March 23, 2016 Fredericksburg, Texas

Hill Country Roadside Wildflowers
Hill Country Roadside Wildflowers

Texas Hill Country, Looking for Wildflowers

Monday afternoon, after almost a five month stay, I hooked up the tow dolly, loaded the Prius and said goodbye to the Salineno Birding Area. Only moved about six miles, to the county park, free camping area in Falcon Heights, so that I could get some decent strength internet signal and plan my next move north.

Tuesday morning I left the county park, headed back out to Route 83 and turned north to Zapata, where I picked up Route 16 North, then Route 173 North to Kerrville. Both 16 and 173 were good wide 2 lane roads with little traffic and only a few small towns to drive through, much better than doing the interstate, although there was little in the way of scenery along the way. Lots of Caracaras and I did see a couple exotic antelope behind the fences running along the road.

In Kerrville I took Rte.16 E ( or N ) towards Fredericksburg and turned left on Fair Lane to look for the Gillespie County Fairground camping area. All I found was what looked like campsites that were in the process of being worked on, no signs, no place to stay so I backtracked south a mile to the Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park and signed in for a week at $210. Lucky they were able to squeeze me in because the place is all but full. Got Sites 47 & 48, a pull through with full hookups and nice lawn between sites. Easy satellite on this site and 5 bars of 4G although the parks Wifi also works for most things.

Hill Country Farmscape
Hill Country Farmscape

This morning, I decided to do an exploratory loop around Fredericksburg to see where I might find some wildflowers. I headed south and east down towards Blanco State Park and ran into this nice little springtime  farm scene just outside Fredericksburg.

Hill Country Farmscape
Hill Country Farmscape
Hill Country Relics
Hill Country Relics

Blanco State Park is a small park along the river, probably quite popular for swimming during the heat of the Texas summer. The campground is not terribly friendly for big rigs, consisting of mostly shortish backins under a canopy of trees, so I crossed this one off my list of potential places to stay.

I next headed north towards Johnson City and then east to check out Pedernales Falls State Park. Be aware, there is extensive road construction on the drive into the state park, with long delays waiting for the pilot car to lead you through. The park would be a great get away from it all spot, but again, the sites are mostly short back in sites, and most of them are quite unlevel, not terribly big rig friendly at all. Again, probably a great park for swimming in the Texas summer, but not one I will be using to explore the region.

On this swing south and east of Fredericksburg, I did see some small clumps of roadside wildflowers in bloom, but absolutely nothing to get excited about. As I returned to Route 281 and headed farther north toward Marble Falls, I did finally start to see some of the roadside color I had come here for. From Marble Falls I headed back west and north on FM 1431 and then Route 29 to Llano and Route 29 had some very pretty stretches of flowers along the road, especially as you approached Llano.

The problem here was that the flowers are only along the roadside, as in what is probably the road right of way. I guess I was hoping to see fields of wildflowers, not just twenty foot wide strips of color directly roadside. There are signs informing you that it is illegal to park within ten feet of the pavement, and there are all but no turnoffs along the road, so stopping to get photos is going to prove to be difficult, I would dare say.

Tomorrow I will continue searching west of here to see what I can find. No matter what I do or do not find, the change of scenery, and temperatures, from the Rio Grande Valley to here are a blessed relief.

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