Sunday, November 30, 2014

A Ride in the Texas Hill Country

November 29, 2014

Today we decided to take a ride and check out a couple of wineries, a little wine tasting is always nice.


Entrance to Bella Vista Ranch.

Our first stop was the Bella Vista Ranch just outside of  Wimberley. We not only did a wine tasting we also sampled their olive oil, balsamic oil, and raspberry chipotle sauce. We ended up purchasing there Texas Viogner a nice white, bleu cheesed stuffed olives, and a nice aged balsamic vinegar.

This is the first commercially producing olive orchard in Texas. They mill their Estate and Texas grown olives on a modern Italian olive press. Bella Vista Cellars on the ranch is a boutique winery and produces varietal wines. We enjoyed our stop and talking to the woman in tasting room about their products.

Entrance to Duchman Family Winery

This was our second stop and it was a busy place partly as there is also a restaurant on the grounds. The tasting room was larger and busier though the young woman who helped us was very personable and seemed to know the product. After doing some sampling we purchased Red Texas Bianco and a White Canto Felice. It was an enjoyable stop.

We were getting hungry so after checking Yelp we opted to head for the Leaning Pear, four stars, restaurant in Wimberley for a late lunch. We both opted to try a cup of their crab bisque and a half sandwich. Tom had the Reuben and I tried the Fried Green Tomato, something I had never had before, we were both happy with our choices and our decision to stop. 

We then headed back to a relaxing evening at the Crusader. We sat out on our patio enjoying the quiet until the wind picked up and a chill sent us inside.


November 27, 2014

From the posted date you can see we are still working on catching up with our posts. So first of all we hope everyone had a beautiful Thanksgiving.

This is the first Thanksgiving since we have been married we have not been at home or celebrated with family. So it was a different feeling because we miss our family especially kids and grandkids. We still had a nice day together, which is how it was in the beginning years, just the two of us. There were phone calls though and texting so we were in touch with some of our family.

Tom made us a late breakfast.

Tom was suppose to make pumpkin pancakes but opted for eggs, sausage, and toast. We added orange juice with a little peach schnapps...not bad. (Linda thanks for the apple pie jam.)

Late afternoon snacks.

We spent part of the afternoon sitting outside enjoying some sunshine and a few snacks.


We enjoyed a late dinner of turkey breast (Tom grilled), twice baked potato casserole, dressing, (yes, Deb made Dad's, grandpa Duchaine's dressing it would not be a holiday meal otherwise...:)...) string beans, and sweet potatoes, plus rolls and cottage cheese. Not exactly what we would have had in the past but pretty good just the same.

Late night snack.

We ended the day with a late night snack of homemade pumpkins pie. The little gas oven works pretty well.

Not our Thanksgiving of the past but a nice one just the same. We certainly ate well...:)

"Continuity gives us roots;
change gives us branches,
letting us stretch and grow and reach new heights."
                                                                         ~Pauline Keza

Moved to Pecan Park

November 21-26, 2014

On the 21st we had a short travel day, just over an hour, to Pecan Riverside RV Park near San Marcos, TX.


This is a large private park on the San Marcos River, though you really cannot see the river from any of the campsites as far as we can tell. It does look different then the pictures we saw on the internet yet having stayed in private campgrounds over the years it is pretty much what we expected. Our site is not large but it is clean and the park as a whole seems well taken care of. Even though it is only a few miles from San Marcos it is quiet and you do get the feeling of being out in the country.

Our first couple of days here we had rain, lightening, thunder, and wind. So we were content to stay inside the Crusader, stay dry, and  enjoy being cozy. When the sun came out we did some exploring of the area and restocking of supplies. Plus a little Christmas shopping. Other then that we have been just hanging out and relaxing.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Bastrop State Park continued

November 12-21, 2014

More pictures from Bastrop State Park.
Taken from below our campsite, the Crusader is behind second from left tall tree.
There is a lovely lake within the park they keep stocked with fish. Visitors are allowed to fish without a license. There is also a pool, which was closed, and a golf course I failed to take any pictures of it. Though it did look nice and we saw golfers out there every day.

Ten Acre Lake located in the Park

There is an area near the lake where they have several cabins of different sizes to rent.
One of several cabins for rent in park. You can see lake in background.

We had our first campfire while we were here. It was a little chilly but we enjoyed the quite time under the stars watching our three logs (only $1.50) burn. We may even have enjoyed a small drink to mark the occasion...:)

We spent eight days here catching our breath, cleaning road dust off of surfaces, unpacking, and stocking food supplies. We also were able to have our computer repaired the tech finishing up just before we left. So we can once again be online with more then our phones.

Even though we had “tasks” we were able to explore the area and the park. Even though it was not that warm during our time at Bastrop and pretty windy all in all it was a peaceful eight days.

Campsite 9

Bastrop State Park


November 12-21, 2014

Bastrop State Park opened in 1937. Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps the use of native building materials is seen throughout the park. Especially the use of red sandstone.

In 1997, Bastrop State Park was awarded National Historic Landmark status, due largely to the enduring craftsmanship and landscape work done in the park by the CCC.  It is one of only seven CCC parks in the nation with this recognition.

In September 2011 this County suffered what is stated to be the most destructive wildfire in Texas history. The fire killed two people, destroyed over 1,600 homes, and 32,000 acres. It affected 96 percent of the approximately 6,565 acre park. From what I read and we saw as we viewed the park they were able to save the historical buildings only needing to replace wood shingles and roofs. Every were you look you see the destruction of the fire on the loblolly pines. What you also observe is the new regrowth taking place naturally and with help.

Shelter at Scenic Overlook

Views from Scenic Overlook
This park re-opened, in part, in less then a year. It is still not fully reopened; what is open is well taken care of and beautiful. We hope to revisit this park sometime in the future to see its continued rebirth from the fire.

At our campsite one of the plantings seen throughout the park.
This being our first experience staying in a Texas State Park we were pleasantly surprised. Even though every were you turn you see the fires destruction and as I mentioned before you see the regrowth. Though we could see the highway in the distance the noise impact was very low.

Tom at our campsite

Traveling South

When we planned this adventure we decided we would spend the rest of the year in Texas. The plan for getting there was to take our time, always stop in daylight, and enjoy the trip. We gave ourselves fourteen days to arrive in San Marcos where we had reservations for two weeks including Thanksgiving. We also decided to make reservations in Port Aransas for Christmas and New Years. Other then this we decided we would  figure it out as we go. We do know we want to spend time in New Mexico and Arizona. Then at some point head east with the goal of reaching North Carolina sometime in April. Then we will head north and home sometime the beginning of May.

November 8, 2014
We left Escanaba with he goal of reaching Portage WI, this is the only part of the trip south that went as planned. Well sort of, we arrived after dark and spent the night in a Walmart parking lot. (287 miles)

November 9, 2014
Checking the weather we know now the idea of taking our time is out of the question. There is a cold front coming down and it is only going to get colder with the possibility of snow. We spent the night at the Griffs Valley View RV Park in Altoona, IA. This was a very nice park well maintained and clean. Arrived after dark. (404 miles)

November 10, 2014
Headed out into the DesMoines, IA morning traffic and crossed into Missouri around 11:00am. Spent the night in Nevada, MO at the Osage Prairie RV Park just off of I49 and it was amazingly quiet for being so close to the interstate. It was 61 degrees when we arrived and 29 degrees when we left in the morning. Set up before sunset. (315 miles)

November 11, 2014
Drove through Oklahoma were the wind comes sweeping down the plains. Yes, I had the song in my head most of the way. (I did share that information with family via text after all why should I  have been the only one humming it) Made it into Texas and spent the night at the Barefoot Marina and Resort near Pittsburg, TX. Set up in the dark.  (401 miles)

November 12, 2014
This morning it was 36 degrees when we headed out with the thought of getting further south. We had done some research the night before and had decide the Bastrop State Park looked like a good possibility. Made some calls after we were on the road and they did have openings. So that is todays destination. Arrived at the park about 4:15pm checked in and were able to set up before dark. (275 miles)

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Adventure Begins

With a lot of planning and delays behind us Tom and I started this "Adventure" on November 8, 2014 at approximately 10:30am. I directed and Tom backed "The Crusader" out onto Lincoln Road (M35). (In the fun of getting a large 5th wheel backed out onto a busy highway I forgot to take a picture.) We drove over to Nano Seconds bought two coffees and at 11:00am left the city limits of Escanaba behind us. It was 37 degrees and windy.

This blog will be a journal for us to look back at and recall this adventure as it unfolds. The places we visit and thoughts we have about this time in our lives. We are both planning on contributing to these pages and we are sure it will evolve as we grow more familiar with its use. We invite family and friends to follow along and see what we are up to. Comments will always be welcome.

We look forward to the road ahead and were it will take us. We are going to do our best to let the days ahead be a pleasant surprise.

"A good traveler has no fixed plans,
and is not intent on arriving."
~Lao Tzu