The Longdogs

The Longdogs
Harley takes his role as navigator seriously!

Fun in Fredericksburg TX

This morning we all piled in the car and set out for Fredericksburg TX.  Steve has been there before but it was Helen's first trip.  Dave even decided to join us.  We set off cross country because they were doing some work on 1604 this weekend and we didn't know if they were done.  Taking back roads is a little further but better than sitting in traffic.  We weren't that far down the road when I noticed that everyone else was sleeping.  Good thing I was driving.  Once we arrived in Fredericksburg, we had to make a stop at Moto Texas Powersport (used to be Scootiques) for Dave and Steve.  This place has all kinds of vintage motorcycles and scooters.  Then we headed downtown.

Another stop with Dave leading the way was Texas Jack's.  They have vintage as well as modern western clothes, guns, hats, etc.

Halloween has hit Main St in Fredericksburg.  This guy is made of all kinds of tools and machine parts.

We walked down several blocks of Main St carefully avoiding Rustlin' Robs (more on that later) until we arrived at Silver Creek Saloon and Restaurant.  It was a little daunting at first because there was no one else sitting there but I knew it was usually crowded.  Well, I guess they were just waiting for us because it quickly filled up once we sat down.  Sorry no food pictures but we had the Schnitzel Plate, the Rueben Plate, the German Sausage Plate, and a hamburger.

Then we were off walking again down past the National Museum of the Pacific War, where they were doing some renovation work.  We didn't stop to visit but you need to plan a full day when you visit as there is a lot to see.

There are lots of wine tasting places to visit.  Alas, Helen will be doing a triathlon event this weekend in Austin so wine was not on the menu.

There are always lots of flowers along Main St.  These were definitely not the prettiest but I took a shot because the one plant was so unique.

The Keidel Memorial Hospital building is the home of the Der Kuchen Laden, the Little Chef.

Another one of Dave's favorite stops is the shop with hundreds of metal signs for sale as well as pecans and various other vegetables in jars.

There are so many old and unique buildings in Fredericksburg.  Check out that elephant on this building.

Another stop for Dave (and I have a hard time dragging him up here, lol).

And on to his absolute favorite, Rustlin' Robs Texas Gourmet Foods.  When we arrived, I quickly steered us to the other side of the street.  Why you ask?  Because there would have been no lunch if we stopped here first.  How do I know that?  Previous experience.  They have every kind of honey butter, jam, jelly, spread, pickle, seasoning, fudge, etc., you can possibly imagine and there are samples of each.  This time we had to drag Helen out of there.

Another glimpse of Halloween.

Our final stop was Clear River Pecan Company.  This place is lost in the 50's with "Grease" playing on the video.  They have lots of sandwiches (on homemade breads), salads, soups, as well as bakery items and ice cream.  But we were there for coffee and lattes.  The sidewalks in Fredericksburg roll up at about 5PM, maybe 6PM latest for the shops but this place is open until 8PM.  We stayed in Fredericksburg in the RV just a few we have been here many evenings.

Helen was still eyeing the baked goods.  If you train for and do triathlons, you can eat as much as you want of anything and still look great!

Our final stop was a run out to Ladybird Johnson RV Park.  This is where we usually stay when we have the RV.....and yes, the snowbirds have arrived.  Hmmm.....I see prices have gone up again.

It was a great day trip and we barely touched the surface.  There is so much to see here.

A Gruene Day

Deb hopped in her truck this morning and headed around San Antonio towards my house.  I gave her some shortcut directions to avoid the construction on 1604 and I-35 and she arrived without any problems.  Our first stop was Ft Sam Houston.  Deb was in the Army for a couple of years and spent some time there so it was a nostalgic visit.  Ft Sam is one of the Army's oldest installations and has been around since 1845.  It was designated a National Historical Landmark in 1975.  There are a lot of very old buildings including the Quadrangle; however, there have been a lot of new buildings built in the last three or four years.  It is now part of Joint Base San Antonio along with Randolph AFB and Lackland AFB.  Consolidation of services can be a good thing but the government's renaming fetish is a royal pain for most people so we still refer to the individual installations by their names.  We spent some time driving around and Deb was able to spot the area where she lived and trained.

Next we hopped back on I-35 and headed north to Gruene....right on the outskirts of New Braunfels.  Before we got there, we stopped at Buc-ee's.  The one in New Braunfels already had more gas pumps than you can imagine and they are in the process of adding another whole group of them.  This place is a destination stop for travelers.  Check one out if you go past one.  They have everything you can imagine and (cooked and fresh fruit and vegetables), souvenirs, awesome restrooms.  Here is Deb checking out some Louisiana type spices.  They have Texas covered too.  Want to have a picnic?  You can pick up food here.  If you want to cook it yourself, you can get a grill or dutch ovenware.

From there, we meandered out to Gruene.  I pointed out the Gristmill, Gruene Hall (the oldest dance hall in Texas), and all of the other sites Gruene has to offer.  I've posted pictures before so check here if you want to see more.  It's always nice to see all the flowers blooming.

We ended up at Adobe Verde in Upper Gruene for lunch where we both had the Enchilada Verdes special.  It was delicious and I had already eaten one of the enchiladas before I remembered to snap a picture.

We went in a few of the shoppes.  If you see Deb, you'll have to ask her about the book she bought.  It will be a definite conversation starter if she eats out alone.  The fluffy red feather book marker alone will incite interest.  It's tucked inside here.

She passed on this sign though.

We headed back to my house and visited a while longer so she would miss the evening rush hour traffic.  I was sorry to see her go but glad we had this time together.  Until we meet again Deb!

A Day on the Riverwalk with Deb

As we parted company last night, Deb and I made tentative plans to meet downtown and tour the Riverwalk and surrounding area.  The reason for the "tentative" plans was the weather and the strong chance of rain.  Now, we certainly don't want to complain about rain around here as we really need it. So when I got up, it was pouring.  I would have added cats and dogs but that is pretty ridiculous as cats hate it and dogs aren't too fond of it either.  Harley will go out and chase a ball in it but then he is pretty focused on "ball".  Gretchen will run out and take care of business.  Willy will "hold it" until he is about to burst in hopes that it will quit and the ground will miraculously dry right up.  So Deb and I conferred via FB messages and decided to wait a while longer in hopes that it would at least slow down to a drizzle.  The front passed through her area faster than it did here as we are on opposite sides of San Antonio.  Finally, it looked like it was clearing behind the rain showing on the weather maps so we decided to head out and meet up.  I found a fairly convenient and inexpensive parking lot and gave her the address so we could each program our GPSs.  We both found the lot and figured out the machine you have to use, inserted our money, and got our parking slips.  The main river part of the Riverwalk was right across the street.  After walking a block in one direction and turning around when we finally found a map, we were off to the part of the Riverwalk with which most visitors are familiar. And, yes, there was some drizzle still coming down but we didn't care.  Deb hasn't been here since the early 70s so things have changed quite a bit.

Before long, the umbrellas were stowed away.  If you haven't been to San Antonio for a while, the Riverwalk along the main river has been extended for miles in both directions so you can really get quite lengthy walks in.

Once we reached the loop portion, we used the walkway through the Hyatt Regency to get up to street level.  It's a very nice walk inside then outside along a little man-made stream that leads you up to a spot right across from the Alamo.

We went back down to the Riverwalk and completed the whole loop and exiting up through La Villita so we could see Hemisphere Plaza.  Then we walked along the street back to a central part of the Riverwalk.

We decided on Cafe Ole' for a very late lunch.

We were right on the river but under a covered porch "just in case".  I don't think any of the restaurants were serving on the little tables at the edge of the river due to the weather.  The Taco Salads were fantastic and the Margaritas weren't bad either.

We walked around some more after lunch and stopped for coffee and pumpkin spice lattes at McDonald's to warm up before we headed back to our vehicles.  It was a great day in spite of the weather and we were very glad we decided to "go for it".

A Day In Bandera TX

Today was a banner day.  A friend I've known for two years online through Women RV Forum was going to be passing through the area.  We've been planning this meet-up since she first set out on her grand adventure.  She left the northeast weeks and weeks ago and traveled down the coast meeting friends and relatives all the way to Florida.  There she met up with a friend she hasn't seen in 40 years and had a lot of play time with Micky and Minnie at Disney World.  Then she headed west with visits in New Orleans, Butte LaRose, and Houston spending time with other RVing women friends and one of her granddaughters.

And then........she came to San Antonio.  More precisely, she landed at Thousand Trails Medina Lake Preserve.   I arrived before she did....eager to meet in person and trying to match up timing with her coming from the east and me arriving from the northeast side of San Antonio an hour+ away.

She and Duncan, her beautiful long haired dachshund boy, arrived moments after I did.

And alas, no, the Traveling Longdogs did not get to meet up as we had plans for the afternoon.  The deer wandering around had Duncan very excited although the deer were pretty blase' about the whole meet-up.

Deb had her travel trailer backed into a site and set up in a jiffy.  She's an old hand at it.  We toured the park.  Glad we don't travel in anything resembling this.

Medina Lake is one of the very sad casualties of the droughts we've been experiencing.  I haven't been there for many years but there is literally nothing left of the lake except for a very small stream running through the bed.  This picture doesn't show the depth very well but it was a pretty deep lake.  The lake was constructed in 1911-1912 as an irrigation reservoir to feed an extensive canal system.  It has always fluctuated wildly but is at it's lowest level ever......currently 4.2% full.

There is a fairly deep cliff behind this buck.

After our tour of the park, we set off for Bandera TX, the Cowboy Capital of the World!

Now, you really want to come to Bandera on Saturday when you will probably see cowboys riding through and maybe even a cattle drive.  But we make do when we are visiting.  We headed to the O.S.T. restaurant for a very late lunch.  The O.S.T. has been serving food continuously since 1921.

We were too late for the Chuck Wagon buffet but we did have the salad bar.

We had the lunch special, chicken fried steak.  It was great!

We ate our lunch in one of the booths but Deb gave the saddles at the bar a try before we left.

After lunch, we just wandered around Bandera taking in the sites.  This is a typical old hill country style house.  Love the big porch across the front but the plastic chairs kind of detract from the ambiance.

The bar was closed but we could hear music and voices in the background.

This is a nice little park right on the main street complete with public restrooms.

Courthouses in Texas are a big deal even in very small towns.  Bandera's courthouse is beautiful.

They even have a coffeehouse.

It was dark by the time I made the trek back across San Antonio but it was a great day.

Important Links for RVers

Just checking in from beautiful, sunny San Antonio.  Oops, wait, there goes the sun.  Looks like we have chances for rain all week.  Now, we are not complaining by any means since we really need the water. Maybe not as fast as Austin got it yesterday (6 inches in a few hours) but still, we really do need it. Bring it on.

I don't know if anyone has noticed the "Important RV Links" link above the blog photo of the Longdogs but I thought it might be worthwhile to point it out.  If you click on it (either in this paragraph or the actual link above the picture), it will take you to a special page.  On that page, you'll find several different categories:

          ON THE ROAD HELP     Need to find gas prices, a dump station, a rest area, road laws by state, a scenic byway to travel, how about a factory tour?   Find links to appropriate sites right here.

          CHECK/WRITE REVIEWS      Want to find a campground review?  Had bad/great service?  Find links to the appropriate places to do this.

          FIND A CAMPSITE         Want to find an RV park, campground, boondocking or free camping?  Check here for the right link.

          RV COOKING        Links to RV cooking.

         MISCELLANEOUS        Looking for info on GEO methods for dump tanks.  It's here.

You may already know about many of these links but I wanted was a convenient location to quickly find links to lots of different information I ran across so I put this area together for my own use.  I update it whenever I find another site I think might be useful.  Check it out, give it a try, come back to it whenever you like.  Hope it is helpful to others too.


Another Wild Weekend

Friday night and the grandkids are here.  Harley is not too happy about the Kindle game but it won't get used much while they are here.

Morgan is telling her Dad all about her week at school...can you tell she is a drama queen?

One last game before bedtime.

Saturday morning and Helen had to head up to Austin to ride/run the route for the triathlon she will be competing in the end of this month.  She had everything ready before bed and we didn't even hear her when she left at 5:30AM.  Once we were up and had breakfast and dog walks out of the way, we headed over to the Madrone Trail for a hike.  Steve and Harley tried it out on Friday and thought we could all make it.  He was very excited about finding it for mountain biking.  Morgan found a hiking stick which she graciously donated to Grandma about halfway through the hike.

This is one of the flatter areas.  There are some much more rocky areas.  Steve was talking to some of the mountain bikers that were in the parking lot and they said that there were about 11 miles of trail.  We never ran into any of them while we were hiking so he can't wait to try the rest out on his bike.

We had a great view of the lake when things opened up near the top.  Well, Steve and I enjoyed the view.  I don't know what had the kids attention.

Although this is technically in a COE park, it starts well before the camping area which is closed.  Helen actually ran through there on her 12 mile run on Sunday and they just waved at her as she sped by.  We made a run by the marina so the kids could see the boats and saw this swimmer.  He was chasing a stick and having a great time bringing it back to his mama.  He had a life jacket on too.

Saturday afternoon, we spent several hours in the pool.  It's cooler than it was a few weeks ago but still comfortable enough for swimming and playing.  Steve and Cameron were playing catch.

It's a good thing the kids can swim because they are fearless.

The cool front came through Saturday evening but the rain held off until we were all asleep and it was bright and sunny again Sunday morning, just much cooler.  The kids weren't too happy that we wouldn't let them go swimming but it just wasn't warm enough.  We did another nature walk through the large area at the park and this time the dogs got to come along so everyone was happy.

Later on, Helen (aka the Mad Scientist) had several experiments for the kids to try.  They always look forward to this.  This time they were checking out the effects of acid rain by using tums they drew pictures on and what vinegar, basalmic vinegar, and water had on them.

It was a great weekend.  It's always quiet after the kids leave.  Steve and Helen took them back to Marble Falls where their Mom picked them up and then they headed back to San Antonio as Helen had to work Monday morning.  The dogs and I went for another walk and then I cleaned the barbeque and put up most of the outside things so packing up and departure will be easy in the morning.