Yeah, but what about the outdoors?

The Community Bicyclist

Okay, I’ve strayed. From the title of this blog, you might think that this would be all about the outdoors. Sorry. I went inside my head by accident. Politics and Popcorn don’t really fit now, do they? So let’s move on to……..


Yes, we had an outdoor vacation. Driving straight from Little Rock to San Antonio (600 miles), we arrived around 5 pm and immediately headed out to the Ripley’s Museum (a McKenna

Favorite) plus the wax museum. Then down to the River Walk for some Mexican food and a bad mariachi band singing happy birthday to Lisa.
We started with Three nights in a hotel in San Antonio, Texas. Now you say what is outdoorsy about that? Well, day one was spent at Sea World where the young one fed dolphins, sea lions and lorikeets. We saw the Shamu show and a beluga whale show. Then, of course, we had the rides. We spent a lot of that day wet which became a theme of this vacation.
Day two was spent doing the San Antonio Mission National Park tour. Besides going to all four of the San Antonio Missions plus the aqueduct we ended it with the Alamo and a walk around the river walk district. Then an outdoor dinner with a friend at a local Mexican restaurant.
Day three took us to Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels, Texas. Rated as the best water park in the world for 9 years, it consists of two parks and we got to both of them. The last thing we did there was sit in a giant hot tub with a bar. Then it was off to Palmetto State Park near Luling, TX for our first night of camping. After dinner, we did a short night hike to watch spiders build webs and then off to bed.
Day Four had us packing up and heading north through the Texas Hill Country. At one point we stopped at what had to be one of the best convenience stores I’ve ever been in. (Once a retailer, always a retailer). Lisa and McKenna had always pictured Texas as being flat and dry and basically uninteresting. They had not seen the hill country. We drove up highway 281 through beautiful hills and looking down into canyons and washes that we imagined would be cherished by outlaws. Lots of motorcycles mainly coming from the Dallas-Fort Worth area heading out for weekend riding. (The modern day outlaws still come here!) We stopped at one of the many picnic areas and enjoyed some sandwiches and chips.
Eventually, we got to Cleburne State Park to set up camp. Well after moving sites twice we finally got a spot we thought would work. Dinner was made and then another hike around the northeast side of the lake. (More spiders!) then back to the campsite. Since the park had no programs going on we opted for watching a movie outdoors on McKenna’s laptop so we set up chairs, made some Jiffy Pop and settled in for a movie. As we watched we started seeing a little lightening and soon we realized we were all too tired to finish the movie so it was off to bed.
Fast forward to midnight. I’m sleeping in the middle and I feel a gentle drip on my leg. Waking myself up I find the flashlight and realize that the rain fly is letting just a bit of water in at the very top of the tent. Lisa wakes up and we move around leaving the center of the tent empty. An hour or two later Lisa is pretty uncomfortable since to fit us in around all this she is all scrunched up. The rain has stopped and we put a towel on top of the wet spot, I move back into position and go back to sleep. The next morning we get up to find that our tent placement is perfectly aligned with the new creek that has formed from the rain. The sky is dark with clouds and it looks like a day of rain. We are considering heading for home a day early. We decide to go take showers and make our decision after breakfast. As soon as we emerge from the bathhouse the clouds part, the birds sing, all becomes right with the world. Back at camp, the rain fly is already drying. We move the tent out of the creek (which has dried up) and Lisa mops up the water under our mattresses.
We are off for Fossil Rim Wildlife Center on day five. The story here is best told with the photos. A beautiful drive. Feeding all kinds of animals. A great lunch overlooking the park. More driving and feeding and by mid-afternoon, we have done the park. So what next? Well, another park, what else? Dinosaur Valley State Park is known for the real dinosaur tracks along the Paluxy River. Unfortunately, we got there only to find out that the river was flooded and we could not see the tracks. So we did some picture taking at the dinosaur replicas and checked out the gift shop and then off to the next adventure. Of course, we couldn’t leave the area around the park without stopping at the Creation Evidence Museum. (Evolution bad, Creation good) We got our picture in front of the sign and got out of there quickly, monkey tails tucked firmly between our legs.
Lisa had found out about one of the few drive-in movie theaters left in the country in Granbury, Texas, about 15 miles up the road. They were going to be showing the new Pirates movie so off we went. Getting to Granbury several hours before it would be dark enough to see a movie we decided to go check out the old town square. It was totally revitalized and after doing a good bit of window shopping we came across a 50’s style diner. What a perfect place to have dinner before going to the drive-in movie! Chili dogs and cheese dogs along with fries and onion rings and we were full! A little more wandering and we were off to the Brazos Drive-in. This is obviously very popular and we waited in line along the side of the road for about an hour to get in. Once we were in we spent another hour waiting for it to get dark enough. Oh well, time to read. The movie was fun even if the sound was a bit wanting and after the movie we headed back to our campsite. It was after midnight. Hard to believe that 24 hours earlier I was sitting in a puddle in the tent.
The weather was good to us all night and we woke refreshed. We started packing up after some breakfast and we could feel that the rain was in the air again. Just as we got the last few things in the car it started to rain. We drove over to the bathhouse to make one last stop before hitting the road. This time when we came out of the bathhouse we were greeted by a downpour complete with small hail. The weather gods had decided that we had done enough on this vacation and it was time to go home. Stopping only for gas, coffee or lunch we were home in about 6 hours. What a great trip!
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