Thursday, December 10, 2009

Breakfast Tacos, Tour Lampasas & No View of the Dam at Buchanan

Tom and Shirley from Norwalk, IA, at Boone RV Park, Lampasas, TX

Wednesday, December 9, I was up at 6:30. I stretched out my neck and then rested on the couch for a half an hour. I had my coffee and washed yesterday's few plates and silverware since I need them this morning. Then I set the table and dished up the condiments for the breakfast tacos. I wanted to be out of the kitchen by the time Bob started cooking. The sun is out but I was shocked to see 35 degrees at 6:30 a.m. Nobody said nothing about getting that close to freezing last night. Imagine my surprise 45 minutes later when it was 33 degrees! Bob got up and we looked again and saw 31 degrees! Okay, now it has officially frozen. Fortunately our water is still running. Later Tom and Shirley say their water hose froze a bit and wouldn't trickle through for a while. On tonight's newscast they report that the cold front blew in at 3:00 a.m. So that's why it was still dropping this morning.

Bob and Rita with The Titanic at Boone RV Park

At 9:20 I called Tom and he said they're on their way over. With the sun streaming in the dining room window, we feast on Bob's great breakfast tacos and some Crispy Thingies. Tom and I enjoy hazelnut coffee. We all chat in the living room, look at Megan's shower and some Dale Chihuly glass pictures. We remember to give them the Escapees RV magazine with the Tent Rocks National Park. They head home around 11:30 with a promise to meet in an hour for sightseeing.

Shirley, Bob and Tom feed the fowl at Brook Park in Lampasas, TX

At 12:30 we have a photo op out by our respective RVs. We put the golf clubs under our tonneau cover to free up the backseat for those guys. Then we head to Brook Park just down the road. We feed the geese and ducks that accost us as we get out of the truck with some trail mix I found in my golf bag. It is bitterly cold (at least the Texans think it is) but we brave it and walk to the Hancock Springs Bathhouse. My hands and face are frozen. Tom sticks his hand in the water coming out of the hot springs and is surprised that it is still warm as it trickles back to Sulphur Creek.

Pablo Jass Boot Roundup Mural, Lampasas, TX

Back to the truck for a short trip to the Pablo Jass Boot Mural here in Lampasas. I read about it in the Ft. Worth Star Telegram last year. The Texas-size painting was unveiled in 2008 and plastered on a wall a block or so off the square. It serves as a testimony to generations of boot makers from this Hill Country town, particularly the legendary Ray Jones, called 'the boot maker's boot maker.' Mr. Jones' various apprentices continue making boots in Lampasas just the way their mentor taught them.

Shirley and I snapped a few photos of the big mural that is the talk of this town of 6,000. Real boots collected from around the city were reproduced by a team of volunteers as a mural so vivid it required a special exemption from the City Council. Cowboy boots are a unique art form. Capturing cowboy culture on a 15-by-46-foot exterior wall required not just artistic skill, but computer savvy, plenty of willing hands and a whole lot of ingenuity, like using an overhead projector mounted on the bed of a pickup to trace the basic outlines of the mural.

Lampasas County Courthouse

This is the first of at least four murals chosen by the Vision Downtown Lampasas art committee. Once boots were decided on for the first mural the call went out for boots themselves, especially those crafted by Mr. Jones and his successors, including John and Pablo Jass as well as Joaquin Medina. Just like that, the artists had a treasure trove from which to choose--150 pairs, some dating to the 1940's, in eye-searing hues few had expected. Some of the designs were unique as well, like the boots with the playing cards. Locals say you can readily tell a pair of Mr. Jones' boots by their telltale design elements: long, white pulls at the top, white cord side seams and the oversize "toe bug" he favored. Locals who owned the boots said "They were tough as hell, plain to average in description, with only two choices of stitch pattern and most folks never saw the second choice because Ray didn't like it." But even Mr. Jones would build boots of just about any color imaginable.

Lake Buchanan Dam

It's too cold to dawdle so we move on and park around the courthouse. We do one walk around the Lampasas County Courthouse. Bob shells some fallen pecans and we sample them. There is a new steel frame going up on a building on the square next to Dollar General but I can't tell what it is going to be.

Longhorn Graffiti

We get diesel and an Austin American-Statesman at Fina. Now we have fuel to take a scenic Hill Country drive to Lake Buchanan and Inks Lake. It is pretty outside but very cold. The high only gets to 48. We discover that since 9/11 you can no longer walk across the dam. So we go to Inks Lake and walk halfway across the pedestrian bridge that was the old highway. Shirley and I take a picture of the new highway concrete piling that has a big Texas Longhorn painted on it by some passing boater. Unfortunately the view of Buchanan Dam is being blocked by the new bridge so we declare it to be the dam that can't be viewed.

Tom, Shirley and Bob enjoy the view at Devil's Waterhole above Inks Lake

Bob turns into Inks Lake State Park and stops at Devil's Waterhole overlook. Shirley and I make the most of this photo op. It's time to head back to Lampasas and have a late lunch at El Rodeo. We are the only ones in there at 3:00 p.m. Bob and I have a Chicken and Shrimp Molcajete. I was glad we asked them if we could have the shrimp instead of the beef (only $1.00 extra.) Tom had puffy tacos and Shirley had enchiladas. The salsa was muy picante!

Tom, Bob, Rita and Shirley at El Rodeo in Lampasas

Back to Boone RV Park. Shirley has some laundry to do. Tom goes to Fina to fill up his truck as they plan to head to Abilene in the morning. Bob and I go inside to read the paper after we all agree to meet at their place this evening. Shirley knocks on the doors and asks if we need pencils. Yes! She gives us a big handful of nice, round, sturdy pencils. We have cheap, thin, octagonal ones from Dollar General.

Molcajete at El Rodeo

Around 6:30 we head to their Kountry Star 5th wheel. I love their floorplan with a rear peninsula kitchen. They have lots of room in here. On the way in we spy two RV's across the way with Christmas light displays. We all chat until about 9:00. It's 40 degrees with a low of 25 predicted. We say goodnight. They will leave between 9:00 and 10:00 a.m. so we'll see them before they hit the road tomorrow. Bob unhooks our water and drains the hose on the way back home. It's 9:45 p.m. and 38 degrees with 44% humidity.

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