We had a nice relaxing week in this Texas Prairies and Lakes Region.  We have been enjoying the Texas State Parks and Bastrop State Park drew us here.  My family is visiting next week and we found that this state park has cabins and RV sites. Perfect for the visit.   So we booked a week there with my family and this week at LCRA Lake Bastrop South Shore Park to acquaint ourselves with the area.  After all, we are going to be nomadic tour guides.  On our way to Lake Bastrop we noticed A LOT of fire damage along the highway.  For miles it appeared as if a fire god (such as Vulcan or Hephaestus) had been punishing the land.  So to our relief when we arrived on the shores of Lake Bastrop the land was lush and beautiful, for Texas anyways.  One of our first outings was to Bastrop State Park a couple miles down the road to check out the cabins my parents would be staying in.  We were devastated when we drove to the park and realized that all that death and destruction was in this park!  The cabins had been spared but little else had been.  In fact 96% of the park had burned and the fire was the most destructive wildfire in Texas state history.  You can read more about it here: Bastrop Wildfire.

So after touring the park, we realized this is not a place for a relaxing vacation.  You could almost still smell the char and it made you feel as if you were in a burned up post apocalypse world.  We actually spoke to several victims of this fire in downtown Bastrop and you could tell a small amount of Bastrop’s soul had been charred by this Labor Day 2011 inferno.  However, the people were bright and stronger after this storm and I know Bastrop will thrive into the future.  After all, it is Texas’s most historic small town.  I will elaborate on that later.  So our next challenge was to find a spot for our family vacation next week.   After a lot of internet searching and a drive we found a nice RV park with cabins south of Bastrop between Austin and San Antonio to make our home base next week.  We made a quick stop in Austin on our return trip where we relished in delightful vegetarian cuisine and a cupcake food truck.  I love Foodie towns!

Now that we had next week’s campsite set (we like to live week to week) it was time to check out Bastrop.  Like I mentioned above, Bastrop is a historic small Texas town.  It was established in 1832 and many of the buildings are still thriving.  I found a detailed walking tour in the local newspaper, The Bastropian, and we set out on foot.  Our first stop was to a yummy diner on Main Street of course.  Here we ran into 3 Californians bicycling across the United States, from San Diego to Charleston, SC. Now that is impressive!  We relished our croissant breakfast sandwiches as they made and ate peanut butter sandwiches and greased up their chains.  It made us relive our early travel days in England eating PBJ and ham and cheese baguettes in France.  Remember Angie?  Next we headed down Main St. to the visitors center to dig into the history of this town.  From there we walked the historic streets and awed at the old jail, courthouse, churches, and homes.  We ended our town walking tour along the Colorado River riverwalk.  By this time we were thirsty so wandered up the banks to the local brewery.  To our (and the owner’s) dismay we found out they had closed their doors for good.  Bummer!  No worries, we walked back to Main St. and to the local pharmacy.  Why?  Because they still have a local ice cream parlor inside!  We enjoyed a cream soda and hot fudge sundae, then headed to the best part of Bastrop, the Farm Street Sanctuary.  This section of Farm St. was created in 2012 to protect the wild chickens that have resided in the area since the 1800s!  We happily idled down the road watching the chickens strutting their stuff and crossing the road.  Why does the chicken cross the road?  Because they can, you can’t do anything about it here.  Good times!

Our next adventure was a glimpse into Wade’s past.  Wade spent his early childhood in Texas and one of the places he always reminisces about is Round Top, Texas.  Wade’s father is a carpenter and he helped restore this old town back in the 1980’s.   And in fact, it is an adorable town that enables you to step back into time.  The historic buildings have been restored and laid out into a nice square.  When Wade lived near here an old woman owned most of the town and kept it very close to the original.  In fact, his father was not allowed to use power tools; they had to restore the buildings with hand tools only.  However, now it has been sold and made into a shopping area.  The buildings are all still original but with stores inside.  I guess shopping has saved the buildings as they had become in disarray over the last decades.  It was very fun to wander in this small town of 90 people and find places of Wade’s youth.  After enjoying some very delicious pie by Royer’s we headed out of town to the nearby Winedale Historical Complex.  We drove through the complex (only private tours are allowed inside) and admired the homes.   We also enjoyed watching the local wildlife, as a herd of deer were bedded down near the homes.  There was also a historic quilt exhibit here, so I dragged Wade in and admired red and white quilts from the 1800s!  They were pretty spectacular.

The rest of our days in Bastrop were spent hiking and biking the awesome trails at LCRA Lake Bastrop Park.  Wizard loves bike riding now, so we advanced his resume from paved trails to wilderness trails.  He did great!  He runs 4 miles through sand and rocks and up and down hills without a blink of an eye.  Our last adventure was a 9-mile bicycle ride from the south shore of Bastrop Lake to the north shore.  We did not bring Wizard on this journey because we were not sure of the terrain and it is a good thing we didn’t.  It was my first time riding a moderate difficulty mountain bike trail.  I actually thought that I might not make it out alive. I was like a 90-year-old woman riding the brakes and Wade was like a 12-year-old boy doing jumps and 360s.  The trail was very winding, hilly, gravelly, and sandy.  Wow!  I am not ashamed to say that I had to get off my bike and walk some.   However, by the end I was braver and enjoyed the thrill.  We definitely need bike helmets though!

Now it is time to show my family this nomadic lifestyle!