It’s been a pretty enjoyable week! No major climate issues, the tent’s holding up so far, somewhat weird, Texas weather (okay, that’s redundant, I know), but we’ve faired pretty well all in all. Here’s a recap of what’s gone on since Monday …
First, I want to express my gratitude for all those that have chipped in to help Frank and me get into some new digs. As of this morning, we’re a little under a third of the way to meeting our needs. I’m truly blessed to have such good friends. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart!
Frank and I were relaxing on Monday night, waiting for the big Warriors / Spurs game. I’ve been a Warriors fan since I moved to the Bay Area over 35 years ago and let me tell you – there have been some God awful teams I’ve had to root for in that time period! I honestly think that Duke, Kentucky and North Carolina could have beaten them on any given night, that’s how bad they were. So it’s a real pleasure having an honest to goodness NBA team to root for, yes sirree!
We were in the tent early … can’t remember if it was because of wind gusts or cold … but I decided to rent a movie on Amazon. My data plan was starting over on Tuesday and I had saved up some extra gigs, so at about 6:15, I started watching Matt Damon in “The Martian”. First off, it’s a great movie! I was thoroughly spellbound by how the plot proceeded. I’m not going to give out any spoilers, just in case you haven’t seen it yet. I will say that it’s a helluva lot better than any of the other recent space flicks that have come out like “Gravity” or “Interstellar”. If you’re looking to while away a few hours, rent it. My opinion.
The only issue I had was my Internet. I don’t know what’s going on, but I can’t keep a 4G connection to save my soul! The thing kept bouncing from 4G to 3G (which doesn’t allow pages to load on my laptop for some reason) to “TXT” to no signal. I’d get 15 or 20 minute spurts of the movie and just when something was about to happen … happen … happen … get the picture? Great, because I sure wasn’t! Talk about added suspense … the only thing missing was a “tune in next week” disclaimer!
To make matters worse, the game’s start time kept creeping up. When I started watching, I looked at the clock and thought, “Yeah, I’ve got plenty of time!” Well …
The way I was forced to watch it, the end of the movie actually matched the pace of the last two minutes of an NBA game. You know what I’m talking about? Where it takes 30 minutes for 2 minutes of clock time to run down? I really started sweating it, thinking, “you’ll just have to watch the end tomorrow,” but realized that with my data plan resetting at midnight, I’d have to start using next month’s allocation. Didn’t want to do that.
I started getting a little giddy. Don’t know if it was that I was tired, or cold, or what … but I started giggling. Frank didn’t know what to make of it! The only semi-spoiler I’ll let out is that towards the end, the plot revolves around timing … the need for two discrete things having to sync up for everything to work out. And here I was, trying to sync up the end of “The Martian” with the start of the game. I’m writing this now and thinking, “this is a ‘you had to be there’ moment.” I don’t think anyone reading this is going to see the same hilarity that I did.
To make matters even worse, we stared hearing coyotes howling nearby, which sent Frank into a bit of a tizzy. So I’m holding Frank in one arm and my phone high overhead in the other, trying to pick up a signal. And then I’d get one, I’d start the movie up again, I’d set the phone down, and 5 minutes later, the signal would drop.
To make an already too long story not short enough, I got through the whole movie, with 2 SECONDS to spare before tip-off. A thoroughly enjoyable movie followed by an even MORE enjoyable game! (The side game between the Vagabonds and the Coyotes went our way, too … they quieted down soon enough.)
Tuesday was a stay-in-the-tent day. It started out windy … to the point where I was kneeling in the corner again, buttressing the pole against a stiff breeze. Then the rain started in, accompanied by thunder, something we hadn’t heard in quite some time. Maybe it’s because we hadn’t heard it in a while, but Frank did not do well, even with his thundershirt on tight. I do give him credit though – once it stops, he’s back to his old self in 20 minutes, tops. I love that about him. I’ve added another little sign to the dashboard – “Be Like Frank!” It goes real handy with the other saying up there, the one that Larry gave me: “It’s all worked out before – trust that it will work out again!”
On Wednesday, I had my first “opportunity” … if you can call it that … to use my walking staff for defensive purposes. Frank and I took a walk around the loop to see the lake. On the way back, we encountered a bobcat who decided that he simply wasn’t going to let us pass. He got in the middle of the road and started snarling.
I was totally shocked at Frank! He was growling and snarling like I have never seen before and it took a lot of energy to hold him back on a short leash. As the bobcat started to approach, I starting stomping my feet, swinging the staff and jabbing towards the cat while growling at him myself. he never got too close … no more than 20 feet, I’d say. Finally, I let out a loud roar and took two steps towards him while jabbing the staff towards him. That was it – he took off into the brush.
I sort of crab-stepped by where he disappeared and then walked backwards for a few dozen steps to make sure he didn’t come out of the brush and attack us from behind, which was tough to do while continuing to hold Frank back. He was so proud of himself, but I think it took something out of him because as soon as we got back to the tent he was up on the cot and sound asleep within 3 minutes. I’m sure he had great dreams … his feet were moving and he was barking away in his sleep, either chasing bobcats or telling as his dream buddies about his exploits! :o)
By the way, I highly recommend Down East Walking Sticks. They have a huge variety of woods and sizes. Barrie will custom make them, too … as he did for me. I would not be able to walk as much as I have if it wasn’t for my walking staff. (This is an unsolicited endorsement by the way and I am not receiving compensation from them. Just felt that needed to be said!) End of digression … :o)
I told a shorter version of the story on Facebook and my brother, Andy, responded with a comment … something along the lines of, “What a cool experience!” Either the definition of “cool” has changed or I’ve just gotten too old, but I didn’t see anything at all that was cool abut that encounter! I did not have “elude crazy bobcat” on my bucket list!
That evening, when I took Frank out for his evening constitutional, I brought the walking staff with me, just in case. Fortunately it was just the two of us out there, except for a few deer, whose eyes were glowing in the light from my headlamp. That and the stars. The sky was crystal clear and there were more stars out than humanly possible to count … way more than any night this summer when I was in Colorado. There were so many that the constellations were almost obliterated by the backdrop. Orion’s normally easy to pick out, right? Doesn’t take more than a couple of seconds. But Wednesday night, I actually had to look for it because the four stars that make up his shoulders and thighs didn’t stand out the way they do in most night skies … and there were so many more jewels on his belt than you’d normally see! We’d have spent more time star-gazing, but it was bitter cold. Even at 8pm. So we headed back in and got ready to listen to another Warriors game.
The cold at 8pm was just a harbinger of what was to come later that night. On Thursday morning, It was 32 degrees. I went online to NOAA and discovered that the overnight low was 29, with the wind dropping the real feel down another 2 degrees! It didn’t bother us, though! I tell you that sleeping bag is worth its weight in gold! Frank and I were warm as toast all night. Frank wasn’t ready to get up, though … normally he’s out of the cot as soon as I unzip the bag. But I had to ease my way around him, encountering a, “Yeah, good luck … I’m staying here, thank you very much,” look from my little buddy. I laid on the floor and pulled the bottom of the bag down over my legs setting the little heater a foot away from my chest. That’s the coldest night we’ve dealt with since we left Charleston last May. But it was nothing, thanks to that sleeping bag!
It warmed up by noon, so Frank and I headed off to Goliad. One of my Dallas friends, Greg, said that we were smack in the middle of “Texas independence” land, where many battles took place, and suggested that we check it out. I’m not going to say much about our afternoon here … I want to give it its own post. I will say that it was well worth the time. I came away with an appreciation for Texas history that I didn’t have before.
When we got back late in the afternoon, our field was covered in deer! I counted more than 2 dozen of them. It was the same thing last night, too. I’m amazed at Frank, even more so after the bobcat encounter. He doesn’t pay them any mind, whatsoever! He’s perfectly content to just lie on the ground at my feet as I sit in the camp chair. Both of us watching them go about their business.
That’s it for now. I’ll post something tomorrow about our Goliad trip. Here are a few photos of the deer camped out in our little field behind the tent, taken Thursday and Friday late afternoon … the last one captures only about 2/3 of the herd that was out there on Thursday. Now that’s way cooler than a bobcat encounter!