The Longdogs

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

Conestoga Wagon Weekend

This week, my DH and DS were off to Ruidosa New Mexico for the Golden Aspen Rally and DIL had to fly to Chicago to be a guide for a blind triathlete competing for a place on the Special Olympics team. That meant that it was all up to Grandma....I mean I got to have a weekend with the Grandkids and the granddog. Helen flew out on Wednesday so Angus came over and settled in that morning. Friday afternoon, I drove up to Marble Falls to pick up the Grandkids.

By the time we drive back from Marble Falls, it's already 8PM so there was just time for a movie and a telephone call with their Dad. Saturday morning, we had breakfast burritos and then we were off to Bandera Texas.....the Cowboy Capital of the World. I've been wanting to take the kids to Bandera to see the Texas Shootout for a while now. A group puts on a shootout nearly every Saturday near the Visitors Center in Bandera.

After we arrived, we spent some time walking around the downtown area. In the background, you can see the "self-proclaimed 100% Indian and his wolfdog". I don't know about the Indian part but it sure didn't look like a wolf to me.

 We were very disappointed when we found out that the shootout wasn't going to happen because the participants had another gig out of town but we still had a terrific ride in a real conestoga wagon. The driver asked Cameron if he wanted to sit up front.

This series of pictures cracked me up. The dog's name is Cody and his preference to ride shotgun with the driver.

He started out on the platform behind the drivers bench and worked his way back up to the front.

Ah success.....just so you know kid.....I am the navigator on this ride.

Morgan said she would rather sit in the back of the wagon with me. The driver took us for a nice ride down the backstreets of Bandera. We actually saw him when we were coming into Bandera earlier. He was just coming into town. He gives rides for donations. We had a great time so he got a pretty healthy donation from us.

It's not unusual to see a lot of motorcycles in this area as it is a great place to ride but there were quite a few cycles in town this weekend as it was the Thunder in the Hills Motorcycle Rally. These bikes were all parked by the 11th Street Bar. It's a pretty neat place. On Wednesday nights, you bring your own meat, buy a set-up with baked potato and salad, and then cook your meat on one of the big grills they have set up out in the back yard. The bar area inside is pretty small but they have a big yard with grills, lots of tables, and a stage for the barn.

I took a couple more shots at the end of our ride.


Bandera has a nice park right along with Guadalupe River with grills and tables. We headed down there with our picnic lunch. Cam wanted to call his Dad and tell him all about the conestoga wagon.

Remember the smiling face earlier. This is the look you get when you put Miracle Whip on her ham sandwich instead of butter. It was spread so thin that you really could barely see it. It made for a long lunch.

Remember all those bikers in town? Well here are a few of them enjoying the river.

One more pass through town and then we headed back to San Antonio.

We didn't have swimsuits with us but the kids managed to get a swim in at the neighbors when we got home. Then it was time for pizza and "Cinderella".

Helen flew back in late last night and came over to join us today for breakfast. Later on, we headed over to the Barnes and Noble Bookstore just in time to meet up with Grandpa and Dad. We traded car riders and suitcases so Steve and Helen could take the kids back up to Marble Falls. Altogether it was a great weekend for everyone. Boy, am I tired.

Riding the River

Today was another beautiful sunny summer day. Now it might be fall where some of you live but I can tell you, it is definitely still summer here in South Central Texas. If you can't be camping, it was the perfect kind of a day for a drive. The Traveling Longdogs thought so too so off we went and this time Angus the Therapy Dog was also along for the ride since he is staying with us while his Dad and Grandpa are off to a motorcycle rally.

We decided to travel along the River Road out of New Braunfels. It was a nice quiet drive since it's the middle of the week. It wouldn't be quite as serene on a weekend.....just a lot busier.

The water is still at a decent level even after the lack of rain in recent months.

This section of the river is pretty calm.

The river banks are pretty much privately owned with lots of campgrounds.


I don't remember noticing this beautiful and lofty perch before.

The trees meet overhead in this section and someone hung an American flag. It's high enough that no ones RV would touch it.


Gilligan's Island.

Seems funny to see these signs when it is 98 degrees outside but they are year round signs.



After I completed the River Road drive, I headed into New Braunfels to check out Hinman Island Park where I found a flotilla of toobers enjoying themselves.


We also checked out Landa Park where there is a whole new section that I hadn't seen before.

This is on the very short Comal River.


Lots of enjoyment going on at Landa Park too.
 
All in all, it was a lovely drive with great company.

Viewing the Aftermath

Four months after the tremendous rainfalls that hit much of Texas around Memorial Day, I wondered how our parks are doing. Many state parks as well as Corps of Engineer parks were heavily damaged. Texas State parks web sites report that all but four of the damaged parks are up and running much to the delight of Texas residents and other visitors. While things may not be perfect at all the parks, people are camping and having fun. Blanco State Park took a lot of damage from the river flooding but the majority of debris (and there was a lot of it) has been removed so that people could enjoy the park over the summer. The dam still needs some work. I've heard that volunteers

I took a drive out to Canyon Lake with the Traveling Longdogs for company. They are always up for a ride. The COE swimming area was up and running as well as the marina. This was great news since even the road out to those areas was completely under water.

Next stop was Potters Creek. The COE website still says that this park could be closed for up to a year. Work has been done in one area but the damage is still very evident from the area that I could see. There is no access to the other areas.

You can see the debris piled up.

On my drive, I saw this cute little trailer. The picture is terrible unfortunately but you can see the little deck that has been added to the back of the trailer with room for one chair and a little awning. My first thought was that the extra weight behind the axle might cause the trailer to tip back but the owner solved that with one little support under his "deck". Such ingenuity.

The water is not up very high any more.

Somehow all this would will need to be removed.

I can't remember the last time that this float was actually floating.

But it sure is floating now.

Makes me wonder what the water level will be like by the time this park is finally repaired and back to normal.

I spoke to someone and asked about volunteer help. I was told that many people had volunteered but the COE would not allow any volunteers based upon concern about liability issues. I guess the state of Texas was more concerned about getting the parks back open to the public than concentrating on liability.....oh wait, I bet they just got the volunteers to sign liability waivers....a win for everyone.

We also traveled over to Cranes Mill COE park on the other side of the lake. The COE websites say Cranes Mill is closed until 30 September. The RV area looked fine....I couldn't really see any damage and I understand the bathrooms were not affected. Hmmmm.....I saw people camping in the RV area. Now the tenting area is another story. It suffered more damage and is gated off so 30 September might not be a reality there as I couldn't see any work going on there at least from the far side of the gate.

Camping in Texas has been impacted quite a bit from an overabundance of rain in a short period of time. Kind of ironic when lack of rain is usually the problem.