  Some are treated very well in getting to and from the exercise area.  IMG_9291Not too bad to have a golf cart chauffeur!

Feb. 1

Packed up and headed south!

Aransas Pass is our new home for the months of February and March.  We arrived here around 11:30 AM.  Before we left Port Lavaca, Larry took time to take the trailer to the car wash.  One must not travel with a dirty travel trailer! 🙂

We had the a/c on in the truck as we came south.  February 1 and air conditioning.  “We’re not in Kansas anymore…”  More than anything, it was to reduce the humidity in the air.  I can only imagine what this area must be like in the summer.  Hot — STICKY–

That’s why we’ll head NORTH to see the kids!!

Today was in the 70’s.  It should be the same tomorrow, but there is rain predicted.

Southern Oaks is a very friendly RV park.  We have been welcomed by so many neighbors.  Tonight was a dance and country music at the club house.  Since we made a run to get a mobile hotspot for my computer, and Larry was not feeling quite up-to-snuff, we passed, but look forward to next week’s get-together.  Tomorrow is a Super Bowl party.  There is boccie ball, Texas Hold-em, some sort of Chinese tile game,…many activities going on.  We’ll get the schedule on Monday and start to take part in the community here!

Time to explore this region more.  Will post what we find!

Jan. 28

Road trip to Victoria, TX, 26 miles from Port Lavaca. Most have probably heard the slogan “6 Flags over Texas”…some may even know that as a name for a theme park. But, there were actually 6 different country flags that flew over this region.
Spain (1519–1685; 1690–1821),
France (1685–1690),
Mexico (1821–1836),
the Republic of Texas (1836–1845),
the Confederate States of America (1861–1865),
and the United States (1845–1861; 1865–present).[1]

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Victoria claims to be the only established city that had all 6 flags fly over it!
It is quite a thriving metropolis of 62,592 people (2010 census).  Their courthouse is voted to be one of 10 favorite historic courthouses in Texas.

Courthouse Content 294x372  It was almost demolished in the 1960’s, but public outcry saved it and  a newer addition was added to the side, enabling the town to retain the original building.

Victoria even has a bandstand, very similar to the one we have in our park square in Paola.

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I am impressed with what the Chamber of Commerce has done to promote tourism.  After looking online and seeing a downloadable driving tour, we visited the Information Center and picked up a hard copy driving map of the 84 historic sites the town  highlights.  Some of the sites allow tours, some of them are privately owned and occupied.  The brochure gave a brief history of each.  The town has also installed signs at corners directing you to the next location on the map.  I commend the town on what they have done! http://www.visitvictoriatexas.com/mobileDrivingGuide/history.php

This was a cool and rainy day, so we didn’t get out to visit anything except the Museum of the Coastal Bend. www.museumofthecoastalbend.org

Unfortunately, it is in the middle of opening a new exhibit, so there was not much to see.  They did have some pretty impressive cannons on display that had been excavated near the town at some point in the past.

Victoria is a great town that could be worth exploring again, when the weather is a bit more conducive to walking around!