Thursday, January 3, 2013

An LBJ Day

[Note: I remain a day behind]

Wednesday January 2, 2013

Darkness is falling and, once again, the sun comes out as it goes down.  I want to shake my fist and say “stop teasing us!”.  I was thinking all day that the only thing that would make the day ideal would be some sunshine.  Maybe tomorrow?

A chilly day with a high of about 41.  But dry with no wind, so it felt crisp, not bone- chilling like it would be (and was) back home.

I spent a wonderful leisurely day touring the LBJ National Park Sites.  There are 2 – his boyhood home in Johnson City and his ranch outside of Stonewall.  It’s an easy drive to both and well worth the trips.  Both sites gave me a real sense of the person.  The focus was not the politician but rather the rancher and Texas son.  

The Johnson family moved here when LBJ was 5.  He declared his run for Congress on this porch. 

Touring the ranch house (the Western White House) was especially illuminating.  Though it’s a large house, it contains small rooms and has an intimate feel.  We saw the big man’s bathroom where he did his business – both literally and figuratively as he had a phone installed next to the toilet.   

The Live Oak is 400 years old

Waited for these Longhorn to cross the road

There is an airstrip here and a hanger.  LBJ called this Air Force One-Half.

 It was kind of a bummer to see artifacts in a museum that were everyday objects when I was a kid.  Oh well, it was inevitable, I guess.  Several rooms contained 3 televisions which, if you are over 50, you know is because there were only 3 networks.  I overheard another (younger) tourist ask the guide if Johnson was able to get cable in such a remote place. 

The unpretentious living room.

 Another highlight was touring a working farm that belonged to one of many German families here in the Pedernales Valley. 

Demonstrators were doing chores and it was like stepping back to 1915.   Of course, the kitchen was my favorite part. 

Demonstrating how curds and whey are made from unpasteurized milk

My trusty Garmin is working again!  As I suspected, I just needed to load the Western mapping software.  It took 4 hours to download so I just went about my business meandering around while the download magic happened via the inverter, laptop, and Mi-Fi.  Amazing!

Now, here’s why I love the GDB.  This AM after seeing the Johnson City site, I had about an hour’s wait before a local-recommended buffet opened.  What to do?  It was too cold to stroll around Main Street.  So I fired up the furnace, made a pot of coffee, and web surfed.  All within view of little Lyndon's outhouse.  I just love having my home with me!
Tomorrow I plan to explore the park a bit before leaving.  Then on to Austin for a visit with Sharon!


  1. We've been to the Stonewall Ranch but it was late in the afternoon (visitor center was closed). The picture-taking was excellent, though.

    LBJ boyhood home is still on my list.

    Where is the living history farm?

  2. Hi Susan,

    It's located within the same National Park site as the ranch. Just take a left coming out of the visitor's center.

    1. OK, thanks. I want to take my mom and sister there when they come to visit in March.

  3. One president down, 42 to go. Are you going to see the state Capitol, while in Austin?

  4. Always having your house along is the best thing about traveling in a small RV. We once pulled into a train station and discovered a note that said the train was due in about 20 minutes. Not long enough to go anywhere else but plenty of time to go home for lunch in their parking lot.

  5. "It was kind of a bummer to see artifacts in a museum that were everyday objects when I was a kid. Oh well, it was inevitable, I guess. Several rooms contained 3 televisions which, if you are over 50, you know is because there were only 3 networks. I overheard another (younger) tourist ask the guide if Johnson was able to get cable in such a remote place. "

    YES .... AND when you say something ... 'they' will say oh, yes... I had that in history ... man

    aw glad you're like that area ... The Hill Country has got a lot to see if you're not in a hurry.

    Having your house with you ... dang ... I ... dang... sigh

  6. Loved the tour of LBJ's ranch and the info.

    Especially loved your relaxing in the GDB with furnace and coffee while you waited. Maybe your GDB should be renamed Turtle. :)

  7. Wonderful post Kim ! Glad to see that you are stopping along the way to take in some wonderful places.

    I also love having my 'home' where ever I go. Great isn't it !!

  8. Wonderful! I always find it intriguing to think that long after the people are gone the places remain. That you can stand right where a president stood (here in Michigan we can stand where John F. Kennedy stood at the University of Michigan to announce the Peace Corp)....I don't know if you can stand on the porch of LBJ's home..but's still here long after he has gone on...I don't know why that catches me the way it does. It just does. Have you ever visited the Little White House in GA where Pres Roosevelt stayed? That is fascinating in the same way the LBJ ranch seems to be.

    1. Yes! I never get tired of going to the Little White House. I kept drawing comparisons to it and the ranch yesterday; I think because both have that same intimate feel.

  9. What surprised us was how small and country his Texas White House was. Also the small size of his ranch. Dont you just love the Hill Country?

  10. Oh, that brought back memories of when I was there 2 years ago. One thing that amazed me were the 5 rocking chairs lined up on the front porch, and the guide telling all the famous people who had lounged in those chairs. Another was the huge tree just in front of the porch, and all the important decisions that had been made under that tree.



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