New Branfels, Canyon Lake, Gruene, Wimberly, Blanco & Johnson City
Places visited: Texas: New Branfels, Canyon Lake, Gruene, Wimberly, Blanco & Johnson City
Thursday, April 19, 2001 Trek mileage: 25,759
We packed up this morning and headed south to New Braunfels and the amping World Store to have a Maxi Air fan installed in place of our bathroom buzzer fan. Mike would have installed it but he does not have a ladder to get on the roof where the fan goes. We had a 1:00pm appointment but they did not start work on the installation until after 2:30. Mike does not have any patience with this type of appointment.
We have not been able to download e-mail since last Sunday. What a bummer. Tomorrow we are going to find a campground that will let us download.
We stayed at Hill Country RV-Resort in New Braunfels. It looks like a place for snowbirds to camp out during the winter. The facility has hot tubs, indoor pools, exercise rooms, recreation halls and every other amenity for the bored to death crowd. The down side of Hill Country RV-Resort is they do not let you download e-mail. We will be out of here first thing tomorrow.
We originally planned to stay in Guadalupe State Park for a week or so. However, when Joyce called them this afternoon they immediately told her that they were fully booked for the next three weeks. Wow! There weeks. This was one of the top spots we were looking forward to staying. Friday will find us checking out Corps of Engineer parks and private campgrounds in the area.
We dined at Oma's Haus Restaurant in New Braunfels. Oma's Haus, according to the menu has something to do with a German grandmother. Oma must be a German grandmother! Anyway, Oma has a great German restaurant. We could not help but think of our brother-in-law, Andy Johnson who likes Pappy's German restaurant in Panama City, Florida. Andy, we had pork loin schnitzel with bacon and of course the German red cabbage. We were thinking of you and how much you would have enjoyed eating that good German food with us.
Friday, April 20, 2001 Trek mileage: 25,782
We moved the RV 23 miles up the Guadalupe River to Rio Raft Co. (RV Park and Cottages) in Canyon Lake, Texas. It is on the scenic Guadalupe River. After scouting the area we found one private RV-park that appeared to be even better. We will try it the next time we are in the area. (River Road Camp, on river road near 2nd crossing, 830-625-5004 open year round and very close to Gruene supposedly $18 to $20 with full hookup.)
The river road drive between Gruene and Canyon Lake along the bank of the Guadalupe River is very scenic. The entire 10 to 12 mile road is lined with tent camping sites and companies running tubing trips. We will drive this scenic road several more times before exiting the area.
We checked out Cranes Mills Corps of Engineers Park on Canyon Lake. This COE campground is beautiful but they only have dry camping (no water, electricity or dump station). However, what it lacks in amenities it makes up in wildlife. One heard of deer in the park consisted of over 50 deer that will let you drive your car right up to them. Joyce and I actually fed them some crackers we had in the car. I have a picture of Joyce with a deer eating a trisket out of her and. I have seen deer before but never more than 50 surrounding my car with both of us standing outside the car. Now I know where they make those deer hunting videos. Even I could make one of those exciting close up videos. Galon I am going to send you a picture of me sneaking up on a deer with a trisket.
We saw rock squirrels for the first time today. They look like a fox squirrel except for the coloration. The front half is black with the back half a lighter caramel. They eat bugs instead of acorns and seeds. They run around piles of rocks instead of trees. No telling what we will see next.
We ate at the Gristmill in Gruene (New Braunfels). In New Braunfels the Gristmill is THE place to dine. It is housed in an old 1870's gristmill and cotton gin located on a high bluff overlooking the Guadalupe River and easily seats over three hundred with ambience plus.
Joyce is scheduled to cook sometime before we return home, I think.
Saturday, April 21, 2001 Trek mileage: 25,782
Aren't Saturday's great! You do not have to get up and go to work.
Life is so good to us we can just relax and be flexible. We are enjoying the scenery, shops, museums and each other's company. Sometimes you just feel like taking a drive, with no specific goal in mind. Today was one of those days, where we took a drive in the country to expand our thoughts with pleasant constantly changing scenery. The Hill Country offers one vista after another, refreshing your spirit along the way. Even as you are drinking up the countryside opportunities present themselves. Spotting the sign to Wimberley Glass Works was a time to be flexible (take a break from sightseeing).
Wimberley Glass Works in Wimberley, Texas about 15 miles north of our RV-Park is a fascinating and entertaining experience. Glass Artist Tim De Jong creates his masterpieces in front of a live audience. He creates a masterful blend of artistic detail and contemporary elegance in glass producing a variety of exquisite items, which are sold in the attached store. Anyone visiting the area should put this at the top of his or her list of things to do.
Wimberley is well known for its artist community. Many of the artists and artisans that reside here travel on show circuits selling their work across the country. Wimberley seemed to be a shopping experience featuring a variety of artist products in individual specialty shops.
For RV'ers in the area just south of Wimberley there is a very nice picnic area (boon docking site) on Ranch 12 about a mile north of FM 32. Also just west of Wimberley on FM 2325 on FM 165 there is another beautiful rest area (boon docking site).
On FM 3351 there is Bergheim campground located where FM 3351 crosses the Guadalupe River. Phone 830-336-2235. We are not sure if this beautiful location has hookups or not. We could see tenters and picnickers from the bridge. There were places to park an RV and they advertise for RV's. This place is mentioned because of the location.
On FM 3159 just west of the town of Canyon Lake there is a beautiful hill top picnic area with enough space for 3 to 5 RV's to boon dock in one of the most scenic spots in the Hill Country.
I have a good idea that we will be in one or more of the above before we leave the area.
We have decided to spend Monday night with the deer heard at the Corps of Engineers Park. Today we even purchased a bag of corn for deer feed for the big event.
When driving from Wimberley to Blanco on Ranch Road 2325 we saw a sign for Arnosky cut flower farm and vegetables. We followed the sign to see what was going on. To our surprise a family was operating a cut flower operation PLUS. I will explain the plus later. Texas Specialty Cut Flowers is the largest cut flower farm in Texas. A short way down the dirt road you enter the overflowing fields of flowers while you drench your senses in colors and aromas. They grow over 50 varieties of flowers. Walk up to the farm stand where you can watch the cut flowers made into bouquets heading to the Austin markets. They have a menagerie of farm critters goats, chickens, turkeys, geese etc. When we arrived they were milking a goat. The Arnosky family drinks fresh goat milk. They take their extra to a place up the road and have it processed into yogurt and cheese. They sell these products in addition to a variety of farm fresh certified organic vegetables. Mrs. Arnosky home schools her children. One of her daughters, a fifth grader, met us and did a remarkable job of explaining the operation to us. Joyce talked to a personal friend of Mrs. Arnosky's who was in the market and she told her that Lady Bird Johnson visits the family several times during the year and purchase plants for her gardens. In addition this family operation has been written up in Southern Living. This market may only be open on Saturdays. It would be a delightful stop for anyone passing through the area. A word of caution, do not take your RV onto the property.
To top off a wonderful day --------- Joyce cooked! Doesn't this prove miracles never cease?
Sunday, April 22, 2001: Trek mileage: 25,782
We worshiped with the First Baptist Church of Canyon Lakes, Texas this morning. Their attendance runs around 500 for the worship service. The sermon was about each believer's obligation to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with others. After the service the church had a quick business meeting where they voted on accepting a new education director. As the business meeting closed the pastor announced that they were having a covered dish supper in honor of the new Education Director, and they would be offended if the guests did not stay for lunch. Joyce and I were both ecstatic and we were not about to offend them. Covered dish suppers at Baptist churches are extraordinary this one was no exception. Texans are not vegetarians they like their meat. True to form there were multiple varieties of sausages, roast beef, roast pork, chicken and every kind of casserole imaginable, not to mention the two tables of deserts. We made friends and ate with Jim Wiley. Jim had driven motor coaches for a living. He drove them for a firm that supplied Provost busses and coaches to musicians touring the country. He had driven Tanya Tucker's personal coach for four years. What a delight spending an hour or so with Jim.
We drove to Gruene this afternoon to do the antique shops and country stores. Around 5:30 we entered Gruene Hall Texas' oldest dance hall where George Strait, Lyle Lovett and Hal Ketchum got started! (If you do not recognize these names don't let anyone know) George Strait played there from 1975 to 1981 when he headed to Nashville, telling them if he didn't make he would be back. Most of you know ------------ "the rest of the story". Gruene Hall has been operating since the 1870's. The "Big Ass Garage Sale" was the live band performing for about 300 beer drinking Texans and tourist. They performed their own songs and even had several CD's for sale. "Big Ass Garage Sale" was the lead song on one of their CD's. The song and the bands name had something to do with a "mother-in-law". It was hard for us to decipher all of the words but it seems the "mother-in-law" (Big Ass) went out of town and they partied down then needed some money. That is where the Garage Sale part comes in. The audience obviously knew the words as they were singing along and laughing at the lyrics. Another of their songs had to do with missing his ex-father-in-law but not his ex-father-in-law's daughter. This one was obviously funny also as the audience sang and laughed along with this tune also. The band constantly made fun of Texans and mobile homes or trailers. One of the best ones asked the question "what do a tornado and a Texas divorce have in common?" Answer: "someone is going to lose a trailer"!
Monday, April 23, 2001 Trek mileage: 25793
We awoke to strong thunderstorms that rolled through the area for about four hours. It rained on and off the rest of the day.
We moved 11 miles up the road to Cranes Mills COE Park. This is the park where we saw all of the deer last week. The only thing we did other than spend time with the deer was drive in to the New Braunfels Camping World store to get a tachometer that was being shipped to that address from a repair facility. We took advantage of being in town to grocery shop also. The rest of the day was spent with the deer at Cranes Mills Park.
Mike connected up the new tachometer after it got dark and the wildlife was no longer visible.
Tuesday, April 24, 2001 Trek mileage: 25825
We left the deer at Cranes Mill Coe Park to themselves this morning and headed 32 miles northwest to Blanco State Park in Blanco, Texas on the Blanco River. The State Park is very nice and only a three block walk to historic downtown Blanco population 1,238.
The early afternoon was spent scouting out the antique shops in Blanco, and eating at the Bowling Alley Café. This Café had captured Blanco's lunch crowd with it's home cooking.
Later we drove up the road to Johnson City (the boyhood home of LBJ) then to Pedernales Falls State Park a really nice State Park featuring Pedernales Falls. Between Johnson City and Pedernales State Park on Farm Road 2766 is a huge goat heard on the south side of the road. We stopped to view the several hundred goats. Suddenly two big white Great Pyrenees dogs protecting the goats from predators appeared at the fence. I think they thought we were predators since they came to the fence and communicated their warning to us. Speaking of goats, Joyce and I have been enjoying goat milk and goat yogurt the last few days. We got started when we tried some goat cheese and yogurt at Arnosky's cut flower farm. Their goat yogurt is mixed with pineapple and is too good to describe. Goat milk contains a lot of solids so you have to shake it vigorously each time you pour a glass, those solids give it a full bodied texture not found in normal low fat milk.
The U. S. 281 bridge over Blanco River goes over a section of Blanco State Park and is home to hundreds of nesting cliff swallows. It is so relaxing to watch these graceful birds swoop in and out delivering dinner to the nest occupants. Cliff swallows construct gourd-shaped nests with small pellets of wet mud carried in their beaks from an area of wet clay and packed into place creating a solid structure fastened to the bridges cement beams. Literally, hundreds of these mud nest structures are attached side by side under each of the bridge beams with small hungry heads peering out of each. Adults swoop in and deliver food at an astonishing rate.
Wednesday, April 25, 2001 Trek mileage: 25825
We are in LBJ (Lyndon Baynes Johnson) country so we toured the National and State Parks in the area dedicated to him. The tour of his "Texas White House" Ranch was great. His property is located just East of Fredericksburg on the Pedernales River, a beautiful section of Texas Hill Country. Lady Bird still lives in the house about one third of the year. LBJ is buried under a tremendous old oak in a family plot not far from the house. The reverend Billy Graham officiated at the gravesite ceremony and Anita Bryant sang. Reading their words and hearing their voices certainly brings back memories. LBJ died of a heart attack four years after he left office he was 64.
We ate lunch at the Feed Mill Restaurant in downtown Johnson City today. Neither of us will have to eat again until tomorrow. Besides excellent food the Old Feed Mill has ambience plus. The proprietor has a collection of signs and memorabilia second to none. Even if you are not hungry when you pass through Johnson City you should at least peep inside of this place. The place has as good a collection of memorabilia as some places that advertise themselves as museums.
Our GPS stopped working today. After a bit of troubleshooting it appears that the unit is not receiving power. I can do electrical repairs especially broken wires. However, with a Delorme GPS there does not appear to be a way to get into the unit to solder a new connection. I dread having to discuss this with Delorme tomorrow.
Mike & Joyce Hendrix
Until next time remember how good life is.
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Until next time remember how good life is.