July 17, 2015


“When you reach for the stars, you may not quite get them, but you won’t come up with a handful of mud either.”  Leo Burnett

Carol writes:  As we headed toward Texas Hill Country, our route through West Texas took us through one of the least populated areas of the immense Lone Star State.  Smack in the middle of this desolate area lies the “large little city” of San Angelo, home to Goodfellow Air Force Base, Angelo State University, and historic Fort Concho.

Frankly, we didn’t expect there would be a whole lot to see or do during our week’s stay in San Angelo, so we chose the Goodfellow Air Force Base Recreation Camp on the shore of Lake Nasworthy as our home for our brief visit, knowing that at the very least we would have access to a swimming pool that would surely come in handy as the combination of temperature and humidity climbed ever higher.

To serve as our orientation to San Angelo, we opted to do the much praised river walk along the Concho River, essentially now the centerpiece for the entire city.  A super-deluxe, Texas-size Visitor Center

led down to the water where we saw the first of over 60 sheep statues that were scattered throughout the town.  Each statue was uniquely designed and decorated by a local artist to commemorate San Angelo’s heritage as a wool marketing center.

We started to sense the artistic flavor of the river walk as we passed underneath the first bridge overpass and came upon this VW bug decorated in mosaic tile.  The VW was my very first car and will forever remain dear to my heart.  Hello!  The girl in the windshield looked familiar; back in my VW days I also had long brown hair.

San Angelo developers have done a marvelous job bringing out the artistic side of their city’s river walk.

Our ultimate goal toward the end of the river walk was a tour of Fort Concho, established in 1867 to protect frontier settlements against hostile threats.  Today Fort Concho is one of the best preserved of the early frontier forts west of the Mississippi.  Among the 23 original and restored buildings were those that served as  officer housing,

the hospital, with its gruesome display of a coffin in the corner (not real encouraging for the sickest patients),

and the church, which doubled as a classroom.

On the advice of the volunteer at the Visitor Center, our walk then took a brief detour into town so we could see some of the restored buildings that certainly captured the historic flavor of early San Angelo.  With the unrelenting heat, we were hungry and thirsty by then anyway…  What a delicious and refreshing lunch we had in the delightfully cool and fully renovated “Miss Hattie’s Restaurant and Cathouse Lounge” with its original brickwork and original tin ceiling.

After lunch… a quick stop to see the inside of the restored Eggemeyer’s General Store.

In town we were also on the lookout for a series of murals created to showcase the history of West Texas,

and more of those adorable sheep statues.

What a great river walk that provided lots of exercise and plenty of interesting things to see,  However, by noon it was HOT.  After 25 years of living at an altitude of 7500 ft in a house with no need for air conditioning due to the dry, moderate Colorado summers, we still weren’t totally acclimated to high heat plus humidity.  Now…how soon could we get back to the campground for a dip in that pool just across the parking lot from our campsite?

One thing we didn’t expect to see in San Angelo was an attraction preceded by the words “world-wide acclaimed,” but that is just what we saw when we paid an early morning visit to San Angelo’s International Waterlily Collection.

We were suitably impressed!

One variety had incredible lily pads up to 3 FEET in diameter!

One of the gems of the collection was the highly sought after Australian hybrid named “Blue Cloud.”

San Angelo is home to Angelo State University, one of four schools in the Texas Tech University System.  ASU boasts that it has the fourth largest university planetarium, and after a recent remodel it was quite a high tech operation.  We attended an evening show titled “Saturn, Jewel of the Heavens.”  I felt fortunate to learn where Saturn was located in our present-day night sky and actually felt a bit of a thrill when, back at the RV, I was able to locate the jeweled ring planet in the constellation Scorpio in the southeastern sky.
(Not my pic, but wish that it was)
One of the things we are enjoying immensely this summer is the local Farmers Markets.  The bing cherries, fresh corn, and vine-ripened tomatoes have been heavenly.  We are just on the outskirts of Texas Hill Country, famous all summer for its many varieties of peaches.  The peach vendor could barely keep up with his customers.  If I do say so myself, our first sample of sweet freestone peaches from the Farmers Market made a mighty tasty homemade peach pie.

We have also developed a habit of fitting in a commissary run and a visit to the base library whenever we are camped at military facilities—the commissary for staple food items, and the library to replenish our supply of books.  At Goodfellow AFB, we found a beautiful library with a large collection of books for trade, and a commissary that had everything we needed.  To our eyes, for a small training command, Goodfellow looked quite modern and well kept.

Of course, we found another adorable sheep, this one posing proud in his Air Force bomber jacket, greeting visitors at the gate.

This sheep gimmick going on in San Angelo had become rather amusing… Well done, San Angelo!  We had to admit that we found this friendly little city much more interesting than we had anticipated.  We wouldn’t mind at all stopping in again if our travels find us heading along the southern route.

Our travel gnomes on the Michelins

“It is not easy to find happiness in ourselves, and it is not possible to find it elsewhere.”  Agnes Repplier

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