March 4, 2015

Exploring the Texas Hill Country

Although the weather continued to be cold, rainy and gloomy during much of January, Tim and I took advantage of a few sunny days to get out and explore parts of the Texas Hill Country.  First on our list was a visit to the LBJ Ranch, which is a part of the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical ParkWe had visited LBJs boyhood home when we first arrived in Texas, but this was our chance to tour the Texas White House.

The Hill Country of Texas was the home of the Johnson family for over a century, and it was here where LBJ felt a sense of belonging.  The LBJ Ranch was a working ranch, and it remains one today.  The Johnsons, who donated a portion of their land to the National Park Service, made that stipulation, not wanting the ranch to become a “sterile relic of the past.”  Located along the Pedernales River, the LBJ Ranch includes several properties associated with President Johnson’s life, as well as the gravesites of the President and Mrs. Johnson.
The LBJ Ranch

A Beautiful Setting on the Pedernales River

Johnson Family Cemetery

We signed up for the ranger-guided tour of the Texas White House and were able to visit the entire first floor.  Tim and I have toured several homes of presidents and have always come away with a better sense of the person behind the presidency.  A quote on a pillow in the office perhaps best sums up LBJs personality:  “This is my ranch and I do as I damn please.”  We learned just how much he did as he pleased, often much to Mrs. Johnson’s chagrin.  

The Texas White House

Fondly Known as "Air Force One Half"

LBJ conducted a tremendous amount of official business at the ranch, and countless dignitaries were guests there.  In addition to a guest register, President Johnson created friendship stones.  Guests signed their names and the dates of their visit into blocks of wet concrete, and these stones were used as pavers throughout the property.  It was fun to try and identify the names.

Friendship Stones

On another day we drove to Bandera, the “Cowboy Capital of the World.” We can’t attest to that, but I have to admit that I was tempted to purchase a pair of cowboy boots.  They weren’t real boots, just rain boots that looked like cowboy boots, but they would have been fun to wear in the rain.  Alas, I behaved and left without them.

Bandera County Courthouse

Tim’s big excitement for January was a trip to Tampa, Florida, and the Florida RV SuperShow.  This was the same show that Tim and I attended in 2014 and is one of the largest RV shows in the country.  We still haven’t ruled out getting a somewhat larger RV, but so far we have not found one we’re in love with.  Although Tim toured lots of contenders, he is still happy with the one we have.  Besides, our RV will be perfect for our summer in Alaska.

While Tim was away, the weather finally cooperated, and we had several beautiful days.  Everyone had been holed up in their RVs, and it was nice to talk to folks and spend some time outside.  We had several very nice neighbors during our stay at Buckhorn Lake Resort, and several offered to help if I need anything while Tim was away.  That's the thing about most RVers - they are so friendly and always ready to pitch in.

As soon as Tim returned from Florida, our month at Buckhorn ended, and we said farewell to resort living.  We didn’t go far – just down the road to San Antonio.

Kitty and Tim Relaxing at Buckhorn Lake Resort

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