Deep in the Heart of Texas

Van Horn to Austin… Ki-yip-pee-yi!

google maps

Fortunately, today’s drive is easy peasy compared to yesterday’s. Unfortunately, as we pack the car and hit the highway, I discover shards of red plastic on the ground next to our car. I specifically remember only seeing tangerine peels lying on the ground in the parking space last night, so the red pieces of plastic were new. Fortunately, the shards are not from our car. Unfortunately, however, someone with a white vehicle backed into us while we were parked here overnight.


The Motel 6 where we stayed didn’t look too sketchy until we went inside to register, park the car, and open the door to our room.

Fortunately, we only needed a bed and bathroom.

The stretch through central Texas on I-10 to US-290 is rather desolate and uninteresting but every mile brings us closer to John and Olivia.

About 80 miles from Austin, we reach Fredericksburg in the Texas Hill Country. The town was founded in 1846 when the first German immigrants arrived in Texas and settled here. Nicknamed Fritztown and The Burg, the town of some 10,500 residents was named after Prince Frederick of Prussia and is home to Texas German, a dialect spoken by the first generations of German settlers who refused to learn English.

Fredericksburg is the birthplace of Admiral Chester Nimitz, commander of the United States Pacific Fleet in World War II.

When Lyndon B. Johnson became President of the United States on November 22, 1963, the world focused attention on the Texas White House at nearby Stonewall, LBJ’s birthplace. Stonewall, just 20 minutes away from Fredericksburg, is also where he is buried on his beloved ranch that has become the Lyndon B. Johnson State and National Historical Parks. During his presidency the Johnsons attended church in Fredericksburg and personally escorted dignitaries around the German town, thus attracting tourists to the area and placing it on the map as a destination to visit.


Today Fredericksburg is described as “the quaint town… comfortably nestled between… San Antonio and Austin. It is dripping with old world customs and traditions and authentic German roots… from the city square to the sprawling vineyards and beirgartens.” Climb Enchanted Rock, visit the National Museum of the Pacific War, stay in fancy, German-style digs, tour LBJ’s ranch, sip your way along wine trails, pluck wildflowers at Wildseed Farms, stroll through Main Street, indulge in German cuisine. (

At last! We arrive in Austin around 3:30.

Fortunately, the Super 8 Motel, where we are spending the next 4 nights, is less than 2 miles from Olivia and John’s place. Unfortunately, the clientele is questionable, to say the least… as in: a lot of heavy-set girls with bare midriffs in high heels carrying overnight bags are constantly coming and going, the walkway outside the rooms are littered with cigarette butts, a bare- chested man with long gray hair sits outside his room, facing his door… you get the picture, right?

Fortunately, we are only sleeping here. Unfortunately, our room has 2 lamps but only one has a lamp shade. Fortunately, the nightly fee is $60. Unfortunately, we discover we have no blankets, only a sheet and bedspread. Fortunately, the management is friendly and courteous. Unfortunately, they do not do anything about it. Fortunately, the nights are not cool enough that we need a blanket. Unfortunately, the mini-fridge needs defrosting.

Fortunately, we have a mini-fridge.

We drive to Genard Street where John and Hugo are waiting for us. Olivia is at UT and will join us later. Their house is adorable, but I now realize that I didn’t take one picture, neither inside or out, of their place! Eat-in kitchen, living room, 2 bedrooms, and 2 baths… So great to be here!

Off we go with Hugo to Spider House, a dog friendly patio bar and ballroom blanketed in Christmas lights.

Olivia walks over from the University of Texas, which is about a half mile away, and joins us. Did I already mention how great it is to be here?

I keep looking around and Jeff and I are absolutely the oldest people here! So cool!

John pops in to a local food mart to pick up some wine and snacks before we return home and relax. We end the evening with a takeout order of Detroit-style pizza from Via 313.

According to their website:

“This is why Via 313 exists: to ENJOY the pizza we grew up with. It’s called square, but it’s really rectangular, and baked in metal trays, just like the ones used on the automotive assembly lines at the Big Three. But instead of being filled with metal parts, ours are filled with the finest pizza ingredients we could source.” (

All I can say is wow! What deliciously decadent pieces of pizza! John ordered 3 different kinds…

The Cadillac

The Rocket, courtesy of Sarath P.

The 500

Are you sure I already mentioned how great it is to be here?

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