Our Lady of the Blue Highways

Our Lady of the Blue Highways
Portrait in oils by Jackie Poutasse

Monday, March 29, 2010

Hill Country

Leaving San Antonio
I overslept this morning, got on the road about 10 a.m. It’s raining, not quit cats and dogs, but perhaps mice and moles. I took off on 1604 as I was told, and somehow, messed up and ended up on Hwy 10. That’s OK. It’s going the same way I am – just differently. Hey, the rain is letting up, so there is hope for today after all.

Hill country – low rising hills, valleys, grazing cattle and scrub oak. One thing I like about Texas is that they have lots of pull offs for picnic areas. Not rest stops. After all there are just miles and miles and and miles in Texas. Where are all the 7-11’s. I thought they started in Texas – I haven’t seen any of them. Lots of Dairy Queens, though.

The rain stopped about 10 miles short of Fredericksburg.

The first thing I did is find the information center, and get directions to the Lady Bird Johnson RV park. I had noticed a lot of classic cars driving by, and parked along the street. They told me there was a big classic car gathering in Kerrville, and a lot of the people were up visiting Fredericksburg that day.

Made my way to the campground, and set up the tent before I did anything, cause it’s suppose to rain tonite.

Then I went into town. Fredericksburg was originally settled by German immigrants. It was obviously a cattle town. The main streets are amazingly wide – 4 driving lanes, 1 turning lane, and angle parking on both sides of the street. I’m told the reason for the wide streets was so a wagon with a 6 in hand team could easily make a u-turn.

First stop! Chocolat!!!! What brought me here in the first place. Oh, my, what exquisite chocolates, dainty, European type chocolates. Their speciality is liquor filled chocolates, but I opted to try a Mexican vanilla truffle filled white chocolate shell with ground pecans on top. And, then, I walked out of the store. That’s right, Ms Chocoholic, had one and left the premises. It was so good. The taste lingered as I sauntered down the street.

I wondered in and out of shops. I stopped for lunch at a little bistro – not bar-b-q, not Mexican or Texican, not German, but French – I had quiche and fruit. Aren’t you proud of me ladies?
After that I wandered into a kitchen shop. It ‘s funny how I am drawn to kitchen shops when I can’t cook! They did have a wine tasting room. Sorry Susan and Tommy, I don’t think your training “took” I ended up with a bottle of Peach wine – It’s a Reisling infused with peach nectar. Wow! I also sampled some mead, but unfortunately, they were out of it. I tasted the raspberry wine, but it didn’t measure up to the peach.

I perused a western shop – hesitated over a split skirt, then passed it by. I passed the market square – a very large area with covered picnic area, opn grass – plenty of room for community gathering.

I walked past the Museum of World War II – Impressive – in an old building which I imagine started life as a hotel. The compound encompasses a whole city block. I finally crossed the street, and headed back toward the car – I was a good part of a mile from it. As I wandered along, I stumbled on a curb – Yes, it was painted yellow, but I weasn’t looking at my feet, and besides it was right in the middle of the sidewalk. My upper body pitched forward, my feet started peddling like a duck in warp speed. Luckily, my feet caught up in time to prevent me from falling. Thank goodness!

I had wandered into a couple fudge shops, but the fudge looked unappetizing – like who ever made it didn’t care at wit

Then I stopped into a Store. The reason I stopped was that in the window was a package mix for brownies with chipoltle. I thought that was interesting. The shop was quite large, and stuffed with sauces, jellies, pickles, and amaretto sugar syrup. Also peanut butter. Chocolate peanut butter, orange peanut butter, raspberry peanut butter! I tried a few things. I found fig balsalmic vinegar which my daughter mentioned she was having trouble finding. Didn’t buy any – we can order it if needed. I turned around and there was a fudge counter. Beautiful, artistic, perfect, delicious fudge. "Oh, my, yes I would like a sample, please." I tried the vanilla, peacan carmel. OK – friends, I now have another fudge to add to my repertoire. I know Amanda will like it cause she likes the caramel fondant rolls I made last Christmas. And yes, I bought some – and if I wasn’t thinking about what the ladies would say, I would have bought a full pound and yes, I would have eaten it all. Yes – I bought some, too – but…. just a quarter # - just a little.

I continued along the way, stopping at a dry goods shop, and decorator shops, and art galleries. Had a nice visit with a couple ladies in one gallery – the gallery had work of all local artists – much like Blue Skies.

So, here I am thinking I don’t have anything to eat for dinner, I don’t even have any ice in my cooler yet, I’ll just get out a book and crawl into my tent and be a lay-a-bout. I’m going back into Fredericksburg tomorrow – I just really enjoyed it.

I finally made it back to the tent at about 6 p.m,, settled down with my book, and within about ½ hour, I heard the first rumblings of thunder. By 7 p.m. it was roaring with thunder and pouring down rain. I snuggled down – sleeping bag, double fleece blanket, flour sack quilt with a WWII wool army blanket in it, and topped it all off with my fleece lined rain poncho. If the tent did leak, that just might keep my bedding from getting wet.

My, that was a wild and wooly nite. Gusts of wind shaking the foundations of my tent. A few gusts blew the back side of the tent almost to my face – so I had to turn around with my head toward the vestibule end. The rain stopped about midnite, but the wind continued on. It was cold and windy when I woke up. I wasn’t sure I wanted to stay another nite.

The main reason I picked this particular tent was because of the vestibule – a place to dive out of the rain, and get muddy shoes off before entering the tent. Well, now that is the biggest drawback. I can actually step into the tent in a standing position, but I have to crawl through the door to the vestibule. I will have to get a lot more flexible for this life.

While I was trying to decide whether to stay or go, I drove to town.

I stopped in a little quilt shop and met a fellow traveler – she and her husband were staying at the same park I was at, when I told her I was in the orange tent on the hill, she said they wondered how whoever was in it had fared through the storm. She told me about a quilt store in Kerrville about 25 miles away.

Somehow, I found myself on the road to Johnson City. I stopped at the LBJ ranch, saw a movie about the park, and wandered down to the living history farm. It was really interesting. The docents were very realistic – and when I entered the kitchen, they were having lunch – all prepared in the cast iron stove. They were in the midst of planting the garden. The docents do all the work on the farm, just as they would have in 1900.

After seeing the farm, I decided I didn’t want to visit the ranch itself – cause I am definitely coming back to this area.

I stopped at Wildseed farm. Huge wildflower farm, however I was too early – nothing in bloom, but plenty to see anyhow.

On the way back to the RV park, I stopped for a self guided tour of Fort Martin Scott` Very interesting. It only was in use for 5 years. The German immigrants had made peace with the Native Americans before the fort was built, so the soldiers never had even a skirmish. Must have been very boring duty.

I drove back to the campground, paid for another day, then headed for Kerrville.

I found the quilt shop, and oh, I thought I had died and gone to heaven! It was in an old house – which had many rooms and all the rooms were filled with fabric. I did buy some fabric – not for a quilt, but to make a blouse. It is Organic cotton canvas – but soft, and comes out of the dryer ready to wear. My kind of stuff.

I stopped at KFC – got some grilled chicken and returnd to the tent for the nite.

Shortly after returning, the boy scouts arrived – they set up about 30 tents – but they were amazingly quiet – they got up early this morning, and I didn’t even hear them.

I got up about 8 , but here it is nearly noon – and I haven’t left yet. One thing you can’t be while tenting is in a hurry. I had to dry the fly – It had heavy dew on the outside and condensation on the inside – the tent also needed a little drying, then I decided I would draft this blog, so I could erase my recorder and start over.

I’m headed for Texas’ big bend country!!!

Until next time,
Bear Hugs

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