Sunday, November 24, 2013


The truth is, this blog is on hiatus. The truth is, we're not having many adventures these days. The truth is, we're just living our lives.

We're happily ensconced at a Texas hill country RV park and are kind of hunkered down.

I mentioned how our grandson, who is with us, is attending school via online public school. shall I say this...simply doesn't display the initiative I still hope he will develop, and homeschooling is a five-day-a-week job for us, leaving very little time for exploration.


We incurred some expensive repair bills for the truck and the trailer so are staying put until we get those paid off, hopefully before the end of winter. (Meaning, I hope nothing else goes wrong.)


We are dealing with some medical issues and need to stay put for a bit to work with the medical providers on these issues.

We will do some more sightseeing over the next few months, and try to share with you, but please understand we are basically just living our lives right now. We're looking forward to being on the move next spring.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

New Braunfels: The Gruene District

The Gruene (prounouced "green") district of New Braunfels has a strong grounding in the area's German heritage. It is also wildly trendy, and, being just a half hour's drive from a large city (San Antonio is America's 7th largest city!), it is a very popular destination for a weekend outing.

We hadn't realized that, and when we arrived, the streets were as jammed as any tourist spot. We found a parking place, finally, at the far end of a huge parking lot. Forget finding a parking spot on the street!

The funny thing is, we came to see a museum, which we never did find. Oh, well; we decided to just mill around with the crowd. Join us!

This old house is an inn, now.

There were places to get some Texas barbecue and listen to live music.
An antique store, now:

The "general store;" yes, that's Jan in the hat, and yes, the whole place was crowded with souvenir shoppers.
You can taste some wine if you wish:

Or visit any of a plethora of shops:

The Texas Clay Festival was in full swing (see what I mean about parking?):

A customer in the fly fishing store was trying out a rod, with the Clay Festival as a backdrop.

There were demonstrations:

and everyone seemed to be having a good time.

Someone at church said that the Gruene District is also very busy during Christmas shopping season; I can understand that, as there are so many interesting shops.

San Antonio: The Medical Museum at Fort Sam Houston

On our first expedition into San Antonio, we visited the Medical Museum at Fort Sam Houston.
This museum presents the story of American military medical care from the beginning of the story to the present, dovetailing it with concurrent medical developments and other relevant historical milestones.
The museum exceeded our expectations. As we traveled through the displays, we traveled through time, from Revolutionary War days to today.

A leech kit:

An amputation kit:

Early ambulances:

The iron lung:

An Army hospital train car:
A couple scenes inside the car:

A MASH helicopter:

A few more displays:

This museum was well worth visiting!

Monday, October 21, 2013

New Braunfels, Texas: Conservation Plaza

After attending church in New Braunfels, we made our way to Conservation Plaza, a collection of 19th century buildings that have been moved to the site. Upon our arrival, we were greeted by George, a New Braunfels Conservation Society member, who asked us which version of the tour we wanted. We were the only guests and were given one-on-one attention for the next three hours or so, as we went from building to building, George toting a large ring of keys to unlock each door for us. It was an unusual museum in that we could see everything. You know how in most old house tours, you don't get to see every room? Not so, here.

New Braunfels was founded in 1845 by Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels. He was a German nobleman who headed the German settling of the town. New Braunfels, even in the heavily German Texas Hill Country, is a showplace of German heritage. Next month, approximately 100,000 visitors will fill the town during its annual 10-day Wurstfest, but today was quiet.

I had left the house without my DSLR camera, so today's photos come to you from the Smartphone. While I was grateful to have it, I really missed my "real" camera, and was very annoyed with myself.

A saloon; only men were allowed within. Women could come to the back door for a little beer to go.
 A popular card game.
 There is a complete woodworking shop; also, many pieces in the various buildings are by Jahn.
 A Sunday house. Sunday houses were small houses in town where the family could stay when they came into town from the farm for church or for other reasons.
 This 1907 REO is one of the Society's proudest displays. It is completely restored and operative.
 This organ has 360 pipes; most of them are not visible in this picture. I actually got to play it--how many times does that happen in a museum? The Society put in great effort to restore it and make it operable.

What a beautiful Sunday afternoon! There was so much to see that even Damien, who is 13, said he didn't think his legs could take one more building. (The stairs were the narrow kind you have to back down.)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Texas Hill Country Excursion: Blanco

We fortuitously visited Blanco this afternoon, which happens to be a Saturday. I say that because it happens to be a market day, and this evening is the Gala, a big fundraising event at the old courthouse, so the town was company ready.

This Second Empire styled building was the original Blanco County courthouse, but only a few years later, the county seat was relocated to Johnson City, leaving this beautiful building searching for a new occupation. Currently housing offices and a visitor center, it has also tried its hand at being a school, a bank, and a hospital. It also had a brief role in the remake of the movie "True Grit," where its courtroom was a movie setting.

Tonight, there will be a Gala, and the downstairs hallway is full of silent auction donations, beautifully arranged and with stiff opening bid requirements.
The hallways are lined with historic photos, like this one of local women preparing a barbeque for a Lyndon Johnson campaign visit.
There were all sorts of vendors on the lawn and along the sidewalks, so once again I kept my Christmas list in mind as I visited the different stalls. I couldn't help but be captivated by this one; since I am The Accidental Trailerist, the reason is rather obvious.

I stepped inside the traveling store; it was beautifully done, but I didn't take any photos as it was a popular shop and I didn't want to make the customers inside uncomfortable. The store is called The Gypsy Couture .

Across from the square was an antique mall where we spent some time browsing first upstairs and then downstairs.

We finished our visit to Blanco with a walk in the park--the city park, that is. It adjoins the state park, and we could see the river from the boundary;
but we didn't feel comfortable going further. We're still trying to figure out the Texas state park structure, but from what we see, they're very expensive, and if I understood correctly, going for a walk there would cost $4 apiece. Park prices vary; many are more than that, like the Guadalupe River State Park; we drove to the gates a couple days ago but turned back because of the high entrance fee, again per person. There is a pass available for $70. If we have some extra money next month, we might have to get one.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Stop in Mineral Wells, Texas

One more stop before we reach the San Antonio area: Mineral Wells, Texas. This is a town of nearly 17,000, named after the mineral waters of Crazy Well, discovered in 1885. The water was said to be able to cure mental illness and other diseases, and therefore attracted many visitors in the late 1800s and early 1900s. You can still obtain the original deep-well mineral and reverse osmosis waters from Famous Mineral Water Company and a historical marker stands at the site of the first well.  A huge hotel was built to accommodate the health-seekers, which today is derelict, its towering presence standing sentinel over the rest of the city.
Our arrival happened to coincide with the annual Crazy Water Day, with food booths, car displays, and much more--the town was crammed, but we had the trailer behind us and I had left my camera in it. So, the above photo was taken the next day, when the town was back to normal.

We spent a couple nights at the Rocker D RV Park just south of town, where we saw two units like this, just parked among the regular RVs. These sure are cute. I'd love to see the inside of one.
These are not the "Tiny Houses," which I am familiar with. I think they may be park models of some sort.

We found an Episcopal church to attend; it had quite a few absolutely beautiful stained glass windows, which I was told have drawn the attention of stained glass experts.

 The St. Luke's congregation was small and, shall we say, mature, but very welcoming. Both before and after the service, we had an opportunity to learn a little more about Texas life. I think I'm going to like it here. We came away with a plate of cookies and an invitation to "y'all come back."