Tuesday, March 03, 2009
LEAKEY and VANDERPOOL TEXAS
This past weekend, Terri and I drove about 150 miles to the small town? of just outside VANDERPOOL, and later another 15 miles to LEAKEY Texas. This is west of Austin, closer to San Antonio, but definitely way out in the hill country. And these are SERIOUS hills.
This was another great snapshot of Texas - the gas station that sold bait, ammo, and everything else... with the round table of ranchers sitting around shooting the breeze.
There was a REAL general store - with very big mounted feral pigs on the wall along with other 'trophies' and a 6 foot 6 inch rattlesnake skin. What was especially notable was the width of that snake! It could probably eat a small pig!
The general store had stuff I've only seen many many years ago... and rows of product on very long shelves, but many items only one deep. You could get variety from some specialized candy in a small Toxic Waste Barrel - to a helpful flyswatter, and everything in between.
Much of the area has issues when it rains, then flash floods, as we passed many 'stream' crossings marked by flood height markers. At anywhere beyond a foot of water (and the markers went to 5 feet) you'd best avoid the road.
And the hills were steep - topping about 1400-1700 feet, I believe.
Stars at night were amazing. The sky black, with pinpoints a hundred times what we see here, even though we are 15 miles from Austin, and I thought, out of the light pollution..
We saw Lost Maples State Park and the Frio river.
I saw 9 deer seemingly trying to commit suicide by running back and forth in front of cars and trucks. None were successful.
Upon arrival the temperature was in the 80s and that night (3AM) a cold front blew through which really changed the nature of the stay. Picnicking outside became eating INSIDE. I had our wood fired heater going full blast.
At one point, while Terri and I were entranced by the Willie and Asleep At The Wheel music I had brought along, just sitting, staring at the fireplace with heavy lids, the logs shifted and (as the firebox was set up and off the floor) the shifting log spilled hot coals all over the wooden floor, just missing Jessie The Sleeping Dog! We jumped into action, though there's a pause while you try to figure out how to get these red hot coals off the floor without starting another fire, melting something, or doing more damage. (From marks we saw, this wasn't the first time!) You have to move quickly and in short order we concocted a way to collect these red hots and get them back into the fire. Disaster averted.