Canyon Lake, Texas
Places Visited: Canyon Lake, Cranes Mill COE park, the Grist Mill Restaurant in Gruene and Hobo Junction Restaurant in Liberty Hill
Tuesday, March 29 RV Valley Resort, Canyon Lake, Texas (River Road at 4th crossing) on the Guadalupe, River $21-50-amp FHU gravel interior streets and pads N29° 50.651' W29° 10.082'.
We are meeting with another group of virtual friends today in the small town of Liberty Hill 86-miles north of here. Our plan was to incorporate this rather long drive into a scenic drive. It didn't work out that way! We plotted a route that took us north out of Canyon Lake to Wimberley then Dripping Springs and into Bee Cave. Everything worked as planned (i.e., a scenic drive on back roads where we could view the ranches and wildlife) until we reached Bee Cave. From Bee Cave we had selected a route that took us by Lake Travis across the dam and up to Cedar Park. This was going to be our "most scenic" part of today's drive. The joke was on us! From Bee Cave to Cedar Park wasn't rural, it was the overgrown suburbs of Austin. Our scenic drive was on a 4-lane highway chockablock with traffic signals and shopping centers. What a surprise.
We had a good time meeting and dining with virtual friends Bob Giddings and Bill Collum. Bob is retired and has a home in Georgetown 25-miles east of here while Bill is a semi-retired investment banker that puts together deals on an international level. He has an office in California but lives north of here on a ranch. He jets around the world putting together deals only to return to his ranch here in the Hill Country. We enjoyed discussing a variety of our likes and dislikes as well as our dreams. Bob admits to liking the roots of a real house but the freedom to travel in his 5th wheel. Bill wants to wander around the world on a sail boat. Bill's wife likes to teach and that stands in the way of his sailing dream. Bill's wife doesn't want to get out of the sight of land. Bill and I are in the same boat. Joyce doesn't want to get in the blue water either. Joyce and I plan to get a trawler/houseboat and travel the inland waterways of our country when we tire of the motorhome. Bill on the other hand mentioned Spain and the Mediterranean. Bill is definitely the more adventuresome.
Getting together with virtual friends is always a fun experience. The folks at Hobo Junction were wonderful to us.
After our lunch date Joyce and I headed to Marble Falls where there was an AllTel company store. AllTel is our cell phone provider. We not only use our cell phones to keep in contact with family and friends we use them to access the internet and download e-mail. When we were in Louisiana we noticed the new phone had an analog signal while the OLD phone had a digital signal. Something was wrong. I called AllTel's national help line and got a series of muttonheads that didn't know anymore about cell phones than the latest illegal immigrant. Over the years I have become adept at dealing with these pumpkin heads. After their first really dumb answer I ask to be transferred to their supervisor. Supervisors have usually been around more than two weeks and generally have a working knowledge of where the on off buttons are and sometimes may even be able to answer technical questions. I have noticed many of the first line troops have been trained to say there is NO supervisor available at this time when I ask for a supervisor. Yea right! They are going to turn this guy lose without supervision! At this point it is time to end the conversation by stating "You have NOT helped me. Do not list this as a completed call. I am going to have to call back and get someone competent - have a nice day!"
When I call that national number again more than likely I will get in another call center located 1,000 miles from the first. Sooner or later I will get someone that can help. When I called from Louisiana most of them tried to tell me that my older phone was a better phone than the newer phone. That must be the number one "standard answer" to a question like that since they all tried it. However, my new phone would never get a digital signal anywhere we drove in Louisiana and I needed a digital signal in order to get my e-mail. Finally I got with a technician that pulled my information up on his computer and was able to ping my new phone and extract information from it. He said that the new phone had "old software" and needed to have "new software" installed. He said the new software was what would tell the new phone to get the "best" i.e., digital signal when available. All I would have to do was take my phone to an AllTel company store. He searched his information as said that the nearest company store was 60-miles to the east and we were headed west. The nearest store to the west was Marble Falls or El Paso, Texas. Now you know why we are in Marble Falls.
In the Marble Falls store I am greeted by this bubbly young lady who confidently assures me she can take care of my problem. I explain the problem. I can see through her eyes and into the vacuum occupying the hinterland between her ears. She listened but I could tell she didn't understand what the technician was talking about when he said it needed "new software". She mashed buttons on the phone till she was blue in the face. She "flashed" the phone, put in a new "SID"; she updated the PRL she tried to give the phone back to me. When I looked at the "roam indicator" it wasn't blinking. That indicated that the phone wasn't picking up AllTel's signal in their store room. Woooooh, hos fly! That isn't going to work. We have been in the AllTel store for over 2-hours now. This girl has to go pick up her kids from school so she hands us off to the assistant manager who fumbles with the phone for 30-minutes or so then says HELL! I can solve this! She grabs a brand spanking NEW phone and sets it up for us. She tries to copy the telephone directory out of my original phone into the new phone and couldn't do it. She makes a phone call to someone in supervision at another location then announces that my old phone is "fried" and they can not get my phone directory out of it. I am going to have to manually enter all of the phone numbers that were in the original cell phones directory. The look on my face must have said: "like Hell! I will sit here and watch you input those numbers." In any event she said she was going to give me a $10 credit on our next bill. Now would we would just take the new phone and the original phone and please just leave. We had no doubt exhausted what that store could do for us. I don't know if we are any better off than when we went in the store. I won't know that until later when we get into the next "situation" down the road.
The ride back to the motorhome on US-281 through Johnson City and Blanco was through ranch country where we were able to see a number of exotics and plenty of deer plus admire the beautiful ranches bordering the highway.
Wednesday, March 30 RV Valley Resort, Canyon Lake, Texas (River Road at 4th crossing) on the Guadalupe, River $21-50-amp FHU gravel interior streets and pads N29° 50.651' W29° 10.082'.
Ahhhhh, we have the day to ourselves, as in no dinner or lunch dates with friends. Joyce had me scheduled to drive her into Gruene along the scenic River Road. In Gruene we would do lunch at the Gristmill then I could ride a bench while she spent the afternoon browsing through the antique stores chic boutiques and galleries.
Along River Road we explored the side roads leading to fashionable cottages and retreats. The scenic River Road drive crosses the Guadalupe River four times, providing spectacular views of white water rapids, majestic cypress trees, rugged limestone bluffs, and the occasional lush green valley. While only around 15-miles long this scenic drive is one of our favorites.
The Gristmill River Restaurant & Bar is located in the ruins of a 126-year old cotton gin on the banks of the Guadalupe River. It is not hard to find the Gristmill nestled under the old water tower behind Gruene Hall. The old cotton gin is now one of those unique "must-do) restaurants. Every state has one or two restaurants that achieve this stature.
The Gristmill in New Braunfels, Texas on the Guadalupe River
The Gristmill has something for everyone, by that I mean two can lunch for under $20 with tip or they can splurge with a variety of entrees that will produce an eye-popping tab. They have 8 or more dining areas each with spectacular views. Outside dining starts on several large patios located on top of the cliff overlooking the Guadalupe River some 200 feet below. Successive rows of dining decks are situated down the cliff. These decks follow the contour of the cliff wall resulting in cozy hidden nooks and exposed areas hanging in space. This is literally dining in the tree tops since the cliff is heavily wooded with large trees. The food is good but the ambience and view are spectacular. Indoors dining consists of three large dining rooms each with huge floor-to-ceiling folding glass doors that are open in the warmer months. Massive native stone fireplaces provide ambience to each of the inside dining areas. I can only imagine the warmth exuding from those massive native stone interior walls with a roaring fire in the fireplace. We will have to visit in the winter time to experience that.
If you are interested in more info about the Gristmill Restaurant try: www.gristmillrestaurant.com
And one more thing, if you are from the area please you tell me why they named it the Gristmill when it was built in a Cotton Gin? Things like that puzzle me.
General Store in Gruene, Texas
After lunch Joyce went about her shopping like a woman on a mission. I found a bench in the shade and struck up a conversation with several other fellows who were patiently waiting on their better half to satiate that innate inner urge that inexplicably compels women to aimlessly wander around trendy shoppes. Joyce returned after an hour or so to see if I would like to join her for a scoop of Blue Bell Ice Cream at the fountain in the General Store. I jumped at the chance not only for the Blue Bell but this might signal the end of her shopping spree. We ate the Blue Bell and it was good, but as soon as we were finished she was off again pursuing that elusive knickknack. I rejoined a new set of friends riding the benches. Mercifully, before dark, she returned.
We took the Scenic River Road back to the motorhome then headed out to Cranes Mill COE Park. Cranes Mill is a finger of land that juts out into the western end of Canyon Lake.
Cranes Mill COE Park on Canyon Lake in the Hill Country of Texas
Cranes Mill has picnic tables a large boat ramp and primitive campsites. We enjoy the wildlife in the park, especially the deer. A ride through the park around dusk usually rewards us several large groups of deer. We stopped and took pictures of one group consisting of 12 to 20 small deer. I say 12 to 20 because 8 to 12 would come up to the Saturn and eat corn we scattered on the ground. The others stayed in the distance and watched.
Scissors tail fly catchers are generally abundant in the park but we must be here prior to them arriving from their winter migration to South America. We were able to spot a few males but they are obviously scouts that headed north earlier than the main group.
We are here a few weeks earlier than we ever have been and that probably explains the dearth of these acrobatic birds.
Thursday, March 31 Lady Bird Johnson City Park in Fredericksburg, Texas $20-50-amp FHU paved interior streets and pads N30° 14.550' W98° 54.687'.
We moved the motorhome to Fredericksburg this morning. It was just 75-miles and the move was uneventful. We were moving to Lady Bird Johnson City Park in Fredericksburg in a site across from virtual friends Ken & Gail Smith. Ken and I know each other from the RV-newsgroup where we both hang out. Ken also used to live on the same street we live now and at one time Ken worked for CNET the Navy organization that I retired from.
We got together for lunch and to socialize in one of the German places
across the street from Admiral Nemitz WWII in the Pacific Museum.
It was outside dining at its best.
Until next time remember how good life is.
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Until next time remember how good life is.