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Sunday, March 1, 2015

A Visit to Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park

I visited my daughter and her family in Dripping Springs, Texas last weekend. The weather was unusually cold and wet and just got worse.  I planned to camp all week as I worked my way to Choke Canyon State Park and had reserved two nights at Pedernales State Park, a truly beautiful and birdy park.  I extended my stay with my daughter one day, then went to the state park early Tuesday morning to go birding.  But there were no birds at either of the two blinds and and no one came to add food.  So I decided to leave and not stay at the park that night.  Since the weather was so bad, birds everywhere were in hiding so I decided to finally visit the LBJ Ranch, just out of Johnson City.  

The ranch is on the Pedernales River, one of the most beautiful rivers in Texas.  President Johnson loved the ranch and it and the river was his inspiration for  some 300 bills on clean rivers and other environmental and conservation.  Both he and Lady Bird Johnson are buried there. 


The ranch maintains a small herd of bison


View of the river and the dam  built by Johnson, as well as the low water crossing


One of the few cypress trees along the river

The one-room school house where Johnson learned to read at four

Johnson's childhood home, rebuilt

View of one of the rooms in Johnson's childhood home

President and Lady Bird Johnson are buried almost across from his childhood home

The view of the Lutheran church, where the Johnsons worshiped,  across the river from the cemetery

The only cost to visit the ranch is the guided tour though the Texas White House. This building was Johnson's aunt's house.  He traded her his mother's old house in Johnson City, plus $100 per month for life for it.  The left side is original but there are at least two huge bedrooms added to the right.  We were not allowed to take pictures inside, but the house is probably worth less than $250,000 if is was in Houston. It was amazingly unpretentious.

The Texas White House


Johnson  got 250 acres with the house his aunt traded him but soon purchased enough more land to have a 2700 acre ranch.  He learned to be a cattle rancher and raised prize winning Herefords.  This is still a working ranch and has descendants of the original cattle. 


A few of the herefords

Johnson loved to give BBQ's on the Pedernales River.  He served them out of his chuck wagon.


Rear view of the chuck wagon

There was an entire herd of these goats - maybe 50

I decided to just go on over to Junction, Texas and get a motel room.  I stopped at the Fredericksburg Library to make a reservation.  Between Fredericksburg and Junction I passed through a very icy area.  I had to stop to take pictures and found that fog had frozen into crystals.  The landscape was gorgeous but the close ups were fascinating. 


Ice on cactus


These ice crystals grew horizontally on the barbed wire fence