Saturday, February 23, 2013

Walking with Art, Johnson City, Texas -- Sat., Feb. 23

Once in a while in life a surprise gem turns into a treasure. Today's Volksmarch was once of those times.

The sky was blue, the temperature 72 degrees, and a cool breeze kept us comfortable. At 10:00 a.m. we met Peri and Jim at Benini Galleries and Sculpture Ranch in Johnson City, Texas, for a 10K Volksmarch. This is one of those, "I never would have known this place existed," moments. The Benini's graciously opened up their ranch for today's Volksmarch event sponsored by the Selma Pathfinders Volksmarch Club.

The Benini Gallery--Peri (left) filling out her Volksmarch start card.
Detail of the bird atop the gallery.
By the butterfly garden, was this adorable statue and bird house. (Yes, the statue is small.)

After we signed in, off we went on a great walk through acres of property to see all the sculptures contained therein. I am posting some of my favorites and a few not so favorites so you can see the diversity.

Rock Paper Scissors
Remember When
The Great Benini by Perkins
Mujer Alta by Beckelmann
Higher Education II by McGehearty

Part of "Five Bucks, One Blue" by Benini
Five Bucks, One Blue by Benini
The following sculpture changed color as you walked around it and saw it in different light.

"The Great Mother" by Mother Nature
Beautiful clouds
More beautiful clouds.
Our course was hilly so we got a good workout. The art walk was great because there was lots to look at as we traversed the Hill Country.

Our view as we climbed the hill.
Bob, Jim, Peri (behind Jim) and other walkers.
Laughter Rising by Michelle O'Michael
View of the lower trails.

King of the hill.

Sculptures all along the way...

Top of the hill.

Blue Waterfall and Moon.
Red Cross by Bobby Hamric
The art was along the first 5K of the walk. When we exited the Sculpture Ranch gate, we followed ranch roads through the Hill Country for the next 5K. We saw lots of live oak and some juniper trees.

Long views.
Live oak forest.
Road warriors--Bob, Peri, Jim
Free range--beautiful blazed horse.
A friendly mule.
Bad boys in the desert.
At this point, we re-entered the sculpture ranch. After we checked in at the finish table, we toured the gallery. Gorgeous primary-color paintings and bright secondary colors greeted our eyes.

3-D Wall Sculpture
Up high on the wall...see the ceiling?
I like this one.
The rose is bright emerald green...much prettier than the photo.

If you did not know this gallery was here, the only clue on the main highway (TX 290) is this sculpture of a longhorn and a sign that says, "The Preserve at Walnut Springs."

Very shiny longhorn sculpture.
You see this sign after you turn onto Flat Creek Road.
As usual after walking 10K (6.2 miles), we were hungry. We stopped for lunch at The Country Cupboard. Their menus are pasted on brown paper bags, you remember the big ones?

Brown paper bag menu and Peri hamming it up for the camera.
One of their specials was chicken and dumplings. Peri and I opted for that. Jim chose chicken-fried steak with mashed potatoes and gravy and Bob had the teriyaki catfish. The Country Cupboard has been in business since before Lyndon Baines Johnson was president.

Speaking of LBJ, the second part of our day was to explore the LBJ Ranch (since we were in the neighborhood). All of us piled into Jim and Peri's car for the 13-mile drive to the ranch. Once there, we briefly went in the Visitor Center to find out about the house tour. Peri and I stamped our National Parks Passport books.

Our first stop was the Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm. There wasn't a lot going on here today as far as the living history part, probably because it was late in the day.

Five-day-old piglets. Very cute.
Mama boss hog.
The farm.
Lynx-point Siamese farm cat.
A handsome ram walked right into my photo to say hello.
Mom and her calf.
Saddle and tack room.
From the living history farm we had to hustle to the LBJ home to try to make it on a tour before they closed it down for the day. We arrived just in time to get in with the 4:35 p.m. group. No photos were allowed inside the house, but we could snap away to our heart's content outside. Below is Air Force One-half. This is how LBJ referred to the Lockheed jet that flew him to the ranch.

Lockheed jet, formally referred to as Air Force One with the President on board.
LBJ called it Air Force One-half.
This is where LBJ spent 25% of his presidency. The big live oak in the front yard is 500 years old and is named The Cabinet Tree because LBJ would hold cabinet meetings underneath it.

LBJ ranch house.
You can see supports holding up the branches of the Cabinet Tree.
Their pool.
Ladybird and Lyndon's daughter was Luci. Here's the gift she was given two weeks before her 18th birthday. Nice!

Also on the grounds near the house are buildings for the Secret Service and Communications teams.

About four mobile homes make up the command center.
Lovely butterflies were flitting around and feeding on the mountain laurel plants in the front yard of the ranch. Here are a couple of photos of them.

There's even a spotted beetle to the left of the butterfly!
And what would a trip to the ranch be without a couple of photos of the big, wide-open spaces of the ranch itself?

Wow, you're probably thinking, that's enough for one day. But wait, there's more. After the ranch we all thought Dairy Queen sounded really good. We stopped at the one in Johnson City for Blizzards. As we were sitting eating our Blizzards and sampling each other's flavors, a bizarre little "car" was pulled over by Johnson City's Chief of Police right outside the window of the DQ. The photo op was too good to pass up. Here's what we saw...

A 1988-vintage motorcycle.

Not being very shy about asking strangers questions, I went up to the officer in his car, stuck my head in the window and said, "What is that?" He said, "I don't know, but I'm fixin' to find out. I stopped him because I didn't see a license plate, but now I see it." Frankly, I think the officer stopped him to find out about it and to have his picture taken by it. (Which did happen, by the way. He asked a curious bystander to take his photo next to the motorcycle.)

The rest of the picture.
Pretty soon people were appearing out of nowhere to find out about the strange little vehicle. The owner said he gets stopped by police all the time. I can understand why when he recounted his story to Jim about going 165 mph, saw a policeman up ahead and had slowed it down to 125 mph by the time the policeman clocked him. He said that was a very expensive ticket.

Owner in the blue shirt, his wife is to the right of the officer.
So there you have it...something you don't see every day (or maybe never!).

Welcome to new follower: New Age Nomad. We hope you find some tidbits to keep you interested in coming back.

And that was the end of our fun day with Jim and Peri, other 5th wheel full-timers. You can learn more about them at Tales from the Camping House.

It's getting late and tomorrow is another 10K walk for Bob and I, plus our RV park Olympics will be in the afternoon. I'm on a team called The Internationals and Bob is on the Dixie's Cups team. I will be competing in the washer toss and the team relay. Bob doesn't know yet what he'll be competing in.

And that's life on the road. Travel Bug propping her eyelids up. Good night.


  1. What a day, I don't even know where to begin. Ok I'll start with the sculptures love the rock, paper, scissors, that was clever. And the blue water fall was pretty. I enjoyed you history lesson on LBJ and the ranch. I don't remember him too much. I sure wouldn't want to be stopped by the police all the time, but it was sure unique.
    And a 2 seater?

  2. WOWEE! What a day! LOVED the sculpture walk...Cool photos!

  3. What an interesting ranch ... actually both of them. I'm adding them to my visit list.

  4. What a neat day! I especially loved the sculpture garden. I'll have to remember that when we make it to Texas some year! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Wow what a busy day you had. Now wonder you had to prop up your eyelids! It must be nice to have all your medical/dental work behind you. Glad life is getting back to normal for you.

  6. Love the sculptures and paintings!!! Thanks for all the photos... you must have high speed internet!!!
    Box Canyon Mark

  7. What a fantastic day! I am not a huge sculpture person but I did like the Sculpture Garden. Great place for your walk.

    LBJ's ranch was very interesting. We'll have to keep these places in mind. Love the animals, especially the piglet.

  8. What a great walk. We will check the sculpture ranch out next time in the hill country.

  9. You're like the energizer bunny! Just keep going and going. What a great day! Love the rose paintings.
    Wish I had known you were participating in the Olympics. I would have watched and cheered you on.


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