Postcard from Fredericksburg, TX

On the way back to my hotel room, I passed something that made me turn around and go back for a closer inspection. I had found Scrappy. Scrappy is the name of the mascot for a local high school, Kerrville Tivy, whose nickname is the Antlers. The Scrappy statue was created by Brett & Tammy Prang of Incredible Metal in Kadoka, South Dakota out of car parts, motorcycle gas tanks, barbed wire, and chains. The figure of a full antlered deer, Scrappy is 16 feet tall and stands on a smashed car body. It took 18 months to make and is mounted on concrete pillars behind a limestone fa├žade, making it 25 feet tall overall. Placed beside Hwy-16 between Fredericksburg and Kerrville and dedicated in July, 2010, its kind of hard to miss.

Sunset in Buckhorn RV Park
Late that afternoon, I spent some very enjoyable time visiting with a few old RVing friends I hadn't seen in over 10 years and meeting some new friends. Two couples and myself went to a Mexican food place for dinner and good conversation. The food was pretty good, but the conversation was better. Later, they needed to visit Wally Mart for some essentials and I went back to the hotel to catch up on email and write a blog entry.

The next morning, my friend Kim, who was going to visit Fredericksburg with me & some other friends, found himself with a work fire on his hands so he couldn't get away. His nice wife Christi decided she still wanted to go even if he couldn't so we jumped in my truck and off we went.

Originally a hotel, now the Nimitz Museum
Our first stop was the Nimitz National Museum of the Pacific War. Housed in what was originally the Nimitz Steamboat Hotel and restored to its 1890 appearance on the outside, the museum follows the history of the WWII Pacific War campaign through murals, movie clips containing actual historical footage, dioramas, photographs, and artifacts. The mission statement reads: Provide the resources and support to preserve, interpret, and advance the understanding and education of current and future generations about the historical significance and factual record of World War II in the Pacific Area of Operations within the broader context of American military history; to inspire the virtues of honor and patriotism; to preserve the memory and achievements of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz; and to honor the men and women, including their families, who have served in the armed services of the United States and its Allies; in order to promote the learning about American military heritage and affairs.

One of several crashed WWII war planes
 recovered and put on display in the museum.
It took 2 1/2 hours to tour just the main exhibits and part of the courtyard with its 2,000 commemorative plaques honoring individuals, units and ships that served in the Pacific Theater. By then we were hungry so we left the newest portion, the George H. W. Bush Gallery, for later exploration.

After walking along the main drag for a couple of blocks waiting for an eating establishment to strike our fancy, Wheelers looked pretty good and there were a lot of people inside so we joined them for lunch. We were promptly escorted to a table right by a front window where we could see folks walking along. Since I enjoy people watching, the place scored points right up front. There were a number of good looking items on the menu, none of them exactly real heart healthy except for a salad and I wasn't in the mood for another salad just then. I took a rather safe route and ordered a hamburger, no cheese with just water to drink. One of the items that really tempted me was cornbread and beans, a traditional southern meal and one I like a lot, but it came covered with cheese and jalapenos and I wasn't sure whether it would be healthy for me, not too bad for me, or, as my dear wife refers to certain food items, absolutely not! So I passed. Christi ordered the Beans and Cornbread. Aarg! That's what I really wanted! Well, when they brought out our food, I wasn't sure if I wanted that beans and cornbread meal even more or not. It was huge! As it turned out, my burger was excellent and Christi couldn't finish all of her cornbread so I helped her out with a couple of bites. Oh my yes, scrumptious! And with the very reasonable prices, Wheelers received 2 thumbs up.

After paying for lunch, we began walking and window shopping around downtown to wear off some of the food we had over-imbibed. From our somewhat limited excursion I can tell you, if you don't find something in Fredericksburg you just can't live without, then you are either flat broke or walking around with your eyes tightly closed. Although mightily tempted several times, Christi and I were both doing a good job of hanging onto our money until we wondered into Rustlin Rob's Texas Gourmet Foods. It's a food sampler's heaven. Salsa, Queso, hot sauces, jams, jellies, dips and dozens of different butters; hundreds of jars of stuff and all of them with an open sample jar with chips and crackers nearby for dipping. I was still full from Wheeler's, but I managed to find a little corner in my belly that could hold a few more bites. After jumping up and down a couple of times to pack it down and make room for just another sample or two, I chose a jar of Fredericksburg Farms' all natural and gluten free Rio Grande Black Bean Corn Salsa to bring back home to share with the Momma-woman. And a jar of Rustlin Rob's strawberry preserves. OK, yes, I also bought a jar of Green Chili Dip, but don't tell the wife cause there probably won't be any left by the time I get back home. So much yummy stuff! I also grabbed a circular with their web site advertised. I have a feeling I'll be doing a little online shopping.

Just one corner in Rustlin Rob's.
Waddling back toward the museum, I already knew I would not be joining the crowd for supper that night. I had enough food in me to last several days and was in great danger of exploding right then and there. But oh what a happy waddle! Every day of the trip, I did good on my eating healthy goal; every day except this one. It was a well deserved splurge. I'll be good tomorrow.

Along the way, we passed the house where Chester Nimitz was born on 24 February, 1885. He grew up in Fredericksburg and eventually obtained the rank of 5 Star Admiral and Commander in Chief, United States Pacific Fleet for U.S. and Allied air, land, and sea forces during World War II. He graduated with honors from the Naval Academy in 1905. For the first 2 years of World War I, he served on several ships until becoming an Aid to Admiral Robison who was the commander of the Atlantic submarine forces. On September 2, 1945 Nimitz signed for the United States when Japan formally surrendered on board the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.  He then served as Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) from 1945 until 1947. Nimitz suffered a stroke, complicated by pneumonia, in late 1965 and died the evening of February 20, 1966. He was the United States' last surviving Fleet Admiral.

We eventually made it back to the museum and took in the part which we had not gone through earlier in the day. It was just as interesting as the morning's tour. By the time we made it back out to the outdoor courtyard and started looking at the plaques we had skipped earlier, it was getting really hot and about time to head home so off we went back to Kerrville.

Shopping in Fredericksburg, Texas
Chester Nimitz was born here.
Fredericksburg is definitely worth 2 or 3 days of visiting. Nice, clean, friendly folks, and lots of things to see and do.

(Please click here to read the first post of this series.)