Sunday, December 27, 2015

Fredericksburg,Texas and Big Bend National Park

This is Southwest Texas.
Of course, the name is Alpine, just southeast of El Paso.

Suddenly, after being in shortsleeves in 75 degrees
it is now 24 degrees and about 6 inches of snow on the ground.

Tonight, it is supposed to drop to about 15 degrees.
Hang in there Lady Blue!!
Say, didn't we hear about balmy temps up in New England?

So , back to our travels. 
We left Inks Lake  and head west to Llano, Texas on Route 29.
Jan and I remember visiting a Cooper's BBQ in Llano years ago with Jim and Adonia from North of Highland.
First up is the ordering pit . Lots of choices.
The BBQ tender cuts whatever you need

Once you order good things like brisket and ribs, you head indoors to the counter where they
weigh your meat order and slice it for you. It is placed on butcher paper on a tray.
We just take water for now, but local beer is quite popular.
Also available are good tasting peach and blackberry cobblers.
Jan and I head to an open spot at a long cafeteria style table.
We slide the butcher paper onto the table , grab some paper towels from the roll right on the 
table  and dig in .

From Llano we head south on Route 16 to Fredericksburg, one of our favorite towns.
We may have mentioned before, but Texas is unlike any other state we visit in that you will always find lots of ranches, private homes, and businesses flying the American flag and the Texas flag.
I can not remember seeing a Massachusetts or Rhode Island home flying the state flag.
Lots of unusual things like a wagon wheel seat.
OK, Bruce is a little unusual too.
A short walk on the way into town from Frederickburg RV Park is the home of Opa's smoked sausage.  Of course we pick up a few items
This is a one piece carving from a stump in front of the library.

Always a big attraction is the very large pyramid with life like wood carvings.  
This year it was also turning while we watched. Part of the same public area includes an ice rink that was quite popular as well.
An interesting display on our way back to the campground is this locally made 
cabin. A very efficient looking small cabin about 30 feet by 13 feet or 392 square feet.

Very comfortable. Note the natural tree slabs for the bath shelves.
Hey, Lady Blue is only 24 feet!
You buy the land , the builder will build.
Jan is thinking about it.
The sign on the way out of our campground.

From Frederickburg, Jan and I head west on Route 290 to Route 10.
Yes, and the famous 80 mile per hour speed limits.
A short stop at the Junction Cooper's BBQ and on to Fort Stockton Campground.
A very nice campground, which is not easy to find in this section of Route 10.
From Fort Stockton we head down Route 385 to Rio Grande Village Campground in Big Bend National Park. 
The tunnel before reaching the village.
The views are impressive.
Good spacing in the dry camp.  RVers should note that the 25 space private full hookup campground is just a parking lot. 
Being further south now, our solar panels are very efficient, providing all of our electric needs.
Big Bend is a huge park . One of its borders is 118 miles of the Rio Grande separating Texas and Mexico.  Getting to Big Bend was about 130 miles through mostly empty desert.
From one of our hikes we watch a Mexican horseback rider who crosses back into Mexico from the U.S. side after a friendly wave.
On the grounds of an old ranch from the 1800's to early 1900's.  The planted hickory trees still look great in their fall colors.

A view of the Rio Grande from our hike.
Along the climb , bright colors from very small plants

Heading for the Rio Grande Overlook
Yes, this is one more of Jan's favorite places.
Miles and miles of beautiful northern Chihuahuan Desert, one of four major 
North American deserts.
One of the delights of our campground was the many Roadrunners that hunt the grounds. 
Their favorites are lizards and small rattlesnakes, but most of our neighbors were very good at chasing smaller food. 
Not sure of this bright red bird. One mention was a Vermillion Flycatcher.

This looks very much like a female cardinal.
But , yet looks different with a taller crown and red tail.

Along the hiking trails are these hand made birds and insects and walking sticks.
A jar is close by for payments.  These are placed by Mexicans from across the river and are discouraged by the park. We have a feeling that they still sell quite a few.
Our stay is over much too quickly. But we need to find a phone signal for Christmas. 
From Panther Junction in the park, we take Route 118 north to Alpine, Texas. This route is about 130 miles and the car in front of Eustis is one of about 20 that we see along that entire route.  
Except for those we see in Terlingua.
A very unusual town.
If you look it up, you will see that this small town is noted for a chili cookoff.
Our hosts at Alpine indicated that hundreds of trailers show up for this event.
Ver-r-r-y unusual
I remember driving one of these to deliver mail at a paper factory for a summer job.
Note the full, elaborate mural.  Not sure of the make--a vauxhall or something like that??
By the way, a lot of people assume that Bruce is taking all the pictures. Not so!
Jan took these pictures and also almost all of the road pictures.
She has become very adept with the Canon.
Slightly used.
Okay, this was from Fredericksburg.
We had to add it in because it was part of the Christmas decorations at this real estate office.
Those are functional Chirstmas lights on the truck.
And to all----a Good Night!

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