Day Trip Guide:  Austin to Lockhart (3/28/10)

"Wildflower Ballyhoo", by Carol A. King

Proving that you CAN take a 6 hour inexpensive vacation!  Just Do It!

Slow Down, Open Your Eyes, Seek the Art, and Make It an Adventure!


Please help us bring more day trips to you. Order postcards for $1.15 or note cards for $2.95.  (click links)  Thank you.

Our blah blah, Links, and Directions

Photo Art By Carol

The lure of the wildflowers.... We didn't have a lot of time for road tripping over the weekend, but couldn't resist the siren song of the wildflowers.  So we decided to stay pretty close to Austin by exploring the back roads near Lockhart.  Quick breakfast of sausage biscuit, O.J., and coffee at, yes, McDonald's, (okay, maybe not the healthiest) and off we went. 


Trip put about 94 miles on the odometer and took about 6 hours.


Directions: Start in Austin.  Head east out of Austin on Hwy 71 (Ben White).  Approx 7.5 mi from I35, take right on FM 973 (at light).  In about 3 mi., take right on Moore's Crossing Rd. and turn into the Michalk Grocery parking lot.  Google Map


Simple Map of the Day Trip

Suggestion:  Buy 'The Roads of Texas' map book by Mapsco.

Michalk Grocery at Moore's Crossing, TX 

Candy cigarettes, wax lips, Tootsie Rolls, and bubble gum with comics.....  Grandma, can I PLEEEEZE have a penny for candy?


Michalk Grocery article in The Statesman

Moore's Crossing, Handbook of Texas

Early 1900s photo, Moore's Crossing


Directions: Take Moore's Bridge Rd beside the store and follow it until you dead end at Moore's Crossing Bridge.  Get out and walk short ways to bridge.  Google Map

Postcard or Notecard or Wall Print



Moore's Crossing Bridge

Bridge traveling to the back of beyond....  Bridge life has spanned over a century since the 1880's, and morphed from providing passage over the Colorado River on Congress Ave. in Austin, to being washed out when moved here over Onion Creek, and then rebuilt.  Love the Victorian accents... AND the ghost stories (see link).


King Bridge Co. (great old pix of bridge)

Ghost Hunters of Texas

Richard Moya Park, Austin


Directions: Turn around and go back to FM 973 and take a right.  Go about 1.75 miles and turn left on FM 812.  Follow FM 812 almost 3 miles into Elroy.  Watch for Mexico General Store on right.  Google Map



Photo Art on right is bridge combined with Travis Lake sunset.  Postcard or Notecard or Wall Print.

Elroy, TX

Oh no, ToDo, we may not be in Texas anymore!  State of disorientation and panic....  Did we drive too far south?


Whew, Thanks, Ray!  Texas flag subsides momentary hysteria about wandering off track.


(Cool how they played on a store owner's son's name, Leroy, to name this town...  see link)




Didn't have time to find out, but wondered if that old store looking building was the one owned by Leroy's dad.


Elroy, TX, Handbook of Texas


Directions: Look across the street from the Mexico General Store.  It's Wild Bubba's! Old store building was on same side of FM 812 before the Mexico General store.  Google Map




Postcard or Notecard or Wall Print


Wild Bubba's, etc., Elroy, TX

Food for the stouthearted who dare to partake of the wild side.


Contemplating how we would feel while munching on Bear burgers..... not hungry yet, so put it on our 'must do' list...  maybe.


Meandered down Elroy Road beside Wild Bubba's for awhile.  Found horse taking a moment to give thanks that it was not on Wild Bubba's menu today.  Admired the designs in his saddle and decided we might have seen all there was to see in Elroy and headed on out of town.


Wild Bubba's Wild Game Grill






Directions: Look across the street at Wild Bubba's! Wander down Elroy Road beside Bubba's and see what you find.  Don't forget to "look for the art"!


Go back to FM 812 and turn left to head southeast out of Elroy.  In a little over 5 miles, cross SR 21 and continue on FM 812 for a little over 2 miles. Watch for Old San Antonio Road (CR 250) on the right.  Turn right on Old San Antonio Rd. and follow it for almost 6 miles into Lytton Springs. 

Google Map



(I cheated and put the Wild Bubba's sign from the side of the building on the front of the building.  Postcard or Notecard)



Sightings From Elroy to Lytton Springs

Smile Face water tower beams la euphoric reassurance that we are indeed traveling the right path.


Note to self:  Spiking the water in the water tower can have bizarre consequences....  (OK, I know that one's a little weird.  It's what happens when I've been sitting with this stuff for too long. :)


Smile Face Water Towers







Blue Horse Ranch?  A camp for melancholy steeds?


Directions: Keep following directions to Litton Springs above.


Postcard or Notecard


Indian Paintbrush

FINALLY!  Our reason for this roaming.... Flowers!  Yayyyyy!  Check out that Indian Paintbrush!  They do look like paint brushes tipped in orange and yellow paint, don't they?  If you are so inclined to click the links, you  can impress your friends by telling them with Wikipedia authority that, yes, the Native Americans actually did use parts of this flower as a paint brush!


Texas Indian Paintbrush


Castilleja coccinea (aka Indian Paintbrush)


'The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush' (children's book)


Directions: Keep following directions to Lytton Springs above.



Postcard or Notecard or Wall Prints


Lytton Springs, TX

"On another spot of ground Litton found an every-flowing spring. He found as well that deer abounded in the region, so Litton built a platform above the spring, and from this platform the venison was killed, there being many testimonials extant today as to the venison's tastiness. The place is today known as Litton Springs."  Mrs. John Litton (see link)


The article that quote was taken from is chocked full of Texas settler stories... worth the read. (Is chocked a word?)  Mrs. Litton has a unique way of expression that I was fascinated by.


Lytton Springs, TX - Handbook of Texas


Wonderful article about settlement of the Lytton Springs area by Mrs. John Litton


Lytton Springs Masonic Lodge


Directions: Headed Southeast on FM 1854 (NOT southwest... 1854 bends in Lytton Springs.), and made random decision to explore Hanging Oak Road.  Decided to see if we could find out  why it's named Hanging Oak.  We did....



Postcard or Notecard or Wall Print




Exploring the back streets of Lytton Springs, TX

When we find a small town, we love to wander their streets in search of that 'art on the back roads'.  We hit pay dirt as we meandered Hanging Oak Rd. and whatever other roads in Lytton Springs!


Local man rebuffs rumors that oak tree was used to swing outlaws by their necks...






The dancing Miss Priss Emu and her Guinea 'Pips' backup chorus.... dancing to the tune of "My Pretty, Pretty, Pretty Garden"


Ruffled Ranchers Await Day There's an Emu in Every Pot - NY Times 1998 ... I'm thinking Miss Priss better dance lightly and lay low.


Mad Emu Attacks Texas Policeman ... so, just a thought, but it might not be a good idea to get too close to Miss Priss!


Emu's Zine - a more positive artsy emu link






We found an old school looking building somehow, but when we drove around it into a private-ish cul de sac, the neighbors were looking at us suspiciously.  They didn't wave back when I did, so we decided the 'Keep Out' signs on the school were serious... and slunk away having obtained absolutely no info on the school.


Directions: After exploring the back streets of Lytton Springs, we made our way back to FM 1854 and continued Southwest out of town.  Followed 1854 a little over 5.25 miles to FM 672 and turned left, heading northeast.  In a short ways, we spotted County Road 88 on our left and just couldn't resist... even though we could tell it would dead end.

Google Map





Postcards or Notecards or Wall Prints


Postcard or Notecard

Bridge to Nowhere on County Road 88 off of FM 672

After convincing JR that he was well under the Load Limit for this yet another 'bridge to nowhere' at the end of CR 88, he bravely forged across as I held my breath.  I was all wimpy about the wide gaps between the boards.... so I watched.




Directions: After going nowhere on CR 88, turned around and went back to turn left on FM 672.  In a little less than 3 miles, we landed in St. John Colony.  Somewhere along FM 672, spied the often seen 'skull on gate'.

Google Map


Longhorn Skull on Gate

Have you every wondered how the grazing ones feel about seeing their ancestor's skulls on fence posts and gates?


Longhorn Skull Icon - Hey, you never know when you might need one! :)


Mounted Longhorn Skulls (just in case you were trying to figure out how to get one for yourself..  result of web surf)


Directions: In St. Johns Colony, we followed cemetery signs off of FM 672 and ended up on CR 167, aka Chamberlin Rd.  We spied the ruins of a church on our left (see below) and the St. Johns Colony Cemetery farther down the road.  After pondering the marker across from the cemetery, we turned around and went back to FM 672.

Google Map



(Postcard or Notecard)


Postcards or Notecards or Wall Print

St. John Colony, TX

Although the historical marker near the cemetery says the Baptist churches here are still active, it's highly probable this particular one isn't anymore.... (St. John Zion Union Baptist Church)


(we love old cemeteries and the one here looks really interesting, but short on time this trip, so is on 'must do' list for another day...)


St. John Colony - Handbook of Texas


African Americans In Texas - Texas Historical Commission


Freed But Not Free - article on Texas Parks and Wildlife about St. John Colony


Considered whether they might be willing to sell the canoe, but decided it might need a little too much work.

Directions: Headed southeast-ish out of St. John Colony on FM 672 for less than a mile.  Took sharp right on CR 294, aka Dale Lane, and proceeded a little over 3 miles southwest-ish into Dale.  Random wandering in and around Dale follows...  Google Map




Postcard or Notecard



The Poetry of Dale, TX - By Carol A. King


Weary wooden posts sag towards earth,

surrendering to the burdensome shrug

of twisted tin awnings.


Pin slipped doors knock in the wind,

providing percussion for the croon

of creaking walls. 


Ghostly shopkeeper echoes tease the ear,

whispering insistence into memory

of livelihoods passed.


Dale, TX - Handbook of Texas

Dale, TX - Texas Escapes


Postcard or Notecard or Wall Print



The Art of Dale, TX

If you'need decor materials for your Welcome Signs in Texas, horseshoes are always available.


Cowboy Art - cool horseshoe stuff!












Ah ha!  ART on display!  Metal sculpture work lending an artistic flair to Dale.....  Nothing was open on Sunday, so we can't verify this, but we did spy a sign in a window saying 'Thom Earnest, Architect - Sculptor", so we're assuming he's the creator.  Can't find anything about him on the web... other than architect listings.


Postcard or Notecard or Wall Print



The Streets of Dale, TX

The perspectives of Texas...  Small town fences, dirt roads, and wooden houses.. music to my eyes.















A sprinkling of bluebonnets would put the perfect final touch on this color coordinated vintage trailer and tractor scene.


Vintage Trailers restored by Eric Stoltz - We always get all excited when we spy vintage trailers on the road.  That's because JR wishes he could do what Eric Stoltz of New Braunfels does.











For Sale in Dale!


Mad Hatter Texas Tea Party?  In this political climate, I think I'll just leave that one alone.  Did look around for Alice, though.


Not in need of any pigs at the moment, but will remember where we can find some should the need arise.


Note:  If you run into Barbie, please tell her where she left her Mustang after that wild, late night party in Dale.


The coolest stuff we found, of course, were the snow cones... (get it?  oh puh-leeze, Carol!)  Actually, the cones of snow were not currently available, so had to be satisfied capturing the Texas flag lurking amongst the cone cutouts.


Directions: We left Dale by heading south on FM 1854 for about half a mile.  Then turned right on Thompson Road.  Followed Thompson Rd. about 1.2 mi. until it T'd at 160 (Old Colony Line Rd).  Took a right.  In about half a mile, continued straight onto Tumbleweed Trail and did NOT continue to follow Old Colony Line Road which veered off to the right.  Followed Tumbleweed Trail as it stair-stepped southwest for a little over 4 1/2 miles until it ended and we took a left on CR 185 (which is also Witter Rd.).  Followed CR 185 southeast-ish for a little over one mile until it T'd at CR 186 (Old Kelly Rd).  Took a right on CR 186 and followed it southwest-ish to FM 20.  Google Map



Postcard or Notecard or Wall Print



Postcard or Notecard or Wall Print







Wildflower Back Road Near Dale, TX

Patterned road shadows

Barbed wire linings

Drawn to point...


Barbed Wire... aka Devil's Rope


Devil's Rope Museum - history of barbed wire





Postcard or Notecard or Wall Print


From Dale to Lockhart


Make believe... OK, you be the.... and I'll be the...


We forgot to stock the car with our usual peanut butter cheese cracker supply and our tummies were beginning to make ugly noises.  Worried that we may not make it out of the back roads wilderness before starving to death, we formed a plan to stop at the next ranch to beg for food... embarrassing as that might be.  Our plans were quickly thwarted, however, as we started to turn into the next ranch drive and saw its name on the gate.... 'Rancho Ebenzer'.



Ok, next ranch....  nope.... decided that was probably a warning likeness of Ebenezer on their gate... did not bode well for successful begging.  Decided it was a wiser plan to take our chances with hunger.












Frantically dialing 911 to report the possible location of the recent rash of missing amusement park tourists.












Ohhhhhh nooooo, dangerous High Water????  If ONLY we had enough gas to go back and buy that canoe we passed up!








Directions: Once we made it safely out of the back roads wilderness from Dale and came to FM 20, we sighed in relief, and turned right on FM 20 to head into Lockhart... and FIND FOOD!  Google Map (Lockhart)



Postcard or Notecard





Lockhart, TX - We made it!

It was definitely time for us to find some food and then get back to Austin, so we didn't spend much time exploring Lockhart this trip.  BUT, if you're in Lockhart, you can't miss that grand Caldwell County courthouse, and it's a MUST to join the ranks of the thousands who have photographed it!  (Don't miss the great old photos using the Texas Escapes link below.)


Yayyyy!  We found Black's Barbeque!  Mouth watering Texas satiation!  You'll find it if you look around downtown Lockhart, or ask anyone!  (Sorry, we didn't order any to ship to you, BUT... we could have.)


All About the Caldwell County Courthouse - By Texas Escapes (great old photos!)


Caldwell County - Handbook of Texas


Lockhart, TX - Handbook of Texas


City of Lockhart - The Barbeque Capital of Texas


Black's Barbeque, Lockhart, TX


Directions: After filling our tummies and listening to some live Lockhart style country music at Black's, we went around a couple of blocks for a mini explore before leaving town and discovered the bluebonnet house...



Postcard or Notecard or Wall Print


Postcard or Notecard or Wall Print


Bluebonnet House in Lockhart, TX

Well, THERE are the bluebonnets we kept looking for on the back roads!  I think they gathered them all up and put them in their front yard!  Nice....


Texas Bluebonnet


'The Legend of the Texas Bluebonnet' - by Selkywolf's Den


Directions:  We left Lockhart on Hwy 183 and headed north back to Austin!  You, on the other hand, can go anywhere from Lockhart that you want to go!  (you have my permission.. smiley face)


And on that note... time to head back to Austin for us...




P. S. I would be thrilled to hear about your adventures if you try this route!

Carol A. King

Postcard or Notecard or Wall Print


Hit Counter