RV Trip 10.8 – Lockhart SP, McKinney Falls SP, Blanco SP – Jan 16-21, 2023

The next morning it was just us and the cows and the dogs at the harvest host.  We headed into Lockhart and parked by the old jail so we could walk around the historic downtown district.  It was Martin Luther King Jr Day so several buildings were closed.  From a distance we did see part of the March of honour for MLK.  Lockhart was officially declared the BBQ capital of Texas, so it wasn’t long before we found Smitty’s Market.  It was in a very old building with the BBQ pits in the back that use the traditional open pit fire.  Even though it was early we got some brisket and sausage.  The brisket was very good, the sausage was ok.

We headed over to Lockhart SP but had to park in the day use as it was before check-in.  We saw the remains of the old CCC swimming pool and check dams (used to hold back the creek water) before doing the Fork Creek Trail and Wild Rose Loop (3 kms).  We ended up in the campground where we talked to fellow LTV owners Julie and Paul.

We finally got checked in and then went to hike the rest of the trails, Hilltop, Chisholm, Comanche Loop, Rattlesnake Run, and Caddy (4.5 kms).  There is evidence of the CCC 1930s work all along the way including the 2 seater latrine ruins, water tower and recreation hall.  We were above the historic 9-hole golf course where there used to be a tee on the hill.  We took the Caddy’s trail down to the golf course, in the day, the golfers took a tram down after teeing off.

We only had one night at this park and on the way out of town we went to Terry Black’s BBQ for lunch.  They use a different smoking method here. The pitmasters explained to us that they had large propane tanks modified and turned them on their side so the fire on the one end and a chimney on the other which drew the smoke drift over the meat for a nice slow cook. They go through 1 to 2 cords of wood per day! This was by far our favourite BBQ place of the 4 that we tried. The huge Beef Rib melted in your mouth, the brisket was good, the Jalapeno and Cheese sausages were the best we tried. They had lots of sides to choose from and they would give you a small sample of them so you could pick what you liked best, we picked the potato salad, mac ’n’ cheese, and green beans that had excellent spices on them. There was no way we could finish it all, but leftovers are good when you’re travelling in an RV😉

Next stop was McKinney Falls SP close to Austin.  This is a large, popular park, which is why we could only book it during the week.  After getting setup we hiked the Onion Creek trail to the Horse Trainer’s Cabin (where I ripped one of my favourite shirts on some barb wire), saw the Smith Visitor Centre and Upper McKinney Falls, hiked the Rock Shelter trail to see the 100′ tall 500-year-old Bald Cyprus called Old Baldy, and then saw the Rock Shelter used by the Native Americans over 8000 years ago. We walked to the Lower Falls over a massive area of limestone that was part of the 2500-mile road stretching from Mexico to Louisiana called the El Camino Real.  An important river crossing for over 400 years, and we too crossed the river to go see the old McKinney Homestead and the Grist Mill (total 6 kms).

Over the next two days we biked the trails. The first day we did 6 kms on Onion Creek Trail as this was the first ride since Sharon had recovered. The next day we did a 15 km ride on Onion, Homestead, Flint Rock, and Williamson Creek trails. This larger loop was more physical with hills and rocks, and I reached a top speed of 45 kph at one point. After this one we had completed all the trails in the park. We really liked this park due to the scenery and lots of trails.

When we left McKinney Falls SP, we were heading SW to Blanco SP, but our research showed that there were 32 breweries, wineries and distilleries in the Dripping Springs area that we would be driving through, so we decided to make some stops. Our first stop was Acopon Brewing Company and the brewmaster said they didn’t have any food for lunch so he said we could walk across the street to the British Bakery and pick up food to bring back. They had some really interesting things there, so we tried the Puff Chicken Pot Pie, the Jalapeno Sausage Roll, the Scotch Egg, and a Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie. We took the food back to the brewery and I bought a flight of beer which included, Society #7 Chocolate Cherry Milk Porter, Saturnalia IPA, Clockwork IPA, and the Baykok Imperial Stout. I really liked 3 of the 4 beers and we also really liked the British Bakery food! A cool feature at this brewery was that you could buy cans of the draft beer to go. He filled the can with the draft I picked, put a lid on it, and put it in a press to seal it, so naturally I bought a couple to go.😉 After lunch Sharon checked out some of the historic buildings and shops in Dripping Springs and the slide shows one built in 1937 that served as a barbershop and post office.

Since we went to a brewery, we thought we would also try Graveyard Vineyards just off the main road, we liked the name as it reminded us of Coffin Ridge Winery back home. We didn’t know when we chose it that it was not a Texas winery but instead a Paso Robles California winery that just had a tasting room in Texas. However, it turned out they had excellent wines, some of the best we’ve tried on this trip, so we shared a red tasting flight and then bought 3 bottles.

Blanco SP is a relatively small park but we had picked it because we could get a campsite for the weekend. It basically straddles the Blanco River right in the town of Blanco and was built by the CCC in 1933. After checking in you drive across a low water crossing to get to the campsites. We had done some grocery shopping before arriving, so the first thing Sharon did was sample the really good Blue Bell ice cream we had purchased😉 Reason being, the RV freezer doesn’t keep ice cream hard so you need to eat it right away! After that we did a short walk around the campground and down the river to see some of the CCC built structures.

After brunch the sun was out so we decided to walk around the town of Blanco. We first visited some antique shops and then some of the vintage buildings by the town square. Next we went to see the Old Blanco County Courthouse which was built in 1886 and it was open to tour the inside. It was only used for 4 years as they then moved the county courthouse functions to Johnson City. It was used for various other purposes over the years such as school, bank, opera house, farmer’s union hall and a hospital (over 1000 babies were delivered in the building). The upstairs courtroom was actually used in the 2010 movie True Grit with Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon. We completed walking around the square looking at the shops and then went to the Oro Bianco Italian Creamery. This place had incredible products all made from the milk of their herd of Water Buffalo’s! The girl told us they had around 1,000 head in their herd. They made cheeses, cured meats and gelato. We sampled several products and of course had to buy several. We also bought 2 types of gelato and it was incredibly creamy and also incredibly filling.

After we returned to the campground, we needed to wear off the gelato so we went for a 4 km hike around the park on the nature trail and also to the see more of the CCC built structures.

That will conclude this blog and the next blog will cover some more new to us State Parks as well as the Lyndon B. Johnson historic sites. Be sure to leave us any feedback you want directly as a comment on the blog or in the FB post. We always love hearing what you thought😉


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