Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

The search…..

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……and success!

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Urban Hiking

If I do long miles or hours, steep hills, or many steps I call my downtown walks ‘urban hiking’.  This time I did a long walk and many, many stairs.  Usually I park in a big lot just north of Ladybird Lake and about 3 blocks east of Congress.  That’s a good walk up Congress to the Capital.   It was very busy.  Many school groups getting to do their spring field trips. 

Baler Creek trail is basically closed and used by the homeless people.  And the wildlife!  I saw this turtle sunning herself from up on the street level.  (See? it was a hike!)

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The Visitor’s Center at the Capital is the old Land Office Building.  It’s very different from the Capital, but quite beautiful.

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The attic (now offices) is closed to the public.  This is the third floor and the end of the public areas.

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So I counted the stairs….from the sidewalk to the attic door was 100 steps.  In addition to the main stairways is a really cool spiral stairway.  The middle section is open, but the lighting is really weird.

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There are excellent interpretive displays in the Center.  And friendly folks to talk about the history of Texas.  They are extra happy when they get to mark down a visitor from California in their ledger.

It is the Land Office Building, so naturally there were many displays about surveying the state.  Our HH survey crew might have been a bit wild and crazy, but I don’t know if they would last with these guys. I wonder what they used those six shooters for?!?

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On to the Capital for more ‘urban hiking’.  Luckily I made it through the metal detector and was off to count the steps.  Somewhere around 160 I got confused due to getting lost in the building!  It’s so big and a bit like Mrs. Winchester’s Mystery House because it’s been added on to a few times.  Now, I think I know the way from the bottom parking to the last gallery open to the public and will try that again before I go back to California.  Another option will be to join a tour that goes up to the fourth gallery.  I have read both that the stairs inside the dome are part of the tour AND that they are not.  I hope they are!

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BTW,  the Capital has a double dome,  the one you see outside AND the one you see inside.

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A silent protester braved the sun on the Capital steps.

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And with that I headed south on Congress back to my van stopping only once more for an ice tea at Starbucks.  But I have to tell you I was beat the next day!  A sure sign of a good hike!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Rain Lilies and More

My favorite stops along a loop on Highways 71/290 include Fredericksburg, Enchanted Rock, and the Johnson Settlement. I’ve blogged about these several times before so will try to pick some new and different pics for you.

This building in Fredericksburg has been for sale for many years.

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After a piece of Coconut Cream Pie down the street I needed to go for a bike ride!

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Oh yeah,  they make the yummiest pies in town.

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The best surprise on this trip was the bloom of Rain Lilies at Enchanted Rock and along the highway right of ways.  B told me they usually only bloom after a good rain,  but they must be desperate this year because it was really just a shower that brought them out.

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Finally,  I never drive home without stopping to say hello to this old oak on the Johnson Settlement. 

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Port Lavaca Boondock

I camped on the beach with the BIG rigs at Port Lavaca for a week.  It was a very windy.  We created wind breaks with the rigs. See my red chair protected by my van from the south wind.

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One morning we had a beautiful sunrise.  And one evening a gorgeous sunset that I didn’t get because my memory card was in the van not my camera! 

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Great Grandma’s House in Chinese Camp

A few days before I came back to Texas Auntie and I drove past this tumbling down family home in Chinese Camp.  Auntie’s Grandma (my Great-grandmother) lived here.  Auntie stayed summers, sleeping in the screened porch in the back.  She said it seemed to be on it’s last legs even then.  They were not allowed upstairs.  That was more than 75 years ago.  No one has lived here in my memory.

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The Trees of Heaven have taken over all the abandoned places in Chinese.  Soon the leaves will completely block the house. 

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I like the ‘heart’ gingerbread at the peak of the roof and wonder who choose this design and why.

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Ranch Rainbow

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