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1/25/ - 2/1/2014 - Lockhart State Park, Week 2


Texas Longhorn
I had a tough time writing the blog this week, our internet at the park is extremely slow!   Downloading pictures takes forever and I tried three times and gave up each time.   Today is Saturday and (fingers crossed) it looks like the internet is finally working. 

We've been working on our plans for the spring and summer and it looks like we know what we are doing through the middle of August.  All of March will be spent in Mesa, Arizona and we already have tickets to the Cubs-Sox Spring Training game - GO CUBS!   My sister, Sue and her granddaughter Sarah will be spending their spring break with us.   During April and the first two weeks of May we will be heading slowly back to the Midwest.   We just signed up to be camp hosts at a Corp of Engineers campground on the banks of the Mississippi River in Iowa.  Camp Hosting is not a paid position but we get our site free so we are hoping this is something we'll enjoy and possibly continue to do.  We will be about 25 miles south of Dubuque and about 4 hours from Chicago so we hope to see some familiar faces.  There are no hook-ups but if you have a tent and want to visit we'd love to see you.  We will be working there from 5/15 until 7/15 and then will be heading to the Chicago area. 

Here's what's been going on this past week:

We are about 75 miles from San Antonio so last Saturday (1/25)  was our day to tour that fine city.   Temps were in the 50's when we left but it was sunny so it felt warmer.   This was Marty's first time in San Antonio and my second although my first time was a quick afternoon in July when it was about 90!

San Antonio is named for St. Anthony of Padua.  I found that interesting because we have a very old statue of St. Anthony that belonged to my great-great grandmother.   I like when things connect :).

Outside the Alamo
Our first stop was The Alamo.  We walked around all the building and read all the history.  I always get the chills when I'm inside historic buildings like this.   I picture what it must have been like back then and I get a little teary-eyed thinking of the brave men who died here.  I read too much!

San Antonio River Walk
After we left the Alamo, we took a walk on the River Walk - a looong walk!  I really need to start wearing a pedometer, we walked for about an hour so I'm guessing about 3 miles.   It's a very nice walk below street level with lots of cafes and shops along the way.   The last time I was here back in July of 2008, it was prettier with lots of hanging baskets of flowers.   Not much was blooming in January.    While on the River Walk we saw a sign for The Market.   I always want to see a "market" so we walked about five blocks down Market Street to find it.   It was like being in Mexico!   Lots of vendors inside and out selling all the things you see in the touristy parts of Mexico.  All we bought was a taco and diet coke.  

After all that walking (including the long walk back to the car) it was time to head over to the "BBQ Station" and meet our nephew Paul for dinner.  Paul is in the Marines and is stationed at Lackland Air Force Base which is in the south part of San Antonio.   He is not allowed to tell us what he is doing no matter how much we (I) pester him.  

We had a nice dinner and and visit and out of the three BBQ places we've been to in the past week this was probably my favorite. 
Maddie is trying to figure out where Paul came from
Paul's "ride"
On Monday and Tuesday we woke up to temperatures in the 20's and  frozen water pipes.  Marty was the one who discovered this and took care of it.   I stayed in bed until the water was working and I could take a shower.  We didn't do much of anything either day, tried working on the computer with very limited success and read and watched tv - boring.

On Wednesday we visited the headquarters of American Volkssport Association (AVA) in Universal City, Texas.  Marty's sister, Linn and her husband, Terry are members and I've always had it in the back of my mind that this might be something for us to get involved with.   Since the headquarters were reasonably close to where we are staying (about 45 miles) it made sense to take a drive over and get some information.  It was actually easier to join in person and pick up our walk booklets than to mail in our applications and wait for them to mail it back to Sue who would then have to mail it to us.  We are now members and looking forward to taking our first walk.  Austin has 3 and so does San Antonio so maybe we'll get one in before we head further west.

Ok, maybe I'm a "geek" but I think this is kind of cool.
The AVA is a nonprofit organization that sanctions more than 3000 walking events each year.  There are walk events in cities all over the USA and internationally.   There are two kinds of events.  The Traditional is scheduled by an AVA club and will usually have members available for registration and for further information.  The other kind of walk is called "year-round/seasonal" and is self-guided and available most days of the year.  There are two distance options for walkers,  3.1 miles or 6.2 miles.  These walks are a good way to learn about the area you're visiting.   If you want to read more, here is the link:  ava.org
 

After leaving AVA we visited Guadalupe State Park and went for a short walk.  It was a beautiful day, temps were in the low 50's and there wasn't  a cloud in the sky. 
Guadalupe State Park
Guadalupe River

From Guadalupe State Park we headed east to the Gruene Historic District in New Braunfels home of the oldest dance hall in Texas.  According to their brochure the stage has "seen the likes of Bo Diddley, The Dixie Chicks, Jerry Lee Lewis, Garth Brooks, and Willie Nelson".  How cool is that?  The dance scene in the movie, "Michael" starring John Travolta was also filmed here - I guess I'll have to rent the movie.

On the stage at Gruene Hall








Darn, it's too early for dancing

I'm "crazy" for Patsy Cline"
























We walked in to the dance hall around 4:00 but the live music doesn't start until 6:00 so no dancing for us (I forgot my cowboy hat anyway).  The hall was pretty neat with a very old wooden floor but I don't know if I would have liked it very much once the music started - a lot of Texans smoke - yuk!   The attached bar was already smoky and there were only a few people in it.  Haven't these people ever heard of lung cancer?

We crossed the street to a bar/grill across the street - Mozie's where we split a grilled cheese sandwich and a cheeseburger.  Best cheeseburger we've had in a long time.   We also stopped in at the antique store next door where I saw a set of pyrex bowls just like the ones my mom had - they were asking $125.00!   Take good care of those dishes Katie :).    
hmmmm, maybe I should start a new collection? 

Pyrex bowls, just like mom and grandma

Antiques?  Seriously??  I remember using these, what does that make me - oh never mind!


 On Friday we visited our second state park of the week - Palmetto State Park in Luling, Texas.  They have many trails and we walked the "Ottine Swamp Trail"  which was a little over one mile long.   It's weird walking along a "swamp" trail and seeing cactus.  We would have walked another trail but it was HOT!  Temps were in the low 80's and it was humid.   It's much nicer hiking when temps are in the 50's or 60's and the sun is shining.  

























This was the 8th Texas State Park we've visited and I've like them all.   They're clean and quiet (of course, it is January).   Most of them have had nice hiking trails.  I could definitely see spending more time in Texas next winter - we'll just have to wait and see where the wind takes us.