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Day 23 - Austin, Texas

We flew into Austin, Texas around 8am in the morning. We wanted to see the capital of Texas and also go to San Antonio to see The Almao (per Ziggys request). The city is awesome and Ziggy had her nose pressed up against the window as we were circling to land.

The first place we went to was the capital building. Austin’s impressive pink granite capitol building is rivalled only by that of the US Capitol in Washington, DC. Walking up the sidewalk to the Capital Building is when we met up with Cindy from Odessa, Rich Barnes, Everts, Susan, Deanna, Vicki R. from Lamessa, Sharon, and Uncle Louie. He's not my uncle. Everyone just calls him that. We all decided to take the tour together.

But before we did, everyone asked Ziggy where her hat was for Texas. She reached in her bag, milled around for a few moments and pulled out a Texas Longhorn tiarra. They all laughed and told her how cute she was. Just what she needed.

As we were taking the tour, the guide told us, "Texas was the 28th state in the USA and it was admitted on December 29, 1845. The first Governor of the state, which was from 1846-47, was James Pinckney Henderson."

"OH NO!" Ziggy meowed aloud, "I thought Sam Houston was!! Remember the Alamo! You made me watch that movie 3 times and it was boring!"

And the tour guide, who happened to speak many languages, including cat, said, "Well, you're not too far off. 1859-61 was when Sam Houston was Governor."

Ziggy wanted to leave after that so we were all standing outside and Cindy had mentioned we should visit Odessa. She said, "We will go to the presidental museum. The Presidential Museum is unique in that it is the only museum in the United States dedicated to the office of the presidency and all those who served in the office. Them we could go to the petroleum museum, the meteor crater and the beach. Just don't look for water at the beach because there isnt any."

Unfortunately, we had to pass and it was on to San Antonio. We said our goodbyes and off we went. I rented a car and half way between Austin and San Antonio, I had the same experience I had with Ziggy when we were on the way to Zaragoza, Spain. I think Rich Barnes, Uncle Louie, or Patricia, or somebody slipped Ziggy some refried beans. Ziggy was killing me. I made her sit in the back seat with the windows open and the air conditioner going full blast.

When we got to San Antonio, as I was giving Ziggy a what for, an older man of Mexican descent came up to us and asked us if we had anymore refried beans left. I asked how he knew and he said he knew right away when we pulled up. He smelled them. So I made Ziggy give him all the cans of refried beans she had left over.

His name was Pablo Chuy. I told him that before we visited the Alamo, we had to get something to eat. He recommended Maria's who was famous for her Chili and Margaritas so that's where we went. It was very hot, but decided to go ahead and get some chili anyway. Plus, the magaritas sounded pretty good.

It's too dog-gone hot for chili this time of year so put this one away for the Fall, or Winter months. Here's the recipe.

Serves 6 - 8

5 lbs.. lean meat, chili grind
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large fresh jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 can beer
2 Tbs cumin
4 Tbs New Mexico ground red chilies
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. Accent
2 tsp. salt
1 pkg. Wick Fowler's Chili Mix (or any one of your favorite chili mixes)

Brown meat. Brown onion, garlic and jalapeno together. Combine meat with onion mixture, beer, cumin, chilies, paprika, pepper, Accent, salt and mix. Add Wick Fowler's Mix (or your fav chili mix). Add water to cover. Stir well. Cook at least two hours or until meat is tender.

Texas Bloody Maria

crushed ice
2 shots (2oz) of your favorite breakfast tequila
1 cup tomato juice
juice of 1/2 mexican or key lime
dash of worcestershire sauce
freshly ground black pepper
2 celery stalks
favorite hot pepper sauce

Fill a shaker glass with crushed ice. Add the tequila, tomato juice lime juice, worcestershire sauce, and ground pepper to taste.

Shake well. Pour into tall cocktail glasses filled with crushed ice, and garnish with a celery stalk. Let imbibers add hot sauce to taste.

Chili today, gone tomorrow.


As we ate, I asked Pablo how long he had been in America and he said he had been a migrant worker for 59 years. He had served in the Army in Korea. I asked him how he felt about being an American and he said one word. "Work." I said, "Work?" He said, "Yes, I can always find work in America. I send money to my family there. It is very hard to find work in Mexico and that's what I love about this country."

Ziggy tooted all through dinner and the conversation. How embarressing!

We said our goodbyes and took off for the Alamo. "It's a quick tour Ziggy because we have to catch a flight for Tallahassee, Florida." I told Ziggy.

The Alamo was really cool.

We introduced ourselves to the Director. My Mom told me that on my Fathers side, one of the defenders was a relative of mine on my Fathers side. She took me around and gave me this info on him. His name was Richard W. Ballentine. He lived from 1814-1836. Richard W. Ballentine, Alamo defender, was born in Scotland in 1814. He traveled to Texas from Alabama aboard the Santiago and disembarked on December 9, 1835. He and the other passengers signed a statement declaring, "We have left every endearment at our respective places of abode in the United States of America, to maintain and defend our brethren, at the peril of our lives, liberties and fortunes." Ballentine died in the battle of the Alamo on March 6, 1836."

I was so proud to hear that and Ziggy was just as impressed. But I told her, it was time to go. We got to the airport and we should be arriving in Tallahassee, Florida about midnight. That's OK with me. I want to get a room and crash as soon as I get there. Texas was nothing but a big baby-sitiing Ziggy job for me. Dog-gone refried beans.


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