It was Sunday and I had an itch to get out somewhere, anywhere to take some pictures. It was already noon time and the temperature in the 90’s and was forecast to reach 100 so I knew that taking a hike was right out of the question. That is unless, I wanted to avoid heat stroke or something like it. So, I hopped into my car after collecting my camera bag with all of its lenses and stuff ready to go and decided that I would drive to Llano and then make a big sweep around back through Fredericksburg and then home taking pictures along the way.
As soon as I crossed Hwy 290 just outside of Marble Falls on Hwy 71, the scenery gradually began to change. Away in the distance, I could see a line of hills and I was heading towards them. I passed a sign that directed to Round Mountain but although I was tempted, I stuck to my original plan and continued along Hwy 71 stopping several times to take pictures of the impressive hill structures off to my right. Round Mountain will be a separate trip. The rock formation had changed from the grey limestone of the Austin area to a solid almost red colored granite. In places, the rock was sticking out of the ground in huge curved formations with the grass growing solidly all around it.
I arrived at Llano and took a drive through the town exploring it a bit before parking and then getting out of my car to walk around. The Llano river runs right through the middle of the town splitting it in two. It has a damn that holds back the water and an old steel arch bridge that carries the road from one side to the next. Llano is the county seat of Llano County and one of its historical buildings is the old Llano Jail known as the Red Top Jail. This building is actually pretty impressive as it sits all by itself. It has been going through a lot of repairs and rehab and is currently closed to the public.
As you can imagine, many of the buildings are very old by Texas standards including the County Courthouse which stands in the middle of town. In front of the courthouse are various memorials to those that served in the different wars including both the Viet Nam and Korean wars. There are two major statues, one to remember the Confederate War and the other World War 1 and 2.
There are many old building grouped around Main Street and on one side, a covered walkway reminiscent of days gone by. Many are eating establishments and almost without exception, all lay claim to some sort of fame. As you can imagine, many shops sell local artifacts and mementos and some have older and more historical items on display. There is a Museum which I did not have time to visit. Maybe on another day.
I spent an enjoyable couple of hours wandering around and took over 100 pictures some of which appear below. My impression of Llano is that it is a sleepy small time town situated on the banks of the Llano River and would probably make a great place to retire especially if you like to hunt deer as it has the title of the Deer Hunting Capital of the West.
I had a change of plans about the way home and headed towards Lake Buchanan and then Inks Lake and took several pictures along the way. At one point, I stopped to look at an old railroad trestle which looked very similar to the bridge in Llano. I did not go into the Inks Lake State Park other than to get some brochures for maybe a later visit.
I headed home through Burnet and then back down along 183 and home stopping on the way at a Starbucks that for the first time in my life served a half cold latte. I should have gone back and complained but was already heading home and it was not worth the bother.
All in all, a very enjoyable trip and it is real fun to visit these old towns of Texas and try to get a feel of the days gone by. I was very glad that I made the effort to get out.
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