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
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.
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.
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.
Some of the old days really
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
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?
PAGE 1: THE UPPER GUADALUPE / PAGE 2: COMFORT
PAGE 3: CAMP VERDE /
PAGE 4: THE HEADWATERS
PAGE 5: DOWNSTREAM / THE MAP
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