Our last last day in Monahans Sandhills State Park was mostly spent inside as the weather remained chilly, cloudy and rainy off and on all day. I was able to venture out to stretch my legs in the sand dunes every now and then but mostly spent time planning our route to College Station, Texas with a stopover to visit the grandkids. Looks like we will now go to San Angelo State Park and then on to Llano to Riverway RV park. Next will be a short stay in Fredericksburg, Texas, then Blanco State Park which will be followed by a longer stay at Lake Pointe Campground at Canyon Lake. From Canyon Lake we will go to Lockhart State Park and then on to College Station for a month.
The 162 mile drive from Monahans to San Angelo State Park was a bit rough as most of the road we traveled on was under construction and the rest, in my opinion, should be. At least some of the early spring flowers are starting to show up! We pulled in, set up and enjoyed the rest of the day in the solitude. While I was watching a little March Madness Sharon set off for a walk and when she came back we went for another walk together. The lake is still nearly dry but this park is a nice place to spend some quiet time (kind of like boondocking with hookups). Later in the evening I checked out one of the wildlife viewing stations where I saw some deer and as many as 7 javalina at one time. The diversity of the birds were nice but the beauty of the male Pyrrhuloxias was the most striking.
The next day we took off for an urban stroll around the town of San Angelo. Our mission was to walk around the town to seek out the 14 murals painted throughout the downtown area. One cool things about these murals is that they have a phone number we dialed into to hear the history behind each mural. Some of these narratives were quite interesting especially the ones that were narrated by the artists themselves.
We very much enjoyed the tour as a walk and not as a drive as we had the added bonus of seeing many of the sheep that have been artistically decorated to honor the town's Wool Queen history. Apparently San Angelo was once the country's largest wool producer so annually women would compete wearing their finest wool outfits and a Wool Queen was crowned. Sadly the tradition ended when cotton became king for clothing manufacturing until a local woman renewed the contest by inviting artists to submit renderings of painted sheep every year and the one judged best becomes the newest addition to the painted sheep in town. We saw ten sheep (they say there are around 35) during our more than four mile journey in the downtown area.
Another added bonus on this urban stroll was we discovered a newly operating brewery called Zone One which had been opened only three weeks. They were serving their first large batch beers and surprisingly to us the stout and pale ale were pretty tasty. We only had one since we also wanted to visit another brewery we discovered last time called Joe’s Brewhouse.
Well we found out Joe’s had been bought out and the new owner Mark told us he had been open only one week and would be called SoCo to commemorate his roots in southern Colorado. He is not making his own beer yet as he is awaiting the appropriate licensing but he is serving a long list of Texas craft beers on tap. Since he had tap beer from the Rowena Texas brewery called Horny Toad (one I wanted to visit but it was just a tad too far away) we sampled their beers. They have a very nice Pale Ale but Sharon thought after a taste of their stout, it was a bit weak, so she opted for one made in Grapevine Texas instead.
We met a really nice couple at SoCo that recommended a Mexican restaurant, Fernandez, so we drove over to it only to find it closed on Monday… sigh… We headed home to make our own dinner and then walked over to the blind hoping to see the javelina again since Sharon missed them the night before. We were fortunate to see one, but only one, and saw some different birds out feeding such as the pretty Rufous Sided Towhee.
Our next stop (where we are now) is at Riverway RV park in Llano where we must address an unexpected, unpleasant toilet issue...