Port Neches – Beaumont, TX

We spent the day with a leisurely breakfast, fresh air and sunshine before taking a ride with Texas Mac and Texas Flower, first via Nederland and Tex Ritter Park, then to Cowboy Harley Davidson and on to Gladys City.

 

Spindletop – the first place oil was discovered in Texas. So named for the small bursts of escaping gas that rose, ghost like from the ground and appeared like spinning tops.

The actual gusher was called the Lucas Gusher which is actually situated across the highway from the reproduction on the Lamar University grounds. The reproduction gushes water during re-enactments and other celebrations.

 

Here on the University grounds sits the small replica town of Gladys City, representing businesses from the 1901 boomtown. The man behind the plans for this “industrial utopia”, Pattillo Higgins, never actually saw his dream realised. As the news of the oil strike spread, buildings seemed to spring up over night in a haphazard fashion for the workers and their families, in a seemingly unorganised vision of what Higgins intended.

The original town had no saloon, for he and especially his wife, were involved in the temperance movement. Stella Higgins wanted no part of any drinking, gambling or prostitution within town limits. Of course saloons did exist further on the outskirts of town where I'm sure many an oil man may have squandered some or much money on these pleasures.

Mac and Flower are involved with re-enactments of this part of history in their town. Whilst the reproduction Gladys City does have a saloon, it is often changed into a tea room during these shows where high tea, fan etiquette, and discussion about the temperance movement can be participated in.

When Spindletop (Lucas gusher) first gushed in 1901, it did so for 9 days before being capped. During that time an estimated 800,000 barrels oil were lost.

 

The buildings depicted within the city are – Walkenshaw Steelworks, Barber Shop, R.C. Grinnell's Log Cabin Saloon, Guffey Texas Post Office, A.L. Gibson's Dry Goods Store, General Store & Living Quarters, Beaumont Oil Exchange, Edgerton's Photography Studio, T.A. Lamb & Son Printers, Gladys City Drug Store, Gladys City Oil Gas & Manufacturing Co., Nelson & White Engineers, Southern Carriage Works, Broussard's Livery Stable and the Lucas Gusher Monument.

 

There are many artefacts within each of the buildings and is worth a quick little visit and walk through history.

 

After a quick bite at Depot Hamburgers it was back to the house for the men to take a nap and a quick spot of sewing.

This evening we went to Port Neches Wheelhouse Restaurant. A popular waterfront restaurant and tiki type bar huts that seemed to be well patronised for a Tuesday night.

 

The barges, tugs and later a ship came through the river access. When the ships come in the bell at the bar is rung and there are half price 'ship shots'! A blue concoction of vodka, gin, rum and something but surprisingly was pretty good!

 

So the views were great! The food spectacular!

 

Jack and I thank you Mac and Flower for an interesting and exceptional evening. Actually, a fabulous day!

Kat xo

 

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All In The Quite

It might be appropriate to open with this little gem I found on the internet today.

 

Whilst it has been quite since the beginning of the year, it certainly hasn't been a 'still' 12 days into the New Year that's for sure.

With the ongoing secret squirrel projects and knocking out a couple of great looking corsets, I'm working out the next list of projects, doing my workouts and contemplating this year's goals. I shouldn't say contemplating, I know what they are and the actions that are needed to fulfill them.

It's only a few weeks now until Jack and I head back to Australia for a stint recouping in the warmth before returning for another year of adventures, learnings, meeting more people and experiencing more great places.

We've still been shooting in the cold, going to practice and set to hit our first club match for the year tomorrow, followed by Wild Bunch on Sunday.

Besides that I've just thrown down a small batch of moonshine which should cure nicely over the next couple of months.

 

Cheers, big ears! It's Friday fun day!

Kat xo

 

 

Day In Cheyenne

Last night we had a fabulous dinner with Wild Horse John, Saginaw Sue, Trigger Happy Ted and Misty Rider. A good catch up to start off our short stay in Cheyenne.

This morning was a leisurely start over coffee and then off to the country club for lunch on the deck overlooking the golf course.

 

A visit to the museum made for an interesting afternoon. Passing some of Cheyennes spectacular 1800's buildings, the Nelson Museum Of The West awaits.

 

With everything from taxidermy, firearms, Hollywood posters, Indian, cavalry, vaquero outfits, Spurs etc it is a fantastic exhibit over two floors, the third floor below – Lawmen and Outlaws display.

 

Gambling, guns and whiskey were the essentials for outlaws of the time or more likely is what caused the most grief in small railway and cowtown's of the west.

 

This a neat little museum and worth a visit if you are short on time, you can do it in a couple of hours.

We did get an extra personalised tour into the war bonnet room and the new exhibit acquisition room where they are organising new displays.

 

Then across the street into the military uniform display, what a collection! Mostly uniforms from actual military members and displayed with their name plate and photo! Such amazing collections!

 

A little saunter later down the road we arrived at The Plains Hotel for a rest and a beer. Yep, a Saddle Bronc for me, always got to try a local brew, well it comes out of Sheridan which is still Wyoming.

 

That takes care of today, won't be much to report tomorrow until we are at the airport!

Cheers

Kat xo

 

Nebraska – Wyoming

Today we moved on and visited Gothenburg again briefly. Enough time for Jack to get another Pony Express badge, seeing as he lost it somewhere on the range a month or so ago and to send a postcard.

 

Next we continued on the Lincoln Highway to North Platte. We had also previously been here to Buffalo Bill Cody's house and ranch but this time we stopped in at the Golden Spike Tower.

With views overlooking the world's largest classification rail yard – Bailey Yard (have you been here before Paddlewheel???)

 

Here you can go up into the observation deck and watch Union Pacific Railroad workers 'sort and connect over 10,000 cars a day on two classification hump yards, with nearly 120 bowl rows and 315 tracks.'

 

It is 8 miles long, 301 sets of rails covering 2,850 acres.

North Platte was originally “Hell On Wheels Town” in 1866.

Inside the gift shop are historical displays and a short movie. Information boards line the walls of the internal observation deck and in the foyer to the outside observation deck the boards talk of the canteen.

 

This was a great stop and you could actually see the cars being pushed up the humps to be transferred down the other side into the bowl and let run down a track ready to be attached for their final destination.

 

It's lunch time and that means getting our skates on! Next stop Ole's for lunch and view some 200 mounted trophies displayed in this Big Game Steakhouse and Lounge.

 

The brochure says 'Rosser O. Herstedt (“Ole” to anyone that knew him) was one of a kind.' Born and bred in Paxton he seized on a unique business opportunity in 1933. (This part makes me grin) 'On August 8, 1933, prohibition in Nebraska came to an end. At 12.01am on August 9, Ole opened his tavern on Paxton's main street.' Lol!

He was a hunter and soon the lounge became a showcase for his hunting trips and safaris. It is still owned today by another Paxton native, Tim Holzfaster.

 

An Ole's club sandwich and a side of fries did both of us!!

On to our last stop before reaching Cheyenne, WY, we made a quick stop in Sidney, NE at the Pony Express National Monument which of course is right next to Cabela's….which of course we just had to go into!

 

Hope you've had a great day or having a great day!

Kat xo

 

Tennessee

Moonshine, whiskey, cowboy boots and more.(cue singing)'…..rocky top, you'll always be, home sweet home to me….good Ol' rocky top, rocky top Tennessee….'

Through Sevierville we had to stop at Dolly Parton's statue, this was her home town and as we had decided to forego the Dollywood theme park, I just had to have a picture with Dolly! (Singing with Dolly).'..in my coat of many colours, my mama made for me…'

 

We got into Pigeon Forge yesterday, acquired some boots, went to the Christmas Place!…..wow, think this one beats the Leavenworth one, even the Denny's diner next door is Christmasfied! Yes I just made up that word, well it is!…(with eyes wide and sing)'….jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell rock….'

 

Found the same decorations as last year, now we can update one with Miss Chelsea on it and what the heck, got one done up with the grandkids names on it, in the order they came! Lol!

 

…..found a place to stay and headed down to 'The Island'.

(Singing again)'….wasting away again in Margaritaville, searching for my lost shaker of salt…..' oh yeah! Well actually before we got to Margaritaville we went to the Ole Smokey Moonshine distillery and marvelled at all the different flavours before doing some taste testing. Lucky they only give it to you in small thimble sized cups.

 

We were started off with the Blue Flame 128 proof! Woah, doesn't that catch in your throat! Wash it away with the Margarita moonshine and continue with all sorts of delectable flavours!

 

Now to Margaritaville for dinner and beer, talked with some people from here and Memphis. One on a work trip to Sydney later this year.

 

From there we headed to the Smoky Mountain Wheel and took a ride to see the light show from above.

 

Today we headed down to Gatlinburg, walked around the street and little shops, took the Sky Lift up the hill to check out the view.

 

Into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, winding our way through 17 miles of gorgeous trees and running streams. Didn't get to see any bears though.

 

Soon Mother Nature will wave her wand and all of this will be a spectacular winter wonderland.

Kicking back West towards Tullahoma.

Kat xo

Annnnd I've still got Rocky Top stuck in my head!

 

Kentucky Gold!

After we finished in Dayton yesterday, we headed South and took a slight diversion through Carrollton and onto an intersection on the highway at Clermont and Bardstown, Kentucky.

Heading East to Bardstown (totally not knowing where we were going at the time) we happened into Bardstown only to realise we were destined to be in this spot!!!

Bardstown, after all, is the heart of Bourbon country, we are right in the midst of the Bourbon trail, including Jim Beam, Four Roses, Barton 1792, Heaven Hill, Willett and Makers Mark distilleries. With other famous ones further away.

Staying at the Bardstown Parkview Motel for the night, caught up on the blog from the past few days, worked out adjustments for patterns for a certain town suit (Crossdraw Jac), pinned some corsets ready for stitching and started writing a couple of articles.

This morning we headed 'downtown' to the Visitors Centre, seeing some amazing old buildings, this area has been here since 1780!

 

We first went up to the Civil War Museum, a beautifully displayed collection according to civil war eras. They have so many fantastic prices from this period it is incredible. This rivals the one we saw in Baxter Springs a couple of years ago.

 

The Bardstown Village, a recreation using original buildings from the surrounding area is amazing, just didn't get to see in all the buildings as it was raining!!

 

Back up the hill to see the 'Women of the Civil War' Museum and War Memorial Museum, both with much interest and artefacts as well.

 

From here it was back down through town (we had walked about 2 blocks and usually a block is a mile), heading to the car and to the tavern. Well it was lunchtime!?!

The Old Talbott Tavern is amazing! 125 varieties of bourbon is there claim to fame, however this beautiful old building and the tavern have been in existence since 1797.

 

We tried the Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale which is spectacular at 8.2%abv and coupled with their signature BBQ pulled pork sandwich is divine. Christie was amazing, sharing some history with us.

 

The Jesse James bourbon was only named and brought to the tavern because Jesse James once stayed here. There are also bullet holes in the walls upstairs where he fired off his gun.

Some bourbons may have catchy names but really only for naming and if less than two years are not actually a bourbon anyways.

We took a quick trip up the stairs of the tavern and there it was, bullet holes from Jesse James gun after a loss or feud during cards into the now, very charred murals.

 

We hit the road and headed out to the Four Roses distillery. Why did we pick this one you may ask? Well, as far as we knew, it wasn't that commercialised, we liked the look of the bottles and….we just had to try something different. For $5 each for the tour, it was very interesting and well worth the stop.

Our tour guide was Debbie, last run for the day, so really we had a personalised tour with only the two of us on it.

The Four Roses brand came about in the 1880's (or some time thereafter) so named after the southern belle he married when she turned up to a ball with four roses on her corsage. (That's the story in a nutshell, there's more too it and more romantic than my account)

 

Apparently around 1958 it was purchased by an overseas company, however in 2003 and later years it was repurchased. Now all labels are made and bottled in the US again.

The distillery is in Lawrenceburg, the distillate is sent here for barreling and bottling. Before its trucked out, the sampling there is confirmed with the original before sent here, sampled again here to confirm. It is barrelled at 120 proof. Barrel aging occurs for 5 years. The white oak barrels are used once only.

 

The nozzles are where the distillate is put into the barrel. It takes 45 secs to fill and a poplar wood bung put in. Poplar, provides no weight or colour to the bourbon. It is then stencilled with barrel head information. Ie: their brand name, tax number, county number etc. Two tankers, 280 barrels a day. Then out into the rick houses for ageing.

The charred inside of the barrels are from a 1 to 4 level. Once used, some barrels get shipped off overseas for whiskey to be aged in. The barrels are made in Lebanon, Kentucky and Missouri.

Chill filtering occurs for the yellow label and single barrel where the fatty acids are filtered out. 66% of flavour will come from barrel and 100% of the colour will come out but you will lose colour when filtered, so to avoid losing too much colour they soak the filters in bourbon and ash also! Smells bloody divine.

Bottling now is mostly automated but the single barrel bottles are still finely labeled (by hand) with the 'mapping your barrel' markings. Like a latitude and longitude marking of where the barrel was stored in the rick house.

As the Japanese market is still number one, different labelling is provided for the 80 and 86 proof that is shipped out to them.

 

They try and bottle out, same as quantity in. Approx 200 bottles from ea barrel, 280 barrels a day!!

There are 20 rick houses, 4 new ones coming, hold 24,000 barrels, each sits on 1 acre of land. The moats are so if one was to catch fire and roll out, it will only go into the moat, same reason for having buildings set so far apart. Single level 6-7 degree difference in natural or ambient temperature, if taller than they can get a 37 degree difference. Mother Nature is the only thing governing the barrel control on ageing.

Ahhhhhh, the smell as you walk into the rick house! Look down the walkway, yes it's a walkway! 69 barrels in length.

 

Yes, the barrel handler guys, actually walk this narrow walkway down the rick and make sure they are bung side up.

 

We had 3 samples of bourbon at the end of the tour, you get to keep the glass and of course we bought a couple different bottles and souvenirs.

 

From here we did a quick trip to the Jim Beam factory, took some pics and I know his would be a sensational tour too but we've done the Jack Daniels one and really wanted to do something different. No offence, as we do drink it often.

 

Here's cheers! With whatever you're drinking!

Kat xo

 

 

http://fourrosesbourbon.com

Http://jimbeam.com

 

St Louis, Missouri

The Anheuser-Busch Brewery, in other words Budweiser! Amongst other brands they produce or own.

What a way to finish off the afternoon, arriving into St Louis, Missouri and taking the 4.10pm tour of the Anheuser-Busch Brewery, in the historic Soulard area.

We booked the Day Fresh Tour that takes you on the 'Seed to Sip' with other bits in between. Visiting the Clydesdale paddock and stables, the beechwood aging cellar, the historic Brewhouse and the packaging facility.

 

Upon arrival, where would we be without a visit to the Biergarten while waiting for the tour to start?! I chose to sample the Blue Point, Toasted Lager and Jack the Hoegaarden (the lighter coloured one)

 

The Budweiser horse team consists of 70 Clydesdales, 50 of which are located here at St. Louis. Grants Farm, just a short distance away, is where the Clydesdales are raised. They eat around 20-25 quarts of grain feed a day but I think he's had a bit too much beer today!

 

Into the stables we go, an old building trimmed in red and green against the beautiful red brick exterior with its stained glass windows.

It takes about 5 hours to prepare the hitch for parades etc. and they first performed in 1933.

 

The Dalmatians were introduced in the 1950's to protect the deliveries on the hitches.

 

The beautiful chandelier, all 600 pounds of brass was installed after being acquired at the 1904 World Fair.

The smaller stalls are original to the beautiful 1885 building. I am blown away and we are only on the first stop of the tour.

Next we headed to the aging cellars. A pleasant to cool 50F/ all year round.

Beechwood chips are procured from the local areas, cooked up to remove any other flavours and then used 3 times over before removing, washing and mulching.

These aging tanks, if you drink a beer every 24 hrs would take you 137years to drink one tank. 1.2 billion 12oz beers per tank!

 

On to the process – Barley, rice, hops, water and yeast. Your 5 main ingredients to making a bud!

The rice gives the beer the crisp clear colour we see in our first sample for the tour.

The recipe today is the same as it was in 1867, in particular the yeast recipe, guarded with only 5 individuals having knowledge of its full potential.

To give you an idea of beer strengths, Bud Light stays in the mashing process for about 4 hours where normal Bud is only in for 2 hours. This is the process of breaking down the carbs and sugars, more calories in the short, less in the longer process obviously.

Next was up to the third floor of the brew house. Oh my god, the chandeliers, tiled artwork and architecture in here are exquisite! The 3 storey chandelier is all hops flowers.

 

During the prohibition era, the 'elephant' atop the pillar, was actually the logo for their yeast product on the back there was a warning about what not to use it with and how not to brew beer. Lol! During the prohibition time, to keep the company running they produced everything from barley malt syrup, bakers yeast, soda to ice cream! In fact 20 different products kept their company running during that time.

 

Opposite the brewery was an elementary school building until they decided that perhaps it wasn't a good idea to have a school opposite the brewery. It was their headquarters office until they outgrew it.

 

'Bevo' the fox featured on all 4 corners of the packaging warehouse is based on the fox from Grimms fairytale, who always knew where to find good food and drink at all times!

 

Up to the 3rd floor of the packaging warehouse. After rinsing and sterilising, the bottles are filled within 1/10th of a second to ensure purity and crispness to each.

750 bottles per minute!

At 24 beers per case, all cases are sent down to Mississippi River for storage. Housing half a million cases at any one time, say production was stopped and STILL, it would only take the whole Mid West to drink the whole warehouse dry in a mere 18hrs!

 

At the conclusion of the tour we received the freshest bottle of beer you'll ever get, bottled this morning around 3am! Room temp at moment so needs to go in the fridge.

Two free beers on tour plus a free ticket for a 16oz beer in the beirgarten after.

 

Luke and Allie were our tour guides. On their summer break this was their first year of tours, rotating between the different tours and the gift shop. If you're over 21 they can work the bar as well. They were sensational! What a job, 4 days a week, I think I could handle that easily! Although you wouldnt get any samples!

$10 bucks, holy hell, was so worth it! If you are ever in St.Louis, you really must do this tour!

Ahhh, life is good, cheers!

Kat xo

http://www.budweisertours.com