Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Texas April 2016 Westward Ho! 6a- Hill Country Continued-Fredericksburg and History we can relate to

This is the middle part of our visit to Texas Hill Country...

The beauty was that each day looked like it would rain all day.  HEAVY dark grey clouds obliterated the sunrises, usually dripping their contents and hanging around until whoosh-they would leave and the day would be bright blue skies and sunshine.  Since we never knew when the weather would improve we stayed close to home but finally decided that we had to go see some of the surrounding area.

To that end we drove up to Johnson City, where Lyndon B. Johnson's, 36th president of the US, and more commonly known as LBJ, family was from and where he grew up.  With no real destination in town we stopped and had lunch at the Pecan St Brewery where we each had one of their delicious beers.  Now, just because I have discovered that I like beer-at least the darker, non-hoppy ones-does not mean I can handle it.  I would be just fine with a 4 oz/120 ml glass but no.  They serve these whopping 16 oz ones, called, I believed, pints in some areas of the world.  Well, even with a full lunch of fish and chips my head was reeling, my step unsteady and when we got back to the car all I wanted to do was go to sleep. There were a few LBJ related sites but we decided just to go to Stonewall where the LBJ Texas White House is located. I still wanted to go to sleep but the flowers got me out of the car, a tour of the exhibits which reminded us just exactly how much work LBJ got done in his 1000+ days in office: 1000 bills signed into law and many of them things we take totally for granted now, and then a nice long drive through the ranch (most of which is still operating) and a walk around under the live oaks and shade and I was ready for what was an interesting tour of the house which was, after Lady Bird's death in 2007, returned to the way it was in the 60s when he was president.  One thing that struck me was that LBJ was my age when he died and I had always thought of him as so "old." For many of us on the tour what took place in the various rooms, the cabinet meetings he held there and the names of the figures in that period of history were very familiar.  As we have visited the historical sites that we have we've always been interesting and educational but this was about times we had all lived through and it was an excellent enhancement, as well as some corrections, of what we had "known."

LadyBird's bluebonnets

We drove the long road through the ranch

past field,

resting cows...

grazing sheep...

a curious cow,

a longhorn steer being bothered by flies

access to the cattle pens,

The Schoolhouse

LBJ's presidential jet that he used for travel from Austin to the ranch

and the Texas White House

with its restful lawns

and the "Cabinet Tree"-LBJ would fly cabinet members to the ranch, hold a meeting under the tree, serve lunch and cold drinks and then send the cabinet members back to DC

the driveway

My heroine and a point that still seems too many have missed

Our ride home took us through Fredericksburg and past 3 fields of poppies which turned out to be part of the Wild Flower Farm.  However, Don knew as they came into view that this would be one of those times I would want to stop and he did.

One of the places we wanted to visit that day was Enchanted Rock State Natural area because we'd read there was a massive pink granite dome.  It was closing by the time we got to Fredericksburg but the next day we headed out to experience it, and what a place!  The morning had once again been cloudy so we left after lunch for an afternoon visit.  We were not prepared for the beauty that surrounded us.  Not only is there a pink dome but there are rock formations, fields of flowers, butterflies and vistas throughout with excellent hiking trials winding between and among them. 

One of our neighbors at the campground had seen me photographing flowers and told us about the Willow City loop which was on the way back to Fredericksburg so we took the time to drive it. Along the highway we passed the masses of brilliant flowers that the Hill Country spring is famous for and then driving the loop see more along with soaring cliffs, animals and a funny roadside display.

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