BANDERA: Here are a few photos which really don't need
explaining but what the heck... In sequente is a Bandera store, Bandera boot sign, Bandera
court house and the Medina River bridge..
Story & Photos by IRA KENNEDY
I know, I promised we'd be in Bandera and we ain't there yet.
Adventures happen and I like to hold to the way it all unfolds.
After finding pavement again I was back to studying the map.
I noticed it indicated there was another dirt road leading to Polly
Peak. But I kept that fact to myself. I'd been told by friends that there used
to be an Indian medicine wheel on the peak, but progress had put a radio relay antenna
where the wheel used to be and I wasn't in the mood to go all that way to see what wasn't
Here we are in Bandera, Cowboy Capital of the World. If it's cowboy it's here.
Cowboy shops, bars, dance halls, dude ranches and a Frontier Museum. And just in
case you have more sympathy for the underdog there are several stores selling Indian
Back before there were any cowboys, according to
legend, a red Bandera (Spanish for banner or flag) was flown in these parts to
mark the boundary between Spanish and Indian hunting grounds. The name stuck and in 1842,
one year after he defended himself against the Comanche on the summit of Enchanted Rock,
Col. John Coffee (Jack) Hays, commanding a company of Texas Rangers defeated a large party
of Comanches at Bandera Pass.
By 1870 Bandera was the trailhead for cattle drives
north, and any boy worth is salt quit the farm and signed on for the adventure held out to
Fifty years later dude ranches sprung up which is just as well cause this land is so
rugged you can't plow it with a pocket knife.
I'll admit we kinda breezed through Bandera. Shopping
seemed to be pretty big there, but after Nigel the Land Rover's hospital bill we weren't
about to be tempted by neat stuff we didn't need or even know existed.
But I can't leave Bandera without mentioning the
cowboy monument honoring the Cowboys of Bandera County: Toots Mansfield, Ray Wharton,
Buddy Groff, Todd Whitewood, Scooter Fries, Clay Billings and Jimmy Adams. You'll find it
on the courthouse square not far from a stylish City of Bandera trash can.
Anyway, I knew just up the road in Medina they'd have
Adams' Apples for sale. Heck, you can buy a whole Adams Apple Tree there if you've a
mind to. Seems this feller Baxter Adams, Jr., planted a bunch of dwarf apple
trees back in 1980 and in no time at all the town became the Apple Capital of Texas.
Just in case you live in a community that
ain't the Something-or-Other Capital of Texas you're missing out. Once a year you
can hold a festival and year-round knick knacks, geegaws and the like can bring in some
Most of the good ideas have already been snapped up,
but I hear tell that fireants and ticks are still available. But if your taste leans
more to fruit you're outta luck. All the best fruits have been taken.
The rocks and gems category is kinda hard to break into unless
you consider asphalt or hazardous waste. But mud has been missed altogether.
Think about it! Mud pies. Mud wrestling contests. A Mud Clod
Pitch (or a mud clod fight, depending on the mood of the crowd). Of course you'll
have a Mud Queen. And maybe Mud coloring books. Mud slinging contests are a must. And you
can have them in two categories. You can use the pies that lost the Mud Pie Bake-Off
for your first mud slinging contest. And for Mud Slinging in the Verbal category
just round up a few old geezers or hire losers from the last political race.
( Oh, yes, that's right... the road trip. )
I might as well give the folks in Media a little
plug for picking Apples before it was too late: If you're in the area on the last
Saturday in July you can attend their Apple Festival. But just about anytime, if you have
a spare $69.95 and a fair amount of room in your vehicle, you can pick up a bucking
bronco tire swing. I've never seen such before but it sure looks like a great
way to spoil a young'un. Before I forget, back in Bandera there is a really spiffy
Edsel for sale and if you're pockets are really deep you can buy a race track there too.
By the way, before you leave Bandera it might be a
good idea to fill up with gas...
1: ON THE ROAD, FINALLY / PAGE 2: MEDINA LAKE
PAGE 3: DETOUR TO PRIVILEGE /
PAGE 4: BANDERA
PAGE 5: LOST MAPLES & BEYOND
/ THE MAP
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