Llano has several slogans: "Deer Capital of Texas", "Barbecue Capital of Texas", "The Way Texas Used To Be", "Hub of the Texas Hill Country" and "Land of Legend and Lure" – quite a big boast for a small town!
This morning Ann and I were on our way to Llano shortly after ten. This is the first time Cen-Tex has had a rally in Llano so we didn’t really know what to expect. Everyone seems pleased with the park. We have four members with birthdays this month but none of them came. We celebrated their birthdays “in absencia” with president Larry holding the cake. He said he would e-mail the photo to the honorees. We have two visitors this time; Faye Lobstein was high school classmate of Betty Wendler and Betty Lostak was a high school classmate of Doris Kolackovsky.
This morning I walked down to the river. There is a pretty view from the RV park. Some of our group went swimming and fishing. Later I went with Ann Poole and Jeanette Lowell to check out the courthouse square area. We had lunch at the Fuel Way Station. It is a Christian, nonprofit coffee shop with music, weekly entertainment and community support. They offer free Wi-Fi and there were several locals taking advantage of it while we were there.
After lunch we drove around the historic district, where we passed the Red Top Jail (c. 1895). The jail is located on the south bank of the Llano River. The red roof of the Romanesque revival jail provided the building its nickname and prisoners often spoke of staying “over at the Red Top." The jailer used the first floor for an office and living quarters. The second floor had four cells and two “drunk” tanks. The fourth and fifth floors housed the gallows. The County's prisoners were housed here until the late 1970s. The jail is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is a Texas Historic Landmark.
We stopped briefly in a little park at the south end of the bridge to check out a display of llanite samples. Then we crossed the multi-span truss construction Inks Bridge, built in 1935 to replace the 1892 bridge, which had been destroyed by a flood. We visited the Llano County Historical Museum, which is located just a short distance north of the river. It features exhibits that help interpret the history of Llano County. Included are a polo exhibit, farm and ranch room, clothing and textiles, military items, rocks, and a variety of photographs. There is also an extensive exhibit of artifacts - both Indian and early Texas - plus a large display of area gems and minerals. The museum is housed in the historic Bruhl Drugstore Building.
Tonight we all went to Llano’s Hungry Hunter restaurant for dinner. They feature catfish on Fridays and also have a nice buffet with a one-trip option for senior citizens. The food was good and the service was excellent.
The highlight of our rally was the Vanishing Texas River Cruise tonight. Their docks are located north of Burnet on the far northeast side of Lake Buchanan near Canyon of the Eagles. It is about an hour’s drive from Llano.
Ed Low first visualized the Vanishing Texas River Cruise in 1981. He teamed up with Daniel Boren and Capt. Shawn Devaney. Shawn eventually bought the business from Ed in 1999 and he continues to operate Vanishing Texas River Cruise. He also works part time at the Longhorn Caverns State Park. The Vanishing Texas River Cruise is aboard the Texas Eagle II, a 70-foot, 200-passenger vessel with one enclosed deck and two observation decks. It normally carries passengers on a 2.5-hour cruise into the historic Colorado River Canyon past waterfalls and sheer cliffs when water levels permit. The name does not mean that the river is vanishing but that the area is part of a vanishing Texas; times are different now.
Due to low water levels now, they were unable to take us on their regular course; but Captain Shawn gave us a tour of Lake Buchanan, so we got our full money’s worth. We took some of our leftovers from Thursday night to eat on the boat. The tour guide gave an interesting talk about the history and other information and then a local singer/songwriter entertained us with his guitar and songs, some of which he had written.
STATS Route: TX 29 W to Llano => TX 16 S => RR 152 one mile west of Courthouse Square Total Miles Driven: 68 Weather Conditions: Overcast and warm Road Conditions: Good, mostly four-lane RV Park: Riverway RV Park (www.riverwayrvpark.com) Park Conditions: Gravel roads, long level sites, very clean grounds; nice new clubhouse with large kitchen, laundry facilities and bathrooms; friendly and helpful staff. Since it is a relatively new park, the trees are small.