Texas Road Trip Tours & Travel

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FROM WARING TO SPRING BRANCH: Waring is a pretty quiet place, which I reckon is just fine by the locals.  Fact was there wasn't a soul to be seen.

What with the new map we picked up at the Camp Verde store we entered Waring having evaded getting lost the whole way.  Now where's the adventure in that?
Story & Photos by IRA KENNEDY

We'd been to Waring before and I thought I knew my way around.  Just to be safe I highlighted  the route on the map which became as handy as twist-top cap.  I was right proud of myself until things didn't look right.   Reckon I should'a had my reading glasses on while making that last turn; cause when I looked at the map on my lap it was upside down.  Now that wouldn't matter at all, unless your're making a left-hand turn instead of going that other direction.


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U.jpg (7233 bytes)p around Waring the Hill Country earns its name.  You'll find hills aplenty all kinda pushed together just to get more of 'em in one place.  I coulda taken about two photos of Waring and show you the whole thing, but if I did you'd know what you'd be missing. From there you can go to Welfare and dine at PoPo's (highly recommend), or Sisterdale with its Historic Bar and a nearby winery.
       And a little further north is Luckenbach if you decide this river thing isn't for you.  But Ms. Intrepid and I had been to all those places and they were kinda out of the way.  Well, we coulda stopped at Sisterdale, but being pressed for time we kept moving.
        Just on the edge of Waring we came up of a mighty fine stand of cypress by the low-water crossing on the Guadalupe River.  The floods swept through this section of land in a hard way.  Just on the other side was one of them fancy white fences that sloped down to toward the river all pretty like before they got swept downstream.  As nice as these fences are I can't pass by one without thinking, "That would make a fair size house."   Up higher, what was left of the fence was buried in about five feet of silt. Just up the road a piece it was gleaming in the sun against deep green fields.
     Maybe you're not familiar with how some folks describe distances.   A piece is pretty close by but not as far as yonder. A fur-piece is outchonder, which is about half way to way-outchonder. A stretch beats way-outchonder hands down.  But if a feller says, "It's up the road a mite," he hasn't the slightest notion where anything is.
       If you happen to be on a road trip and are fool enough to get lost, don't ask around -- unless there's womenfolk traveling with you, in which case you don't have a choice.  If you do ask, and someone starts out with, "First..." you'd best kick back. You're going to get them directions all wrapped up in a storyline that turns back on itself like a wad of worms, and by the time it's all said and done you might not even remember what state your in -- unless it's the state of confusion.
       Round about this time north became south. After turning the map 180 degrees and peering through my reading glasses I saw we were headed the wrong way and had left the highlighted part at the last turnoff. 
       Well, one road is as good as the next if you don't really care where you're going. What with our new-improved Roads of Texas map book I charted another route which ended up in the same place anyway.
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       Most of the low-water crossings in these parts were still sheading water and parts of themselves as well. You could see chunks of pavement and cement blocks just downstream like pieces of an unfinished puzzle. If a feller had a little time on his hands and a roll of duct tape he could fix that.

kendaliapo1.jpg (62450 bytes)       Kendalia was just up ahead and I was looking forward to my first visit.  Back when I was a youngster, about 11 years old, we moved to Blanco and I got hired on as a pin-setter at the Blanco Valley Bowling Alley & Cafe.   Once a year they'd hold this big Nine Pin Tournament with teams showing up from every little burg in the hills.   Twin Sisters, Albert, Fischer, Waring, Bergheim, Kendelia, Sisterdale, Bulverde, Johnson City, Stonewall, Hye -- all of 'em.
       Back then there was a barbecue pit attached to the outside of the building that ran nearly the length of a lane. You'd get a plate of meat then walk around the end of the building.  Up the other side the womenfolk had a long line of tables set up with the vegetable part of the meal; plus pies, cakes and desserts of  all kinds. I reckon anybody that showed up in town that day coulda gotten a free meal right along with everyone else.  You didn't need a ticket, hand-stamp or nothing. Just an appetite.
booth.jpg (23429 bytes)       Some of the old days really were good...
       After I took a couple of photos, Kendalia was already behind us and up ahead was the Guadalupe Canoe Livery.  I'd driven by this place hundreds of times on my way to and from San Antone but this was the first time to stop. We introduced ourselves to Wayne Whatshisname (red shirt on left) and while I went about taking pictures Ms. Intrepid did the social part.
       Now, if you really want a River Run this is the place to go. From a 17 mile (7-8 hour) canoe, raft, or kayak trip to a 4 mile,(5-6 hour) tube trip you are adventure bound.
       The canoe livery literature suggests you watch out for The Rockpile Rapids and the chute at Mueller Falls.  "Canoes have been lost" in these places.  If you've ever been canoeing you know that's not a good thing even if it ain't your canoe. 
       That food you brought along could be on its way downstream before you know it -- along with your water bottles and probably your footwear. (Remember the shoe fence?)  This stuff will most likely be missed sooner or later. I know from past experience.
       After a short visit we headed back up to the Dripping Springs store which had a restaurant (closed) and, nearby, some folks selling fresh shrimp on the roadside.  With no cash in my pocket to speak of and no ATM in the store we asked the shrimp vendors if they'd take a check.  "Why sure," the lady said. So at least we knew what we were having for supper.
       We were burning daylight fast and wore to a nub. We hadn't had a decent thing to eat since that Moon Pie and that "good for a month"   chicken salad sandwich which was good for nothing as sustinance. 
       Finally, up near Canyon Lake we pulled in at a quick stop advertising Fresh Tamales.  And they were as advertised. Back on the road I was making headway on those tamales, as best as I could without a plate or any kitchen tools.   Ms. Intrepid, with one hand on the steering wheel, made short work of her tamales -- sliding them out of the husk like they were oysters on the half shell.  You gotta admire talent. 
       As we neared the final stretch home Ms. Intrepid vowed that from here on out we'd take along an ice chest filled with food made fresh that day.  We'd have all the things we like the most and maybe even an adult beverage for yours truly.  Now that, I didn't have to ponder at all. But I'm a little troubled by this map thing.  After all, how can I brag on how great our new map is and extoll the virtues of getting lost all at the same time?

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