Sunday, March 19, 2017

Texas - 2017 (2)

March 18, 2017.
It was very hot yesterday and I expected the same for today. It was foggy though most of the way. I arrived at the Community Center in Langtry at about 10:00 AM.

Carolyn came an hour later and we both talked to the lady at the Texas Visitor Center and the “The Law West of the Pecos” the museum of Judge Roy Bean. He was called the hanging judge, which seems to be fiction. He actually never sent anybody to the hanging tree. He was a colorful character though and tried people in his saloon or the front porch.

The inside of his house was very plain, typical of the western frontier.

At the Visitor Center is a wonderful cactus garden.


March 19, 2017.
There is not much to do in Langtry. The only store in town is closed on Sundays and open the rest of the week only when the owner feels like it. It is for sale.
I went again to the Visitor Center and looked around.
The rest of the group arrived today and we decided to leave tomorrow.

Early morning I went next to the Visitor Center and used their WIFI.

Cowboy Tom had his schedule, for today, on a white board. We got a good laugh out of that.

March 20, 2017.
At 10:00 AM we walked over to the Visitor Center and a lady gave us a tour of the cactus garden and Judge Roy Bean’s Saloon and house.

The agave is shooting up very soon and will bloom and then die.

Since I had done the tour already I stayed only a short time and went to see Keith, a local person. He had told me yesterday he would like to show me the Pump Canyon, as the locals call it.
Langtry was founded by the railroad company because of a spring. Steam locomotives needed a lot of water and the spring provided that. The water was pumped from the spring to the railroad station.
Now the water runs into the Rio Grande.
The view from top of Pump Canyon is great.

A young couple had their first date up there and when they were old they put a little plaque on this rock.

After my little tour with Keith I headed out. Everybody else had gone already. I arrived at the Amistad National Recreation Area near Del Rio, at about 1:30 PM.
After setting up the motorhome I went to Walmart. Most of my travel companions were there too.   

March 21, 2017.
This was our first official day at Amistad National Recreation Area. We are staying at San Pedro camp ground.

We can see the water but from the campground is no trail. The reservoir is very large. The shoreline is 547 miles in the United States and 404 miles in Mexico. The surface area is 65,000 acres.
To go across the dam we need a passport.
During the day we did chores. Members of the group did laundry and shopping. I went to the library and then had the four gallon propane tank filled up. I needed a haircut and while driving in the city looked for a barber shop. I could not find one, so I went to Walmart and got one there. Five young Mexican women take care of women and men. The young lady did a good job. She did most of the trimming with scissors.
In the evening we went for a long walk. We saw five white tail deer. The sunset was nice too.

After it got dark, Mike had a spider sniping party near his motorhome. We brought flashlights and hunted spiders. The peanut gallery thought it was funny.

Shining a flashlight in the grass exposes the spiders. We could see their eyes.

We caught one and took pictures before we released the poor thing. There was some teasing going on. Some of the women screamed when the guys pretended to put a spider on them. It does not take much to amuse old people.

March 22, 2017.
Some of the group went kayaking this morning. I could have gone but it cooled off and the weather was not that great.
I went to the library and went grocery shopping at the H.E.B store. The prices are similar to Walmart.
I also stopped at the Amistad National Recreation Area Visitor Center. On one wall they have a copy of a pictograph of the cave in Seminole Canyon. I would like to see the actual wall painting but the cave can only be reached by boat.

At the recreation area are bushes and trees I have not seen before. Some have white blooms .

Others have yellow or orange blooms.

I have not gone to the water yet.

March 23, 2017.
This was a strange day. It started out with a light rain. This discouraged us from driving to the Seminole Canyon.
I went down town and looked around. There are some stores boarded up.  It was not a pretty sight. After spending some time at the library I went back to the motorhome. The wind had come up and the motorhome was shaking.
Some members of the group went on the dam and walked to the Mexican side. They also stopped at the Amistad National Recreation Area Visitor Center and watched two movies.

March 24, 2017.
We expected lousy weather today and it turned out to be a super fine day.
We drove to Seminole Canyon and went on the 10:00 AM tour.

Before the tour we watched a movie about the canyon and looked at the displays in the museum. In the museum they have walls with copies of the pictographs in the caves, and displays of daily life of people living in this area thousands of years ago.

When white people settled in the lower Pecos region they were ranching. Sheep were suited for this land.

We walked down into the canyon.

On the way we saw this statue.

From the canyon we could see the Visitor Center.

We had to walk up to the cave.

The pictographs in the two caves have deteriorated over the years.

We would have liked to visit the Panther Cave, but one has to go seven miles by private boat. This is the only way to get to the canyon. I took a picture from a photograph in the museum.

On my home I stopped at Black Brush Point and ate my lunch there.

In the evening a few of us drove to the Rough Canyon Marina to go dancing at the Hookers Restaurant.  When we arrived there we were told that a band member was sick and the band canceled the dance.

I drove down to the marina and looked around and then went home. The other people waited for the restaurant owner to find another band. I woke up at midnight when they came home.

March 25, 2017.
At 10:00 AM we were at the Laughlin Heritage Foundation Museum. The Museum is dedicated to preserve the history of Laughlin Air Force Base, which is located near Del Rio. Jack Laughlin was a local B-17 pilot who was lost over Java.

Our guide was very knowledgeable and enjoyed explaining the use of the U-2 Spy planes which were flown out of Laughlin Air Force Base. 
The Vietnam War was of course one of the subjects. The Air Force had some of their people in POW camps in Vietnam. A replica of a prison cell was at the museum.

The U-2 mascot was a crow.

Our next stop was the Whitehead Memorial Museum.

Judge Roy Bean is buried here.

The log cabin has furniture and other items from the late 1800.

This is a farming and ranching community and there is a lot of farm equipment on display.

The white bird was very curious and came toward me.

One large room is a nativity scene with over 1200 pieces. One lady collected all the items and fabricated some of them.

The sign on this bed is very funny.

The group also went to a winery.
This is my last day. I am leaving one day early so I can go to San Antonio.
This was a wonderful parking area. The cost is two dollars a day. Each site has a shelter with a picnic bench. 

March 26, 2017.
I am now at the Lone Star Corral, the Alamo Area Escapee Co-Op RV Park in Hondo. It was 89 degrees F. today. The Saturn had to be washed. The limestone dust was sticking on the paint. I went to a self wash place and took care of it. Then I went to the clubhouse and took a shower.
They have seven washing machines there and the same amount dryers. When I saw that using the washing machines cost only a dollar and the dryers seventy five cents, I stripped the linens of the bed and collected all the clothing, which had to be washed, and did laundry.
The rest of the day I tried to stay out of the heat.

March 27, 2017.
This morning I drove to San Antonio. I arrived there before 10:00 AM and was able to park near the Alamo for five dollars.
It was cloudy and therefore not so hot. At the Alamo were no lines and I took my time going through all the buildings. Reading all the information on displays takes hours. I had been here before and only wanted to see it again.

From the Alamo I went through the Hyatt House Hotel to the River Walk. The hotel has its own river walk.

The mosaic on the wall is beautiful so is the giant glass ornament.

Coming out of the hotel is entering the River Walk.

A cattle drive statue is on the other side of the river.

Besides restaurants there are also a few private homes.

I would have liked to do a boat ride but the line waiting for the boats was too long for me.

When I came by the Alamo again there were long lines. People were waiting to get in. There is no entrance fee, only a charge for the guided tours.
Rich Peterson had called me and invited me for a get together at his site. He has bought a lot in this park. Lyn and Barbara were there too.
Rich has a wonderful room with air conditioning. He calls this “the shed”. He sleeps in his motorhome and cooks there.

March 28, 2017.
This was a working and cooking day.
I had potato pancakes for breakfast. Making them is a labor of love.
Then I did some more cleaning on the car and one side of the motorhome. I had accumulated a lot of dirty rags and old towels. Since it cost only one dollar to use a washing machine, I took all the rags and towels to the laundry and washed them. While I was there I took a shower.
I had a big head of cauliflower in the refrigerator. I cut it in smaller pieces and cooked it in cream of mushroom soup.
Part of it I ate today with my dinner and the rest went in the freezer.
In the afternoon I drove into D’Hanis, the little town near the Escapee Resort. I went to the General Store, which has a bit of everything. There are the basic groceries and some hardware items.
At the front wall of the store was this Cowboy Prayer. I liked it.

From the store I drove to the cemetery. Most of the head stones had German names on them. The inscriptions on them were also in German. It appears that the town was founded by Germans from Alsace Loraine.

The old headstones are small and the new ones are very large.

At 5:00 PM I went to Rich’s place for Happy Hour with Rich, Barbara and Lyn. The three had spent most of the day in San Antonio

March 29, 2017.
I woke up at 1:00 AM this morning. I have not experienced a rainstorm like last night for many years. It was raining, thundering and there was lightning.
In the morning I drove to Hondo to do some shopping.
On the way back I looked for the Pioneer Cemetery. When I told Rich that I had gone to a cemetery he told me that there is an older one with the ruins of the first church the members of the colony had built.
I found it and learned that twenty nine families founded D’Hanis. They came from Alsace, which belongs now to France.

There is a list of all the names of people buried in the cemetery. Just like in the new cemetery the name of Koch has a dominant role, it must have been a large family. The inscriptions on all the graves are in German. Some have sayings from the bible.

The old church has fallen in repair since the town was moved.

In the evening Rich, Barbara, Lyn and I drove to the 11TH Street Cowboy Bar in Bandera. Beginning next week we will be spending eleven days there at the Bandera Dance Rally.
For me this was the introduction to this small cowboy town.
When we arrived there we met some of our WIN friends who have come early to help with the decorating and setting up the rally.

The Cowboy Bar has outside dancing. When it is hot they have umbrellas for the tables and giant fans blowing water in the air. We were lucky the temperature was perfect.

We did not see any nude dancers.

It was a three piece band for a while. Another band member showed up later.

This affair happens every Wednesday. People bring their own steaks or other meats and cook it on the grills. Baked potatoes with salad can be bought.

My group did a lot of dancing.

It was beautiful when it got dark. We left at 9:30 PM. I will be able to dance two more Wednesday there when we are at the Dance Rally.

It appears some women left their underwear at the bar.

March 30, 2017.
This was another beautiful day. The temperature was 75 degrees F.
Rich took Lyn and me on a long drive. Barbara fell out of her motorhome last night and she was in pain. She had flipped the wrong switch and instead of turning a light off, she brought the step in.
When she tried to take the dog for a walk she did not turn on the light. She was afraid bugs would get into the motorhome.
When she stepped outside there was no step and she fell to the floor. She was very lucky and did not break any bones.
Our first stop was Uwalde where we went to a bank. I thought that Rich was going to do some bank business. This bank is like no any other bank. The entrance is like a hotel lobby, it is large.
I took only one picture because I did not know whether it was allowed.
The bank is also a place where somebody keeps his art collection. There are paintings and bronze statues all over the place, even behind the tellers.

I talked to the receptionist and she told me that we could get a tour. Unfortunately the person who gives the tours was on the telephone on a conference call. Rich did not want to wait and we declined the tour.
Then we stopped for a few minutes at the H-E-B store and I went in and bought the last loaf of Bauern Brot. It was the last loaf they had of this bread.  I would have liked to buy two. Only their big stores have a bakery. In Hondo H-E-B has only a small store. They sell Wonder Bread and all the other brands.
Rich and Lyn went also to a hardware store.
From Uwalde we drove North on highway 83 through the Texas Hill Country. In Leaky we turned East and in Vanderpool South.
We had lunch in Utopia where the film: “Seven Days in Utopia” was filmed. I have never heard of this film, they sell DVDs at the restaurant.
We all ordered the special of the day, which was chicken fried hamburger, mashed potatoes, gravy and green beans, and dessert.
I had never hears of chicken fried hamburger and it was actually a good meal. I did not eat the breading though; it was too greasy.
On the wall of the restaurant are two deer heads with large antlers. We had some questions about them. The deer lose their antlers every year.

It was a wonderful ride, flowers were in bloom and all the trees have their leaves now.
At 4:30 PM we had Happy Hour again at Rich’s place.

March 31, 2017.
Rich and Lyn drove today to Fredericksburg.  One of her first grade students plays in a band there. Barbara is still nursing her pain from falling. I did not feel like driving 90 miles one way to a place to which I can go next week without driving so far.
I went to Hondo to do some shopping and cleaned the tires of the car and the motorhome. The rest of the day I took it easy.
On my walk at the Escapee Resort I took pictures of two sites. All sites in the park look different.
This site has a giant tree on it. The owners have a fifth wheel trailer and a motorhome, and a shed. People call it a shed for tax purposes. In most cases it is a room with television and air conditioning.
On this lot they have a lot of small decorative items.

On this site is only a shed and a  motorhome.

April 1, 2017.
We had planned to drive to Sabinal and go to the Wild Hog Festival. Rich was kidding us and told Lyn to sign up with me for the hog catching contest.
Last night there was an announcement on the news that this region would get bad weather today, so we canceled the outing.
It was raining a bit this morning and the sky was very dark. I went there anyway. The carnival section of the festival was almost empty.

The food vendors did a little bit better. The affair was in a park with leaves still on the ground.

Children could ride ponies and camels.

There were a lot of people where the hog catching was going on. The seats in the bleachers were all taken and spectators were standing about ten deep on the ground. Only the people in front were seeing what was going on.
I did not feel like spending five dollars for a bad spot and moved on.
At 4:30 PM we met again at Rich’s shed for Happy Hour.
This is my last day at D'Hanis.

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