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On December 1st I left the Hilltop Rescue camp and drove across the width of Louisiana to Texas. This trip takes one across large areas of wetland, mostly bayous. One of the most beautiful areas is the Atchafalaya west of Baton Rouge. It is the largest river-bottomland hardwood swamp in the USA. I'm saving this area for another day! Just inside the Texas border is an area similar to the Atchafalaya, the Blue Elbow Swamp. There is a nice boardwalk that goes out into the swamp where the photos below were taken. Notice the ring around the large stump in the background. This tupelo tree was "girdled" by loggers in the 19th century, killing the tree for harvest the following year. This entire area was almost totally destroyed until laws were established limiting logging.
I turned north then west from Beaumont on Rt. 105 and spent the night in Cleveland, Tx. The next morning I stopped in Cut and Shoot, Tx to get this picture. Seems that many years ago, a small boy kept "cutting the corner and shooting down the field" to get to school; according to the gal at the post office. Turning north on I-45, and nearing Huntsville, I came across this HUGE statue of Sam Houston. I took I-45 to Rt. 7 west at Centerville and took it all the way into Gatesville, just south of Waco. The purpose of this leg was to visit Joe and Lynda. Joe, Skip, Bert (& Ann), Doug, Steve, Mark, and I make up the "Goofers", a gang of friends from 1955. We had all met in 3rd grade, forming the Goofers by 5th grade. We have all stuck together; golden friendships beyond measure. We celebrated our 50th anniversary in Costa Rica this year.
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Joe and Lynda's Gatesville, Tx

Here, Joe, Lynda are standing to the right of "Jose", with me on the left, in front of their house in Gatesville. For more photos of the visit click here
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Bob and Jean's San Antonio, Tx

I stayed with my cousin Jean and her husband, Bob in San Antonio for three nights. This picture of their twin grand-daughters, Zoe and Tori, is hilarious! Submit captions to this photo in the forum For more photos of the visit click here
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Promise Keepers

I was invited by my friend Ron Hicks and his wife Tisch, to attend a small gathering of the Promise Keepers in San Antonio on December 6th. Shown L-R are Dr. Tom Fortson, President of PK, his delightful wife Toni, and Mr. & Mrs. Gregg Weston, co-hosts. For more photos of the PK's click here
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San Antonio

Ah, the Alamo, River Walk, Gruene, and Maria! This is a beautiful city and I had a beautiful "pardner" to see it with! For more photos of the Alamo click here For photos of the River Walk click here For other photos of San Antonio, including architecture, plants, VNI, and misc. click here For photos of the town of Gruene click here
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Big Bend National Park

At 800,000 acres, this Park is one of the most varied and beautiful of our National Park System. I spent five nights here and saw the desert, wetlands, and mountains. Due to the remoteness of the Park, it is not well known. I can attest, however, that it is well worth the visit! For more photos of Big Bend click here
After leaving Big Bend I drove on to El Paso, Tx where I took some photos of Mexicans doing their Christmas shopping. I overnighted in a motel in Las Cruzes, NM, not quite an hour north of El Paso. A very interesting and pretty town with the "Old Mesilla Plaza" where Billy the Kid was sentenced to hang. I ate at a wonderful mexican restaurant called La Posta! The next day I headed for Phoenix. Made it on December 18, 2005 - right on schedule!
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Christmas 2005 in Phoenix

Christmas with the family. Sun and high 70s made this Christmas very enjoyable; we ate dinner out on the patio! Rear L-R: Keith (Susan's fiance), Susan (daughter), Judy (ex), Stephanie (granddaughter), Front L-R: Kayla (granddaughter), Andrew (grandson), David A.(son), and me For more photos of Christmas click here
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Volunteering at Christmas

"We cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love." ... Mother Teresa ...
Christmas is a good time to help the less fortunate. The crowd you see here went to help the Missionaries of Charity and Magie's Place on 29-Dec-2005. Front L-R: Stephanie (granddaughter), Ken (son), Andrew (grandson), Kayla (granddaughter), and me For more photos of volunteering click here
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Rick and Family

Ken and I visited our friend Rick and his family in Gilbert, AZ We all worked together at NASA in 1996-1997! Rick on left, my son Ken on right. For more photos of Rick and family click here Return to home page