Greetings from Bastrop, TX

Monello

Awww, jeez
PREMO Member
It was sunny yesterday. Woke up this morning to rain pinging on the roof. Time to roll over and fall back asleep. I don't know how much flooding is going on downstream from us.

Here's a few shots of the local flooding at the campground. The last picture is a drone shot of the campground when the river is at it's normal level.

DSCF9678.jpg

DSCF9679.jpg

DSCF9680.jpg

koa bastrop.jpg

koa2.jpg
 

Monello

Awww, jeez
PREMO Member
To avoid cabin fever we got out today and went to Bastrop proper. It's still raining and the river is still rising. First stop was to Cripple Creek for flavored coffee grinds. I don't care about the coffee but I had an informative conversation with the proprietor. The discussion was the state of Bastrop's economy. I enjoy getting schooled by a local. They give you insight into things you never considered. Long story short, the town tries to do 'big city' things but they have to do it on a small town budget. They have things like first fridays and other events. We did their riverside 4th of July celebration the last time we were here.

Next stop was to Neighbor's Kitchen and Yard for pizza and libations. Copper Creek distillery, which was located next door, has relocated. Tom, the owner of Neighbor's intends to put a brewery in the old Copper Creek location. He has a bunch of Texas micro brews on tap along with a local favorite, Dos XX. Tom gave us the scoop on the tap beer status of Bastrop and pretty much Texas in general. Bud lite is in the top 3, which makes you wonder what is wrong with Texans. Tom features a bunch of local beers but envisions offering his own creations in the future. He wants to start small and work his way up. He also shared with us the challenges he faces with running his establishment. Tom refers to the restaurant as his ultimate man cave. He has a good thing going. His staff has bought into his vision. We wish him well.

The restaurant is located on high ground above the Colorado river. The river is rising but they are safe Everyone down stream of Austin has to be puckered up pretty good. We have had 1 day of sunshine in the last 2 weeks. The weather people tell us that today is the end of this nonsense. I'll believe it when I see it. The hurricane in the Pacific, off the coast of Mexico, may impact this area in a few days. UGH.

But we will persevere. I found a place where I can fish from the bank. When it calms down, I plan on hitting the lake at the nearest state park.

The pictures are of the grounds around Neighbor's. The first picture is the river at normal levels. The 2nd picture was taken today. The street lights are where the walking path is. Currently under several feet of water.

DSCN5930.jpg

DSCF9684.jpg
 

vraiblonde

Board Mommy
Staff member
PREMO Member
I could live for the rest of my life in Bastrop. Cute quaint downtown, Big box stuff in the outskirts. Tons of community pride.
 

littlelady

God bless the USA
What a wonderful time y’all are having, and not many get to do. I would ‘venture’ to say y’all are loving it. Safe travels.
 

vraiblonde

Board Mommy
Staff member
PREMO Member
The last couple of days have been GORGEOUS! I've taken advantage of it by redecorating the motorhome interior. I've ordered slip covers for the couch and chair, replaced the entry stairs carpeting, and given our kitchen area a facelift. Once it's finished I'll post pics.

Tonight we're going to Scream Hollow in Smithville.

Yesterday we went to Back 9 and hit a bucket of balls, then hung out on their porch to enjoy the day. I think Back 9 is a brilliant venue - driving range, bar, food truck, pub games, bandstand with plenty of room for dancing, and about 8 million craft beers. It's enormous, mostly open air with a small bar inside, and you could definitely bring the kids - they run around and play games.

Back 9 is like one of those places you see in the movies and go, "Aw, I wish we had something like that around here."
 
Last edited:

vraiblonde

Board Mommy
Staff member
PREMO Member
Today we visited the little town of Elgin (pronounced with a hard G) and walked its historic downtown. Had a drink at the Liberty Tree Tavern, where the owners thumb their nose at "Commies and their smoking bans".

Next stop, Consilina Pizzeria - wood fired pizza attached to a gas station (we have good luck with gas station food). Monello had plain cheese, but I had the special - Muffuletta pizza with salami, ham, and olive spread. Muffuletta makes a natural transition to pizza, so it's kind of amazing that it's not a thing everywhere. The owner is Lebanese and he told us about a sandwich from home that he turned into a pizza. The sandwich is roast chicken, heavy garlic spread, and pickles, then pressed. He made us a small one on the house and it was a winner, too. Monello even enjoyed it and he usually doesn't like non-traditional pizza.

It was a beautiful day - warm and sunny, blue skies. This part of TX is wonderful. Everything you need, but not crowded with humanity like Austin, and certainly not the spaghetti bowl over- and underpasses that make driving such a nightmare.
 
Last edited:

Monello

Awww, jeez
PREMO Member
The rainy weather has finally passed. The weather has been quite pleasant the past few days. The weather people are calling for a cold front and rain today for trick or treat. Knowing crappy weather was on the horizon, I decided to go fishing yesterday. Monday I went and checked out a few places. I even caught a fish from the bank at 1 of the spots. At a different place I spoke with a guy at the boat ramp. He said he caught 4 bass that morning. While we chatted, you could see bass chasing bait fish in the shallower parts of the lake.

I was on the water by about 9:30. The skies are sunny. I went to the lake where the guy caught fish the day before. Seeing the fish busting the bait made it an easy choice. The lake is 25 acres, has a lot of weeds around the edges. There is a slot limit for bass. What that means is that out of the 5 bass you can legally catch and keep on the lake, they have to be under 14 inches. The kicker is you can keep just 1 fish over 21 inches. Anything between 14 inches and 21 inches has to go back in the water unharmed.

The lake is restricted to no motors or engines. I ended up rowing the entire time. In smaller bass lakes, like St Mary's lake, I use an electric trolling motor when fishing. It really makes it easy. Now I have to row to a spot, drop the oars, pick up the pole then cast. The first 2 hours only produces 1 small bass. I have rowed the entire edge of the lake. A good bit of the lake is very shallow, maybe 3 feet deep. Closer to the dam is about 12 feet deep. I end up back over there.

Instead of casting, I'm going to troll 2 poles out the back of the boat. This way I don't have to do the row, cast, row, cast drill the rest of the day. I select 2 lures that I feel confident will work. 1 of them I just bought the other day after swearing that I'm not going to buy any more fishing lures. I don't row very far before I catch my 2nd fish. It's much bigger than the first fish by a good bit. I release the fish after taking a picture of it. A short time later, fish number 3 is heading to my landing net. It beats the 2nd fish by about 2 inches in length. I joke that it this rate I should have a 10 pound fish pretty soon. On 1 of my drifts I hook a fish and get it back to the boat. My 2nd pole is still out the back of the boat with the lure in the water. No sooner as I land the first fish, the 2nd pole's line goes tight, indicating another fish. Putting down the net, I set the hook on the other pole. 2 fish in a matter of about a minute and a half.

For the rest of the time there I stay in the same location, doing the same thing. After only getting 1 fish the first 2 hours, I manage to catch 11 fish in the following 2 hour period. I also notice that, like the previous day, the bass are now back to chasing minnows along the edge of the lake. Twice I'm able to cast into the commotion and pull in fish. In all the years I have fished, that is the first time I've cast into breaking bass and caught them. I use to do this on the Patuxent river when targeting rockfish in the past. Knowing the fish are around and actively feeding increases your anticipation on a quick bite.

I bring the boat into the ramp. I start to break things down. The bass are still feeding. Once I can no longer resist, I pick up a pole and head over to the bank. I make a few more casts into the breaking fish. I end up hooking 4 more fish. I end the day with 16 bass. Best part, most of them were feisty fighters. I'll take a few days off then try to head back out later in the week. Fall is a great time to wet a line as the fish are putting on weight in anticipation of winter rolling around. Get out there and get you some.

DSCF9719.jpg

2 at a time
DSCF9713.jpg

DSCF9714.jpg

trolling out of the back of the boat
DSCF9715.jpg

caught from the bank
DSCF9722.jpg
 

Attachments

Monello

Awww, jeez
PREMO Member
Liberty Tree Tavern The interior wall is actually the old exterior wall of the business next door.

elg 2.jpg

elg3.jpg

elg4.jpg

What's a tavern without a barrel of peanuts?
DSCF9696.jpg

DSCF9702.jpg
 

vraiblonde

Board Mommy
Staff member
PREMO Member
So at the HEB here in TX they carry a line of unsweetened iced tea bags called "Tea is for Texas". This and Buc-ees is what I miss most when we're in another state. I haven't seen anything else that compares to this iced tea. The good news is that we'll be in some part of Texas for a good while, then I'll have to stock up when we head to Arizona and New Mexico.
 

Monello

Awww, jeez
PREMO Member
It's currently 63 degrees. Quite a bit chillier than yesterday's 80 plus degree temps. Our campground had a cozy Halloween pot luck. The campground provided pasta, sauces and sausage. There were tasty salads, Vrai's amazing deviled eggs and awesome desserts. There are at least 3 families with small children living here. 1 of the families homeschools their kids. The rest ride the bus to the local schools.

The owner stated that he thought about 65% of the campground people were permanent. We find that at quite a few places where we roam. In the Florida Keys, not so much. Probably due to the cost. In the last 2 campgrounds we stayed at in Texas, there are quite a few homesteaders. I'm finding more people full timing and many more homesteading once they find a place they like. There is a concern because at some point finding decent places to stay may become an issue. Texas rates are less than half of what they charge in most places in Florida. The Texas weather isn't too bad in the winter. Summers can be hotter than blazes though.

Our current location in Texas has a bunch of state parks, golf courses, quaint towns, seasonal festivals and other things to occupy tourists. Many of the parks have fishing, which is a bonus for me. Austin is a 30 mile drive in case we want to do big city things. There are a lot worse places we could light for a month.
 

vraiblonde

Board Mommy
Staff member
PREMO Member
Honestly, if I were going to live full time in a campground - which is something we're definitely considering after I've seen everything I need to see - I'd go with a tiny house or a park model. The advantage of living in a motorhome is the "motor" part. It's a vehicle you live in. As in, you go places. The tiny homes and park models are more like houses and more comfortable.
 

Monello

Awww, jeez
PREMO Member
Yesterday we ventured over to Smithville, TX. There claim to fame is the movie Hope Floats was filmed there. I never saw the film, so I don't have a point of reference. Smithville has a small downtown and that is about it. It looks like at one time in history the railroad played an important part of the town. The place could use a little sprucing up. As far as tourists are concerned, there isn't really a draw there. I'm sure the local chamber of commerce would disagree.

Then since we were already out we road around the local state park. St. Andrews State Park in Panama City Beach, FL is the standard which we compare all other parks to. This one is your standard park with a couple of camping loops, rental rustic cabins overlooking the lake, hiking trails, scenic overlooks, fishing, and assorted rental pavilions. Exiting the park the ride back to Bastrop was more scenery than development. We remarked that the few homes we did see, were well off the beaten path. If you are neighbor adverse, those homes would make you very happy.

Locally we shopped in the Hispanic market. The gringos were in the minority in that shop. I got a hunk of fresh chicharon, a pastry and a croissant. Vrai got some hispanic chips and some candies. Then we hiked over to the cantina for tacos and tamales. The tamale was a bit dry but the taco made up for it. They have a fixin bar. I asked if the sauce was hot. I got a Oh Yeah reply. I skipped that stuff. I had the roasted looking sauce that was spicy but tolerable for my delicate palate.

Speaking of hispanic markets, they have a beverage that I only see down here. Topo Chico. Topo in italian means rat. Chico was what we called the hispanic kid in high school. His given name was Hernan, which I never heard before. So I wasn't sure what it was. I got 1 to try. It reminds me of Perrier water. Fizzy water. They have a few flavors along with just plain ole fizzy.

112796-18795_d.jpg

We finished our evening off by listening to the band at Neighbors bar. Then strolled around downtown. There were several venues offering live music. Next weekend is a car show and Veteran's weekend. The town should be jumping.

The river is finally receding. The entire playground is now visible. The last 2 days have exposed a lot of the land that was submerged since we arrived over a week ago. Of course it rained again last night, but it wasn't much. Just enough to keep the temperature low.

Today we ventured out a lot further. La Grange was our final destination. It's a county seat of a bordering county. They have a proper town square with a courthouse. Lots of local businesses, several of which were closed on a Sunday. Fans of the movie Best Little Whorehouse in Texas will recognize the Chicken Ranch, which the movie is based on. It's the local house if ill repute that didn't close until 1973. The visitor's center has an entire exhibit of various newspaper clippings of the ranch. Vrai was eyeing 1 of the Chicken Ranch souvenir T shirts. I was hoping she would by it. Speaking of T shirts, she wore 1 of her Nebraska T shirts today. People will always come up to her when she wears it. 1 guy offered up condolences on the cornhuskers losing their football game yesterday.

There is a big lake just outside of La Grange that looks like it might be a good fishing hole. I'll have to do some research and see if I can add it to my fishing spot list.

I'll upload some pictures later.
 

vraiblonde

Board Mommy
Staff member
PREMO Member
Speaking of T shirts, she wore 1 of her Nebraska T shirts today. People will always come up to her when she wears it. 1 guy offered up condolences on the cornhuskers losing their football game yesterday.
Ugh, I'm such a fake Husker. Considering life stops on Saturday for my whole entire family during football season, you'd think I'd be more into it. But knowing that whenever I wear one of my GBR shirts someone will want to come talk football with me, Monello keeps me abreast of things so I can sound like I know what the hell I'm talking about.

My aunts get their nails done with Husker art - I'm not making that up.
 

Monello

Awww, jeez
PREMO Member
Another thing about Texas. Gas stations. They have Buc-ees. For the uninitiated it's like a micro SOB without the fireworks. Think Sheets/WaWa on steroids. You walk in and there is food, drink, adult drinks, clothing, jewelry, home decor like marble cutting boards and wind chimes. They have a fudge station, right next to the BBQ station. If that doesn't interest you then they will make you a sandwich. No time for that, then grab a kolache. They have both sweet & savory. There's a jerky department along with summer sausages and smoked cheeses. Need a ginormous charcoal grill, no problem, they have you covered. Is your deer feeder low on grain? They have pallets of deer corn and even have a dolly to help you drag it to the check out counter. 44 ounce fountain drinks are 79¢, 20 pound bags of ice are 99¢. They often have over 60 gas pumps. They are suppose to open 1 in Florida in the near future. On your way to see Mickey, stop on by.

A Texas gas station is where I had an armadillo egg, a piece of cheese stuffed into a jalapeno pepper wrapped in a pounded chicken tenderloin, rolled up then breaded and deep fried. Many places in central Texas will have a taqueria inside. In the AM they offer breakfast tacos and for lunch they offer up a standard mexican lunch to grab on the go. For some strange reason the help often has a hard time comprehending English.

Today both our stops had bakeries inside them. The 2nd place had a busy staff pumping out all sorts of kolaches and sweets. The cinnamon rolls were as big as George Foreman's fists. I often wonder if they were to open a similar place in a different state would the concept catch on.
 

vraiblonde

Board Mommy
Staff member
PREMO Member
At one of these gas station bakeries I got a rice krispie bar with chopped pecans mixed in it. Let me tell you, that is the way to go. Forget the Fruity Pebbles - chopped pecans FTW.

La Grange was cute - a small dusty town with big wide streets downtown, filled with antique shops and kitschy gift stores. The focal point is their courthouse, which is somewhat medieval looking and magnificent. DID YOU KNOW: the first time ZZ Top performed "La Grange" in La Grange was at the Fayette County Fair on....September 5, 2015. (A-haw haw haw haw...)

The motorhome is in the process of getting an interior makeover. I need pretty things around me again. I slipcovered the chair in kind of a medium dusky blue, and the sofa got a light tan suede covering. I need a new rug and a couple of new throw pillows and we should be good to go. The hideous original upholstery looks much better as an accent rather than having it be all over everything.

Bastrop is one of those obscure places that nobody's ever heard of and is easily overlooked when it comes to travel planning. This is a mistake. It has a lot to offer - visitation-wise and livability - plus it's about a half hour from Austin if you find yourself needing big city ick for some reason. We're finding that a lot of these small to mid-size towns are the stars of the show. You can go to their festivals and events without rubbing elbows and jockeying for parking with thousands of other people; low to no crime; easy to get around; friendly people; community pride.
 

Monello

Awww, jeez
PREMO Member
I dropped the boat in a local lake last week.

DSCF9716.JPG

Long story short, I had 1 fish in 2 hours of flogging the water. It wasn't very big, so I didn't even take a picture. I circumnavigated the entire 25 acre lake. When I got back around to the boat ramp, I decided to try and troll a bit. I tossed 2 lines out the back of the boat and rowed.

DSCF9715.JPG

And my luck changed. I caught a fish. Much bigger than the first 1 I caught. Then a 3rd which was bigger than the 2nd. I felt if I kept going, I might catch the elusive 10 pounder.

DSCF9711.JPG

DSCF9714.JPG

Then I got 1 of the line and while netting it, I had a 2nd fish hit the other line.
 

Attachments

Monello

Awww, jeez
PREMO Member
So as I was saying, I bite turned on. I got 11 more fish in the next 2 hours. The fish were decent size. Misfit would have been jealous.
DSCF9713.JPG

I get the boat back to the ramp. I start to put my gear away. There is a commotion along the bank. Bass are busting baitfish along the bank. I grab my pole and make a few casts from the shore. I managed to catch 4 more fish in about 10 minutes.

DSCF9721.JPG

DSCF9722.JPG

In hindsight I should have kept casting. I left when the bite was hot. I went back to this lake yesterday. I didn't get 1 bit in about 2 1/2 hours on the water. What a difference a few days makes.

Right now it pouring down rain. The weather people tell us the temperature is going to drop about 25 degrees. We aren't looking forward to 50 degree temps. All day today we had the screen door open. Hopefully the weather straightens out before the weekend arrives.
 
Top