Going, going, gone...
Trip Start Sep 27, 2010
34Trip End Mar 23, 2011
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The small town of Gruene, just down the road from us here at Lazy L&L is quite the tourist destination as well as an entertainment centre what with the Gruene Hall (Texas' oldest dance hall, remember?) attracting some huge stars as well as local up and coming bands. So when one of our friends here told us he had a spare ticket to the Mel Tillis concert we just had to buy it from him – no we didn’t know who he was either (sorry to both the man himself as well as what we now know is his huge following).
Luckily we were able to buy another ticket so we could both go. Turns out that a couple of other L&L campers were there too as well as Rodney & Margie (see I told you it was a small town). We had a meal first at the Gruene Tea Rooms then joined the line to get into the sold out concert – something like an audience of 800. I know that’s not huge but they still get some big stars, some of whom started their careers here and when you consider that this famous venue is another corrugated shed, this time with shutters, but no windows; it just goes to show how devoted the music fans around here are. As a little aside, our hands were stamped on the way in – by the 'gun totin’ sheriff no less – cool!
Back to Mel Tillis he has been on stage since the 50’s as both a Country singer and comedian; his audience seemed to range from 17 to 70 so he must be doing something right. His performance was brilliant, a true entertainer who related to his audience including us, as if we had been friends for years. He is a great singer and story teller but would you believe he can’t string a complete sentence together without stuttering – a speech impediment he has had from childhood but one that has actually made him a fortune. I found this little video on you tube that sums up his comedy very well.
We were glad of the packed crowd – it kept the cold night at bay, all in all a super evening out.
Y’all know we have been "up on the hill" to a burger cook out with hosts R&M, they did it again before we left – this time they ended up with something like 40 of us campers joining them (what fantastic hosts!). This time the logistics of getting up to that cliff edge hideout was a little more challenging. You may remember the assortment of 4wd vehicles used last time, not enough for 40 of us, we would spend all day just ferrying everyone up there.
Rodney came up trumps yet again with the secret weapon of a “hay ride” – his truck with a huge trailer and a few hay bales. Turns out there is a less steep road up to the lookout, so off we all went. Despite the large numbers we were all fed well and again the sun shone for us so, yet another successful outing up on the hill – see how hard it is to actually leave this place?
And finally… There is a family tradition here, after the hunting season the whole family get together for sausage making. Little did we know that this was such a well oiled almost military operation. The Sunday before we actually left (yes we really did leave) we popped over to the “shop” – the family (R&M’s) had been there from early morning and sausage making was well under way.
There was the table of cutters and trimmers – pork had been purchased to go with the game (deer) that the 5 family hunters had got over the season. Both the pork and venison had been butchered but the pork still had a fair amount of fat to be trimmed off.
Then on to the next table, trimmed meats were combined with the spices that had been carefully weighed out according to each family member’s “secret” formula :)
Next, into the mincer and ground down into a fine enough mix for the sausage itself.
Rodney manned the stuffer – threading beef entrails onto the nozzle then filling it at a carefully maintained flow as the resulting sausage was coiled down onto the stainless steel table. The coil was cut into link lengths with each end tied off with string, the sausages were then destined for the smoker where they would stay for anywhere between a day and two weeks. The latter would have dried and not require further cooking the former would probably be boiled before eating. The sausages could be frozen and with a total of about 900lbs this would actually last all year ‘till the next sausage Sunday… What a great day, I got to help (well I played around with the skins in water to warm them in order to flex without splitting) which took me back to when I had my butchers round at the age of 14, I used to help the butcher make sausages :)
Here, some of the meat was extruded as a thin skinless “slim jim” a bit like our pepperami snacks. Strips of venison were also set aside in order to make jerky. Thank you R&M for making us feel part of the family too – but in reality as observers on the outside it was heart-warming to watch 4 generations together ensuring that this family tradition continues.
Feb 1st, our leaving day actually did come round – and so did many of the new friends we have made here, it turned out to be even more difficult to say goodbye than we thought. We have made lots of ‘friends’ on our travels but thank you to everyone we met at L&L for helping to make us feel at home and so comfortable as “Winter Texans” – we will be back…until then we take some wonderful memories on the road with us. By the way, the place; Buffalo Springs is an old name for this area.
We got away just before the weather changed, a couple of days later Lazy L&L was covered in snow, though only an inch and it didn’t last long but it was an unusual event in this part the country.
We had been waiting for a Xmas gift that had been posted from the UK before the holidays – it arrived 5 days after we left!
You remember Gary, our friend with the Camero, during our stay he went off to look at a new motorhome, on the way he had a bit of an altercation with a beaver… He hit the animal causing an alteration to the car’s front end and one death :(. Gary now has a “new” motorhome and a new car – could this be sensibility settling in?
Last Sunday was the Super Bowl during which this ad was played… Gary, we though of you :)
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