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       WIMBERLEY:  The first two pics are downtown Wimberley (Nigel the Land Rover illegally parked in the second),  then a Blanco River crossing and Pioneer Town...

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Bluebonnet Trail Preview
Story & Photos by IRA KENNEDY

If you know where you're going and you've been there before you might not be surprised. That doesn't mean you can't have a great time and maybe get lost just for fun. And if you think getting lost is always a suprise, you haven't been keeping up with our adventures.

Anyway, in advance of Bluebonnet season, Ms. Intrepid, Nigel the Land Rover and I explored our old stomping grounds in and around Llano County to scout out our favorite wildflower routes to see how the plants were progressing.


Immediately after we mentioned what we were up to -- before, during or after the trip -- folks would say, "Bluebonnets? It's way too early. Don't you know that?"  (Well, sorta. I once photographed a Bluebonnet in the snow on January 2, 1987.)
       Then we'd explain that the January issue of Tourin' Texas, being written February, was coverage of the Bluebonnet Trail coming up in late March and ending in April. By then most folks forgot whatever it was they asked to begin with, and their interest seemed to wane. And then I'd get this look. Like maybe I was speaking in some lost language. And sooner or later I'd have to say, no, we ain't publishing semi-annually or even quarterly. We publish monthly, kinda gradual-like.
       If you're new to the area you need to know that, next to hunting season, the Bluebonnet Trail is high on the Hill Country's list of things both sacred and secular. If you live in that neck of the woods, no matter your line of work, your well-being (sooner or later) hinges on these annual events, and both depend on the weather.
       Bluebonnets are finicky. Kinda demanding in a needy sorta way. To really be at their best they'll need a good rain and hard freeze in the Winter to crack their thick shelled seeds. Snow is even better but you have better odds on a finding two needles in a haystack. Early Spring has to follow up with a few good rains. When all needs are met the landscape is a natural cathedral. And all along the roadsides you'll see folks kneeling down on a carpet of flowers having their picture taken.
       Llano County, the home of Enchanted Rock (the folks in Gillespie County will dispute that), is the geologic center of Texas. Fact is,
The Rock is the hard core around which the land mass of Texas formed. And, just to give everyone an even break, it is from this ancient granitic soil in San Saba, Llano, Burnet Counties that stands out as prime Bluebonnet country. (Yes, some folks will dispute that too -- disputes seem to be something of a national past-time these days -- but I stick to some notions like a rusted lock, and this is one of them.)
       Oh, yes. The trip... We lit out on a grainy overcast morning. We had to. That or get rid of our calendars which we all know were devised to make us share the same time frame. But calendars don't work on everyone as you may have surmised.
       Wimberley. The small downtown area is packed tighter than a cowgirl's bluejeans with all manner of trendy shops. We arrived around noon on Sunday and there wasn't a parking spot to be found. Ms. Intrepid dropped me off to get a few photos in the heart of town. Or, more precisely the rear-end of parked cars.
       That done, we headed on toward Dripping Springs. However, just across Cypress Creek in downtown Wimberley we came upon a sign to Pioneer Town. Actually, Ms. Intrepid saw the sign and asked, halfway through a left-hand turn, if we should check it out.  This was no time for debate.
BlancoRsm.jpg (18810 bytes)       The drive took us along a pretty stretch of the Blanco River. Entertaining the likelihood we were lost, or maybe missed the turn, we were about to turn around when I spotted their sign. When we arrived there wasn't a single car in the parking lot. What are they thinking? Does the term "Sunday drive" ring any bells?
       I know some folks don't hold to working on Sundays, and preachers don't have any choice in the matter. But if you're in the tourism business you might want to rethink that notion or go into another line of work.
       Pioneer Town has the look of a movie set.  Its only drawback being the streets which are too narrow for a real cowboy town. But then again it does what it set out to do -- capture the look and feel of what has long since passed.
       I can't leave the topic of Wimberley without mention of Wimberley Market Days held on the first Saturday of each month from April through December. If that's your reason for going to Wimberley you're in for aTurnA.jpg (4971 bytes) jam-packed event.  If you're just driving through, don't.  Otherwise you'll get stuck in traffic and likely to miss the birth of your children's children.   

PAGE 1:  WIMBERLEY  /   PAGE 2: PACKSADDLE COUNTRY
PAGE 3:  LLANO /  PAGE 4:  CLICK ROUTE   /  MAP & ROAD RULES


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