Starry, Starry Night

Starry SkyAt the end of a particularly demanding work week, we were eager to get away. We set our sights on Salado, a tiny Texas town that was established in 1867 for the sole pupose of building a bridge across Salado Creek. Cliff’s Garner family was hosting its annual reunion at the Stagecoach Inn, a Salado hotel that has been in continuous operation since 1861.

The two-hour trip included more than an hour of driving through construction zones–always a harrowing prospect with a tow vehicle and travel trailer, especially when lanes are narrow and unpredictable and shoulders are nonexistent. Arriving at Tranquil Gardens RV Park, it seemed as though all the negativity of the week-just-ended was setting along with the sun. We had escaped the countless small angers, embedded resentments, everyday slights, and bedeviling daily issues that so often grind on us, and had found a place in the Texas hill country beneath a sky so boundless that all things seemed possible–even building a bridge in the middle of nowhere.

Such extravagant skies, particularly at twilight, have always sent our sprits soaring in a way we have seldom experienced anyplace other than Rome.

Salado, however, is no Rome.

Rather, Salado is a drowsy little village, one that’s trying to establish an identity as a destination for shoppers in search of antiques and art. Indeed, on most weekends, tourists cram its curio shops and galleries in search of unique treasures and Texas kitsch, giving it an almost theme-park-like quality.

Back at Tranquility Base, Chef Cliff fired up the MiniMax and proceeded to grill steaks, asparagus and peppers. Adding a perfect potato to the plate and a fruity cabernet to the glass meant for a Late Night Date Night dinner that was most exquisite.

We ended the evening with a stargazing stroll around the campgrounds, where we delighted in a clear, moonless sky and at least three “shooting stars.” Tranquil, indeed.

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