Saturday, September 27, 2008

Welcome to the Comal County Fair!!

I had to start out with this guy. I don't know whether the bag is to keep him from eating or biting, but I couldn't pass him by without a photo. Goat number 3-24 is adorable in my those ears...not to mention that look that begs, "PLEASE take this bag off my face."

The fair lasts for four days and is a big thing in the area. There is no school on the Friday during the fair because many of the students have livestock entries. This is my first time there and I guess I was a little disappointed. The last fair I had been to was in Milwaukee years ago and it was much bigger and cleaner. This one was smaller than I expected and just had kind of a 'junky' appearance about it. I was hoping that horses would be included in their livestock section, but no such luck...just cows, chickens and goats.

I think this fellow was acting up so I'd take his picture.

And a close-up. Who could NOT love this face.

Is that a pincher-thing in his nose or does that go all the way through?? And why is it there? I know nothing about cow-raising, so I hope there's a good reason why that ring would be in his nose.

Cow contest. Look at those girls. They look like they're about 14 and thin as a rail...and they're handling cows that weigh...I don't know...what do cows weigh?? I've never been to a cow contest before and I noticed that they all had these pole thingies they were scratching their cow's stomachs with. I guess that keeps them calm while they're in the ring.

First prize in the orchid contest...

...and in the okra contest (you can keep those)...

...and in the hay contest. Not being a farmer, it's hard for me to imagine one bale of hay being better than another. They all look the same to me.

On to the rides.

I have hated this ride ever since I was a kid. I love a good roller coaster, but I do NOT like going upside down...especially in little cages.

Same with this thing.

This little girl doesn't seem too sure about this.

And these three girls look like they're going to their deaths...or just totally bored.

This little guy cried every time the operator tried lifting him off the ground.

This girl seemed to enjoy it a little more.

But this little girl was having a blast! She was doing flips and had the biggest smile on her face. I stood and watched her for awhile because she was one of the few people at the whole fair who actually looked like she was having fun! That ponytail was flying all over the place! I felt like I should have held up a card with "10" on it when she was finished.

I thought the kiddie rides were kind of interesting because I could see a "future" in some of the riders. This little girl is destined to be a "biker babe."

And here's the next Mario Andretti.

And, you guessed it...the next Indiana Jones!

Hmmm...I don't know about these two. Frankly, they look like an old married couple on their way to the grocery store and don't have a thing to say to each other.

Then there are the carni workers. You gotta feel sorry for these guys standing out in the heat with no shade buckling and unbuckling kids all day and night.

There was literally no one at the many game booths they had. My son told me that the teenagers who go at night play these more than the family members who go during the day.

There weren't many people at the food and craft booths, either, which left attendants with a lot of dead time.

There was nothing unusual about the food at all...just typical fast food stuff. I thought they would have more German food because this is a big German area, but not so. So, the only food picture I got is of my son, Jared, with his turkey leg. He told me that the "sausage on a stick" was good, but I told him I just didn't feel right walking around eating a foot-long sausage off of a stick. He could see my point.

It was REALLY hot out there the 90s...with very little shade. So I could understand this woman taking a break with her fan. I don't think I'll say anymore about that.

And the heat is also evident with the couple sitting on the front side of this bench.

Typical carni "art"...

And caricature artist...

Face painting...

And the craft booths. I was sitting on a bench waiting for my son and the owner of the metal-arts booth next to me told me that sales were terrible this year. People are eating, but they weren't buying anything. Hmmm...maybe gas prices have something to do with that??

Let's see, should I buy food and gas...or maybe these bull horns??

Or a cowboy hat for every occasion?

Or maybe this ice container made out of a big drill bit to stash all my beer!

And, finally...fair fashions. This is Texas so you're going to see boots of all types. I think they're fine when you're in a cow contest with some jeans or out on the ranch. But they just don't seem right when they're with a dress or shorts. Is that just me?

Someone put up their arm right as I was taking this picture, but maybe there was a reason for that. This girl had on the shortest shorts I think I've ever seen...and with the boots, it was just wrong. Everything happens for a reason.

Now this girl ALMOST carries it off.

This one's okay...cute little cowboy dude holding Dad's hand checkin' out the fair with a bottle of water tucked under his arm. An appropriate end to my visit to the Comal County Fair.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Old bridges...

I miss the old covered bridges that you used to see along the highways. I can still remember road trips when I was a kid...I always thought the bridges were the best part. Having grown up in St. Louis next to the Mississippi River, maybe I have more of an appreciation for them because we had to use them pretty often. They don't make them like this anymore, but then I'm sure there an logistical engineering-type reason for that. I don't care. I still think they look cooler than most new bridges. I've lived in New Braunfels for four years now, and I never knew this bridge son showed it to me one day. It's on a street that I've never been on because it's in a little neighborhood that I've never needed a reason to drive through. It's not used as a driving bridge anymore, but you can walk across it. It's all shiny and painted, so it doesn't really look that old...other than the ornate style which you don't see anymore.

It's over the Guadalupe River and this is what you see to the east...

And to the west...

Here's a railroad bridge in Selma, Texas. I think there's a tiny little creek that runs under this, but there was a "No Trespassing" sign on the road by it, and I've been told you don't want to disobey those signs in Texas.

I climbed up the hill to the tracks...and found an old railroad spike on the side as a souvenir for my efforts.

I like graffiti if it's done well. There are a LOT of trains that run through San Antonio and south Texas. I've never lived anywhere where I've had to stop for trains so much. So when I have to stop for one, I pass the time by watching for the graffiti on the cars. I think there's a real art to it and some of them are pretty imaginative. This one's okay.

I caught this one about a year ago in Kyle, Texas, which I like.

So now I'm getting off the track of bridges. When I drove to St. Louis a couple years ago, I came back via Route 66 which was a lot of fun. I started out in St. Louis at the Chain of Rocks Bridge. This was on the old Route 66 which crossed the Mississippi River just north of St. Louis. We went over that bridge many, many times when I was a kid because my dad did a lot of work in Illinois. The bridge was unusual, because it had a turn in the middle, which made it kind of dangerous. You can't drive across it anymore, but they made it a walking bridge for Route 66 nostalgia. My son and I walked out on it and we couldn't believe how narrow it was...hard to believe that trucks could get by each other. When I was a kid, we lived a couple miles away from this bridge. There was an old gas station where this picture was taken that was run by a guy who owned chickens. Childhood memories.

This was added for nostalgic purposes.

This is the Eads Bridge in downtown St. Louis which goes over to East St. Louis, Illinois...a city which should be on the bottom of your "Places I Want to Go Visit" list. The Gateway Arch is just behind me.

This is a bridge in St. Robert, Missouri, going towards the Ozarks.

Here's another railroad bridge in Hunter, Texas, which looks pretty much the same as the one in Selma. Selma's a pretty big suburban area north of San Antonio, but Hunter is one of those "blink and you'll miss it" kind of places. But I think those little towns are kind of neat, so I couldn't pass up some photo ops there.

This place is right next to the railroad tracks...your typical little small-town bar.

"Nowhere else but Riley's place." I'm thinking there might be a FEW other places than Riley's, but I'm not going to tell them that.

This is across the street from Riley's. Now, this place is obviously uninhabited now and is pretty much a "fixer-upper." But if you look close, you'll see there's a pretty new satellite dish on the right side of the porch overhang. Yeah, you might have to do a few things to fix this place up, but at least you have a nice satellite dish to start out with!

...which made me think of this place on Isla. Another "fixer-upper"...but this one is occupied!

But San Francisco has a few bridges which are okay.