Home Again

We left San Marcos yesterday and made the run back to Tyler, 250 miles, fine and dandy. Coming home, I again selected to go state highways versus interstate. The drive was scenic, unrushed, pleasant, and seemed to be shorter on the return trip.

Why is it that returning over a same route feels shorter? Is it because you’ve already seen the terrain or passed through the little towns? Going somewhere always seems long and perhaps its because each turn in the road is something new or different. Don’t know. Its always seems this way to me.

We clicked off the towns as we scooted up the road: Austin, Round Rock, Taylor, Rockdale, Buffalo, and finally Palestine. Then, a short jump across Lake Palestine and twenty-five miles to Tyler.

Katrina is now back in her covered storage facility. We cleaned out the refrigerator and secured her for the next few weeks. I’ve got to take her over to Camping World and have them take care of the repair from my clipping the pickup in the Pilot J parking lot. Thank goodness for Good Sam insurance.

Bo is frisky as a kitten now that Kate is sitting in her barn and he’s free to ramble by himself.

Will be prepping for our next trip to Waco in July.

Heading there to do research and investigation at the Texas Ranger Museum, Dr. Pepper Museum, and the Mastodon Historical site.

Enjoy the journey, y’all.

(Sorry about my thumb gettin’ in the way of the lens.)

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Book Day

Tomorrow, Saturday, June 9, is the Wimberley Book Fest. Really looking forward to meeting and greeting folks that love to read. The event will be at the Wimberly Community Center and will start early (9:00am-2:00pm) so may not have a chance to post, then leaving on Sunday AM for return trip to Tyler. It may be Monday or Tuesday before I get something posted. I will take pictures and share them with y’all.

Excited to highlight The Arizonan during this Book Fest as the award winning 2018 Best Western from Texas Authors.

More later. Enjoy the journey.

WimCC-Header-Collage-2018Wimberly Book Fair

Who’d of known?

I was duly informed of recent actions just taken in the Great State of Texas by our illustrious Governor Greg Abbott. Furthermore, his actions set aside and identify for all posterity who is and who isn’t the foremost, paramount, and without question leader in the endeavor itemized in his decree.

Ladies and Gents, I give you…the Pie Capital of Texas…Kyle, Texas.

Yep, that’s what the staff at Texas Pie Company informed me. They even have a sticker on the front door and banners announcing this fact fly from the city streetlight poles. I’m supposing that makes it official.

As Nancy and I returned from Driftwood, we realized that we were terribly remiss. After our BBQ delight, we felt that dessert would be to over the top and declined cobbler at the restaurant.

As we passed through Kyle, Texas, Nancy shouted at me…pie, pie, it’s a pie.

I wasn’t really certain what was heading my way as I was concentrating on keeping the speed limit through town, avoiding a tail end collision with farm equipment, and scanning for unsafe drivers. On the announcement of…pie, pie, it’s a pie…I instinctively cut the wheel, stepped on the brake, and shouted…where, where, where.

Nancy proceed to point toward an establishment on the town square with a humongous wedge of pie precariously balanced on its front porch roof. Needless to say, I was impressed and relieved it wasn’t on the road way barreling my direction.

“We need dessert,” Nancy announced and I agreed. Once around the city square brought us back to the pie shop. I parked and we entered to find a display cabinet stuffed with every kind of pie imaginable. You name a variety, they have it.

Walking to the counter, I asked the clerk if we could order a piece of pie. It seemed logical to make that kind of request and in the back of my mind I was thinking…duh.

“Sure, what would you like?” The self-assured clerk pointed to the display cabinet.

“I’d like strawberry-rhubarb, and can I get a scoop of ice cream on that?”

“You bet,” replied the clerk. “And you ma’am?”

Nancy deliberated, decided, and debated before finally arriving at her perennial favorite Blackberry…with ice cream, of course.

When the ‘slice’ of pie was delivered to the table, it was a pot pie of pie. The bowl of pie was a warm, delicious, fruit-filled, crust enshrouded decadency, with a glob of ice cream slowly melting into a puddle of cream around the edges.

“It’s huge,” I said quickly digging into the crust covered dish of deliciousness. The flakey crust gave way to my spoon and soon I was scraping up the last morsels of sweetness and cream.

“We didn’t need this much,” says Nancy finishing her Blackberry pie.

“Speak for yourself,” I said. “This is just right for me.”

Finishing our late afternoon sweet treat, we stood to exit and I stopped to talk with the clerk about the shop. To my surprise, I discovered they turn over the abundant supply of pies in their display case every 24 hours. People in Kyle like pie. He also educated me regarding the Governor’s recent announcement.

Glad to know that I’ve participated in supporting the Pie Capital of Texas.

 

Gastro event

Okay. It’s hot in Texas. This morning, we headed to the Premier Discount Shopping Center in San Marcos. Oh, happy, joy, joy…I was beside myself with excitement. There is nothing I would rather do that traipse from chain store to chain store seeking discounts. But, Nancy wanted to go to the mall. We went. Once there, it took two stores and a food court discussion to change directions for the day.

I suggested that we should head for the country and check out a restaurant in a little place called Driftwood, Texas, about twenty miles away. I don’t think Nancy’s heart was really into shopping, so she agreed.

We drove up I-35 to Kyle, Texas, and headed west into the Hill Country.

I’d read about the Salt Lick BBQ restaurant in Texas Monthly and online. We sailed along Texas 150 into the scrubby trees and prickly pear cacti countryside until we arrived at Driftwood. It was an intersection with a road leading to Wimberly, an old, closed store, and a church. In two blocks we went in and out of town without spotting Salt Lick BBQ. Finally, against all my manly upbringing, I stopped and asked at a wine tasting shop for directions. With a wave of her hands, a gesturing over her shoulder, and a ‘you can’t miss it’ I jumped back into Bo and lit out down the road.

I missed it, doubled back, and looked again.

Nancy kept saying, “Use your Google Maps. Use your Google Maps. Use your Google Maps.”…She sounded like a broken record. A great broken record, but a broken record.

I used Google Maps and pulled up to Salt Lick within minutes.

I knew we were close, I could smell the BBQ.

There, situated between wineries, craft beer brewers, and local distillers is Salt Lick.

Buses from Austin pulled up and dumped people into the parking lot, shuttle services pulled in, paused, and raced away hauling people to and from the restaurant. Nancy and I went to the check-in a were told the wait was thirty minutes…it was 1:30pm. Finding a soft spot on the limestone bench, we waited. The smell was heavenly. I snagged a menu and did everything but lick it. A combo. I have to order a combo of ribs and brisket.

Our flashing pager went off and we were led into this epicurean delight past the open pit with its grille stacked with piles of sausage, brisket, ribs, and chicken. I was in BBQ nirvana.

People crowded everywhere. We were seated in an open area, ordered, and waited impatiently.

When the meal came it was a lip-smackin’, larrapin, belly satisfying a meal as I’ve ever eaten.

Nancy and I finished the BBQ, potato salad, beans, slaw, bread, pickles, and onion completed satiated.

Wait, what about dessert? More on that later.

If you’re ever sashaying through the Hill Country west of Kyle and south of Dripping Springs be looking for Driftwood, Texas, and the Salt Lick BBQ restaurant, or just stop and ask somebody.

Enjoy the journey.

 

Boots

Nancy Sinatra made ‘These Boots Are Made For Walking’ a famous pop tune. Wimberley makes the boots a reality.

Wimberley is a quiet, small Texas Hill Country town that began as a trading post settlement near Cypress Creek in 1848, the year Hays County was organized. Today, it is a bustling, artistic destination. The Hill Country settling that surrounds Wimberley is outstanding. Oak trees and prickly pear cacti share the rocky, hardscrabble landscape. Ridges, rocky outcroppings, hilltop homes, and ranches litter the area.

The quaint town is a blend of old, new, funky, and conventional. It is jumbled together in a mishmash that can’t help but to delight the adventurer. A destination waiting for discovery.

Entering town, you are immediately drawn to the large, huge, decorated boots that are scattered along the road. Begun in 2014, Sponsors and artists jumped at the chance to showcase talent, the arts, and enhance tourism. The entire town got into the enterprise of decorating and displaying the boots. Today, fifty unique painted boots await your viewing pleasure. Each one a work of art and a labor of love,  they are a pleasure to see.

Wimberley. A special place.

King’s Highway

We are camped out in San Marcos, Texas, along the Camino Real. This historic roadway was the means of trade and travel throughout Mexico and Texas from the time of the Spaniards until after the Civil War.

For a period of time called The Old San Antonio Road, the El Camino Real was a collective of Indian trails and pioneer roads that shifted and altered based upon climatic variances and Indian threats to life and limb. The Texas terminus was about 35 miles from Eagle Pass on the Rio Grande River and extended in a northeasterly fashion ending in Natchitoces, Louisiana. From Texas, the road continued south to Mexico City.

Padres and pastors, culture and customs, and trade and commerce all traveled the El Camino Real. During Spanish times, the road was a major thoroughfare between Mexico City and Louisiana. It became a major highway for immigration as settlers from the United States relocated to Texas. When Texas became independent, trade between Mexico and Texas waned, but the roadway bound a nascent republic together. Its use was sharply revived during the mid-1860s as the cotton trade moved sales through Mexico in order to avoid the ever-tightening Union blockade.  War supplies from the Texas interior flowed along the road to the Confederacy. After the war, with the coming of the railroads, the El Camino Real all but disappeared.

In 1915, the DAR undertook to have the route resurveyed and placed granite markers along the route. In 2004, President George W. Bush signed a bill designating the El Camino de Los Tejas a National Historic Trail.

We traveled El Camino from Bastrop, Texas, to San Marcos, Texas, and stopped periodically to read historical markers along the way. Our last stop was beside the San Marcos River at the original site of the river crossing to the west bank. Our RV campground is nearby and in the dark of the night, away from the city lights, with only stars shimmering overhead, I wonder how many lives have passed the same spot that I occupy tonight.

Time marches on. Enjoy the journey.

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OUCH!!!

We made our jaunt yesterday taking Bo & Kate from Tyler to San Marcos, Texas. The drive was pleasant and enjoyable. Instead of dashing and speeding with the semis on the interstates, we took the lesser traveled roadway. Better scenery and not near as frantic.

We pulled into San Marcos as it topped 100 degrees for the afternoon. That’s just plain hot. I ran out the awning and a gentle breeze made the shade a welcome relief from the pounding sunshine. Of course, we are parked in the open area without a tree for shade. C’est la vie.

I gradually connected landlines and extended Kate’s slider. Of course the first order of business was power and turning on the A/C. It chills like a champ. In the course of an hour we were comfortable and cool. I don’t know how folks lived in Texas before A/C.

On the way here, we stopped at a Pilot J truck stop and in the course of pulling into the busy location, I momentarily dropped focus on my maneuvering through the crowd and clipped the tail light on a parked pickup. Damned, damned, double damn. It only takes one second of dropping your guard and you’ll be bitten.

I spent the next twenty miles apologizing to Kate. Nancy rode in silence knowing I was not fit company for a while as I dealt with the anger I felt for myself and my stupid move.

Fortunately, the damage is not major (for either party) and can be easily taken care of, and we have now baptized Kate ‘by fire’ so to speak.

This morning the day is clear and bright in San Marcos. Should only top out around mid-90s. A cool wave. We’ll explore the area and drive to Wimberly (just outside of town) and check out the venue for Saturday’s Book Festival. I’m really looking forward to meeting folks, talking about Westerns, and selling a few novels.

Life’s good. Enjoy the journey.