Mid September dreaming about October

October is going to be such a great month that it is over shadowing September!  With things breaking down at home who wouldn’t dream about better times?  October for me is going to have two big events!  A trip to San Diego for a sales reward and then Big Bend!

San Diego comes first and I am excited to go with my colleague.  We are going to do an Amazing Race style event for prize money.  I’ve always liked that show, just wouldn’t eat anything weird.  So here is my chance for a mock participation.  I’m so excited!

Then comes a dream, Big Bend.  I’m going with Hill Country Outdoors since I couldn’t get one family member or friend to go.  We have a pre-trip meeting October 1, which is the day before I fly out to San Diego.  They have currently scheduled a kayak trip on the Rio Grande, which I want to do for $59.  So far, I see that there are 11 going on the Big Bend trip, maybe there are more.  I’ve stalked their profiles to see that the majority are women.  I’m happy with that. So I’ve probably mentioned my favorite TV show is Naked and Afraid.  I know it’s just for entertainment.  But to think about surviving is really cool.  We live in a modern world with conveniences that we have built.  It’s hard to imagine that we started with nothing and had to survive.  And there could come a day where that happens again.  Not to be crazy or anything, I do enjoy modern conveniences, however, there is a price to pay for it.  And that price can be expensive and stressful.  For a few days, I’m camping and for the record I won’t be naked.  Not exactly my dream plan for visiting Big Bend, but do-able.  I am a little concerned about being cold at night. I’ve discovered there is no electric hook up.  So no electric heater fan…bummer!   And there is a little concern about bears, so I might be a little afraid.  Plenty of people camp at Big Bend, and I guess if it’s my time it is.  I’d rather not get eaten by a bear though.

My plan is to rent an SUV and carry my stuff so I can escape if I need to.  I plan to buy a new tent.  That’s all I’ve got so far.  And I really want to do the kayak trip.  It says class 2 rapids, but I know that water conditions change.  They are renting out two rooms at the lodge for showering.  And they will be providing meals with a rotation of people participating in meal “delivery”.  All stuff I’ve done with girl and boy scouts.  I recently renewed my passport.  Hope it gets here before the trip.  We are right on the Mexico border so it’s good to have it in case there is a reason to go.  So looking forward to view the beauty of the dessert, mountains and the stars at night.

big bend stars at night

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Mid September dreaming about October

Texas Wedding

It was a beautiful spring weekend along the Colorado river.  My brother-in-law tied the knot!  The couple chose an informal intimate gathering in Burnet, Texas.  Burnet is a small town a little over an hour outside of Austin and right by the Colorado river, Inks Lake and Lake Buchanan.  The Colorado river links these two lakes with nearby lake LBJ in what is considered the hill country.  The wedding was held at a lake house on the Colorado river and it had plenty of room for guests.  When you spend a weekend at a lake house, you typically bring your food and plan to spend your time outdoors enjoying the spectacular surroundings.  The river at this point is somewhat murky, however it’s great for fishing, kayaking or any kind of boating and swimming.  It’s a great place to get together with friends and family for a fun relaxing weekend!

When we left home we didn’t check the weather and it was a bit of a surprise when we stopped for gas that the temperature dropped almost 20 degrees to 62 degrees Fahrenheit.  Needless to say we didn’t plan accordingly.  The ceremony was planned for six o’clock outside.  Upon arrival there were so many beautiful wild flowers, the blue bonnets are waning, but there were beautiful red and yellow flowers everywhere.  Once you get to Burnet and turn off towards the water, you start noticing the hill country change in terrain.  It becomes hilly, and at one point where you could see the water on the winding two lane road I wanted to stop and take a picture.  It’s just that there is no shoulder.

We were greeted warmly by my brother in law and shortly joined by my in-laws.  More friends arrived and soon we were ready for dinner.  On the menu, BBQ!  It was fantastic overlooking the beautiful Colorado river.

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The sun came out and the wind calmed just in time for the ceremony.  The wedding colors were brown and turquoise with highlights of pink.  The burlap table runner followed with the theme to the seating by the river with bow tied burlap on the chairs. I love the fact that the wedding party was color coordinated.  The bride wore lace and the groom, leather and of course boots and a hat!   There was not a lot of activity on the lake. You can see ducks and herons.  I actually saw a road runner.   The music was the quiet calm and the sound of ducks (which sound like a honk to me) and chirping from a variety of birds.

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Shortly after the ceremony, we had the cake cutting and champagne to celebrate.

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And then a spectacular sunset over the water…

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What a pretty day!  The rest of the evening was spent lounging, talking, playing games and sitting by the fire.  I switched to PJs quickly!

Texas Wedding

Enchanted Rock

What and where is Enchanted Rock?  It is a natural preserve state park in central Texas just about 20 minutes outside of Fredericksburg.  The rock itself is made of granite (pinkish) and supposedly the Tonkawa Indian’s believed it to be enchanted by a Spanish Conquistador that was captured by the Indians and escaped by casting a spell…at least that is one story.  It’s 425 feet high and it’s a half mile hike up the rock.   So I came here to find my own enchantment and was not disappointed.

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We came here to enjoy the views of the hill country and to see some wildflowers…especially blue bonnets.  The weather was absolutely gorgeous the day before and turned windy and cold (in the 40s).  It should be obvious when planning a trip to be sure to check the weather.  However, since it’s March and has been nice, I didn’t think to even look! Thankfully a quick stop to Walmart for some sweat pants was exactly the type of gear needed to climb to the summit!   People warned us that there would be LOTs of people there and a big line to get into the park if you didn’t leave super early.  Maybe it was the weather, but thankfully we did not have that issue.  There were campers in tents in the parking area.  What a cool idea to camp out here.  Supposedly the rock makes creaking sounds at night and at the top you can see ghost fires.

So setting a personal goal to make this journey to the top is in itself easier said than done! There were kids with their families climbing, young couples, and a few older people.  This was not an easy feat for some.

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Taking the pic above at this point you are leaning at about a 45 degree angle to keep standing up “straight”.  Plenty of people stop and take in the views…

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There is a place at the top where you can go into a cave.  I wasn’t going to push my luck here…just happy that we were at the top!  Although I would love to come back and take the loop tour and climb the rock on the backside.  I’ve heard it’s a little more challenging and would be fun to do!

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Here is quintessential beautiful Texas …

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And we found some blue bonnets…never too old to have your pic taken in them.

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On the drive there were patches of blue bonnets along the road, it makes the drive so pretty.  Nothing says Texas like a patch of blue bonnets, the wild flower that only comes out for a few weeks in the spring.  It was $7 per person for 13 and up.  Senior citizens and the disabled get 50% off and they allowed dogs …didn’t see any climbing 😉  Relatively speaking it’s pretty inexpensive to enjoy some of the most spectacular gifts from God! It’s so pleasing to the sense of sight and to reconnect with the most important people in your life. And for the small fee the park is kept nice for many to enjoy!

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Enchanted Rock

Texas Wine

One thing about Texans (especially women) is their love for wine!  You wouldn’t think with the weather the conditions would be favorable to grow grapes. It gets super hot in the summer and we have droughts.   However, indeed there is a wine industry here.  Guessing from the conditions, Texas wine isn’t all that popular.  But is it any good? Surprisingly, yes…and there is a twist!  The Texas wines sold in the stores in big cities are mass produced and frankly aren’t good in my opinion.  I am certainly no wine connoisseur.  Usually any table wine will do for me…pour me a glass!  However, getting some exposure to some different wines has changed that a little.  So the way to get good Texas wine is to actually visit the vineyard or to join their wine club and have it shipped to your home.

In central Texas just outside the town of Fredericksburg are many wineries.  This is nothing like California wineries, let’s be clear!   It’s kind of shocking that they are right there on the side of the road!  Some have nicer grounds, some look like a shack.

We visited Messina Hoff because I’ve actually tasted it (the local store version).   And I was told Messina Hoff has better wines that they don’t sell in stores.  They just can’t make enough to mass produce, but the reserves are very good.  The original Messina Hoff was a labor of love from the Bonarrigo family that came from Italian and German backgrounds.  Their original and main vineyard was started in the ’70s and is in Bryan Texas.  The one outside of Fredericksburg is in a really nice building.  We stopped in for a wine tasting.  They have reds, whites and sweet wines.  The grapes grown on the side of the road are a black Spanish grape “Lenoir” and it makes a super sweet port.

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Because I didn’t want to drag my husband into too many wineries, we just went to one other wine tasting in town on Main Street.  (like I said there are MANY).  The other one was Grape Creek. And it was just picked on a whim.  The wine at Grape Creek was better!  Every one of the wines I tasted were excellent and some have actually won awards.  You can see this vineyard on the way into Fredericksburg,  I believe they have a nicer tasting area with a restaurant and then the main growing area which is a very large steel structure you can easily see from the road. You can take a wine tour and hop on a shuttle that will take you to different wineries and runs every twenty minutes.

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Wine tasting at these places is so laid back and not pretentious. We mainly saw couples, however quite easily this would be a great outing for girls getting together!  The people are so friendly!  Strangers will engage in friendly chit chat as you taste wine in a comfortable setting!  Wine tastings are about $15 for four or five pours of about one ounce and the bottles ranged anywhere on average between $20 and $35 to purchase. AWESOMENESS!!!  ❤

Texas Wine