Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Hill Country Vacation

We are home safe and sound but our vacation did not go exactly as planned on the third and fourth days. But that's the thing about vacations. Sometimes you have to be flexible for changes. It all started with my son having second thoughts about going to Jacob's Well. He pointed out that last time we were there the hole itself was really small and he didn't really see how we could swim around it. Then our host pointed out that the water levels were really low and he suggested that if the kids really wanted to swim that we should go to Cypress Creek instead. He recommended a wonderful restaurant called the Back Porch. As long as you order food you can get a table there, right next to the water. It's like the best kept secret and the food is awesome.

We had really nice hostess who seated us right next to the steps into the river. You have to purchase the beer or wine separately from the bar that's run by the Tavern. They only have cans because of the river and glass, understandable. This was a can of rose wine in a can that was pretty good. I loved that we got to eat right there and then took off our clothes, because we had our bathing suits on underneath, and we dipped in the river and floated around on our floats. Seth even jumped off that side of that cliff side across the way. This was by far my very favorite part of the whole trip. This restaurant really is a hidden gem because you have to drive through a neighborhood to get to it. I feel like mostly locals and people who know locals would know to go there. 

We drove to Johnson City on Sunday afternoon, after the Backyard and showers. It was a beautiful drive, like all the drives in the Hill Country. Miranda contemplated how we could own a ranch. How she could buy a ranch when she's older or how I could retire to the Hill Country and own a ranch.

Texas White House, on LBJ Ranch, outside of Johnson City

In Johnson City I had planned to go to the Pedernales Falls. Once again our host warned me that the water levels were low and that I should probably go to the Blanco State Park. But I already had a paid reservation at Pedernales and I wanted to check it out, even if we didn't go swimming.

This is what I have to say about Johnson City. It is such a charming town with so much to do! Like I would go back just to Johnson City for a weekend trip. What would I do if I go back? I would drive out to the Lyndon B. Johnson Ranch and I would stop at every building, the school house, the home where he was born, the cemetery, and I would tour the Texas White House. We would also make time to visit the living farm on the same state park. (By the way, it's both a state and a national park.) I would stop at wineries and distilleries on the road. I would drive back to Johnson City and I would shop the antique shops. On a second day I would go to the Science Mill and do other things around town. If the water levels were good I would go back to the Pedernales River and I would see the falls and swim in the river. Seriously, there is a lot to do in this one town! Blanco State Park is only nineteen miles away if you want to swim in that river.
Where the Falls should be

What we actually did. We woke up late for starters. We thought we had time to go to the LBJ Ranch but we found ourselves rushed and we didn't even have time for a tour of the Texas White House. We just saw the ranch, the buildings from the outside, the Airforce One Half, and the White House from the outside. We did learn a lot of interesting things. Like the fact that Johnson had Airforce One Half made especially for flying to the ranch. He would fly from DC to either San Antonio or Austin and then he would take the smaller plane or a helicopter to the ranch. He and Lady Bird are buried in the family cemetery there. He spent 25% of his presidency at he ranch and invited presidents and dignitaries there all the time. For example, he had a big Texas barbecue for all the ambassadors from Latin American countries right there.

We rushed on to Pedernales Falls State Park, only to find that the water wasn't flowing. There was a record breaking heat wave that weekend so it was super hot just to walk down to the look-out point to see this much. The hike back was up hill and even worse. But I survived! By the time we were finished looking at the missing falls I was so hot and disgusted I didn't even feel like driving down stream to see the river. The park ranger at the front office said the water was barely ankle or knee deep in some places and was still water. It didn't sound very appealing. So we just drove home from there and we didn't get home until 9:30 p.m. or so.

It was a great adventure all in all.  I learned lessons of what I would do differently next time. I definitely see a trip to Johnson City in the future and a slow visit through the LBJ Ranch. 

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