Warmer is the Word

Trip Start Dec 31, 2012
Trip End May 04, 2013

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Where I stayed
McKinney Falls State Park

Flag of United States  , Texas
Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Today, due to Lynn's "conference call," we got a later start from Balmorhea.  It stayed cold for our entire time there, so we're hoping for more temperate weather.  One thing that you'll notice on I-10 in Texas...there aren't many curves in the road.  When I do see one ahead on the GPS/Phone, I'll admit that I get a little excited.  

We had a tailwind, or as I like to call it, a "North Dakota Supercharger."  It's quiet and does improve our fuel mileage a bit.  But after our lunch break, it came from the left, or north.  This adds quite a bit of a challenge to driving Shorty.  Only one gust really got our attention.  The rest of it was just the tedium of correcting the steering to compensate for the minor and consistent gusts.  All an all it's a bit tiring, even for an advanced middle-ager like myself.

Our goal was the South Llano River Texas State Park.  As we learned later, the park is a hangout for "River Rats," who kayak, canoe and fish on this unique river.  It's spring-fed, which is rare here and runs the year around.  The water is clear and much like you'd see at home...without the ice.

We got to Junction, TX, the closest town to the park with ease.  The flatlands gave way to rolling hills covered with brush and Live Oak trees, much like we've seen further south.  The Live Oak has a leaf that is narrow and shaped like an almond.  They retain their leaves year around.  They're a scrub oak, I'd say and get quite large.  Whether they are fit to use as lumber and such, I cannot say.  They are quite beautiful, however.

Much of our route reminded me of Eastern Montana until we entered the hills.  I got one or two shots of some cuts through what looks like sandstone.  It's sedimentary in nature and very attractive in these cuts.  The altitude is about 23-2500 feet.  As we descended to this range, it warmed up to about fifty degrees

The new Navigator got a bit messed up when we decided to check out the local laundromat in Junction and eventually led us to a road to the park that was not available.  It was a narrow dirt road and had a sign saying just that.  So, we headed back into town, found the sign to the park and did fine.  Incidentally, the laundromat, "Buster's" was nasty.  Dirty floors and many out-of-order machines prevailed.  We'll wait until we get to Austin to take care of that chore.
Just after we entered the park, Lynn spotted a flock of wild turkeys, about forty or fifty in number.  They're called Rio Grande turkeys and range from Kansas to Mexico.  This is their roosting season and the young poults stay with the hen in large groups.  We hope to see more of them in the morning.  We got situated and took a short walk to the Bird Blind near our site.  There wasn't much action then, but shortly after feeding time in the AM and afternoon, it apparently gets pretty lively.  We will see.

The campground has about forty sites, which are paved and offer water and electricity.  I took on about fifty gallons of the liquid gold and then did up the hose and stowed it.  It's still freezing at night, so this is what works best for us.  We'll let the pump do the job for us.  It's just above freezing now, at about six PM, as I type this.

Lynn is preparing pasta Alfredo which she will serve with roast pork tenderloin and a green salad.  We had the pork last night, and, as usual, it was delicious.

That's it for now.  No data connection means no internet.  Hopefully we'll have such tomorrow and I can share this and some pics.


Since it was "shower day" for Lynn, we got a later start today.  We headed toward Austin to check out the "Texas stronghold of the Democratic Party."  No offense intended to my less-progressive friends intended.

The road to Austin peals off from I-10 onto another four lane highway, US 290.  It's not an Interstate, but very nice road nonetheless.  We had intended to stop at Fredricksburg, a German town enroute, but it offered only angle parking, which is difficult for a fifty plus foot rig.  Lots of Germanic names appeared on creeks, draws, roads and such.  The area is heavily wooded and quite beautiful, with the green and all.

We continued on and found the Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and National Monument.  We registered, got a CD to use as a guide, and did the tour in Shorty.  We saw his birth house, school, airport and the Texas White House.  Lots of wildlife in the area too, including smaller deer and the Axis deer which was imported years ago from India, as a game animal on private ranches.  The airport still houses his smaller aircraft which he used to fly from Austin when he escaped the nation's capitol.  He referred to it as Air Force One Half.
We stopped near a refurbished old-time farm nearby and had a bite to eat for lunch.

The traffic increased measurably as we pass south of Austin, a city of nearly a million folks.  We got to McKinney Falls State Park early enough to get in an hour long hike to the falls themselves.  Our site is remote, in a way, since there are no other RVs in sight.  The walk to the falls was interesting in the different type of flora along the trail.  The falls themselves flow over a limestone outcropping over a mile or so long.  Since there is virtually no soil here, even an inch of rain causes the river to flow quite vigorously.  The pictures will give you a better idea.  We met a young woman who is in her first job as a park ranger and told us much more about the area than I am able to recount here.  A very unique spot where we will spend three nights, at least.

It's warmer, in the fifties today, so we hope that it won't freeze up our outdoor water hose.  We will see.  It's thirty-seven now at a bit after nine PM.  I'll upload some pics with this since we have decent phone internet.

Muchas gracias for checkin' in, Amigos...

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photodon on

Some nice bird shots, Ralphie. That's a out the only part of Texas that I know of that's not flat. There's another place near Lake Hills just north of San Antone called Medina Lakes. Nice place right on 7-mile Lake with lots of those live oaks. Glad you are finding warmer WX finally. We're getting down to 30 at night here in Rio Vista.

ferd on

Great and not so great memories of my time in TX, but Austin and Joan Baez in 1970 was awesome! I think there might be a slignt resemblance between you and LBJ....maybe the EARS! He did some great and not so great things! New country for you two? Keep it coming....look forward to it. Nice pics as always! Hugs.....

Cherie on

Kind of in your next of the winds.. In dallas today for a meeting. Noce respite from the cold and snow

zman on

all these pictures were interesting. but also another reason to live in Montana! Austin should be an adventure. I've heard good things about that place! Enjoy!

Chris Stockwell on

The world is full of a great number of odd and wonderful things!

mike noble on

Okay-I have fallen a bit behind on your blogs....due to circumstances beyond my control but doing better now. As usual, the Ralph blog is full of great pics and a storyline that should go into a printable or voice book for travelers who follow your route(s). and for those that don't, well, you write and we pretend we are there. Sorry, no sympathy about the cold cuz it is that here but I know you will soon be dropping down into warmer places. 40s here this week.

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