Kerrville & Texas Hill Country RV Trip
March 7-19, 2004
This trip takes us back into the beautifully scenic Texas Hill Country. Our trip plan goes through Seguin, Blanco, Johnson City, Kerrville and Boerne, then through La Grange and Schulenberg on our way back home to Richmond. We were a little early in the springtime for the peak of the wildflowers and a lot of the vegetation still looked like it was winter. The weather in Kerrville consisted of days of rain, overcast skys and high humidity, instead of the clear skys and low humidity we expected. We still enjoyed the trip and hope you enjoy our log.
We left Richmond Sunday afternoon, March 7th, after church. We took the Grand Parkway north to IH-10, then IH-10 westward to Seguin. In Seguin we spent the night at River Shade RV Park. This is a picturesque park on the Guadalupe River a few miles south of the Interstate. We've stayed there before and it's especially beautiful in the summer when all their flowers are in bloom.
Monday morning after breakfast, we continued our drive toward the Hill Country, traveling up TX-46 to New Braunfels, then FM-306 and US-281 to Blanco. We settled into Blanco State Park for a couple of nights. It is a small state park on the Blanco River within walking distance of downtown Blanco. The major park attraction is the river.
After lunch, we went to the downtown, stopped at the old Blanco County Courthouse to pick up some site seeing brochures, then walked around the square.
Later that afternoon, we drove into the country west of Blanco to the Christ of the Hills Monastery. It is run by the Russian Orthodox Church, and about seven monks live there. They live a very modest and structured life, as you might expect. The monk that gave us a tour was young (probably in his 20's), polite and informative. They have a shrine to a weeping icon of the Virgin Mary. She wasn't weeping that day and hadn't been weeping for over a month. They get up each day at 4AM for worship. The tour of the worship center was interesting.
(NOTICE: A visitor to the website sent me an email on 7/27/04, stating that the Christ of the Hills Monastery is no longer affiliated with the Russian Orthodox Church. You can read more about this at http://www.pokrov.org/controversial/blanconews.html.)
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Tuesday, we drove up Rocky Road northwest to the Lyndon B. Johnson Ranch. The National Park Service maintains the ranch and conducts bus tours from the Lyndon B. Johnson Historical State Park that is located just outside the ranch. We viewed a film on Johnson and took the bus tour of the ranch. The LBJ ranch house is not open for tours because Lady Bird still comes out on the weekends and stays there some. The bus stops at LBJ's birthplace home, and it is open for viewing. A short walk away is the Johnson cemetery where LBJ is buried. The only other stop is at one of the livestock barns to look at some of the cows. The LBJ ranch house is located on the banks of the Pedernales River - very scenic.
After the ranch tour, we visited the Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm (1915-1918), located next to the State Park. These were neighbors to the Johnsons. The farm today is used to grow crops and livestock to demonstrate farm life during that period. Docents are on hand to provide interesting details of farm life.
Wednesday, we left Blanco State Park, traveling the back roads (FM-165 & FM-3232) to Pedernales Falls State Park east of Johnson City. After settling into the campsite and eating lunch, we drove into Johnson City and toured the LBJ Boyhood Home (from age 5 to 26) and Johnson Settlement (LBJ's grandfather's farm). Operated by the National Park Service, there is a film at the visitor's center. Then we took a guided tour of LBJ's boyhood home, and a self-guided tour of Johnson Settlement. The home is restored to the way it was in the 1920's. Johnson Settlement tells the story of cowboys, cattle drives, and Texas frontier life. A docent was on hand at the chuckwagon when we arrived. He had many interesting tales of life on the cattle drives.
Thursday morning, we walked around the park and went down to the falls. During normal times, the falls are not all that large, but there was ample evidence of massive flows in the past.
After exploring the falls, we pulled up camp and went to Kerrville via US-280 and TX-16. In Kerrville, we stayed at Kerrville-Schreiner Park. This used to be a state park, but was recently turned over to the city of Kerrville to operate. It is located next to the Guadalupe River.
Friday the weather was bad and we didn't get much site seeing done in the morning. We went to the James Avery headquarters and looked at all the nice jewelry and Kay found some earrings she liked. They no longer give plant tours, but had a short video on how items are made. There were windows looking out into the production area. In the afternoon, we went to the Museum of Western Art. It is a very large and nice museum with many paintings and sculptures depicting western life. We spent most of the afternoon there. Afterwards, we went shopping at the Charles Schreiner's Department Store in downtown Kerrville. The present structure includes parts of the original frame building. It has been a general merchandise store since 1869.
Saturday the 13th was another bad weather day. We visited the Schreiner Mansion (1879) which now houses the Hill Country Museum. We got a very informative guided tour of the house which mostly contains museum period furniture and miscellaneous items from the Schreiner family. Afterwards, we visited some antique businesses and drove around some, but that was about it.
Sunday morning the weather broke and it was a beautiful day, so we decided to drive down to Lost Maples State Park for the day. We took a picnic lunch and stopped along the way to see the full size replica of Stonehenge near Hunt. The large field also contains replicas of the Easter Island statues.
We continued to Lost Maples State Park. We ate our picnic lunch in the picnic area and had a couple of tufted titmice that begged for crumbs. After lunch, we hiked the short loop of the Maple Trail. This would have been a good place to camp, but the park was full on the weekend. We marked it for future exploration. On the way home, we stopped at some interesting shops.
On Monday morning, we departed Kerrville to the south via TX-173 to Bandera. Along the way, we stopped at Camp Verde at the General Store. It was opened in 1857 as Williams Community Store, serving trade around the Camp Verde Army Post (Site of U.S. Army's 1857 camel experiment). It is jam packed with everything you could possibly need.
At Bandera, we looked around the town, stopping at the Bandera County Courthouse, several other historic buildings, and the Antique Mall of Bandera. This had to be one of the largest collections of antiques under one roof that we had ever seen. Later, we continued east to Boerne, where we stayed at Alamo Fiesta RV Park.
Tuesday, we visited the Cibolo Nature Center in Boerne. We hiked several trails, including the Cypress Trail along Cibolo Creek. It's a nice nature center. They were expanding their visitor center when we were there. Later we visited the Kendall County Courthouse and several other historic buildings in Boerne. We also hit all the antique stores in town.
Wednesday, we left Boerne via TX-46 and IH-10 east to La Grange. At La Grange, we stayed at Colorado Landing RV Park. That afternoon, we drove around downtown La Grange, stopping at the old Fayette County Courthouse and the old Hermes Drug Store.
Thursday, we drove up the hill to Monument Hill & Kreische Brewery State Park. This park memorializes the story and resting place of men who drew the "Black Beans of Death" in 1843 in the war with Mexico. It is also the site of the ruins of Kreische Brewery, dating from the 1860's. Later that day we drove south toward Schulenburg, stopping along the way to view some of the historic "painted churches" of Fayette County. We stopped at churches in Swiss Alp, Ammansville, Dubina, High Hill and Praha. They are all beautiful, but probably the most impressive on the inside is St. Mary's Catholic Church in High Hill.
Friday we drove around downtown Schulenburg. We stopped on the main street and visited all the old stores that were open. The old Von Minden Hotel and Cozy Theater (1927) are still in operation. We went inside the hotel and looked around. It hasn't changed much since 1927.
Later that afternoon, we departed Schulenburg via IH-10 to Richmond.
This draws to a close our Texas Hill Country RV trip. We hope you enjoyed the pictures and brief descriptions of our activities. God willing, join us again for another RV adventure soon.
Bye for now,
I lift up my eyes to the hills- where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD , the Maker of heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:1-2, NIV)