Posts Tagged ‘TX’

After touring the LBJ Ranch, we spend the night at New Braunfels, with a quick drive to the nearby Greune Historic District, hoping for a great German meal or a bit of polka or two-step in Gruene Hall – none of which are available. It’s crowded and touristy, and we don’t even bother parking.  We have a mediocre German meal in downtown New Braunfels, and take off for Fredericksburg first thing in the morning.

Fredericksburg doesn’t disappoint.  It has German restaurants and bakeries and a rustic and charming  Main Street.  Unfortunately, there’s a tornado watch when we pull in- our check-in person at the campground tells us to head to the community building if it gets bad, and into the interior bathrooms.  The worst of the storm isn’t here yet.  So we decide to go to dinner, rather than be sitting ducks in an RV park.  I’m looking for the most solid looking building on Main Street – and, hurray, there’s an old, sturdy, stone brew-pub.  We dart in, order our beer, start to peruse the menu and then have an awful moment of recognition that it’s Donald Driver’s first night on Dancing with the Stars, set to start in about 10 minutes.  I have to choose between staying safe here, in a restaurant with no television, or going back to our little RV in the pouring rain to cheer on our Packer favorite.  We go back.

It’s not a calm night. The Navion is starting to rock, we see lightning, but the weather radio doesn’t tell us to take shelter yet.  We watch the entire premiere.  It’s becoming more ominous outside and we decide we’d better head to the “shelter” – so we don our rain gear, grab the hand-held weather radio and run through rain and puddles, in wind and lightning flashes to the community building. There’s really nothing all that safe about its construction, but there’s something so reassuring about being with other people.  There’s already an established group who have been here for awhile, they’re playing cards, monitoring the local weather on a big screen TV.  A lovely older German woman welcomes me,  as a fellow “chicken”, and engages me in conversation while she knits.  Dick and her husband disappear outside to watch the storm (I think Dick has gone to the bathroom and am worried that he’s been swept away, until he re-appears).  More young and old couples come stamping in through the doors, shedding soaked rain-gear and umbrellas, happy to be out of their individual rigs and into some kind of community.  That’s what it is.  People share storm stories and close escapes.  We all realize how vulnerable we are.  I, personally, vow to never travel south in the spring tornado season again.  But finally, as the wind dies down and the warning is lifted, we leave the shelter, individually, in couples and groups, heading back to our individual traveling “homes” where it once again feels safe and cozy.

After this shaky start, the weather is fine and we spend a few days here, eating German, and visiting the exhaustive National Museum of the Pacific (no wonder your ticket is good for two days!) and the Pioneer Museum Complex, both right in town. We’re so lucky to be here when the Texas wildflowers are in bloom – witness the Bluebells.

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Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown Museum

We enjoyed our stay at Coushatta last year, so decided to pull in for a few days to celebrate our 36th wedding anniversary with some swimming and lazing by the pool, and a steak dinner at their premiere restaurant.  Scratch that.  Torrential rain, restaurant closed on Mondays. We also decided to just send each other e-cards this year, which in retrospect, seemed a bit paltry.  But, we’re still happily married.  🙂

After a few days of waiting for the rain to stop – and a quick dip in the pool, we leave for new adventures in Texas.  I haven’t been there since I was a 9 year old kid, sitting way back in the tiny storage compartment of the family VW bug, reading,  because I thought the scenery was boring.  Though, I evidently read my way through the Rockies too, my Mom used to remind me.  I’m hoping to be more open to what  Texas has to offer this time around.  We head to Houston via Beaumont, so we can stop at the Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown Museum, near the site of the gigantic Lucas Gusher that ushered in the petroleum age. The resident energy expert onboard remembers being totally fascinated by this whole chapter in energy history when he was a kid.  It certainly introduced a crazy era.  With the discovery that oil could be gotten in this manner, Beaumont was transformed from a village of several hundred to a city of nearly 30,000 in a matter of weeks. Not all savory.  The museum recreates the town with about 15 clapboard building replicas from the oil-boom era, and there’s a life-sized, water-spewing gusher that obliged us by going off while we were eating lunch.

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