Saturday, July 5, 2008

4th of July in Gruene

Happy Fourth of July! I had the day off…oh, that’s right…I’m unemployed. I have every day off now. Speaking of unemployment, I have to attend little employment seminars once in awhile at the local workforce center to maintain my benefits. I went to a group meeting on Thursday and the “group” consisted of me…no one else attended. That morning, my son had seen on CNN that the unemployment rate in the U.S. was 8.5 million. When I told him that I was the only one at the seminar, he said, “So the other 8.4999 million didn’t show?” Funny kid. I will go into the ramblings of unemployment in future blogs, but today is a July 4th report from Gruene, Texas.

I’ve already mentioned that Gruene is a touristy little town just northwest of New Braunfels. A fellow laid-off friend came out my way so we met in Gruene, had lunch and cried over a Dos Equis. Well, actually, we didn’t cry at all because it’s hard not to have a good time in Gruene ‘cause everyone’s just so darn happy. So, I’m walking past the General Store and I see this. Hmmm. (Remember that you can click on the photo to enlarge it to really see how well "endowed" this bike is.) More on this later.

We had a couple burgers at Janie’s Table…a little place along the river.

I had to take a couple pictures of the tablecloths there because they're exactly like the ones used in restaurants on Isla Mujeres. Even though Gruene’s a nice place, I’d still rather be on Isla, so the tablecloths enabled me to pretend for about 45 minutes.

Then we walked around town for awhile. Down to the Guadalupe River to watch the toobers and rafters.

No toobers here, but it's pretty.

“The Deck” is where the bikers hang out and watch the toobers come down the river. You can see some pretty interesting bikes (and bikers) here.

I didn't actually take this yesterday, but it's my favorite biker picture. Unfortunately, it's hard to see the spikes pierced in this Bandido's lips, but they were there. There were no real interesting characters or bikes out yesterday...except for the "Babe Bike."

Or if you want to consider this interesting.

Sign on the deck of The Deck.

See the plaque in this tree? This is right in front of The Deck. It’s kind of hard to read because I was shooting in the sun, but it says, “High Water Mark – Oct. 17, 1998.”

Now, that doesn’t mean much to just see the plaque. But when you look at it from this perspective…

…it’s a different story. See where I’ve added “Flood Line” in red? That’s how high the river got in the flood of 1998. Hard to believe. It has flooded a few times since then, but nowhere near where it got back then.

A guy had a couple of parrots which he was letting people hold, and I caught this beautiful little girl. She doesn’t seem too sure about the whole deal, but she sure is a cutie.

The music coming from Gruene Hall sounded interesting, so we thought we’d step in and take a peek. I’ll repeat myself again and say that Gruene Hall is the oldest dance hall in Texas and it doesn’t look like any improvements have been made on it since it was built in 1878. Despite the fact that it doesn’t have air conditioning, it is always packed.

There was no cover charge, so we moseyed on in and sat at one of the picnic tables that look like they’re probably the same ones from 1878. The band actually turned out to be great and we stayed for their whole set. They were called “The Band of Heathens.”

People enjoying the music.

(Sorry for the quality of the photos…it was dark in there.) Don’t know exactly what to call the kind of music they were playing…country rock probably comes the closest. But when their set was over, everyone clapped and pounded the tables for an encore, so they played one more song. I almost bought one of their CDs but I reminded myself that I’m unemployed.

Even the little ones enjoy Gruene Hall.

I like the neon signs they have there.

So when they were finished, another band started setting up on the other end of the hall.

We stayed to see whether they would be as good. They weren’t, so we headed out…along with just about everyone else.

Lots of empty beer bottles to clean up.

So, I'm on my way to my car and see this...

Ahhh...the owner of the "Babe Bike." Notice that there is no passenger seat. No REAL babes on this babe bike. No siree bob…this man rides alone…wind blowing through his hair…at one with nature and his babe bike. In fact, this has impressed me so much, I think I'm going to buy a Harley and have scantily clad men painted on it.


On a final note…one more picture of a neat sign.

Lizards are pretty plentiful here in Texas and later that evening I got a shot of the real thing on one of my plants. Cute little guy and a very polite poser. My camera lens was literally one inch away from his nose and he stayed right there for me...most likely because he was scared out of his little lizard mind.

Felt kind of bad about his missing tail, though.


jamqueen said...

Very interesting, Deb! I enjoy reading about other parts of the country I've never been to. Thanks.

Islaholic Trixie said...

We were at a Biker Rally all weekend. There is nothing like driving down the highway with the wind blowing in your hair and no one talking in your ear!! I love my Harley!!

islagringo said...

I'm really liking your style of story telling. Giving us the details we need to know but not boring us with too much. It is so nice to see some different scenery in blogs too! Enoough with the pictures of palm trees! LOL!

Isla Deb said...

Thanks, Wayne. Yes, I guess it has become kind of a mish-mash of posts. Guess I'll have to do more traveling just for the blog!