Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Cowtown In Our Rear-View Mirror

Horseback riding on the old Chisholm Trail was supposed to be a highlight of the Texas Road Trip 2016, but it just wasn’t meant to be. Even when it wasn’t raining, the ground was too soggy for safety, so the Fort Worth Stockyards didn’t get the horses out.

Annette and I left Fort Worth and resumed our road trip Wednesday, March 9. We headed for Boerne and the George Strait Team Roping Classic, ready for the back roads. Surprised at the speed limit of 70- and 75-mph on some of those two-lane roads, we were content to keep the speedometer a little under par.

Annette photographs "blue bonnets."
We took the interstate a short distance to Benbrook, then Texas 337 down to Granbury. We almost missed The Cowboy Marketplace there, which led to a false encounter with blue bonnets. Annette quickly spotted a beautiful blanket of the Texas state flower, and we both got out to shoot photos. After picking a sample or two, we headed next door to the Marketplace. I was disappointed at not finding any cowboys for sale, but consoled myself with a set of western-themed stoneware and matching flatware. 

A Granbury building reminded me of rocky-road fudge.

When we got back in the car, the light dawned for Annette. “Those aren’t blue bonnets,” she exclaimed, as she examined the samples we had picked. “They’re grape hyacinths. I should have listened to that little bell that was going off in my head when I first spotted that field of blue.” 

We laughed hysterically, then headed toward downtown Granbury to see its courthouse, per the advice of the Marketplace’s owner. This quaint little town, named after a Confederate general, has many interesting historic buildings that house shops and restaurants. One in particular was faced with stones in various shades of chocolate. It made me hungry.

We picked up Highway 144 and headed south from Granbury, which took us to Highway 67. That took us to 220, which led to Hico. A shop owner in Forth Worth had told us to stop there for pie. I prefer cakes and cookies, but the Koffee Kup is known far and wide for its pies, so we made it a point to find it. Once inside, we saw a sign hanging over the pie counter proclaiming, “Pie fixes everything.” Chocolate, wine and a George Strait CD would be my fix for everything, but that wouldn’t sell any pies, now would it?  

The family-style restaurant boasts 15 flavors of pie, when strawberries are in season. I tried the Black Forest, consisting of two layers of rich chocolate filling, with whipped topping, pecans, shaved chocolate and cherries. When I mentioned to the waitress that more than two cherry halves would have been nice, she brought me a dozen more. Annette had the Coconut Meringue, and the topping was as tall as the pie. You know you’re in a small town when the waitress tells you, “M’am, we don’t take cards, only cash and checks. If you don’t have either one, you can mail us a check.” 

Yummy pie!
Exiting the building, we noticed a Victorian-style house on the corner across the street called the Wiseman House of Chocolates. Had I not been full of pie, I would have ducked in for a nip. We missed the “ghost signs,” those faded remainders of WPA-era advertisements painted on the sides of old buildings. We passed up the Billy the Kid Museum, too. Our informative waitress said Billy the Kid was killed in Hico, according to local legend, but added that several towns claim the same.

Drive right up and buy a bottle in Hamilton.

Highway 281 took us from Hico to Hamilton, where we encountered a drive-through liquor store. We took pictures, then drove through and made a purchase, purely for research reasons, of course. We continued on 281 through a hiccup in the road called Evant, and made it to Lampasas after dark. 

The pickings for motels there were slim. Our first encounter was a sketchy-looking place that had seen better days. The rate was good — $75 per night — but we wanted to inspect a room. The desk clerk was about to accommodate us when Annette asked, “Do you have hair dryers?” It was an inquiry based upon our experience with a Motel 6 last year. Turns out this place didn’t have any, either, so we said never mind and went up the road to the Inn at Lampasas. Even at $90 per night, with the newer rooms and breakfast included, it was a much better deal. And yes, it had hairdryers.

Next week, if not sooner, I’ll continue this travelogue as we meander through Marble Falls, Johnson City, Fredericksburg and Kerrville, and finally arrive in Boerne.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the ride-along! Now I'm craving pie with nary a sweet in the house. Grapefruit will have to stand in. hahaha