Wednesday, March 23, 2016


You gotta love these Texas Longhorns!!

Shiner, Texas

We continued our journey west to the small town of Shiner, Texas.  As many times as I have been through this area of Texas, I have never toured the brewery located here.  The Spoetzl Brewery started in 1909 as the Shiner Brewing Association was founded by German and Czech immigrants who had settled around the central Texas town of Shiner. Unable to find the type of beer they had known in their home countries, they decided to brew their own. It is the oldest independent brewery in Texas and one of the oldest independent breweries in the U.S.  If you want to learn more about this brewery, go to this link:

Unfortunately the brewery was being remodeled and expanded so they did not offer tours during our stay in the area.  However, we did enjoy staying at the city's very nice city municipal rv park for a week just relaxing and letting Annie have some fun running off leash.  We also visited some of the beautiful "painted churches" in this area and near Schulenburg.  The large population of German and Czech immigrants is represented in these beautiful old churches that date back to the eighteenth century.

San Antonio

Returning to San Antonio was a bitter sweet experience for me (John).  Over ten years ago, Pati and I moved from Beaverton, Oregon to build our dream retirement home nearby in the Hill Country.  As most of you that have read my blogs over the years know, we ran into some hard times during that period that resulted in having to give up our retirement dreams, sell our beautiful home and move back to Oregon due to Pati having major health issues.  Pati passed away in June of 2012, shortly after I moved us back to Oregon to be near our children and her family.  

In August of 2012, Dexter and I continued forward traveling in my RV in search of our new normal life.  I avoided this area because it held so many good and bad memories. However, almost four years later, sharing this beautiful city with my new best friend, Cathryn, on this trip through and around the country is not so difficult.  San Antonio is a very special city with it's colorful Hispanic heritage, the wonderful River Walk and historic downtown and old, irreplacable missions. During our two week stay, we enjoyed it all together.  I will let the following pictures describe our visit.

It was special to visit with my wonderful old friends from Oregon, Rick and Sandra,  who still live in San Antonio but soon plan to move to Central California.  They miss the mountains!    

The Alamo....enough said.

Lunch on the Riverwalk.

We enjoyed an unplanned visit and breakfast with friends from Massachusetts visiting this area , David and Miriam.  

Waiting to have lunch at the Gunther House at Pioneer Flour Mills.

We attended Sunday services at the mission of Nuestra Senora de la Purisima Concepcion, just south of downtown San Antonio.  This is one of five missions in the area that date back to the mid or early 17th century.  The liturgy during our service was led by a mariachi band which was very fitting.

An inspirational stairway in one of the old missions.....stairway to heaven?

Here are a few examples of the beautiful 18th century homes in the King William district just outside the downtown area of San Antonio.

Fredericksburg, Texas

From San Antonio we drove north to the very charming German town of Fredericksburg.  This area is in the center of the Texas Hill Country and near the home and birthplace of Lyndon Johnson, our 37th President of the United States. We ate, we browsed and shopped, we drove the surrounding area a bunch and we visited the Johnson ranch.  We also visited Luckenbach.....Willy Nelson's favorite hangout.

Very German....outdoor beer gardens.

Mockingbird.....State Bird of Texas.

Nice example of old German home in Fredericksburg, Texas

Longhorns are a common sight in Texas.

Miniature Brahma bull....I think I could do eight seconds on him!

Look familiar?  Not as large but a good replica of Stonehenge.

LBJ's birthplace on the ranch.

Notice the brand on the horns.  The ranch is still a working cattle ranch.

LBJ's small Air Force One used to land at his ranch on his own runway.

President Lyndon B. Johnson and First Lady Ladybird Johnson

The ranch house, also known as the Texas Whitehouse, was being worked on but we did tour it.  Ladybird lived here for over 30 years after LBJ passed away.

LBJ's childhood home in Johnson City, Texas.

East Texas 

We continued our journey into East Texas (Frankston, Van, Lufkin, Sulphur Springs and Arlington) to visit with family and friends.  While in the area we drove out to Forney so Cathryn could see where I grew up. 

Aunt Sally and cousins David and Jane

We had a great visit with RV friends, Fred and Judy.
Linda Kay and Gary.....great folks and childhood friends.

My brother Pat.  He has been very ill for a long time.  We wish him well.

Top:  Sister Hazel, Nephew Kevin and his wife, Kim, John and Annie.
Bottom:  Sister Fay, Cousin Edna, Cathryn and Dexter.

Our good friend David, Edna's neighbor and friend...the youngest and nicest 83 year old man we know!

My old high school in Forney, Texas

More longhorns.....these were in Forney.

 Heading West towards New Mexico
Texas cattle baron Charles Goodnight's original ranch home and headquarters was relocated to the West Texas A&M campus in Canyon, Texas.

Charles Goodnight once owned over a million acres near Palo Duro Canyon in the Texas Panhandle.  He ran over 100,000 cattle on it making him the richest man in Texas at the time.  He also invented the chuck wagon

As we left Texas we visited Palo Duro Canyon and saw this beauty.

That's all for now.  We are continuing our journey west into New Mexico and Arizona.  Hope to see you all down the road.  Happy Trails!

John, Cathryn, Annie and Dexter