Along the Guadalupe

After putting this on Facebook, I decided that it may make a nice blog read. We are spending the month of October in Texas. Western Washington State, where we currently live, and south-central Texas are vastly different in climate, geography, and culture. Even the Mexican food here is different (called Tex-Mex). We are “from” Texas. Wife is native-born and I’m a damn-Yankee (she always said it’s one word) transplant. We are staying near the Guadalupe River in New Braunfels. What follows documents my last adventure walking her banks.

I added bug spray to our Wally World shopping list. On my walk this morning, I realized that “humid” is not the same everywhere. Here, it’s oppressive and crushingly heavy, even at 75 degrees. I fed the Texas mosquitos. I plan to heed the signs I’ve seen warning of the illnesses caused by fighting the “battle of the bite.” I wonder how my blood mixed with BP meds and Plavix made the skeeters feel. They were picking on me cuz my thin blood is an easy suck and swallow.

Near a local veteran’s place, I passed a fowl pair, one of whom gave me ample verbal warning. I was not plagued by attack from the VFW ducks cuz after I told them that I had friends who graduated from Oregon U., they let me pass.

It rained nicely during my walk and I enjoyed it. The rain was pleasant for here; no down-pouring buckets or lightening, which is the norm. I got wet; not soaked by the much-appreciated morning gift from the “friendship” state. I was not okay with the hungry insects.

As I was walking along with the wet grass and bushes brushing against my bare legs, I saw the sign: “Warning: Poison Ivy.” Oh, great; right? Maybe the ivy’s growth was restricted to that one little patch? Or, maybe the rain washed the poison off. I saw two men walking toward me. They both had fishing rods and hunting a good spot to wet their lines. I pointed to the sign and said, “Now they tell me.” They had a good laugh.

The last time I fished, I had much more hair and many fewer wrinkles. Long ago, I decided it was too much trouble and way too much of nothing else.

 

Apparently, trees have numbers for names in these parts. I met Mr. 2292 and his family (the Cupressaceaes) on my walk. He didn’t tell me why he is called a “bald cypress” (Taxodium Distichium) when he is clearly not bald. But that name sounds like a character in a dystopian book, right? And they say Latin is a dead language—ppffftt! (Bald is cuz they lose their leaves in winter; something no self-respecting Distichium does.)

I did not see Chris and Mona Lisa, who were inspired to write their names on one of the cypress to advertise their love. I hope that works out for all concerned, but I’m betting the tree outlasts the love.

The “no diving” sign at the pool makes the reason very clear. Ouch! I think I still liked fishing the last time I dove into a swimming pool.

I saw this quote to share with you: “Grief is love with nowhere to go.”

Have a good day.

Look both ways. Once you see the poison ivy sign, it may be too late.
Mind the gaps, the water’s cold.

Taco Tuesday

When I was a child, my parents frequently took me out for dinner to bars that had a restaurant or kitchen of some sort to serve food. Many of those places are still there, much the same as over 60 years ago. Today, most places that I enjoy seem to be primarily restaurants with attached bars. This is my second review of such an eatery.

The Raging River Café and Club (I’m dropping “club” from the name) is located Raging River 2in Fall City, Washington. Fall City is about four miles north of I-90 from the Preston exit. The restaurant’s web page has directions. Fall City is about five miles down-river from Snoqualmie Falls. The restaurant is located amongst a line of businesses directly across the street from the Snoqualmie River on Redmond-Fall City Road (highway 202).

Diagonal parking is available on the street, but is only marked on the south (restaurant) side. While parking is available on the other side, it’s a little trickier and can be messy if it rains. Other street parking is available around the corner, but it’s not as convenient. No parking lot is nearby. I have not seen any critiques of parking, but I’m not sure it’s easily solvable or necessary to worry about. I go when they’re not busy, so it’s seldom an issue for me.

IMG_0594The restaurant entrance is in front and opens directly into the dining area. This can be a nuisance on cold windy or rainy days for customers seated near the door. No reception area or waiting area is available. Hostess seating is unnecessary from my experience because you simply pick your table and sit. You can see all tables from the entrance. However, a few customer reviews have complained about this.

IMG_0595The atmosphere is friendly; so are the staff.  The ambiance is county and laid back–so say the locals. Dress code is anything legal. Turning left upon entry and walking about 40 feet brings you to the bar area. There is a smallish stage area and a little space for dancing (but not enough, really), a u-shaped bar with no more than five stools per side, a few tall-boy bar tables, and a walkway to the pool table room. This is a large room with a pool table surrounded by a few tables. I walked in about 5:00 PM on a Wednesday and it was full of customers who might be called ‘biker-bar clientele.’ A few folks were playing pool and there was room for that. County-rock was the music genre.

IMG_0593While my server was not very experienced (or old), she impressed me. When she asked for my drink order, I asked about dark beer. She was able to tell me what she had and even referred to notes in her little order book to tell me. She offered up a draught from the Snoqualmie Brewery, which is in Snoqualmie, about five more miles up highway 202, past the falls. I will be going there for a review sometime soon.

I ordered Spring Fever Belgian Style Ale, which was good. It’s an amber 6% ABV, flavorful, seasonal brew that has now been replaced by lighter summer brews. They claim it has a coriander flavor, maybe a little dry and crisp. It is refreshing and the coriander was not specifically noticeable.

The Raging River Café should do a better job with their web page. The menu is only ‘highlights,’ thus incomplete (specials are not listed in the printed menu, but the server will tell you about it, if any is left). The ‘spirits’ tab on the web page is wrong and has been for months. Admittedly, if they keep changing the beer offerings, it becomes too hard to keep correct (not really, but I am being nice). It lists draught Moose Drool (Big Sky Brewing), which they don’t have. I mention this because I told my server about it long ago and it’s still listed.

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The dinner special on Wednesdays is pot roast. It’s good, more than enough, and comes with carrots and chunky mashed potatoes. If it were me, I would cut back on the meat and add another veggie or side (blue plate special). It costs about 10 bucks and an average eater will have leftovers boxed up to go. So pot roast for two (four meals total, actually) with a 12-ounce beer and a generous tip comes to about $30-something total. And it’s good — lots of gravy.

Raging River1

We had breakfast here a few weeks ago and it was equally good. But go early. If you’re rafting down the river about ten Sunday morning and go ashore for eggs and bacon with toast (you can), be prepared to wait. They get swamped then. One problem this place has is size and the number of tables (sticking more into the space they have would be bad). They do well at times and struggle to accommodate the crowd.

I have not stayed late enough for the entertainment, but they do have it several nights a week. It is listed on the web page. Children are ok until about nine, then it gets more adult.

I neglected to visit the restroom, but my wife reports that the ladies’ room is clean. I assume the mens’ is also. There are restrooms on the bar side, but I’ve not been in them.

Yelp averages out to 4 ½ of 5 stars. One-star reviews mention slow service and greasy food. Sunday mid-mornings are hard to get in. Those complaints are probably accurate, but are more likely exceptions. Trip advisor rates Raging River as the best of eight restaurants in Fall City, but I’m not sure that there are eight. I will keep going back, even if they have a couple of bad days.

If you live in or visit the Seattle area, you can find some great chow in the city or ride east to the Fall City-Snoqualmie-North Bend area for a fun and casual-dining, honky-tonk experience. In fact, The Snoqualmie Casino is the closest to Seattle (they claim) and is right off I-90 (eastbound) after the Highway 18 exit.

Bon Appetite