San Angelo, TX -> Austin, TX
27 October ’18
Up and on the road at dawn means empty roads, fresh air, no stress or pressure, plenty of time to roam. US-87 swoops through farmland, the air humid with the small of irrigation and manure and green, fertile earth. Knowing I have plenty of time, I turn south in Hill Country on US-83 at Eden, TX, after getting gas at the convenience store/donut shop/taxidermy/deer butcher shop.
Small Texan towns flow by as the road wiggles and sweeps through oak and pine, horse and goat ranches, the sandstone outcroppings of yellow, sandy cracked plates, the floor of some ancient sea, we push through. Towns and ranch names reflect the German ancestry of the settlers, combined with landmarks - Oak Hollow… Steinbreuk-Mueller Ranch.. Cherry Spring.. there’s no traffic on this road, and soon I’m in Fredericksburg, rolling down the long, wide, and scenic Main Street, Victorian stone buildings, squat and ornamental at the same time, a food and wine festival flooding the town with thousands of people, cars, and smells, BBQ smoke wafting from every block, different odors of each pit masters secret blend of wood, spice, and roasting meat. I can’t stop, too many people, too crowded.. we will push on.
I stopped in Johnson City at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Homestead or some such.. there were several LBJ sites around town, but the main visitors center was staffed with the usual bored retirees who stamped my passport and handed me the self-guided tour brochure and then turned back to small town gossip. The museum itself was a collection of artifacts, and seemed to assume you already knew all about LBJ, with only a cursory and terse explanation of major events of his life and career, but breathless and nearly poetic verbiage about a suit he once wore, or a receipt for a car repair.. not enough to keep my interest more than the perfunctory browse through the exhibits.
US-290 through wine country - endless fake castles and mission-style gift shops, all new and expensive and fancy. Past Dripping Springs, the traffic exploded, along with box stores and fast food, as we’re now in the outskirts of Austin. A struggle with city traffic and interchanges, but I eventually found my way to my home for the next 2 weeks, a cute MIL studio with a pool and 2 dogs in the main house to pet. Finally, I can rest.. but first, a shower!