Tuesday, April 1, 2014

San Angelo, Texas

After a week in El Paso, then a couple of days at Balmorhea State Park, we are now at Goodfellow Air Force Base Recreation Center in San Angelo, Texas. Jim picked San Angelo and the GAFB rec center as our next stop because it's not only near water, it's near a lot of water: Lake Nasworthy and the South Concho River which flows through the lake.  

San Angelo was founded by European American in 1867 when the US built Fort Concho, one of the many forts built to protect people as pioneers moved west.  The lake was built in 1930 by a local utility company to provide municipal water to the city.

According to Wikipedia,  San Angelo was at one time a "fairly lawless cow town filled with brothels, saloons and gambling houses."  In fact, the guy who checked us in at our RV Park told me about a restaurant in town called Miss Hattie's that used to be a brothel.  He said the story is that the brothel was connected via a tunnel to a bank, so people could appear to be "doing bank business."

The former cow town now has thrift stores, jewelry shops, antique mini-malls, art galleries, half a dozen brew pubs, a couple of wine bars and a city park system with 32 parks.  Pretty good for a town of about 96,000 people.

Jim discovered Joe's Brewhouse while I was wandering around the shops.  I joined Jim and we loved it.  We spent two hours talking with the great bartender, Allyn, and another customer, Laurie.  
San Angelo's downtown has a mixture of 1950- 60's style buildings plus older buildings with interesting architectural details.
In the early 2000's, San Angelo apparently had a "live sheep stampede" to recreate the glory days of its sheep industry.  Then the artsy town had a contest where businesses purchased plain white fiberglass sheep and local artists were commissioned to paint/decorate them.  This one decorated with pennies -- heads at the front and tails at the rear --  is near a bank.  The sheep statue near the entrance to Goodfellow Air Force Base was wearing a sheepskin bomber jacket.
Jim at San Angelo's Zero One Ale House.  Tourist literature said it was the newest brew pub in town.  Lots of beer selection and great food.
We came on this weird scene at the San Angelo City Library when we walked back to our car.   Our car -- with our kayaks -- is reflected in the middle of the glass.  Reflected in the glass to the left a photographer who was taking photos of the woman against the wall.  To the right is some guy who appeared to be helping, although the photog later took a photo of him and the red-shirted woman hugging; not sure what that was about. The ceramic tiles the woman is leaning against each depict a cowboy reading a book.
The Tom Green Count Courthouse, named after a Tom Green who was a Brigadier General in the Confederate Army, not actor Tom Green who seems crazy and was briefly married to Drew Barrymore. Doubt if you thought it was the latter, however.
Mom:  One of the antique stores had a huge selection of your "autumn leaf" dishware.  A candlestick was going for $125, which seemed hard to believe.  Time to quit running the ramekins through the dishwasher.
Our new friends at our favorite San Angelo pub, Joe's Brewhouse. Laurie works in marketing in Abilene and had just spent the weekend boating at Lake Amistad.  Allyn was our bar tender.  He's a professor at Angelo State University who bar tends for fun.  He should add beer appreciation classes because he's knowledgeable and a great bar keep, too. Topics of conversation included beer, snakes (rattlers vs. water moccasins), exercise, alligators, boating, and a lot more.
Close call:  We went out for Mexican food at a place called Franco's.  Cooper was in the car, so we found a shady parking spot at a Baptist church across the street.  If we'd back up six more inches we would have scraped the kayaks off the car.  

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