4. “We have more fun than anyone” Texas road trip... September/October.2019

Day 16
Today was another tour day…a really long one.  I was up early, showered & made coffee & was waiting in my 4Runner for the buses to load up.  We were going on a dance hall tour…about 150 miles of touring.  While I was missing all the fun on the bus, my plan was working…I was not getting sick.  There were 6 dance halls total; they were all built either by Czech or German immigrants.  Guess those foreigners would dance on Saturday on worship on Sundays.  I wasnt too impressed by most of the hallsthey were big buildings & at each one the tour guide would have someone speak.  Sometimes they gave a little history, but mostly they advertised what the buildings used for today Its a bargain to rent at $800 for your wedding reception.  I think a lot of the Sisters were under the impression they’d get to dance at most of the halls.  There was a bit of dancing at a couple, but mostly just standing around.  

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But I got fascinated with the boots…so many cool boots on Sisters!  I missed the memo about dressing country today, but I probably wouldn’t have done it anyway.  I own a few pairs of boots…hikers, Merrels, snow boots, Blundstones…but nothing with a heel or pointed toe, much less cool embroidery or stamped leather.  But, these Texas Sisters own some awesome boots.

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Sister #1 & #2....real sisters & the one’s who started Sisters on the Fly, had flown in the night before & were the ‘celebrities” on the tour.  They’re both super nice & Sister #1 is the one who convinced me to join SOTF when I originally met her a year & a half ago in Waxahacie. (From left to right: Sister #2 Becky, Sister #1 Maurrie, & Sherry one of the nice Texas Wranglers wearing a super cool pair of jeans & boots!)

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I think most everyone’s favorite dance hall was this one (sorry, but I didn’t catch the name…wasn’t on the bus).  It was super pretty & in such a beautiful setting under big trees with great outdoor spaces (& great bathrooms).  There wasn’t any dancing here either, but everyone seemed to enjoy the time here. (And yes, you can rent it out for your next wedding!)  The outside was so pretty….

And so was the inside.

Awesome photo of our group!

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Maurrie put out a call for all tree huggers & I was happy to go.  Except the tree had fire ants on it, so we turned into “holding hands around the tree” instead.

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Where’s Vicki?  My friend Barbara took this photo only to realize later she’d also captured a picture of me.

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We ended the night back in Round Top for a little antique shopping then to our last dance hall.  Dinner was provided by some men serving burgers & chips (I’m not sure their affiliation with the dance hall).  There were supposed to be lots of other community folks there dancing (there weren’t any) & there was a band.  But Jill & I & Barbara were so tired & I just wanted to be outside in their outdoor space getting some fresh & cool air.  We all sat outside until the mosquitoes attacked.  Barbara had been feeling nauseous from the bus ride for the last couple of dance halls & had ridden with me, so when the tour finally ended around 8:30 & the bus was loaded we all headed back.  Jill couldn’t escape into Tramper fast enough for the air, the quiet, her bed & some sleep.  I enjoyed a wonderful phone conversation with Luke who was on Cloud 9 tonight…love it when my kids are all happy!

I drank some Sangria & went to bed around midnight.  I’ve seen a lot of Texas on this trip so far!

Day 17
The sun is still beating down on us & the temps are pretty sucky.  Tonight was the big prom night…the whole reason I’d brought my Thule was to carry my giant orange prom dress.  Jill & I were supposed to go kayaking this morning, then changed that to tubing.  But, the river has had its own type of fun with the Sisters during this event.  Three times the local fire department have had to pull women out from the water.  It had something to do with missing the out take area & ending up somewhere bad.  A lot of Sisters though have been playing in the river with no harm.  But it’s also brown & murky, so Jill & I decided to pass on the water sports this time.  So, instead we added in Barbara & the three of us went on a bike ride this morning on the little bitty trail around the park & down to the river.  We watched some the of the Sisters learning how to fly fish using the Tenkara method—no reel.  Jill was super fascinated & I bet she signs up for lessons before the month is over. I think fly fishing is really beautiful to watch & a sport that you do in scenic places.  But, it’s not a sport I think I’d be willing to do by myself.  Wading into rivers by myself just doesn’t feel too comfortable to me…& there’s all the stuff required which I don’t have the space for…poles, waders, flies (although I’d love to learn how to tie flies) a net, etc. 

But on the way back to camp, Barbara fell off her bike & hurt her knee.  It was soooo friggin hot.  Jill was back in Tramper enjoying the AC, but I didn't want to hang out in camp.  I drove into Gonzales to check it out.  There wasn’t much there.  I ended up eating some local BBQ…everyone said it was great & then back to Walmart for ice & to refill my water jug.

As the afternoon wore on we had a discussion about our prom plans.  Everyone had told us how hot it would be, how crowded it would be, how there would no place to sit & we’d be miserable.  Barbara cancelled because her knee was still throbbing.  Jill & I discussed what we were going to do.  Then someone told us Shady Lady night was tonight….not Friday.  Ummm..what to do.  In the end, Jill & I decided not to go to prom & she spent the afternoon in Tramper.

I took off to tour the Spoetzl brewery.  You might not be familiar with that name, but most people know the beer they brew…Shiner.  Shiner Bock is the most popular craft beer in the state of Texas & the #6 beer in the United States & is made in Shiner TX, about 30 minutes from Gonzales.  I’ve never been a big fan of any bock beers but I was bored & wanted to do something fun this afternoon.  I signed up for the tour & in the meantime, tried four of their beers  (Pecan Porter, Wicked IPA, Octoberfest & Bock) while I waited in the shaded beer garden.

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After, the tour, I grabbed some food then headed back for Shady Lady night.

I regretted the decision to cancel our trip to the prom as soon as we got to the pavilion & could see so many Sisters dressed up so fun & headed to the prom.  Each night we’d missed the fun at the pavilion because of a tour, they’d had a great time.  So, even though we didn’t go to the prom we were hoping for a great evening…which turned out to be not so great.  As was my attitude, I admit.  Who ever had planned Shady Lady night must have forgotten to make a plan.  I loved my outfit, but there wasn’t much to do.

All the prom goers looking lovely & ready for a blast!

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The Shady Ladies…left behind.

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the real shaded ladies….

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As it turned out, someone at the prom had saved tables for the three buses of Sisters that attended.  It seems a great time was had by all.  

Nothing came of our eveningno talent show, no band, no dancing.  Some of the women played games in the back of the pavilion.  But we just sat around & visited for awhile.  Before the end of the event however, Jill, Barbara & Jo Lynn were planning a trip back to Round Top in March, 2020 to shop & go to the spring prom!  Im sure it should be cooler temps at that time of year.  I hope they all have a great time!

I turned in early & went to bed.

Day 18
This morning was the group photo & it turned out great!

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Jill & Jo Lynn were headed off to tour the little town of Wimberley & visit the boot whisperer.  Evidently, the German woman can look at your feet, ask a few questions & bring out the perfect pairs of vintage cowboy boots.  They were excited & ready to head out right after the photo.  I had committed to be in Saturdays parade & had practice for 30 minutes after the photo.  But, I also wanted to see the cute little town of Wimberley I’d researched last night.  I wasn’t going to stick around camp all day in the hot sun.

So, after practice, I drove about an hour away to the town of Wimberley.  The first place I stopped was Wimberley Glass Blowing.  They were having a demonstration & making glass pumpkins just as I got there.  I love to watch these artists!

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My next stop was to see the Blue Hole…a regional city park in Wimberley.  We’d been told by another Sister it was an awesome swimming hole. But I’d read last night that the swimming season was over, but they had some hiking trails…in the shade under trees!  So, that was my next stop.  When I walked up to the booth to ask about the trails, the person working there was a Sister!  She had planned on going to Gonzales, but decided in the end it would be too hot.  She jumped out of her chair & came out of the office & gave me a big hug & had another co-worker take our photo.  She was super nice & told me her favorite trail to hike.

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The water was crystal clear & perfect.  I can see why this would be a spectacular place to swim in the summer (or even right now when the temps are in the upper 90’s!)


There isn’t any Blue Hole here, but it was great to get my feet back on dirt.  It was only about an hour of hiking, but it was nice in the shade & out of the sun.  And, no one else was on the trail but me.

My next stop was a drive up to Jacobs Well…this is where the Blue Hole gets all it’s water from.  There’s two short hikes here…one to the bottom & one that overlooks the well at the top.  I did both in a short time.  The water here had more debris floating in it, but the hole or well still looked pretty cool.  Wiki says that it’s one of the most dangerous diving places in the world though & 7 or 8 people have died getting stuck in the cave below.

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Jacobs Well…goes down for about 30’ vertically, then goes downward at an angle through cave like chambers for about 120’.

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There wasn’t much hiking here & once again, it was getting super hot.  I drove back to the little shopping square in Wimberley.  So, far, this was the cutest town I’ve visited in Texas.  I ate lunch at Long Leaf Craft Kitchen; a place recommended to me by the Sister I met at the Blue Hole.  I had a salad made with grilled Texas peaches & it was wonderful!   I drank a fig cider, but was a little disappointed in it’s flavor…no fig taste..  

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There were a bunch of cute little shops…just the kind of shopping I like.  I went in & out of about 10 of them, but didn’t find anything special.  But the day had been enjoyable for sure!

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I left Wimberley & hit the Middleton brewery on my way back to camp.  I sat outside in the shade & drank a jalapeño IPA…it was yummy!

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Tonight’s event was a band & catered dinner featuring Texas BBQ.  Jill & Jo Lynn arrived back from their day shopping in Wimberley with just enough time to make it to the pavilion (& happy with two pairs of boots each & convinced the Boot Whisperer knows her stuff!)

Sisters #1 & #2 started the dance & we all filed in line…happy to be back on the dance floor.

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Everyone enjoyed dancing.  You know how they say you should learn a little a little bit of the language when you travel to a foreign country?  I felt that way about line dancing tonight…when in Texas, you should know how to line dance.  I was envious of the dancers that would boogie to the country tunes.  They played other dancing tunes in between the twangy stuff, but it seemed better if you knew how to dance like the Texans.  

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The night was fun though…it’s always a good night when there’s dancing involved!

Day 19
It’s Parade Day!  I woke up early & got my costume on.  There wasn’t really any theme…just have fun. And everyone was decked out for a good & HOT time!

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I had made a steampunk costumebecause I’ve always wanted one.  It was my favorite one of all the costumes I made for this event.

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The SOTF had several parts to their entry…first in the line up were Sisters #1 & #2

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Then came the bikers….

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then all of us dancers….

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the stick  & other horses..

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then last of all, the walkers & riders.

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It was sooooo hot & I was soaked by the time it was over, but I’d had a super fun time & really glad I’d done it!  The long mile walk back to the car, was not as much fun & after about 1/2 way, a local guy in a truck picked up 4 of us & saved us from dying in the sun.  I took off everything but my dress & put on sandals & walked back into town to eat.  Jill & Jo Lynn had come to see the parade but were now back at camp…Jo Lynn getting ready for the trailer tour & Jill eating lunch.  I ordered a burger & large ice water & Jill drove back into town.  She wanted to get some “come & take it” shirts for her grandkids at one of the many booths that were set up in between the carnival rides…a fun atmosphere for the town!

There was a band set up for tonight, but I was ready to say good bye.  If I packed up when I got back to camp, I could be home by  early Sunday morning to enjoy a day with Danny before he headed back to work on Monday & I had medical commitments with Dannys mom for the upcoming week.  She was currently staying with her good friend, & would be back at our house on Monday.  Jill would definitely be staying for another day having an appointment on Tuesday in Austin to take in Tramper for some maintenance.  It took me about 20 minutes to get my stuff together & grab a shower.  With hugs good bye, I left my first Sister event & started the 770 mile drive north heading home.  I pulled into our driveway at 3:30am.  My cat was super happy I was home at last.

rAnDoM
One thing that really struck me as odd, but only to this out-of-Stater, is how proud Texans are of Texas & being a Texan.  Ive never, ever been in a state that has so many of their flags flyingeverywhere.  On the beach, about 1 out of every 5 vehicles (mostly trucks) were flying a huge, a HUGE, Texas flag.  You see them all over.  I cant ever remember, in all the years Ive lived in Kansas, ever seeing a Kansas flag flying off the back of some truck.  Everyone who knows me well, knows Im not Kansas fan & I have friends that love this state, but they dont have the flag flying off truck or plastered on t-shirts.  Its just a Texas thing I think.

Texans love their bling & antiques.  I saw boots in stores that were sequinedthe whole boot!  And, there are so many antique stores & junk shops in every little town.  Ive never thought of Texans decorating their homes like that, but maybe thats the way to do it down there.

It seems like every little Texas town has a huge & beautiful old courthouse in the square.

As I was following the bus one day, in an area that grows a lot of pecans, I saw a sign on the side of the road: 
Holy Mother of Marystop & pray in a pecan grove”… I glanced to my right & there was a statue in the open space which I guessed was a pecan grove.  Very interesting.

Fire antsIm not a fan.  At all.

The record setting hot temperatures broke the day after I left Gonzalesgood for them, but I cant help thinking it would have been a much more enjoyable event if we all weren’t broiling each day.  You cant predict the weatherespecially a year in advance.

I dont get thisof the campgrounds Ive stayed in, the showers are always on the RV/hook up side; not the tenters side.  No tent has a shower, but a ton of RVs do.  RVers pay more because they get electricity & water right next to their site, but why do the showers get to be on their side of the park?  Feel free to answer this for me.

During my long, long, long drive home I thought about the event.  Before the event, I wondered if Id stay a Sister.   I love costumes.   I love having more fun than anyone”.  But, I’m not a RV’er.  Out of all 500+ women, there were a few van campers, one roof top tent camper, a few hardy & ant bitten tent campers, but no other car campers.  Did I fit in with these women?  I don’t love most RV parks.  Camping in state parks gets expensive.  You have to plan & commit to these events months & months in advance.  But as I thought all this over in my mind (for like 400 miles), the one thing that struck me as super wonderful, was the women I met.  So many fascinating women with interesting stories, hobbies, & lives.  My nights were lovely with laughter & meeting new friends.  This is why I will stay a Sister.  I’m not sure how many events I will do, but I treasure the opportunity to meet new fun women.

I made some stops for gas & one for coffee on the way home.  In a Starbucks, waiting for my huge caffeine jolt to make it possible for me to get back to the midwest & wearing my Sisters on the Fly t-shirt, a woman about my age said to me “Oh, are you one of those vintage trailer ladies?”  I said I was, only not the trailer part; I was a car camper.  She smiled big & said her & a friend had talked multiple times about seeing what that group was all about.  We chatted for a few minutes & when my drink was ready, she said, “I’m going to call my friend right now & tell her we need to join up!”  I’m Sister #10197 & going to stay that way!

stats 

My nights: 
17 nights in the 4Runner; 2 nights 
at Jill’s

pathetic Hiking mileage: 
5.5

Photos taken: 
600

Mileage driven: 
2,927

New friends: 
a whole bunch!

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