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Saturday, April 13, 2024

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Under the Chinaberry Tree

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Monday, April 8
Fran Houser Adrian Midway Cafe
Tuesday, April 9
Peter Avila San Benito Conjunto Museum
Wednesday, April 10
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Thursday, April 11
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Friday, April 12
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by Tumbleweed Smith

I haven't spent much time doing lake stuff. When we took vacations with our kids we always went to the mountains or seashore. But after a long weekend on Lake Amistad, I'm ready to catch a fish, take a boat ride, paddle a kayak, look at the stars and sleep on a houseboat.

On the way down to Del Rio we stopped at the Seminole Canyon State Park west of Comstock and visited with superintendent Randy Rosales. The park does an amazing job of depicting the life of early residents in the area. The nearby canyons were once home to people who produced primitive art on the walls and ceilings of caves and rock ledges. Visitors can take a mile long hike to explore the paintings up close. When we were there, a busload of students all the way from Corpus Christi were touring the park's museum. Mr. Rosales says he gets visitors from all over the world who are interested in the drawings. One of the areas called Panther Cave is accessible only by boat. We are interested in rock art and wanted to go there, but didn't have time.

When we got to Del Rio we met up with three other couples, close friends of ours, who were out to have some fun on the water. We all belong to a dinner club that meets once a month in someone's home for a nice meal. Two of the couples had been going fishing and boating on the lake since it was completed in 1969. The surface area of the lake is Texas-size, 65,000 acres, and shares a common border with Mexico. A string of buoys marks the boundary between the two countries.

We rented an air-conditioned houseboat that had four bedrooms, an upstairs covered deck, a living room, two bathrooms and complete kitchen. One of the couples acted as hosts and provided all the food and most of the drinks for the weekend. I was surprised to find out the people renting the houseboat had to pilot it. It's 59 feet long and when I got behind the wheel, it seemed like I was steering a big cruise ship.

The two couples familiar with the lake had been going to a secluded area surrounded by hills about three hours from the marina. We had two boats and three kayaks and made good use of all of them. We caught fish, swam in the perfect water (the houseboat had a slide on it) and enjoyed sitting on the top deck in the cool breeze that lasted all the time we were there. We looked at the stars through a telescope. Satellite radio provided music for dancing. Pretty hard to beat.

The host couple prepared gourmet meals and special cocktails in the late afternoons. We took several fishing expeditions and caught a few fish. We shared a medium size bass for dinner one night. It was special to be out the water, riding in a boat with the wind in our faces. Susan and I were thrilled when the hosts decided to boat over to Panther Cave. We spent some time there looking at the rock art, some of which is extremely well preserved.

The weekend was one of the most totally relaxing times I've ever had. We all enjoyed it so much we're planning to do it again.

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