Saturday night I could not go to sleep so I was pretty drug out Sunday during the photoshoot at Texas Photo Fest in Smithville. I had planned to stay for the dinner get together with the Austin meet up group that went from five to seven but everyone else from Houston was heading back so a little after four I decided to call it a trip and head for Houston also. Even though I had planned to stop in LaGrange on the way back for some photographs I didn’t want to retrace the route up. I decided to go south through Schulenburg instead. I had seen a sign somewhere in my travels that Schulenburg was only fifteen miles away but couldn’t remember whether I saw the sign in Bastrop or Smithville. Couldn’t find it again in Smithville so after several stops I finally found a station with a Texas map. The sign was in LaGrange but I found a direct road from Smithville. After getting reorientated I headed south. It was less than thirty miles. I couldn’t keep my eyes open so I hit the first motel I found in Schulenburg. I had bought Excedrin PM in Bastrop so I went to bed very, very early and got a good nights sleep.
Before we had married Janet had taken some photographs in Schulenburg that were extremely good so I thought since I had an extra day I would check out the town—very disappointing. I had never asked why she only photographed churches, houses and some chickens, now I know. So I again headed for Houston. The first town east of Schulenburg is Weimar and that is where the story actually begins.
Back in the Seventies before Janet and I got into sailing we were into to bicycling. We would pack of the bicycles and head out of Houston almost every weekend. One of those trips that we had enjoyed very much began in Weimer. We had picked out a loop from Weimer up to LaGrange and then back to Weimer via a different route. We arrived in Weimer before sunrise because we wanted to be in LaGrange to have lunch at the Bon Bon Café, which unfortunately is no longer there. It was a great ride over gentle hills. We did get to LaGrange in time for lunch, but we lingered a little longer than we had planned. Leaving out of LaGrange you cross the Colorado River then have about a mile or so of very steep winding climb up the south bank. At the top is a state park and an old brewery which we decided to checkout while we took a rest after the climb.
In the park there were a number of deer running loose. Janet being a city girl didn’t often get that close to deer so she was going around calling them “precious darling baby deer” like she called me “precious darling baby Bunkie.” We parked the bikes and roamed around the grounds for quite a while. On returning to the bikes one of the deer was trying to get to the trail snacks that Janet had in her saddlebags. She started running ahead to chase the deer off yelling “dumb deer, dumb deer.” From then on I was very careful because I saw how quickly things could change from “precious darling” to “dumb.”
Anyway we did not get back to Weimer before dark and the last leg of the trip was down the Interstate 10 feeder which was a little disconcerting to do even in daylight. To top it off just as we got to I-10 we hit one horrendous thunderstorm. I don’t think that we ever did a ride that produced as much anxiety as the last five miles of the ride back into Weimer.
|Rental car parked near where we parked Janet's Chevy nearly forty years ago|
Anyway, I decided to check out downtown Weimer. I parked the rental car somewhere close to where we had parked Janet’s Chevy for that trip. Of course, Weimer I’m sure doesn’t look the same after thirty some years but I wanted a photograph of the place where the Weimer/LaGrange ride started. I walked around what there is of a downtown and realized that we had never retraced that ride so I decided to head for LaGrange along the same route. Stopped to photograph a couple of deer along side the road and a church that probably wasn’t there in the Seventies. It was a pleasant drive and brought back a lot of memories. In the end, I did get to do some photographs in LaGrange after all.
Of course, I probably knew this before but probably had not thought about it a lot. The best thing about being retired and not having anyone that depends on you is that you don’t have to be in any particular place at any particular time. The worst thing about being retired and not having anyone that depends on you is that you don’t have to be in any particular place at any particular time. I love photographing small towns but it is not nearly as much fun to do it by yourself.
Socrates said that the unexamined life was not worth living. If I may paraphrase, the unshared life is the pits. Okay, next time I will write about photography. Maybe. Yeah, I will. I got three new books today and one has a quote from W. Eugene Smith that I would like to steal for a blog.
|On the way out of Weimer I stopped to photograph St Michael's Church and Cemetery|