Sights, and seeing.

As you’ve surmised from the previous post about Reps & Sets, we made it to TX after the PCS shenanigans. Being new to the area, we of course needed to go and see the things.  Aside from memorizing the trip path to Lowe’s within the first 4 days, we also managed to get out to a couple of the local ‘tourist traps’ near here.  To wit, the Gaines’ improvements and gentrification of Waco were apparent when we went up there.  We started with Magnolia Table for breakfast, with the requisite half-hour wait time.  Thankfully, they’ve got a great play area set up outside, so the kids were occupied:

We of course had coffee:

And then, breakfast:

We got seated at the ‘community table’ at the end of the restaurant, so there was another family on the other side of the large square table.  Dad was doing a Spartan race in the area, so they decided to come over and do the touristy thing as well.  Serious props to Joanna Gaines for that concept.  We did go check out the giftshop section, appropriately placed in the ‘to go’ section:

After breakfast, it was off to the Silos:

Great area, great ambiance, and the gift shop / store prices were high, but not ‘insane’.  Of course my last frame of reference is CA, so my view of what may be too high is probably skewed right now.  After the Silos, we headed around the block to the Dr Pepper museum:

As you can see from the 3rd pic, the silos are literally a block over.  I probably saw them when I visited Baylor back in the long-long-ago while looking at colleges, but have no recollection of them.  Mom actually had to remind me that we had visited the Dr Pepper museum on that trip, I had forgotten, considering it was ~24 years ago and I ended up not going to Baylor.

We’ve been to Austin a couple of times in the past 2 months, but mostly to pick up stuff for the house from Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or OfferUp, so I haven’t toted the camera along.  That said, we did go down to Medina last weekend and stayed at a ranch where a friend of the family is the ranch manager.  They had exotics, to include some endangered Chinese deer, a pair of kangaroos, multiple zebra herds… it was a bit nuts.  It was singularly our worst planning and packout execution to date, as we forgot the big camera, the telescope, and a myriad of other odds and ends (more on that later).  We even got there late due to my getting out of work late, so it was dark when we parked the trailer.  The next morning, these guys were out behind the rig:

Yes, that is a bison under the trees.  There is no fence between that wee beastie and where I’m standing taking the pic with my cellphone.  These guys were the welcoming committee:

There were plenty of deer.  Just around.

After everybody got up, we loaded up in the Kubota 4-seater and headed out for a tour.  There were more bison:

The place is like ~4000 acres, so for scale, that’s a 15-acre field, just randomly in the middle of the ranch:

Being central to the wooded areas, and also where they drop hay bales, there were plenty of animals about:

The welcoming committee showed back up out on the tour:

These are Jacob’s sheep.  They have freaky horns.  Like 4 of them.  Egads!

The following morning, some of our local critters were back at breakfast time:

We went out and checked out some of the construction on the back side of the ranch, and all of the kids got turns driving some of the equipment:

Home again after a tiring drive back, we were able to just make it to church on time.  We’ve been enjoying the 4pm church time more than we though we would.


A couple of weeks back, we bit the bullet and laid on a contractor for the driveway extension flatwork.  I looked into what would be involved in doing the prep myself and just paying to have someone pour it… there really is no good way to quantify the value of a skidsteer and a contractor to run it.  Lopping a chunk lawn off and grading everything to end up as flat as possible by hand was just a bridge too far.  Especially with the cycle of CPX shenanigans currently ongoing at work. So last Tuesday they had completed the prep, and I had completed the gates, and they poured.  Since we got back Sunday night, we waited out the last few days for it to be a full week after the pour was finished… and finally got to park the rig behind the fence!

Not captured in these pictures: there’s a 20/30/50 amp (really 40 due to the line we ran, but it’s a 50-amp RV plug for bigger rigs) sub-panel in the back, so we can plug in and run the AC while prepping for camping trips.  Makes it much more bearable when shuffling gear and food back and forth from the house to the trailer.

The contractor was great, and we took his advice and wetted down the concrete to slow curing, and hopefully end up with a stronger slab.  In any case, we now have a spot for the trailer in the back yard, can still get in and out the personnel gate, and the kids have use of most of the driveway for riding bikes and scooters.  Upfront cost was a bit steeper than I’d have liked, but the contractor (Mike Cavanaugh Homes) was awesome to work with, and I can’t speak highly enough of their work.  Now if I can just keep the kids and dogs out of the mud from where they scraped the surface down to prep for the pad…


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