Notes from a road trip to the Texas Hill Country

Local flora: prickly pear
Local flora: prickly pear

“I’ll need something as collateral, sir. Your keys, your wallet, your watch…the clerk said. This E-Z gas station is located outside Granbury. Customers have to pay inside before pumping. I guess many have not been as honest as they should have and the clerk was forced to take precautions.

“I love your accent” was a recurring comment throughout the trip. Sean’s British accent was indeed a big hit with locals. They were super friendly and asked us a lot of questions. Usually, they would realize I was standing there too once the spell cast by Sean’s accent was broken: “Oh, do y’all have an accent too?” A foreign accent, yes, but not British. “Say something so I can hear it… Are y’all German?” No, I’m not.

Antique store in Llano

We stopped off at Llano on our way to Canyon of the Eagles. On a whim, I decided we should visit an antiques store. I bought a red train set that seems to date from the 1960s. No, it isn’t a toy train but an oversized makeup case. My grandmother used to have a pearl grey one so my new acquisition in a way reminds me of her.

I also bought a book printed in 1854. The front page reads “The Fourth Reader or Exercises in Reading and Speaking. Designed for the higher classes in our public and private schools.” It was printed in Portland, Maine. How on earth did it end up in remote Llano, Texas, in 2012?

We took a cruise around Lake Buchanan (pronounced buhk hăn uhn). Our guide, Miss Candy, a retired teacher from the area, helped us spot some local wildlife, such as egrets or ospreys. She shared very interesting information about the history of the manmade lake. We hopped off the boat to visit the ruins of Bluffton, a town that was submerged in 1937 when the Buchanan Dam was built. There wasn’t a lot to see; however, her narration was captivating.

Egret on Lake Buchanan
Egret on Lake Buchanan

“Burnet, durn it! Learn it!” is apparently a popular way to learn and remember the correct pronunciation of Burnet (BER nĕt) because of the easy rhyme. We learned this from Miss Candy too.


Hello everyone. I’m going to be your guide today. My name is XXXXXX and I’m a fifth generation Texan and a secessionist” This is how our guide to the Longhorn Cavern introduced himself. No doubt as to his lineage and political views whatsoever. Actually, he wasn’t the only person we met this trip that expressed a similar view. Sean struck up a conversation with a three people while we were waiting for a table at a restaurant in Burnet and somehow they managed to mention secession as well. It’s not a subject that usually crops up in conversation in the city.

Besides the egrets and ospreys, we spotted other local wildlife too. One night, we stopped the car the let a tarantula cross the road (no, really!). I’d never seen one before; it was as big as my hand. Just in case, I watched her progress from the safety of my car. We also saw some buzzards eat a dead animal lying beside the road. We spotted a roadrunner, which wasn’t running but flying low. I looked up to check that an ACME safe wasn’t falling from the sky. Last, but by no means least, we say a herd of buffalo grazing on a field. That was a first for me too.


The award to most creative (and scary!) ranch gate has to go to the folks whose gate reads “We don’t dial 911” below a shotgun. Across the road there is a satellite dish with a biblical quote.

5 thoughts on “Notes from a road trip to the Texas Hill Country

  1. It’s so much fun to read all these little anecdotes and stories. Even though you’re talking about Texas, a state in my own country, I feel like I’m reading an account from some foreign land! lol It’s so different from where I grew up.

    And just for the record, I would die if I saw a tarantula the size of my hand…or any other size, for that matter.


    1. LOL! I didn’t mind it. However, had it been a snake, I’d have freaked out and passed out!
      You know what, in a way the countryside feels like a foreign land even compared to city life, even though it’s an hour or so drive away. I find it fascinating.


  2. ACME, hahaha. It always makes me smile when you write about these little episodes and your thoughts as they happened. And ‘We don’t dial 911’? I wouldn’t want to cross the path of the rancher who put that up. 🙂


  3. Pingback: From our contributors: week of October 8 | PocketCultures

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