October 29th, 2019

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Possum Kingdom Adventure

On the evening of the 18th, we celebrated Quinn's birthday a few days early. She opened the presents we gave her, which involved the musical artist Taylor Swift and the musical artist Billie Ellish. We ate dinner at the Napoli's Italian place in McKinney.   I liked my tilapia and vegetables.

On Saturday the 19th of October, we enjoyed spending the day with young Quinn, our niece. My wife took her to Stonebriar Mall, because Quinn wanted to visit an "indoor mall", since her part of the Kansas City area features only outdoor shopping centers. I went for a walk in Limestone Quarry Park, where I saw my first Chipping Sparrow of the Autumn.

We decided to stay in for dinner and make simple stuff. Then we celebrated Quinn's birthday. again with slices of chocolate ribbon cake. We all watched the movie "The Secret Life of Pets 2". Quinn and I stayed up late to watch the charming movie "A Dog's Purpose.". I read the book some years ago, and found it a delightful combination of the homespun, the reincarnated, and the canine.

On Sunday, I came home after Weight Watchers to say goodbye to Quinn. My wife drove her to Dallas Love Field. In the late afternoon, I took a walk in Allen Station Park.

Monday through Thursday proved quite busy at work. Wednesday I took a business trip to Austin. I scheduled a Vonlane luxury bus for the three-hour journey from Dallas to Austin. I started out from my house to catch my bus in what usually amounted to two or three times the amount of time needed to make my bus. But a huge road accident on the Dallas North Tollway doomed me to miss my bus. I drove to Austin instead, arriving quite early. I hoped to be able to work on the bus, which provides wi-fi.  I enjoyed the drive. though, as my new used car handled well.  On the way home, I stopped at Old Settlers' Park in Round Rock and took a walk.

Friday I scheduled to take the day off for a lake weekend. But my work demands kept me working into the early afternoon. We set off on our lake trip in mid-afternoon. The weather turned quite cold Friday, so the delay worked out. The traffic turned heavy as we headed west on 820 and I-20.  Though our map predicted a 140 minute journey, our drive took 180 minutes.

We arrived during daylight at our rented weekend home at Possum Kingdom Lake. The home proved to be a charming little place, with a huge deck overlooking the lake, on the "Peninsula" part of the lake near Graford, Texas. I visited Possum Kingdom a time or two before and always found it charming.  Our rental, however, lacked either central heat or forced air heating. We called our lessor, who explained that we needed to use space heaters provided in the unit. We managed to get a few small space heaters located and running. One space heater managed to throw a circuit breaker in a bathroom. We spent the evening quite warm under covers, which reminded me a bit of childhood days in Winter, though in childhood all our homes were heated. I thought of my grandparents' home during my childhood, a rental on Clifton Street.
This home featured forced heat built-in gas heating. I used to love that heat radiating in.

We went to dinner at Bonitaville, where we ate tasty soft brisket tacos with sprinklings of shredded American cheese  and where folks were friendly. A couple of gentlemen who struck me as old fisherman sat nearby.

I got up early on Saturday and read my ebook, J.D. Beresford's "Goslings."  I made substantial progress on that novel during our trip, and finished it. The novel's plot device of a world calamity affecting civilization by removing most of the men seemed particularly eerie coming in 1913 just on the eve of the Great War (and the subsequent influenza epidemic).  Had the novel been written in 1920, I feel certain its somewhat utopian ending  stood a strong chance of being told completely differently. My use of a Dell netbook as a substitute for an ebook reader continues to succeed.

Saturday morning we hiked on the Possum Kingdom Hike and Bike Trail. We took the trail "to the top" that ascended a small, wooded hill. we saw a few deer at the beginning of our hike. Whitetail deer sightings proved plentiful throughout our trip. We passed a sign saying that we were at a place called something with the word "Bone" in it. We reached a decent elevation, where we got a great look at the lake. Possum Kingdom Lake features nearly transparent clear water so that it makes for a pretty viewing.

The weather turned from cold to pleasant. In the afternoon, we drove nearly to the town of Newcastle, Texas. We went to Fort Belknap, a settlement occupied by federal troops from 1851 to 1865 as a defensive measure against local native American tribes. The garrison proved an imperfect measure, as its infantrymen turned out to lack the horses necessary to combat the expert rider Comanches. When we arrived, boy scout and cub scout tents proliferated. The numerous buildings of the fort, some replicas I believe, hosted a Fort Belknap Days celebration. We learned a lot from a blacksmith who made a nail using a little hand-pumped vintage bellows. We saw examples of the beads used for trading with native Americans. We saw too little re-nactment of the actual 1851 uniforms, and too much Civil War re-enactment. Even the little fort museum featured too much Civil War material, given the rather limited role that Young County played in the war. Mr Young, its namesake, featured in a dark episode, the trials of young farmers in Gainesville who had the common sense to oppose secession and impressment into service. Mr. Young himself lost his life to an assassin's bullet during the war. My favorite part of the museum turned out to be the late 19th C. quilts.

We drove back to the lake. My wife decided to sit out on the deck, while I took an hour's walk on the hike and bike trail. I saw lots of deer, and ended my evening at a day use area number 4 where I watched Eastern Bluebird and a migrating flock of Scissor-Tailed Flycatchers.

We picked up a takeout dinner at Bonitaville and settled in for a pleasant evening.

Sunday we drove home. First we got a Google Map to take us to Hell's Gate Circle, where we hoped to see the natural area of the lake called Hell's Gate. The map led us into a residential area, with huge tracts of land, some cows, and some luxury homes and condominiums. The scene looked very much about side open spaces. Finally, though, in a luxury home neighborhood, we found ourselves in a little street area called Hell's Gate Circle, where we had a lovely but imperfect view of that area of the lake. I wished we chose to access it via boat, but it proved nonetheless nice to see.

We stopped at Mineral Wells State Park, and viewed its lovely lake from a scenic vista. People nearby prepared to rappel down its rocks. We ate lunch at a Panera. We made it home by 3. My wife, who prefers to do our driving, found the traffic in both directions enervating.

Sunday evening I got my steps in at Allen Station Park. We ate El Pollo Loco chicken. As I prepared to place my order, sitting in the parking lot of the chicken place, I got a call. My retired former law partner and his wife let me know that he hoped to go home tomorrow after a lengthy stay in the hospital. I expressed my delight at this good news.

Having finished "Goslings," I began the next ebook, the non-fiction book "Sonic Writing" by Thor Magnusson.

Monday I worked a bit late on a solidly busy day. A delayed client arrived late, in the early evening. I drove home, where we watched the television programs 'All Rise" and "Bluff City Law."

from Dreamwidth, because two posts of the same text are twice as nice