May 29, 2017
In Oklahoma we had to say goodbye to Route 66 to make our way south once again, this time our destination was Texas. So far we have typically spend between one and three nights per state, however since we both thought of Texas as one of the potential highlights of our trip we dedicated quite a bit more to the Lone Star State. Two full weeks to be precise.
The first stop on the list is the Wildcatter Ranch in Graham, TX. Graham itself is about as interesting as you would expect a random Texas town in the middle of nowhere with less than 10.000 inhabitants to be. Curiously enough however, Graham does have the largest town square in the entire country. Or at least that is what they claim, Wikipedia is inconclusive on the matter so for now we’ll give the town the benefit of the doubt.
As interesting as the town square might be, it wasn’t the reason for us driving down there. We drove to Graham to spend some time at the Wildcatter Ranch. The ranch is as so many ranches in Texas, with the exception that they are open to the public and act as an hotel/restaurant. Also they offer the guests a range of activities to participate in.
Before we started this trip I had this idea that you can’t really call yourself a true road tripper without rocking an American Stetson hat on your head. Apparently cowboy hats aren’t as popular in the country as John Wayne made me believe they were, which resulted in me looking like a complete idiot for the last month wearing my hat 24/7. Luckily here at the wildcatter ranch for the first time the hat got the respect it deserved and when we went horseback riding I looked the part.
From the countryside we went further south to Austin, one of the last major cities we are visiting until we get to Seattle more than a month from now. In Austin we managed to do another stereotypical American thing we had on our bucket list: watch a movie in a drive-inn. We had the pleasure of watching two classic Hitchcock movies (The Birds and Dial M for Murder). Unfortunately the majority of people at the drive-inn clearly had no idea these were old movies and not Hollywood blockbusters. By the time the second movie started, all but one car had left the terrain.
Besides enjoying the city we also managed to get some tickets to visit Hamilton Pools. A beautiful natural pool a little outside of Austin.
West from Austin is the little town of Luckenbach. A weird little town with according to the signs three inhabitants. Nonetheless the town is overflown with music enthousiasts every weekend when there are all day performances and festivals. All buildings in the town are pretty much still in their original state and style, giving the entire town a very relaxing and down to earth atmosphere.
From Luckenbach it is just a short drive to yet another great experience. An old 900ft railroad tunnel is now the home for 1 to 3 million bats. Bats that every day, at the exact same moment all decide to leave the tunnel to go hunt. The tour we took brought us very close to their emergence point, meaning that for a good twenty minutes we were in the middle of millions of bats. Not something comparable to anything we had ever experienced.