Home Again in Kerrville (February 3 – April 18, 2017)

On February 3rd we returned to Buckhorn Lake Resort in Kerrville, TX for our third visit. We arrived in time for a social hour where we reconnected with several couples that we had met last year. On February 5th, we watched the Super Bowl and participated in a pot luck dinner in the barn. Phil resumed his daily pickleball games and was pleased to discover that he could still play pretty well despite not having played very often over the previous seven months.

Although Livingston, TX is our legal address, Kerrville is where we’ve spent the most time since beginning our RV adventure. In addition to enjoying the Texas hill country, our medical HMO is based around Kerrville so we must return there to see our doctor. Our dentists are also based in the area. With that in mind, we scheduled doctor and dentist appointments well before our return and we spent much of our first week taking care of those issues.

Phil had agreed to take on two contract work assignments overseas during our time in Kerrville; two weeks in Malta and one week in Shanghai. He left for Malta on February 10th. Flying out of San Antonio required three flights each way to reach Malta and to return. Although the weather was clearly not as enjoyable as when he was in Malta in August, it was sunnier than when he had been there in December. Regardless of the weather, the view of the Mediterranean Sea from his hotel balcony was beautiful. However, despite the scenery, this was not a vacation trip and he ended up working over 60 hours each week.

While Phil was in Malta, Jan’s friend, Sheila Gaskin, came to visit for a week. They spent the first weekend exploring San Antonio.

During the week, they relaxed, went to the movies and visited Luckenbach, TX.

 

The second weekend was spent exploring Austin, TX before Sheila’s flight back to Tennessee on Sunday.

Upon Phil’s return from Malta, he started working on making travel plans for the summer. We plan to spend the summer in the Northwestern US before traveling down the California coast in September. Phil quickly learned that waiting until February to try to make reservations for the summertime was a mistake as he frequently discovered that the campgrounds he called were already full, especially around Yellowstone National Park and the Oregon coast. Perseverance, along with some changes in our travel routes, finally paid off and we were able to fill in almost all of the dates through Labor Day. We have so far been unable to find a campground with openings near the Grand Tetons in June. There is one possibility but the campground is closed until May 1st and, surprisingly, doesn’t have anyone taking reservations during their off-season.

After two weeks at home, Phil was back on the road again with a one-week assignment in Shanghai. This trip only required two flights each direction but the non-stop flight from Dallas to Shanghai lasted 15 hours. Since the flight from San Antonio to Dallas left at 6:30 a.m., we got a hotel room near the San Antonio airport the night before and had dinner on the Riverwalk. Phil arrived in Shanghai on Saturday afternoon, March 11th, so he had a day to try to adjust to the time difference before going to the office. This was Phil’s 11th trip to China and, hopefully, his last one. As usual, the traffic was terrible and the commute to and from the office took almost an hour each way. Although one week in China isn’t even long enough to shake off the jet lag, Phil was glad that he had not committed to a longer stay and was very happy to be home again on March 18th.

During Phil’s absence, Jan relaxed, went to the movies, and participated in several of the campground social events, including taking a bus trip to Luckenbach, celebrating St. Patrick’s Day at the corned beef and cabbage dinner and attending a campground jam session.

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On March 20th, we visited Wildseed Farms, several miles outside of Fredericksburg. Wildseed Farms is the world’s largest wildflower farm, with 200 acres of wildflowers. We strolled along the fields of bluebonnets and poppies and shopped in Blossoms Boutique.

On March 22nd, we took a mystery bus trip which turned out to be a trip to Rails Restaurant in Kerrville where we had a group dinner. We both ordered the bison burger which was quite good. On March 23rd, we enjoyed a roast beef dinner in the barn with a large group of fellow RVers.

On March 25th, we drove to Austin to visit Jan’s niece, Brittany Dickerson, and her husband, Caleb, who had recently moved to Austin. We had a great day checking out their new apartment and enjoying the beautiful weather as we strolled through Zilker Park and visited the Barton Springs Pool.

On March 29th, we took the campground bus for a group outing at the 11th Street Cowboy Bar in Bandera, TX. Bandera is nicknamed the Cowboy Capital of the World and there were plenty of would-be cowboys and cowgirls at the Cowboy Bar. Phil cooked our steak over a large grill and we enjoyed watching others dancing to a country band. Once again, we committed ourselves to breaking out the country dancing DVD we purchased a year ago so we can join the fun when we return next winter.

On March 30th, we attended a pizza dinner in the campground barn. After dinner, we stuck around for the jam session by several of our fellow campers.

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On April 1st, we drove to The Ridge Home Cooking and Native Nursery based on a recommendation from a fellow RVer. We arrived in the mid-afternoon so settled for dessert rather than a full meal but it was very good. We also did a little shopping at the nursery and wandered around in the gardens. Phil got reacquainted with his poultry days by visiting the chicken house.

On April 5th, we returned to Fredericksburg and had lunch at the Rathskeller, a small German restaurant in the basement of a building on Main Street. Then we drove out to Wildseed Farms again for some shopping. The poppies were in full bloom.

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On April 6th, we partook of the Chicken Fried Steak dinner served in the campground barn. We had a nice time meeting some other RVers from Texas and Wyoming. The following day, we enjoyed beautiful weather at the Social Hour at the outdoor Café Patio.

On April 8th, Brittany Dickerson drove from Austin to spend the weekend with us. Jan and Brittany drove to Fredericksburg where they had lunch and strolled through the shops along Main Street. Then they drove to Luckenbach for a quick stop before traveling on to Burnet, TX for a brief visit at the Bluebonnet Festival.

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Finally, they stopped near Marble Falls, TX at the Bluebonnet House, which is believed to be the most photographed house in Texas.

With the beginning of a new season of Cubs baseball, Jan added two new flags to our collection of outdoor banners. In addition to a Cubs flag that is hung between games, she also has a “W” flag that is displayed immediately after the Cubs win a game. There have been a couple of nights already when she has had to go out at midnight to put out the “W.”

On April 12th, we celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary with a return trip on the Buckhorn Lake Resort bus to the Bandera 11th Street Cowboy Bar. Phil grilled our steak and we even made it out onto the dance floor a few times.

On April 14th, we took another trip on the Buckhorn Lake Resort bus to the little town of Comfort, TX. Comfort is best known for its many antique shops. There are many shops and restaurants along High Street in buildings that date from the 1800s. We strolled through a number of shops, had lunch at High’s Café, and enjoyed some moonshine tastings at the Hill Country Distillers. Jan found a sign at the distillery that she particularly enjoyed.

On April 15th, we had to move our rig about 100 feet to a new site. We had previously been able to extend our stay twice while remaining in the same site. However, for our last three days at Buckhorn, we had to move sites to accommodate a party of three couples who wanted to be together. Our new site was not nearly as open as the previous one. We were under a large tree that prevented us from using our satellite dish. In addition, after setting up, we discovered that we were unable to extend our bedroom slide all the way. Rather than move the rig again, we decided we could live with the slide partially extended for three days. We felt somewhat like the poor cousins to our new next door neighbors in their Prevost motorcoach, with a price tag well over $1 million. The contrast was even more amusing when our hail-damaged Nissan sat nose-to-nose with the neighbors’ Mercedes-AMG SL63, with a cost of about $150,000.

On April 16th, we enjoyed the Easter potluck dinner in the barn. Despite the campground being completely full, the turnout for the dinner was fairly small. We had a good time regardless and, as usual, had way too much to eat.

On April 18th, Phil played his last pickleball games for a while and we packed up for our move to San Antonio.

 

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