November 28 – December 31
Doesn’t that sound like something out of “It’s a Wonderful Life”? We choose this spot for December based on the recommendation of nice strangers we met in Pensacola waaaaay back in March. I was having a hard time finding a reasonably priced place that fit our preferences in the hill country of Texas. I was worried all the way here that I committed us to a whole month somewhere and we wouldn’t like it. We weren’t sure on the drive in, but this turned out to be the perfect spot for us to finish out 2017.
The Houston Stop
Of course we have one short stop before unwinding in Marble Falls. Our friends Steve & Ann who moved from DeLand are in Houston with their son Jason, so we only needed to make a slight detour to visit. We wanted to meet Jason’s wife Phuong and new baby Noah. So great to catch up with old Florida friends and count fingers and toes on such a sweet child.
They came to visit us at the campground on Lake Conroe just outside of Houston. That was as close as we wanted to get to Houston in Lucy. Ann and I took turns sitting in the big chairs they had in the park.
Here’s Pat on the campground ‘Jumping Pillow’. We’d never seen one, but essentially it’s a huge trampoline mound even with the ground. Felt kind like jumping up and down on a giant kickball. We took off our shoes and laughed.
Sunset Point on Lake LBJ
After the quick Houston stop, we finally make it to our last destination of the year and campsite number 100! It’s been over 14,000 miles of travel for us since we began our roll in 2017. We’ve decided being stationary is the goal every December. For this year, Sunset Point on Lake LBJ will be “home” and we’re looking forward to the downtime.
From the top of our rock at Sunset Point. The name doesn’t lie. I took some pretty good sunset shots, but there was one night that was truly stunning. No phone or camera, so I just had to practice being in the moment.
A few more to showcase our serene setting for December. We’re not close to trains, planes or automobiles. In fact, this park sits right next to the Wirtz Dam with an access road 2.5 miles long off the main highway. So quiet and peaceful at night and the park is such a nice size. Not too big, but big enough for a good walkabout with Jackson.
If Jackson could rate our stops this year, I’m guessing this one would be at the top of his list. Lots of wildlife to watch including deer, cows, horses and coots, plus a swimming hole. He was so very happy plunging into the lake to fetch sticks.
All that swimming wears a guy out. We did our share of resting, too.
It really is a beautiful spot, but a different kind of beautiful than the rest of the year. A rugged, desert-y kind of beauty with lots of prickly pear cactus and pink granite. In fact the whole area is granite.
This is Granite Mountain, right down the road from Sunset Point. You’re looking at the 866 foot tall dome on 180 acres and it’s the largest quarry of it’s kind in the United States. They’re cutting slices of pink granite like pieces of birthday cake. Every restaurant in town has granite tabletops.
Austin Roller Derby
One of our favorite movies is ‘Whip It’ and tells the story of a high school girl who lies about her age and joins an Austin roller derby team. It’s a coming of age movie about the women who aren’t afraid to get bruised and bloody playing this contact sport. Anyway, we decide we really need to go see the action in person, and it goes on our list of things to do in our travels. What do you know!? The Texas Roller Derby House Cup is being held in Austin the day after we arrive in Marble Falls. We are so there since it’s only about an hour away.
I’ll say in advance, the pictures stink, but I’m putting a few in anyway. Here are the team flags for the TXRD league. Also, this is not an event for feminists. These gals all about low cut tops, short shorts and fishnet stockings. If you’ve got it, flaunt it, and use it to shove the opponents around.
This event was actually a fund-raiser and the normal league divided up into the four Harry Potter Houses. Gryffindor was the winner this year after a hard fought battle against Hufflepuff.
Here’s my best shot showing just how fast-paced this is. Most of the time I was still trying to figure out what happened in each jam. We ate tacos from the food truck, watched the action in a warehouse, and had the full Austin experience.
Our second outing was to Longhorn Cavern State Park. We took a 1.5 hour walking tour in the cavern and marveled at the geology of the area. This limestone cavern was named for the longhorn cattle skeletons found below ground when the caves were cleared back in the 1930s. The cattle fell into sinkholes, and if they survived the fall, couldn’t get out of the caves.
Here’s a little girl we met on the tour. She’s an Eastern Pipistrelle bat and likes to hang out alone. We saw a few scattered throughout the cavern. The male bats have a different “man cave” according to our guide and they really don’t know where are at this time of year. We were going to to bring Jackson to walk the above ground trails, but they were closed for hunting season. Jackson is deathly afraid of loud noises, particularly gunfire, so we don’t want any part of hunting season.
Remember The Alamo
Pat’s never been to San Antonio, so it was high on the list of outings. After we wear out Jackson for the day we take off for the big city.
The Alamo is our first stop and we tour the grounds.
My favorite quote of the day was from Davy Crockett, who was at the Alamo. He was there after losing his re-election bid to congress. During the campaign he told his constituents “You may all go to Hell, and I will go to Texas”, that is if they didn’t vote for him. True to his word, he went to Texas, and there he died.
After our Alamo history lesson, we had dinner under the colorful umbrellas on the river walk. Another Mexican food dinner with lots of spectators.
They want our tortilla chips – they really do.
After dinner we walked back by the Alamo on the way to the car. It’s lovely lit up at night along with the gigantic oak tree on the grounds. I liked the night view best.
Everyone told us we needed to see cute little Fredericksburg. We were done with our holiday shopping and didn’t feel like walking around town, so I found an outdoor outing close to Fredericksburg – Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. That sounded like just the ticket to get some real hiking in.
Enchanted Rock – a pink granite dome rising up in the hill country.
Up we go on the summit trail.
Our shadow photo at the top.
The views from the top of the granite dome. A fantastic day in December and a great hike, followed by a steak dinner in Fredericksburg.
It’s the Christmas season, so we’re able to see lots of pretty light displays. It seems like every town around has a walkway of lights and Marble Falls is no exception. We had to wait through several bad weather days, but finally had our chance for the walk complete with hot chocolate and apple cider.
We’re all decorated for Christmas and it took a lot less work than in the big house. We got the three ceramic trees at a town holiday craft fair. The potter had so many beautiful things. We also bought two small plates so we can eat our sandwiches and remember Marble Falls. The tiny pewter nativity scene is from a gift shop at the National Harbor. The large nativity scene was one of the few decorations that made the cut for RV travel, and the smaller angel is my Alabama clay souvenir from Montgomery.
And here is Pat grilling out by our tacky attempt at a light show. We kept three strands of lights from the sticks and bricks house. Somehow it’s not quite what I had envisioned. We’ve taken them down now and donated them to the RV resort. Next year we’ll figure out something more Lucy appropriate and pleasing to the eye.
Auld Lang Syne
This has been a perfect stop for us. We’ve met some nice fellow travelers and completed a few upgrades to Lucy to make ourselves more comfortable. Pat swapped out the front speakers, we installed a magnetic shade on the windshield, installed “faux” tile in the bathroom, sealed a leak in the shower, and Lucy got a spa day. The guys that washed and waxed her accused us of off-roading. (We told them it WAS off-roading in the Yukon.) Jackson even got all his vaccinations up to date, including the rattlesnake vaccine. I think we’ll miss this place where the carillon across the lake plays ‘Joy to the World’ every hour on the hour, and the birds come sailing in to roost every evening.
Yes, pelicans and geese.
Day is done, gone the sun.
We wish you all a very Happy New Year and are looking forward to new adventures in 2018. See you on the way!