Tuesday, February 04, 2014

The Long Dark Weekend of the Soul

The problem with government employee holidays is they always sneak up on you. There you are, innocently minding your own business, and you suddenly realize that LBJ's birthday falls on the next Monday and if you don't make spectacular plans for it, you're completely frivoling away one of your few chances to thumb your nose at the private sector.

One excellent plan would be to visit the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historic Park in Stonewall. This is the site of LBJ's ranch, and by the way, the only state-designated Ranch Road in Texas (Ranch Road 1). We have lots of other state-maintained roads colloquially referred to as ranch roads, but they're not. They're really Ranch-to-Market Roads, which are the same thing as Farm-to-Market Roads (technically the same classification), so you can call them RMs, but they are really FMs, and RRs? Nope, just the one.

The more you know.

Anyway, the LBJ Ranch features the Texas White House, a nice, reasonably modest old frame house which houses the late President's office-away-from-the-office. There's a set of throw pillows there - no, really, this is where the joke about Dubya came from - embroidered with a saying of Mr. Johnson's to the effect that this is his place and he'll do as he damn well pleases, except that for some reason the word "well" is left out. Probably the same reason that my grandfather said "a-TALL" instead of "at all." It's some weird old people thing.

There's also a very cool collection of some of LBJ's cars, including the amphibious one he used to drive into the lake with unsuspecting passengers in tow just to see the expressions on their faces, and the ranch's specially bred herd of cattle.

Now - and this perked up my biking bits; God help you if you have a mental image of what those might be - there is also a 9+ mile circuit of paved roads throughout the ranch on which you are encouraged to tune out, clip in, and spin to your heart's content on your road bike, free from the terrors of traffic. It sounds enchanting, to me, because the countryside out there is gently rolling, never terribly steep, you can do as many loops as you want, and Texas winter weather is on the mild side of schizophrenic.

There are loose livestock to contend with, of course. But as long as your own character is irreproachable, this is nothing to be concerned about.

But my boyfriend wants to go to Big Bend Ranch State Park and bring the mountain bikes. Which is a whole nother issue.

Sure, there are loose livestock - I mean, I'm sorry, but cattle are what they are. But there are also heavily armed cacti, javelinas, and other general hazards, including rocks. Generally speaking, I love mountain biking, but would really prefer if the trails were paved. And I had smooth tires. On, you know, something a little more nimble and lightweight. Also, my boyfriend has an unfortunate tendency to be a wheelsucker, which doesn't end well when we're mountain biking and I find myself required to dismount suddenly because tree.

Those fuckers come out of NOWHERE.

So one way or another, we're going on a road trip, in honor of whichever holiday is coming up this time (I can't be bothered to look it up if we still get mail delivery on it). Happy whatever it is, all of you who are stuck in the office! I'll be fending off the advances of cattle and running into the underbrush.

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At February 06, 2014 11:14 AM, Anonymous crosspalms said...

Just don't pick any dogs up by the ears. People get upset.

At February 06, 2014 12:21 PM, Blogger Beth said...

I'll be darned. Had never heard of that. It does sound like a fairly bad idea.

I like the ad below in this search result.


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