Inaugural Retirement trip – Part 5
This trip is turning out, like most for me, to be a long process of sharing our experiences, after our return home, and then taking off again on our test RV rental. But as my dear husband said last night, “no one is holding their breath, so take your time.” 😀 Nothing like a reality check from those who love you the most! So, I am completing this post in my camp chair, with an incredible view of Tennessee’s Douglas Lake, with the Smoky Mountains in the backdrop. Life is good!
If you are just joining our Texas journey, you can go back to the beginning here.
In the last post, we were enjoying our first night back in Fredericksburg, at the lovely Angel’s Lodge Above the Creek. When we last stayed at Angel’s, one of the really unique features was that they delivered a tray of coffee and breakfast goodies to your suite each morning. I guess that got too expensive, labor intensive, or logistically difficult because now you receive a coupon each morning of your stay toward breakfast at your choice of three local restaurants. No problem, we love discovering new local restaurants, so after a great nights sleep, we headed off to the Sunset Grill for breakfast. The grill is adjacent to a motel, and has a real throwback interior design which, along with the large and scrumptious breakfast portions, took us back to the days of the old-time diner! Yum!
For April in Texas, the 54 degree (F) weather was chilly, and we wore fleece liners under our mesh riding gear. Our destination for the morning was about 17 miles north of Fredericksburg, the Enchanted Rock state natural area. Hwy 965 was an unbelievable treat for the rider, and the camera. The road twisted and snaked its way north to the state natural area, and was covered in a wild array of wildflower colors. Pics of the flowers will have to wait till after our visit to Enchanted Rock proper. I know, what a tease…
We first visited Enchanted Rock 20 years ago when we were exploring our budding relationship and hill country surroundings, and simply fell in love with the park and the massive rock. It has been wisely left totally natural so that we humans can be humbled by the grandeur of Mother Nature’s best work. It is what Georgia’s Stone Mountain probably was before it was turned into a commercial, theme park monstrosity.
That said, I will shut up and let the photos of Enchanted Rock do the talking.
Just one of the 360 views on top
The hike was probably a little more difficult than our first time, 20 years ago, but we enjoyed and savored every step! At the summit, we met a hiker from Houston named Jeff, who shared his travel philosophy and plans to attend a unique music festival south of Austin. It is these chance encounters that make travel so inspiring and enriching. He also took our picture. 🙂
A few more shots from the summit and the hike down around the long way.
Pops of color against the granite
Once we completed our hike, we continued North on 965 to Hwy 16 and we were blown away by the wildflowers lining both highways! These pictures don’t do them justice, but they are all we have. It was truly indescribable!
Our post-hike destination was the small town of Llano, to re-visit Cooper’s Pit Bar-B-Que. We experienced Cooper’s twice previously, so our mouths were watering on the way there.
At Cooper’s, you choose your main dish from a smoking pit by pointing at your choice, which is then loaded on a tray which you take inside to choose your sides, drinks, etc.
While we enjoyed our Bar B Que, we visited with two ladies from Nashville who were also touring the hill country and exchanged must-see suggestions. They let us know that Southern Living magazine recently heralded the wildflowers in 2015 the best in ONE HUNDRED years. Wow!
From Llano, we headed back south down Highway 16 and detoured on the Willow City Loop. We stumbled on this hidden gem many years ago, and it appears the secret is out…we saw literally dozens of cars on this rural 20-mile loop, which combines scenic views of craggy ridges, fun elevation changes, free range longhorn cattle, and fields of every color wildflower you can imagine. In spring, of course!
After navigating the cars and motorcycles on the Willow City loop, we headed back to the inn and I experienced blog frustration with not being able to load any pictures. At this point, I was not sure if it was a wifi issue or a tablet malfunction, and was hoping for the former. Of course, it turned out to be a tablet app issue. But we didn’t find that out till much later.
Giving up on the blogging idea, we took a few more pictures of the Inn.
Then we walked to the Lincoln Street Wine Bar and market for a light dinner of cheese, fruit, and bread. Just a perfect way to top off our day!
With all the hiking exertion, we felt we must treat ourselves to another jacuzzi bath, and then again slept like babies. Join us next time when we head deeper into the hill country to tackle the Three Sisters. You can go directly to that post here.