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1/19 thru 1/24/2014 - Lockhart State Park

Monday, 1/20/14

As we were hitching up to leave Mustang Island S.P. one of our neighbors noticed our Illinois license plates and stopped to talk.   He was from Oswego, IL and during the course of our conversation I found out he grew up in Maywood and went to Proviso East High School (that's where me and four of my siblings went).   He was older than us and graduated the year before I started but then he mentioned that his dad was a history teacher at Proviso.   I didn't remember him but it turns out that  my sister, Sue, had him for American History - what a small world!

After that little bit of weirdness we hit the road with a destination of Lockhart State Park in Lockhart, Texas.  It's just under 200 miles so a relatively light day of driving.   As we were driving, the GPS  confused us (Ok, it was me that was confused) and we had to make a u-turn!!   Rather than finding a empty parking lot Marty decided that he could just do the turn on the road and it worked!   And I didn't even freak out (too much).  It's amazing how much more comfortable he is driving this big rig.

Our new home at Lockhart State Park
When we got to Lockhart Park the office directed us to pick a site and then come back and let them know which one we chose.    This is a very small park with only 10 full hook-up sites and 10 with just water and electric.  We chose #5 and were backing in  when another rig came and told us they had just chosen that one and were already checked in at the office.  We drove the circle one more time and chose site #3 and are quite happy with it (it's better than #5 anyway).

We did have one issue when were backing in to the original spot, got too close to a branch and we now have a small tear in our rig's rubber roof.   It should be an easy fix once we find a rv store for a patch kit.

Once we were all settled in it was time for dinner and time to go explore the town of Lockhart which just happens to be the Texas capital of BBQ - who knew??  There are four bbq restaurants in town and we tried Black's.   It was ok but we didn't feel it was anything special and it was very pricey.  We have a whole week here so we'll definitely be trying the other places to see which is the best.

After dinner we drove to Best Buy in the nearby town of San Marcos.   The park has very weak WiFi and we decided to buy an antenna to boost whatever signal we could find.   It works but it's still a weak signal - 3 bars which is better than the 1 bar we started out with.   We have to have WiFi, can't live without our technology.

The telephone wires next to the highway were loaded with birds - very freaky!

Tuesday, 1/21/14

We found a Crestview RV Sales and Service Store in Buda, TX which is only about a 1/2 hour from us.  We headed over there to pick up a patch kit for the roof and also found some lubricant for the slide-outs.  It's a nice store with good prices so we picked up a catalog for future shopping.

Texas State Capital
When we got back in the car we decided to drive another 1/2 hour north into the state capital of Austin.    When we got there we parked on 6th street, the heart of the music district and walked over to the Tourist Center.  We picked up lots of brochures (probably too many) and then drove over to the State Capital Building.   We went into their visitor center and then walked into the Capital Building.  It's quite something to see but all we saw was the rotunda, the next tour wasn't for another 25 minutes and we didn't have that much time on our parking meter.   If we go back to Austin it would definitely be worth taking the tour.   Here's a trivia question for you--
Can you name the 6 different country's flags that have flown over the State Capital building?  I'll put the answer down below.


Looking up at the dome in the Rotunda

The Texas Capital Building has had six different country's flag flying over it.  The countries are:  France, Spain, Mexico, The Confederacy, The Republic of Texas, and the U.S.A.    I knew this before we visited here and thought it was an interesting fact - my brain has way too much of this useless information in it.

Smitty's BBQ
We left Austin around 4:00 and since we didn't have lunch decided to try another bbq place in Lockhart - this time it was Smitty's and the experience was much nicer and half the price.   When you walk in you go straight to the back and tell them what kind of meat you want.  They give you the meat on butcher paper and then you go into the seating area where you can choose what you want to drink and any sides that you'd like.    It was like that at Black's too but there were so many sides there that we went overboard - we're still bbq newbies.   After two days of bbq I need a break so I'm not sure when (or if) we'll try the other two places.

When we got back to the park we decided to check out one of the trails.  We walked for about 45 minutes and saw these scary looking birds.
Black Vultures

Wednesday, 1/22/14

Whenever you visit a state park in Texas you must pay a daily admission fee (this includes campers) which adds about 21.00 per week on to your camping fees.  The State of Texas does offer a State Parks Pass for $70.00 which is good for one year from the date of purchase.  We bought the pass at Galveston State Park and so far have used it for three weeks of camping.  This was an easy decision, it's already paid for itself.    It's really nice to have if you just want to spend a little bit of time in a park which is what we did on Wednesday at Pedernales Falls State Park.   We arrived there around 11:00 and checked in at the Park Office and showed them our pass, the daily admission here is $6.00 each so we saved $12.00.

Pedernales Falls "Beach"
This park is in the Hill Country of Texas and has over 20 miles of hiking trails.   We did about two miles of hiking with lots of ups and downs.  The Pedernales River runs through the park and once you get about 2.5 miles below the falls they allow swimming and tubing.   We walked down to see the "swimming area".   Since the river is so low right now you could see all the large rocks in the water and I don't think anyone would want to swim (or go tubing) in it.  

Relaxing on the "beach"

After hiking back up to the road we got in the car and looked for the trail to take us to Pedernales Falls.   We hiked down to the falls and could actually walk out to the middle of the river because the water is so low.   It was incredibly relaxing - I sunned myself on the rocks while Marty was taking photos.   This is a beautiful park and hopefully we will be able to camp here at some point.   It is interesting to read the signs about flash floods and how quickly the water turns dangerous.  Hard to believe on such a beautiful day.
Standing in the middle of the river
Sitting in the middle of the river
Playing in the middle of the river
After leaving the park we went looking for a winery.  This is easy in the Hill Country, they are everywhere!   We ended up at Duchman Family Winery and did a tasting and picked up a couple of bottles of white wine.

Enjoying a little vino

After leaving the winery around 3:30 we started looking for a place to stop for lunch.  We found a delightful cafe - The Texas Pie Company.   Marty had soup and a sandwich and I had the lunch special - Beef Strogranoff.  We both had pie (of course) for dessert.   Pecan for Marty and Lemon for me - Yum!  
Thursday - 1/23/14

Happy 5th Birthday to my great-nephew, Danny Burke!

We had a quiet day on Thursday, it was cold and blustery so we stayed inside until it was time to go visit Marty's friends Bill and Claudia who moved down to Dripping Springs, TX about 3 years ago.    They invited us to come over for dinner and we had a wonderful time visiting with them (and ate a delicious pasta meal!).   The pasta was home-made as was the bread - wow!    They came to Texas to retire but as so often happens with retirees they seem busier now.    Bill has a radio show out of Austin that broadcasts 4 hours Monday - Friday.      Claudia is a master gardener, felts, knits, and volunteers in Austin.   They have a cow named Chloe, many chickens, and a few sheep to keep them even busier. 

Bill and "friend"

We enjoyed spending the evening with them but when we left we found our truck covered in ice!!   It's a good thing we didn't give away our scraper.    What should have been a 45 minute drive back to the park ended up taking 1 1/2 hours - at one point we were at a standstill on the highway for about 15 minutes.   Many ramps were closed and it was kind of scary knowing that the other drivers probably didn't know how to drive in this kind of weather.   We were very happy when we finally got back to the rig where the inside temperature was a balmy 51.  :)

Friday, 1/24/14

We woke up to temperatures in the high 20's and frost on the ground.   We have no plans for today so it looks like a "catching up and cleaning" day.   Our water spigot is frozen so we only have the water that's left in the tank.   It is supposed to get up to the 40's this afternoon so we should be able to hook the hose back up for a little while.  

Skating at the Golf Course, a whole new sport.

Ice is pretty when you know it's going to melt soon.