Beauty before Beast

Sunrise and beach

Isn’t it amazing how beauty can soon change into a dangerous, catastrophic threat to life and property?

Who can imagine how one morning a sunrise can present such beauty and within hours change?  That’s how our physical environment can change without notice and sometimes we’re not prepared for the threats of life.

Storm CloudsTake Hurricane Florence for instance and how the sunrise begins to give way to the storms that encroach on our freedom and peace of mind.

Just like our lives we yield to that which overcomes; however, we don’t have to declare defeat.  I believe that through God’s amazing grace and help we can overcome any obstacle.

Charleston boardwalkI’m thinking of those in the path of Hurricane Florence, or traveling through the southeastern U.S. during the next couple of weeks.

Beach pier with rough wavesResidents and guests near the ocean in the southeastern U.S. should be aware of the dangers and should listen closely to local emergency managers.  The waves are tremendously dangerous with rip tides and currents.

Beach pier with rough waves-2

Even that which is now may become no more.    

Sea angry near boardwalkThe calm soon turns into anger as the ocean rises to meet the borders that contain it.  Yes, winds are devastating but storm surge is for real.  Can you just imagine 13 feet of ocean rise over land? And, considering some of the waves from Florence are being documented at around 30 feet, what can stand in the relentless onslaught of power.

Sea angryThose traveling in the southeastern U.S. need to be aware that thousands, if not millions of people will be traveling more that normal, extending outward to most of the surrounding states and then some.

Traffic CongestionExpect traffic to be tremendous on Interstates and local roads and the airports to be overcrowded.

Charleston Bridge to beachAs winds increase, expect bridges to close for traffic

Expect restaurants to be crowded, and possibly without food – even before the storm makes its major impact.  Lodging will be overbooked.  You will likely have difficulty getting ANY rooms throughout the region.

Hurricanes have so much destructive power that includes multiple tornadoes as well as tremendous storm surge – and pushing water inland.

Waves under pier

Storm surge reality check
Storm surge height expectation during respective categories of a hurricane.

Even days, if not weeks, expect flooding and all sorts of other hazards.

Water fast moving

There will be major power outages and fires, leaking fuel and other chemicals.  Downed power lines and trees will adorn most landscapes.  If one can evacuate the identified area please do so.  If one can’t evacuate safely, please notify local authorities to seek assistance BEFOREHAND.

Evacuation Route sign

Once the major storm threat has passed, it will take quite a while to return to any kind of normal conditions.  People will be without water and food for days, if not weeks.  Emergency response teams will do their best to help residents and guests to recover but everyone must take responsibility to prepare and be safe.

Only use generators outside with ventilation.  That’s a safety precaution for all times, not just emergencies.  Remember!  Keeping you and your family safe and secure is your primary responsibility.

I’m an advocate for non-profits and faith-based organizations like churches throughout the region to organize to help those traveling and may be stranded, while those within the path help those who cannot travel.  This is a great opportunity to love our neighbors and re-enforce local response efforts.

Those who volunteer to help should also register with respective emergency management divisions for coordination and accountability.

Again, those traveling in the U.S. should check regularly with news and emergency management authorities to determine up-to-date information.

If you are traveling outside the projected path you may likely have Internet connection and phone service but realize those within the storm areas will have difficulty communicating for periods of time.  If you don’t have to travel to the projected impact areas please look for other places to visit and enjoy your travels.

One immediate website to assist in emergency planning is at https://www.ready.gov.

Blessings!

Ron

 

Preparation begins when?

Storm over oceanSeptember is a month for many major hurricanes and tropical storms threaten the U.S., mostly from the Atlantic Ocean.  The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) issued a preparation statement during the weekend advising the public that it’s National Preparedness Month.  The theme for this week is for everyone to make an emergency plan, encouraging each of us to write, share and practice it.

Hurricane damage on San Jose Blvd

I know – much of the U.S. does not live near the coast to be threatened by hurricanes or tropical storms, but what about tornados?  What about ice storms? What about events that may require us to remain indoors, or without electrical power?  Have you thought through the “what if” scenario sufficiently?

Get a plan for disasters - from Ready.gov

All communities worldwide should be prepared for the what if.

Florida has a great plan to encourage the public to think through potential threats.  https://floridadisaster.org/.

Additionally, all of us should keep informed from local emergency planners and response agencies as all disasters are local.

Florida’s emergency management division suggests the following concept for a basic plan.

Step 1: Put together a plan by discussing these 4 questions with your family, friends, or household to start your emergency plan.

How will I receive emergency alerts and warnings?                  

  1. What is my shelter plan?
  2. What is my evacuation route?
  3. What is my family/household communication plan?

Step 2:  Consider specific needs in your household.

As you prepare your plan tailor your plans and supplies to your specific daily living needs and responsibilities. Discuss your needs and responsibilities and how people in the network can assist each other with communication, care of children, business, pets, or specific needs like the operation of durable medical equipment. Create your own personal network for specific areas where you need assistance.

Step 3: Create an Emergency Plan

You can download a America’s PrepareAthon template plan.

Step 4: Practice your plan with your family/household

Be safe, regardless of the time of year!  You are special!

Blessings!

Ron

 

Biloxi – storm magnet or leisure spot?

Biloxi Beach

Biloxi, Mississippi is a favorite spot for people to relax along the Gulf Coast.  The beautiful beaches and southern charm enhance the blend of the sun and surf.

Biloxi sign

Just like life though, beauty, peace and pleasure are sometimes interrupted by periods of adversity and storms.  Similarly, Biloxi was impacted by Hurricane Gordon this week.  According to The Weather Channel, Gordon made landfall just below hurricane strength late Tuesday near the Alabama and Mississippi border, about 30 miles east of Biloxi.  https://wxch.nl/2MPG6Jn

Biloxi Beach with sailboat

Biloxi Beach lot
Some of the Gulf Coast landscape at Biloxi was changed from the affects of previous hurricanes.  Some homes were destroyed as well as foliage but the area remains picturesque.  

I’m sure those who live along the coast, or those visiting, are thankful the hurricane this week was not like the ones they’ve experienced in the past – such as Hurricane Katrina.

Regardless, every storm is unique in itself, disrupting the peaceful life – creating stress and havoc in the paths.  Once again though, people pick up the pieces and press forward – rebuilding as necessary and return to enjoying the leisure we all hold dear.

Biloxi Beach road

Biloxi Beach-2

Biloxi Beach with sailboat-2It reminds me that no matter the storms of life – the blue, clear skies remain above the clouds.  Let’s appreciate the beauty around us today.  God made it for us.

Biloxi Beach LighthouseBiloxi Lighthouse-3

Biloxi is an excellent place to enjoy leisure, overshadowing the infrequent threat of storms.  Enjoy life!

Biloxi Beach Hard Rock Guitar

Blessings!

Ron

Bryan

Bryan Texas model train

Bryan is an east-central Texas town.  It is located 99 miles (159 km) northwest of Houston. Settled in the 1820s and formally founded in 1855, it was named for William Joel Bryan, who inherited the land for the town site from his uncle, Stephen F. Austin (a founder of Texas). https://www.bryantx.gov/history-of-bryan-texas/

Since Bryan’s founding, many Texas railroad stops became nothing more than ghost towns. However, it seems the optimistic spirit and determination that built Bryan in its early years continues today, keeping Bryan as an active area of growth and importance.

There are a couple of items of interest from our casual ride through the town.

Bryan Texas clock

Bryan Texas Queen Theater-2

The Queen Theatre was originally built in the late 1800’s as a hotel in the heart of Downtown Bryan. The hotel began showing silent films on the ground level in the early 1900’s. The name “Queen Theatre” was officially given to the building in 1914.  In 1939 the hotel was converted into a fully operational movie theatre.  https://www.queenbryantx.com/about-us/.

Bryan Texas Queen Theater-1

Bryan is just north of College Station where the Texas A&M University is located.  Texas A&M has a photo and information about their century tree, located on the campus. https://www.tamu.edu/traditions/aggie-culture/century-tree/.

The university mentions the tree has a special place in the heart of many Aggies.  “Well over 100 years old, the tree was one of the first trees planted on Texas A&M’s massive 5,200-acre campus. The beautiful live oak has been the site of countless Aggie marriage proposals, weddings, and tourist snapshots because of its immense size and its unique drooping branches, many of which rest on the ground. Tradition says that if a couple walks together underneath the Century Tree, they will eventually marry — and if a marriage proposal takes place under the tree, the marriage will last forever.”

Blessings and Love!

Ron

How do you – BBQ?

BBQ Louie Mueller.jpg

For my friends around the world, do you know about BBQ? Or barbecue?  It seems like a favorite cuisine in the U.S.  One can find practically every style in big cities as well as small towns.

Well, like I mentioned in my last post there is a place in Taylor, Texas that I would like for you to become acquainted.  Louie Mueller Barbeque.

Louie Mueller BBQ smoker.jpg

There seems to be some healthy competition about which state has the best barbeque.  I must admit Texas is not only a big state but is big in BBQ taste as well.  I apologize to my vegan friends but I want to highlight this significant eating way of life, as well as Taylor.

Louie Mueller BBQ dining area from outside.jpg

While traveling through Taylor and noticing some of the older and inactive buildings, just around the corner we noticed an older, vibrant place – Louie Mueller Barbeque.

Locals sure know about it.  Just look how the business is thriving and the new life breathed into the older facility.

BBQ Louie Mueller - louiemuellerbarbecue.com, Taylor TX.jpg

Going inside was enlightening.  Who would have thought?

The service was excellent and the people were friendly.  The meal was outstanding.  I can understand why the locals enjoy this wonderful place of food and fellowship.

Louie Mueller BBQ inside dining near counter.jpg

We never knew this was a restaurant featured on the Food Network until we examined the memorabilia on the walls.  We had often wondered about visiting places where Guy Fieri had reported on in the Food Network series.  https://www.foodnetwork.com/shows/diners-drive-ins-and-dives.

Now, here we are and didn’t plan it – right here in Taylor, Texas.

Louie Mueller BBQ wall - Diners, Dives and Drives.jpg

Here is the link to the Louie Mueller BBQ restaurant.  https://www.foodnetwork.com/videos/famous-louie-mueller-bbq-75112.

Louie Mueller BBQ inside dining with antiques.jpg

So, when we travel let’s take time to check out the local areas.  We have certain pre-conceived mindsets about a town or business but we never know until we step inside and learn more.

That’s what I’m talking about!  Let’s appreciate the past and the old – and do what we can to bring new life within and without.

Blessings!

Ron

 

 

 

Bertram Depot – Past or Present

Bertram Train Depot.jpgWhile I enjoy major attractions during travels, I particularly like locating something unique about each town through which I travel.  I would like to take the time to stay a couple of hours in each town but it would take practically forever to accomplish these highlights.  So, I try to “look” for something unique in each town.

Take for instance the town of Bertram, Texas, which is located northwest of Austin.  We decided to exit Interstate 10 while traveling east and detoured through the countryside.  As we rode through Bertram I first noticed they have an annual oatmeal festival.  That’s interesting.  I continued driving and readily noticed the train depot.

It was an attractive, small depot and I wondered if it was original – as it looked so new.  Here is the scoop.

When the Austin and Northwestern Railroad first laid rails through Bertram in 1882, the original Bertram depot was constructed on this site and served railroad passengers until the end of passenger service in 1937.

I can just imagine the passenger voices of the past remained constrained within the closed walls.

The depot was demolished in 1964, and the site remained vacant through the 1990s.

Voices of the past were locked away in the remnants of the wood.

The George Peters family of Sandia, Texas donated a vintage 1912 San Antionio & Aransas Pass depot from Orange Grove, Texas to the Austin Steam Train Association in 1997.   (http://www.bertramtx.com/train-depot.html)

I’m glad we have renewal of the past – even the resemblance.  Now the thoughts of the past voices are imagined.

Wouldn’t it be nice to preserve the past instead of demolishing it?

However, I get it.  Things here on Earth don’t last forever; thus, we need to preserve the best we can and at least rebuild or place something to remind us of the past.

While we shouldn’t dwell on the past we should still appreciate it – while making improvements along the way.

May we always remember – and move forward!

Bertram is at the junction of Farm Roads 243 and 1174 and State Highway 29, ten miles east of Burnet in eastern Burnet County. The town was established in 1882, when the community of San Gabriel (near the San Gabriel River) in Burnet County was moved two miles northwest to the newly constructed Austin and Northwestern Railroad. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bertram,_Texas

Blessings!

Ron

Gunfight

Tombstone, Arizona became the booming city in the west and was only 30 miles (48 km) from the U.S.–Mexico border.

It was an open market for cattle stolen from ranches in Sonora, Mexico by a loosely organized band of outlaws known as The Cowboys, who began increasing their influence on the town and causing problems.

As one would anticipate, with the wild west growing, combined with treasure hunting and town entertainment, tensions would rise.

Many of the ranchers (like the Clantons) were also rustlers or other types of criminals.  Compounding efforts to keep local groups under control were political differences as well. There seemed to be no effective law enforcement to curtail the growing problems.

The Earp brothers—Wyatt, Virgil and Morgan—as well as Doc Holliday, arrived in December 1879 and mid-1880. Basically, the Earps wanted to get away from the wild life and become involved in business in Tombstone.  However, they met much resistance with Cowboys Ike and Billy Clanton, Frank and Tom McLaury, and Billy Claiborne.

The Cowboys repeatedly threatened the Earps over many months until the conflict escalated into a shootout on October 26, 1881.

The historic gunfight is often portrayed as occurring at the O.K. Corral; however, it actually occurred a short distance away in an empty lot on Fremont Street.

I’m glad our society has become more civilized since these old wild-west-days, aren’t you?

Hopefully we are not seeing a resurgence of these historical days.

So, Tombstone is best known as the site of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral and presently draws most of its revenue from tourism.

Below is the Part 1 video I prepared from our visit to the live reenactment of the famous gunfight at O.K. Corral. This was a performance before a live audience and provides some good insight about some of the historical event.

The entire reenactment video is 16 minutes long so I divided it into three parts.  Parts 2 and 3 will be posted this week.

Blessings,

Ron

Tombstone

Tombstone Stage Coach 3When you hear the word Tombstone, what comes to mind?

To me, the first thought was where one is buried and an inscription over the site is written in stone.

Next, I think of Tombstone, Arizona.  Have you been there?

Also, my mind goes to the movie “Tombstone.”  According to Wikipedia: “Tombstone is a 1993 American Western film directed by George P. Cosmatos, written by Kevin Jarre (who was also the original director, but was replaced early in production[4][5]), and starring Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer, with Sam ElliottBill PaxtonPowers BootheMichael Biehn, and Dana Delany in supporting roles, as well as narration by Robert Mitchum.

The film is based on events in Tombstone, Arizona, including the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral and the Earp Vendetta Ride, during the 1880s. It depicts a number of Western outlaws and lawmen, such as Wyatt EarpWilliam BrociusJohnny Ringo, and Doc Holliday.”  Here is a YouTube link to a short clip of the movie.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTWYKf5hXIg

Well, this post is primarily about Tombstone, Arizona.

During our travels through Arizona we ventured south through Tucson. I had previously been to Tucson and enjoyed the area then so due to time constraints we decided to visit Tombstone.

According to Wikipedia, Tombstone is a historic city in Cochise County, Arizona, United States.  It was founded in 1879 by prospector Ed Schieffelin, who was briefly a scout for the U. S. Army headquartered at Camp Huachuca. He frequently searched wilderness areas looking for valuable ore samples.  Before the Tombstone name was developed the area was called Pima County, Arizona Territory.

In 1877, Schieffelin used Brunckow’s Cabin as a base of operations and began surveying the area.  After many months he found pieces of silver ore.  It took months to find the source.  According to reports, Schieffelin’s legal mining claim was sited near a grave site.  In September 1877 he filed his first claim and named the stake Tombstone.  (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tombstone,_Arizona for details.)Tombstone StreetThe town was established on a mesa (flat-topped hill) above the Goodenough Mine. Within two years of its founding Tombstone had a bowling alley, four churches, an ice house, a school, two banks, three newspapers, and an ice cream parlor, alongside 110 saloons, 14 gambling halls, and numerous dance halls and brothels. I’m sure the ice cream parlor was the favorite.

Tombstone Longhorn Restaurant
Longhorn Restaurant that provides a good menu of food at a fair price.  It provides a realistic western town feel.

 

Tombstone became one of the last boomtowns in the American frontier.

Tombstone bird cage entertainment signThe businesses were situated among, and on top of a large number of silver mines. The gentlemen and ladies of Tombstone attended operas presented by visiting acting troupes at the Schieffelin Hall opera house.  Miners and cowboys saw shows at the Bird Cage Theatre and brothel.

The town grew significantly into the mid-1880s as the local mines produced millions in silver bullion, the largest productive silver district in Arizona. Population grew from 100 to around 14,000 in less than seven years.

At the Santa Rita mines in nearby Santa Cruz Valley, three superintendents had been killed by Indians. When friend and fellow Army Scout Al Sieber learned what Schieffelin was up to, he is quoted as telling him, “The only rock you will find out there will be your own tombstone”,[7] or, according to another version of the story, “Better take your coffin with you, Ed; you will only find your tombstone there, and nothing else.” [8][9] [references through Wikepedia)

Tombstone CourthouseTombstone’s Courthouse today provides a good collection of authentic interpretive exhibits, including: the period Sheriff’s Office, artist drawings and interpretations of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Wyatt Earp, mining exhibit area, saloon and gaming room, period lawyers office and courtroom, ranching, and residents of Tombstone. (More information at https://tombstonecourthouse.com/history-of-the-courthouse/)

Tombstone Courthouse Gallows
Outside the courthouse in the courtyard is a reproduction gallows, the site where many convicted murderers met their fate.

 

Tombstone Courthouse Jail Door
Original jail doors being held up with modern framework.  One has to think of the types of criminals who passed through these doors.
Tomstone Courthouse Chair and Desk
Much of the original furniture is still in the courthouse – parts of the sheriff’s office as well as the lawyer’s office.  There is an old courtroom there as well.

Life was similar to what one would think as reflected in the western movies.  I imagine Tombstone was pretty rough with the mix of the rowdy, criminal, mischievous and law-abiding guests and residents.  Additionally, the town was far removed from larger towns where the “rule of law” prevailed.

Tombstone Stage Coach
Guests can ride on the era stagecoaches and receive excellent information about the town.

Tombstone - Bronco Trading sign

Tombstone street art
Street art reflects life in the 1800s.

Tombstone street art 2

Tombstone - OK Corral
Photo of gunfight near the O.K. Corral.

Eventually, with the wildness of the territory, there becomes a showdown.  The next post will highlight that historical event.  

Love and blessings,

Ron

  1. Beebe, Lucius Morris; Clegg, Charles. The American West: the Pictorial Epic of a Continent.
  2. “Across Arizona”. Harper’s New Monthly Magazine. 66 (364). March 1883.
  3. Bishop, William Henry (1888). Mexico, California and Arizona. New York and London: Harper and Brothers. p. 468. Retrieved May 29, 2012.

 

 

 

 

 

Red Rock Country

Sedona Rocks 1Is that what you think when you hear of Sedona, Arizona?  Red Rock Country

I believe it is true.  The area is amazing!

Sedona signAfter coming from the Grand Canyon I wonder what could compare.  Well, I’m impressed with the red rock formations – that’s for sure.

Sedona Rocks 2VisitSedona tells us:  “Multi-hued stone formations jut upwards from the high desert floor creating a vivid, mesmerizing setting that changes hourly with the light. When USA Weekend compiled their Most Beautiful Places in America list, Sedona claimed the top spot.”

Sedona Rocks 6More information is available at http://visitsedona.com.  Check out their list of 100 things to do in Sedona.  I didn’t experience most of them but maybe you have already.  I just enjoyed visiting and photographing some of the area.  That’s what happens when one is on a traveling schedule trying to drive as much as possible to highlight as much as possible. 🙂

Sedona Rocks 4I’m a pretty simple person and enjoyed just walking through the little shops as well, taking in as much of the culture and interesting information that time would allow.  I love the native American displays and history there.

According to Wikipedia the Paleo-Indians, who were big game hunters, were the first documented humans in the Sedona area, possibly between 11,500 and 9000 B.C.

Sedona Rocks 3“The red rocks of Sedona are formed by a unique layer of rock known as the Schnebly Hill Formation. The Schnebly Hill Formation is a thick layer of red to orange-colored sandstone found only in the Sedona vicinity. The sandstone, a member of the Supai Group, was deposited during the Permian Period.”  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sedona,_Arizona)

Sedona Rocks 5I recalled some of the picturesque images I’ve seen in movies as I drove through Sedona.  That was pretty neat to see the sites firsthand.

Sedona is certainly another place to revisit – with more time to take it all in.

Love and Blessings,

Ron

Arizona’s Greatest Canyon

Grand Canyon 9For those who have not seen the Grand Canyon in Arizona firsthand, you will be amazed and will stand there in awe.

Grand Canyon 10How can one take in such beauty and peacefulness?  It’s certainly worth a trip.

NPS Map
National Park Service Map

We drove from Flagstaff, Arizona to the South Rim of the Canyon.  One can catch the tour train dedicated for the canyon as well.  I think the drive itself was fairly peaceful and picturesque – sort of like driving on the plains and wondering where the Canyon begins.  You won’t notice it until arriving and then you see the beauty unfold below you.

 

Grand Canyon 6The National Park Service mentions a “unique combinations of geologic color and erosional forms decorate a canyon that is 277 river miles (446km) long, up to 18 miles (29km) wide, and a mile (1.6km) deep.  Grand Canyon overwhelms our senses through its immense size.” The park service has excellent information at https://www.nps.gov/grca/index.htm.

Grand Canyon 5

Grand Canyon 4

Grand Canyon 7
Sign posted on one of the rocks along the walkway.  

The South Rim is open all year but the North Rim is seasonal.

There are many other sites to explore while in the Grand Canyon region so if one has time it’s a great opportunity.

I appreciate your riding along.  I’ll provide more photos in my next post.

Love and Blessings,

Ron