After leaving Enchanted Rock and returning to Fredericksburg, and with the Funyuns seriously wearing off, Lucero and I were ready for some hardy eats. Luckily in F-burg there is no shortage of dining options. Lucero expressed a wish for ‘German food’ and within minutes we encountered the Altdorf Biergarten….
The town of Fredericksburg was established in 1846 and has a population of roughly 10,000 — all of whom apparently avoid the Main Street area on a Saturday evening. The Altdorf Biergarten is housed in a landmark limestone building dating to back 1847, so without question, one of the oldest structures in F-Burg. The German community here boasts F-burg as being one of the oldest settlements in Texas, someone should inform those crazy Spanish as they were establishing missions south of here about 140 years prior. (San Francisco de la Espada, 1689) This does not, in any way, negate the food at Altdorf! Lucero, being much more continental than myself, understood the menu, while I mainly focused on the selection of beer! (In fairness, she was driving.) Finding Shiner Bock on the menu, I was happy! Extremely HAPPY!
Shiner, Texas and the Spoetzl Brewery — a whole ‘nother road trip!
After a wonderful meal of German meats, which we started with some Tex-Mex nachos (of course!), we spent some time strolling up and down Fredericksburg’s main street. It was somewhere around this time we encountered the 4 drunk girls — who were, in fact, so drunk they had been thrown out of one restaurant and were hard-pressed to find another who would serve them. Yes, there are few things sadder (and funnier!) than drunk AND hungry Texas girls. After a much-too-long time hanging on Main Street with the girls, I was ready to exit Fredericksburg, and luckily so was Lucero. But not before a cruise around town looking for an open liquor store — for more Shiner Bock, of course! Finding the liquor shop, I also found Enchanted Rock Vodka! (I shit you not!) Apparently, the folks up at E-Rock are making vodka and putting it into clever tourist-eye-catching bottles. And of course, I bought one! But, you know, just the trial-size.
Admiral Nimitz National Museum of the Pacific War, established in the old Nimitz Hotel, Fredericksburg, 1852. There were NO drunk girls in here.
Lucero and I headed out of Fredericksburg in the direction of Kerrville along the banks of The Guadalupe River. The river runs from Kerr County southeasterly before emptying out into the Gulf of Mexico. The town itself boasts a population of 20k, and was named after Texas Revolution major James Kerr. However, before arriving in Kerrville, we pulled off the highway onto some long and deserted Texas back-road to engage in a bit of star-gazing. And, indeed the stars at night ARE big and bright deep in the heart of Texas.
IT. WAS. AWESOME!!!
Arriving in Kerrville, where we planned to stay the night, our attention was immediately caught by the lights of a Ferris Wheel! Apparently, we’d stumbled upon a small-town Texas carnival, and there was NO WAY IN HELL we weren’t going!
Folks in Kerrville, Texas enjoying a very pleasant Saturday evening.
After a night’s stay at the lovely Kerville Motel 6, where Lucero was finally able to do a bit of drinking, and we talked till about 3am, we woke to a very CHILLY Texas Hill Country morning. (Ok, it was more like noon.)
After a breakfast/lunch at the local Cracker Barrel, and much coffee, we headed to the town’s visitor center to find out what was going on in Kerrville. It was then we found….Stonehenge! Or rather — Stonehenge II. It seems in the nearby town of Ingram, Texas, population 1,740, a local farmer, Al Shepperd, with the help of his neighbor, Doug Hill, had constructed a near-replica of the original Stonehenge located in Wiltshire, England. This being the stuff of road-trip glory, we were off and heading towards Ingram! We were SO not disappointed!
Realizing that with our encounter with Stonehenge II we’d pretty much hit ‘road-trip nirvana’, Lucero and I headed back to Kerrville to chill out with a hike along the banks of the blue-green waters of the Guadalupe River.
Scenes of the Kerrville Dam of the Guadalupe River.
After a nice hike, and a HUGE brownie, we were off and back on the road — this time heading for the town of Boerne, population 10k or so.
In Boerne, after cruising up and down the nearly deserted main street, we found out about the Boerne City Park Lake, and decided to head on over.
After leaving the lake it was time to head back towards San Antonio, and towards more food! Lucero was craving Puerto Rican food, and that was sounding pretty damn good to me! But before reaching SA we encountered more road-side wild flowers and we just had to stop!
All Photographs: Alex Autin
On Saturday morning my friend Lucero and I headed out for a little Texas road trip. We had no REAL destination, as any good road trip should NOT, and only a general idea of wanting to hit The Hill Country.
The Texas Hill Country pretty much applies to a region of Central Texas consisting of tall rugged hills which feature thin layers of soil atop limestone or granite. It includes the Llano Uplift and Enchanted Rock. (More on E Rock in a bit!!) The Hill Country reaches into portions of San Antonio’s northern suburbs, the western half of Travis County, and ends just west of Austin. The terrain’s large number of limestone or granite rocks and boulders plus its thin layer of topsoil makes the region very dry and prone to flash flooding. The Hill Country is also home to a host of cool native Southwestern vegetation including yucca, prickly pear cactus, cedar scrub, and the Texas live oak. And in the early spring — Bluebonnets, the Texas state flower!
Since this was a road trip, and since I’m pretty sure that trips of such nature are meant to be started late, we tried our best to get a late start. And we succeeded wonderfully! Even before leaving San Antonio, in fact less than a mile from my house, we had already made our first stop of the trip for roadside eats. In our defense it was nearly noon…. and who can resist Texas Brisket!!
I had the brisket taco with jalapenos (on the right), Lucero had the brisket sandwich on Texas toast. (And no, I will not be documenting every meal we ate with photos. But only because I forget to take them! I remembered to take these — so I was damn sure gonna use them!)
It’s my thought that any proper road trip should include lots and lots of really crappy photos taken along the way from inside a moving vehicle. If you share this thought, this post WILL SO NOT disappoint! Here we are moving leisurely along I-10, and we’re fairly certain we’re moving in the right direction.
Me: It’s starting to look all hilly!
Lucero: Damn, did I miss my turn? (I heard this A LOT, and loved it each time!)
Crappy Moving Vehicle Photo #3 – Fredericksburg! Our first ‘official’ destination. Fredericksburg is a very cool town in Gillespie County, known as the home of ‘Texas German’, a dialect spoken by the first generations of German settlers who initially refused to learn English. It’s a lovely place, very German-ish-y, and not nearly as out-of-focus as this exit sign would imply.
We checked out Fredericksburg for a bit, and realizing that Lucero’s a shopper and I’m a hiker — we then knew that compromises would need to be made. And quick!
In F-burg, taking part in the strange activity referred to as ‘Antiquing’. Interesting…. Lucero has Olympic-quality antiquing skills! I mostly walked around texting anyone and everyone I know. In fairness we spent very little time here, and were soon back on the road and heading for ENCHANTED ROCK! The locals at The Red Baron Antique Mall, extremely nice people who showed no signs of refusing to speak English, gave us directions to The Rock, and also a very valuable heads-up — If the road sign on Ranch Road 965 was ‘flashing’ this meant the park was full and no more visitors would be allowed in. Oh no! We now were re-thinking that whole ‘leaving late’ thing. But in true road-trip fashion we decided to give it a shot and headed out to Ranch Road 965 — after a quick stop for water and Funyuns. Hell yeah! (If you don’t have Funyuns — it’s not a road trip!)
Crappy Moving Vehicle Photo #4 — IT’S NOT FLASHING!!!! WOOHOO for us!
Enchanted Rock is one of those ‘must do’ places I learned of when first coming to Texas. So far, I had not been, and this was all about to change! (Thank you, Lucero!) According to Wiki — The Enchanted Rock State Natural Area includes Enchanted Rock, an enormous pink granite pluton rock formation, and 640 acres of surrounding land. E-Rock rises approximately 425 feet above the surrounding terrain to an elevation of 1,825 feet above sea level. It’s the largest such pink granite monadnock in the United States, and was designated a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark in 1936. According to me — 100% pure awesomeness!
Enchanted Rock’s prominent granite dome is visible for many miles in the surrounding Llano Uplift basin. The weathered dome is actually the visible above-ground part of a segmented ridge, the surface expression of a large igneous batholith of middle Precambrian material that intruded into the earlier Packsaddle Schist. The intrusive granite of the rock mass was exposed by extensive erosion of the surrounding sedimentary rock, primarily the Cretaceous Edwards limestone, which is exposed a few miles to the south of Enchanted Rock.
There are more than 500 species of plants inhabiting the rock, such as this White Lace Cactus. Vernal pools on the rock– ecologically threatened depressions of flora and fauna adapted to harsh environments — are said to contain fragile invertebrate fairy shrimp. I saw no evidence of fairy shrimp!
I did, however, see Bluebonnets! : )
Since this post is growing to monster proportions — and with Enchanted Rock how could it not?! — I’ve decided to break it up into 2 posts. Be sure to catch the next installment where Lucero and I return to Fredericksburg for some fine German dining including Shiner Bock (!!!), encounter the ‘drunk girls’, make a last-minute run to a liquor store (more Shiner Bock!), head out for some jaw-dropping middle-of-nowhere star-gazing, stumble upon coolness in another small Texas town, hike along the banks of the Guadalupe River, argue over freedom of expression, and find Stonehenge….
On the way back to F-burg, goats…who were completely unimpressed with E-Rock….
All photographs – Alex Autin
I went out for a long walk a couple of days ago. I was on a mission. I was searching for signs of Autumn. I set out very early in the morning, and indeed the morning did ‘feel’ a few degrees cooler than recent mornings, the sky was overcast and there was a definite breeze. However before I returned from my walk the sun had burnt off the cloud cover, and the heat of the day once again took hold. Summer, at least in San Antonio de Tejas, is clearly not ready to concede.
All Photography: Alex Autin, …things I LOVE!
Not feeling well over the past several days (a mid case of flu), and being indoors for what seems like forever, I found myself getting a bit stir-crazy earlier this afternoon…and I decided on a walk. My room-mate had warned me that this neighborhood was a bit like a black hole…meaning once in, it’s nearly impossible to find one’s way back out. He, I learned, is correct. I did manage to get a bit lost….luckily I had my camera with me!