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Road Trip Adventures, Roadside Attractions, Crazy DIY Projects, Texas Fishing, Rock Hounding and more......

Past Adventures

Winter Vacation 2007 - Boyd's 1st Road Trip Into Texas, or the Search for Jurassic Park : (Part I)

The sights include : More Texas Court House Photos;  The Wharton, TX Dinosaur and the Tee Pee Motel; The Branch Davidian Compound Near Waco; The Hippos of Hutto, TX; Ira Poole's Yard Art in Austin, TX; An update on Melvin's Walls; The Alamo Rock Shop; Javelina Harley-Davidson.

What’s New ? (As always, click on the picture for for a larger image and click on the links for photos surprises.)

          Fair warning, this is another lengthy report.  So I divided it into two parts as usual.  Therefore, sit back and put on that arm chair traveler hat.  Here we go again .......

         I promise, no more Texas bats!!!  Well, maybe not until this Summer.  I had a great semester last Fall and the :

is taking off with a good start.  Lastly, I survived Christmas with some really cool gifts.  So, I thought I would reward myself with a little road trip before the Spring 07' school semester starts back up. 

          Paula's kids are now being cared for by Boyd, or their Uncle Bo.  After a semester with the kids, I figure he needed a break too.  Besides, his first road trip into Texas was moving from southern California to the the Houston area and he really did not have a chance to see much yet.  So this will be his first initiation into Texas Culture.  Plans were made during our family's New Year's Eve party.  Boy, that sure was a rough night.  Well, anyways, we cleared the trip with Paula and Houston we have a go. 

Star Date : 01/04/2007 - Dinosaurs and Tee Pees !!

          We made plans for me to arrive at their place on Thursday afternoon.  I would spend the night there and then Boyd and I would take off early Friday morning. 

          After filling up the car, I decided to take the long way to Pearland by way of Wharton.  For those who now the south Houston area, you would think I was nuts!  Not so, I had heard of a few new Texas Roadside Attractions that needed checking out.  First, I had received this e-mail from Norm over a year and a half ago. 

 

-----Original Message-----
From: Norman Boydston [mailto:boydston@iwon.com]
Sent: Wednesday, July 20, 2005 9:23 PM
To: ftkiefel@swbell.net
Subject: trying to find a teepee
Importance: High

I was traveling from matagorda to Katy tx on the back roads and saw an old teepee motel.
I can't remember the town it was in but would like to find it.
Do you know where it might be?
Thanks
Norm

 

          I replied to Norm's e-mail stating I knew nothing about the Tee Pee Motel and tried to find more 411 on the motel from the Internet.  No such luck.  Then while researching new places on the Web for this trip, I think I found it.

         I began my journey by taking Hwy 35 south to Bay City and then North on Hwy 60.  Once in Wharton, I made my first pass on Business 59 south and before I was able to cross the Colorado River, I found this big brute :

The Wharton, TX Dinosaur 1

The Wharton, TX Dinosaur 2

          This terror of the Jurassic age was found in a little park just before crossing the river.   The fiberglass Brontosaurus was built in 1992.  He is 20 feet high and 77 feet long.  Once I crossed the river, I found myself heading out of town in the wrong direction.  I needed to go north.  so I turned around and just off to my right north of town on Business 59, I finally found the Indian village for  weary travelers :

The Tee Pee Motel

          Well Norm, you were right and for more info on the site, please see the links below :

The Tee Pee Motel in Wharton, TX

The Austin Chronicle Article

Texas Escapes Article

          After the photo op., I finally made it  to their place in Pearland for Thursday evening dinner.  We crashed early, to make ready for the next morning's adventure.

Star Date : 01/05/2007 - Let's Head on Out !!

         I don't think Boyd knew what he was getting into by going on one of my road trips.  First, we hit the road by 4:00 AM and took I-45 north through Houston and finally headed west on Hwy 21 in Madisonville.  Just before we arrived at North Zulch, I showed Boyd some of the back roads to the north of Hwy 21 where I have found some great petrified wood.  Once in North Zulch, we took a few back roads to our first stop in Franklin, TX for the :

Robertson County Courthouse

          I don't think Boyd was too terribly interested in Texas courthouses, but I warned him ahead of time.  So to make amends up front, We took Hwy 7 to Hwy 6 and headed north to Waco, TX to visit what is left of the ole' Branch Davidian Compound.  I'm not trying to be morbid here, however, this site does qualify to be a roadside attraction due to the past events which occurred there.  Kind of like the last stand at the Alamo.  Well, at least for those inside.

          For the site location, we turned east onto FM 2491 and then then north on the Double EE Ranch Road.  The compound was to our left just up a little ways.  It was interesting to drive on the same road that was seen numerous times on TV in which the ATF made their escape.  The following is all that there is left now :

The Entrance Sign to the Compound

Some of the New Structures

Bricks with Names of the Dead

          From Waco, the plans were to zigzag south and see as much as we could and end our day in Bulverde where we where going to spend the night over at cousin Melvin's place.  Remember, my cousin with the stone walls that could be seen from satellite photos!  Along the way down, I pointed out various Texas roadside and historical attraction and sites and briefly told the story of each one.  However, I do not think he was listening to me.

          We headed south to Salado, TX, the "Jewel in the Crown of Texas".  Well, at least that is what they said :

Salado, TX

We held onto our money there and continued our trek south on I-35.

          Naturally, once in the Austin area, we got caught up in it's traffic.  So we actually took Hwy 71 east to Hutto, TX.  In Hutto, their city mascot is the Hippo and to celebrate this, they have big concrete hippos scattered all thought the historic downtown areas.  Here's a few of them :

Hutto Hippo 1 ; Hutto Hippo 2

Hutto Hippo 3 ; Hutto Hippo 4

Hutto Hippo 5 ; Hutto Hippo 6

A Cool Web Link on the Hippo's

           After this Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom tour, we backtracked to Austin again and continued south on I-35 and finally made it onto MLK Street and headed east to Ira Poole's House for some really cool yard art.  I present the following :

The Statue of liberty and Giant Concrete Map of the US

          I still needed a courthouse photo of Travis County's courthouse.  So we took MLK back west past I-35 and zigzagged our way to 11th Street for the following :

Travis County Court House

          I had heard about the gentleman who had the Cathedral of Junk in his back yard.  We would have given him a visit, however, we were losing our light at this time and decided to take Hwy 290 east to Hwy 281 and then travel south to Bulverde where we finally met up with Cousin Melvin.

          Melvin, thanks again for everything.  Melvin not only put us up for the night, but also took us out to eat for a meal meant for a King!  We watched on of the games on TV and then crashed for an early morning alarm.

 Star Date : 01/06/2007 - Harley-Davidson and the Great Dinosaur Hunt!

          Melvin fixed us up with a great breakfast served with piping hot coffee to get our day started right.  But before we left we had to feed some of the neighborhood critters and to check out some new additions to Melvin's stone walls :

One of the Street Beggars Wanting a Handout 1

Street Critter Eating His Tortilla 1

Street Critter Eating His Tortilla 2

Front Yard Walls

Melvin's Court Yard Walls

Melvin's Garden 1 ; Melvin's Garden 2

          I was time to head on out, so from Bulverde, we traveled west on Hwy 46 to Borne, TX.  In Borne, we took the following photo of :

The Kendall County New and Improved Court House

The Old Kendall County Court House

The County's Old Jail House

One of our main activities for the day was to check out some fossils and verify some dinosaur tracks in a quarry on a ranch outside of Comfort, TX.  On the way to Comfort from Borne we passed by the Alamo Rock Shop located east of I-10 just south of the city.  That little shop was calling my name. 

          We turned into what looked like a ranch road and followed the sign to the shop.  The parking was right in front of their rough rock garden.  We went on inside and after speaking with Helen Pfeiffer, one of the owner's, I found a few cabochon's that needed wire wrapping/sculpting.  This is a great little shop and I highly recommend checking it out if your in the area. Helen said they are now having huge discounts on their rough rock due to the fact they will be moving soon.  Below is their write-up from my Texas Rock Hound Pages and their web site :

The Alamo Rock Shop from this Site

The Alamo Rock Shop

          Now Boyd wasn't going to be left out.  Boyd is heavy duty into his Harley-Davidson motorcycle and a big fan of their products.  So a little further north along I-10 just north of Borne, we found the Javelina-Harley-Davidson motorcycle shop.

Lots of Cool Bikes Outside

Let's Go In

Boyd Found a T-Shirt

One final thought before moving on.  If you are out on the road, always remember, every Harley-Davidson shop has clean and immaculate restrooms and free coffee!

           Well, I think it's time for a little break or maybe your lunch hour is up now from reading this report.  Maybe you need to go to the refrigerator and grab another soda or take a bathroom break.  Whatever the case may be, come back and I'll finish the story.  See the link below to continue on :

Winter Vacation 2007 - Boyd's 1st Road Trip Into Texas, or the Search for Jurassic Park in Texas : (Part II)

       So, until next time, take care and I'll  See you... on the road, or in the workshop, (which is really just my garage) !!!!

                                                     Francis                        

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