A Texan Rodeo!

Part of our stay in Dallas involved a wonderful “true blue” Texan Rodeo. Daphne and Nick came with us in our RV as we certainly weren’t all going to fit in their car! We drove to Fort Worth and started the evening at a great diner called Cooper’s Pit Bar-B-Que,

Finally a Texan Rodeo.

Cooper's Pit Bar-B-Que





A great place to eat a meal.

Certainly not for a vegetarian!








Our dinner was a very cool experience and we loved watching all the characters inside. This is just how we imagined a Texan Diner to look…complete with skull over the bar!

A typical Texan - friendly and with a big hat!

Chayse enjoying his drink.

Love the name of this place. Reminded us of some of the shows we watched in Australia about America.










With our bellies full, we made our way to the Rodeo. How exciting!

Outside the stadium.

Nick waiting.

Amber inside.










It’s one thing seeing a Rodeo on TV, it’s another seeing it in real ife. Rodeos are held regularly in Fort Worth and even so, there was still a fairly good crowd.

Sprinting around the ring....

...and raisingthe American flag.







A singer starting the evening...

...and the guest of honour!








The rodeo started with a bang, lots of dust and some aerial acrobatics! (The rider that is!)

As the dust settles.....

...the riders thrill.







A lone rider in the wings....

...is ready to lassoo a bucking bull....







...when the clowns depart..

...and he tames the wild beast.







Half time provided us with fantastic entertainment.

The clowns flung beer into the audience..

...and they were ready to catch!







This is all part of everyday life for those in Texas, but we were impressed with the skill and horsemanship.

What skill!

What style!










There were so many parts to the night. The cowboys lasooing the calves had to tie the legs together in under 8 seconds. No mean feat/feet (excuse the pun!)

The clowns hold the calf down...

...this one's given up. The cowboy wins!







Entertainment abounded, both in the arena and in the stands. Our kids had such a ball, as did we!

Watching all the action!

Real country gal singing!

Making balloon horns are no laughing matter!









Nick and Daphne were keen for the kids to join in the half time entertainment where they got to chase the calf and grab the ribbon off it’s back. The first to do it won a prize. The kids tried hard, and Jai nearly had it, but in the end, the ribbon was grabbed by a young girl having a birthday….and a fitting celebration for her.

Our Aussie kids join the Texan kids...

...in the Texan ribbon grabbing competition.






The scatter far and wide....

...and Jai gets close...but not close enough!








Kit joins the younger kids for his turn....

...only this time it's a lamb!







Kit had a go at chasing a lamb when his turn came, and Chayse was just content to sit and watch with his Longhorn balloon hat.

Who's that with the big hat?

Oh, it's Chayse with his Longhorn balloon hat!

Kaitlin getting into the Texan swing of things.











This ended an amazing time at a true blue Texan Rodeo. Thank you so much Daphne and Nick for giving us such a great night out.

Leaving the Rodeo.

The boots and horseshoes say it all.







We will never forget our experience in Texas and especially in Fort Worth.

Our home away from home....waiting for us.

Nick and Daphne bought the balloon hats for the boys.


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The Dallas Duo

We travelled a long time to get to Dallas Texas. We were visiting Trevor’s Dad’s cousin Daphne and her husband, Nick. We chose to stop for a few things before arriving at their place around 5:30pm.

Daphne and Nick with their three furry "children".

Kit patting Peppi and Missy. They love the attention.







Akaisha was entertained by her surrogate grandparents!

Nick chatting to Trev in their spacious kitchen. Always time for a good wine!








What a lovely greeting we received. We clicked immediately and it felt like we were relatives we had known all our lives (even though this was the first time we had met them!)

Jai and Flynn in awe over their DVD collection.

Kaitlin and Missy, getting to know each other.







Akaisha with Trev, Missy with Nick!

I can have cuddles too, you know!

Jai feeding Fritzie a treat.











Our plan was to stay a night in our RV parked in their driveway, but Daphne and Nick were kind enough to let us stay in their house. What luxury! Trev and I had a room to ourselves (besides Akaisha of course) and the kids dossed down on the floor in the spare room. Having this much space after being in an RV all that time felt like heaven.

And we could have been forgiven for thinking we were in heaven after sampling Daphne’s delicious cooking!

Lining up for dinner "Howitt" style!

Cheers! Yes, that's milk Nick has!






Sewing room can also be a cafeteria!

Akaisha and Daphne.








It was Nancy’s (Trev’s mum) 69th birthday, so we skyped and spoke to both her and Alan. Then we were blown away with how talented both Nick and Daphne were.

Daphne at her computerised embroidery machine.

One of the beautiful quilts Daphne makes (slept on by Flynn and Fritzie)







Magnificent embroidery.

Kids getting a hands on lesson!








Daphne had a room dedicated to her embroidery, sewing, quilting and other handiwork. Kaitlin and Amber were MOST impressed with the china dolls Daphne made. They really were exquisite.

The most....


...dolls ever!










A true fan of Daphne's work was Amber....

...and Kaitlin.








Nick showed us his office which was filled with every computer gadget possible. This supported his job as a graphic designer and we had the good fortune to see the type of work he did. This was a great opportunity for Kaitlin as well because she is thinking about doing Graphic Design at Uni when she leaves school.

Nick's talents know no bounds. Teaching Kaitlin about Graphic Design.

Nick was also a talented artist, so we were all in our element with being immersed in all of this creative energy.

After a late night of talking,we had a bit of a sleep in the next day. It was a day of chilling out, washing clothes, seeing programs on the Apple Mac computer, going to the playground, having another delicious dinner, then watching a movie.

Nick and Daphne talked us into staying longer as they wanted to take us to a Rodeo Friday evening. This meant staying for about a week, but none of us seemed to mind. I think Daphne and Nick got the raw deal with 9 extra people in the house, but they insisted it was OK.


And we were so glad we stayed. The kids got to do some art, we saw some wonderful photos that their daughter Yvette took, and Nick took Trev and I around the suburbs of Dallas, showing us some VERY flash houses and an exclusive golf course (we thought Nancy would be green with envy!!) The “Tour 18 Dallas” Golf Club had each hole simulated from some of the greatest golf holes in America. We also met one of Daphne’s friend from her sewing group who is just as talented as Daphne.

A regal looking house in the Golf estate.

A magic way to play golf!






The Tour 18 Dallas Golf Club.

A mansion in Dallas.







Judi with the kids.

Akaisha meeting one of Daphne's china dolls.








I spent a few days cleaning the van. It certainly needed a springclean, that’s for sure! It was a very nice area where Daphne and Nick lived and the kids enjoyed walking around with Daphne and the dogs.

Cleaning the RV whilst kids set out for a walk.

Daphne showed the kids how to embroider on her technologically advanced sewing machine whilst Trev and I were allowed to take their car to town to do some Xmas shopping. What a Godsend. You can imagine shopping for 7 kids in tow….not much fun….so this opportunity was great. We ordered pizzas for dinner, then went home to the tribe to enjoy. Not as good as Daphne’s cooking, but yummy nonetheless.

The kids were taken to a great playground not far from where they lived and as you can see from the photos, the kids had a great time.

Flynn and Fritzie ready for their walk.

Missy being pampered and loved!

Akaisha swinging high and loving it!










A great way to see the neighbourhood.

Jai waiting for others to catch up.








Look carefully. There's Trev and Cathy inside the Ford Edge.

A magical tree at the Highland Village Shopping Centre.

Beautiful architecture seemed to be all around the suburbs.












Daphne and I visited a little secondhand boutique where I could get some warm clothes for Akaisha (who was growing very quickly!) I did enjoy the female company and shopping without kids. Then back home without delay as we were going to a homegrown true blue Texan Rodeo. That will be the subject of my next blog, so until then……


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Carlsbad Caverns National Park – New Mexico


The last of the Aliens!

Sparse vegetation due to fires.









We left Roswell and went to Carlsbad Caverns National Park. We’d heard it was worth a look and if we went at the right time, we may see thousands of bats flying out of the natural entrance to the cavern. Unfortunately, we wanted to get to Dallas, so knew we would probably miss this spectacle.

Reading about the natural plant medicines.

We found some cave formations with their own water hole.







Native Indians used to live here.

The kids enjoying the shelter.







But the Cavern was well worth the visit. We stopped first outside the area and had a wander around all of the vegetation that had been burnt by fires. Then we arrived at the Cavern and descended the cavern via an escalator.

Going down, down, down....

...into the Carlsbad Cavern.







We were given our own self guided electronic device which had pre-recorded messages at specific stops along the way. It was a great way to explore the Carlsbad Cavern as you could go at your own pace and time. We had to keep our voices very low as the sound travelled for miles inside the Cavern.

Stalagmites and stalagtites.

Looking at the formations.







There were certain areas to the Cavern and the main one was the Big Room (and it was certainly that!)


...or cave decorations.

Walkway through.










I thought you may be interested to know how this grand Cavern was formed over the years, so here is a brief rundown.

250 million years ago marine plants and animals built a limestone reef along the edge of an inland sea.

60 million years ago hydrogen sulfide gas (from deep oil and gas deposits) and water formed sulphuric acid which dissolved cavities with the limestone.

3 million years ago as more limestone dissolved, cavities enlarged. Water slowly drained from the cavern. Roof sections collapsed.In recent times, stalactites, stalagmites and other cave decorations formed as limestone laden ground water dripped into the air-filled caverns.

It was amazing that we were walking in what was once the sea!

There were different areas within the cave and we visited the Bottomless Pit, the Lower Cave and saw the top of the Cross. There was one area where bat droppings were found in vast quantities.

Map of Big room cavern and the Cross.

Information on the Bat Roost areas.







This proved that bats have been at the Carlsbad Cavern for thousands of years, but we were told that relatively few enter the area we were in. But from March to October, thousands of Mexican freetail bats roost by day in Bat cave, a passage closed to the public. Tourists can witness the dramatic flight from the natural entrance at dusk, but we had a long way to go, so decided we’d have to imagine what it’s like to see thousands of bats flying out at dusk instead.

Kit listening to self guided information.

The ladder the early explorers used...

...and as it is today! No way I'd use it!











When our tour had finished, we looked around the centre and gift shop, then made the long trek to Dallas in Texas.

Catching the elevator back up!

Amber looks good as a ranger.....

...as does her sister kaitlin!











We did stop for a bite to eat at Pizza Hut, then stopped an hour later at a place called Big Spring. A real mining town, where the people were extremely friendly.

Jai and Flynn eating...

Chayse clowning around.






Akaisha reflecting on life...

...and Kit slurping away!








You will have to wait until the next blog to meet Daphne and Nick and their gorgeous dogs. Now, this is an experience worth coming back for! See you then.

Categories: Family Travel Blog | 4 Comments

From Aliens to Art to Animals….

The first rocket built by Robert Goddard...

...then a video of his work.







Whilst we didn’t see an Alien encounter the night we stayed in Roswell, (unless you count the 7 little Aliens in our RV), there were many other things to see and do in the town. We went to the Roswell Museum and Arts Center. It was a wonderful facility and we enjoyed looking at the museum which featured Robert H Goddard’s work. By 1926, Goddard had constructed and successfully tested the first rocket using liquid fuel. The flight of Goddard’s rocket on March 16, 1926, at Auburn, Massachusetts, was as significant to history as that of the Wright brothers at Kitty Hawk.
Goddard was the first scientist who not only realized the potentialities of missiles and space flight but also contributed directly in bringing them to practical realization. Goddard had a rare talent in both creative science and practical engineering. The dedicated labors of this modest man went largely unrecognized in the United States until the dawn of what is now called the “space age.” High honors and wide acclaim, belated but richly deserved, now come to the name of Robert H. Goddard. We looked at the prototype of his work and enjoyed a short video.

The kids really enjoyed looking at all the beautiful art work. We hope it inspired Kaitlin, who is doing Fine Arts as one of her TEE subjects.

Loved the space and creative....

......works of art.






From glass to....

...amazing murals.








The kids found a room with interactive art squares and spent a while making their own hands on piece of geometric design. Luckily the center wasn’t full as we decided to create a “human form” art work. This was the type we got to bring home with us!

Having fun dabbling...

.....in geometric forms.

Akaisha oblivious.










Creative juices flowing...

...in perfect harmony!








...human art in all....

....shapes and sizes!










We drove to a playground and Trev and some of the kids had a look at Spring River Zoo. It wasn’t well maintained but was free to go in and interesting to look at the animals.

A cougar to a ...

...Texan Long Horn!






The smallest deer to...

...a black bear.








We stayed at a KOA for the night, then headed off towards the Carlsbad Caverns National Park. That will be the subject of my next blog, but Flynn wanted to share with you his thoughts about Fossil Fuels in the form of a Persuasive Text. (This was part of his homework as we travelled through New Mexico and Texas.)

Pollution kills…use Renewable energy – A Persuasive Text by Flynn.

Do you want your world destroyed? Would you like to change your world into a better place to live with your family?

We should not use fossil fuels to generate energy for our world. I believe we can change the world together if we co-operate, but first you need to understand a few things.Burning fossil fuel pollutes and destroys our environment.I’ve seen first hand how the mining companies have polluted the environment whilst travelling through Texas.

Coal deposits on the side of the road.

Pumping for oil.







My family and I could smell this revolting smell. It was coming from the oil fields, refineries and coal fire power stations. They were spread hundreds of miles. I was upset at the awful stink and how the countryside was changed into an ugly longer landscape. I saw the pollution and stink coming from the refineries’ chimneys.

Would you like to live there? Do you want to be sick? I sure don’t! Well then, listen to this! Sickness will come among us if we don’t stop using fossil fuels.

Fossil fuels pollute our land and bring sickness to us and the wildlife. Pollution causes asthma, skin allergies and cancer. My Dad and I have seen oil on beaches that would cause the death of animals. We’ve seen oil leaking from boats on TV that kill lots of birds and animals. I would hate to be these poor animals.

Many people believe we will lose jobs if we do not use fossil fuels. You and I both know that there are many other renewable energy jobs that are better for the environment than fossil fuels. For example, when travelling through the desert in New Mexico, I saw big wind farms. This is where they make electricity from the wind, which is a lot healthier than fossil fuels and also provide lots of jobs.

Renewable energy.

Wind turbines.







I hope I’ve convinced you that fossil fuels are bad for the environment and for your health and that there are plenty more renewable energy sources.

Are you going to help me change the world?

By Flynn

Categories: Family Travel Blog | 4 Comments

X-Files in Roswell

Oh look! Two aliens!

Roswell...town of Alien conspiracy.







We did a long trek from Alburqerque to Roswell and didn’t arrive until after dark. In the morning, decided to look around the town of Roswell…and it wasn’t long before we saw our first Alien, then our second, and our third….. The town was full of them…..and all for good reason.

International UFO Museum and Research Centre.

We loved this sign...and it was only the start of UFO references.







A crashed Spaceship.

Alien heads on Tshirts.







Blow up Alien...

Street lamp Alien...

Alien Museum...










This was the town where an alien spaceship landed over 60 years ago. Apparently there was a HUGE Government cover up at the time, which remained fairly hush hush until 1990’s. Then all sorts of conspiracy theories came out with Military personnel coming forward and breaking their silence after 40 years.

People visiting from all parts of the world!

...and us from Oz!







We visited the International UFO Museum and Research Center and were in awe of the amazing memorabillia of that time. newspaper articles, photos, videos interviewing people etc.

Model of spaceship landing.

Replica of ship and Aliens.







Basically when the press release occurred on July 8 about a flying saucer being found, then July 9 was rescinded and a new statement issued about it only being a weather balloon, the “cover up” of the Roswell Incident began. More than 60 years later, there are still more questions than answers and the great debate about UFO encounters continues.

Aaaghhh. An Alien!

Lifelike Alien beings.

Pick the Aliens!!!!










Roswell Incident Timeline.

JULY 4, 1947 – Mac Brazel, rancher on Foster ranch (75 miles NW Roswell), heard a loud noise (different from thunder). Two nuns at St Mary’s Hospital in Roswell saw what they believed was an airplane crash. The tower at the base tracked and reported a “descending flash” that they tracked on radar.

JULY 5 – Brazel was routinely working the ranch property with his neighbours son Dee Proctor (age 7) and discovered the debris field 300 yards wide (3 football fields) and 3/4 mile long. He picked up a sackful of the “stuff”.

JULY 6 – Brazel takes his sackful of “stuff” to Sheriff Wilcox in Roswell. Wilcox calls Intelligence Officer Jesse Marcel at the base who comes into town to investigate. Marcel decides to follow Brazel back to the ranch and they stay in a cabin that night.

Supposedly what the Alien looked like.

Horse covered in newspaper articles.







JULY 7 – Brazel and Marcel investigate the debris site on the ranch. Marcel stops at his house and shows his son (age 11) some of the stuff. Marcel shows the stuff to his boss, Col Blanchard. Glenn Dennis gets a call from RAAF about the number of child-size caskets he has in stock, and when could he get more? The base also called other times on how to preserve bodies that had been exposed to the weather – strictly for future reference. Glenn Dennis took an airman who had been riding on a motorcycle and hit a cattle truck to the base hospital and saw “strange stuff” in the back of the ambulance. Glenn went into the hospital  and saw his nurse friend who said to get out of there immediately. He was escorted out of the by the Military, with threats to his life.

JULY 8 – Col. Blanchard, head of RAAF (Roswell Army Airfield), told his PR officer, Lt Walter Haut, to issue the press release (2pm) about the UFO recovery. The Military philosophy was to inform the public that the craft was not there anymore so the public would not attempt to explore the Brazel site. Marcel takes some of the debris to Ft Worth to Gen, Ramey. Gen.Ramey spreads the debris on the floor of his office, tells Marcel to step out of the room for something. When Marcel returns, the debris has been replaced with weather balloon debris. Ramey tells Marcel not to speak and the disclaimer photo is shot (4pm) for the July 9 Newspapers.

During the period of July 9-12, Brazel is held by the military so they could “inspire” him to modify his story to that of a crashed weather balloon. Brazel died (in later life), remining silent on this event. Glenn Dennis met the nurse (per appointment) and she drew what she saw – big eyed alien – on the examining table, (she had been taking notes). She was transferred the next day to England and was declared dead soon after that (by the Military).

Lots of Alien artwork.

Pretty speccy paintings.







JULY 9 – Gen. Ramey issues a press release to the AP that the saucer story is just a weather balloon. “Pappy” Henderson, pilot, flies the alien bodies (that he saw) from RAAF to Wright Patterson AFB in Dayton, OH or Denver, CO or Ft Worth, Texas.

So, as you can see from this timeline, it was certainly an interesting time in Roswell in the 1940’s and certainly leaves us thinking about what else is out there in our wide and vast Universe. The mission of the International UFO Museum and research Centre is to educate the general public to all aspects of UFO Phenomena.

We saw information on Roswell, crop circles, sightings, Are 51, ancient astronauts and abductions. Apparently the exhibits are designed to encourage visitors to ask questions and think outside the box.

Crop Circles, sightings and all UFO stuff.

Watching the space ship take off....

...Watching but not listening!!











There were other places to see in Roswell, but I will share those in the next blog. Flynn will also share a persuasive text on a topic we passed as we were travelling. Until then…..

Categories: Family Travel Blog | 2 Comments