Wildlife Safari and Austin Lights :: Rices’ Radical Sabbatical


A good friend of Tim’s and mine, Doug Hamsher, came to visit last night, driving many hours from his current home in Hot Springs, Arkansas. We first met Doug during our years at Grove City College in the early 2000s, and have remained good friends since then. Doug is presently employed at Champion Baptist College as a Men’s Basketball Coach and Admissions Director.

We were able to put him up in a cabin here at La Hacienda RV Resort, and spent yesterday afternoon at Tim’s game followed by dinner out. Today we decided to drive down to one of the most unique places we’ve ever visited: the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch (African Safari Texas Style). Tim and I first stopped there back in 2004 on our way back to Ohio from the NCAA Final Four in San Antonio and have been looking forward to going back to visit now that we live so close!

So we picked up Doug and headed down to the ranch. Three bags of feed later, and after a quick pit stop at the restrooms and chatting with some lovely people also visiting the ranch, we were back in the pickup and starting on the safari.

The idea of the ranch is that for a $1.00 small white sack of food pellets and a fairly steep admission fee, you can drive your own vehicle through the 4 miles of roads meandering through some of the 400 acres the ranch encompasses. And along the way, a variety of North American and African animals approach your vehicle to eat those pellets from your hand!

We’re talking ostriches, zebras, wildebeest, burros, numerous species of gazelle and deer, and more! It’s quite a feeling to have the long neck and strange-looking head of an aggressive ostrich poking into your vehicle to eat pellets right off your palm. You’ll have to ask Tim about the funny story today about the ostrich!

We had a great time and the only way it could have been better is if we could have gotten closer to the white rhinos and the bactrian camel. But the giraffes made up for it as we were leaving the ranch. 🙂

We drove back to Austin and cruised 6th Street, Austin’s most famous street, then headed north to 37th & Gaudalupe, where we had been told there was a street on which all the homes were decorated for Christmas in a big, Texas way. Unfortunately, we either hit the wrong area, or the lights were not yet fully decorated. Sadly, it was not very great.

But we headed to a southern comfort food joint (Ryan’s Steakhouse) and enjoyed the hot rolls with honey butter, and the yummy down-home food, then spent some time playing Mexican Train dominoes before bidding our friend goodbye. He’ll be leaving early in the morning (before we are even THINKING about being awake) to drive back to Hot Springs, and we will be spending the morning packing and finishing some projects before loading Chase into the truck and beginning our trek to Denver for a few days next week.

I was able to bring along the camera today, and captured some fun moments. I hope you enjoy!

by candy

show hide 2 comments

12.19.2010 - 10:34 am

Mom Thanks for the safari – loved the ostriches and giraffes!
Safe travels as you head for Denver.

12.25.2010 - 11:02 pm

candy Thanks Mom!

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