Saturday, May 18, 2019

Still in Texas in January 2018

We stayed in Texas over the holidays and started off January 2018 with a trip to my favorite Texas BBQ joint, Louie Mueller Barbeque in Taylor, TX. Taylor is a small town about an hour east of Austin. Taylor is home to about 17,000 people and has a traditional Texas downtown and interesting shops. But, nothing is quite like Louie Mueller. Louie Mueller Barbecue has been described as a "cathedral of smoke" due to producing BBQ in Texas since opening its doors in 1949. Diners, Drive-ins and Dives agrees. Guy visited and what is good enough for Guy is pretty good for me. The building is exactly the same as it was when they opened. Stand in line, place your order, get your tray and find a table. 

Walking around town, we met this fellow.

Our next day trip was to College Station, TX and the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum. The Library is located on the grounds of Texas A&M University. They were both alive when we visited but have since passed away and are buried on the library grounds. We have been to most of the Presidential Libraries and each has its own flavor. This one was the most family oriented of them all. The relationship between George and Barbara is apparent throughout the museum. The part I enjoyed most was the early history of their lives. The obvious joy they experienced with their family as their children and grandchildren grew up was wonderful. Most of us know his history as President, but there was a whole that went on before he got there.

1941 — George meets Barbara at a dance shortly before the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor.
1942 — He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on his 18th birthday.
1943 — He was the youngest commissioned pilot in the naval air service.
1945 -   He marries Barbara in January and is later honorably discharged from the Navy.
1948 He graduated from Yale and began working the oil industry and moved his family to Midland, TX.
1952 — He started his own company, Zapata Petroleum. His father Prescott Bush is elected to the U.S. Senate from Connecticut.
1962 — He became chairman of the Harris County Republican Committee.
1964 — He unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. Senate.
1966 — He was elected to the U.S. House and is the first freshman in 63 years offered a seat on the Ways and Means Committee.
1970 — He gave up his congressional seat to again run for the Senate but is defeated by Democrat Lloyd Bentsen.
1971 — He was appointed as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations by President Richard Nixon.
1974 — He was appointed to be chief of the U.S. Liaison Office in China by President Gerald Ford.
1976 — Is named Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
1979 — Declares his candidacy for the presidency of the United States.
1980 — Fails to win the nomination of the Republican Party but is picked as Ronald Reagan’s vice president. Reagan-Bush beat Carter-Mondale in a landslide.
The rest is, as they say, history. It was a terrific experience. 

And, of course, knowing me, nothing would be complete without lunch at the Hullabaloo's Diner. It is one of very few registered diners in Texas and looks like it hasn't been touched both outside and inside since it opened. Hullabaloo Diner was built in New York and transferred to College Station in the 1940's . Built in the late 1930's, Hullabaloo Diner traveled 1,850 miles to serve homemade country style meals to the residents of the College Station area. And, comfort food it is. Huge portions of truly homemade food including chicken soup that had much more chicken than soup and a turkey sandwich with real sliced turkey. 

And, by the way, visited and featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives....
Started with food and ended with food.
Next time on to the capital of Louisiana.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Back to Texas

We spent some time in Florida visiting and then headed back out towards Texas for a reunion with our boys, their wives and our grandkids.

First stop was Ocean Springs, MS near Biloxi. We stayed outside of town at an RV park with great outdoor views.

Then into Biloxi for fish dinner.

Continuing west, our next stop was Breaux Bridge, Louisiana (the crawfish capital of the world). We stayed at Poches' RV Park, located on two big fishing lakes and home of beautiful sunsets. It is, of course, not far from Poche's meat market and restaurant. Great cajun food at a great price. Breaux Bridge is now one of our stops along I-10. 

Sitting on the porch with the wind blowing in our hair.

Continuing west in Texas, we soon arrived and kicked off a weekend of fun with the kids and grandkids.....and Jack.

Our son Scott and his family joined us for a visit to the Texas state Capitol building. In 1839, the Republic of Texas established Austin as the capital. In 1853, Texas constructed a limestone building that lacked architectural refinement and one publication called it, "an architectural monstrosity".  

The new capitol was started in 1882 and completed in 1888. In 1989, just a little over 100 years from the buildings completion, a long term renovation and restoration of the capital began that included an underground extension.

The capitol is a roughly rectangular building with a four-story central block, symmetrical three-story wings extending to the east and west, and a dome rising from the center. It contains 360,000 square feet of floor space (not including the Capitol Extension), more than any other state capitol building, and rests on a 2.25-acre  footprint. The building has nearly four hundred rooms and more than nine hundred windows.
The Capitol building is surrounded by 22 acres of grounds scattered with statues and monuments. William Munro Johnson, civil engineer, was hired in 1888 to improve the appearance of the grounds. By the time the first monument, commemorating the Heroes of the Alamo, was installed in 1891, the major components of Johnson's plan were in place. These included a "Great Walk" of black and white diamond-patterned pavement shaded by trees. The four oldest monuments are the Heroes of the Alamo Monument (1891), Volunteer Firemen Monument (1896), Confederate Soldiers Monument (1903) and Terry's Texas Rangers Monument (1907), and these flank the tree-lined Great Walk. In the spring of 2013, ground was broken for the Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument; dedication took place on March 29, 2014.

Looking up at the capitol dome

Obviously, since it is Texas, everything is bigger.

Check out the interior door hinges.

We stayed at the Leander/North Austin KOA and here were our neighbors.

They were right at the end of the dog park.

We went back to Austin to visit the Linden B. Johnson Presidential Library and Museum. Located right on the campus of the University of Texas, this library stands ten stories tall. Most of the building floors are archives but there was still much to view on the floors for public access. Although I was not in favor of the Vietnam war, I personally believe that Johnson was the modern President who got the most done for the most people. His legislative accomplishments read like the basis of modern America. That is, until this Presidency. Johnson must be doing more than turning in his grave with what has happened and the overall attack on the Constitution, the intelligence community, the judicial system, and just about everyone who isn't in the top 1%. I guess what amazes me is why his supporters don't see it. Oh well, enough of that. Back to the library.

He was certainly a big part of my history.

Next, an afternoon with our granddaughter Haley in Salado, TX. Salado is a small town north of Austin that has become a mecca for art, specialty shops and so on. We stopped for lunch at The Stagecoach Inn. The building actually got its start as a stage coach stop. Now it is a fine dining establishment and B&B over looking the Salado Creek. Very pretty!

Shopping was pretty tiring. This guy looks like he has been there a while.

We ended our family reunion by tie dying where everyone got into the act and got something to take home.  It was, of course, at the suggestion of our son, Mark from San Francisco. He was right, it was a lot of fun.

Next time, more from Texas.