The Grand Tour

Trip Start Mar 30, 2009
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of United States  , Texas
Friday, May 29, 2009

I tooled along another day on the road, John Mellencamp blaring, windows down, hair a bird’s nest, alternately singing and smiling. Beautiful day, nice drive, gorgeous weather, heading to Comfort. Just a spot in the road, there are a few shops laid out at a T-shaped intersection... and what do I see? A knit shop! The Tinsmith’s Wife occupies a cute little building with rocking chairs on the front porch, perfect for the non-knitting spouse. Turns out the gentleman sitting there is the father of the owner; he was helping out while she taught a beginner class in the back. I skipped all the supplies I can get at home and bought one beautiful length of hand-spun yarn produced by a local artist. I was hard to resist all the other lovely stuff, especially since she had such nice samples on display, but I reminded myself of all the great yarn I have in bins at home and was able to resist. Barely.

I also enjoyed a quick visit to Wilson-Clements Antiques, but obviously couldn’t take advantage of all the gorgeous furniture from Mexico and South America. I did find two beautiful handmade pillow covers from Guatemala. I had a longer visit at Rosebud Antiques. What a nice store, and nice owners! Again, I had to resist things too large or delicate to ship home, and my truck is just too full for anything else. I found a few trinkets, along with a double-scoop of Blue Bell ice cream. Yum!

You know, I realized I’m going to have to photograph all my cool finds after I get home and put up a photo gallery. I’ll have to put up a t-shirt and patch gallery as well. Oooh, and maybe Will and Jake will be willing to model all their cool t-shirts for photos, too!

I headed over to Kerrville to find Creations, a fabric store recommended by Pat at the gallery in Llano. She was right! What a terrific store: reminds me of the best shops in Tennessee and Ohio. It’s in a cottage that’s been expanded to handle lots of inventory, and each room has a theme: I found bright ethnic and retro fabrics in one, Civil War era in another, children’s in yet another, goodies for handwork, lots of books, buttons, thread, and anything else you could want. There was a small, but very nice, selection of rayon batiks and some terrific independent patterns, so I collected enough to make an outfit for mom and a few things for myself. I also had a chance to love on Domino, one of the shop cats, which was extra nice since I really miss my own kitties!

I decided to avoid some of the tourist traffic and swung out to Harper before heading back to Fredericksburg. Once there, I sat out on the patio at Bejas Grill and had my first fish taco. Gotta say I loved it more than beef! Of course, this was a pretty fancy taco: grilled mahi-mahi, shredded red cabbage, fresh pico de gallo, all wrapped in fresh soft tortillas and served with good rice and amazing black beans. I had two large prickly pear margaritas, which were more like four, so it was a good thing I parked several blocks away! (I hope my friends and family are ready for some new dinner - and margarita - experiments when I get home!)

Ever since Belton, I’ve seen multitudes of huge gates, but very few houses. The newer entrances are huge stone monstrosities with solar-powered gates, while the older ones are often fence woven with wood sticks, with chained gates and a topper of some sort. The driveways just disappear behind trees or a hill, so any home is out of site. I’ve also noticed that most of the fencing in northeast Texas was metal pipe, even on a long stretch of land, and there was very little barbed wire and no wire fencing at all. As I’ve traveled west, the pipe disappeared and wire fencing took over. And once I hit hill country, many of the fences got really tall! The owner of a peach orchard told me he had them to keep the deer out, but I’ve seen them surrounding many properties with no obvious crops. There are a lot of fancy hunting ranches in the area, so I wonder if they have tall fences to keep the deer IN?

Speaking of critters, every evening the little lizards start crawling all over the outside of my huge hotel window and the frosted bathroom window. Aren't these cool photos?

The next day called for yet another drive, this time through Comfort, Center Point, Camp Verde, Bandera and Medina. Then, heading toward Kerrville... man, what a road! It was so steep and curvy that I had to turn around, film it on the way down, turn around, and film it on the way back up again! Fun! I picked up a crispy pizza from West End Pizza and called it a day.

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