Last Thursday found me leading an all-day trek to points due west of Austin. My clients came from Cozumel to attend the Austin City Limits music festival and wanted to see the countryside and city before and after the fest. Also along was “Esméralda,” a young woman interested in becoming a tour guide.

I piloted the mighty Burb straight out US 290 to arrive at the LBJ Ranch just in time for the 10:00 tram tour. The park is jointly run by state and national systems, and uniformed rangers drive, play recordings, and narrate. We saw Johnson’s schoolhouse, dog-run birthplace, cemetery (with new Lady Bird grave), Texas White House, cattle show barn, and pastures. Also adjacent is the Sauer-Beckman Farmstead, where costumed reenactors interpret life as it was for a rural family in 1900. Here we learned how to make cheese from fresh milk and cook a pie in a wood stove.Wood-Stove Cookin’

My little group pushed on to the ultra-quaint German village of Fredericksburg, where we enjoyed a filling lunch of bratwurst, kraut, warm potato salad, and home-baked wheat bread. From the restaurant, easy walks took us to a bookstore, the octagonal Vereins Kirche Museum, outdoor statuary, and the new public library in the old county courthouse. After contributing a modest boost to the local economy, our party parted for another iconic place.

Luckenbach, Texas, claims a population of three, which serves the many visitors in its post office/general store, barbecue joint, and dance hall. South Grape Creek flows just behind the bend in the side road that is the tiny town, where chickens wandered beneath picnic tables and a cat slumbered. The outhouse uses license plates as siding. A bust of the late promoter Hondo Crouch sits atop a red granite pillar by the store’s front porch. He said, “New York will never amount to anything. It’s too far!”

Although my guests declined to stop at any of the nearby fine Texas wineries on their Hill Country adventure, they did request a store stop to stock up on items they needed for the festival: folding chairs, water, and sun protection. Route flexibility and varying options are what a customized Texpert Tour is all about.

More on ACL in a later entry . . .

– HR