This is Texas.

When the Texas sun rose over the Hill Country this morning, it marked a week since we crossed the Red River. Three of those days were devoted to getting our fridge replaced. We stayed the next two at a woodsy spot by a lake. The last two days we’ve been perched here on a ridge in the south-central part of the Republic.

This is Texas.

Daytime temps have been in the low to middle 90s. It’s been clear and dry, and we haven’t seen much of a breeze. The way we have Ernie parked, the sun beats on the road side of the coach in the morning, the curb side in the afternoon and the roof pretty much all day long.

While the sun’s up, our air conditioners — we run the bedroom AC at night and the living-space unit during the day — can only try to keep up. Same’s true of the fridge.

Deploying all four awnings helps, With many more shadeless hot-weather stops ahead of us, handling the heat is something we must master. Our time on this Texas ridge is helping us learn what works and what doesn’t.

So far, so good. We’re managing, and so are the dogs. I expect we’ll add a plug-in fan and maybe some Reflectix panels for the windows.

Our friends drove us down into Bandera yesterday afternoon, where we sampled some of the local culture. We began, uncharacteristically, with a late lunch at Pap’s Italian Grill — maybe not what you’d expect us to seek out, considering where we are, but the food was authentic and the service was great.

Next we prowled Main Street in this self-proclaimed “Cowboy Capital of the World.” We strolled the sidewalks and browsed at random, chasing shade outdoors and ducking into air-conditioned shops to escape the heat. One of the most intriguing places was the old Bandera General Store — wood floors and stamped-metal ceilings, an old-fashioned soda fountain and a breathtaking selection of candies.

I picked up a jar of locally made Fickle Pickles. And at The Cowboy Store I bought a “cowboy hat.” This time of year is what Texans call “straw season,” so I came away with a straw Stetson 10X. It fits like a glove and it’s comfortable as hell. I’m sure it’ll make its debut here on the blog soon.

After a brief stop back at the bus to check on Scout and Dipstick, we grabbed a beer at Bandera Brewery, Outstanding brews, especially the “Your Mother Was a Hamster” IPA. We ended our day kickin’ back with the natives at Kickback Korner — dinner (beef quesadilla with jalapeño gravy) and beer (Lone Star Original).

I was glad to see that Kickback Korner is a “smoke ’em if you got ’em” joint. Made my day.

Music was provided by a live band, but my entertainment came from a group of locals tossing quarters on a pool table near where we were sitting. Dollar a throw, closest to the spot, winner takes all. One particular blonde really had the hang of the game, raising the ante to five bucks and cleaning up.

As I write this, sipping my second cup of coffee, it’s coming up on 10am. Deb’s still in bed, and I just switched the air conditioning to the front of the coach. We have overdue chores to knock out here today, but we may find ourselves back in town to pick up a couple of items at the hardware store. That’d be fine.

Besides, there’s an interesting-looking diner down on Main Street, and I can almost taste the Blue Bell ice cream at the soda fountain.

Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

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