Sunday, April 4, 2010

Everything is Bigger in Texas (April 4:day 32--Bastrop, TX

Not being a native Texan, it is hard to grasp just what exactly this means...'everything is bigger in Texas...until now.  These hills in the Texas 'Hill Country'....well, heck, they're not hills at all!  They're mountains!  Mountains with big climbs--some long, (cyclist call those 'pulls', probably because we wish we were being pulled) and others are SSS--short, sudden and steep, like a wall rising out of nowhere.  I repeat--these are not hills....these are mountains!  So that got me thinking--when does a hill become a mountain?  Is a mountain out of molehill the same as a hill of beans in Texan terms?  If the West Virginia hills are really the Allegheny Mountains, then what are the Texas hills?  Things that make you go 'hmmm'.

And another thing that has made me go 'hmmm'; I always thought that Texas was cattle country. Now, I have seen some cattle....a large variety of the critters.  But more numerous than cows (oh heavens, I called them cows, not cattle), I have seen sheep and goats.  Did I somehow get transplanted to the Big Sky country of Montana....(as in Brokeback Mountain)?  Goats and sheep have been much more frequent  roadside scenery than than their cud chewing cousins.
Some of the poor sheep I have seen have been sheared..  The poor beast to which I am referring had big hunks of wool left here and there on his body.  I had wondered if it was a shear-by-numbers sheep or if someone was learning how to shear....the poor beast looked very 'urban'. Early one morning, I came across a herd of goats in on orchard.  They were standing on their hind legs, eating the tender buds off the low hanging branches, and obviously not supposed to be there. Unfortuately,  they scattered before I could grab my camera. 

Also in evidence is the big sense of humor some Texans exhibit.  Riding on a bicycle allows one to see the unusual and chuckle at the cleverness of some residents.  The picture below is of a ranch entry; the owner had oodles and oodles of rusting artifacts in his 'front' acreage.  Read the name of his ranch.  

Texans also advertise in a big way.....
I must confess that I did not stop to sample the goods....mostly because the store was closed.  Still, I have not really experienced any baked goods at the little Mom and Pop stores that knocked my socks off and were worth the calories. It is just nice to eat someplace with novelty instead of the franchises.  We stopped a few days ago at a store that specialized in apple products, where I purchased some apple pie, their specialty, as well as some jams and jellies.  The pie was 'ok'.  When I downloaded my credit card charges for the week, I noticed someone had been using my credit it card at the Apple Store--I knew it wasn't me; I wasn't buying any thing from Itunes or from Apple.  Ready to call the credit card company to put a dispute on the charges, my room mate pointed a bag in my suitcase bearing the words...."The Apple Store"  Things that make you go "hmmm"..well, things that made my room mate go 'hmmm'.

Spring is a beautiful time to be in the Hill Country.  There are fields of yellow, red, pink, purple and blue flowers everywhere.  It is breathtaking.  Bluebonnets, Indian paintbrush, coreopsis, poppies, candytuft and plants I can't identify.  The roadsides are beyond description. But, again, Texans do it big;  I had thought that these were wild, but later learned that trucks broadcast the seeds,much like grass seed. All are perennials or self-sowing annuals.  The residents do the same with their fields and yards.  To see lambs, kids and calves dozing amidst the flowers or asleep while there mother stands guard causes one to pause and savor the sight. No pictures can capture the beauty.
So Texans do it big....just like the size of their state.....we're in Texas 20 days!  We're almost out of 'Hill" Country.  As we head into East Texas, I expect the terrain will change, but not the big pride I have been experiencing from these Lone Star residents.

So...when does a mountain become a hill?  Only when you're in Texas.

93 miles

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