Friday, August 21, 2015

The Wild West

Sorry readers, it's been a little while since I could focus on writing.  As with every summer, I was planning our annual trip and as you could guess, I like to take things a bit off the beaten path.

I will share with you our adventures as we tamed the wild west.  Well, West Texas anyway.

Our first stop consisted of a visit in Waco at the famous Magnolia Market owned by Joanna Gaines from the HGTV show Fixer Upper. They were having their semi-annual sale, and the women were going ape nuts to buy something, anything possibly touched by JoJo. While there, we ate lunch at the Jason's Deli down the street and saw Clint Harp and his wife Kelly from Harp Designs who creates all the beautiful reclaimed wood projects for the show.  He was even wearing his green Harp Design Co T-shirt. How cool is that?


Then we stopped off at a habitat for the endangered Black Cap Vireo in Quiet Hill Ranch.


 Our next stop was at the Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site where we toured his one-room school, birth home, and farm.




Next, we booked in a quaint little B&B in Fredericksburg, right downtown so we could spend our time walking the town and sampling German food and beer.



Then I insisted upon spending a good chunk of time in Luckenbach, Texas, where everybody is somebody.












And we listened to complete strangers picking together, sounding like they had always been together.



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And no excursion to Fredericksburg could be complete without a wine tasting trip, since it is the Texas wine country and all.



A special side trip was made to see 3 million bats leave their tunnel at the Small Tunnel State Park and should not be missed if you visit Fredericksburg between May and Sept. Talk about bat shit crazy.








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After Fredericksburg, we started our trek west and stopped at the Sonora Caverns, in Sonora, Texas. The trek was nearly 2 miles at 70 degrees and 98% humidity making it feel like 83 degrees.  There were over 350 stairs and also steep ramps but it was well worth the workout.





















The next part of the tour brought the artsy fartsy side out of me as we headed to those little known towns near Big Bend.  Our next home for a few days was a historic Holland Hotel in Alpine, Texas.










Of course we simply could not miss visiting the Texas border Ghost Town, Terlingua and the famous Starlight Theatre as well as the old abandoned buildings where people were actually living in 103+ sweltering degrees. 














































And like a main course while dining, we simply couldn't miss Big Bend National Park, which I loved as much as the Rockies.








 


After our visit to Big Bend, we stopped in Marathon, Texas to visit the historical Gage Hotel and dine at the White Buffalo Grill, where the chef prepared a meal to absolutely die for.







 Marathon did not disappoint as an artsy town in the avant-garde art region of Texas.



















And no trip to West Texas could possibly be complete without a stay in Marfa, Texas, the city of spooky lights and a dozen art galleries in the desert.







We stayed at the famous Hotel Paisano where The Giant was filmed and James Dean, Rock Hudson, and Elizabeth Taylor stayed there for filming.  Our suite had its own private patio and fireplace which kept us warm during the cool summer evenings in the desert. 




The Marfa Viewing Center is the place to see the lights, so they say.  The orbs seem to glow over the horizon and they change in intensity and color. The lights were eerie and the hubs and I spent hours discussing what could possibly be causing them. 









Of course, I simply had to stop at Prada Marfa.  Most people don't realize it is an art installation and not an actual store.  On the way we saw a tethered aerostat radar system site that was so massive, we could see it for nearly 10 miles.






We also visited the historic Fort Davis with the quaint little town, the historic fort, and the McDonald Observatory.












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We had to see the Chihuahuan Dessert Nature Preserve as well and got to tour the greenhouse full of over 1000 cactus species.






And even our trip home brought more beautiful mountains as we inched our way out of the Davis Mountain range. 







I loved every place we visited but of all the things we did, my favorite part of the trip was Luckenbach. Yup, that was truly my kind of place and I could have stayed there forever.  Guess that means I really am a Texan now.