Back to the Texas Hill Country (February 17 – April 3, 2019)

To attend her uncle’s funeral, Jan had booked a flight to Nashville on Sunday, February 17th, that departed from San Antonio (SAT) at 5:25 pm. That necessitated us dropping Jason off at the Brownsville airport at about 8:30 am for his noon flight. We returned to Palmdale, quickly finished hooking up and were on the road by 9:40 am. The trip to SAT was 270 miles so we expected to arrive by around 3 pm.

Our original plan was to drop Jan off at a hotel near the SAT airport and she would get a taxi to the airport. Unfortunately, when we were within 35 miles of the airport, there was a major crash on I-37 and it took us over 1.5 hours to cover the next 5 miles. Although we had left Palmdale earlier than expected, this delay put us in jeopardy of having Jan miss her flight. Jan called the information desk at SAT to inquire if there was sufficient clearance for us to drive our 13’ 6” fifth wheel and she was told that it would not be a problem if we used the Departure level. When we arrived at SAT and started up the Departure ramp, we saw a sign that said the clearance was only 13’ 0”. Since there was no way for us to turn around, Phil pulled to the curb and sought police assistance while Jan went inside to check in for her flight. After waiting in vain for 20 minutes for a police office to walk by, Phil called the airport and chose the option of reporting a police emergency. Since we were in danger of shearing off several items from the roof of our RV, as well as damaging the overhead pedestrian crosswalk, it certainly seemed like an emergency. After a lengthy discussion with the police officer, Phil was told that the airport built in a 6” fudge factor in their signs and, therefore, we should be OK to proceed. After struggling to pull away from the curb through double-parked traffic, Phil drove very slowly under the walkway and was very happy not to hear any crunching sound. He continued on another 62 miles to Buckhorn Lake Resort in Kerrville, TX and arrived at 6 pm. Jan’s flights went smoothly so all’s well that ends well. It was a very stressful afternoon and one that we hope never to repeat.

After attending the funeral on Monday, Jan returned to SAT on Tuesday. On Wednesday morning, Phil had a dental implant performed and this limited our activities for the next few days.

We had been without a car since April 2018, before we left for our Alaska trip, and were anxious to once again have something smaller than a one-ton truck as our day-to-day transportation. On Monday, February 25th, we began our car shopping effort by visiting six different car dealers in Boerne and San Antonio. We had decided to look at 12 models of compact SUVs made by Nissan, Toyota, Subaru, Hyundai, Honda and Mazda. After doing test drives at each of the dealerships, we narrowed the field down to four models. We spent Tuesday reading a lot of online ratings and reviews, leading us to narrow the field further to the Subaru Forester and the Mazda CX-5. On Wednesday, we chose the Mazda and used the USAA Car Buying Service to get quotes from six Mazda dealerships. On Thursday, we began to negotiate further with one of the dealers. Since it was the last day of the month, the dealer was able to make us a good offer if we could finalize the purchase that day. We quickly drove into San Antonio and completed the purchase.

Although car buying occupied most of our time during the week, we did manage to find other distractions. Phil continued to play pickleball almost every morning. On Tuesday evening, we participated in a Cinnamon Roll, Chili and Salad pot luck dinner. This seemed like a strange combination of foods but we learned that this is kind of a Nebraska tradition. On Wednesday, Jan went for an eye exam and purchased new glasses.

The next couple of weeks were uneventful. Other than a few doctor and dentist appointments, our time was largely spent with Phil playing pickleball and Jan preparing for a cruise later in the month. On Saturday, March 16th, we attended a dinner of Irish stew in the barn at Buckhorn Lake Resort that was followed by a concert by Thomas Michael Riley. The concert was very good. Thomas Michael Riley is an outstanding country entertainer and he was backed up by some very talented musicians.

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On Sunday, our good friends Dave and Jo Peterson, who were met at Palmdale RV Resort, arrived in Kerrville. We joined them at their site at By the River RV Park and spent a couple of hours sitting outside in the beautiful weather.

On Monday, we drove to Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. We had visited the park on a Saturday two years ago and the line to get into the park had been quite long. This time we went on a Monday, assuming we wouldn’t have any problem getting in. Although the line of cars was considerably shorter, we learned that the Texas State Parks had implemented a reservation system four weeks earlier. The man at the gate did let us in without a reservation but we did get a long lecture about the need to have reservations next time. After parking, we hiked up the Summit Trail to the top of Enchanted Rock. Rather than return back down the same trail, we wandered around at the summit and blazed our own trail to return to the parking lot. That proved to be more difficult than we had anticipated and required climbing over and between numerous boulders.

On Tuesday, we attended a Taco Tuesday pot luck dinner in the Buckhorn barn. There was a good variety of Mexican food and desserts. Jan had baked a Sundrop cake and, unfortunately, there were no leftovers to bring home after the dinner.

On Wednesday, Jan and Jo went to Fredericksburg for a girls’ day out consisting of shopping and dining. That evening, we picked up Dave and Jo Peterson and drove to Bandera where we had dinner at the 11th Street Cowboy Bar. We each brought our own meat to grill over the large pits. It had started to drizzle while Phil and Dave were grilling and Jan and Jo were getting our sides but we were all back under shelter before the heavy rains came. Fortunately, we had gotten seats under the roof because, when the rain began, it came with a vengeance. Even some of those in the shelter got soaked as the rainwater poured through many of the seams in the roof.

On Friday, we got together with Dave and Jo and went to the Wild Ass Hey Barn for a delicious fried catfish dinner and entertainment by the performers at Open Mic night.

On Saturday, Dave and Jo picked us up and we went to Luckenbach. It was drizzling for much of the day but we were able to find shelter in the barn where we watched a couple of sets by a very good country band, Small Town Habit.

On Sunday morning, Jan left for a cruise with her cousin, Lori Davis. Jan flew to Nashville where she met Lori for the flight to Fort Lauderdale. The first flight left at 7:25 am from San Antonio so we left home at 4:20 am. Fortunately Jan’s fights went well and Phil completed the early morning drive without incident.

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Lori and Jan on flight to Fort Lauderdale

The itinerary of Jan’s cruise included a day in Key West and a day and a half in Cuba. Jan and Lori took advantage of their time on shore to participate in various tours.

After picking up Jan at the San Antonio airport late Saturday night, we spent the next two days getting ready to travel and completing last minute appointments with the dentist and doctors.

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