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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Weather’s Fine in the Hill Country

Sunday February 16,2014 Comfort Inn Early, Texas Rm 214 6:48PM CST

I cannot believe I’ve been trying to get this internet connection to work for almost two hours!  But then, it has been one of those days. Slept poorly last night despite a really comfortable bed. It would get hot under the covers and so I’d kick them off but because the A/C was on low, then I’d get chilled. Around 3 am I detected what smelled like insecticide—I’m sure it wasn’t—where would it come from?—but that kept me awake awhile. Probably exhaust from some truck idling in the lot.

Finally I just got up. It was around 8am and I was groggy—go to the bathroom and the toilet seat gives way—one of the hinges was broken and we hadn’t noticed—almost hit the deck!—woke me up for sure. THEN, I pull the toilet paper, which amazingly was on the roller even though I finished the paper last night and had not put the new roll on the roller. ONCE in our whole time married Bill must have done it and he did it wrong-SPRANGGGGGGG—off goes the paper under the sink but I had the end so it lay against the wall as I reeled in what I needed. I’m laughing now as I write this but let me tell you——WE WERE NOT AMUSED!!! Told Bill I feel like going back to bed—this is not going to be a good day.

So, then he tells me about his experience in the parking lot last night while having a cigarette. Guy comes out of the lobby and seems to be walking in Bill’s direction so he made way for the guy to pass but then notices that the guy is headed right for him. As he approaches Bill he thrusts his hand out and says ” Hi, I’m Justin!”  An older, white guy, rather fidgety making Bill leery but he shook his hand and said “ I’m Bill.” The other goy then says “ Oops, I’ve got the wrong guy. I’m supposed to meet someone out here.” and goes back into the lobby. Bill continues with his cigarette and as he is coming back in the guy asks if he’s seen anyone in the lot. Bill said no. Then this morning as he was taking stuff to the car, he notices a syringe on the ground!  This was a nice hotel in a really nice neighborhood. Good thing he didn’t tell me last night, I would not have slept at all.

Eventually, we get on the road—the plan –to head toward San Marcos , that is go south of Austin and then cut west and then north on farm and ranch roads.  One of the very first things we encountered was the intersection with 130 toll road. Gloria, one of my friends who is following this blog, told me yesterday about this road and I could not place it at all. Barb, you should see it—brand new and runs alongside I35  but without all that traffic and car jams we experienced when visiting Round Rock. It’s not on my Texas map which is a 2010 map so it has been built between then and now—not even on the map as a dotted under-construction road. It is a beauty though we did not use it since we never go to cities. Instead we picked up Ranch Road 150 into Kyle. The police department was established in 1975 and that part of town we entered was wall to wall sub-divisions because there is an I-35 exit here. Once by the Interstate we came to the old town which looked really sad in comparison to all the spiffy malls and houses and roads at entry. But then , it is now a thriving bedroom community for Austin and maybe even for San Antonio which isn’t really that far away as Western distances go.

As we got farther from the North-South axis parallel to the Austin axis we began to see fewer homes though these hills are very well populated and it is an affluent area. It was a relief, as we headed West, to see that the Hill Country ,which we had not explored before, continues rural farther away and that there are lots of ranches. Lots of goats—what do they do with them? How much goat cheese and goat milk is there a market for?  And is there really a big market for goat meat? I know Middle Europeans, Greeks etc use goat in much of their cuisine but have we enough of them to need such a supply?

The views in some areas were beautiful, though it was hazy in the morning and actually had been foggy earlier. Some of the terrain reminded us of the area around Santa Fe in New Mexico and sometimes the Nevada area around the Lake Meade National Refuge. The soil is very thin and though there is plenty of water, the growth is scrubby. In one picnic area, however,  I noticed wild geranium. The soil is very rocky and it is yellow and orange. Many of the buildings use the stone from the area and they are so clean and sparkling looking—when the sun came out, they were particularly beautiful.

As we headed toward Luckenbach the rivers and streams started to be dry washes. The Pedernales in the area had no water at all. We didn’t find the town which bummed me out—wanted to see where Willy and Waylon and the Boys were Getting Back to the Basics of Life. We just didn’t feel like looking for it since we had a way to go to San Saba and then another 43 miles to Early.

As often happens in hilly and mountainous country things periodically open up into wide valleys and this one led us into Fredericksburg. Now, this part of Texas was settled by Germans and throughout the drive we’d seen Gernberg and Lindemann and Haas ect but Fredericksburg does it up huge.They do not say welcome on their town sign but rather willkommen! This is the home of Admiral Nimitz and the old Nimitz Hotel is now the National Museum of the Pacific War. There were lots of people roaming the main street and window shopping in the little shoppes and a few headed into the museum. By now the sun was out and, if you can believe it, we were too hot to be bothered to tour the museum since it was now 82 degrees under a cloudless sky. Too dramatic a climate change for us!

When we reached Rt 16 it was a straight shot through Llano to San Saba. Though we’d seen prickly pear since arriving in Texas this area had fields and fields of it. Bill picked an ear, avoiding the large thorns only to find that the whole margin is lined with fine hair-like thorns very closely packed so that his fingers, without him feeling it, became totally coated with fine prickles embedded in his skin. I chose not to touch it, though it is a pretty plant and is eaten by Native Americans and Mexicans alike. There also were our first Yucca growing in great bunches of green spears. The mistletoe is greening up to get a head start on photosynthesis before the trees leaf out. Of course, the trees will feed them and so actually they are feeding themselves until the trees can take over feeding them.

I had researched the San Saba River Pecan Company on line yesterday—looked at every page but could not find hours posted anywhere. We made a special trip here, knowing that we’d have to go about 43 miles more for a motel. Entrance 700ft—with a chain across it and no where an indication of when the place is open except to say open all year. I was so bummed. But what to do—nothing had really gone right this morning so why would this?  Decided that it was time to do my one Sonic fix and so I had a bacon cheeseburger and a Butterfinger Blast. Then I felt over-full, tired and hot. With 43 more miles to go. Well, I tried, Barb!

After taking some pictures of the town we headed to Early –my camera battery had died—actually all three were charging and the scenery was the same as the last time we were here. I recognized the Church the picture of which I took in Goldthwaite, knew which farm roads we’d followed, the school in Zephyr. Checked into the motel—changed immediately and tried to upload pictures to Snapfish. Twice! Very slow.

Watched the internet bars go up and down two up to five back down to three down to none back up—so I tried Ethernet connection—it was worse. Now I seem to have it  going for the time being. We’ll see if I manage to post this to my blog and send it by copying it to an email.

Doing the laundry and reading. No PBS channel here so unless I find it not listed no Downton again tonight. I may watch the ice dancers anyway and watch Downton on the computer later in the week—so please, fellow watchers—no spoilers!!!! Bill and I still haven’t started the new season of House of Cards either but will soon. Right now, I think I’ll make a sandwich and read for a bit.

Feeling tired but after looking again at the website to get San Saba’s phone number, I found the hours have been posted : Mon-Sat. Bill says we’ll go back tomorrow and then stay in Abilene tomorrow night—so I’ve made reservations—they’d better be open or I’ll never buy any of their products again. Like I ever do—can’t find them anywhere and won’t pay Shipping and Handling to have them send them to me in Vt.

I must admit, the one really positive note is that, though I’d rather the temperatures be in the 70’s—we have finally found the Snowbirds’ South.

Until tomorrow—‘night all!  KandB



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