April 5 – 14
The next day at Jellystone we would be free to do what we wanted as there wasn’t a scheduled ride, just three optional ones for those looking for miles or to do some exploring. Otherwise, you could hang out in camp, or take a shuttle into nearby Fredericksburg. Joanna took off early with a small group to head to the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area for a hike to the top of its pink granite mountain that rises around 425 feet above the surrounding terrain. Jessie and Dave who would soon see in San Antonio got married here some years ago. I would hang out in camp for a couple of hours before hopping on a shuttle for Fredericksburg.
In town, I got dropped off around 11am with two objectives, the first to check out some of the touristy gift shops and the second to track down a currywurst, apple strudel, or both, for consumption later when Joanna joined me here. Fredericksburg was founded in 1846 and named after Prince Frederick of Prussia. Old-time German residents often referred to it as Fritztown, a nickname that is still used in some businesses.
The town is also notable as the home of Texas German, a dialect spoken by the first generations of German settlers who initially refused to learn English. Fredericksburg shares many cultural characteristics with New Braunfels, which had been established by Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels the previous year. It is the sister city of Montabaur, Germany and in 1970, its Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places in Texas.
It was a warm day and although not interested in purchasing anything from the tourist-oriented gift shops lined up and down Main Street, I did seek out the air-conditioned interiors for some relief. Meanwhile, my quest for a wurst or strudel would go unrewarded as the two German restaurants in town were closed that day. After walking up and back both sides of the street, I stopped at the corner of Main and Washington delighted to see the Adventure Cycling van with Joanna inside. They picked me up and we drove a couple of blocks away to Woerner’s Warehouse Café as it was a favorite stopping place for Denny, the staff member driving the shuttle.
As there was no strudel available, (what kind of a bakery in a town known for Germans does not have strudel?) and as we’d been eating sandwiches and wraps for a number of days, we opted to split a 10-inch Margherita Pizza with fresh mozzarella, sauce, fresh basil, and olive oil. We found the crust, sauce, and basil to be all one could want, but the cheese, perhaps because it was fresh, had not fully melted.
We returned to camp for an exciting afternoon of doing our laundry, a must on a multi-day tour when one only brings three cycling kits, leaving us with clean clothes enough to last the rest of the week. Later, after dinner, Joanna joined a group of folks who shuttled over to the small town of Luckenbach, made famous in the 1977 song by Waylon Jennings, Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love).
The song refers to a couple whose position in “high society” has placed strains on their marriage and Jennings suggests that the couple return to “the basics of love” and relocate to the small town of Luckenbach, Texas. The final refrain of the song features a guest vocal by Willie Nelson. Co-written by Chips Moman and Bobby Emmons who proposed the song to Jennings because his “name’s in it. In his autobiography, Jennings wrote: “I knew it was a hit song, even though I didn’t like it, and still don’t.” Jennings thought the song succeeded because “every state has a Luckenbach; a place to get away from things.”
The town, as advertised with a population of three, was purchased in 1970 by actor Guich Koock and Hondo Crouch, a rancher and Texas folklorist, for $30,000. They and their wives worked to promote it as a tourist attraction and Guich used the town’s rights as a municipality to govern the dance hall as he saw fit. And that is where the group made their way, as most days and nights some form of music is presented.
After arriving and checking out the dance hall, Joanna walked over to a smaller bar and gift shop adjacent to the dancehall and one of her fellow cyclists was buying a round of $2 beers for his friends, Joanna now being one. She went outside to sit with Donna, another of the cyclists, and then a number of folks from the area started chatting with them and they all listened to a musician from the area do a few tunes.
She was then invited to go play corn hole by a cyclist, Patrick. and when they approached the two playing courts, one was occupied by some of the cyclists and the other by locals and for some reason, he wanted to play with the locals. At first one of them was adamant about Joanna and Patrick not playing with them, but then another woman on the sidelines declared, “oh no, no, no, they get to play here too”.
There was an agreement they could play, and the advocate went in and bought everyone a beer. The outcome? Joanna’s team won the first game but lost the second and the rest isn’t exactly history, but it should be. And that would close out our time in the Stonewall/Fredericksburg area, places we need to return to as we didn’t really get to spend enough tourist time there. Chances are we will be back though, and you will more than likely hear about it here.
Enchanted Rock State Natural Area: https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/enchanted-rock
Woerner’s Warehouse Café: https://www.woernerwarehouse.com/
Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love): https://songmeanings.com/songs/view/3530822107858896318/