19 Mar – 4 Apr 2016; Fun in the Hills, Quick Repairs (right!), San Antonio, Retirement Ceremony


Greetings all!  Well, we have done it again…much too long between posts and so much to cover, so here we go!  We last left you at a nice RV Park in Fredericksburg, TX.  Our last weekend there was Palm Sunday weekend.  Terri’s Uncle and Aunt were already at the Guadalupe River State Park, where we were moving to on Monday.  Early on Saturday, we decided to meet them in Bandera for Bandera’s annual Wild Hog Explosion!  What a blast that was.  We got there just in time for the wild hog catching contest, followed by some free good eats.  There are several folks that attend this event each year, and smoke various wild game and domestic fare for you to sample for a donation…everything from Wild Hog, to brisket, Quail, Chicken, Ribs, Pulled Pork…you name it.  It was great!

Not a real big ring, but these wild hogs didn’t need much room to get away from the two wranglers.

It was a timed event. Two wranglers had to catch the hog, place it in a gunny sack and drag it across a finish line. Best time wins. The young lady in the picture here won three events, and three huge belt buckles. People of all ages participated. We got there too late for the young kids to compete, but it was still a blast. As the contestants got older, so did the hogs. A lot of bloody folks went home that day, and the older hogs were quite aggressive.

Great fun in TX!

After the show, we headed into Bandera for a stop at the famous Cowboy Bar. Mostly an outside venue, with bands always playing. The place is held together with tin, wire and blue tarps, but a neat place. On Thursday nights they fire up a bunch of grills, and you bring your own steak to cook.

The only actual “inside” bar is quite interestingly decorated. I’m sure there is a free T Shirt or something that goes with these donations. The little inside bar is only about 100 square feet.

Great shot of the BUMC…Bandera United Methodist Church, where we went to Palm Sunday services last year.

As evening approached, we headed to Harper, TX, which is due west of Fredericksburg.  The Almost Patsy Cline Band was performing at the Harper Community Dance Hall.  What a great experience that was!  This is an old time Texas dance hall, and the community gets together a couple of times a year for an all out fun filled night of dancing.  We’ve stated before how much we love the kindness of these Hill Country folks.  We didn’t know that folks bring their own food and “beverages” to the event, but no matter…we were showered with more home made delights than we could have asked for.  Knowing that we were the only “foreigners” in attendance, we didn’t know quite how things would go down, but in true Texas form, we were greeted by almost everyone there.  They were genuine in wanting to get to know us and tell us about their little town and surrounding area.  What’s neat about these dances is people are there to dance!  As soon as Vicki struck up the first note with the band, just about every single chair was empty, and the dance floor was crowded form the first song to the last.  Vicki (the lead for the band) let us know her Dad and Mom were coming that night.  Her dad had just learned he has brain cancer, and wanted a good night out with his wife.  What a fantastic couple!  Her dad is pretty mobile yet, and her mom is in a walker.  Terri went off to talk to Vicki’s dad, and the next thing I knew, he had her on the dance floor.  What a magnificent night!

Terri and Vicki’s dad taking a stroll around the dance floor. Later in the evening, Vicki’s mom and dad danced a slow waltz in place near the table…very touching moment.

It was a late night by the time we got back, but well worth it!  Sunday was an early rise, as we wanted to attend “Palms in the Platz,” an outdoor Palm Sunday service provided in the downtown park by the FUMC…the Frederickburg United Methodist Church.  It was a great service.

It got much more crowded than this. We were over in the sun as it got quite chilly in the shade…Palms in the Platz.

After a quick bite for lunch, we headed out the to Old Tunnel State Park in Kendall County.  This is an old railroad tunnel that has been turned into a state park of about 16 acres that was acquired by the state in 1991 for the specific purpose of protection and management of a seasonal colony of approximately 1-3 million Mexican free-tailed bats.  The migration to the tunnel usually starts in May and lasts through October, so there were not many bats here.  They have two viewing areas, and apparently it gets quite crowded near dark when folks gather to watch hundreds of thousands of bats emerge for their nightly hunts.  The state park volunteers on site were great and very knowledgeable.

Looking down at the old railroad bed from a viewing area above.

A shot from the lower viewing area.

Looking through the tunnel from the lower hiking trail that is only accessible this time of year before the bats return.

Terri on the trail leading back up to the upper viewing area.

Nice trails…we wish we would have been able to walk them all, but it was getting late in the afternoon and we had to head back to get ready to move the next day.

We got back to Quiet Creek RV Resort late in the day, and started to make preparations for our move to Guadalupe River State Park on Monday.

Looking out over private property from the rear of our Coach. It appears they are going to install a large privacy fence. What a shame…great view will be lost.

Panorama of the few folks left in the park. It was full through Saturday night.

Not too bad of a spot. Caught the moon in the background.

On Monday we worked our way over to Guadalupe River State Park…one of our favorites.  We had reservations for the week, but that changed, as I got a call from the folks at Foretravel RV in Nacogdotches relating that they had our Synch Cylinder in. We decided we would head over there on Wednesday, get the install on Thursday, and head back to the San Antonio area on Friday if all worked out OK.   We had a great meal with Lois and Rick on Monday night, and went hiking on the other side of the river which is still state park land on Tuesday.

A circa late 1800’s house on the other side of the river. You can see this house from the parking area by the river at the RV Park. The windmill on the property is still pumping water, and is routed to some water troughs for free range cattle and wildlife.

Kayaks on the river.

Lois, Rick and Terri

Lois, Terri and I. Man, I sure hope my barber comes off of strike soon!

We had a great afternoon, and some of Lois and Rick’s friends from Wisconsin arrived late that afternoon, and we had a great meal together that night.  Awesome Salmon, and Rick later made his famous cherry dessert in his cast iron over charcoal.

Wednesday was an early rise, as we had about 390 miles to make it to Foretravel in Nacogdotches.  It was a long day with really strong winds, but we made it.  We were in bed early, and parked in front of our service bay at 0730.  They got us right in, and thought they would have us out before lunch…not!  I asked the service tech if he had ever replaced a Synch Cylinder on a Country Coach before, and he had not, so I implored him to call HWH in IA to get the correct procedure for removal and replacement before he started.  He did not, so needless to say, a one hour job turned into eight, with many techs involved other than just one.  As far as we can tell, they didn’t completely ruin anything, but it was not good.  The slide does work now, but has a jump to it again.  We will be heading to Moscow, IA later this Spring to have them “fix” things the right way.  Hind sight…we should have gone there in the first place.  After a long conversation with the service department, they only charged me for half of the main technicians labor, and no charges for the other folks that had to help remedy the situation…ugggh.

We stayed in their lot overnight, and then hit the road early Friday headed for Ft Sam Houston FamCamp in San Antonio.  Another long day.  We took a different route that was longer and took us right through Houston, but the roads were much better.  We got to Ft Sam late in the afternoon.

After we got set up we were greeted by an awesome sunset.

Very nice large sites, a lot of room between you and your neighbor as well.

We met a great full-time couple who are parked right next to us, Lance and Melissa, and have become great friends, sharing a few meals together, and enjoying each others company.  You meet some really fantastic people out here!

Saturday was our 33rd anniversary, and we pretty much stuck close to home.  We have acquired tickets for the musical Cinderella which we will see on the 5th of April at the Majestic Theater in downtown San Antonio.

Sunday was Easter, and we were treated to a really great service at the San Antonio Reformed Church, which belongs to the Orthodox Presbyterian Denomination.  It is a very small church with maybe 20 families.  They were so welcoming, and invited us to stay for dinner after the service.  We met some relatives of the church members that were in town visiting, who are also originally from Wisconsin.  Small world.

After church (about 2:30 now) we headed out to the Castroville Regional Park where we were supposed to relocate to and meet our friends from FL on Monday.  I’m sure glad we checked it out, as we would have never fit in the park, and the roads leading there were terrible!  Now what to do?  we called Ft Sam, and they said they had no room for us to stay, so we stopped at the Lackland AFB FamCamp on the way back.  This would have been an ideal location, because later in the week we would be attending the AF retirement of a friend of ours.  We got to Lackland, and found an open spot.  The office was closed, so I wrote out a check for a week stay and dropped it into the slot.  What we didn’t realize is the spot that was open was only partial hook ups, which is fine, but we have great hookups at Ft Sam…sure wish we could figure out how to stay there!  As luck would have it, Terri struck up a conversation with the gentleman next door to the site we would have, and we told him that we wouldn’t be in until tomorrow, and could he help watch to see that no one took the site?  Even though they have occupied signs, other folks told us that people will still take your site if your RV is not there.  Lackland is only first come, first served…no reservations.  As we were chatting, he asked where we were parked now, and he said that he was going to be cancelling a reservation at Ft Sam for the 28th to the 6th of April!  He gave us his reservation number and his card.  Early on Monday Terri was at the office here at Ft Sam, and it just so happens that this gentleman was scheduled to go into the spot we are in!  So…no need to move!!  Wow, things work out great sometimes.

Lance and Melissa had asked us on Saturday night if we wanted to go to the Two-Brothers Barbecue with them on Sunday night, and when we got back from  running around all day, they said they had gotten the BBQ to go, so we enjoyed the best beef brisket I’ve ever had that evening at our camp site!

Monday, the 28th was spent cleaning the Coach as much as we could and doing laundry.  You cannot wash your Coach here because of water restrictions, but I do have a great product to clean the Coach without using water.  That took most of the day.

Tuesday and Wednesday were work days for me, so Terri was able to hang out with our friends from Florida…oh yea…when we cancelled our Castroville reservations, we had to let them know, and they took our advice and went to Guadalupe River, and they loved it!

Terri and our friend Eric in front of the Alamo.

Eric and Bob. These two are in Eric’s RV working their way to Las Vegas, where their better halves will meet them. They are having a blast on this trip…both retired cops, and now teachers taking the Spring off.

I met up with them later in the day for a great meal at a local Texas Steakhouse…Saltgrass.  I worked all day Tuesday, and Terri did some work on her hangers.

On Wednesday, we left our park early to meet Eric and Bob at Eric’s RV for breakfast.  We then took them to the Garrison Brothers Distillery for a tour.  Bob is a bourbon lover, so it worked out well.  It is a great tour, as we mentioned last time.

Great sign!  Although Eric didn’t appreciate it much.

A little girl and her swing…this is on the distillery property.

The story behind this as we were told is that the owner of the distillery was out of state and had a little too much to drink one night, and bought this while under the influence…the next morning, he had no idea what to do, so he had it shipped to the property and gave it to his wife for an anniversary present. She apparently liked it, so he was off the hook.

 

Terri with Blue Bonnets and Bull…

After spending a lot of time at the distillery, we headed into Johnson City to the Pecan Brewery for some of the best pizza we have had in a long time…thanks for the recommendation Lois and Rick!  We got Eric and Bob back to their RV, and we headed back to our park to get a good nights sleep, as Friday was our friend Paul’s retirement day.

What a special time we had on Friday and Saturday!  Paul was a cadet at the USAF Academy when we were stationed there from 1986-1990.  They had a sponsorship program there at the time, where you “adopt” a cadet to provide them with a family to be a part of when they are away from home, and to get them out of the 24/7 rigors of Academy life from time to time.  Not only did we have Paul all four years, but he was there for all the kids birthdays, was one of the first to hold Jason when he was born at the USAFA hospital, and we got to know his family real well.  It was like old home week seeing him and his whole family again.  We got to meet his wife and kids for the first time, as we had not seen Paul since I went to OTS in 1993.  Paul retired as a Colonel in the SP Career field…not too many can say that they have done that!

Paul pulled us up on stage during the ceremony (thank goodness I found my suit!) and thanked us for being his sponsor, and he said that he went into the SP career field because of us…wow!  You never know what impact you will have on someone’s life.  Needless to say, we love and admire this man, his family and his accomplishments!

 

Paul and his brothers John and Mark.

Officially retired!

This is a little hard to see, but I’ll “splain” it. While Paul had us up front, he brought us both to tears with his gracious statements. He also presented us with a 2LT Bar, an 06 Eagle, and the Master function badge for the SP career field. He stated we were there at the beginning, at the end, and the function badge of the career field he so loves and adores which he attributed to us. They are presently affixed to the window valence in our “living room.”

Friday night was his retirement dinner, and believe it or not, Paul had people in attendance from every single assignment he had been on…Korea, the Desert, all over stateside.  He is a great leader, and was loved and respected by his superiors, peers and subordinates.  That was very evident in the presentations made to he and his wife at the dinner.

The most unique shadow box we have ever seen. An old Jack Daniels barrel with the typical shadow box items under glass on the top. This was done by one of his troops.  The barrel itself has a door that stores his retirement flag and a few other items as well.  Very nice.

That wrapped up Friday night.  Early on Saturday, Terri and I had a job to do.  Our water pump has not been working correctly, and I just installed it less that a year ago.  I called the manufacturer, and they sent me a new pump.  I sent the old one back today.  They will crack it open, and if it is a manufacturer defect, they will refund me everything.  It doesn’t take too long to replace a pump…depending on how much room you have to work with, and how often you have done it…so, it took us a couple of hours, but we got it done, and it’s working great.

Not much space to work with. There is a wall surrounding the pump that you can’t see in this picture, so work space was limited, but, we got it done.

Saturday evening was a gathering of family and friends at Paul and Debra’s house.  It was a great time in a more relaxed environment.

Paul and Debra and their kids…great family, and grand kids too…they were asleep.

Paul and his buddy Hamish who were stationed together several times. What a great guy, and he was the MC for the retirement dinner. We hope to catch up with Hamish and his wife in PA later this year.

Paul and I…would someone please cut my hair!!

Terri, me, Paul and Debra.

Paul and I with CMSgt Retired Mike Yoakum. Paul performed his retirement ceremony a while back. It was great getting together with a bunch of cops again. I was able to re-acquaint myself with several folks that we had crossed paths with in my 13 years in the SP career field.

Yesterday was pretty much a recovery day for us.  I made a run to Two-Brothers late in the afternoon, and we invited Lance and Melissa over for some more of that awesome Brisket.  Today has been laundry day, and of course writing this post…AND, I convinced my barber that she had been on strike long enough…Terri cut my hair today.  Not as short as I’d like it, but much better.  We will be here until Wednesday, when we depart for NAS Corpus Christie, TX.  We met a fellow Country Coach owner in the park last week, and he said he was headed that way, so I called him today, and he said the park is great…right on the bay, so we made reservations to stay there for a week.  After that we will begin a slow trek over to Biloxi, MS where Jason and Meghan and family will be stationed next.  We will help them get moved in, the head North to escape the heat!

As always, we hope this finds you Happy, Healthy, and Living your Dreams!!!

 

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2 thoughts on “19 Mar – 4 Apr 2016; Fun in the Hills, Quick Repairs (right!), San Antonio, Retirement Ceremony

  1. I had to laugh when you said you were stationed at the Academy from 1896 a…it must have been a rough go if it seemed that long;-)

    Love your posts; glad you got that hair cut!!

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Like

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