Thursday, March 28, 2013

LBJ Ranch

We're still in Stonewall and still having a nice time. The temperature has cooled down a bit from last week. It has been in the 60's and 70's during the day and then downright cold at night. It's warming back up now. We plan to leave here on Monday and will begin working our way towards New Mexico again.

Today's blog post is all about our trip to the LBJ Ranch last week. This was a wonderful day trip. It is free to enter as LBJ wanted all of the sites connected to him to be accessible to everyone. His presidential library in Austin is the only presidential library which doesn't charge admission. There is a three dollar fee for taking the house tour though. We didn't tour the house but not because of the fee. It was a gorgeous day and we just didn't feel like being inside a house with a group of strangers.

When you first enter the park, you come to a very nice visitor center and gift shop.  They give you a pass to use as you drive around the ranch on a self-guided tour. There is a CD they lend you to use in your car which explains what you are seeing as you drive around the ranch. You can pause it at any time and get out and walk and explore. When you come to long open stretches of road, the CD plays music from the LBJ era like "Raindrops Keep Fallin on My Head" and "Blowin In the Wind."  It was a really nice way to experience the park.

The LBJ Ranch is still a working ranch so there was a lot of wildlife and farm animals. The first stop on the tour didn't have much to do with LBJ but was still pretty cool. It was an old farmstead called a "living history" farm which presented farm life in 1918. Here are some pictures from the Sauer-Beckman Farm...

After leaving the farm, we began our drive around the ranch. This is one of the entrances to the ranch. LBJ use to like to take visiting dignitaries through this entrance and would then drive them through the Pedernales River.
This house belonged to LBJ's grandparents.
The next house is a replica of the home where LBJ was born. It is not the original house but it is located at the site where the house stood...
LBJ attended classes at this old schoolhouse for a short time. In 1965, he returned to this site to sign an important piece of legislation for education funding...
This is the Johnson Family Cemetery where both LBJ and Ladybird are buried and a blurry close-up of their graves...

After leaving the cemetery, you come to long open stretches of road as you drive through the ranch to get to LBJ's ranch house. It was a beautiful drive through the Texas countryside. Here are some random pictures of that stretch of the drive...

Next stop is LBJ and LadyBird's ranch house and the plane they used to fly from Austin to the ranch when LBJ was president. He called it Air Force One-Half...

The final two pictures are of a statue of LBJ that stands at the end of the tour. He is pointing at the ranch.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this little tour of the LBJ Ranch. They have volunteer positions there that include an RV site so we may volunteer there some day. We love this area and the ranch is so beautiful and peaceful, we think it would be a great place to spend a few months.

 Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Luckenbach, Texas and Wildseed Farms

We're in Stonewall, Texas which is the birthplace of LBJ. There is so much to see and do here and the weather has been great! It has hit 80 degrees almost every day and I think it hit 90 the other day. It isn't humid though, so it feels cooler and it gets very cool at night. The LBJ National Park is just a mile up the road from us and we spent the day there on Tuesday. I took lots of pictures that day but I think I'm going to wait and post them on a separate blog post.

Stonewall is about ten miles from Fredericksburg and five miles from Luckenbach. Fredericksburg is a nice town with lots of wineries and fancy shops. It was settled by German immigrants and has a European flair to it. This is also wildflower country, largely due to the influence of Lady Bird Johnson. We're a bit early for peak wildflower season but the bluebonnets are starting to bloom and they are beautiful.

There is a large wildflower nursery nearby that grows fields of wildflowers and then cultivates the seeds for sale. We stopped there the other day to buy some herbs and spent quite a bit of time  wandering around the grounds. They have a lot of different gardens and butterfly habitats, beautiful pottery and metal sculptures. Here are some of the pictures I took at Wildseed Farms...

We might stop back at Wildseed Farm before we leave. We had some rain the other night and we're hoping there will be more wildflowers blooming. It's a nice place to spend a sunny afternoon.

On Wednesday, we went to Luckenbach, Texas. They say if you find Luckenbach, you have to be looking for it and, boy, is that the truth. Luckenbach has a population of three: the mayor, the sheriff and the minister of agriculture. The minister of agriculture is the guy who takes eggs into Austin to sell. The motto of Luckenbach is "Everybody is somebody in Luckenbach." It's a very cool little "town" which consists of a general store and bar and a couple of old buildings. It's mostly a live music venue and there is almost always somebody there playing music. The day we were there, there was a guy playing guitar and singing in the bar at the back of the store. A lot of musicians show up on Sundays to play at the outdoor venue so I think we're going to go there tomorrow and check that out.

I took this picture of the "Luckenbach Population 3" sign. They have problems with people stealing those signs which probably explains the sign that says "Caution: Radioactive Material" underneath.
That second picture is just an old building at the music venue and this next picture is the old post office which is now the General Store. I didn't take any pictures inside but it was a great store, a little bit touristy but lots of interesting Texas stuff, too, and old products from the days when it was a real general store.
This is the stage where the musicians play and a close-up of some roosters who were hanging out. It was afternoon but they were crowing the whole time we were there.

Luckenbach doesn't look like much but we really enjoyed it. Everyone was friendly and it just had a real good feel to the place.

We're staying in the area until Thursday, at least. We're only 400 miles to New Mexico and we were planning to try to get there this week but the weather is suppose to dip into the thirties in New Mexico while it's still in the sixties and seventies here. We're having fun so we thought we'd stay  a few more days and enjoy the great weather. We'll get to New Mexico eventually. I'm surprised how much we're loving Texas.

Well it's after midnight so I'd better get to bed. Hope you enjoyed the pictures. Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Canyon Lake

We've had a great week here in Canyon Lake, Texas. It has been hot and sunny with temperatures in the eighties during the day. We're leaving tomorrow morning and heading to Fredericksburg, Texas for a few days before continuing our trek across Texas to New Mexico. This is going to be a short blog post but I wanted to post some of the pictures I took this week.

I'll end this with a picture of a funny sign I saw on a shack that rents tubes for tubing the Guadalupe River.

Sorry this is so short but I want to get to bed so we can get an early start tomorrow. Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Playing Catch-Up

It has been almost a month since I updated my blog and we've traveled quite a bit in that time. We left the private RV Park on the beach in Galveston and moved 5 whole miles to the Galveston Island State Park. We were only there for a weekend but it was very nice. I love state parks because the sites are so big and you have more privacy than you do in a private park. The setting is more natural, too, so you really feel like you are camping. Our next stop after Galveston was another wonderful state park at Brazos Bend in Needville, Texas.
 We saw lots of wildlife there. They have signs everywhere warning you of the poisonous snakes and alligators. Luckily, we didn't encounter any of those snakes but we saw a lot of gators...
 We had great weather at Brazos but for some reason most of the pictures I have were taken the first day we were there when it was cloudy. Here are a couple more pictures from around the park...

We left Brazos and drove to the Sugarland area which is just a little southwest of Houston. We had a few things to take care of in Houston before heading west, mainly picking up the check from the sale of the van. From there we drove to Gonzales, Texas.  That area looked more like what I picture when I think of Texas-lots of longhorn cattle and oil wells. 

Gonzales is near Lockhart which is known as the Barbeque capital of Texas. We drove there one day to try the barbeque and it was definitely worth the drive. Texas barbeque is all about the brisket, sausage and ribs and we had a little of each. It was fantastic! 

Lockhart is a very quaint little town and has been the setting for a lot of movies. One of my favorite movies, "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?" was partially filmed there. They have a beautiful courthouse that was featured in the movie. I took a couple of photos of it...

We walked around the downtown area and went into an old soda shop. This part of Texas has some really cool old main streets that still seem to be the center of activity for the towns. I really love that. Here are a few shots from downtown and inside the soda shop...

We left Gonzales this past Monday and drove to Canyon Lake in the Texas Hill Country. We are not far from San Antonio and Austin. The weather has been gorgeous this week-high seventies during the day and then chilly nights. The Canyon Lake area is very pretty. We drove to San Antonio today to pick up an air compressor so we haven't taken many pictures around here yet. We plan to get out and explore tomorrow so, hopefully, I'll have a new blog post soon with some pictures from this area.

Thanks for stopping by!