I'm back again with the next chapter of our travels around the USA.
Last chapter finished with us heading to Fredericksburg in the Texas Hill Country. Fredricksburg was founded in 1846 and named after Prince Frederick of Prussia by it's early German settlers. It's also the birthplace of Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz, who was the Commander in Chief of the United States Pacific Fleet during World War Two. There is a beautiful old house in the town that has been made into a museum in his name. There is also a large museum and memorial park commemorating the Pacific war and all who served during it.
The main street of town consists of souvenir and speciality stores all housed in beautiful old buildings that date back to the 19th century. The park in the centre of town currently has two Xmas trees. One huge modern one and another wooden one called the Xmas Pyramid which is an old German tradition and is erected every year.
On our first full day in Fredericksburg we decided to explore the Hill Country itself. It is very pretty countryside and we drove through some old towns that had been around since before the civil war. There are several State Parks and Wildlife Refuges in the vicinity that I would have loved to have visited if we had had more time.
The next day we went to the LBJ State Park and Ranch. LBJ is of course Lyndon Baines Johnson, who became the 36th US President after the assination of President John F. Kennedy. LBJ was born in Stonewall, Texas, only a few miles from Fredricksburg. He and his wife, Lady Bird Johnson, donated their ranch to the state in 1972, and it has been open to the public ever since. We really enjoyed the tour of his home, nicknamed the Texas Whitehouse, and the drive around the ranch, which is still a working property. It was there I saw my first Texas Longhorn Bull at close range. Such a beautiful looking beast with his VERY long horns. Until then the closest I had gotten had been our hotel lobby which had a very large Longhorn steer head above the fireplace. (Not a real one, thank goodness.)
After spending several hours at the park and ranch we spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the Main Street stores. We could have spent another day looking around the town but unfortunately we just didn't have the time. We did see a herd of Indian Blackbuck Antelope as we drove back to town. Apparently a lot of the ranchers in the area keep exotic animals on their properties.
The next day we headed north west towards Amarillo, Texas, on our way back to Los Angeles for the L.A. motor show.
The scenery along the way changed from nicely treed hills to flat and barren land dotted with cactus and oil wells to cotton fields and wind turbine farms and.....rain. Lots of rain. There had been a severe storm warning out for the south west Texas which is why we drove north west but we still caught the outskirts of it. Fortunately it wasn't too bad and within an hour or so we had driven right out of it.
We had left very early as it was going to be a long drive and in some of the smaller towns we saw men at the back of their roadside diners tending big smokers as they cooked the meat for the day. I made a mental note to come back there on our next trip for some genuine smoked Texas ribs.
We stopped for lunch in the town of Lubbock, Texas, hometown of Buddy Holly, so after lunch we stopped by the museum dedicated to him and his music. I must admit Lubbock surprised me. It was several times larger than I thought it would be. A few hours later we arrived in Amarillo for the night.
The next morning we headed to Flagstaff in Arizona.