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volume 2                            February 1991                            number 2
Texas Hill Country

TWO GREAT COAST TO COAST CAMPGROUNDS IN THE AREA 
This is the perfect place for horseback riding. One might define the Texas Hill Country as the heart of Texas. This region stretches as far east as Austin and San Marcos, west to Sonora, south to San Antonio and north to Menard, Brady and Lampasas. It is a very pretty area. Gently rolling hills are covered with Mountain Cedar (Juniper), Live Oak and Cactus. The trees aren't big or real green - they are bushy and gnarled and the hills are rocky but that's what helps this area look like the "Wild West". Cowboy Ron felt right at home here. We liked it so much that we have decided that we will spend a whole winter here sometime. 

Our first stop after coming up from the Rio Grande Valley was at one of the Coast to Coast campgrounds in the Canyon Lake area (60 miles southeast of San Antonio). The Summit Vacation Resort is on the lazy Guadalupe River and the river road that runs from the resort down river has dozens and dozens of raft, tube and canoe rental places. Although this area must be jumping in the summer months, it was nice and quiet when we visited. The days were pleasant at about 60 degrees - not warm enough for river fun. This Five Star resort was well kept with lots of amenities such as cozy log cabins with their kitchen windows dressed in gingham and a log glider swing on the porch. The dozen or so cabins were situated at the rivers edge a few feet from the fishing dock and a large community campfire ring. We talked of how nice it would be if our kids would ever join us and vacation in the cabins while we would be only over the hill in the campground and what fun the kids and grandchildren would have with river activities, tennis, playground, shuffleboard, basketball, horseshoes, swimming pool, hot tubs, game room and so much more. 

There was plenty of room for us to walk in the mornings as the rest of the resort consisted of developed one acre lots among the hills. There were few if any left to buy but only a half dozen summer homes had been built. We were able to walk four miles following the roads up and down the hills and it was as though we were alone in the country. Mentally relaxing and physically exhilarating. 

The Summit was close to Wimberly and the golf course there was on our Golf Card. Wimberly is a cute town but we didn't spend as much time there as we could have - we had tee times for golf. The golf course winds around a planned community and there were a few hills to contend with. 

After staying at The Summit for one week, we moved 60 miles north to Resort Ranch of Lake Travis which is another Five Star Coast to Coast Campground and Resort. Only 30 miles west of Austin, Lake Travis is a very popular vacation place. Like The Summit, we recognized that there would be a lot of activity here in the summertime. 

Lake Travis is a 18,930 acre reservoir (there are few natural lakes in Texas) that winds between steep scenic hills for 65 miles and it's 270 miles of shoreline are devoted to camps, marinas, resorts and leisure home developments. The ruggedness of the Hill Country adds to the beauty of the lake. 

For those not familiar with Coast to Coast campgrounds we should say that all are unique and unrelated. These are not chain campgrounds like KOA or Jellystones. We have not been to any two that are even similar so it is hard to say that one is the best. We of course like our home park in Davison but Resort Ranch is one of the nicest Coast to Coast places we have visited so far. The scenery here is spectacular. Situated on a hill right on the lake, it offers all the normal amenities plus horse back riding and ten boat slips with hook ups. The outdoor swimming pool is high on the hill near the club house and both overlook the lake. There is plenty of room to walk, and a few hills (not as steep as those at The Summit) for biking. The cabins have a stone exterior and knotty pine interior complete with fireplace. They look like a log cabin from the inside - even have a loft, are comfortably furnished and look like they would be very cozy to stay in - real homey. 

This is Willie Nelson's stomping grounds and we were looking forward to playing his golf course which was listed as one of the courses we could play on our Golf Card. The Internal Revenue Service had other ideas - the golf course is out of business and part of Willie's properties that are on the auction block. We did play the Meadow Lakes course at nearby Marble Falls and kind of enjoyed it. The back nine had a lot of water - one hole was all water from the tee to the green. Another hole- a par 5 - had three good sized water holes on the fairway. 

We visited Austin several times. If you are ever looking for a nice city to move to, try Austin. It is just the right size to have a little of everything (extra big on scenery), is close to Houston and San Antonio and has lots of Texas friendly people. 

The drive to Austin from the campground is full of beautiful sights and big homes. We were told that many houses in the area are in the two million dollar range. There are lots of ranches too. Texas boasts of everything being big in the state. Trees in most of Texas don't grow as big as we are used to in Michigan but the scenery here IS as big and beautiful as you'd expect from Texas. 


Potpourri

by Ron

I enjoyed a terrific health spa in Houston, one afternoon, while Barb visited with her friend Glenda. The spa was happy to honor my Lansing membership. 

Nine out of ten cars in the shopping center parking lot at McAllen Texas are from Mexico. This should help our balance of trade problem. 

Have you noticed that Barb seems paranoid about water holes on golf courses. If you keep your head down, you don't see them. 

St Paul's Lutheran Church in McAllen has a neat way of taking up their new members. After the ceremony, the pastor introduces each member to the congregation with a little background information. Each family then receives a "goodie bag" that includes some homemade sweets (courtesy of the ladies aid) along with devotional booklets. 

It seems that our last several newsletters have been about people. I think it's appropriate because people are this country's most important natural resource. Meeting friendly and interesting people as we travel is the best part of full-timing. 

After hearing about the turmoil in the Michigan Department of Transportation since the November election, I am doubly glad that I retired when I did. I never did like politics. 

Because of the Gulf War we now watch more television than we ever did. Like you, our thoughts and prayers are with the troops. We can relate to all those families who have loved ones there. We think of our Jim, Ross and David and pray that they will not be involved. 


Reunion After 35 Years
Barbara Sayles from Drayton Plains, Michigan and Glenda Upchurch from Hickory, North Carolina met one August day in 1955 in a United States Air Force barracks at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. That was to be their home for nine weeks. Basic training is a good place to find a friend. Everyone needs someone to help get them through the ordeal - new environment - tough rules. For Glenda and Barbara it was just the beginning of a special friendship. 

In October 1955,after Basic it just happened that both girls were assigned to different classes at the USAF school of Aviation Medicine at Gunter Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama. Glenda was in the four month Medical Specialist class while Barbara was in the six month Medical Technology program. They were excited to be roommates for at least four more months. 

Tech school was a bit more relaxed and the two enjoyed each other's company. They went to dances at the airman's club, went shopping at Bon Marche in town, sat on their beds and talked for hours about things and of course studied, did laundry, and got ready for inspections. Although their time together was short, they became close friends. Glenda remembers that it was at the little Italian restaurant, across from the base, where under the encouragement of Barbara she had her first taste of pizza. Both fondly remember the New Years Eve dance that year. Glenda wore a pink gown, Barbara's was black and it was the first real "grown up" thing they had done since they were on their own. Big girls out in the world! 

When Glenda's class was over in February 1956, she was sent to Missouri. In April Barbara was assigned to March AFB in Riverside California. They were so far apart and it got worse. 

Glenda didn't stay long in Missouri - there was an opening in her job classification at a base in West Palm Beach, Florida. It was there that she met her husband to be - Glenn Singletary. Barbara was the first to have a child and named her daughter after her friend from the Air Force. 

When Glenn and Glenda were discharged from the service, he got a job in the oil drilling business. They went to California -Barbara was in New York. 

Christmas cards were exchanged. Early in both marriages, neither had the time or money to visit each other - distances being what they were. When Glenn took a job in Alaska the whole family went. After years in Alaska, they moved to Japan, then Singapore - anywhere exotic. Glenda has seen everything from mountains in Alaska to the Taj Mahal, daughter Dawn graduated from school in Singapore - what a life. Needless to say, Glenda and Barbara didn't have a chance to get together during those times. Still they kept in touch with Christmas cards and hoped that someday they would be in the same continent together. Many times Barb says she didn't really now where to send the Christmas card so she used the Hickory, NC address. Someone in town knew where she was and sent the card on. 

Barb and Ron were in the Houston area in November and part of December moving on to the Rio Grande Valley by the 20th of December. On the 26th of December, Glenda's Christmas card arrived - she was in Houston - had been since June of 1990. She had moved back from Singapore in April and was living in N. Carolina until she decided to go to Houston for some special medical treatments. 

Barbara called Glenda and told her how near she was. There was much excitement as they planned a visit for the middle of January. Barb and Ron re-arranged their plans and went north from Mission (between San Antonio and Austin), settled in the campground and drove the car to Houston on Monday the 21st of January for the long awaited reunion. 

After lots of hugging and cries of "I can't believe it", they talked the afternoon away - sharing so many things that had not been said in years of Christmas cards. They met each others husbands and Barb was introduced to Steve and Dawn (Glenda's adult children).  Barb said that the best part of the day was when Glenda took her up to the bedroom to show her some pictures and just automatically they sat on the bed and talked for a long time without anyone around - just like old times. 

And when the afternoon was over, they parted with the same tears that they shed on a February evening 35 years ago but this time they really think they can visit more often. Glenda doesn't plan to move to any far away country in the near future. At least they can talk on the phone. 


  This 'N That
by Barb

Austin is the home of Lammes Candies. They are famous for their "Texas Chewie" pralines which we sent out to family for Christmas. So far I have managed to stay away from their store but we will be in town one more day - Friday when I get these newsletters printed. 

While in the Austin area we have enjoyed our visits with Aunt Genevieve, cousin Mary and her husband Bill. It is so nice to have family along the way. 

Speaking of family - ours is going to be growing - lots too. Marty and Bryan are expecting in May. Susie and Ross as well as Mark and Ana are expecting in September. Congratulations and we wish them lots of happy days planning for their blessed events. 

I was in laundromat when the first news of the war was announced. That night when we checked our phone for messages, there was one from son Jim who is an air traffic controller in the Air Force stationed in England. He asked me to call him as soon as we got the message. I did. It was 1:30 in the morning there and he expected me to wake him up - knowing what time we get our messages. He needed to tell me that he was being sent to Turkey to work the air base there. He was asleep when the war started so it was I who gave him the bad news. I'm not sure if he has left yet, but we pray for his safety just as we pray for all to come out of this thing safely. 

I noticed that Ron didn't mention that I beat him on the golf course at Wimberly. Well, I did - on the front nine and we were close on the back nine. It wasn't that I played so fantastically but... no I better not say what I was going to say. Use your 
imagination. 

Ron's golf game was much improved when we played the course at Marble Falls. I like playing golf with Ron when he is playing up to his standard. 

Have you seen any good movies lately? We saw "Home Alone" while in Mission and laughed and laughed. Sometimes it feels good to laugh at silly things. 

We went to that movie with our friends Earl and Donna Lincoln from Glenwood, Iowa. They were Campground Hosts with us in Hot Springs during October. They were great Camp Hosts too and want to work with us at Yosemite if we get asked to work there. 

We knew the Lincolns were coming to winter at Mission and were real excited that we got to spend a couple of afternoons with them. We met them at Pepe's on the River one afternoon and enjoyed watching them dance the afternoon away. They are another young at heart couple. 

We haven't heard from anyone at Yosemite yet. Paul Pfennenger - when you read this - please check on our applications. Notice the Lincolns want to work there too. 

I know this is a little bit bigger newsletter this month but don't expect it to be this big every month. I knew we would be by a KINKO'S and they are so good and cheap. Thought I'd get my monies worth out of the mail this month. 
 

One day while still in Mission, the sun was shining, and we washed and waxed the motorhome. The neighbors across the way came over and invited us to join them and their other neighbors (Janice and Dallas who we talked about in the last newsletter) for dinner. They all felt that we we had been working too hard and needed a break. Jim and Deloris Jean from Wagner, OK are fantastic hosts. Dinner was scrumptious!! Marinated chicken grilled outdoors with home canned vegies, and Janice's homemade biscuits adding a special touch. Best meal we had had in a long time and the conversation was great too. Both couples are "home town" friends who grew up together and that just made for a lot of neat stories. Suddenly it was late and no one knew where the time went. Hated for the evening to end. 

It is because of these people, the Ramseys, the Lincolns and many others in Mission that we were tempted to stay for a month or forever. But then the first day we were away from them and into a new park, we met the Waples. We are never without friends and that is what this lifestyle is all about. We do say "good-by" a lot but we say "Hello" just as much. 

When we arrived at Resort Ranch and were parking the motorhome, a herd of deer (25 or so) greeted us. I was outside directing Ron into the campsite and the deer were right there - 20 - 30 feet away. After we were settled, they left but at any time, one can see them as they wander freely on this ranch. 
 

Copyright © 1999, Movin' On with Ron & BarbTM- All Rights Reserved 

Click here to move to the March 1991 issue