Written by Lois Rodriguez
Autumn is my favorite season for a roadtrip. Obviously, cooler weather factors into my affection. Also, smaller crowds make for broader landscapes. And while in Texas leaf peeping is not often a motivation for hitting the road, there is an appreciable, if subtle shift in the landscape, a change of textures and colors, as the night temps cool. Along with the fresh slant of sun, clouds seem to drift about more often in the fall and I appreciate dappled sunlight.
On Sept. 4, 2011, the October issue of Texas Highways was just reaching subscribers. The cover story was a tribute to the beauty of Bastrop State Park. Sadly, that very day, the park and surrounding areas suffered great damage as a wildfire swept through, affecting 96 percent of the park. Fortunately, it has been making great strides toward recovery.
The duty as well as the pleasure of Texas Highways’ photography is to guide you to the small and silent, as well as the big and bold, and then suggest what your own experience might be like.
Houston’s Astrodome may sit abandoned and seemingly unwanted, but many kept sight of the iconic dome’s value and have worked tirelessly to see it be given a chance for a new life.
The writers who contribute to Texas Highways exemplify a few traits in common: They’re experienced travelers guided by curiosity, adventure, culture, and hard-earned wisdom.
Though my vacation dining plans usually involve lots of rich eating, I decided to mix things up on a recent trip to Galveston. All those exercisers around me—surfers balancing on rushing waves, joggers kicking up sand, and bicyclists threading their way along the seawall—inspired me to forgo fried fare and search out lighter eating options.
I hadn’t lived in Texas for very long before learning that “comfort food” takes on specific meaning here. A friend and I in San Antonio were looking for some dinner, and a resident rattled off nearby eats: pizza, Tex-Mex, and, of course, a comfort-food restaurant.
The “Down the Bayou Cooking” banner strung above Zachary Taylor’s booth in an oak motte in the hills above Medina Lake draws me like a crawfish to a piece of dangling chicken neck.
You can take the movie star out of Texas, but you can’t take Texas out of the movie star. Actress Margo Martindale still likes to hang out in her East Texas hometown of Jacksonville. “It is hard to stay away,” she says. “My very favorite place there is Lake Jacksonville. I grew up on that lake.”
Front and center on the grounds of the Texas Capitol in Austin, the Tejano Monument’s life-size granite figures include an explorer, a Tejano vaquero astride a horse, a pair of Longhorn cattle, a man and woman, boy and girl, a sheep, and a goat.
Frederick “Fritz” Hanselmann holds many titles with the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University in San Marcos, among them Chief Underwater Archaeologist and Diving Program Director. But his real passion is finding out what lies under Spring Lake, which is a state archeological landmark, critical habitat for endangered species, and the literal and physical heart of the Center.
Several years after the death of Texas literary legend J. Frank Dobie in 1964, aspiring writer and photographer Bill Wittliff and his wife, Sally, purchased Dobie’s desk—and with it, 30 boxes of archives that would form the nucleus of today’s Southwestern Writers Collection at Texas State University in San Marcos.