Still Here (Wild Times)
Trip Start Sep 27, 2010
34Trip End Mar 23, 2011
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Great use for retired cigarette machines. We happened upon one of the artists, Bob Cook, who uses this medium. Watch it also here
So it was our turn to take Gary when he offered to drive us on a tour of the Hill Country – he has lived in Houston for 10 yrs and knows this area well. Toad is not by any stretch of the imagination a sleek speed machine, but he does get us from A to B and he does follow behind Bree like a devoted servant and he does have a nice space in the back for Gus - Gary's dog. We set off early in the morning and by the time we returned we had covered 350 miles or so. The Hill Country is beautiful and although I like the coast I have to say hills covered with trees do have a certain magic. We drove down secluded roads, twisting and turning gaining a new view at every bend, it was delightful. Of course there were a few stops along the way, not least at the Silver Dollar Saloon in Bandera. Now Malc and I could quite easily have missed this gem as there is nothing ostentatious about its exterior. A simple doorway that you probably may not notice – or feel inclined to enter but…
As you can see it was well worth it – a real ‘Honky Tonk" steeped in character and even though we were there mid morning because it’s a cellar you would never guess what time of day it is.
Around the corner we spotted a saddlery and you know us we had to investigate; once again we found such friendliness. As we wandered round and began to ask questions nothing was too much trouble, processes were explained and when Malc sat on one of the saddles and posed for a piccie (well he just had to) one of the guys rushed up with a Stetson and placed it on his head – had to be right you see. Thanks to all at Bunkhouse Leather
There was a banner stretched across the main street advertising a game dinner later in the month – certainly something to come back for don’t you think?
Speaking of food – I know we do a lot of that, but I have to tell you about the pot luck dinners we have taken part in here at the campground. Not long after we arrived Rodney & Margie cooked steaks for everyone and we all provided the sides and puddings. Those steaks were ‘awesome’ – you know that word that we associate with the Americans and if I’m truthful probably find a bit irritating is really a great word to use sometimes when great or wonderful just isn’t enough! The steaks were indeed awesome. It was also an opportunity to get to know some of our fellow campers and some of the people we met that evening have become real good friends, friends that we won’t loose touch with. Anyhow to continue, at a second pot luck Rodney & Margie provided fish – fried (catfish) or grilled (talapia) (oh and quail by the way) and again we all brought the rest. Malc and I searched in vain for anything resembling mushy peas – couldn’t get marrowfat peas either – not surprisingly no one had a clue what we were talking about :) something to bring with us next time perhaps? I did however make a blackberry and apple pie – not the exclusive domain of the English I know, but cooked without half a pound of sugar in the fruit, so a bit different.
It was another great evening, this time with over 50 people; L&L has been getting busier and busier which is great for R&M. Their winter trade is sure to take off as a result of their efforts, they certainly deserve it. We will do what we can to spread the word – just hope they will have room for us if we are back this way again.
So what else have we been up to, well more eating would you believe? Yes you would, I know.
We had seen a piece on the local TV about the nearby town of Lockhart, the BBQ capital of Texas. No question we had to go…we began in one of the 4 BBQ’s they had reported on (we did pick up a leaflet from the visitors centre with details of 8); it smelled good as soon as we got out of the car. We took a look inside and it was all very tempting, but it was early in the day and there were more to check out. The second also looked promising but had no smoky aroma to tempt us in (they did have a tall chimney though) but what they did have was the most enormous pile of wood (post oak) in the yard.
Convinced that this was where we would eat, we took a stroll to the last BBQ we wanted to see. Here whilst reading the menu we were invited ‘backstage’ as it were. Given a tour, a comprehensive description and even a sample of the ribs – well that was it. This was the one – suffice it to say we had one rib between us, all 1 ¾ lbs of it, with a bone about a foot long the meat was delicious. I have to say it was fattier than we expected though.
To conclude this food fest blog, we went back to Bandera for the game dinner, where it was being served as a fund raiser for the church. Nothing done by halves though, they served close on 500 dinners in about 3 hours and all of the meat had been donated by those who had hunted it.
OK veggies look away now - We dined on wild hog (a bit tough but the lighter meat was better) Javelina, bit like a boar but a pest to local wildlife and farmers as are the wild hogs as they churn up the ground. Javelina was a favourite for both of us. Four different types of deer, Axis - Malc also liked this (I struggled a bit with it as these are the ones that look like Bambi, not that it did when cooked of course) White tail, Sika and Mule, there was also Venison chilli and a gumbo with pheasant, duck, quail and sausage. ‘Sadly’ no rattlesnake as there was last year.
Yet another new experience.