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Places Visited:

Texas: Blanco, River Road on Guadalupe River,

2004 Travelogue # 8 Canyon Lake
Potters Creek C.O.E.
Canyon Lake, TX

4/23 It was a foggy, cloudy morning with a gentle mist falling over Canyon Lake; but soon the wind picked up blowing away the fog; later that afternoon we made a short drive to Blanco, TX, 25 miles up US 281, to sightsee. A resource book we enjoy is the Walking Hill Country Towns, where we found a short walking tour of Blanco. Included in this tour was a 9-lane bowling alley, which had a café that sounded interesting and we could be there for a late lunch.

At one time, Blanco was the county seat for Blanco County and a large courthouse was erected on the square. However, the county's charter stipulated its seat should not be more than five miles from the center of the county. In 1862 when the boundaries for the county were reconfigured, they put Blanco near the southern boundary and the population shifted toward Johnson City. It took three elections but the seat was finally voted to be Johnson City. So, this elegant old building, built in 1886 in the French Second Empire Style, has played many roles such as a school, hospital, restaurant and currently a museum.

We parked at the town square and walked across 4th Street to a small pottery shop where the owner, Jan, had her pottery along with the works of several other artisans, on display. The shop also had a wide selection of locally made lavender products such as soaps and lotions in preparation for the community's May Lavender Festival.

A major disappointment for us was canceling our evening dining engagement at the bowling alley due to the Saturn not wanting to start. After several minutes of coaxing, it did start and we decided it best to head home and catch the bowling alley another time.

4/24 We drove into the community of Canyon Lake, stopping at Skull Creek BBQ on FM 306, to try their brisket sandwich and order some smoked sausages for appetizers for tonight's dinner. While enjoying the sandwich, we visited with one of the owners, Jim Fennell, who wore a big floppy cowboy hat and sported a right smart looking mustache. I asked him where his meat smokers were located and he said, "In Wimberley", at their other "Q" joint. He said he once was in the Dairy Queen business in Boyd, TX but wanted a place of his own and these were his own recipes. The sandwich was excellent as well as the side order of pinto beans. A lady customer, at the counter ordering a couple of rib baskets-to- go, commented on the ribs being very good. We expressed how much we liked pork ribs and Jim overhearing this, gave us a small plate of ribs…They were delicious.

After lunch, we were off to meet Bob Clerc and his wife at their home in Canyon Lake. I belong to several Internet boards and Bob is a regular poster to one of the boards. My friend, Mike Hendrix in Pensacola, FL, had notified me that Bob was in the area and that maybe we could hook up. I emailed Bob and he answered with his phone number, inviting me to give him a call.

Long story made short, Peggy and I stopped to visit Bob and Maribell Clerc. They have a beautiful home on top of a major hill overlooking the junipers below, while their 40-foot Monaco motorhome sits out back. We were only going to stay a few minutes but ended up being there almost two hours. They were so cordial and gracious to two total strangers, making it a most enjoyable time.

That evening we had dinner with Sam and Johnnie Hahs' at their home on the Guadalupe River. We had met the Hahs's while in the Rio Grande Valley this past winter (we mention them in 2004 Travelogue # 2). They drive 4 ½ hours north from Weslaco every other weekend, to spend time at their "getaway" villa.

Their home is located off River Road, one of the most traveled, unmarked scenic roads around, following alongside the Guadalupe River from Canyon Dam all the way into New Braunfels. The River is a summertime vacation area because of the kayaking, canoeing, and rubber inner tube floating.

To reach their home, we crossed a single lane concrete bridge over the Guadalupe, and, making a sharp turn we approached their house, which sits on a bluff overlooking the River. A terrible flood several years ago almost destroyed their home, when the water crested the Dam, and overflowed into the spillway. This was the first time, since the lake's completion in 1964 that water flowed over the spillway. Looking at the gorge below the spillway, dug out by 11 days of cascading water, is another awesome story.

What a genuine and generous couple these two are! At one time, they owned a gourmet restaurant in Colorado and Johnnie has not forgotten her skills as a chef as she prepared rotisserie prime rib, jumbo shrimp stuffed with crabmeat (some broiled and others fried). She prepared fresh mushrooms with slivered almonds blended with a dry sherry and blackened on a small charcoal grill. The garlic-mashed potatoes were passed around the table along with the grape tomato, cucumber salad. Their daughter, Erin, prepared a chocolate, caramel, pecan cheesecake for dessert. All of this served to us and another couple right there overlooking the Guadalupe River. As a friend of mine says, "It can't get any better than this"!!!

It was a wonderful evening, but they would not let us leave without a "care package" of prime rib and cheesecake. Bidding farewell, we backed out the long driveway and started for home at 9:35, when it suddenly dawned on us that the Gate Attendants closed and locked the gates into the Park at 10 pm. Oh my, it was time to scoot! We got to the gate at 9:57 to find it already locked. Parking the car, we prepared to walk back to camp. The attendant was locking the office as we approached the gate and she unlocked and opened it for us. Needless to say, we were relieved that we could drive to our site. What a day!

4/25 It was a rainy Sunday morning but later in the afternoon after the rain stopped we went for a very long walk around the County Road adjacent to the Park. As we followed the road, we crossed a creek, where it enters the Park and observed how high the water level had been during the recent flood. Many trees were dead and some had no growth on the bottom two-thirds of the trunks. These markings were so outstanding and left no doubt as to where the water level had been. As we walked, we also saw several homes that must have had flood damage.

4/26 We were having guests today; my mother and sister were coming. Peg was up early cleaning and polishing her bicycle, which she was giving to my sister, Jayne. This was the bike Peggy bought in the Valley when she wanted to be a member of the Bike Club. We have hauled it around, inside the coach, on each of our moves. Considering the fact that she said she never had time to ride it because she was so busy, we decided to gift the "little red convertible" to Sis, since she wanted a bike.

Mom and Sis are my favorite pecan pickers. While we were in Jacksboro, we received a large bag of pecans that needed to be cracked and shelled. After their arrival we sat at the picnic table and, while I cracked, the three of them picked 3 large Zip-Lock bags of pecans.

4/28 Our plans were to go into New Braunfels this morning to take the Saturn for repairs. Early morning in New Braunfels means Naegelin's Bakery, an institution for fresh pastries, apple strudels, and coffee. We sat outside on a picnic table enjoying the morning air and the scenic view of a large mural depicting the early history of New Braunfels painted on several buildings facing the picnic table..

5/1 This evening we met Gail and Ed Henry, my niece and her husband, for dinner. They breed, raise, and show champion Chihuahuas. (www.CeeGees-Chihuahuas.com) Watching Gail work with these little dogs in the pens is enjoyable and seeing their response… They like her too.

We have seen newborn puppies, about as long as your index finger. Gail has become an excellent breeder and trainer, having won many awards in the AKC shows. Ed has been Gail's encourager and has completed his10-year apprenticeship, testing, and qualifications to become an AKC judge for Chihuahuas. From their website they get orders from around the world.

5/2 We drove about 10 miles this morning to St. Francis by the Lake, Episcopal Church in Canyon Lake. It is a beautiful little church high on a hill, with a large plate glass window behind the altar, overlooking the Texas Hill Country. It was a very peaceful and restful place of worship this morning.

Returning to the coach, we changed clothes, and started preparing breakfast when Ed rode up on his Harley wearing his "Hog" leather gear this cold morning. He stopped his Harley in our drive, reminding me of a character from a western movie who rides into town, stops at the hitching rail, lifts his leg over the saddle, and dismounts. Well, that's the way Ed looked as he dismounted his Harley.

Gail was showing dogs at a Chihuahua show in San Antonio, so Ed decided to visit us to return Peg's cell phone that was left in their car last night. He explained more about the dog business, the different aspects of judging, and show competition.

After he left, we finished our lunch and spent the rest of the day puttering around the coach. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon with sailboats on the lake and many families enjoying just being together.

5/3 Our agent, at the dealership in Boerne, called this afternoon and said our coach would leave Red Bay, Alabama on Wednesday for Texas and should be in sometime Saturday. We both are starting to get excited about it. Sort of like waiting for the expected event, it gains more importance with each passing day.

Our stay here at Potters Creek, Canyon Lake has been enjoyable. The sites are big and there has not been much of a crowd, we have had it all to ourselves. We will be leaving tomorrow for Thousand Trails Medina Lake Preserve near Boerne.

Bob & Peggy Woodall


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