It is definitely spring in Fredericksburg. The birds are chirping and the trees and plants are coming to life. The temperature is also getting up there. In fact, earlier this week it was in the mid 80's! We have seen the TX bluebonnets start to bloom as we made our way up from the coast and now they are starting to pop here in the Hill Country as well.
We have been in Fredericksburg now for two weeks and the time has flown by! We are staying at Lady Bird Johnson City Park, which is a nice city park with full hookups, cable and decent wifi. We have a nice big site in the back of the RV park. I would not take a site that is in the middle as they are backed up to each other and you share a yard with neighbors across from you. I like my privacy! We are near the pollinator garden and the hiking trails. They also have a lovely bird sanctuary area that volunteers are constantly working on. This park is quite large with a 18 hole golf course and restaurant, several baseball diamonds and tennis courts, community rooms and houses to rent out as well as covered pavillion areas that have huge smoker grills at each of them!
Every day starts with me logging in to work on my virtual tax preparer job while Rick catches a few more Zzz's. I am really enjoying it and Rick is enjoying his extended sleep time. Then late morning, I log off and we go exploring. Some days just in the park and others we venture out around the Hill Country. I will say this last week we have not done much venturing into Fredericksburg proper because it is spring break and it has been a mob scene.
We thankfully got some of the big items checked off of our To Do list the first week. The National Museum of the Pacific War was a much anticipated stop and to our delight, we saw that they were having one of their living history reenactments of the battle of Iwo Jima in their Pacific Combat Zone area. To say it was cool, informative and not to mention moving is an understatement! There was a WWII vet there who fought in the battle of Iwo Jima and two other WWII vets also in attendance. After the re-enactment the vet provided some insights of his time in the service. I do not think there was a dry eye in the place. After the re-enactment we made our way through the PT boat and Avenger plane exhibits and stumbled upon one of the other vets having his picture taken in front of the PT boat in which he served on in WWII. Folks, I cannot make this stuff up! So very cool!!! Here are some pictures, but it really does not do the experience justice. I would definitely recommend a visit if you are every in the area.
We decided to come back on Sunday and go thru the museum since it was getting pretty busy with all the tourists and the tickets were good for three days. Sunday we got there shortly after opening and spent several hours going through the Admiral Chester Nimitz museum, that has recently been redone and the George H.W. Bush Gallery which was a depiction of the Pacific War in timeline fashion. If we thought the re-enactment was cool, we were blown away by the museums and the unbelievable amount of artifacts they had, in addition to the depth of detail and the amazing displays throughout. It was soo much, that Rick also went back on Monday and spent a couple more hours. Again, here are some pictures, but truly put this on your list if your travels ever find you in the Hill Country of TX.
On another day we took a drive out to LBJ State Park and Historic site, as well as the LBJ National Historical Park. Think of this as a two for one combo deal, both being FREE! You see one of LBJ's wishes was to ensure that people were able to visit these places of history without having to pay one cent. The back story as to why there are two seperate areas is that the LBJ National Historical Park is his house and ranch area and the State Park sits in front of it on the other side of the Pedernales River. When he became the Vice President, he purchased the land in front of his home to provide a bit more privacy. The Johnson's wanted to give both properties to the National Park system, however, the park system did not want to maintain that large an amount of land so the property on the other side of the river was given to the State Park system.
In the state park there is a very nice visitor center with a movie about the area and LBJ, the official TX longhorn herd, a bison herd, an aquatic complex and the Sauer-Beckman Living History farm. This farm depicts life at the time that LBJ was growing up in the area. We enjoyed touring the area and getting to see the longhorns. The buffalo were further out in their pasture, so we didn't get any good views of them.
We then drove over to the LBJ National park and were a bit confused when the lady at the state park said it was a 35 minute drive. What?? We can see the house sort of from here...well what we really didn't know is that the drive takes you past the school that LBJ attended, his birthplace and then winds you back thru his ranch, past the show barn, before you cross the runway to park on the taxi way near the house. Yup, it is big enough to certainly be classified as a ranch! In fact, there was still more land behind where we drove that the Johnson family still owns and hunts on to this day. We drove past the part of the Pedernales river where LBJ would regularly wow guests by driving his amphicar "into" the river on the road behind the dam, which made it look like the were driving underwater.
Once you walk towards the house, also known as the TX White House, your eyes are immediately drawn to his presidential plane that sits on the property. The visitor center is in the plane hangar and has a wonderful movie of LBJ and his life on the ranch. Unfortunately we could not tour the house because it is needing some extensive renovations, being that the house was added on several times, with numerous rooms that all have seperate air conditioners, totalling 11!!! In the TX heat they are needing a better plan to keep the humidity in check rather than emptying all of the dehumidifiers that are in each room twice a day! There is also some foundation issues that need to be addressed. The huge live oak tree in the second picture is where LBJ often held cabinet meetings. The tour of the grounds by the park service was very interesting and we came away with a good understanding of life on the ranch back in the day.
Our BBQ tour of TX continues, in fact we have had BBQ three times since arriving in Fredericksburg! Our first stop was Fritze's BBQ in Boerne(not Jason Borne, bue pronounced Bernie...ok, when in TX..), the second stop was here in Fredericksburg at Backwoods BBQ and finally, the much awaited trip up to Llano to return to Cooper's BBQ with good friends who introduced us to the place. Thanks Bill & Denise! They were all good, but Coopers won out on the three! It was just as good as we remembered it from 5 years ago. Their brisket is so delicious with some really flavourful bark and I just love their moist smoked turkey. I wouldn't be surprised if we make the 45 minute drive up to Llano to partake in the beautiful BBQ again!
One day we headed down to Kerrville, just south of where we are staying and enjoyed the beautiful weather taking a stroll on their expansive riverfront paved path that winds through town. We made three stops to explore different parts of the path and then rewarded ourselves with the closest thing we could find to a WI Lent Friday fish fry...Culvers!
We also took some time to take a hike at Cross Mountain Park which is the spot of the old wooden cross found by some of the first explorers to Fredericksburg back in the 1800's. Before that, the limestone hill served as a lookout for local indians.
And since this is our life, every day is not a picture perfect tourist life, one day, right as this virus scare was ramping up, we made our way to San Antonio to hit the big Walmart and stock up at Costco. At this point things were just starting to run out and the paper goods aisle was bare and we had to wait a half hour for them to unload the pallets of water. Geez...
We also spent another day doing laundry and all the fun domestic stuff. I will just say that laundromats are such a great place to people watch! This time we were blessed to watch some people who were trying to figure out how to load up there minivan with all of the clothes. I have never, ever seen that much laundry, all at once, in my life! I am not sure what the back story was but it was in bins upon bins and the story I was creating in my head was a pretty good one!
With all of the hysteria in the media, we are happy to have our little home and be able to just hunker down and keep to ourselves. We are also glad we will be heading out to the canyon in TX back country come April first. Ha...try and find us out there coronavirus!!!
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