Blanco State Park December 19 - 22, 2015
Well, it has been a long time since I blogged about one of my trips. This is the first time I have visited a new park in ages. I go to Kerrville Schreiner and Guadalupe River SP so much that there isn't much new to blog about there. This time, everything is new to me.
I came here with three other couples under the guise of celebrating Lisa Moran's birthday. But, everyone knows that it doesn't take much to get me to go camping in the Colby T. I just went last weekend at GRSP. That was so I would be close to Stacey's house for her Christmas party. That was an interesting trip because my battery went out. I opened the door and smelled death. When I looked for the source, it was my camper's battery. The box was full of water, and the battery was actually sizzling and spitting. I bought a new one, and all was well.
For this trip, I opted to wait until Saturday morning to come. I promised Rachel I would set up the Christmas tree before I left. Jared was at the house last night, and we got it done. I got everything ready for the trip and went to bed early.
I woke up at 7:00 am to discover that Rachel had gone to walk with her friends, so I loaded up the truck and got on my way. I had to go buy gas first, since I totally forgot to do it yesterday as planned. I decided to avoid the construction and traffic on 281, so I headed toward GRSP, drove through Bergheim, and caught 473 in Kendalia. Then it was a short 7 miles to 281. I was far enough out of San Antonio to avoid all the mess. It was only 9 more miles to Blanco.
When I checked in, I learned that I had two reservations. I had originally grabbed a full hookup site, but knowing that I would be winterized, I booked a water and electric with the intention of cancelling the other. They had two other full hookup sites available, so I didn't feel too guilty about it.
I got set up in site 19. It was a straight back in. Within 20 minutes of hitting Blanco, I was all set up, and sitting at the picnic table planning my day. Just then, John Moran walked up with breakfast tacos. I declined, because I am hoping to lose at least 10 pounds over the 16 day Christmas break.
A few minutes later, I headed over to where the others are camping in the full hookup circle and talked with Doug, Stacey, and Randy before heading on a little hike to explore the park.
I walked along the beautiful Blanco River enjoying the falling leaves, light breeze, and sunshine. Even though it was somewhere in the 40's, I ended up taking my jacket off and tying it around my waist. The weather is as close to perfect as you can get. The sky is blue and absolutely stunning.
On the way back, I ran into Stacey, Randy, Lisa, and John. They were carrying fishing poles and heading to the river to try and catch some of the trout that the Texas Parks and Wildlife release in it. They are full-size trout put there for catching- not to repopulate the river. I went along with them and watched for awhile, but wanting a cup of coffee, came on back to the Colby T.
That is when I decided to write about this trip. I got my Bluetooth keyboard out and connected it to my iPhone. I will keep adding to it as my time here progresses. Then, it will be ready for posting when I get home.
We are all going to the Real Ale Brewing Company for a 3:00 tour later. It is 1.9 miles from camp. I am going to walk over and meet them there. Then we are going to eat at the Red Bud Cafe. I'll join them late for that, because I plan on hiking back to camp, also.
8:15 PM Saturday
Well, I walked over to the other people's area to see if they caught any fish. Lisa was at their trailer and told me that they did not. Just then, John came and said that someone had pulled their limit from the other side of the bridge. He was going to go and try again, but Lisa told him he didn't have time. That's when I discovered that the others were going earlier to Real Ale to drink beer before the tour. I went back to the trailer and got myself ready for my hike over there instead of waiting until 2:00 to leave. When I got to the bridge, John was heading back with a broken line.
I hiked down Main Street until I got almost out of town and crossed the highway to take a back road that I thought would go to the brewery. It didn't, so I ended up walking the last half mile with my back to traffic. I was off the road, but it was still scary. The others honked at me as they passed me about 900 yards from San Saba Street were I eventually turned off to get to the brewery.
I went upstairs and found them in the tap room. We drank a few beers ad then went on the tour. It was great, but I was already half polluted from drinking on an empty stomach. We took a beer with us as got a free one on the tour. Towards the end, all I could think of was going to the bathroom. I found one and left the tour to use it
After the tour, the guys went back up to the tap room and had another beer. The ladies finally figured it out and joined us for a few minutes. Then we all got in cars and headed to the Red Bud Cafe for dinner. John stopped at the Hill Country Liquor store on the way so I could buy some scotch. Then we met up with the others.
I ordered a piece of chocolate cake and a meatloaf sandwich. It took a while for the food to come, so I ate the cake first. The sandwich was really good.
I left them there at the restaurant and hiked back to camp. John came by the trailer just as I was getting ready to go over to the gang's fire. We walked together and saw some of those new-fangled laser lights. They were awesome- a lazy man's dream!
We sat by the fire talking for awhile before I left and came back to the trailer. Everyone was pretty much winding down for the night, even though it was only about 7:45. I stopped at the bathhouse on the way to the Colby T. Now I am ready to go to bed at 8:30! It is crazy that it is that early. It feels like about 11:00 after all I've done today.
Now, I am going to enjoy a scotch and read until time for bed. Tomorrow, John and I are going to try and get some of those trout in the morning.
10:09 Sunday, December 20
This was an amazing day! I got up and had a breakfast of powdered eggs and squirt cheese tacos, and waited for John Mora to text me that it was time to go fishing. His wife forbade me to come until I got his signal, as they did not have their kids with them yet, and would be sleeping in. The call never came, so I decided to take a morning hike. When I passed their trailer, Lisa was outside and told me they thought I was supposed to text John when I was ready. That is possible, because I drank way too many beers at Real Ale, and went to bed drunk.
Anyway, I went and joined John down at the river and fished for a while. He caught three trout. Lisa and I caught nothing.
I came back to the Colby T and relaxed for a while. Then, I went on a hike. I went to the end of the park, crossed the bridge and walked on the street. I entered the park and walked to the end of the road the other way. there was a gate there that took you to a concrete path that led to the town square. I walked all around it and headed back to the park.
I stopped by the Moran's site. Johns inlaws had brought their kids. There was a lot of food there, as the Shuddes were eating with them. I did not eat, even though it was tempting. I stayed long enough to be social and came back to the Colby T to read for awhile. Then, I repeated my earlier hike, egged on by the damned Fitbit.
At about 5:30 pm, John texted and said that everyone was going to Johnson City to see the lights. I told him to give me 5 minutes to get ready, but Doug and Margie were at my site to pick me up almost instantly. I threw on a clean shirt and went with them. I told them that I would had liked five more minutes to comb my hair, brush my teeth, and shoot some nasal spray, but I went.
Johnson City was amazing. They had lights all over the town square. We went to the Pecan Street Brewing company, and I had a flight of all the beers on tap. It was really crowded, but we had seats at the bar. After they fed the kids, we left to see the lights.
We went into the courthouse, but it was just a bunch of Christmas stuff for sale. Doug, Margie, and I drove over to the Pedernales Electric Coop. They had the most beautiful lights I have ever seen.
All of a sudden, John's girls came up to me. The little one did a nose dive. Instinct came in, and I picked her up and comforted her. I honestly think she thought John was holding her. Anyway, after a while, Doug, Margie, and I got in Doug's car and headed back to camp with one stop at a gas station. They dropped me off at my site because Margie wanted to see the laser lights that one guy has at his site. It looks like he strung thousands of green lights, but it is all done by laser. I need to get some for our house. Lazy man's Christmas lights!
I was sitting at the picnic table smoking a cigar when John, his girls, and his dog came over. I was surprised that they were already back. He invited me to come sit by their fire, so I did that for a while. When Doug and Margie, called it a night, I left and went to the bath house.
I noticed that Cindy Craven, was coming close to beating me for steps, so I went on a hike around the park before heading back to the Colby T. There was a couple setting up their tent at the next site. I offered to shine light on them, but they said they were okay. That was when I saw that I only had 22 floors on Fitbit. So, being the compulsive ass I am, I hiked down to the river and climbed the hill three times.
I finally got back to the Colby T and started writing this crap. Joshua texted some things which led to a twenty minute text exchange between us. When we were done, I finished writing this. Now, I am going to bed.
6:26 PM Monday, December 21st
Well I woke up a bit congested this morning. I guess all that obsessive hiking in the night air wasn't such a good thing. I lounged around for a little while before taking a quick short hike through the park. I was feeling better, but decided a nice hot steaming shower might help break it up.
I headed over to the bath house. This park has the nicest one I have ever used at a state park. You have to punch in a code to access the shower area. Once inside, you have your choice of three private bath suites. I stayed in the shower longer than the environmentalists would like, but it did the trick. I felt totally refreshed and had no more congestion.
I went back to the Colby T. I shaved, brushed my teeth, got dressed and headed out to see what the others were up to. The Shuddes were gone. They left while I was showering. John says they looked for me, but I wasn't at the trailer.
Anyway, I chatted with John for a while and took off for a hike. I told him to text me when he took the girls fishing. I just wanted to watch- NOT fish. He did text me once I was about a half mile from the campsites.
I finished finding a Geocache that I remembered to look for and rushed over to watch. I was standing on a cliff about 5 feet above them looking down as they fished. After awhile, I started getting a little dizzy. I think it was my sinuses messing up again. I headed back to the camper.
Lisa was walking the dog with McKenzie just as I got back to my trailer. We were looking at the cows in the field behind my site. I asked her if they had a time frame for eating BBQ on the square. She thought they would go at four.
When they were gone, I went in the Colby T, put my grubbies on, and started to get a light lunch. Before I could, Lisa texted that they thought 2:00 would be better. I was glad because I already had to work hard before and after dinner to make sure I ate in my limits.
Stretched out on the bed for a few minutes and actually fell asleep for about an hour. I got up and dressed for dinner. My plan was to leave the trailer at 1:15. I thought it would take about 45 minutes to get to the restaurant. I was hiking over there to meet the Morans. After only ten minutes of walking at a fast pace, I was already half way. I decided to sit at a picnic table and watch the water flow over the dam. That was pretty hypnotic, because the time zipped by.
I took the gate from Blanco State Park that opens into a little City Park. There is a concrete path that winds around and finally drops you off safely on the town square. The Morans where there early to look at some stores, so we connected at a good time.
The BBQ was really good. I had the Willie Nelson. It is a hoagie with 1/2 pound of brisket, 1/3 pound of pork tenderloin, and 1/4 pound of sausage. It was way more than I could eat. I brought the rest home and will have a late supper (2:00 is more of a late lunch) when the Spurs game comes on.
After we ate, we got another pitcher of beer and sat on the patio. It was really nice weather, and just being on the square in Blanco made it a magical afternoon. The girls were getting a little restless with nothing to do but watch Uncle Jim drink beer, so we all said our goodbyes.
I hiked back to camp the long way. I hike the park road to headquarters, left the park and followed a street to the next bridge. Once I crossed the bridge, I was in the very back of the park. I was going to let that be it for the day, but I hadn't burned my calorie goal (3,100 per day), so I took another long hike at 5:00. This time I went under the bridge and walked in the park on the other side of the river. Most of that area is still closed off from the flood, but I managed to find a route to follow.
I stopped by the Moran's camper. They were winding down for the night. After a brief chat with John, I came on back to the Colby T.
I decided to do a Periscope broadcast of the Colby T. I was supposed to broadcast something exciting at school, but I didn't read that until school was out for break. Anyway, I broadcasted something exciting to me- camping in the Colby T.
There is a Spurs game on at 7:30. I'm going to have a few nips of Clan McGregor, watch the game, and go to bed early. More tomorrow.
8:33 Saturday, December 26
Well, I totally forgot to finish this when I got back from Blanco state park. I got up on Tuesday morning and got everything packed and ready to go. It was another beautiful day. I almost wanted to stay longer. But, Christmas was coming, so I needed to get home.
I gathered my trash and hiked over to the dumpster. From there, I went over and talked with John Moran. He was getting some of his stuff ready for departure also. They were going to leave a little bit later.
I started up the truck and headed on out of the park. Instead of turning right to go to 281, I turned left and took that bridge that I had been hiking over several times. While I was hiking, I noticed that it was called Kendalia Street. I knew that made it had to go to Kendalia, so I decided to take it all the way there. It was a beautiful Hill Country drive through ranches with twisting turns and the low-water crossings. I loved it! After that, it was just the routine trip that I normally take from Guadalupe River State Park. There was absolutely nothing exciting about the trip home. That usually is a good thing!
When I got home, Rachel had decorated the house for Christmas. It put me right in the mood to start the holidays.
Since I'm posting this so late, I'll give you a quick update about Christmas itself. I got hit with a virus the night before Christmas Eve. I was up every hour on the hour being sick for over 12 hours. It was miserable. The next day I was a little shaky, but started feeling better. Christmas went on as usual until about 7 PM Christmas Day, when Rachel was hit by the same virus. She was sick most of the night, but was fine today. Jared, my youngest son, got hit at about 6:30 PM today. He's been throwing up pretty regularly ever since.
Josh, my oldest son, headed home for Austin earlier today. So far he has not succumbed to the virus. Anyway, that's all for this report.