Saturday November 21, 2009
We had breakfast, packed and unpacked as we moved back into the Sprinter – it was much easier this time as we were a little more organized!
We made it across Houston to Traders Village the site of the Chili Cookoff; it was raining, foggy, and just plain miserable. We thought perhaps the event would have been canceled – but not a chance! The people putting on this event were already having a party and it was 10 AM ! Just a little information on Chili Cookoffs and Texas learned from conversing with people during the event…Chili is the state food of Texas. There are Chili Cookoffs held all across the state all year long. The Grandaddy of all Texas Chili Cookoffs is the one held in Terlingua – it was the week before we arrived there back in early November. Teams can enter Cookoffs across the state and win points by participating, winning etc. You have to build up points to be eligible to enter the Terlingua Event.
There were 20-25 teams in this event that was held in a large covered area in the center of a huge Traders Village type flea market. We wandered around the flea market area a little but it was wet and miserable so we just ended up wandering around in the cookoff area watching the teams prepare. They had to be there cooking at 8 AM and could have prepared the chili they were giving away the day before. Most of the teams had a “theme” and some decorations and “uniforms” if you could call them that! Most were cooking over gas stoves of some type. Teams could enter chili or beans or both. In Texas, Chili does not have beans in it.
Ice Sculpture at one Chili Booth
The process was you purchased 6 bowls for $5 and could taste 6 different chilies – then you voted for the one you liked the best and the one with highest number of votes was the People’s Choice Award. We started our tasting – some were made with ground beef and others with beef that had been chopped. They had all kinds of things in them – onions, garlic, chili sauce and who knows what else! One that was being prepared by folks representing a beer distributor, had so much beer in it you could hardly taste the chili! The folks could give away drinks if they chose to – and everything from beer, to soft drinks, to water, even hard liquor was given away at the booths. We stuck to water since we were traveling on down the road – I can’t imagine how some of those folks would be making it by 3 PM when the prizes were to be handed out! We finished our tasting, voted and were on our way a little after noon.
Jane At Chili Cookoff
We sat in the van and debated our next destination…we had thought we would be here longer but the weather just did not encourage us to stay and visit the flea market. We had two places to go between here and Austin – The George H W Bush Presidential Library in College Station and the Washington on the Brazos State Park where the Government of Texas was originally formed. We also needed to camp somewhere that we could do laundry – and it would be too far to drive all the way to Austin before dark….well we made up our mind and headed off for College Station to visit the Bush Museum and Library.
The drive was about 1 hour and to be honest it was nice to be out in rural Texas again…We did pass a Goode BBQ (recommended to us by JoAnne) in North Houston right after we left the Chili Cookoff. Our original plan had been to stop there for dinner after walking around Trader’s Village; but after all the Chili neither of us wanted any BBQ!
Texas A&M Stadium
We arrived in College Station, home of Texas A & M, about an hour before the beginning of their home football game with Baylor! We were in the midst of the ballgame traffic as the Presidential Library is on the Texas A&M campus. When we finally got to the museum/library they had given half their parking lot over to ball game participants but had kept plenty for those visiting them. It was much larger than either of us had expected. Having never visited a Presidential Library before; we were not sure what to expect. Included were photographs and memorabilia from throughout the lives of both George and Barbara Bush. They had recreated the Oval Office, Camp David, a White House Dinner and the Situation Room. There were very interesting displays of George Bush’s time as CIA Director, Vice President, and of course his Presidency and beyond. The museum seemed to tell the story of the Bush family well.
Lobby Bush Library - Bush jumping over the Christmas Tree
Ben in Bush Situation Room
When we came out of the Library, it had finally quit raining and the sun was trying to shine. We called ahead to the campground identified earlier to be sure they had a laundry and to get an address. We have an excellent campground directory with almost all the information you need but they never put a street address you can use in the GPS. It was a go so off we went across country to Giddings – a small town about half way between College Station and Austin. We arrived about 5 o’clock. Travel past 5 is not a very good idea since it is dark by 5:30.
Neither of us have been hungry since eating the chili; and we have been drinking water all day. Something simple and not spicy was all we wanted. Jane made biscuits in the electric skillet, heated a can of beef stew in the microwave, and opened a can of pears. The pears and the biscuits were good – the beef stew just OK.
It is nice to be back in our little rolling home. In the evenings we can relax in our folding chairs and watch TV, read, or catch up on WIFI if we have it – and we do tonight. TV in campgrounds sometimes is cable and sometimes over the air – network TV. That is what we have tonight so we watched the end of a ball game. Tonight Ben has managed to hook his computer to the TV and we are watching a movie from the internet via Hulu.
Having caught up on the blog – I plan to read what we do the next 4 days in Austin, Fredericksburg, and the Hill Country. We will go the San Antonio Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Then we start home…this month has gone quickly.
Then when it is time for bed – we just put away the chairs, let down the bed and blow up our queen size mattress – not much space but as long as you only do one activity at a time there is plenty of space for two. Not sure if the WIFI is strong enough to post photos or not. I was able to get about a week’s worth of photos posted at the hotel in Houston.. eventually I will get them all posted.