Monday, May 27, 2019

Moving on and a Day Trip to San Marcos TX…

MVIMG_20190517_153009After gorging ourselves on wonderful smoky Texas BBQ we decided it best to move on or else we might gain 25 pounds.. Our next stop would be Potters Creek Campground on Canyon Lake in the hill country of Texas. We love the Texas hill country!

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Potters Creek CG is a Corps of Engineers park with a very strict 3:00 pm arrival time so we made sure to time our arrival there by staying as late as we possibly could at Lockhart State Park. Thankfully no one came to run us off since we stayed a little beyond the actual checkout time.  After an easy hourlong drive we pulled into the park just after 3:00 pm. Perfect ! We then really scored as we have one of the few waterfront sites.

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The only issue on our site is that there is no shade so with temperatures hovering around 90 F we will surely be running both A/C’s to keep cool. Luckily the weather forecast also includes a stiff 20 mph southerly wind over the coming week and with our location being on the side of the lake with the wind blowing right off the water we will likely remain quite cool.

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One afternoon we took a drive over to nearby San Marcos for something to do. We found a nice little city park right on the San Marcos River so we parked the CRV to take a leisurely stroll. Rio Vista Park is really a gem of a park right on the river for those looking for a little getaway. Such a relaxing spot we found to enjoy the beautiful river and the rushing water sounds the small falls were making.

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As it was nearing happy hour we drove back into the town square to visit a favorite brewery of ours in San Marcus, Aquabrew. Before doing so we took a walk around the town square as it is always an interesting place. Between the views of the old courthouse and the occasional murals this older Texas city has a lot of charm.

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We finished the day with a frosty beverage at the brewery and as always look forward to another day on our Road of Retirement…

NOTE: We are now at Potters Creek CG on Canyon Lake Tx until June 3rd…

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Eating Texas Smoked BBQ at Four Places…

The weather gods were with us when we left Lake Sommerville since there was no rain as forecasted during our drive over to Lockhart State Park near Lockhart, Texas. Once we pulled into our site we set up then walked around our campground to check it all out.

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It is super green because of all the rains and the wild flowers continue to bloom longer than any other time I can remember for this area. We are here for four nights so other than getting in some walks around the campground and ooohhhing and aaahhhing  over the wildflowers we will be focusing on enjoying some Texas BBQ.

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Lockhart Texas is often called the BBQ Capitol of Texas and for good reason. There are four very good BBQ joints in town and several others within a thirty minute drive. We always eat at at least three of the local joints and recently have been trying other ones close by instead of eating at all four of the places in town.

In town this year we ate at Smitty’s BBQ, Black's BBQ and Chisholm Trail BBQ. We ate a different one each night and always came home with some lean brisket and some smoked turkey for dinner. For our own gratification we rank each BBQ joint to see which one we like the best. The last few years Smitty’s has been kicking butt in BBQ according to our taste buds. Would this year be the same?

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We have been to a lot of BBQ places in and around this area but for our last stop this year I chose a new one on our list, the Hays County BBQ, in San Marcos, Texas. Rated in the Texas top 50 they have recently expanded their location just south of San Marcos Texas about a 20 minute drive west of our campground. We found this to be a a very nice place with super friendly workers, a must stop for that reason.

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So who had the best BBQ according to us this year? Well for starters the worst this year was our last several years best! Smitty’s has apparently started to cut costs like Kreuz BBQ did to us before. They now serve beef shoulder clod as their “lean brisket.”  We quit going to Kreuz BBQ for this same reason! Smoked shoulder clod is NOT lean brisket!!!

To us the best brisket this year was Black’s! But a very close second was Hays County BBQ with Chisolm Trail not far behind the other two. You couldn’t go wrong with any of the these three for smoked brisket or turkey. The smoked turkey winner, by the way was a tie between Smitty’s and Hays County BBQ.

With bellies full of BBQ it is time for us to move on…

NOTE: We are now at Potters Creek CG on Canyon Lake Tx until June 3rd…

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Lake Sommerville and Blue Bell Creamery Tx


One last get together with friends in College Station and then it was time to hit the road. We had a flex day built into our schedule so we decided to leave a day early and drive over to Yegua Creek COE Campground near Lake Sommerville for a change in scenery.


Well as bad luck would have it my phone was having charging issues so just before we left College Station we drove over to the local Verizon store to find out what my options were. Well we were out of warranty, of course, but it was open enrollment for signing up for phone insurance. The fellow suggested I sign up and then immediately make a claim that my charging jack was, well, jacked up!


Upon making the claim, it was explained Verizon would send a new refurbished phone overnight to my address. Wait! I don’t have an address… So we called our friend Carol in town and asked if it was okay to use her address for my new phone to be sent to. She agreed which of course meant we would have to drive back into town from Yegua Creek Campground to retrieve my new phone, sigh…


With everything ordered we packed up and left for the lake. This Corps of Engineer park was partly closed due to flooding from all the rain in the area. One loop's road was underwater as well as several picnic sites, the boat ramp and even the amphitheater. We were on a site which was high and dry with a very nice lake view.


The painted buntings were singing all around us and we even spotted a Killdeer feigning as if it had a broken wing in hopes we would follow it away from her lone egg in her nest on the ground. Very cool…


We were only here for two days so we mostly just walked around the park and enjoyed the wild flowers. We did take one side trip over to nearby Brenham Texas. Why would we go to Brenham? Well it is the birthplace for Blue Bell Ice Cream, our absolute favorite ice cream!!!


There is no real tour at the plant but visitors can go to an observation deck where a nice young lady told us what was going on within the manufacturing floor below. They were filling small single serving cups, half gallon containers, and five gallon containers of Homemade Vanilla as well as Cookies and Cream flavors this day. No pictures allowed so you have to take my word for it. We did stop at the ice cream counter to buy a few scoops of Blue Bell ice cream for a $1 per scoop. Yum!

It was a fun two days but it time for us to leave this scenic campsite and head a little further west…

NOTE: We just left Lockhart Texas and moved over to Potters Creek CG on Canyon Lake Tx until June 3rd…

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Last Days in College Station, Texas…


NOTE: I had my largest break in blogging as I was trying to get Open Live Writer working with Google photos. Finally got it and back to OLW instead of blogger again…

Our time to leave College Station was nearing but before leaving we discovered something new in town!. Apparently while we gone over the last year Texas A&M University decided to build a teaching garden on its west campus.


We heard from a friend about this garden so we drove over to find it It was not particularly easy to find but with the help of our Garmin GPS we found it. The Leach Teaching Gardens are spread out over 27 acres and were designed to show the importance of plants to life on earth.

While this garden as it currently exists is only the first of several phases to be built we sure enjoyed our leisurely stroll around the gardens as they are today. There are several areas of the existing gardens left in an undisturbed state to highlight the native plants found in this part of Texas.


There were still many flowering plants blooming late into May as this area has been experiencing much higher than average precipitation. During our monthlong stay it has rained a lot and even a few severe thunderstorms have passed through. One afternoon we hurried over to one of the University’s parking garages to wait out a Tornado Warning during a storm that produced a brief tornado not far from our RV. Spooky to say the least…


With our time winding down it was time to say goodbye to our friends from our old hometown.  Anne and Gary, invited us over for a crawfish boil one Saturday afternoon. It sure was enjoyable to get together with close friends to enjoy some good laughs and great food.


One afternoon we met up with an old friend of mine who is a master beekeeper and had a great chat with him. Gene is well known for his knowledge of bee keeping and has worked at Texas A&M as an expert in the field. Better yet he sells his honey under the label of ETzzz Bzzz. Under his web site he also sells queens to those interested in starting up new hives. As always we will be leaving College Station with a motherlode of local honey thanks to Gene! Next stop will be Sommerville Lake for a couple of days….

NOTE: We are now in Lockhart Texas and then will move over to Canyon Lake till June 3rd…

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Urban Hikes near College Station, Texas

This trip to College Station hasn’t been going as well as we hoped. Our plan had been to do some major work on our rent house but the stars don’t seemed to be aligned to allow that to happen. We also thought the tenant was leaving early but it appears as if that process has slowed way down.
Therefore to fill in the time we have been on some walks in the area between rain events (College Station has been unusually wet this spring). Granted there aren’t any hills here but at least there are still some appealing springtime walks and in this blog I’ll mention our favorite places.
 One of our all time favorites is Texas A&M University. There are a lot of trees and gardens so it is always a great place for a walk. The history and the architecture add to the experience of seeing one of the largest Universities in the United States.
No trip on campus would be complete without walking around Kyle Field, the schools enormous football stadium which seats around 102,000 fans. The twelfth man statues, banners of notable former players and the monument to the school mascot, Reveille add to the festive atmosphere. Another not to be missed feature on campus is the Century Oak (header picture on top).  
 This massive Live Oak has branches reaching out so far they are draped on the lawns below. Several branches have been braced to keep them off the ground so as to prevent decay and disease to the tree. We always pause there to rest on a bench in its shade to admire this beautiful tree. At the alumni center is a huge replica of the Aggie ring which is a fun photo op.
 Another great place to walk to get a feel on the nature in the area is Lick Creek Park. This natural area was put aside for citizens of the Brazos Valley to enjoy. Lots of trails meander through it which depict the typical flora and fauna found in the Post Oak Savannah region of Texas.
Noted for it clay soil most trees are smaller in stature and look a bit rougher. Trees like the Post Oak and Blackjack Oaks seem to struggle for existence but are perfectly adapted to this area. Lots of wildflowers can be found walking through the park and nearly every time we walk the trails I will see some Tiger Beetles, which are green iridescent beetles who tend to fly off the ground only to stop shortly in front of you… over and over again.

Another great walk can be found at the Texas A&M Research Park where there is a paved trail meandering around a few man made ponds. While not a real exciting trail there are patches of wild flowers and the lake houses a lot of native turtles and a few tame ducks. This park also has a disc golf course on it but it has been so wet recently we haven’t had the opportunity to play it.
The last walk I will mention is a shorter walk but very nice nonetheless. This would be the one that takes us through the George Bush Library Gardens. They really do a great job of landscaping with a mix of native and non native plants on the parks grounds. There is a small pond with a quaint gazebo. In fact one day we saw a small wedding ceremony taking place under the gazebo.
Since President Bush had passed since we were last here we stopped by his grave site to pay our respects. No matter the political affiliations, we feel all might agree George Bush ‘43” was a good man and a good president. I am sure we will walk this park one more time before we leave…
NOTE: We are now in College Station Texas until mid-May.