Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Trials and Tributes on Travel to Texas and Back

Timing can mean everything when traveling with an RV. We lucked out returning the day before another 6 inches of snow fell on our home in Onalaska, Wisconsin. Thanks to travel apps and weather reports. We found we could drive about 250 miles or 6 hours with breaks, which ever came first is when we were ready to call it quits for the day.

Now to reflect on things we learned.

Sanders Cove ACOE Park near Paris Texas for $9.00 night
We learned about the toll ways by accident. The one from Kansas City through Oklahoma cost us $18 and the one around Austin we couldn't figure out how to pay for. So we asked some locals and found out it's unmanned and we'll receive the bill by mail in about 6 months with a souvenir photo that will probably run us another $15.00.

Cedar Breaks ACOE Park each site had it's own shelter

We really can't live without WIFI, but fortunately almost everywhere has a connection, except Army Corp of Engineer Parks. The great thing about ACOE parks is the cost when you have the Lifetime Senior National Parks Pass. Camping fee with electric and water hookup ranged between $9-$13.00 per night. We'll worth the $10 sign up fee, or $80 now if you missed the birthday deadline.

Ready to cook from HEB
Finding local grocery stores really offered a unique and inexpensive way to savor the local cuisine. These easy to make packets from the HEB stores were great. I've got to try and duplicate the Armadillo Eggs.

Texas is full of wineries, dead skunks and the only Armadillo I saw was road kill.

Since a month only covers a small bit of Texas we hope to go back and visit Big Bend National Park.

Other unusual finds pictured.

Water, water everywhere.

Texas Trail Blazing-see below
Unusual Sites

Buy it when you see it-great garden ornaments

Olive  Company in the middle of nowhere

Back to reality

From Tars to Feathering Texas Style

County Court House in Georgtown, TX
Our stay in Georgetown, just 30 miles from Austin gave us a look at small town Texas. Their town square focuses on the massive brick and limestone courthouse that has stood for over 100 years. We took in a historical tour (free) which revealed a very important past.


Shortly after it was built it became the site of the first successful prosecution of KKK members. Probably due to the fact they had tarred and feathered a white couple, that were also good looking.  Dan Moody, the young bright District Attorney, was the key to success in making the charges stick. As we heard about the trial we got to sit in the jury seats that are a lot like the "To Kill A Mockingbird" courtroom. Still today they reenact the event with a mock play in the courtroom. Based on the book "You Can't Do That Dan Moody!"

Ginny's Longhorn Saloon
On the lighter side, we got to play Chicken Shit Bingo at Ginny's Longhorn Saloon on the north side of Austin. Outside on the tarmac they release the hungry bird into a chicken wire cage with squares marked by numbers on the floor.

Chicken shit Bingo Star

As the chicken feeds on scattered seeds, it pecks around until it's full and needs to relieve itself. Then, what ever number the shit hits is the luck winner. We bought a couple of tickets and tried our best to cluck and lure the chicken to our number. The crowd was fun and it all went to a good cause.


Texas LBJ

Entry to Center
Lyndon Baines and Lady Bird are as big as it gets in Texas. Their impact has been noted and history preserved in the Hill Country of Texas.

We visited the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, where the conservation efforts of this fine first lady are kept alive. A beautiful setting representing mission architecture blended with ranching life. A docent gave us our own private tour of all learning gardens and pointed out the many native plants just coming into bloom.

Water Tower Architecture

Interpretive Gardens

Lady Bird was a big supporter of protecting our natural resources. If I could have lunch with one person from the past it would be her.

Poster of Blue Bonnets
We were too early for the Blue Bonnets (Lupines). Here's a photo of a poster how glorious the fields are in bloom.

Blue Bonnets just starting to open

Great horned Owl on nest

We were lucky enough to see their resident Great Horned Owl named Athena nesting in the archway.

We also stopped by the LBJ National Historic Park.

Entry to Home
Lyndon Baines was raised in the area of Johnson City, Texas, named for his family. The National Parks have preserved and cared for the numerous sites from his ancestors and boyhood homes, family cemetery and the "Other White House". No, not like Mar-A-Lago.

LBJ's ranch and modest home served as the Texas Whitehouse, where as president he could catch his breath and contemplate, away from D.C. Here he even hosted dignitaries with Texas BBQ's along the Pedernales River. No photos of the inside were allowed. The house was still decorated in the 1960's and rooms had many sentimental objects. It was very charming.

LBJ Home and "Texas White House"

You can really learn a lot about the man touring his home. LBJ was a man who grew up with chores and taught for his first job in a less than privileged public school.  

Overshadowed by the failures of the Vietnam War, he accomplished a lot during his Presidency in the areas of Civil Rights, Public Broadcasting, Education, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and wilderness protection. I think he scored a hole in one for the fight against poverty.


Texas Hill Country Cruise

Crockett Garden old settlement
We explored by car and foot some of the natural wonders of the Texas Hill Country during our stay just outside of Austin. We skipped going into the city since we had our fill of traffic. Cool temps and cloudy skies limited us to just observing these popular water holes.

Crocketts Garden- A stop along a 24 mile trail around the San Gabriel River reservoir in Georgetown. We only walked 5 miles round trip to get there. The water levels are down 13 feet giving us some unique views of the landscape.

Crocketts Garden spring

Low water levels in reservoir exposing old tree stumps

Jacob's Well 

Jacob's Well Natural Area County Park-Deep natural hole filled by an artesian spring. Popular swimming hole out in the middle of nowhere.
Jacob's Well

Pedernales Falls
Pedernales Falls 

Pedernales Falls

Pedernales Falls State Park-Huge limestone rocks interrupt the Pedernales River creating some interesting hiking and swimming spots.

Hamilton Pool Falls

Hamilton Pool Preserve- Located in Dripping Springs, the creek spills out creating a 50 foot water fall over a collapsed grotto into a box canyon. My favorite of all places. Check out the scale by finding the people in the photos.

Hamilton Pool-feels like we are in the mouth of a whale

Several places we stopped at are very popular in the heat of summer. They are also prone to flash flooding and some require reservations to visit due to high attendance. You can actually be turned away at the gate when the park is full.

Longhorn Caverns State Park- We went deeper into Texas for a cave tour. A river created this limestone and dolomite cave. People from the area left their mark as Apaches used it as a shelter, bandits used it as a hideout and it was used as a speakeasy and dancehall prior to becoming a State Park.

Older CCC building at Longhorn

Entrance to the Caves

Longhorn Caverns State Park

Very smooth rock formation due to river 


Monday, February 19, 2018

On the Trail Again

Gazebo gas fire pits
Our stay in San Antonio was at Green Lake RV Park. Really our first experience with an RV park and it was pretty great. As a newer property it was still in great shape and well taken care of.

Gas grilling, chilling and sink and ice is nice areas

They had some strict rules which made it easy to get along with a couple of hundred other RV'ers. Restrictions on noise, leaving junk around and lots of common sense.

Rec room and exercise machines
They had some very nice amentities for grilling out and they did all the clean up so it was an easy choice when we wanted to grill out Salmon. The laundermat was affordable and efficient.

TV lounge and computer room, complimentary coffee and popcorn
The pool and spa were super nice as well as showers plus an adult only use time. Unfortunately the pool wasn't heated and it took a couple of nice days for the water temps to come up over 60 degrees until I finally took a swim.

Pool and hot tub patio  
The common areas were a great place to meet others. Many were here on a semi permanent basis. From an Airforce man finishing drone pilot training, people with job transfers for a year or two and they don't want the hassle of selling a home. Plus a few who are maybe displaced homeowners for various reasons. And of course people like us Snow Birds or Southern Texas.
Dog wash and walking areas

Variety of libations

Fresh made tortillas at HEB
A few things I'll miss, the fresh made tortillas and selection of drinks at HEB groceries. Oh wait they are all over Texas. 
So we are off to our next destination around Austin.


San Antonio Fork in the Trail

Rodeo BBQ at Bubbas
A sample of the local cuisine, from TexMex, BBQ and local farmers markets.

We also had some fabulous BBQ from B&B Smokehouse, before I could get a photo we had already dug in to Brisket and Ribs with no sides. It was messy so I couldn't pick up a camera.
Chicken Kabob easily for two

Gruene River Grill for Burger and Crawfish Chowder
 A side trip to New Braunfels a very nice town settled by german immigrants. We stopped at the farmers market had a lot local tasting of products and a breakfast taco of course. Then went to the Historic District in Gruene for the art market and a stop for lunch.

New Braunfels Farmer Market & Krause's Biergarten

Farmer's Market purchase

We used our Duck Eggs for some steak and eggs and had to improvise on making some toast. Very rich yolks.

Our own Texas Toast grilled on our single burner

Sopas and Mini Tacos at Taco Revolution in the Mercado
A visit to the Mercado (Market) in San Antonio is like going to Mexico shopping although the prices weren't too cheap.

Street Michelada aka Beer Bloody
Beer here is used in everything from your Bloody Mary's to Margarita. We still have yet to find a nice micro Brewery to try out.
Margaritas with a Beer

Stopping for some rest and libations we indulged in a pitcher of Margaritas. By the end of our stop we invented a new game "Who That" our own people watching contest. Since when you travel every one looks familiar.
A pitcher of Margaritas along the River Walk
Corn dip notice the chip, they did give us a freebie

When traveling we do need to stop for provisions and the HEB grocery stores are a great source for whatever we needed. Even bought a dress there.