Looking for Land

Several readers have been eagerly awaiting updates to this triplog.  Unfortunately, I have been suffering from writers block brought on by laziness.  I apologize for the gap and promise future update will be more timely.

We spent several days looking at property and familiarizing ourselves with the Fredericksburg area.  Most of the surrounding countryside looks the same — rolling hills, brush, oaks and cedars.  We got as far north as Llano and as far south as Kerrville.  Some of the farm roads we took were remote and we had to watch for free-range cattle.  The area was thick with deer and hitting one was always a danger.  We also saw a surprising number of goats, which ranchers use to control brush.  We even did some off-road driving and it was a good thing we had a 4-wheel drive Jeep.  I’m sure Sheriffs in four counties all got calls about a white Jeep Liberty with California plates cruising the area.

After several days looking around, we have a general feel for property values the various areas surrounding town.  Nothing got us really excited, but the research confirmed our positive impression.  The area is definitely on the “A” list.

Our sampling of the local cuisine yielded mixed reviews.  The catfish place was a yawn and one family-style restaurant, usually packed with locals, was underwhelming.  However, the Italian restaurant we discovered last year was a hit, as was lunch at a German restaurant.  Our freezer is filled with meats from a place called Opa’s Sausages.

With tourism a big part of the local economy, Main Street is lined with a series of small shops and galleries.  Most of it was the sort of stuff you would expect, but there was one exception.  There is one store, Dooley’s, which retains the flavor of an old-time five and dime.  Jeanne recalled the Woolworth’s in Santa Paula.  For me it brought back memories of Almar’s 5 and 10 in Reseda.  Loose merchandise was displayed in compartmentalized glass sections.  There were isles for sewing notions, toys, school supplies, house wares, etc.  Candy was displayed at the front counter.  The heater was one of those hang-from-the-ceiling contraptions.  The wood floor echoed your footsteps.  If you ignore the fact that most of the stuff is now made in China, it was almost like stepping back in time.  With limited space in the coach, we didn’t buy anything.

We got back to our workout routine, which was agonizing after a week layoff.  We also discovered that any direction you run after leaving the RV park is downhill, which means the return trip is always uphill.

For a few days of our Fredericksburg stay we camped next to a couple about our age, Tom and Kay.  Like us, they are both recently retired and have been on the road about a year.  Also like us, they are on the leading edge of retiring baby-boomers.  One evening, we talked long into the night about our similar work and retirement experiences.  It was a pleasure to swap stories with someone in the same demographic.  Hopefully, we’ll stay in touch and our paths will cross again.  I wish them well on their travels.

Just when I thought the Black Tank was my friend, it turned on me.  Readers may recall the coach sewage system has two waste water holding tanks.  The gray tank catches water from showers, dishes, sinks, etc.  The Black Tank contains peepee water and other solids.  Our toilet is a high-tech device.  When flushed, a trap door at the bottom of the bowl slides back allowing the waste to drop into the Black Tank below.  Water swishes the bowl clean and the trap slides shut.  A rubber seal keeps a little clean water in the bottom of the bowl to help control odors.  Recently the trap has been squeaking as it shuts.  Aside from being annoying, we suspect the friction is wearing the rubber seal.  I’m sure readers of this triplog can imagine the consequences of a worn seal.  We’re not sure about what to do about this.

The big grocery store in Fredericksburg is the H-E-B.  This is a chain-store grocery with clean, well merchandised stores and a huge selection with low prices.  Some of the prices are even LOWER than Walmart!  I’m glad to see someone is successfully competing with Walmart.  It can be done!  The Invisible Hand of Adam Smith at work!  Capitalism marches on!  If you’re ever in Texas, visit one of these stores even if you don’t need anything.

As nice as our stay in Fredericksburg was, we began looking forward to our 22 mile drive to Kerrville and the Monaco rally.  So we wouldn’t show up looking like bums, I washed the coach again while Jeanne cleaned the inside.  After a thunderstorm rinsed off the remaining soap residue, the coach sparkled like new. It sure looked good.

Monaco, the manufacturer of our coach, has a complete line of motor home models similar to how General Motors offers different lines of cars.  The model we own is right in the middle of the Monaco line.  Why am I writing about this?  Well, there are generally two Monaco clubs sponsored by the FMCA and being in the middle of the line, we can attend the rally of each.  The Monaco America rally in Kerrville is the group for the entry-level motor homes up through our model.  We heard this group was friendly and that the rallies were fun, so we decided to give one a try.

A few days before leaving for the Kerrville rally, we met Bill and Sharon, who were also in Fredericksburg waiting for the rally in Kerrville to start.  They seem like good folks and we are looking forward to spending some time with them at the rally.

There isn’t  a lot more to say about Fredericksburg.  We enjoyed the stay and hope to be back someday.