Road Trippin’ – Schulenburg, Tx


Facebook post June 17, 2017……

I heard the organ from outside…….
I entered the church and heard singing; thinking how nice to have a recording for visitors.
I stood at the alter and listened for several minutes, thinking I was alone…..
I turned to leave……
The Father of the church was singing in the balcony of this historical church.
The most beautiful, acoustic sound.
It was an emotional experience for me…..


Saints Cyril and Methodius Church, Dubina, TX

My one day adventure to Schulenburg, Tx to tour the historical painted churches was a day of sweet serenity.

What better way to start a tour of churches than stopping first at a winery; after all they were Catholic churches! Like most of these vineyards, they are in the middle of nowhere and The Whistling Duck was no different. I drove my little red Focus 8 miles down a red rock road; not meeting one other car. I’ve said it once (or twice) and I’ll say it again……..so thankful for my little cellular device; without it I wouldn’t be able to find these delightful vineyards. The owners are always so friendly and willing to talk about their wines. I visited 2 other vineyards on this adventure; Majek…..where they do their tastings in shot glasses……Texas style! And Moravia…….unfortunately I was not impressed with this winery or the staff and that’s all I’ll say about that. This adventure was focused on the churches……

Saints Cyril and Methodius Church on FM 1383 in Dubina, Tx was built in 1876, destroyed by a hurricane in 1909 and rebuilt and painted in 1912 (according to Google). It was the smallest and quaintest of the churches I visited that day.

Photos below by Jeri Shivers


Second being St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, Schulenburg,Tx (Ammansville)
Built in 1918
Painted in 1919
Photos below taken by Jeri Shivers


Third being Nativity of Mary Blessed Virgin, Schulenburg, Tx (High Hill)
Built in 1906
Painted in 1912
Photos below take by Jeri Shivers


Fourth being St. Mary’s Church of Assumption, Flatonia, Tx ( Praha)
Built in 1892
Painted in 1892
Photos below taken by Jeri Shivers


(I was not able to enter St. Mary’s, their sign said “closed for mass”)

While approaching the small church of Saints Cyril and Methodius, I heard the most beautiful singing, in Latin I assumed; it wasn’t English. It was a lovely sound out in the middle of nowhere.

There is something so pristine and surreal about entering an empty church alone……..

I entered the church quietly so as not to disturb anyone.

Who? The heavens?

I was alone……

The church was meticulously hand-painted in blue and white. No stained glass, only frosted windows. This church was filled with light. There were barred doors between the small foyer and the sanctuary. The doors were pulled together but unlocked, so I went in. I touched the walls and inspected the handy work of the painting. I ran my hands along the old pews. I admired the statues of the Virgin Mary and the Crucifixion. I walked along the alter, but didn’t approach the pulpit. I stood for several minutes admiring the huge sculptures behind the pulpit where the sermons are given. All the while listening to the beautiful singing and remembering my grandmother who was a devoted Catholic. It made me smile.

My heart filled with emotion when I turned to leave. At no time did I expect to see anyone else in the church; I thought I was alone.

But there standing in the balcony of this beautiful small church was the Father. Singing like a beautiful songbird with so much clarity and volume, I thought it was a recording. The acoustics were amazing.

I stood in shock for a fraction of a moment. Feeling a little guilty, I felt I had disturbed his praise time. He never stopped singing as I walked quietly back down the aisle. As I disappeared under the balcony and into the small foyer…….the singing stopped.

A surreal moment in time.

As I sat in my car trying to gather my thoughts and write a post for my Facebook page about what just happened; the Father emerged from the church. I watched as he climbed into his Toyota Tacoma pickup……..a pickup I had not noticed when I drove up half an hour earlier.

He drove away.

This time I really was alone; asking myself, “Did that really just happen?”
And yes; it was a twilight zone experience that most people may not “get”……..

but it totally got to me.

I couldn’t begin to write about the other churches I visited. They were bigger, grander and more intricate, but none of them affected me the way this little historical church did. Imagine my surprise to discover (while looking for the correct dates about the churches) this little church is to be viewed from the foyer BEHIND the barred doors. Full access is only allowed by the occasional guided tour and mass on Saturdays and Sundays.

I had special privileges that day.

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Road Trippin’…….Wimberley, TX


Logbook entry April 16, 2017………….Trip #3 on my year long adventure of discovering my state was in Wimberley, TX. A little gem hidden in the rocks and hills of the beautiful hill country of Texas. It was an easy 4 hour drive from my little island and I drove straight to my first destination arriving about noon.
First stop Jacob’s Well. A natural rock reservoir that’s 35 feet deep and then takes a turn under the rock and goes out 135 feet. The reservoir is fed by under ground springs and is 66 to 68 degrees year round. It was a little hike to it, but nothing to steep or strenuous. It is well worth the trip. The water in the creek is as clear as bath water and the water in the “well” is the most stunning indigo blue. It was a natural beauty. Swimming is allowed by permit only and begins in May. Swimmers are allowed to jump from the high rocks into the “well”. I can only guess it must be exhilarating as the “well” is not that big in roundness! I will never know! LOL

That little hike made me a little bit thirsty, so off I go to find my first winery. Wimberley Valley Winery is a beautiful little winery that backs up to a farm that has miniature horses, miniature donkeys and miniature goats. The winery has picnic tables, swings and settees on the back property and they encourage the customers to visit the animals. The animals love the customers.

Gabrielle was my sweet hostess. When she was waiting on another couple I heard her say, “Oh MY Lanta!” My face lite up. My son’s sweet girlfriend is the only other person I have ever heard use this phrase. I knew Gabrielle and I would be fast friends. We were kindred spirits. She loved the beach and she loved wine. Young and beautiful, she is studying to be a sommelier and was inspired to run her own winery. If I had a tasting room, I’d recruit her to work for me. She’s bright and bubbly, educated and informative. I loved her. We had a grand time together. But I was on a time schedule. I couldn’t drink wine and talk to animals at one place. I had to keep moving. She recommended a restaurant for dinner, then sent me on my way.

I was off to find “Old Baldy”. I wanted to hike to the top and check out the view. After driving around and around this “hill” in a neighborhood, I realized I was making circles around “Old Baldy”. No parking lot. No signs. Only a set of stairs leading up to the sky. 236 stairs to be exact. 236 steps up to utter quiet peace. I spent 25 minutes on the top all by myself. Soft wind and sun. The butterflies my only company. It was complete bliss. And the view; well it was not to shabby either.

Evening was moving in and it was time to find my restaurant. I head downtown to find The Leaning Pear, the spot my girl Gabrielle recommended. Kindred spirits indeed! This little place had a farm to table menu that was right up my alley. Good wine and craft beer loaded the menu as well. It was a perfect choice for me. As I walked up to the restaurant, I noticed in the parking lot, a life sized cowboy boot (5 foot). It was all painted up by an area artist. I thought it was a rather odd place for a boot to be. It was a parking lot for pete’s sake!

After dinner I decide to search out some dessert. According to my little cellular device, there was a fro-yo place just around the corner, so off I go to find it. To my surprise, guess what else I find? Life sized cowboy boots! All painted differently! Of course I had to google it and see what was up with all the boots. It seems it was a project in 2014 started by the Wimberley Valley Arts and Cultural Alliance to bring recognition to the arts and enhance cultural tourism. It is lovingly called “Bootiful Wimberley” and there are 50 total scattered throughout the town. I found 23. If I had more time I would have made it a goal to find them all, but since it was not on my list of things to see, I was happy with the 23 I found. It was dusk and I could hear my momma calling………”time to come in, play time is over”. I was satisfied with my day and ready to relax in my hotel.

I had to start my day early. I had things planned to do and a 4 hour drive to make it home by dark, so every minute counted. It was dark when I arrived to my hotel the night before, so I didn’t get to check out the property. It was the first thing to do on my list the following morning. Nestled back in a subdivision is a jewel. Although a little older, the room was large and comfortable. To my surprise the property is surround by a beautiful creek with falls. It was quiet and serene. The Lodge at Cypress Creek is a place I would stay at again. It was much more than I expected for my set budget and wished I’d had more time to spend there. But…..adventure was calling, so check out I did and I hit the road.

Although Hamilton Pools was not on my list of things to do on this trip, I was only 30 miles away and decided to take a chance………………..
Word of caution to free spirits like me………..
Arrive before 9 a.m. or call before making the trip.
They have 72 parking spaces. When those parking spaces are full, they start a line; when they reach 72 in the line, they turn people away. No matter how far you drove…….they turn you away. Arrive very early if you plan on getting in. I guess you know…………

I did not get in. My mood was not dampened, it was not on my list this trip, so I turned around and headed for the wineries!

Driftwood Vineyard and Winery was on top of a vista; up a road so steep and windy, I’m sure when it rains they have no visitors. But oh; the grounds and view of the vineyards is spectacular. The wine was a little pricey and only a few actually were from the Texas vineyard. Most were from their sister vineyard in California. I guess that explains the price. None the less; the view was worth the climb.

My last stop was Bella Vista Ranch. This is a working Olive grove and vineyard. Producing Olive oil and wine. Thank goodness for GPS, as this ranch was several miles down a single lane road. A 2 hour lecture, tour and tasting of olive oil and wine. It was the most informative tour I have ever taken.

The owner……………masters degree in physics and financial accounting…….decided he was tired of the corporate world and left California and in 1998 moved to Texas to become an olive farmer. You go dude!!
Olive trees are hearty, sub-tropical, stone-fruit bearing trees. Texas is ideal and not so ideal for these trees. They grow well, but the sudden change in Texas weather can be detrimental to a harvest and can destroy a grove. The ranch’s first harvest was in 2003 and it’s been operating and growing on “a wing and a scotch” ever since. It is the first olive ranch in Texas and now one of 15 producing olives.  Olives are harvested in September and they are hand picked from the trees on this ranch.  If you were to eat the olives right off the tree, they pack as much heat as a jalapeño pepper; very different from what we know olives to taste like.  This visit was well worth the $15 spent.

And with all good things………….there comes an end.

My time in Wimberley was over. It was to short as there was so much more to see.

Another time, another trip………..

My weekend ends Easter Sunday with a sunrise baptism of my son’s sweet girlfriend, Jessie, a visit with my mother and sister and an afternoon at the place I love; doing the things I love most………

hanging with the seagulls and writing about my adventures.

Road Trippin’………..Wharton, TX


Logbook entry January 15, 2017……….First stop on the map of discovery fell into a category (when googled) as “a small town with unique things to see.” I’d never been to Wharton, it’s fairly close to home; only 97 miles, so I decided this would be good place to begin my year long journey of discovering new roads.

This would be good 1, of 2, day trips on my year long plan.

It was gloomy and rainy when I got up; causing me to want to change my mind. “No Jeri, stick to the plan. Hit the road.”

It’s about an hour and 45 minute drive and I wasn’t looking forward to driving in rain and traffic (I hate to drive).

But I set out……….

I put my destination in mapquest and closed my garage door.

First stop before the freeway…….Starbucks. I needed coffee to deal with rain and traffic.

About 20 miles down the freeway my GPS takes me off of the freeway.

“Why am I getting off the freeway?”
“Damn it! Already I’ve screwed up!” (my ditzy, directionally challenged mini me screamed in my ear). Anyone that knows me or has read any of my stories, knows that I am seriously directionally challenged…..it SUCKS.
I argue with myself, “NO! I haven’t screwed up! I’m following the GPS!”

The further I went the less populated it became. The rain had stopped and I began to relax in my drive. I realized the GPS shortest route was down back roads. I found myself driving down 2 lane country roads where there were no Starbucks, no Buckees, no Loves Truck stop and no traffic. Only miles and miles of cattle pastures and long country roads.

Who knew less than 50 miles was one of the largest city’s in the states…….Houston, TX

I arrived to Wharton to find a quiet little town, with a Junior College, life sized dinosaur (in one of the city parks), a quirky Tee Pee Motel; built in the 1940’s and still operating today and a beautiful courthouse.

I took a chance taking my first day trip on a Sunday, most of the little shops were closed. But I found one shop on the historical courthouse square with so much hodge podge, it kept me busy for an hour. My next stop was the city park where I was greeted by a friendly dinosaur. I felt like he was watching over the iron bridge that was not longer operational; but still lead passage over the Brazos River to the other side. It began to rain, so I bid my friend farewell and headed out in search of the quirky Tee Pee Motel.

There on the outskirts of town, in the middle of no where stood 10 structures in the shape of Tee Pees. When you round the bend, it was an unusual sight. One that makes you turn around and go back. I pulled in to check them out. They were indeed quirky! Lucky for me I walked upon one being cleaned. The girl cleaning was very friendly and laughed when I asked if I could check it out.

Much to my surprise; it was round inside! I guess I was expecting a square room in a round tee pee……..LOL! It had all the modern conveniences; queen bed, sofa, flat screen TV, shower and air conditioning. The only thing missing were windows. Go figure! She explained they were rented just like regular motel rooms at $75 per night. I thought it was a little pricey, as I didn’t find much to do in this quiet little town. I graciously thanked her for letting me poke around and I jumped in my car and headed back to G-town.

I came.
I saw.

Although it was not a grand adventure, it was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon and a good beginning to my goal of discovering new places.

February’s destination ~ Waco, TX, where Dr. Pepper was created!
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