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July 18, Fredericksburg: The weekend before last was a trip to Fredericksburg, TX.  Along the way in Johnson City, I stopped by the Johnson Settlement.  I’m ashamed to admit I’ve been playing Frontierville on Facebook a lot lately, and this park screamed “real life homestead” to me so I had to go look around out of amusement. It has everything: windmill, barn, crooked wooden fence, wild flowers, horses, cabin, outhouse, even a horse-drawn wagon.

Another place I stopped in was the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg.  I’ve been through this town at least a dozen times on the way to Enchanted Rock and had never been to this place.  I thought it only consisted of Nimitz’s birthplace, but there’s actually a large museum on the street behind it. I had arrived late in the afternoon and the girl at the information desk stressed that I’d probably need around five hours to take everything in. So, I did what I could in the couple of hours I had before closing.

I’m a bit of a WWII junkie and there was a lot of good material here.  A significant amount of background material going back to the 1800s about China and Japan was presented to highlight the events that eventually led us to war. Several large exhibits here, a B-52, a Japanese sub, a model of Fat Man, and several other planes that I forget the details about. I recommend visiting if you’re in Fredericksburg!

Hiking on Enchanted Rock was uneventful. It was a real scorcher of an afternoon, so virtually nobody was there. On the summit hike I only ran into about a dozen people.

July 24th, Corpus Christi: Last Saturday was a trip to Corpus Christi and the Gulf coast.  I was happily cooling off in the Corpus Christi bay like everyone else until I saw a jellyfish in the water, then another, then another, and then another. They were all over the damn place, watch the water for a few minutes and you’d see another.  Several were washed up on the beach. Notably, they really do have some mass and are squishy to step on, like firm Jell-O.

The beaches on Padre Island were much nicer. Much finer sand that was easy on the feet, “real” ocean, and few people on the vehicle-restricted part of the beach.  Wading around the surf for an hour is a great leg workout. Taking the long way home, I went up Mustang Island to Port Aransas.  I guess I’d never actually been to Port A before. For one, I didn’t know getting back to shore on highway 361 required a short ferry boat ride.  Compared to Corpus, which I thought was rather sleepy, Port A is a happening little town.  Being Saturday evening, all of the bars and restaurants were packed and people were everywhere. I now see why this is a popular vacation spot!

Sunday, July 25: Yesterday afternoon was a visit to the Zilker Botanical Garden. I had no idea the park was 30 acres, but that now explains what’s between Barton Springs and Zilker Park in all the trees. The Oriental garden is nice, serene, cool and shady and had several running water features.

What I especially liked about this park was the number of stone pathways leading everywhere. In other gardens I’ve seen, you had to stay on the main walkway. Here, you can follow rock paths to really get in amongst the plants and landscaping to explore up close. I didn’t spend as much time as I intended there, the afternoon sun was really heating things up so I retreated for lemonade and ice cream.

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