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March 10, 2008

West Texas 2008

It was Feb. 25th and our plan was to head back to Texas and the Rio Grande Valley where a number of Ontario friends were wintering.  Unfortunately we received word that due to family and health reasons most of them were heading home early.  The best laid plans oftenIMG_6119_edited get changed!

We were already on our way east so we continued toward Texas, boondocking overnight at Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino just outside El Paso.  Early in the morning, the horses were on the track, right close to our trailer, to be schooled in the starting gate.  It was interesting to see the younger ones just being led through the gates with no saddles. There was a progression of education right up to experienced horses being started as if it were a race. Fascinating watching – but then I’m a horse fan.

In 2006 we had passed through Fort Stockton (it is on I10) and decided that perhaps we should have a closer look.  Back then, Bill at the Visitor Centre, had told us that they farmed shrimp in the desert.  Ya sure!  Well, he was correct.  IMG_6125_editedWithout a doubt the absolutely, positively best shrimp we have ever eaten – grown right there in Imperial, about 20 miles north of Fort Stockton.  Apparently, millions of years ago the whole area was covered by the Permian Sea. The sea receded but this area – the Permian Basin – still has salt water beneath it.  Bart and Patsy Reid pump the salt water into 4 acre ponds, seed the ponds with shrimp in the spring and harvest them in the fall.  The shrimp are certified organic as the water is absolutely pure.  They only produce enough to supply there own facility – The Shrimp Store.  So if you want to try some, you have to visit them.  It’s worth it.

About another 260 miles further east is Fredericksburg, a lovely town with a German heritage. We stopped there for 5 nights as there P1020483_editedwas so much to see and do.

Enchanted Rock, about 20 miles north of the town, is a massive granite out cropping that rises 400 feet above the surrounding countryside.  It is a 1/2 mile steep hike up to the top but we had a great view once we got up there.

P1020517Have you heard the Willy Nelson & Waylon Jennings song about Luckenback, TX.  We visited the “town” one day as it’s only a few miles south of Fredericksburg.  It is actually a private community with a population of about 3 and it’s slogan is “Everybody’s Somebody in Luckenback”, Live music, by local musicians, is featured there just about any day of the week.

P1020526-1_editedThis house was built by President Lydon Johnson to recreate the home that he grew up in.  It sits in the same location as the original.  We took a tour of the Johnson ranch, which is located about 15 miles east of Fredericksburg.   Lady Bird spent a reasonable amount of time here at the ranch until her death  last July.  Both she and LBJ are buried in the family cemetery on the property.

P1020551_editedWe spent time wandering the main street with its restored buildings, visiting the Art Co-op, visiting a winery (yes, there are a number in the area), having a great German meal in town and finally spending an afternoon at the National Museum of the Pacific War. 

We were stymied as to why such an important Museum would be in a small town in the middle of Texas, until we found out that Admiral Chester Nimitz, the Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet during World War II, had been born in Fredericksburg.  Worth visiting.


We were on the move again, on March 4th heading east toward the capital of Texas, Austin.

On the way, we stopped and hiked down to the river in Pedernales Falls State Park.  The water was absolutely clear and a beautiful blue green.  We walked out on the huge rocks that had been carved by the river.  After we parked and all the way to the river there were large yellow warning signs that the river was subject to flash flood and to immediately move to higher ground if the water started to rise.  From the way the bedrock had been scoured smooth, it was obvious that this happens regularly.  Different warnings than we see in Ontario.  

We haven’t spent any time before in Austin so are looking forward to the visit.

Bernie & Ross

Posted by Bernice at March 10, 2008 04:44 PM


We have visited all of the places you covered, but El Paso. According to one news cast, El Paso is a place where a lot of drugs are brought across. This is not the reason we haven't been. We plan to do Arkansas on our way home.

Posted by: Bobbi at March 24, 2008 09:37 PM

You guys look cute in your shorts.

J & A

Posted by: Jill & Alan at March 25, 2008 07:11 PM

Keith and I really enjoyed meeting you both and hearing about your adventures. Enjoy your time back in Canada. What a great website!

Keith and Alison Feinauer

Posted by: Keith and Alison Feinauer at April 2, 2008 12:07 PM