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Friday, March 14, 2014

Don't Fence Me In

Yesterday I was fascinated with some of the ranch entrances we passed as my sister Charlou and I drove through Texas Hill Country.

And then there was this one:

President Lyndon Baines Johnson was born and raised here and died here in 1973. Lady Bird Johnson, the first lady, continued to live here and in Austin after LBJ's death. She passed away in 2007.

They donated 674 acres of the 1,500-acre ranch to the National Park Service prior to LBJ's death to protect his birthplace, his grandparents' home, the schoolhouse, the cemetery and LBJ's and Lady Bird's home. The Johnson daughters, Luci and Lynda, continue to own the surrounding lands.

Before we toured the Texas White House, we stopped by the Visitors Center.

We got our free driving permit and purchased a CD that served as an audio tour guide as we drove through the ranch.

It is a working ranch, so we were mindful of livestock along the roadside and slow-moving ranch vehicles.

The Pedernales River runs through the ranch.

Trinity Lutheran Church, which the Johnsons attended, is just across the river from the ranch.

The one-room school house LBJ attended:

The Show Barn was another one of our stops along the driving tour.

These ranch hands are long-time employees of the LBJ Ranch and are all from nearby towns.

I was eager to try roping the steer and was dead serious about it!

Charlou riding tall in the saddle:

This little guy (see him?) was born two weeks ago. They're keeping a watchful eye on him and his mama.

LBJ often traveled on Air Force One, but he also traveled on this smaller jet, affectionately named Air Force One-Half. I don't know if a U.S. president in modern times would be allowed to travel on such a small aircraft.

The runway on the ranch is now the parking lot for Texas White House tours.

The 8,000-square-foot, 28-room Texas White House is beautiful.

LBJ spent about 20 percent of his presidency here.

The gigantic oak tree in front of the house is known now as the Cabinet Oak because so many cabinet decisions were made under it.

Some of its ancient branches are now held up by wooden supports.

Interesting that right this minute, as I'm writing this, The View is on and Alan Cranston is the guest. He is starring in a Broadway play about LBJ. I had no idea.

Anyway, photos are not allowed to be taken inside the Texas White House. Here's an image from the LBJ Ranch website:

Our tour guide reminded us that the reason for three TVs was that there were only three channels: ABC, CBS and NBC, which LBJ had on at all times to see news coverage.

Behind the house there is this wonderful upside-down L-shaped area where dignitaries, celebrities, international heads of state and others wrote their names in cement when they visited the Texas White House. It's a great idea.

That's Charlou at the upper left taking a closer look.

LBJ gave his daughter Luci Baines Johnson this 1965 Corvette Stingray for her 18th birthday. She lives in Austin and still drives it when she visits the ranch.

The LBJ 100 is coming up at the end of the month. Luci rides every year.

I can't believe our week-long vacation is almost over! We fly back to our respective areas tomorrow.

In the meantime, we're off to have some German food for lunch. German food is as big as Tex-Mex in Texas Hill Country due to the strong German immigrant roots here.

I think there's some hasenpfeffer with my name on it!

1 comment:

  1. I can't say Texas is on my bucket list (not even Austin) but this little tour had my interest. LBJ was my first conscious remembrance of a president. And that photo picking up a beagle by the ears is seared into my memory.

    btw: they aren't kidding about those Texas Big Skies