From the Panhandle to Big Bend Country and into Hill Country, we are making our way through Texas. As we drove south past Abilene the first thing that struck me as different was the water in the creeks. Up until now the creeks, rivers, reliefs and draws had all been dry. The reliefs and draws must be much the same as washes in Arizona, areas that take on water when the hard rains hit. I remember passing Cherry Creek, Cherry Draw and Cherry Relief all along one road on our way back to Pecos from our trip to Fort Davis. And of course, each sign was accompanied by dry ground. But not in Hill Country. The creeks and rivers are flowing.
Another change in this area is the high mesh fences around tracts of land along the highway. They surround game ranches, filled with deer and exotic animals, and they are everywhere. Going through the small towns there are several different meat processing businesses and stores selling deer feeders, blinds and huge bags of corn, oh, and guns.
The terrain is no longer flat and we are surrounded by forests filled with trees. Cactus are still in abundance, but mostly the prickly pear cactus.
Ward and I found a great little spot to stay for a few days. It was a rest stop just south of the town of Brady. We had been at the Walmart for a few days before leaving. When we stopped at the rest area we both looked at each other and said if we knew this little gem was here we never would have spent any time at that Walmart. The rest area was right beside the San Saba River. It reminded me of Seven Sisters, in Manitoba, with the flat rock formations going into the river. We agreed that it must be a very popular place in the area during the summer.
As per usual, Ward was yacking with every vehicle that pulled in to the rest area. One person, who came down to the river to go fishing with his dog ended up coming back later that night with his girlfriend. We stayed up most of the night with them down on the river. They dropped by again the next night, and we followed them home on the third day. We enjoyed our first cook-out in a Texas back yard where the food was cooked over a fire of mesquite and pecan wood on ‘the grill’, Texas style. Wow! That was some great flavor from the wood. Oh, we had our first homemade mac and cheese. That was awesome as well.
While we were at our new friends’ house I noticed they had pecan trees. It seems these pecan trees are everywhere and many people have them growing in their yards, much like our crab apples trees back home. I was shown how to crack them open and check to see that they were good. There is no need to roast them or do anything to prepare them before eating. So we gathered a few pecan nuts, shelled them, and enjoyed.
Everyone we have met in Texas has been so friendly, but it was really great to actually spend time with people. We got to know them over the past few days and hope to keep in touch.
Our travels have taken us into several small towns in the area, and we love them all. They are filled with old architecture, nice parks and some funky stores. We have been checking on vacant lots and land up for auction by the county in each town as we move further south in this wonderful Hill Country.
Personally, I am looking forward to Fredericksburg and the area, which is populated by German culture. I am craving rye bread and hope to score some in that area. Wish me luck in the next few weeks.
Later dudes and dudettes!