Sunday, February 16, 2020

The Alamo Mission and River Walk

San Antonio has a very nice river walk and the Alamo is about 3 blocks away. The river is not wide at all. The walkways extend north and south of the main area downtown. We went to the Alamo first, arriving early this morning before the crowds appeared. We had lunch at one of the restaurants along the walkway then walked the 3/4 mile loop. You can ride a boat around but we chose to walk. The river walk has been there since starting in 1921.



The Alamo Mission that you see is actually the church that was left after the other buildings of the fort were destroyed in years following the battle at the Alamo. Photos are not permitted inside. There is a museum next door with artifacts from the time. The history is displayed on the walls. Here is a panoramic view showing it as it was and as it is today, well worth watching. Try the split screen to compare it side by side.




The back side. Cannons were on the second level in the back.

The gardens next to the mission.
The fountain has names of the commanders you might recognize.






Displays in the museum next to the mission.
The water well and huge old live oaks.

There was a second story to this section. The wall is all that's left. There is restoration work starting since the sandstone is crumbling.
We have all heard of Davy Crockett. He died during the battle.


The Alamo is actually right in the middle of downtown San Antonio.
Large modern city buildings surround the property.


The Riverwalk








Thursday, February 13, 2020

What We Have Learned About Texas

Texas in General:
Highways are smooth and free of potholes.
Roads and streets in Houston are crowded and confusing. 
Everyone drives a white pickup or white Ford Explorer.
I-10 is real busy with many lanes in both directions.
Toll roads are everywhere around larger cities.
Everybody drives at least 75 mph on all roads.

Southeast Texas:
Land is low and wet (swampland).
Creeks are called bayous.
Many oil and chemical refineries.
The water is not good.
We did not see any alligators.
Sand is everywhere and sticks to your shoes.
Houses are few and far between, lots of open land.

Texas Hill Country:
Creeks are called creeks here.
There is always a white pickup truck behind us.
The hills are about like Northern Kentucky.
Wild hogs are everywhere.
Not much cactus, one small type.
All land has a fence around it (billions of miles of Fence).
All property has a gate across the driveway.
All gates have a cattle grid to stop cattle from crossing.
Fancy gates must mean more wealth.
Most gates have the name of the ranch at the gate.
You usually can't see the ranch house from the gate.










Here comes a white pickup.

There he goes.

Here come more pickups. This is Texas Hill Country.
Many trees are green since they are Live Oaks.
This is Texas Hill Country. Plenty of bare trees and dry sandy earth. This is February so springtime should look better. Of course there is a fence behind the tree.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Luckenbach Texas

Luckenbach is about 20 miles from the LBJ ranch so we stopped in to see what is is all about. There were a few locals playing guitars and singing under the big oak tree. The weekends are quite busy with the dance hall and saloon. It is known primarily because of the famous song by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. For years, Willie even had his famous family picnic on the grounds at the banks of Snail Creek by the old dance hall.


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Dance Hall ready for the weekend.

When you need more cash, open the outhouse door for the ATM.


LBJ Ranch

We arrived at Ingram Texas last Saturday, February 1st. This week, we visited the LBJ Ranch near Stonewall Texas, home of the 36th President, Lyndon Johnson. It has a State Park area and his home is a National Park across the Pedernales River. We learned about the many things he did for Civil Rights and helping the common people of the US. He promoted education as you will see in the schoolhouse photos. He inherited the Vietnam War and that was his downfall. He was Vice President and became President when Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, serving the remainder of that term. He was elected for another term, 1965-1969 but declined a second term. He had two heart attacks in office. He did not survive the third heart attack in 1973, he died at his home. Lady Bird lived until 2007. Both are buried in the family cemetary at the ranch. The first photos are from the State Park Visitor Center. Photos following those are from the Ranch.








This is the original entrance to the ranch. The driveway crossed next to a small dam in the river. The small building was for the Secret Service.
We saw a movie with Johnson driving his car across this driveway.
The gate is to the left of this photo.


This is the schoolhouse he attended as a boy.






The family cemetery is located under several old large live oak trees.

The house was reconstructed due to decay.

Another NBC video had Johnson pumping water from the well.
We took a driving tour of the ranch. There Is a 6800 foot landing strip that he used when traveling to and from the ranch when he was President.

A large wind vane that could be seen from approaching aircraft.

This is still a working ranch with cattle roaming the fields around the air strip.

At the end of the driving tour, the house and several buildings contain displays.

One of the smaller jets he used to travel to and from Washington.
Crossing that driveway by the dam.

Here is the Ford Phaeton in the photo above. There are several of his cars in the garage.




His amphicar. He liked to drive it around and suddenly drive into water
in front of bystanders.


The house is closed, waiting to be reworked to stabilize it after
years of tourists going through it.
This live oak is 300 years old. It was called the Cabinet Tree. Johnson held meetings under the tree with cabinet members and his many guests.


He made cement casts and had visitors sign them. There are several astronauts.
Here is John Glenn, Wally Schirra and Virgil Grissom signatures.


Johnson was at the ranch much more than he was in Washington. The Secret Service had many problems providing protection on the big open ranch. Highway 1 was just across the river from the house. This was their headquarters behind the house. I recognize those Motorola folded coaxial antennas.

The original airplane hanger is now a large display area.

You can listen to recordings of phone calls with people like
Martin Luther King and other dignitaries.