The Longdogs

The Longdogs
Willy, Harley (back center), and Gretchen

A Wild Ride

My son surprised me the other morning. He called and asked what I was doing and said we needed to head out together for the day. So off we went. He brought his dog Angus so I took Willy along as well.

We headed out around highway 46 towards Boerne, across I-10, and on to highway 16 north to Bandera, the Cowboy Capital of Texas. We stopped just long enough to  get a coffee at the Dogleg Coffee House, appropriate right? It was too chilly to sit at the tables outside and Steve said we had a long way to go so we moved on north on 16 until we got to Medina. I thought the Apple House would be a good stop for lunch but Steve had an agenda.


We turned left on RR 337. Steve wanted to show me the route he and his Dad took on their motorcycles a couple of weeks ago. He kept saying how fantastic the road was and that he didn't know there were places like that so close to San Antonio. I told him that it was indeed a neat road as I had taken that route to get to Lost Maples State Park. He kept saying just wait. I love road trips so I was already enjoying every minute. The road has some great overlooks off into valleys, some really decent hills, and some great scenery. There are also some neat log cabins grouped around some small lakes on private property.

We got to Vanderpool which is where I had turned off in the past to head towards Lost Maples. We continued on RR 337 towards Leakey (pronounced Lake-y). This is where things really begin to get exciting. This is part of the Three Twisted Sisters (RR335, 336, and 337) ride of motorcycling fame. Once you get past Vanderpool, this is absolutely NOT a road for RVs....probably not even for the faint of heart in big cars. It twists and turns with switchback after switchback going uphill and downhill. It is beautiful, scenic, and exciting. Make sure you have great brakes and don't head out without a full tank of gas as stations are few and far between. I am so disappointed that I didn't get some great photos of this part of the road to include here....unfortunately it was very overcast and dark but it was still a great way to spend the day.


Whew!  It was getting way past lunchtime once we finished this part of the ride so we stopped at the The Pen in Leakey. It is a motorcyclists favorite but there were no riders due to the time and temperature.


We were going to sit on the patio with the dogs hoping the building would block the icy wind but the manager said to come on in as there was only one other customer and he didn't care.


Angus is keeping a close eye on Steve while he is over at the counter ordering some brisket sandwiches for us.

Willy was equally observant.  Of course, both of them know they aren't getting the people food but hope springs eternal. After a delicious lunch, we continued down the road.

We decided to head back towards San Antonio on Highway 83 rather than backtracking as it was already about 3:30PM. Just down the road, we spotted this sign. Garner is one of the most popular state parks in Texas even though it is a bit out of the way. I've never been there soooooo....of course, we had to stop for a tour.

It has on it's winter face but there would be lots of nice shade and it is a large park with several campgrounds. One of them had quite a few RVs while most of the others were empty. I'm sure that won't be the case next week when the first round of Spring Break hits Texas. In the summer, they have dances in a big pavilion that are very popular. These are screened shelters.

There are also quite a few nice looking cabins.

Swimming here is in the river and, even in the middle of the summer, it is quite chilly so a very refreshing dip. We saw a number of flyfishermen out enjoying the day.


Once we were a bit further down the road, the road was quite flat and the hills we just twisted our way through shrunk in the distance. There were fields with irrigation equipment ready to roll.

I had a wonderful day. The scenery was fantastic and, of course, so was the company. Thanks so much Steve for sharing the ride you loved. Angus and Willy both got in a lot of snooze time sharing the backseat but I know they really enjoyed the outing too.

The Big One....65

It seems like just moments ago that I had the "Magic" birthday, you know....the one where you can get your National Park Senior Pass that opens the door to the wonders of our national parks and....let the magic begin.

This year's birthday was the one that requires all the advance research and work. Your mailbox begins to overflow months and months in advance with all the advertisements for supplements for "Medicare". As the spouse of a retired member of the Air Force, any snafu's in applying and obtaining Medicare approval will result in the loss of one's Tricare benefits so that is a huge anchor hanging over your head until that card is obtained. On the other hand, getting Medicare also means that you go on Tricare for Life which sounds good but actually means that you probably won't get to continue seeing your regular military doctor who has been your primary care doctor for quite a while. Oh, and the really exciting part is that they disenroll you with your doctor at the beginning of the month rather than on your birthday so......those tests your doctor ordered the end of January....she won't be able to see you to interpret the results.  And, last but not least, your cost for health insurance increases significantly. Intelligent arrangement right???

Then, you need to make sure you get the new driver's license. And, even though you just had to get a new military I.D. card three months ago, you have to make an appointment and get another one so that they can change something on the back of the card. Intelligent arrangement right???

So what is the upside here? Well, I am still alive and in pretty good health. I worked hard and made intelligent decisions while we were both working so we have decent retirement income. I already have a great RV and it is getting easier to let my DH know I am going RVing even if he doesn't want to go (he doesn't....and to ignore smart comments about sitting in a box while he sits in his comfy recliner.) LOL

Something also happens with the Texas Park pass too but it isn't anything like the magic that comes with the National Park Senior Pass. I'm going to have to check into that. I am so ready to go RVing.

In some ways, all the required preliminary events can make the actual birthday seem a little anticlimactic...unless, of course, you have a great son and daughter-in-law that throw you a birthday party with family and friends in attendance. Then it is great!

Nice birthday cake....very unique!

What? A second birthday cake!  This is really a celebration.

Of course, there were the usual comments about candles standing for decades so that there won't be a house fire. LOL

And there were some other surprises as well.


 
The big surprise was a Microsoft Surface which is a tablet with unique computer features.

 
Some entertainment from the granddaughter.
 
All in all, it was a great birthday celebration......thanks again Steve, Helen, and Dave!

Enchanted In Wimberley

It was a beautiful day just begging for a road trip so Willie and I set off for Wimberley. I used the GPS and found a route that I hadn't taken before. always a plus. It routed me all the way through New Braunfels which could be taken as a minus but I wasn't in a hurry so enjoyed the sites there too. The other dachsies probably weren't thrilled that they were staying home but three dachsies out for lunch was a bit much. So Willie got to go, he's the oldest. Then there's the fact that he can get in more trouble than the other two but, no, can't consider that as it might be construed as rewarding bad behavior. lol

It was an enjoyable drive through country roads. Willie enjoyed it until he couldn't keep his eyes open any longer....about 15 minutes. Once we arrived in Wimberley, we had an enjoyable walk around town. Willie keeps his eyes open for a petting opportunity. He's always up to meet new people.

Wimberley has lots of trees both natural and manmade. See the Texas bottle trees?

We decided on Ino'z for lunch.

They have a nice patio overlooking the creek where well behaved dogs are welcomed.

Lunch was great and very relaxing. Willie did a lot of people and bird watching.

Just up the street, there's a nature trail and preserve....nice to keep in mind for a people walk.



We enjoyed some art on our walk around town.

Hmmmm.....these are new. They weren't here the last time I came but that was a while ago. Wow, there are 30 of these huge painted cowboy boots around town with another 15 or 20 scheduled to be displayed this spring.

Each one is handpainted by an artist.

Don't worry, I didn't see all 30.


This one is kind of like a disco ball with the sun shining off of it.

Do you ever have those days where you feel like the Queen Bee?

This kitchen shoppe is quite well known. They have everything for the kitchen that you can imagine and quite a few things I couldn't imagine.

If you want to come up for a day or two, you might want to rent one of these log cabins if you don't have an RV.

Wimberley is definitely is enchanting and worth a visit any time.

Wimberley is also famous for the "Blue Hole".

The hole wasn't open for swimming; however, it was free to walk the trails. Alas, dogs are not allowed on the trails.

Altogether, it was a beautiful day and a lovely road trip.

Can You Say Fratelli?

Sunday evening, my DH and I were invited over to our long time friends, the Delbridges, for a birthday party. Both of their sons (Chris and Bobby) had birthdays only a couple of days apart and requested "fratelli's" for their birthday dinner. Now I have to admit, we have always called them "fertilles" but another friend from Italy said they were probably "fratelli's" and, for once, Google was absolutely no help.

In any case, our friends did a tour with the Air Force over in Italy where they learned to love and make fratelli's. We all love them. Steve and Helen were invited too but they had to take the kids back up to Brownwood to meet their Mom.  Steve was very disappointed and made Bobby, one of the birthday boys, promise to save him a couple. These sandwiches are so good but they are also a lot of work to make so it doesn't happen often. First you make the bread or roll dough, let it rise, then make large balls of it and let it rise again. Then you have to roll each one out individually.


Inside you put some ham, some mozzarella cheese, and some Italian seasoned and diced tomatoes. We always used to put sliced black olives and some onion in them as well which really adds to the flavor but one of the birthday boys doesn't like those two items.

And then you deep fry them. Bob has a big deep fryer that he sets up outside. Loretta made a total of 48 fratelli's and there weren't a lot of them left but Steve did get his.

We prepared these once quite a few years ago for a booth at an air show when the hubbies were still in the Air Force. We couldn't keep up with the demand and made Bob promise to never volunteer us again. It was hotter than heck outside that day and we made the dough for and rolled out hundreds of these popular treats.

A Visit to the Alamo

The grandkids were in San Antonio with their Dad this weekend. Morgan is writing a report on William Barrett Travis complete with bibliography (3rd grade) and her teacher suggested that since her Dad lives in San Antonio, she should ask if he would take her to the Alamo. Of course, he was happy to do that and I got invited along with the four of them.

On our way to the Alamo, we walked past Travis Park named after, you guessed it, William Travis. The 2.6 acre park in the heart of downtown San Antonio was part of the original Alamo Mission. It was deeded to the city in 1870 by Samuel Augustus Maverick. There is currently a collection of art from San Antonio's Sister City, Monterrey Mexico, on display in the park.

From a distance, the statues look like rabbits.


Some of the statues were very colorful.

We arrived at the Alamo a few minutes later. People think of this structure as the Alamo but it was actually an unfinished church at the time of the famous battle.



The famous battle was fought in 1836. The tour of the church and grounds at the Alamo is free and, although there was a long line, it moved along quickly. They only allow so many in the church at one time and you cannot take pictures inside.



A group decked out in appropriate clothing was scattered throughout the grounds which made the tour even more interesting since we have all been there a number of times.

The uniforms below were like those worn by Santa Anna's troops.



This "gambler" was showing visitors how to play.

This would have been a prominent local citizen.

They even had a demonstration of firing the weapons of the time. The gentleman in the flat crowned hat was dressed like William Travis.



This is another building on the grounds that I hadn't noticed over in the corner before. I didn't get a picture of the barracks that were built as part of the wall around the area. They are now set up as a museum.

We were surprised at how much Morgan already knew about William Barrett Travis from a library book but she took lots of notes on facts for her report.