Sunday, October 14, 2018

Bandera Texas --- The Cowboy Capital of the World

No Dianne!  You cannot take him home.

Roger here...  Off we go on a 10 day mini-trip to one of our favorite places --- the Hill Country of Texas.  

The sunset on the evening before our departure from Mission, Texas was full of intense color --- an omen for a good start?  Not really.  After days of preparation (oil check, tire pressure check, battery water check, food prep, packing the motor home, etc.), I put the key in the motor home ignition... nothing.  Dead battery.

After a few arguments with Good Sam Road Service about bringing us a new battery in a timely manner, I gave up.  Thanks to the help of two neighbors, Don and Marvin, the bad battery was removed.  I picked up a new battery at a local Interstate Battery store.  After installation everything was peachy, except that the steps to the motor home would not fully retract.  They still don't, but we have been able to enlist the help of friends and strangers to push them up after we close the door.  A great way to meet strangers at gas stations!

I love my mommy
Other than the slow start and the steps, the rest of the trip to our first stop at Bandera Texas was flawless.  Poquita loves sleeping in Dianne's lap.

Both the dogs travel well in the motor home.  After our delayed departure due to the battery and steps, we arrived at our destination, Skyline Ranch and RV Park, just as the office was closing at 5:00 p.m.   It was time for an adult beverage, an early supper and a good night's sleep. 

HOWDY ALL Y'ALL!  Welcome to the Skyline Ranch RV Park!  Destined to be one of our very favorite RV parks!

Campground Office
Everything was much better the next morning.  We REALLY like this RV park.  It is rural, quiet, dog-friendly and authentically Texan.

Dianne here:   This unique tiny trailer was parked in the RV park.   On the local news last night there was a segment about a group of solo women who travel together in these vintage trailers.   What fun!

For us, the best feature of our temporary home is the half-mile walk through the ranch to the Medina River.  There are so many cool things to see along the way.

This deer feeding station attracts lots of deer.  I counted 26 during our first evening here.  

The man-made features blend well in the natural setting.  The gazebo above and pond below create a relaxing mood.  Do you see the duck in the pond below?  He and two others bob around in the water.  Or do they?

I thought these ducks were majestic, until I approached them for a close-up picture and realized they were fake.  Quack. Quack.

The gigantic live oak trees were not fake :-).  I love the twisting black branches --- so interesting and so very Texan.

The emerald clear waters of the Medina River are visible from a bluff at the end of the trail.

A few days before our arrival, the nearby Llano River experienced a tragic flash flood.  Rumor has it that four people are still missing.  The campground hosts assured us that the Medina River, though elevated, is not flooding.  We are also parked at an elevation much higher than the river.

The trail parallels acres of land that are full of interesting creatures.  We saw two of these miniature donkeys.

These two longhorns are definitely a highlight of our twice-daily walks with the dogs.

Our site was nice, as well.  We have a shade tree and lots of grass.  The sites are definitely not crammed together.  Poquita and Dianne seem to have adjusted well.  We need to enjoy our outdoor area while we can.  The upcoming weather forecasts are not promising.


First a little history.  Bandera was the staging area for the northern cattle drives in the late 1800s.  It boasts an amazing number of national rodeo champions.  Its title of Cowboy Capital of the World is well-deserved.

Texas is known for its county courthouses.  Every one we have seen has been unique and interesting. The Bandera County Courthouse is no exception.

There are lots of interesting shops, mostly cowboy-related, which line both sides of the main street.  Too bad that we don't need cowboy boots.  The Bandera General Store has an old-fashioned soda fountain.

I did manage to find a wonderful work of art in one of the stores. Don't you think this would look great on the gate to our patio?

Dianne here:  Actually, I saw it first and thought it was hilarious.   It might well end up on our metal gate....

You never know what you might see on the streets of Bandera.  This covered wagon was parked next to the courthouse, right next to  the longhorn below.  Dianne hugged this big guy in the opening picture.

No visit to Bandera would be complete without a visit to the 11th Street Cowboy Bar.  We briefly stopped here a few years ago with our friends, Chuck and Cindy.

A return visit was mandatory. The front entrance doesn't look like much --- pretty small.

A peek through the front door reveals a small bar in a small room with a ceiling covered with ahem bras.

However, after stepping through a side door, we landed in an expansive entertainment area with  performance stages for country-western bands, multiple bars, seating and a gift shop.

Quite the fun place!  There will be a big concert tonight, that we will not be attending.  It would involve being out after dark   :-).

We both enjoyed a Shiner Bock in a great atmosphere before heading back to the motor home.

During the summer Bandera has weekly rodeos.  That might be fun another time.  I know we will be back.

More to come....  We will be in Bandera for two more nights before a short drive to Fredericksburg.


Bandido and Poquita have recently started to play.  They love to chase each other.  Poquita seems to have no idea that she is so much smaller, especially when she stands on a chair.

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