The Texas Road Runners !!!!!
Road Trip Adventures, Roadside Attractions, Crazy DIY Projects, Texas Fishing, Rock Hounding and more......
Winter Vacation 2007 - Boyd's 1st Road Trip Into Texas, or the Search for Jurassic Park (Part II)
The sights include : The Dinosaur Tracks of the Coffee Hollow Quarry; More Sights of Fredericksburg, TX; Luckenbach, TX; Back to the Alamo and the San Antonio River Walk; Giant Armadillos, Giant Cedar Chairs and the Giant Rimasaurus of San Felipe, TX.
Star Date : 01/06/2007 - Continues........ (As always, click on the picture for for a larger image and click on the links for photos surprises.)
Now that we are all back from our break now, I will continue with the story. It is here where it gets really good. And if you are just dropping in on it, please see the link below for the first part of the story :
Winter Vacation 2007 - Boyd's 1st Road Trip Into Texas, or the Search for Jurassic Park in Texas : Part I
We were back on the road again and made it into Comfort. I checked the map and the only way to get on FM 473 was to pick it up into town. You can't pick it up from I-10. Once we found FM 473, we drove east to the Flach Farms, home to the Coffee Hollow Mammoth Donkeys and the Coffee Hollow Limestone Quarry. First, a word on the ranch and a little preface.
Via e-mail, I had been corresponding with Lee Enfield, who wanted me to ID some fossils that were found on a nearby ranch. I was later invited to the ranch which was owned by Gail Flach and the ranch has remained in the family for several generations. Gail is very active in maintaining the Mammoth breed of donkeys which has dwindled down to less than 2,000. This is due in part by how agriculture has replaced the mules and donkeys with mechanized tractors. To support the efforts of the donkey ranch, she sells landscaping and building limestone from a quarry out on the ranch.
A variety of fossils and other artifacts have always been found on the ranch. Recently, Jesse, her quarry master, discover a series of interesting indentations in a lower level of limestone which is dated around 140 - 144 million years old. Being a hunter and an animal tracker, Jesse immediately deduced these series of indentations to be dinosaur tracks. It was my job to verify this and to ID some fossils found in the quarry. Additionally, if they were indeed tracks, then find the proper people who could extract them for preservation in a museum.
Ok, Back to the story. We arrived at the ranch and were greeted by the welcoming committee of jenny's. Once we were out of the car, Boyd made a new friend real fast. We then caught up with Gail and Lee who showed us around the place and then we went inside to hear their story. Gail has a wonderful old country home that was furnished with beautiful antiques. Additionally, her fireplace was built with some of the fossils found on the ranch. We continued with the informal greetings and then discussed the dinosaur foot prints. Then finally, Jesse loaded us all up in the truck and we hit the quarry. Once there, Jesse first showed us some of the fossils found there and described which layers of the limestone they were found in. Next, we then traveled in to the quarry and checked out the dinosaur prints. Here's what we found :
Top of Quarry
Looking Down Into Quarry
Huge Ammonite Fossil
Crinoid's Stem or Annelid or Sea Worm ?
An Imprint of an Osteoderm from an Ancient Fish?
A Bone of a Vertebrate
Possible Jaw of an Vertebrate. Probably a Mosasaur.
Osteoderm Plating of an Armored Fish
A Possible Dinosaur Footprint with Gail Nearby for Scale
First Set of Dinosaur Tracks # 1
First Set of Dinosaur Tracks # 2
First Set of Dinosaur Tracks # 3
Second Set of Dinosaur Tracks # 1
Second Set of Dinosaur Tracks # 2
We found a few new fossils in the quarry pit, but it was mainly the usual big clams and snails. After poking around in the Quarry, we went back to the house to warm up and then we had to say are good-byes. This isn't the end of the story yet. I shall pick back up on it later in this report or the next. However, please check out the websites below for more information on the quarry and ranch :
Coffee Hollow Limestone
Coffee Hollow Mammoth Jackstock
We backtracked to Comfort once again and then headed north on Hwy 87 to Fredericksburg. Our first stop was the Das Peachhaus for some wine tasting. They did have a wine tasting room, but no winery as advertised on their signs. The wine they sale is from the Blue Mountain Winery which is off of Hwy 16 north of town. Maybe we will get to visit it. The young lady serving us was very snotty. I just wanted to get on out of there.
We walked the city streets checking out the sights and shops. Yes Paula, Boyd found a present for you here. We walked by Grace's Art Gallery, however, I never realized that this was the exact building that Admiral Nimitz was born in.
At this point, our stomachs were telling us that it was lunch time. Actually, it was a very late lunch. I guess we lost track of time at the quarry due to all the excitement. So, we headed on over to the Fredericksburg Brewery. For those who do not know, the Frederick's Brewery is a great restaurant that sells both traditional and German style food. It's also well known for it's beer. We both ordered the sampler platter of beer. This consisted of (6) 3 ounce glasses of each of the beers they currently have on tap. Boyd stuck to the American side of the menu while I tried out the German style veal cutlet. I have never had bad experience here and highly recommend this restaurant. Additionally, in the evening, the back of restaurant has a band and dance floor to to some boot-scootin to some German Umpa Polka music. For more 411 on this great restaurant, please see the link below :
The Fredericksburg Brewery
We walked around some more and then realized that it was getting late. So we took off again and headed east on Hwy 290, but not before taking a detour on Luckenbach Road to visit Willie and the gang at the ole' Luckenbach General Store. We found the gang, but no Willie. So the next time your around here, stop by and wet your whistle here and learn all about the town and Willie here. Here's their web site :
We knew Melvin would have supper for us, so we headed on the road again. We continued east on Hwy 290 and then south on Hwy 281 again and made to Bulverde and a great roast beef dinner. Thanks Melvin! We turned in after watching the Dallas Cowboys get beat by Seattle. I guess da boys don't got it no more!
Star Date : 01/07/2007 - Back to the Alamo and a World of Giants
At least we got to sleep in this morning and thanks again for Breakfast Melvin. Before we left, we met with Melvin's son Jason who has been collecting some really big invertebrate fossils around the Bulverde neighborhoods. One can find really good specimens and like I said, really big.
We finally left Melvin's place and continued south on Hwy 281 until it merged with I-35 and turned off east on Durango Street and then north on Dreyer. There, we stopped for the :
Bexar County Court House
After the county court house photo op., I realized that we were only about four blocks away form the Alamo. I wanted to make sure Boyd got a good dose of Texas, so we walked on over for a visit.
Yes, One More Alamo Photo
I showed Boyd how commercialized the River Walk was. Heck, they even have a Harley-Davidson shop. I guess my favorite part is how the Hyatt redirected part of the San Antonio river through the hotel :
Hyatt River Walk # 1 - The Outside Fountain
Hyatt River Walk # 2 - The Hyatt Mosiac
Hyatt River Walk # 3 - The Inside Channel
Hyatt River Walk # 4 - The Water Flowing Out on the Other Side
Paula kept calling my cell phone to check up on us. Heck Boyd, is there any way you can shut that woman up? After I gave Boyd a good dose of downtown San Antonio, we headed back to the car and headed north on I-35. Just off of I-35 in Schertz, TX at Bussey's Flea Market, we discovered another giant :
The Giant Armadillo of Shertz, TX
We continued north on I-35 and in New Braunfels, we discovered another artifact in this land of giants :
The Big Cedar Chair of New Braunfels
Another Photo of the Big Cedar Chair
Just look for the Cowboy Style Furniture Shop
We continue north again on I-35 and then turned off on Hwy 21/71 to head back home. I wanted Boyd to get a feel of the Lost Pines forest in and around the Bastrop/Smithville area. Then in Smithville, I had to stop again at Lorene Kohut's place again, The Little Gallery & Rock Shop. As usual, I picked up a few interesting stones for wire work. From here, it was a hop and a skip away to I-10 and then east back to Houston and Pearland.
Star Date : 01/08/2007 - The Dino Team
You would think that this little adventure was over, but not just yet. As promised, I contacted Terry Brawner who is the Paleo Section Board Member of the Houston Gem and Mineral Society. I told him of the dinosaur foot print finds at the Coffee Hollow quarry. Terry then contacted Neal Immega, who is with the Houston Museum of Natural Science. On Wednesday, we will go back to the quarry to verify the findings for the museum and take an initial survey of the site. Hopefully, the tracks can be extracted and set in a preserved setting in the Houston Museum of Natural Science.
Star Date : 01/11/2007 - The Dino Team in Action !
Damn, another early morning start. I must have yawned all the way to the Houston Gem and Mineral club house. Once there, I hooked up with Terry and Neal and headed out on the road again, back to Comfort, Texas.
There were no roadside attractions or any other types of my normal stops to check out something historic or interesting. This was only a one day trip out and so it was pure business. We did arrive in Comfort, TX in record time and ate lunch at the Double D Restaurant and Bier Garden. This was a most excellent place to stop for lunch and they do have live music in the evenings. For more information on Comfort, TX, please see the link below :
After stuffing our faces with chicken fried stead from their buffet, we then headed back to the quarry at Flach Farms. There, we were greeted by Lee and Gail and followed them down to the quarry.
Neil acted like a small kid on Christmas morning. It was only then, I knew for a fact that these really were dinosaur foot prints for sure. Terry was quite impressed also. While I helped Terry tape measure some of the strides, Neil went around with his camera to document as much as he could. Here's a few photos Remember, click on the photos for a larger image :
Here, we are determining the length of one of the sets of tracks. Lee is in the far background standing on the last foot print and Jesse is in the foreground standing on the first footprint.
Another view illustrating the length of the foot print tacks. To the right of Jesse, is the wall of the inside of the quarry where it appears that the tracks continue into.
Again, here's is another example of a typical foot print found here. It is about 2 1/2 feet across. It is definitely some kind of sauopod dinosaur.
Here, Jesse is standing by one of the foot print to provide some kind of scale to the photo.
Well, both Neil and Terry were very impressed with the tracks and Neil stated to would meet with the powers to be at the Houston Museum of Natural Science and obtain the resources and funding to extract them out so that normal quarry operations could continue again. But before leaving, Gail and Lee showed Neil and Terry the fossils that had been found earlier in this report. They to were impressed with the actual bones that were preserved and the preservation of the oseoderms from some ancient fish. These were the same fossils I tried to ID earlier.
We then returned to Gail's home to warm up and to discuss the future actions that would be taken with the museum and the foot prints. Before leaving, Lee, who had spent 8 years in Alaska, gave us some plant fossils she found while up there. Lee, thanks again.
Lee's Fossils # 1
Lee's Fossils # 2
After our good-byes were said, we made our way home. While on I-10 in the San Felipe area, there we saw it. Rimasaurus. I really don't know what they call it. It's just a giant T-Rex made out of old wheel rims. Here's a closer look :
After the photo op., our next stop was back at the club house. Besides, we ran out of road. We said our good-byes and told Neil to keep me in on the loop with the dinosaur foot print extractions with photos. That way, I can share the continued story with you.
It's kind of funny. This adventure started out with a dinosaur in Wharton, discovered dinosaur foot prints near Comfort and ended with a dinosaur in San Felipe. Maybe I should rename this story with some kind of dinosaur theme? Yea, I think I'll do that. Well, I'll keep you posted with updates to follow on this really cool project.
So, until next time, take care and I'll See you... on the road, or in the workshop, (which is really just my garage) !!!!
Brought to you by...
Copyright © 1999 by [The Texas Road Runners - Francis Kiefel]. All rights reserved.