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Old 17 Sep 15, 09:03 PM  
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CrispyA
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Join Date: Oct 11
Howdy Texas! Day 10 Bandera and Dixie Dude Ranch

The Whispering Palms has a continental breakfast and we had a nice chat with the owner while we ate. He told us that it is so hot that the pool evaporates significantly and needs topping up on a daily basis!

We headed off after breakfast and met with border control again just outside Uvalde. This time we were prepared and had the passports ready for the officers. Uvalde itself looked like a nice town - it calls itself Texas Tree Town (love how all these towns find a claim to fame).

We carried on towards the Hill Country and stopped at Hondo for a visit to Dairy Queen as we hadn't had any blizzards for a while. We also took note of the signs warning us not to pick up hitch-hikers as they might be escaped prisoners !

We got to Bandera around lunch time and stopped for a wander around the "Cowboy Capital". We didn't see many cowboys but we did find a store with a sale on Wrangler pearl snap shirts and got a couple. There was a guy with his face painted outside the shop who offered us the chance to have a picture taken with a "real Comanche" - for 5 dollars. We declined and he was pretty pushy even then, so we crossed the road and avoided him after that.

After a mooch around Bandera, which has a certain laid back charm, we headed for the Dixie Dude Ranch.

This was one of the activities we were most excited about - 2 days on a dude ranch, riding horses. It wasn't cheap but it did include a cabin and all our meals, so with the horse rides as well, it wasn't too bad value.

We were warmly greeted when we arrived and invited to look around as our cabin was nearly ready. Our name was on the board with our table allocation for dinner and our first ride was to be at 3.30pm. We went to the corral and had a look at the horses while we were waiting.





It wasn't long before we could go into the cabin, which was called The Wrangler and was really lovely, with a porch complete with swing. Once we could get inside, we all got ready for riding; we had been advised to wear long trousers and Hannah, Evan and me decided to give our new boots a bit of horse experience as well!



We were a little nervous as we waited at the corral for our ride but the Wranglers were very friendly, with the ride leader, Wrangler Chris, being really welcoming and lovely with everyone. We were all given a horse, some brief instructions (shout "potty break!" if your horse stops to go to the toilet, keep your distance from the horse in front) and then set off on our first ride!

It was good fun and although the horses knew where they were going and barely needed any control, we still felt as though we were riding out on the trail. And, of course, the phrase "potty break!" has become part of our family lingo!

We had been for a couple of riding lessons in preparation, but this was much easier as we were riding Western style and the saddles are bigger and much more comfortable. And we could all walk normally afterwards which was a bonus.

After the ride, we cooled off in the large swimming pool before chilling on the porch and waiting for the dinner bell to summon us. We headed in at 6.00pm when it rang and found our table. It was all a bit strange at first, as we didn't know the routine, but the servers were really friendly and made us feel very welcome. Even though we had told the ranch that Hannah was veggie when we booked it, nobody seemed to have told the kitchen, which was a bit frustrating. The servers assured us there would be something for her at other meals and she made the most of all the side dishes, but the fried fish wasn't particularly veggie-friendly.

After dinner, we were invited to watch a trick roper perform. He was very impressive and great fun. Evan got picked to jump into a moving rope circle and was told that if he didn't manage it, his parent would have to do it in his place. Of course he didn't manage it after that (putting in no effort whatsoever!) and Paul got to do it instead - which he did!



There was some more relaxing on the porch and then we watched as the horses made their way right past the cabin to graze for the evening.



Paul also made a friend.



As it got a little darker, we went to the fire pit where there were marshmallows to toast. It was nice to sit and chat with some of the other guests and we met a family from Fort Worth and a couple from San Antonio.

There was a storm approaching as we decided to call it a night - the sky was beautiful with the swirling cloud and lightening. We got a sudden downpour, that we watched from the shelter of the porch and then it was all over. We retired to our cosy little cabin, tired and happy.

Edited at 10:00 PM.
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Old 17 Sep 15, 09:16 PM  
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Melbatb
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Join Date: Dec 13
Wow - my DD would love the ranch! You all look like real cowboys with the hats and boots!

Hope the veggie food improves!
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2016 Quebec - Kuala Lumpar - New York City 2017 Dubai - Eurocamps France - Ontario and Quebec - So-Cal 2018 Montreal - Bangkok - New England 2019 Argentina - Quebec City - Hong Kong
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Old 19 Sep 15, 07:50 AM  
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katiebaz
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Join Date: Feb 13

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Have always fancied staying in a ranch! Sounds great but shame about the veggie food not being available 😟
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