Sunset, Kailua-Kona, The Big Island, Hawaii, March 11, 2024

Sunset, Kailua-Kona, The Big Island, Hawaii, March 11, 2024
Sunset, Kailua-Kona, The Big Island, Hawaii, March 11, 2024

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Texas Hill Country Tour Day - Sat., May 10

Bob, Laura, Mom and I hopped in the car at 8:15 a.m. On our way out of town, Bob had an errand to do. When he was finished, we headed out to Random Beer Garden and Event Center to say hello to Randall.

Bob, Randall, Louise, Laura
While we were there, Randall pointed out a gorgeous green anole lizard sitting on the outside air conditioning box.

From Random we headed to Smittyville off I-10 in Welfare, Texas. We were in search of Apple Brown Sugar Danish from the Smittyville Cafe bakery. Unfortunately, they did not make those Danish today. Pout! We didn't buy anything there.

We backtracked to Boerne to head northeast on TX 46 to Spring Branch. Bob's mom, Louise, wanted to see a bookkeeping/tax service branch office owned by the lady she works for in Las Vegas. From Spring Branch, we drove north on US 281 to Johnson City.

A 30-minute movie about Lady Bird Johnson at the Lyndon Baines Johnson National Historical Park Visitor Center made me appreciate her and her work in conservation. She and I have a lot in common. Specifically, she loved nature and gardening, was independent, intelligent, and a bit shy. I respect the work she did to beautify America. In Texas, her work is evident when you see wildflowers bloom in spring along the highways.

We shopped in the national park gift store. I bought a "Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country" book. Now I can go back in my blogs and identify many flowers I could not find elsewhere.

For lunch we tried a place we hadn't been before: East Main Grill Restaurant, part of The Old Lumber Yard complex in Johnson City. Four happy tummies later, we rate this four thumbs up. I had an excellent Asian Salad. Bob had the grilled smoked turkey sandwich, and Laura and Louise split a three-cheese grilled cheese sandwich.

Interior of Old Main Grill in Johnson City, TX
The Old Lumber Yard: Main Street Grill on the left;
shopping in the building on the right. (Unknown people.)
On the way out of Johnson City, we stopped at another portion of the original Johnson property to look at the longhorns and the history of trail drives.

Texas longhorn.
Continuing on, our next stop was LBJ Park Ranch Unit between Johnson City and Fredericksburg, Texas. As we entered the park, we stopped at the Visitor Center. Bob went into the Visitor Center and bought the driving tour CD for $10 (which included one admission to the Texas "White House" [$3 value]).

On the driving tour we opted to start at the Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm. The Sauer-Beckmanns were neighbors of the Johnson family. A state park volunteer is on site talking about how life was lived on the farm in the 1880s.

Cactus in bloom.
Butterfly on firewheel.
Laura in barn tackhouse, Sauer-Beckmann Farm.
Louise in pantry, Sauer-Beckmann Farm.
In the photo below, does anyone know what the contraption is on the left? Take a wild guess and I'll let you know who's a smartypants.

Bob standing in front of a machine to grind
corn into cornmeal.
Docent showing a dried pig bladder which
was used to hold water.
Next we entered the LBJ National Historical Park. We heard the history of LBJ's first schoolhouse, and saw the cemetery where President and Mrs. Johnson are buried. Their headstones are the tallest ones fourth and fifth from the left. His headstone carries the presidential seal and hers has a flower.

The Johnson family cemetery

A newborn fawn taking a drink.
The driving tour continued around the landing strip for "Air Force 1/2," President Johnson's Lockheed jet, and to the working barn on the ranch. There were a couple of newborn calves and a newborn goat.

One-day-old goat.
Four-day-old calf.
Laura loves animals and was thrilled to pet a few kids.

I think she was trying to corral them!
A Laredo striped whiptail lizard at the barn.
We then toured the Texas White House, the home of President and Mrs. Johnson. 25% of his presidency was conducted from this home. Heads of state, foreign dignitaries, defense secretaries all spent time at the ranch. The president was known to conduct policy meetings from a hammock, hold barbecues, and sit out on the lawn under the 500-year-old live oak.

Laura at the presidential podium.
Louise at the preisdential podium.
We had a good time touring the LBJ Ranch, but it was time to move down the road to Wild Seed Farm, one of the largest working wild seed farms in the U.S. Two years ago when we visited Wild Seed, fields and fields of wildflowers were in bloom. Imagine our disappointment when all we saw were a couple of fields with flowers, everything else was plowed under and just brown dirt. At least we had fun shopping in the store and eating peach soft serve ice cream.

The German-founded community of Fredericksburg was our next shopping destination. Laura was especially eager to shop in Dogologie, a store devoted to all things dog.

The most fun store we entered was Rustlin' Rob's Texas Gourmet Foods. OMG. Rows upon rows of samples were out for yummy food: jalapeno jelly, cherry cobbler in a jar, hot sauces, relishes, preserves, and sauces. Wheat crackers, pretzels and napkins were placed throughout the store to try out the different condiments and foods. We had so much fun tasting our way around. The store also sells fudge.

Worth a visit!
Fredericksburg's stores roll up the sidewalk about 5:30 p.m. on Saturday night. We walked to Wheeler's Restaurant for dinner and were seated immediately.

Louise and Laura split a burger and fries. Bob and I shared a turkey pastrami Reuben sandwich, red cabbage and hot German potato salad.

To end our tour, we stopped briefly in Comfort, Texas (an antique town). The main attraction we wanted to show them was the Treue der Union monument.

History of the monument
Laura, Louise & Bob reading more history.

Treue der Union is one of the few places in the U.S. allowed to fly the flag at half mast 24 hours a day.

Flag always half mast.
Once home we watched the Spurs-Blazers playoff game and were so sad our beloved Blazers (remember we have been Oregonian Blazer fans for 30 years) lost again. I wish they put up more of a fight. Looks like they may be swept. That being said, we are Texas residents now (seven months) so we will proudly root for the Spurs if or when the Blazers are out of the play-offs.

Travel bug out.


  1. that item is a cream separater....

    1. Dee,
      You are a super smartypants! Congrats, that's exactly what it is.

  2. You sure fit a bunch of sight seeing in on this day. Your MIL and SIL are getting tours from two very good guides.


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