Skip to main content

Texas Road Trip Day 4 - Exploring the Hill Country

Wedenesday in Texas was a full day - as Maggie and I covered a lot of ground. We hit Johnson City, the LBJ Ranch, Luckenbach, and Enchanted Rock. You can pretty much see all in one day...obviously the amount of daylight can allow you to see more in late spring or summer.

So it was west again on US 290 towards Johnson City. (Photos from that part of the trip can be found here.) Just outside the community of Henly was this old abandoned general store that appears to have done just a little bit of everything in its day - General Store, Feed Store, Gas and Service Station, and sold used cars.

<span class=

Johnson City isn't entirely that big. It is the childhood home of LBJ; however, the 'Johnson' is not derived from him or his family. It's a typical rural Texas small town - though the most unique thing about it is an old feed mill that has turned into an artist colony and includes a restaurant.

Texas Spur Route 356

From there it was Lyndon B. Johnson National Historic Site and also State Park. (The two grounds border each other. Within the state park is the Sauer-Beckmann living history farm. The farm is set at 1915 and is a working farm without running water or electricity. The purpose is to showcase what rural Hill Country life was like when LBJ was a child. The volunteers working the farm are amazingly friendly and give you a great taste of the warm Hill Country hospitality. It's certainly worth the visit if you get the chance.

<span class=

The entire set from the farm and LBJ Ranch is here.

The farm was full of surprises - like this five week old calf.

<span class=

Or this baby lamb that was only four days old!

<span class=

The LBJ Ranch had a variety of interesting views. From the one-room Junction School he attended.

<span class=

To cattle hanging out at the side of the road,

<span class=

or the unique former entrance to the ranch - that was a road built into a dam on the Pedernales - which would force vehicles to drive through the water.

<span class=

or the Western White House itself, which has a nice walk through tour showing the house how it would like in the 60s during his Presidency.

<span class=

but maybe the most interesting site of the ranch and perhaps the whole trip was this item I found in the parking lot at the LBJ homestead.

<span class=

I think John Madden has officially moved to the Texas Hill Country.

From there it was off to Luckenbach - the town forever immortalized by Waylon Jennings. The 'town' of Luckenbach isn't much of one - a general store with a saloon and the other main building a dance hall. But it certainly is worth driving four miles off of US 290 on FM 1376. You can hear live music almost any time in Luckenbach - as we did about 1 o'clock on a Wednesday afternoon. There's not many places here that you can take a break from the road like this. (For the entire set, go here.)

<span class=

<span class=

<span class=

And yes for those that know me well - I did get a Luckenbach bumper sticker for by Escape.

The next stop was Fredericksburg for lunch. It's a great town with numerous businesses and specialty shops and quite a few restaurants. It's also a popular stop on bus tours as two different bus excursions were in town when we were there. You certainly can walk around here and kill a good hour or two, which we did.

<span class=

This old Buick sign was a nice find.

Neon Buick Sign

For the entire Fredericksburg, TX set go here.

Finally, it was off to Enchanted Rock to hike. The ride out there on FM 965 was true hill country. Rolling hills along side endless ranch land. The scenery here reminds me a lot of the Turquoise Trail in New Mexico and other routes I took two years ago but greener.

Enchanted Rock Natural Area is one of Texas' most popular state parks. In fact, there are many times when the park is closed to visitors because of the amount of visitors already there. Admission is $6 to explore throughout the park. We hiked the Summit Trail, which is the most popular trail in the park. Summit trail scales the big rock to a height of over 1800'. Though it was late afternoon in fall, the sun was beating down hard and the temperature was over 90 degrees. But reaching the top of Enchanted Rock and the views along with the cool breeze was certainly worth it.

The entire set from Enchanted Rock can be viewed here.

<span class=

Above: Enchanted Rock looms ahead from the start of the Summit Trail.

<span class=

The Summit Trail.

<span class=

A vernal pool at the summit of Enchanted Rock.

<span class=

<span class=

The views from the summit are amazing!

The lonely road...

FM 965 rolls through the Hill Country.

From there we headed north to Llano on Texas 16 to hit Texas 71 and return to Austin. That night we went to dinner at the Oasis on Lake Travis - but we didn't make it in time to take photos of the sunset. And that may have been a good thing - because Lake Travis was down nearly 50 feet from normal levels at that time.



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Legend of the Ridge Route; a history of crossing the mountains between the Los Angeles Basin and San Joaquin Valley from wagon trails to Interstates

Over the past two decades I've crossed the Interstate 5 corridor from Los Angeles north over the Sierra Pelona Mountains and Tehachapi Range to San Joaquin Valley what seems to be an immeasurable number of times.  While Interstate 5 from Castaic Junction to Grapevine via Tejon Pass today is known to most as "The Grapevine" it occupies a corridor which has been traversed by numerous historic highways.  The most notable of these highways is known as the "Ridge Route."  This article is dedicated to the Ridge Route and the various highways that preceded it.  This blog is part of the larger Gribblenation US Route 99 Page.  For more information pertaining to the other various segments of US Route 99 and it's three-digit child routes check out the link the below. Gribblenation US Route 99 Page Ridge Route corridor introdution The Ridge Route as originally envisioned was a segment of highway which was completed in 1915 between the northern Los Angeles city limit

Establishing the numbering conventions of California's chargeable Interstates

The Federal Highway Aid Act of 1956 brought the Interstate Highway System into existence which would largely be constructed by Federal Highway Administration fund matching.  The Interstate Highway System was deliberately numbered to run opposite the established conventions of the US Route System.  While the Interstate Highway numbering conventions are now well established there was a period during the late 1950s where they were still being finalized.  This blog examines the history of the establishing of the chargeable Interstate Highway route numbers in California.  The above blog cover depicts the Interstate Highway route numbers requested by the Division of Highways in the Los Angeles area during November 1957.  The establishment of the numbering conventions of California's chargeable Interstates The Interstate Highway System was not created in a vacuum by way of the passage of the 1956 Federal Highway Aid Act.  The beginning of the Interstate Highway System can be found in the

California State Route 210 (legacy of California State Route 30)

  California State Route 210 is a forty-mile-long limited access State Highway located in Los Angeles County and San Bernardino County.  California State Route 210 exists as a non-Interstate continuation of Interstate 210 and the Foothill Freeway between California State Route 57 in San Dimas east to Interstate 10 Redlands.  California State Route 210 was previously designated as California State Route 30 until the passage of 1998 Assembly Bill 2388, Chapter 221.  Since 2009 the entirety of what was California State Route 30 has been signed as California State Route 210 upon the completion of the Foothill Freeway extension.  Below westbound California State Route 210 can be seen crossing the Santa Ana River as the blog cover.  California State Route 30 can be seen for the last time on the 2005 Caltrans Map below.  Part 1; the evolution of California State Route 30 into California State Route 210 What was to become California State Route 30 (CA 30) entered the State Highway System duri