Day 83 Continued…
Monday, December 30, 2019 – We hit the road for our trip south. It was a beautiful drive. We really are enjoying this Hill Country. We passed a few really neat castle looking wineries and a few old Texas towns arriving Guadalupe River State Park around 1:45. On the way, we did stop at the local post office to pick up our two Christmas packages from our parents that were sent General Delivery! The remaining 30 minute drive and the time to set up in our site was pretty painful for Lucas. He couldn’t wait to open the packages!
After setting up, we proceeded to open our packages! Matthew’s parents sent 2 games: I-Spy Eagle Eye and Simple Math Bingo for Lucas as well as cookies & coffee for Matthew and I. My parents sent a little bit of everything! 🙂 For Lucas a little Noah’s Ark set, stickers, snow globe (in case he missed the snow…which he does) and a hanger for his Junior Ranger badges. My Mom made this hanger from upholstery fabric that my mother-in-law had given her several years ago. I love that both our Mothers’ had a part in it. What a treasure this will be for years to come! Mom also sent a tin of homemade cookies (mostly intact), cinnamon popcorn, a stack of mail that included some Christmas cards, mini candy bars, pack of marshmallows, Starbucks gift card, personalized stationary, pictures from yesteryear and a few cards that I had given my parents when I was little. That little box was stuffed full! 🙂 Happy sigh for hugs in a box from our families!!
After enjoying some cookies, we heading out for a walk/hike down to the river. It was so peaceful and the trees by the water were amazing! I found out later they are Bald Cypress and according to the ranger, they like their roots wet.
Tuesday, December 31, 2019 – New Year’s Eve & Laundry Day. After lunch I headed out to do laundry. On the way, I popped into a local coffee shot to get come joe. I found a great little laundromat that was surprisingly busy. After laundry was complete, I stopped by Walmart to pick up a few groceries.
We value our sleep over seeing the year change, so went to bed at usual time. Unfortunately, we had neighbors that were clearly going to ring in the New Year. We did sleep for awhile and then woke at 11:59 to a bunch of screaming and fireworks. We kissed and wished each other a Happy New Year and then went back to sleep.
It should also be noted that I didn’t take a single photo today. That may be a first.
Wednesday, January, 1, 2020 – Happy New Year! I find myself in an odd state of mind. Looking back on 2019, I’m amazed at the steps we took. While liberating and exciting, there is sadness with leaving my community behind, that I love dearly. Looking forward to 2020, we honestly don’t know yet what it’s going to look like. This trip is an amazing experience that many may hope to have but the unknowns can be unsettling. I’m still not sure how to process it all but for now, it’s one day at a time. The homesickness is starting to wear off – not that I don’t still miss my people!
This morning, Matthew did a Run with the Ranger – a 10 kilometer/6 mile trail run through the park. Lucas was able to run at the beginning and then completed about a mile with Matthew at the end. He was so excited and even had his picture on the park Facebook Page! Somedays I worry about the competitiveness this child has. I hope he uses it for good.
After lunch, a game and a rest, Lucas and I did a Ranger led Nature Walk through the Honey Creek Wildlife Preserve that’s within the park. Lucas loves the math game, Oma & Opa! What a fun day.
Thursday, January 2, 2020 – Planned to go to Downtown San Antonio today but decided instead to just relax. Later in the day we took a drive to a cute little coffee shop a few miles away for a warm beverage and wifi to do more research on hotspot options.
Upon returning, we connected up the rig in order to empty the tanks as we didn’t have sewer hookups here. While at the dump station, we met a fellow Grand Design owner. Chatted for about 30 minutes learning that he (Paul), his wife (Angela) and 7 year old son (Gavin) were full-timers. Later, Angela stopped by our RV while walking the dog and we chatted for almost an hour covering many subjects. When Paul & Gavin were returning from a hike, Lucas brought Gavin in for a tour and to play. They hit it off immediately and talked about playing together tomorrow.
Friday, January, 3, 2020 – Lucas woke up so excited to go play with Gavin and was pretty sad when we said we were going away for the day. We were invited to Al and Jeanie’s vacation property in Hunt, TX – about 90 minutes from where we are. They own a house by the Guadalupe River along with 600+ acres that has been in her family since the 1930’s. On the land, they have cows, 2 horses, wild pigs and several species of deer including white tail and Axis. We arrived there at 10:00 and relaxed on the enclosed front porch for a couple hours. Jeanie had purchased several coloring books and colored pencils with sharpener for Lucas. She also gave us a beautiful Christmas tree ornament as well as a quart jar of homemade Taco Seasoning and a quart of Hot Chocolate mix! Tacos and hot chocolate – two of our favorite things!!
We then drove into town to the Hunt Store to grab a hamburger for lunch. The Hunt Store is the one-stop-shop in town with fuel, a few groceries and restaurant. The decor would be that of a hunting/ranching town – rustic.
Returned to the house and bundled up for a ride around the ranch. All five of us piled into a Mule (a rugged 4-wheeled All Terrain Vehicle) and started out. The property is approximately 6 acres and is comprised of rolling terrain that’s entirely fenced in to keep their animals in and predators out. There is also a spring on the property that serves several homes near theirs. In total we spent almost 2 hours just driving around. It was so beautiful and as an added bonus we actually spotted a few of the exotic animals! Also crawled into a small cave – Lucas loved the stalactites and stalagmites – and we drank water from a small spring.
Al explained that their employee has cleared most of the cedar type trees from their property by hand so they would have enough grazing for the deer and cows. He now maintains it with a special scissors attachment that attaches to their tractor. The property is about a square mile – hard to imagine that size.
Lucas loved the afternoon and Al was gracious enough to allow him to sit on his lap and steer the ATV. He was quite proud of his driving skills. What a memorable moment for him!
When we returned, the men went for a little hike to the top of the mountain directly behind the house. This area looked down over the stream nearby. Lucas was thrilled to be able to throw a few rocks down.
After warming up we headed to Kerrville for dinner at a Japanese Steakhouse. Along the way we stopped at Stonehenge! 🙂
Lucas has never been to a Japanese Steakhouse. It was quite the experience. I forgot to prepare him for the initial burst of flames and he was completely freaked out. He was literally crawling up my arm and exclaimed loudly that he was NEVER coming here again! As the cooking progressed he, thankfully, changed his mind and said he was DEFINITELY coming back! We enjoyed more fellowship with Al & Jeannie who, once again, picked up the tab for our meal. They were so generous to us. What a gift of friendship we have been blessed with.
On the way home, while passing through Bourne (pronounced Bernie), I spotted the Black Rifle Coffee Company’s flagship store! I was so bummed that I had missed it when I was in town doing laundry the other day. I would have loved to go there. BRCC was started by a guy that I worked with about 16 years ago. They primarily sell their coffee online but are hoping to open more shops.
Lucas was fast asleep when we returned home. It was such an eventful day for him.
Saturday, January 4, 2020 – On our way to Hunt yesterday, we stopped to purchase a new inner tube for one of Lucas’s bike tires. This morning I went to work to replace it while Matthew was out for a run. It was surprisingly easier than I expected. I had it up and running in no time. I also removed the one remaining training wheel that was so bent it was no longer providing a lick of support. Now for him to perfect starting on his own. I had tried and it wasn’t getting through. Matthew finally got it through his head.
We headed out on a little ride, stopping to chat with Paul a few minutes. We had learned on Thursday that they were moving today to the same park we were heading to tomorrow. (This park was closing Sunday for a scheduled hunt.) A conversation was had Thursday about Lucas going to the river with Gavin and Paul to slingshot pellets into the water. Of course he remembers and thought today was the day but unfortunately they were moving. Paul assured him that when we met up at the next park, they would do it. 🙂
Lucas was feeling pretty confident with his new riding skills. While we were heading down a little hill, he decided to jump off. He was going way to fast for that and did a few summersaults down the hill. He skinned his an elbow and knee. His only explanation for jumping off was because it was wobbly. In the past, if he wasn’t feeling confident like tipping to one side or another he swings his legs off one side and jumps. This time it didn’t work out so well. Thankfully ,there were no cars on the road when it happened. Of course he was shaken and I tried so hard to get him back on the bike but he refused. Matthew came to help push the bike home – I was riding my own bike – and trying to calm him down. We bandaged up the wounds that we could see but his heart is pretty sad.
Sunday, January 5, 2020 – We are heading to downtown San Antonio today! A dear friend from VA, Roger, had sent a text saying he was going to be in town for work and would like to meet up if we were still in the area. We had thought about leaving town on Saturday but for several reasons, we decided to stay. It worked out great! Roger and I used to work together and we’ve known each other about 13 years.
Planned to meet up early on the Riverwalk near the restaurant we were going to have lunch at – Iron Cactus. After arriving downtown, we looked for an open parking lot as our truck was a tight squeeze for most of the covered parking garages. Located one fairly easily and Matthew navigated the tight parking space. It was pretty chilly in the city so we met Roger at Starbucks! So wonderful to see a friendly face from home and just a pleasant surprise that it worked out. We warmed up with coffee and then decided to do the boat tour on the river. Let’s just say, Roger spoiled us today! The boat ride was informative and enjoyable. Lucas thought it was pretty cool and loved going under the bridges.
Arrived back at the Iron Cactus and went in for an early lunch. The food was delicious, the drinks went down well and the Mexican Donuts – SUPERB!!! I may need to find a recipe!
Our bellies were full so it was time to walk! We took the quick walk to The Alamo. It was pretty small and a bit underwhelming but interesting nonetheless. After walking around for about an hour, we bid farewell to Roger and headed back home. Roger needed to catch a flight and we needed to move to a new park.
Because the park was closing for a hunt today at 5:00, we didn’t have to vacate our spot by noon as is typically for most Texas State Parks. We spoke to the Park Manager and received approval to leave our rig until closing time. Arrived back at 3:00, packed up and pulled out by 3:45. After a quick stop at the dump station, we were on our way to Blanco River State Park.