San Rafael Valley, AZ ~~ Photo by Bill Haas

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Someone recently said that life is a series of U-Turns!  Having "done" Fredericksburg a few years ago, I almost drove through it without stopping today.  Then I saw it.  DOOLEY'S!  The magical pull of DOOLEY'S hooked me into one of those U-Turns!  Fredericksburg does not need Dollar Stores or a WalMart.  It has DOOLEY'S!

Girls just wanna have fun.  And these girls shared my love of silly hats.  Yes, we had fun! Complete strangers; instant bond!

Alma Mae (yes, that's really her name) stocks, restocks, works the cash register and always wears a smile.

And the truly remarkable thing about Dooley's?  Its employees.  This trio's combined years of employment at Dooleys is over 100 years.  So, OK, that says something about Dooley's management as well.  Awesome!

Hair nets, silk flowers, gingham nightgowns, yarn, John Deer scooters and wagons, ribbons, bows, buttons, stoneware, cast iron cookware, spinning eyeballs that light up, hats for "regular" people, Aquanet, oil cloth by the yard.  If Dooley's doesn't have it, you don't neeed it!


...a sweet little town on the South Llano River.  Although the trees were still bare here in West Texas, Spring Breakers filled the state parks to capacity.  No worries; my trusty digest of Texas county and municipal parks guided me to a free spot in Junction's Municipal Park, right on the river -- doesn't get much better!  The tree?  I haven't a clue what it is.  I call it the carmel popcorn tree!  Click on the picture to see the detail of those ... Pods?  Buds?  Fruit?


It was too early (not enough insects yet) for Balmorhea's normal bat population, usually in the thousands. Still, watching just a few hundred take to the skies at dusk was breath taking.  This is one of the two daytime bat hangouts.
At the refreshing San Solomon Springs pools, tetra, ducks and Boy Scouts all get along! These springs have provided water for travelers and agriculture for thousands of years.  Twenty-something million gallons of water a day is pumped through these pools.
Balmorhea not only has a  full service campground, its quaint motor court is usually fully occupied.  All the buildings, canals and pools were built in the 1930's by the CCC.
This is one of those "find-the-..." pictures!  There really is a Pied-billed Grebe in there.  Honest!  The park has painstakingly recreated the San Solomon Cienega, a desert wetland that is now habitat for several endangered fish and other aquatic life.


This is what a border town looks like.  Except that what you're looking at is Cuidad Juarez, Mexico from an El Paso, Texas window.