Monday, February 28, 2022

Pecos Picnic Area

This picnic area looks like it was built in the forties or fifties as a tourist camp. There are six tables under shelters – three on either end of the paved lot with a grassy area between them. Each table has a trash can and a grill. The water was not turned on.

The reviews mention trash and noisy people but we did have a problem with any of that. It’s close to busy US 285 so there is traffic noise.

The picnic tables are not accessible. Picnic Area  31.43894, -103.49969

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Annie Riggs Hotel and Museum

The Fort Stockton Hotel Company, organized by a group of Fort Stockton businessmen, built the Koehler Hotel which opened in 1901. It has two foot thick adobe brick walls, high ceilings, a wraparound veranda and rooms that open to a center courtyard – all help keep it cool in the summer.

Annie Riggs bought the hotel in 1904, changed the name, and ran it until her death in 193. In 1955 her heirs deeded the hotel to the Fort Stockton Historical Society to be operated as a museum.

The museum has exhibits about Anne Riggs eventful life, archaeology, geology, religion, ranching, Hispanic heritage, pioneers, and early businesses. The kitchen and one hotel room are furnished as they would have been when Annie ran the hotel.
Wheelchair access to problematic. The curb cut in the parking lot is in poor condition, some of the thresholds are high, the courtyard is surfaced with loose, sandy soil, and there’s a step up to all of the rooms around the courtyard.

RVs can be parked on the street. Museum  30.88317, -102.87904

Friday, February 18, 2022

Texas Picnic Area–Hwy 163

Another Texas picnic table pull out. This one has a nice loop off of the highway with shelters over two picnic tables, grills, and trash cans. There’s also an historical sign describing the trail that the Ozona-Barnhart Trap Company built in the 1020s so that local ranchers could drive their cattle to the railroad without cutting barb wire fences and going through private land. The trail was used into the 1950s.

The road is a little noisy with traffic in the evening and morning but quiet at night.

One of the picnic table shelters is accessible.  30.83515, -101.16934 Road Sign

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park

The LBJ National Historical Park has two visitor areas separated by 14 miles. LBJ grew up in Johnson City and the visitor center there focuses on his life and accomplishments as President. The other visitor area is the ranch where he was born, lived until he was five, and worked as a teenager. It was owned by his aunt and uncle and when his widowed aunt offered to sell it to him in 1951 he jumped at the chance to live his dream of being a rancher.  It became the known as the Texas White House where the Johnsons spent working vacations and retired to in 1969. The ranch remains a working ranch with a herd of Hereford cattle descended Johnson's registered herd.
We visited the ranch only. All visitors must stop at the LBJ State Park visitor center and get a free parking pass to drive through the ranch. The visitor center is shared by the Sauer-Beckman Farm and has information on both the ranch and the farm. Download the LBJ Ranch Driving Tour and follow the map provided at the visitor center.

  There’s a lot to see at the ranch – the Junction School, a reconstructed birthplace, the show barn, the Texas White House, Johnson’s vehicles, a Lockheed Jetstar and the Hangar Visitor Center. We did not visit the school house, the birthplace, or the show barn but listened to the audio at each of those stops. The White House has structural issues and is temporarily closed. We did visit the building with Johnson’s vehicles which includes an amphibious car, the hanger which has exhibits about Johnson and the ranch, and the jet.

Most of the ranch and buildings are accessible. The jet is not.
The ranch road and parking at the ranch is fine for RVs.  Ranch  30.23795, -98.62727

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Sauer-Beckmann Farm

The Sauer-Beckman Farm and Lyndon B. Johnson State Park share the same parking lot and visitor center. The visitor center has information about the farm and the LBJ Ranch which is located across the Peder­nales River. Most of the exhibits are accessed by a separate entrance so follow the paved path to find it.  An 1870s two room dogtrot cabin built by Behrens family has plexiglass in the doorways. It’s possible to peek inside but there’s a bit of a glare.
Packed dirt trails led from the visitor center to the farm.
The Sauer and Beckmann families worked this land for almost a 100 years – from 1869 until 1966 when Edna Beckmann Hightower sold the farm to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The farm is now a living history site with costumed interpreters going about the daily chores of caring for the crops, animals, and the needs of the people.
Rooms were added to the original log and rock cabin as the Sauer family grew. But with ten children they needed even more room so a large stone house was built and later connected to a newly constructed Victorian house by an open breezeway. All of the buildings are open for viewing plus the ground include a barn, chicken coop, and other outbuildings.
The visitor center is accessible. The dogtrot area of the Behrens cabin is accessible. The trails from the visitor center to the farm have rough and steep spots which require an energetic helper. There is a parking lot near the farm to make visiting easy. The main farm buildings have ramps and are fairly accessible. Farm  30.23763, -98.62808

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Gillespie County Rest Area

  I like Texas rest areas because staying overnight in them is definitely okay. Many have signs stating that stays are limited to 24 hours but even without a sign you’re fine for that time period.
This one is off of US 290, a fairly busy four lane highway, so it’s a little noisy. The parking lot near the restrooms is small but there’s enough room to park along the road that winds through the rest area. There are picnic shelters, trash barrels, grills and a playground. It’s just a few miles from the Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm and the LBJ Ranch so it’s a great place to stop before or after visiting those sites. Rest Area  30.23662, -98.60905