Archive for January, 2009

The short way back, Tx

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

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Hill Country Sunset… Texas style

Time constraint, Dr appointment, always that shadow hanging, at the same time a necessary step for this body to go on the chosen path. We said our Good Byes in Houston, sometimes one has to deviate from it’s stage to experience the kindness of others and new Friendships which do not have themselves the luxury of time as Spirit and I have. The Hill Country itself has been quite an experience even if we have only skimmed it’s surface. These past two weeks have flown by as never before, discovering the blue highways laid ahead of us and even the downtown of a big city asleep on the weekend, enabling us to play intensively with the camera. I was at first taken back a bit with the photography aspect of it all and only realized yesterday about the diversity of the roads and the landscape. The Hill Country is motorcycle riding “Mecca”, this is where as early as on a Friday  “they” start coming to experience the Art of the “twisties” as we have always called them on the East Coast. They are the moving yellow lanes when the rider does not lift their eyes from being one with them. But then we also discovered new roads to us which could take us days to ride as it’s shoulders then attracts the vision we have. They are highway 39, the road to Stonehenge and many others yet I am told we have not discovered.

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We stopped in Fredericksburg even though I was told it being a bit touristy, after all, that is at times what we are! The attraction was to rest a bit from the riding and mainly photograph older buildings, churches I could see their towers from the distance and textures not often seen as I knew Big Bend and Death Valley are awaiting for us. The weather, cold and snappy in the mornings never took it’s time to warm up rapidly, we have been fairly lucky on this stage called the Hill Country.

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An old Hospital now a Wine Tasting Room?… I do see an analogy here.

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I feel as when one truly looks closely there will always be a space interesting enough to capture, a memory to maybe share some day, if nothing else, proof that Spirit and I were there. I am starting to enjoy my own archives, which by the way on this site is the most visited page. I can just imagine what it will be when our ten years on the road will celebrate it’s time, and then who knows, add another few more as long as this World keeps on spinning. What is for sure is the diversity which will never stop and the destinations which will always be of names we have desired to experience, some unheard and some forgotten.

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And why not? lucky Spirit was not within sight… it is real.

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Being in Fredericksburg at the time I was still under the notion that all roads were alike. Have I have known earlier we would have been lost into the many waterfalls on highway 39 or the road passing by Stonehenge. No regrets, whatsoever, those will be for a later date, maybe end of March when also the wild flowers are blooming. But, and I am glad to have accomplished my main mission, as seeking the best BBQ was still on the agenda. I really don’t like to write about it because right now, right from here, “Cooper’s” in Llano is 395 miles away and I am starting to, well, I will skip the details. HUNGRY.

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The “best”, plain and simple, forget any other BBQ you have ever had. I forgot who gave me the tip but I will forever be thankful, as being even a step above “City Market” in Luling which we tried last year. So I better go on, I forgot to buy food on the way here and just a couple slices of bread with water just has not done much after staring at this photo. So I tried a bit of everything except the sausage and we both agreed on the above verdict, the main Judge being Spirit…

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Liking his own chops after much approval. Forget these doggie treats, he likes the real thing…

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Dog Boutiques are not his thing specially when all the coats and gear available are on a pinkish hue and “faux diamond” studded.

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From Fredericksburg we passed by Stonehenge which is when I realized that here some roads do exist worth spending a couple days exploring camera in hand. It is actually Stonehenge II, a copy of the original Stonehenge located more than 3,500 miles away on the Salisbury Plain in England. Sixty percent as large as the original, the Stonehenge was built by Al Sheppard and Doug Hill, two visionary cowboys with money to spend and time to spare. It all started when Doug Hill had finished pouring a patio in 1989.  Left with a spare slab of limestone, he offered it to his friend and neighbor, Al Sheppard. Sheppard liked how the stone looked and soon planted it upright on his property, but he wasn’t sure people could see it from the road.  From there, Al and Doug built a 13-foot arch behind the monolith  and that was just the beginning.  Soon, a whole circle of “stones” began to rise from the earth. Doug Hill began to fabricate stone “look-alikes” from steel, metal lathe and plaster.  Painted and anchored with cement, these fabrications look like the real thing.  After about nine months, their masterpiece was complete. Or, so they thought. Some eighteen months later, two 13-foot-tall Easter Island look-alikes were added, standing silently guarding the Stonehenge masterpiece. Al Sheppard passed away in 1994, but the property remains in his family who continues to extend Sheppard’s invitation to pay a visit. That is the story.

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We did much more these days out, including cooking and more riding, all on the next Blog.

Twenty eight months of Photography is finally in order on SmugMug… In “Your Favorites”, in “States”, some labeled “first year” and second year”, now also “Texas the third year”. Feel free to browse, you can even use the slide show mode and have fun.

Merchandise is also available through SmugMug. If you like to order a print all sizes are available as I store the originals myself considering the huge bandwidth needed to upload on the Gallery.

Help us keep the site alive. Please contribute… The logistics of it have become costly. It is an open book, its pages for the taking with always the hope that you will support their presence.

Be well…

Ara & Spirit



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