Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Goin' wild in the Arbuckles

After a good night's sleep, we headed to Arbuckle Wilderness on Monday morning. Located near Davis, Arbuckle Wilderness is an exotic animal theme park, the highlight of which is a 7-mile drive-thru portion where visitors can see some of the animals up close and actually feed them from their vehicles.

This giraffe had to bend WAAAY down to reach the food in M's hand...

Most of the animals were gentle and tame, but the camels were very aggressive (and dirty!) and so were the ostriches. They would actually snatch your food cup away if you let them.

Not something I see everyday in my truck... L keeps her distance from the hungry ostrich.

Awwww... that's better.

Not a sable... not a gazelle... what the heck WAS this thing?

More animals...

We really enjoyed the drive-thru portion of our visit... it was cool to interact with so many animals. But wait! There's more...

Mandatory "photo op" at the visitors' center

MV and L take a spin on the go-karts...

We headed back to Davis for lunch and then returned to Turner Falls. The Monday crowd was much smaller than Sunday's, and we had an enjoyable time. If your schedule is flexible, I'd highly recommend visiting on a weekday instead of the weekend.

It's a long way down... should I do it?

The girls put on a tandem jumping demonstration

In all, it was a really nice weekend getaway. The drive was shorter than going to New Braunfels. We liked it enough that we'd probably return in a year or two.

Coming next... back to the tracks... and check back in a week or so for photos from Anime Fest.


np: Slaid Cleaves - "Below"

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Monday, September 14, 2009

beating the August heat

What's the best way to cool off from a Texas heat wave? Sometimes you gotta leave the state...

In early August, the kids and I took a weekend trip to Turner Falls, Oklahoma. We had hoped to make another trip down to New Braunfels for some tubing on the Comal River, but that part of the state had been suffering a bad drought, and we were afraid the water levels would be too low. So what was our "Plan B"? How about Turner Falls Park, located less than two hours north on I-35 (about 2 hours closer than New Braunfels) in Oklahoma's Arbuckle Mountains? Spring-fed Honey Creek cascades down 77 feet of rocky cliffs into a large natural swimming pool. A second pool, located half a mile downstream, features a diving board and slide. The cool, clear water was a perfect place to escape from the "dog days" temperatures of north Texas.

L's friend MV joined us for the trip... we left Fort Worth around noon, stopped for lunch in Gainesville, and were enjoying T-Falls by mid afternoon. The Sunday crowd was quite large and it took us a while to even find a place to park. The girls went off on their own, so M and I explored the various pools and hiking trails. We'd catch up with the girls again later.

MV and L enjoying Turner Falls

M cruises down the Turner Falls slide

I had been to Turner Falls once before, about 16 years ago, with K. I remembered the hiking trail and caves more than anything else. It's always cool to return someplace I last visited years ago --this time with the kids-- to share the experience with them.

Caving with the M, L, and MV... fun times!

M comes from the water

The next morning, we visited the Arbuckle Wilderness (a drive-thru wildlife park) and returned to Turner Falls in the afternoon. Stay tuned for more...


np: NFL Prime Time (week 1 re-cap) on ESPN

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Summer re-cap (lightning round)

Following my Chicago trip with M, my summer was pretty low-key. M and L each took separate trips with Mom (M to Palo Duro Canyon and L to Japan), but I didn't do much traveling. That didn't stop me from falling behind on the blog, though... so here's a "lightning round" re-cap of the past few months...

Hangin' with Sprocket (Mom's dog) on Father's Day

L at the Ft. Worth Cats game - July 5

Railroading with M

(belated) Fourth of July fireworks at Miss C's

Cycling along the Trinity River

M is really getting this bicycling thing down...

Miss C joined me for a Gourds show at the Longhorn in the Fort Worth Stockyards. It was just a few days after Michael Jackson died; the band paid its respects by throwing down a rippin' version of "Don't Stop Til You Get Enough" (with Kevin singing in Michael Jackson falsetto). Classic Gourds... always a good time.

Kev and the boys get rowdy at the Longhorn

The Gourds - Max, Kev, Jimmy - at the Longhorn (FW Stockyards).

My cousin Marc's wife gave birth to their son a few months ago. We attended his baptism in July. It's good to see that they're raising him proper... (see below)

Promoting the work of Johnny Cash at age 0... way to go, kid.

In early August, the kids joined me for a quick weekend trip to Turner Falls, Oklahoma. Stay tuned for photos... coming soon.


np: Elvis Costello - "Radio, radio"

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