Headin’ East Through Central Texas

After building in Las Cruces for a few months Tom and I decided to give ourselves a week or so to get to our next build in Beaumont, Texas. After settling on our date of departure we began planning out some stops, the first of which would be an in the town of Mason where they were scheduled to be dedicating a Habitat house soon. We had built with the all-volunteer affiliate in the close knit community of Mason last year and thought it would be nice to visit with some friends there, as well as see the house that was being built.

To our surprise the crew building there wasn’t as far along as anticipated and so asked if we might be able to help out. Tom and I looked at each other and smiled: we could stay for a couple days, sure. The house had just been painted so as we arrived, there were doors being hung, trim going up, and recessed lighting fixtures going in. Pam, a longtime volunteer with the affiliate, was also connecting the 12v system which would be powered by the rooftop solar panels. To that end, she asked if I could help connect outlets and dimmer switches and then tin the wires at the junction boxes in the attic. This latter task involved both interesting contortions while working under the eaves and a chance to spy on people below.

Sunrise from Mason City Campground

Connecting one of the 12v dimmer switches

Pam tinning wires

Soldering under the eaves

Tinning wires at the junction boxes in the attic

Spying from the attic, part 1: caulking door casings

Spying from the attic, part 2: Through the ductwork I spy some LED installation in the great room

Following that we dedicated 2 days of pure relaxing though in nearby Fredericksburg. Populated by German immigrants in the 19th century, the town is home to dozens, possibly hundreds, of historic buildings and lots of German food and beer. Our first morning was spent walking the main street and through some of the surrounding neighborhoods looking at the beautiful stone work and carved wood doors. Then lunch time came and we got serious about the business of finding a dog-friendly biergarten that would serve Tom some good German food. We found what we were looking for at Altdorf, which had a great selection of imported beers and made me a kick-ass plate of vegan nachos upon request. Tom and Abby were both pretty happy with the sausage sampler.

Our second day we drove east to Pedernales Falls State Park where we spent a few hours rock hopping along the smoothed limestone in the Pedernales River. I had forgotten the aquamarine color of the water in Central Texas and was also pleasantly surprised that the falls were even prettier in real life than in the pictures online (also prettier than my pictures). We enjoyed looking at the potholes and erosion as we picked our way upstream. Since the falls are easily accessible via a half mile trail, the main area was pretty crowded (which is very crowded by our standards), but it was really a pleasant excursion and one we were both glad we went. Finally, on the way back to Fredericksburg we stopped at Pecan Street Brewing in Johnson City where we spent a couple hours tasting flights and enjoying a pint with lunch. The beer was seriously excellent and the place was filed away under the “Will Return” heading.