Wednesday, May 5, 2010


After two nights at Pedernales Falls State Park, we hooked up and moved to the Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park in Fredericksburg. The park is 300+ acres (including the golf course) about four miles outside of town. Our site backs up to the airport, so we have built-in entertainment. Fortunately the planes are far enough away that the noise is not a problem. In addition, the park has plenty of paved roads for bike riding, plus a very nice nature trail and bird blind. We've been able to stretch our legs several times a day, and the dog girls have enjoyed going for their morning run alongside our bicycles.

Fredericksburg has plenty to see and do. We chose to revisit The Nimitz Museum and National Museum of the Pacific War now that it has been expanded and remodeled. It's a fantastic museum, extremely well-done wth plenty of video and audio footage from WWII. It provides a chronological account of the war, beginning with the background of events that contributed to the war.

We especially enjoyed the oral history audios which are part of almost every exhibit. Since both my dad and John's served in World War II (his in the Pacific Theater), it's especially meaningful to us. We spent four hours there on Sunday and another three on Monday, and we still haven't seen everything. We highly recommend it to anyone visiting the area. In addition to the exhibits inside, the museum complex the grounds are surrounded by memorial walls with plaques like these honoring individuals, ships or military units that served in the Pacific during WWII.  It also honors the ten US Presidents who served in the military during that conflict.

Another highlight of our trip was a visit to the LBJ State and National Historical Parks. (I can't believe we have lived in Austin all these years and have never visited them.) The parks are well-maintained, and feature an amazing look into the first "White House" outside of Washington, DC. Lady Bird Johnson used the ranch house up until her death, but it has now been opened to visitors. A tour of the home provided a glimpse into how the Johnson family lived on their lovely ranch.

The 600-acre section of the ranch, which includes the family home, was given to the parks service by President Johnson. John was especially interested in the ranch tour, which included a visit with one of the stockmen who cares for the herd of registered Hereford cattle, some of which are shown here.

He explained that the herd is being managed to represent the smaller, more compact herefords that were popular in the 1960s when the Johnsons were actively operating the ranch, rather than the larger animals more characteristic today.

We also visited the Sauer-Beckman Living History Farm, which is part of LBJ State Park. The farm is being operated as it would have been in the late 1800s, up until about 1918. They raise their own vegetables and slaughter and process their own meat. Vegetables are canned, and meat is either smoked or preserved lard as it would have been at that time. Photos of the house and barn follow.

After visiting the LBJ complex, we stopped to visit Eyfells & Eyfells Studios and Galleries. The studios and galleries contain the work of Johann and his wife, the late Kristen Eyfells, who died in 2002. The former consists of large metal sculptures, often in the shape of cubes, pyramids or large iron spirals. Kristen Eyfells' body of work includes large portrait-sized paintings, including her "Famous Faces" series. Mr. Eyfells taught Fine Art at the University of Central Florida for 30 years, then moved to Central Texas in 2003. The relocation of his and Ms. Eyfells' work required 12 flat bed 18 wheeler trucks.

Mr. Eyfells is a delightful host and welcomes visitors to his studios and galleries.  After our initial visit, I returned to spend a couple of hours with him and was able to photograph him at work, and with a self-portrait done by Ms. Eyfells.  Look for more examples of his work when I return to spend more time at his studio.

We have returned to Austin, and hope to come back to Fredericksburg in the near future.

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