Our Seven Days In Utopia – Day Four

Something that I forgot about, when we came back from our hike on day three we ran into the owners as they were driving up the road to their house. They had been out hunting wild boar. Their cat Buddy had joined us on our trip back to the cabin.
The reason I mention this; okay we are watching the ultimate 420 movies, Cheech & Chong, so if I get distracted forgive me. I will pray forgiveness at the sunrise service tomorrow. Where was I, oh yeah, as we were heading to Garner State park, I caught glimpse of something dark alongside of the road as we were heading out of the ranch. It was one huge wild board. Sorry could not get the camera out soon enough. We should have texted the owners but I think where we were outside of their property. Once again we took the same drive we took to Leaky to get to Garner State park. While we were driving through the park we saw a hawk and I was able to get a picture. The water in the Frio was so crystal clear you could see the fish. I tied to capture it with the camera but to no avail. We forgot to bring our two person raft with us that morning. We had brought it with us, not sure why we did not bring it to the park with us. When we got to the day pass area we saw paddle boats and rafts stacked up. Being the off season they were not renting them out and there were very few people in the park. We found a nice shady picnic table and had lunch.
After lunch we started walking along the river and around to the hiking trails. There were two trails in the day use area where we were. White Rock Cave Trail and Old Baldy Trail. We choose White Rock Cave. Mind you I am not young anymore but I stay in semi shape with the monthly feed runs, where we have to unload 2,000 pounds of feed. Anyway we started up the trail, it started out pretty easy but continued to get steeper. I truly think we had almost made it but after sitting for a bit and looking at the trail back down, we decided to abort the climb and start back down. It was sketchy a couple of places on the path down. Once off the trail we still had a long walk back to where we had parked. We were completely wiped by the time we go to the truck. Thank goodness this was April not August. On the way back to the cabin we stopped at several places to take pictures of the scenery and the river. Needless to say we didn’t do much of anything the rest of the day.

 

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Our Seven days in Utopia.

Day Three.

We made coffee and watched the amazing sunrise from the front porch, then had breakfast. There is just something about sausage and eggs and the smell of a ranch in the morning. It reminded me of when I would spend the summer at my grandparent’s house. There is nothing like waking up to the smells of breakfast, coffee, (brewed in a percolator) and the great outdoors. Grandma and grandpa didn’t have air condition but they did have an attic fan and we slept with the windows open to create a draft to keep the house cool. So when you woke up in the morning aside from the smells everything was damp, which also had an aroma. Today we are going to Ingram to see Stone Hinge II and the two Easter Island statues. This is the longest day trip; an hour and half drive; that we have planned. We are also going to take Jazzie with us. The route we took to get there was via 187. The route had many very steep hills and a lot of sharp curves and the scenery was just amazing.

We got there about 10:30 am which was still a little early for the restraint to be open. We walked down to the Guadalupe River, that ran behind the restraint and the outdoor auditorium. I forget the ladies name working in the gift shop, but she was from Magnolia. We took pictures within the stone hinge structure. Seeing the real Stone Hinge is on our bucket list but I had to see this on just to say we had been there. The main attraction there is the “Hill County Arts Foundation” ( www.hcaf.com ) The restaurant,”Chi-Chos Café”, finally opened. Good thing, because I was starving. As a side note the café is dog friendly, so Jazzie was experiencing her first people restaurant. Of course she was pampered by the staff. Since we had not been able to hear the news since Monday, and the café had Wi-Fi I pulled up “Iheart Radio” on my phone to listen to “Rush”, don’t judge. I will say that everyone we talk to on our trip were first to bring up politics, and yes they were all Trump supporters. We had a great time talking to the waitresses. The food was great as was the conversation was light in the darkness from the mainstream media, but enough about politics. Jazzie even got to eat my left overs.

Instead of retracing our steps, we took the road least traveled, via Kerrville, just so we could see different scenery. When we got back to Utopia we had dinner at the “Lost Maples Café”, which was featured in the movie “Seven Days in Utopia”. I wasn’t impressed with my meal but I’m picky. Kitty really liked the onion rings but the waitress looked at her funny when she asked for mustard.

So after dinner we went back to the cabin. We opened one of the last two bottle of our first batch of mead( 3 years old) that we had brought. Afterward we hiked from the cabin into the inner part of the ranch. We got to a large open area and found a stage and another structure in front of the stage, which I assume was for the sound board. (I believe that is what it is called. At the time that we found it we didn’t realize that this was where they hold UTOPIAFEST; www.utopiafest.com. It was getting late and we had not brought a flashlight so we started back. On the way we got to see the sun set behinds the hill.

 

 

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Our Seven Days in Utopia

Day Two.

We had planned to get up in time to see the sunrise but woke up late because I set the alarm for weekend not week day. After having breakfast at the cabin, yes we brought eggs from our chickens with us. That is the beauty of this cabin; it has a full kitchen with everything you need to cook your meals. One thing it is lacking is a dishwasher but hey, that is quit alright. We set out to go to a town called Leakey, pronounced “Lakey”. I have an acquaintance that owns “The Buckhorn Bar and Grill”, just outside of town. The drive there was a bit unsettling, as I am not used to driving in hilly terrain. The roads are like being on a roller coaster. The one thing I noticed the most though is the low water crossings and all the signs saying “watch for water on the road” or the “road may flood”. The water levels are very low at this time and much of the area is und “burn Bans” because of the lack of rain. Many of the shop owners we spoke with have mention that they are hoping for more rain. To get from Utopia to Leakey you have to travel FM 1050 which also takes you past Garner State Park, which we will visit on Thursday.  Highway 83, also called: Texas Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway, is another beautiful drive with some scenic views of the Guadalupe River.  It was about ten o’clock when we drove by “The Buckhorn”, the plan was to go into Leakey and visit the shops and kill time until after eleven, then go have lunch back at “Buckhorn”.  Leakey is a little bit bigger than Utopia but it also depends on the tourist season, so we found very few shops open. We did find an antique shop so we stopped and browsed through the offering they had. I did find an old church hymnal that I purchased. Another couple was in the store and they asked where there was a good ma and pop diner in town.  It was coincidental that she mentioned the “The Buckhorn”. We told her that that was where we were planning to have lunch. She said her daughter worked there and the cook was the best in town. Unfortunately I had misread the hours on the website. They were closed on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

We returned to the cabin for lunch. While we were eating lunch I got a call from a client. She said that their website was down and had been down since Saturday. Now why had they not called sooner? Now I have no internet. I attempted connecting my laptop to my phone but that didn’t worked.  We called the library in Utopia to see if they had Wi-Fi that we could use. They said that they did but they close at three o’clock.  She did say that we could still use the Wi-Fi in the parking lot if they were closed. We grabbed my laptop and headed into Utopia. It only took fifteen minutes to find the problem and fix it. Thank goodness it wasn’t anything difficult.

Later that afternoon we got a call from Christie, the lady that was taking care of our animals. She informed us we had a new baby goat. That was an unexpected event. We were certain that the birthing season was over and none of our regular moms had given birth. One of our recently purchased nannies had kidded and several of them that we were told were pregnant, felled to produce any kids. After dinner we watch some more of the John Adam’s miniseries. Then we tried out the hot tub that is on the back deck of the cabin. Sure wish we could get one it was really nice and relaxing.

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Our Seven Days in Utopia

Day One. (Please note I am resizing the pictures and will get them posted in day or two.)

This year for vacation we decided to stay in country, The Republic of Texas.  I don’t know where Kitty finds the places we stay at. She found a wonderful cabin out in the middle of nowhere just outside of Utopia. There is no television, no internet and if you don’t have AT&T then no cell service. “Kat’s Kabin” is located on the thousand acre ranch called the “Four Sister Ranch”. If you are wanting a place to spend a weekend or a week away from it all, I highly recommend this place.

It was a four and a half hour drive from Magnolia to the cabin. We stayed off the main highways until we got to San Antonio but we did take the loop around instead of going through downtown. Although the drive was long it was very beautiful, especially once we got into the hill country.  We brought Jazzie with us so we had to make some stops ever now and then for her to do her doggie business.  According to the weather forecast it was going to be a beautiful week with the possibility of some rain on Saturday.

After we got unloaded and settled into the cabin we drive into Utopia.  The town is small with a bank, post office, one gas station, a general store, a feed store, Lost Maples Café, Sabinal River lodge, two antique shops and one shop with a sundry of items. There is also a library with free Wi-Fi, which came in very handy with an emergency that arouse on Tuesday, but we will get to that later. There are also four churches, Assembly of God, Baptist, Methodist and Church of Christ.

You have to bear in mind that this is a very small town and we are here during the off season. There is spring break then the tourist season doesn’t pick up until the end of May, when school lets out.  That afternoon only one shop was open. We had a wonderful chat with the owner. We discussed her efforts to get a farmers market started and some of the history of the town.

Our family does have a history in the town of Utopia. We drove outside of town to see the site of the motel that my uncle owned many years ago. I ‘m not sure of when that was but after it was flooded several times they gave it up. The motel sat on the banks of Sabinal River. New owners tore down the old motel and built a new one on stilts. It is called the “Sabinal River Lodge” now.

Monday evening we cooked dinner at the cabin, played some “washers” on the little play field they have by the fire pit. We built a fire in the pit and just sat back and relaxed from the long drive.  For entertainment we brought the mini-series “John Adams”. I had the dvd set for years but never got to watch it. We began the mini-series that evening.

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No one slows down…

How many people that drive 249 going north through Tomball notice that the speed limit is reduced to 45mph just south of 2920? Apparently no one must see all the signs. I slow down to 50mph and people are flying past me. Law enforcement could have a jack pot if they would sit just past the speed limit signs.

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Day 1 of Cruise

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Professional pictures from the cruise.

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A question?

When Boo passed away I began the search for a church to attend. I am not going to bash any church because every person has to find the place that they feel right in. Just because I did find that a certain church was right for me does not mean there is anything wrong with the church. That should cover my legal bases, lol. Being in the small town of Magnolia you wouldn’t think there would be many churches to choose from, well you would be wrong. I think there are as many churches here as there are places to eat. So you could say there are places to feed your body and places to feed your soul. I went to the First Baptist Church for a couple of months but not much interaction with the members. Bear in mind this is a large church and I was just one person. I don’t remember when I started going to “The Journey Church” in Waller. I know it was the church that Lisa Guidry went to. We had been dating for a while and then I started going to that church. It was at this church that I was rebaptized. I enjoyed this church very much. Jonie Scruggs has a wonderful way of bringing the word to the people. Unfortunately my relationship with Lisa didn’t last, to no fault of either of us, and I choose to move to another church since this was her church. So thus the search began again. I went to the “Living Water Assembly God”, which brought back memories of my child hood church. Then we tried the Methodist Church and the Champions Cowboy Church. At one point Kitty and I returned to the Journey Church to see their new worship center. (Lisa was no longer attending). We went back and forth between the cowboy church and the Journey church. Went more often to the cowboy church because the 9am service seems to fit our schedule better. Once or twice we saw Lisa or one of her girls there, then nothing. That could have been because we began to go to the 9am service. The church is also based on the Assembly of God platform but without the “Pentecost” or “Holy roller” that I was raised on. So to get to the point. At the Christmas eve service Lisa was serving coffee and I saw both the girls. Now I’m in a dilemma, I like this church and Kitty likes it as well. I have no problem being there although I’m not sure how she and the girls feel. On that Christmas eve night Libby was behind us on the way out and I heard her say “Oh my god, its Charles”. This all being said, should I feel bad about going to this church?

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Even God is computer programmer !

I have been fighting with an issue in the new software I wrote. The problem didn’t show up until I moved it to the production server. I have been struggling with finding a solution for a week… After some heavy duty praying… I (stumbled) was guided to the solution. I had already tried many lines of code and hours of debugging. The solution was two words: “async: false”. Anyway that solved the problem now I need some nice looking “progress bar” (jquery/bootstrap). I am so thankful prayers get answered, no matter how small.

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Black Moon

“Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali, Innana.”

These were the first words I heard when I came to. The chant was from female voices in the darkness. I could not see. I was naked. I could feel the cold surface on my back, butt and legs. I tried to open my eyes to no avail. I could not move. My arms and legs were strapped down.

The rhythmic chant was accompanied by several beating drums. The voices recited the chant slowly and melodically, over and over. I tried to say something, but my lips refused to part and my jaw remained motionless. I sensed the smell of smoldering sage and rosemary, along with some other essences that I could not recognize.

The last thing I remember was being in my car on a dark desert highway. I had the top down on my Mercedes letting the cool wind blow through my hair. I was looking for a place to stop. Up ahead in the distance, I saw a glimmering light on a sign that read “Lodging ahead”. My eyes lids were growing heavy as I pulled into the parking lot of the motel. My car died. The lights went out, and so did I.

“Open your eyes”, echoed a voice in my head.

I slowly opened my eyes. The flickering flames of torches surrounded the room. The shadowy forms around me became silhouettes of gyrating females dressed in translucent gowns. A new chant rose from the voices.

“Hecate, Dark Mother take us in. Hecate, let us be reborn.”

Still struggling to move, I watched two naked female forms with smoldering baskets on their heads. They slowly swayed to the chant and glided toward the throne. A large white wolf sat majestically on the seat. It howled melodically along with the chant. Two figures next to the throne, draped the animal with a gold flowing sheet and then knelt before the platform. There was movement beneath the gold material. It began to rise slowly. The chanting voices transitioned into a new chant.

“Queen of Queens, come to us in all our dreams, blessed goddess from afar”. A scarlet haired female emerged from the golden shroud and levitated above the throne.

“Mother of Darkness, Mother of Light. Earth beneath us, soul in flight.” The female form lifted from the throne and glided over to where I was being held hostage on the altar.

“On this night of the Black Moon, I Hecate, will take a human mate. In human form, I shall remain and rule over Earth, air, fire and water. I am Hecate”.

She lowered her body down on me. I was mesmerized by her beauty. I could not resist her charms. As she continued the ritual, to my horror her image seemed to shift from scarlet haired beauty, to gray haired hag. To her original form of the white wolf and back to the red headed Goddess.

The chants and drum beats grew in volume and speed, until Hecate’s wolfen form shimmered into visibility, howled and turned back to the voluptuous beauty. She rose above me and glided to the floor. She was surrounded by the many chanting females. They all began to move to what appeared to be an exit.

“Grant us peace and grant us love. Lead thy children here below. Let us, all thy secrets know”.

I struggled with my restraints again, still to no avail. The chants had faded into silence and the hopelessness of my situation weighed heavily upon me. The drugs they had given me had my body feeling heavy and I was drifting in and out.

“Mister, mister”, came a voice. There was a hand on my shoulder jostling me. “Wake up. You need to get out of here before they come back.”

In my blurry vision I was barely able to make out a form standing next to me. The pressure from the bindings holding my wrist subsided. I felt tugging at the shackles on my ankles. I still was unable to speak. I shook my head to clear the cobwebs. The figure lifted my head up and swung my feet around until I was sitting up on the alter. Another wave of dizziness hit me as my feet hit the ground. My stomach churned and I retched.

I could now see that my rescuer was a blonde haired beauty. She was wearing a medieval white tunic. I tried to speak again but I was only able to squeak out “Where am I?”

“We will have time for that later. We have to go, now!”
Supporting most of my weight, she lifted and pulled me toward a faintly lit opening. I could hear voices coming down the corridor. She grabbed a torch from off the wall with her free hand as we entered the hallway. The voices were getting louder, I thought I heard them say. “He can never leave, you have to kill him.” I was suddenly pulled to the side into an open doorway.

Up ahead in the distance, I could see a shimmering light in a courtyard. A rhythmic chant filled the air, while running footsteps echoed behind me.

“What was that thing, what was this all about? Why are you helping me?”

“I was at the symposium you gave on ancient paganism,” she said. “That thing, as you call it, is the goddess, Hecate, or at least her spirit but she is now in human form.”

“Why did she choose me?”

“You should know,” she said. “You are the seventh son of the seventh son and it is a Black Moon.”

“I had totally forgotten about that.” I said. “It was thought to be a myth.”

“Where do you think you’re going?” A voice above us boomed. Hecate suddenly swept down and landed in front of us. She grabbed the girl and threw her like a rag doll, against the corridor wall. Without the girl’s support, my legs buckled beneath me and the lights went out.

When I awoke I was sitting at a large banquet table in a huge ornately decorated room with a mirrored ceiling. Along both sides of the table were females in flowing robes. At the other end of the table was Hecate. There was a large carcass laid out in the middle of the table. Everyone was feverishly stabbing and cutting chunks with their steely knives. A chorus of chants echoed through the room. No one seemed to notice I was there.

I leapt up out of my chair and darted towards the doorway midway down one of the walls. I was running as fast as my drug laden body would let me. I could have sworn the chant behind me had changed to “You can never leave.” I continued down the passage looking for a way out. As I rounded a corner, I slammed into a wall. A dead end. I was panicking. The voices behind me were coming closer and getting louder. I was desperately feeling along the walls, hopelessly trying to find a way out. Suddenly, the floor beneath me gave way and my body began sliding down a slope and gaining speed. For what seemed like forever, I continued sliding until, with a jolt, I slammed into a barrier that shattered under my weight. There, before me, was a parking lot and my car. As I drove off, I saw the shimmering light of the building grow in intensity and then blinked out of existence.

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