The Longdogs

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

The Oldest Bakery in Texas...Naegelin's in New Braunfels

Met up with several friends at Naegelin's Bakery in New Braunfel's for coffee and goodies. Naegelin's has been operating continuously since 1868 which makes it the oldest bakery in Texas. Edouard Naegelin started a bakery in San Antonio with a partner but that didn't work out so he moved to New Braunfels to start a new bakery in 1868 when he was 24 with a dollar in his pocket and a sack of flour. He bought the current property in 1874. He ran the bakery with his family until he died in 1924. His son and daughter ran it until his son and his wife took it over. They ran the  bakery until their son took it over and ran it until 1980 when the business was sold to the Granzin family in the 1980's. .

Just across the parking lot is a fabulous mural depicting life in early New Braunfel.

As I said, it is huge. Sage, Linda, and Mary Jane posed in front of one part of it.

The artist was actually there refreshing the paint while we took photos.


After sampling several goodies like the strudel which Naegelin's is justly famous for making, we walked around town. The court house is impressive just like most of the court houses in Texas.

There are lots of beautiful old buildings in the downtown area.

There is a Train Depot Museum which was closed the day we were there but it looked interesting.


Henne's Hardware is another old family business. Henne Hardware started life in 1846 as a tinsmithing business run by Johann Henne. When Johann died in 1857, his 17 year old son Louis took over the business as Louis Henne Company and diversified it into the business it is today. Louis Henne died in 1912 and his son Adolph took it over until he died in 1943. His three sons ran the business until they sold it in 1973. The business has continued to be run like it was years ago so it is like taking a step back in time when you visit.
 
There are several other beautiful murals in downtown New Braunfels. Every Saturday, there is a Farmers Market nearby next to Krause's Biergarten and Café. It is definitely worthwhile to visit.

Dave and Steve's Excellent Grom Adventure

Since the Traveling Longdogs and I were not along on this adventure, all I can do is to write about what I have been told. Of course, that is probably not the whole story.....   Packing the Groms into the Tundra for the first leg of the trip to Alpine, TX,  Groms, in case you didn't know, are little motorcycles that ride big.

Some people are better at smiling for photos than others.
 
I think this was a lunch stop. 

Sights in Alpine where they spent the first night and left the Tundra for the rest of the trip.






The next morning, the Groms and their riders headed south towards Presidio with a stop at Marfa on the way.




They even got stopped by the "popo" in Marfa but only because the sheriff really liked their bikes and wanted one like them himself.


On the road again towards Presidio.

They left the bikes on the U.S. side and walked across the border to Mexico. Unfortunately, they couldn't even find a place to buy a soda so it was a bust.

Back in Texas again.

In Presidio, the bikes were safely tucked into the motel room for the night.
 
And then the road on around towards Terlingua. 

All the comforts of home.

They checked out the front of the State Park but decided not to make the 30 mile trip in on the gravel road.

Great views.

Texas style rest area provides some nice shade.





Ah, back to Big Bend......a favorite place.

They stayed in a motel in Study Butte between Terlingua and Big Bend. I think this is over by the Starlight Theater in Terlingua.


I know this is the Starlight. It was a theater in a past life but now is a restaurant with entertainment.


In front of the Starlight relaxing, lol.

This is the legal border crossing into Mexico at Boquillas in Big Bend National Park. And, yes, you do have to have a passport!

Once you are across, you have about a mile into Boquillas. You can walk, ride a donkey, or may be able to get a ride in an old pickup.

Touring Big Bend itself.

And, yes, this is just one of the mountains in Texas.
 
Then it was back to Alpine for the night. Well, after a slight delay. Steve had a bit of a problem with his motorcycle so he rode his Dad's back up to Alpine, loaded it into the Tundra, and then drove back to pick up his Dad. I think it was a long wait for both of them but they still had a great trip. And Steve's motorcycle is back to normal. Seems like the little Grom didn't like some of the performance upgrades Steve put on it so it is back to stock and ready to roll.

Spring Break in Louisiana

Our first thoughts for a Spring Break trip was Big Bend; however, there wasn't an RV spot open within 125 miles of Big Bend. Second thought was the Rio Grande Valley. Now I know there are plenty of parks that aren't 55+ but I sure couldn't find one when I was researching. And every Texas State Park was fully booked as far as I could tell so.......I decided to check Louisiana. When we set out, I was the only one who actually knew where we were going....everyone else was just happy to go. Steve, Willy, Harley, and I filled the front seat and Cameron, Morgan, and Angus were in the back. Helen had a Triathlon Camp and a work meeting in D.C. so she wasn't with us this time. It was a full truckload though.

Once we crossed the state line, the kids started guessing New Orleans....one of their favorite places.  But first, let me tell you about our first night out. I didn't think there would be a problem with an overnight along I-10....I was wrong.  Both of my normal stops were full. I found another Passport America park a little further along and called ahead. Yes, they had a pullthrough. Drive through the park to the back and the camphost will meet you. Obviously, 98% of the RVs were permanent residents but at least there weren't a bunch of dogs running loose. We met the host and he took us all the way back along the pot-holed road, past the cabins that had obviously been destroyed by the last hurricane to a spot near the entrance. We were in the better neighborhood next to a Tiffin motorhome. While we were hooking up, two ladies in a Class C came in next to us. Okay, this will be fine. Well, I ran the air conditioner and handed out ear plugs but you could still hear the roar of traffic on I-10 only 25 feet from us and it went all night long. Glad to leave the next morning.

The kids thoughts of New Orleans when we turned south off I-10 at Lafayette. Many miles later, Cameron saw a sign for New Orleans but I told him we definitely were not camping in New Orleans. We were staying in Westwego at Bayou Segnette State Park. This is a nice park. The sites are long and narrow and often set at more of a 90 degree angle though and the road in the campground is also narrow. You may remember me camping there in October. I was smart enough to remember that one of our group had a site that backed in from the drivers side and was not at such a sharp angle so I made sure to reserve that one. Steve directed and I got it back in pretty easily....unlike the last visit.


The kids liked the park and were okay with not camping in New Orleans. Monday morning, we drove over to  Algiers Point.

Hey kids, look across the river.

This is in the ferry terminal.


Yes, that is New Orleans!!. They enjoyed the ferry ride over.


I was all set to take the street car over to the French Quarter. Steve said.....it's only a couple of blocks and heads inland away from the river. It was an interesting walk....of at least a mile and a half!

Artists in Jackson Square.

No, this is not Café Du Monde. Sorry to say, we did not get our beignets and café au lait even though we tried three times over two days. The line was literally over a block long outside every time.....even the takeout line was nearly that long. I heard some locals say that they had never seen it so bad even during Mardi Gras.

This is the Market Restaurant

We shared an alligator appetizer....yes, it really does taste like chicken....the kids love it. Cameron tried a gyro, Morgan had a ham and cheese poboy and could barely get through half of it. Steve and I shared a  Muffalatta. They are as big as a plate so I ate a quarter, Steve got down half, and we took another quarter home with us.

The French Market is always interesting. They have a number of food options in there and even have tables now so we may go that route on the next trip.

Azaleas in full bloom.

Tuesday we headed to the Jean Lafitte Swamp Tour. I found a groupon which helped with the price.

These kids have really grown this last 6 months!.

I had to explain to all of them who Jean Lafitte was and his place in Louisiana history and also about Barataria.


There were about four boats that headed out one after another but they managed to space things out so it seemed like you were alone. It was a good tour although they cram too many people on board.


There was a gator back in there behind the log.

Can you see the turtles?

The gators were swimming along minding their own business.

An old cabin no longer in use.


Another cabin.

A baby gator made the rounds while the guide gave a nice spiel about the swamplife.


They also had a large gator head as well as a huge turtle shell which they passed around.

This tank back at the office held several small gators.

Since we were already out there we decided to go to the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve.

Unfortunately, the office and exhibits are only Wednesday through Sunday and it was Tuesday.

They had a nice board walk out through the swamp. I went back to move the truck to the far end of the mile long trail and the rest of the group headed out on the trail.

They saw a huge alligator fairly close up as well as other wildlife so they really enjoyed the trail.

We tried Café Du Monde again on Wednesday....again no luck so we settled for District Donuts. This is a favorite place for Steve and Helen. They were sold out of some of their more exotic donuts but we still got some good ones.

Since we drove to New Orleans over the Huey Long Bridge, we decided to go to the New Orleans City Park. I warned the kids that we were not getting beignets there as our group in October tried that and they were disgusting....just a warning. We walked through the sculpture garden.



It was very interesting with very diverse sculpt








On our final day, we went back into New Orleans. Steve and the kids rode the St Charles Street Street Car out to Washington Ave in the Garden District. I drove the truck and met them there since I have ridden the street car several times and they had never done it. We took them through the Lafayette Cemetery which may sound a little strange but New Orleans cemeteries are so different. I had done a tour back in October so I would explain how the whole process worked. Then we had a very late lunch at a local restaurant. Three of our group were relaxing later that evening. The dogs got lots of walks in at the park so they didn't mind staying the RV and napping while we were out touring.

All in all, it was a great trip. I made a reservation for our overnight going home at Gulf Coast RV Resort which is a PA park and very nice. They even give you breakfast like a hotel. I think this may well be the last trip we can all ride in my truck. The kids are small adults now and the back seat is very small. The only person really comfortable was the driver as the front passenger seat had to be moved way up so Cameron could fit. I will give the kids lots of credit though....they never once complained.