Cowboy Church

Last Sunday we attended a Methodist church real close to the campground. We could have walked, but didn’t. It was as we expected, except the people were more friendly than we thought they would be. It was a very traditional service, choir sounded great, message on a series of giving.

This Sunday, we decided to attend a church we had passed a few times in and out of the town that we are close to. The Cowboy Church. Part of what we like about traveling, you always meet other Christians and can fellowship with them. Some predictable, like last Sunday, and some unpredictable, like this. We arrived early, not sure of the exact time of the service. They served breakfast, and what a spread! What you would consider to be a true cowboy breakfast. Several hot casserole dishes, breakfast burritos, potatoes, beans, fruit, muffins, cobbler, donuts. The works!! Most of the fellows had jeans and cowboy hats, which stayed on except during the prayer, at which time they were asked to “remove your cover”. The music was totally western, some unique, written for the service, others adaption of early western songs acknowledging God and his power and presence, and all sung with guitar back up. The building was a huge metal building (they used to meet in a circus tent!) that is being worked on and is not completed. Paul found out they will be using old barn wood for the front, which is currently open metal beams. The fan above was huge, maybe 10 foot long blades, no need for air conditioning! Also up in front was an old jail wagon and a “surry with a fringe on top”, and in the back for the kids were wooden rocking horses! Great gospel message on Saul’s conversion. What a really unique experience in worshipping our Lord.

After lunch, we went to Comfort to do some antiquing, passing Welfare along the way!

More Chillin With the Deer

I’m back….. We wore ourselves out going every day this week, so decided this would be a chance to relax, get caught up on housework and laundry, and just kick back. While I finished a book, Paul got to take a nap!
We were greeted by lots of deer this morning! Again, I tried to download video of deer (nosing the camera, really cute) but got an error. If I figure out how to edit to get the picture, I will try again!

Deer, Pacific War Museum, and bats

Since we were heading back to Fredericksburg again yesterday, we found another route to take just so we could get another view of the Texas Hill Country. It really is beautiful. We also wanted to avoid the previous day route, that took us on a road that we had to pull off of due to the rain storm that included hail the size of large corn kernels! (I forgot to mention that in the previous blog! Kinda scary. We are not letting Paul wash the windshield anymore!)
Along this route were many animals, starting with goats, llamas, snake and deer. Yes, we can even leave the campground and find animals in need of us. This poor deer was struggling to get out of a barbed wire fence. We turned around to help her after John spotted her thrashing around. With no cutters or gloves (Barbara didn’t have either in her purse), Paul and John used limbs to pull the barbed wire apart in order to free the deer.

She finally calmed down enough for them to get the wires separated enough for the deer to bound off.

Also along the roadway, we saw an historic farmstead

as well as the old train tunnel where millions of bats emerge close to sundown. (See later in this blog)

We finally got to our destination, the National Museum of the Pacific War. We had toured the outside (see previous blog) but ran out of time to see the inside. There are three separate museums in one:
The George Bush Gallery, which displayed the timeline of World War II from 1939 to 1945. There were school children there that were given tours by veterans and I followed one during the last third of the gallery, he was so interesting.
Flag of our Fathers

Door from the Arizona

This is the first “smart bomb”!

Very intriguing to me was an american flag made by prisoners. When they realized they were going to be captured, they cut out the stars, then burned the flag they had, so it would not be desecrated. They then used parachute material from the food parachuted in to the camp and sewed this flag together with a nail for a needle. I was so caught up in the story and realizing the significance of it, I did not take a picture, for which I am sorry. This part of the museum is doubling in size, and will be closed June 1 and reopened with more displays on Dec. 7. Definitely need to come back!
Admiral Nimitz Museum, covering Admiral Nimitz career, is housed in the historic Nimitz Hotel.

and the Pacific Combat Zone. The highlight of Paul’s day was this third Atomic Bomb, which was available, but not used. It was pointed out by the veteran volunteer and by the guide at this museum, that although 49 million were killed in the war, millions more would have been killed had they not used the first two bombs. The war would have continued for many more years.

This picture is for you, Nate. (Although this gun is on real PT 309, this is what was on your humvee!)

This picture is for you, Andy
(The picture of the sub itself came out really dark)
This picture is for you, Uncle John

This picture is for you, Troy (Just because it has your name!)

Afterwards, we waited around in town, checked out some more of the shops and had dinner at the Fredericksburg Brewery,

and then returned to the Old Tunnel Wildlife Management Area for viewing the emergence of the bats. What a sight!! For four minutes, the bats emerged. I tried to download the video but it would not take. I tried to get a still, but it came out blurry but it is all that I can get on the blog. They are mostly Mexican Free-tailed Bats

Truly a great experience to see them!

Luckenbach and Stonewall (LBJ Ranch)

Wednesday our destination was the LBJ State Park. But on the way we stopped at a town located in a wide spot in the road, Luckenbach. It is famous for its reference in a country western song. The slogan for this town is “everybody’s somebody”.
It consists of a dance hall, general store with post office (that has no stamps, as I tried to buy some) and


Along the highway were just the pots we wanted! But we did not find anyone around to see if they were for sale, and are not thieves, so there they sit!

To tour the LBJ State Park, you are given a CD with information on points of interest along the road.
The first stop is the Sauer-Beckmann Farm that depicts rural life in 1900-1918, an early part of LBJ’s life. Located at the edge of the Johnson property across the river, they were neighbors. A daughter of the original family was the midwife at the birth of the president.

We passed the school house where he started school at age 4, as well as his birthplace. This was the site, original one was torn down, but when Johnson purchased the land, he had the house recreated and used it as a guest house.

And the cemetery where he is buried. The tall stone is his, the flowers on the side are where Lady Bird is buried, but there is no
headstone for her yet. This is as close as we could get.

We got to the end of the road and could only tour the hanger (here is a runway long enough to accommodate Air Force I)

which now houses his cars. This is the most famous, an amphibious car

and his office in the house (no inside pictures allowed).

The house was donated to the state on his death in 1972, but Lady Bird had a life estate and lived there until she died in 2007. The state is almost ready to open the living room and dining room and then the rest of the first floor, but the office is the only room open to the public at this time.

So he was born, lived, died and is buried all in the same place!! I can see why!!

We then went into Fredericksburg to have lunch and nose around, getting some great deals on books! A buck apiece!!


Wednesday, we visited a couple of small towns near the campsite. Well actually, near is relative since these were as far as San Antonio, just the other direction! Among them

Ingram and

Hunt, with it’s copy of Stonehenge!

It sounds like these just started as a joke, with one fella setting a stone in the middle of the other one’s field. Then the owner of the field had him make more so that it is 60 percent as tall and 90 percent as large in circumference as the one in England. It also has Easter Island-type statues

Then we went on to Fredericsburg, which is a larger town. This town is one we hope to return to since there is so much to see. We were close enough and early enough to visit a couple of sites.
Fort Martin Scott is a pre-Civil War military outpost. This is the only original building, although there were several others to depict how the officers lived.

The Texas wildflowers were out in full bloom

We also took a look at the grounds of the National Museum of the Pacific War. It was very touching. There was a monument to each of the last ten presidents to have served, starting with President Truman and ending with George W. Bush. It is sad that there is a trend of non-service in the more recent presidents. Seems it should be a qualification since they are Commander-in-Chief!

There are plaques all around the walls of those who served in all of the wars,

as well as a Japanese Peace Garden.

But it was to late to see the inside. So that will be another day.
On the way home we stopped in Comfort just to see this monument.

The Nueces “Treue Der Union” Monument : Those in Comfort at the time were openly sympathetic with the Union cause. Friction between the Confederates caused 65 men to leave the area and go to Mexico. The group was surprised and attacked by soldiers on the west bank of Nueces River about 20 miles from Fort Clark. Nineteen settlers were killed and nine wounded. Confederate losses were two killed and 18 wounded. The nine wounded settlers were captured and executed a few hours after battle. This is one of only six National Cemeteries permitted to fly the U.S. flag at half-staff in perpetuity. You can’t see the flag very well in the picture, but it is at half mast.
All of the above towns were settled by Germans in the early to mid 1800’s. And I always thought it was the Spanish and Mexicans who were the early settlers of Texas! Click here for more information on these towns.
Another full and interesting day! Today our plan is to go to LBJ ranch and historical site.

San Antonio Day 2

We decided to continue our journey on the San Antonio Missions Trail. It consists of five missions in the San Antonio area that are part of the National Park system. The furthest north is the Alamo, which is downtown San Antonio. Be sure to click on the names of each mission to get a full story and even better pictures! It is more interesting than I could tell, and I won’t have to add so much to the blog:)!

Mission Concepcion The stones to build this mission were from a quarry located on the grounds. It must have been a huge area above ground for the amount of stones needed, and the relatively small indentation in the ground.

Front of chapel and quarters to the right

Close up of door handle

and door

Paintings on ceiling

Bell pull cord

Wall Paintings

Mission San Jose is considered to be the “Queen” due to the size of the complex. I think it also has to do with the craftsmanship and detail as well.

The Indian quarters

The detail of the Rose Window is amazing. Folklore credits a carpenter and surveyor from Spain with carving the famous window as a monument to his sweetheart, Rosa. Tragically, on her way from Spain to join him, Rosa was lost at sea. It was completed as a declaration of enduring love. A more likely theory is that the window as named after Saint Rose of Lima, the first saint of the New World.

More exquisite detail above the main door

As well as the painted detail on this outside wall

Mission San Juan is still being used for worship today.

Again, the doors are fascinating!

Mission Espada continues to be used today

This door had a unique setting as well

I always watch for the most unusual sites during a trip. I think this is it, at least so far! In checking online for the artist’s name, Tom Otterness, it looks like he has other public sculptures as well. So whimsical! Click on Makin’ Hay below to see them.
Makin’ Hay

Another great day of retirement!

San Antonio

Barb and John arrived safely on Sunday afternoon. We caught up with each other, then planned our outings. We all had The Alamo at the top of our list, and neighbors here at the camp said the Riverwalk was a must see! So Monday morning after greeting our pet deer, we headed for downtown San Antonio!

Right out in front there is a plaza, with this Cenotaph that was erected in honor of the Alamo defenders during the 100 years celebration of Texas independence

All four sides have statues of historical figures.
Across the street, we were told to go into the Hyatt and it would take us down to the Riverwalk. These pictures were taken along the steps going down. Quite impressive!

Yes, even this glass sculpture made from candy bowls!

The same couple who told us about the Riverwalk suggested that we take the boat ride to get the overall feel for the Riverwalk. We did and were impressed! We saw more from the boat than if we had walked. (We probably would not have seen all of it had we just walked)

We got a little history of the formation of the Riverwalk, how the canals that were added in the 1920’s after a flood from the river.

Saw the original San Antonio Sears building (they seemed to have had the best buildings back in the day!)

The three sided medical center where Oliver North and Carol Burnett were born.

The Rivercenter Mall

And left over buildings from the 1968 Expo

We ate at one of the Mexican restaurants along the river at lunch. Quite fun, felt like we were in a foreign country!
That about wore our boys out, so we headed back to camp.

Chillin with the deer

Today, we are chillin with the deer. This place is full of deer!

Yesterday we moved from near Houston to Lake Medina, northwest of San Antonio. For those familiar with Thousand Trails parks it is very much like Pio Pico here, much more dry than at Lake Conroe. Still pretty warm, but not as humid.
So our plan is to hang out here until Barb and John join us on Sunday… then look out San Antonio, we will be exploring!

God’s Garden

Today while the coach was have a spring installed in the back slide out, we took a forest road through the Sam Houston National Forest. I call it God’s Garden. It was absolutely gorgeous! The wild flowers are blooming like crazy all along the roadway. It was so peaceful and relaxing to be out in the forest. And of course, these pictures do not do it justice!

The ferns were everywhere;

and there was even a grove of palmettos

Last night we decided to play Skip Bo and Paul had a craving for popcorn. Not having the popper with us, he tried to pop it in a cast iron pan with a pie pan for a lid. Oops! no handle on the lid, no control over the popcorn! It was everywhere but the pan. 🙂

But I am still going to keep him! I am so grateful for Paul’s abilities. Out of the two plumbing leaks, two slideout problems, one leaking diesel tank, he was able to fix one slideout and both plumbing leaks, saving hundreds of dollars!
So we think we have had enough repair… next is replacing tires. And at the cost of each, it will be one at a time!

Chillin with the Aflac Duck

When we returned after getting repairs, we decided to change to another site. Not long after getting set up, over the hill comes the Aflac Duck, greeting us like long lost friends!!

Paul made sure he stayed around to protect the rig from cats!

Then, while Paul was on the computer, in flies a bird through the open front door, talks to Paul, then promptly leaves!
Dr. Doolittle, I presume, has replaced Paul! No doubt about it!

So we are just chillin with the birds at the campsite today.

Tomorrow we take the RV back for installation of a part that was ordered. They say repairs are expensive, I now believe them! And of course none is covered by our service agreement. We may not continue it after this trip!