Road Trip!

Wednesday, June 15, began Patrick's A&M Soccer Camp in College Station, so dad took the day off and Mike Rine joined us for a road trip to "malfunction junction" (as my old Scoutmaster used to call it).

We started with lunch at Carl's Barbecue in Cypress, then stopped by the Bluebell Creamery in Brenham for ice cream.

Check-in is always a nightmare at soccer camp, but we got there a little early and found a spot in line that Erin & Patrick held for about 15 minutes until registration opened. Things moved quickly then and we were registered and had Patrick's dorm room assigned within another 10 minutes and the four of us headed to his room with his gear.

Funny thing, Patrick was assigned to the very same suite that Erin stayed in last summer!

We got Patrick settled then hugged him good-bye so we could force our way back through the crowds and make a quick exit. You can see from the photo below, taken on our way out, that getting there a little early really paid off!! We were driving out of the parking lot almost exactly one hour after arriving.

After stopping at the George Bush Library for Mike to add to his US Flag photo collection, we noticed Patrick had left his soccer ball in the car. As Erin said, "what's the ONE THING you shouldn't be without at a soccer camp?" So we stopped back at Callaway house and Erin bumped into him in the crowd and gave him his ball.

Next stop was the Messina Hof Winery in Bryan, Texas' most-awarded winery. I had a bad experience with a bottle of Messina Hof wine back in the 80's and had never tried another, but we learned a great deal during our tour and tasted some very good wines. We purchased a bottle of their Texas Tawny Port and a jar of Tawny Port Chocolate Sauce.

The winery sits in the middle of a small vineyard and now has a Bed & Breakfast and upscale restaurant on either side with small lake and showy flower beds around the property.

The grounds provided a nice backdrop to some "glamour shots" of both Erin and my new Camry, and Mike Rine took some great photos with the setting sun's warm lighting!

click on each photo to see a larger version...

An old delivery truck on display outside the Bluebell Creamery in Brenham.
The lines stretched out the door and around the driveway, even as we were leaving the check-in for Patrick's soccer camp.
The front of the George Bush Presidential Library, located on the A&M campus.
Messina Hof winery in Bryan has long incorporated cherubs in it's label designs and logos. This statue is located outside the winery's visitor center.
This banquet room in the restaurant next to the winery has a full-wall view of the vineyards just feet outside the window. Our guide said that the restaurant would be a 4-star restaurant except that they do not offer a full bar -- only wine, of course.
A rack of wine barrels aging to perfection.
Grapes on the vine. Only one variety is grown on the property in Bryan (I have forgotten which one), all others are grown in Texas by contract growers or on property owned by Messina Hof in west Texas.
A view across the pond towards the winery.
This was my new Camry's first road-test. This shot was taken in front of the winery's Bed & Breakfast, located next to the winery.
It's no wonder the Camry is the best-selling car in America. Haven't yet calculated my gas-mileage, but my weekly gas bill has dropped $25-30 from the F150 pickup!
It was fun to have Erin along with us, watching her flirt with the college-aged tourguide and repeatedly reminding her that she wasn't yet drinking age.
This is Erin's favorite shot. Very nice photography, Mike!
The column looks like marble, but it's actually a painted metal pole that was quite hot from the summer sun. That was a shock to Erin when she first leaned against it!