We’ve taken to using our Thursdays for a day trip somewhere. There is so much of Texas we’ve never seen or experienced, so we decided a few months ago to start seeing our own area. We still believe that we have almost everything we need, entertainment and enjoyment-wise, right here within walking distance, but how can we know if we haven’t looked around? So, Thursdays are for daytripping.
On this Thursday we slept a little late, or I did, and didn’t pull out until late morning. We drove over a couple of blocks to a place Danielle where Danielle had done some work so she could pick up a check. We drove to United and filled up with gas. It took me four times to get the debit card in correctly and I felt like a moron and I guessed that they’d probably use the video footage in some kind of montage of middle-aged dementeds who can’t figure out the pumps.
On the road now, we headed south. Down through Richland Springs. Our destination – Kingsland. We’d been through Kingsland but had never stopped there. The drive down was stunning. It’s all beautiful, but once you get through San Saba it is something.
A ribbon of breathtaking beauty. If you’re ever blessed enough to be driving in Central Texas in Spring when the rains have come, you will see an almost endless bouquet of color straight from the Master’s palette. I have seen bouquets in the shops, painstakingly arranged by professionals, and they cannot stand next to the hundreds of miles of roadside wildflowers, set off brightly against the black pavement, the bluest skies, the greenest hills and fields, and the cotton-white clouds. People go on and on about Europe because there are old things there. Castles and whatnot, but Europe has nothing on Central Texas when the rains have come. I wanted to pull over and stop a thousand times and just look at it, but you’d never get anywhere.
In Kingsland, we started at a burger restaurant on the river. The food was good and the beer was cold and the humidity formed droplets on the outside of the can. I ordered a Woodford Reserve with ice and got it in a plastic cup with junky ice. Bartender free-poured with no pourer. All of these things are abominable to me if I’m paying for them. We moved on to a place on the river called the Llano Slab where you can bring chairs or towels or a blanket and sit out by the river and wade in or swim if the water is deep enough. The shells and sharp rocks were tough on my baby-smooth feet, but I hobbled over and got in the water. But it was too tough, even for me. I need water shoes next time. I had one can of cold beer from a bag with ice from home, and when it got hot enough and the breeze stopped blowing and the mesquite shade wasn’t doing it, we packed back up and went to another riverfront restaurant with a nice deck. We ordered a beer and watched the boats circle in the blue water, white wakes mirroring the puffy clouds, and the white bridge over the river with cars buzzing over it. Off in the distance, the millionaire’s houses on the canals with stone boathouses stood guard. This place was gorgeous.
The afternoon was getting on and it was time to turn for home.
We have all of this at home. Not the same, but not far off. We have a place we go to on Sundays up at the lake where we sit out and drink a cold beer and watch the boats circle. There are places we know where we can walk or sit by the riverside, and somewhere we can even get in and wade if we want. I’m glad we’re doing our day trips, but so far they’ve only emphasized how great our little corner of Texas is. Most of what we want to do is in walking distance, and the rest can be found in a very short drive.
It’s good to travel, and it’s good to come home.
*If you know of a place we should go on a Thursday, let me know! Our only rule is that it can’t take more than 3 hours to get there.*
Michael Bunker is a local columnist for BrownwoodNews.com whose columns appear periodically on the website.