Saturday, April 29, 2023

Motorcycle Road Trip to Ennis/Waxahachie/Mexia TX (Blue Bonnet Festival/Munster Mansion/Old Fort Parker and Confederate Reunion Grounds)

We enjoyed our usual activities during April including dancing, playing pickleball, hiking, and spending time with friends.   Despite having fun, I am suffering from “hitch itch”, the desire to be back on the open road with Big Boomer towing Suite Retreat.  But until Dad gets off the monthly merry-go-round of healthcare appointments, I must be content with just multi-day motorcycle road trips.  Hence, we loaded Maximus the Trike on a brisk but sunny Sunday morning, heading to Ennis, TX for their annual 3-day Bluebonnet Festival.  We traversed US-287 for most of the time, which offers lovely, pastural scenery: grazing cows, horses, goats, and fields of wildflowers.  My nose was filled with the sweet fragrance of honeysuckle, followed by the stench of rotting animal carcasses and the acrid smoke from trash burns—not a winning combination.


We had Choice Privileges Rewards Points accumulated from our 3+weeks of hoteling it when Big Boomer underwent repairs last May.  So, we decided to apply the Rewards points to our stay at the Quality Inn in Ennis.  It is  located right off I-45 and within walking distance (less than 1 mile) from the Festival activities.  Mom immediately loved the place when she learned it was family owned and operated by 3 generations.  It scored extra points for employing locals who are like extended family, having worked for this establishment for many years.  The motel is older, but clean and well maintained, and its grounds are quite lovely.  With its outdoor pool, jacuzzi, and lighted courtyard snuggled under live oak trees, you forget momentarily you are in downtown Ennis.  


The staff and family were efficient and friendly--well all except for one, who was quite standoffish and a bit of a goof-off.


I'm pretty sure Shadow will not be nominated as Outstanding Employee of the Month.

We walked to the Bluebonnet Welcome Center, arriving about 1 p.m. on the final day of the 3-day Festival.  We had ample time to peruse all the vendors, check out the midway, and enjoy the entertainment, well worth the $5/adult admission.  We chilled and relaxed to the musical performance by the Windbreakers, who label themselves as “yacht rock”.  What the heck is that?  To me, the songs all fit the soft rock category:  Eagles, Hall and Oates, Bread, America.  But the band members were all dressed in nautical attire, so I guess they created their own genre.  Regardless of categorization, this Rambling RV Rat, along with all the spectators, enjoyed their sound immensely.  It was a perfect musical finale for the Festival.


In addition to the Festival activities, this was peak season for viewing the blooming bluebonnets, a member of the lupine flora species and the Texas State Flower.  Ennis and surrounding areas boast more than 40 miles of roads, parks, and natural areas from which to view the sea of wildflowers.  We presumed that the viewing trails would be less populated AFTER the Festival ended, so we planned our multi-day trip accordingly.  Sure glad we did:  We heard folks complaining about the weekend traffic jams, lack of parking, and crowded trails.  We encountered none of this when we started our viewing venture on Monday morning at Bluebonnet and Veterans Parks.  We were able to stop, park, walk along the paths and trails, and, most importantly, take unobstructed photos.  While the bluebonnets themselves were exquisite, I so loved seeing the vibrant Indian paintbrush, pink evening primrose, and assorted yellow wildflowers that were interspersed.  We stopped at every designated area, traversed every one of the 40+ miles of blooms, including Lake Baldwell, Kachina Prairie, and even those areas the Festival categorizes as “off the beaten path”.  We were enthralled with the simplicity of nature and basked in its beauty.  No need for expensive or exotic landscaping here.  The Master has created a colorful and fragrant mosaic of natural carpet that stimulates our eyes and tickles our noses simultaneously!

The curving country roads were perfect for motorcycling, too.  Along the way we viewed lots of hogs, cattle, donkeys, and horses, including meeting Big Jake.  He is the tallest horse in all of Texas, measuring 20 hands!


One problem with the Ennis area for us was the limited restaurant options to adhere to Dad’s plant-based diet, especially since our visit included a Sunday and Monday, when many non-chain restaurants are closed.  Thankfully, we found that Chile’s now offers a black bean veggie fajita in addition to black bean burgers.  So, Chile’s became our go-to place.   And it was within the same complex as the Quality Inn at which we were staying, so we just walked over each evening.


We dedicated Tuesday to visiting Waxahachie, TX, specifically to visit the Munster Mansion.  Our friend Lisa, who is a guru on all fun things to do in TX, told us about this replica of the home from the 1960s TV show, The Munsters.  The owners of the Mansion are friendly and welcoming.  They have worked diligently to replicate The Munsters’ residence at 1313 Mockingbird Lane, both inside and outside.  I was fascinated by their painstaking research on room dimensions.  And their attention to detail is evidenced by the placement of cobwebs  and "food" on the dining table (which included baked “bat” cookies).  Most of the furnishings are reproductions, but you will see Eddie’s original Teddy Bear.  I was a bit leery to enter the Mansion, especially when Spot emerged from beneath the stairwell.  But he was quite hospitable.   He didn’t even use his fiery dragon breath on me.  I tried to sneak a peek at Grandpa’s book of spells, but I worried Igor would fink on me.  And I was on good behavior (quiet as a mouse) in Eddie’s Room, especially when I saw that giant rat trap.  We enjoyed this tour immensely, but we do recommend you go with a minimum of 4 adults to get the best value.  You see, they charge the same admission ($120) whether you go alone, as a couple, or with a group of 4.


Spot welcomed us (somewhat) as we entered the Mansion.

Eddie's original teddy bear sitting in the electric chair!

I stayed clear of the giant rat trap in Eddie's room!

Igor waiting for Grandpa to retire for the evening!

Marilyn's room.  It even has a hidden door.

The boudoir of Herman and Lily.

Herman greeted us in the living room, where every cobweb is strategically placed to replicate the TV home.

On the right, you can see the entrance to Grandpa's basement laboratory.

We hopped back on the trike and went to downtown Waxahachie.  We walked around the historic district to view the cute gingerbread-style homes dating from the 1890s to early 1900s.  We also strolled along the business district, stopping at Farm Luck for a beverage at their nostalgic soda fountain and cafe.  Afterwards, we did a 3-mile hike along the Waxahachie Creek Trail.  Another fun-filled day exploring another great Texas town.


I found it apropos that an attorney's office was next door to a pest control company.

Waxahachie Creek Trail

After our final complimentary breakfast on Wednesday at the Quality Inn, we expressed our gratitude for the hospitality to the staff and said farewell to Shadow the Cat.  We were heading back to Livingston, but planned several tourist stops along the way.  First up was the Confederate Reunion Grounds State Historic Site in Mexia, TX ($4/adult admission).  For 50+ years after the Civil War, Confederacy veterans and their families gathered here annually for fellowship, food, and commemoration.  But the lands were used thousands of years previously for hunting and gathering by several Indian groups like the Caddo and Comanche.  During the oil boom in Limestone County, TX in the 1920s, the Grounds became part of a retreat for oil rig employees.


We stopped next in Groesbeck, TX to visit the Old Fort Parker Historic Site ($4/adult admission).  This is a reconstruction of a civilian fort established by the pioneering Parker Family.  Comanche Indians attacked the fort in 1836, killed several occupants, and abducted 9-year-old Cynthia Ann Parker.  Cynthia was adopted by a Comanche family, married a Comanche warrior, and gave birth to Quanah Parker, who became the last great Comanche chief.  It is an interesting tale of a young girl who integrated so well into a new way of life that she never wished to return to her family.  We drove a few miles down the road to visit the Memorial Site dedicated to the Parker family and victims of the massacre.  


The vultures on the chimney freaked me out a bit.

The Parker Memorial

We were trying to avoid rainstorms, so we opted to take I-45 home.  We were passing through Huntsville, TX, so stopped for dinner at Joe’s Italian Grill before going straight to the VFW for dance lessons.  We sure were tuckered out by the end of the day.

April was a month of celebrations for us.  We had a wonderful Easter week, including viewing the film His Only Son at the Lufkin Cinemark Theater, attending the Good Friday Cantata at Livingston’s First Methodist Church, and fulfilling our traditions of watching 10 Commandments and King of Kings while coloring eggs and enjoying our plant-based Easter feast.  We joined Dave/Debbie for cocktails to toast their 1-year nomadic RVersary.  

Our plant-based Easter Dinner included a honey sweet bread shaped like yours truly!

Celebrating Dave/Debbie's 1-year RVersary with Dan/Paula.

And the biggest day of commemoration in April:  the anniversary of my rescue from the toy store so many years ago.  (If you don’t know how I became the Rambling RV Rat, you can read my story here  Happy Birthday to Me!  ).  Mom baked me a special “cheez cake”, named for its shape (cheese wheel) rather than for its ingredients.  

My delicious cake and the Mini Me's my parents made for me!

Now that I am a maturing stuffed rat, I decided it was time to sell my 2019 Polaris 570 side-by-side.  Want to buy my buggy?  It is trail rated, has all required safety equipment, and only 244 riding hours.  I'm even throwing in a pair of helmets with headsets, all for $9,999 OBO.    It is in great shape, and I love every minute with it.  But I am looking now to score a more legitimate set of wheels like a Jeep, which can be used on highway or off-road.


This great little machine can be YOURS!

Well, time to kick the dust up at another VFW dance, so I’ll sign off now.  I’ll talk to you again soon!



  1. Wow the wildflowers are beautiful! The Munster house was cool. Sounds like a fun place to visit. Congrats on the milestones!

  2. We would love to tour the Munster house but not at $120! Maybe if we waited outside for another line couple.
    The bluebonnets were beautiful, that had to be a sight to see!