Day 14 - Wednesday 23rd September 2015
Written by Kev
We meet Deb and Matt in the lobby at 9.00am and decide to eat breakfast in the hotel. The location is lovely as we are outside overlooking the river. Unfortunately the service is slow and the food forgettable. I have Eggs Benedict and both the eggs are overcooked and solid.
Sharon and Evan
join us as we finish our food. Matt goes to valet parking and The
Beast is unleashed from its lair.
We are going to Shiner today. Sharons parents own a ranch there and we are also going to do a tour of the Shiner Brewery. As Keith tells us later, Shiner is the perfect Texas town cattle, beer and oil all in one place.
Im driving today and it takes just over two hours as we stop at Buc-ees on the way. This is a massive gas station. No one seems sure of exactly how many pumps they have, but we fill up at pump 50. Sharon and Evan think there are around 60. Inside is a huge shop selling all sorts of Buc-ees memorabilia as well as food and drink. This place is bigger than most UK supermarkets. I buy a t-shirt and Tam gets some little things as presents for the girls.
Back in the car
we drive on to Shiner, which is a small town made rich by oil.
This has been found in many places locally.
We continue on out into the country along dirt roads for 2 or 3 miles until we come to the ranch. Sharons parents, Wilbert and Charlotte, make us very welcome. Wilbert has recently had a back operation and so cant get around much. He tells us a lot about the ranch. Its on 2 different parcels of land. The first, with the ranch house on it, is just under 200 acres and the second is just a little smaller. They currently have 120 adult cattle and 40 to 50 calves. This is a beef ranch, not dairy.
The view out of the ranch house window is lovely as you look out at the fields with the cattle grazing happily. Charlotte has prepared snacks, such as beef jerky, dried sausage and crackers with cream cheese and raspberry chipotle jam sauce. Wilbert offers a continual supply of beer and soft drinks.
After half an hour we have to leave and drive back to Shiner for the brewery tour. This is interesting, but is not as long as it should be as they are expanding quite considerably and the bottling plant is off limits at the moment. You get 4 tokens to sample various Shiner products back in the gift shop. Unfortunately I cant take full advantage as Im driving. There are all sorts of Shiner beer associated products for sale they havent missed a single opportunity for merchandising. I buy a t-shirt and a bar towel. Sharon buys some beer mats, which she gives us as a reminder of our visit.
I drive back to
the ranch where Evan takes us on a tour of the property in a pick
up truck. Youll get a feel for the size of the place when I
tell you that we travel around the boundary of both parcels of
land (they are only a couple of miles apart) and it takes about
an hour. Evan is obviously very proud of the ranch and his dream
is one day to take over and run it.
Back at the ranch house we chat away to Wilbert and Charlotte and are also joined by Sharons sister Debbie and her husband, Chip. We talk for over an hour and Wilbert provides more beer. I guarantee you will never be thirsty in Wilberts house.
At 5.00pm we have to leave and start our journey back to San Antonio. We say farewell and are very grateful to Wilbert and Charlotte who have greeted us like long lost friends and have been incredibly hospitable.
On the journey home we came across this creepy, derelict house. Texas Chainsaw Massacre? I reckon so.
The drive back
takes a little less time at 90 minutes and we go to our room to
shower quickly before meeting up again in the bar where Keith has
joined the party.
We have a quick drink then walk to the Saltgrass restaurant. We are seated swiftly due to Keiths Landrys card (Saltgrass is part of that chain) and Tam and I order margaritas. When they arrive they are in glasses the size of a small bucket.
I have the
steak and shrimp combo and the food is good, but I think we all
feel its a little too late to be eating, as we dont
start our meal until 9.30pm.
I try to pay the bill, but Keith wont have it and picks up the tab for everything. What is it with these Texans and their generosity? They wont let me pay for anything! This is a joke, of course. We are very grateful to have such wonderful and generous friends.
We walk back to the Contessa and say goodnight to the Texas contingent. We are going to get a drink at the bar, but it is already shut at 11.00pm. This does not go down well. Perhaps its for the best as were all tired. In bed and asleep by midnight.
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