Hi all -- Dianne here. This will be a short blog, but we wanted to share our fun day driving to Llano, Texas to eat at Cooper's BBQ and the scenic drive home on the Willow City Loop. (Roger here.... On the way to Cooper's we drove through the center of downtown Llano. The building in the picture is the county courthouse. What a neat looking building!)
Our Amazon friends, Rob & Tanya, had given us lots of good ideas of things to do in the Texas Hill Country. One of those was to eat at famous Cooper's BBQ in Llano, and to drive the Willow City Loop.
Cooper's was a very unique, "Texas" experience! Roger and I must have looked like aliens from another planet, because it took us a while to "get with the program" and figure out the routine at Cooper's!
First, you line up outside in front of the outdoor pits. Then you tell the pit master (or whatever he's called) which meats you want. There was chicken, HUGE pork chops, sirloin, brisket, sausages, ribs -- almost anything you could imagine! Roger chose brisket and I chose sirloin. Most folks chose a MUCH LARGER variety and quantity of meat. After they hand you your meat selections wrapped in butcher paper, you go inside and hand them over to the "weigh master" (or whatever HE's called), who weighs your choices and marks the price on them. Then you pick from a deli case of prepackaged cole slaw, or potato salad. There is also a dessert section of mouth-watering selections such as peach and blackberry cobbler. They looked really delicious, but I summoned up all my willpower and let them be.
After you put all that on your tray and pay for it, you go all the way to the back of the room to get your silverware, some Texas beans, and a saucer of famous Cooper's BBQ sauce to dip your meats in. The tables are long picnic-type affairs, so you just find an empty spot, sit down, and dig in! There were large jugs of pickles on the tables, loaves of white bread, and condiments. They give you waxed paper sheets to place on the table to put your food on (no plates!).
It was all very confusing to this Indiana girl, but I finally got the hang of it and boy, was it ever good!! They say this is George W. Bush's favorite BBQ restaurant, and it's listed as one of the top things you must do while in Texas. I'm really glad we did! Thanks again, Rob!!
We drove home via the Willow City Loop, which is a country
road through private properties and roaming cattle. There were lovely hills and outcroppings, sparkling streams, and it was really, really a pretty drive, even in December. I can only imagine how it is in the spring, because it is well known for its abundant wildflower displays, especially Texas bluebonnets.
Roger again... Our last stop before heading back to the motor home was at an abandoned railroad tunnel that has been turned into a wildlife preserve. Guess why? It is the home to millions of Mexican Short-Tailed Bats.
At twilight the bats all fly out of the tunnel to feast on the local mosquitoes. Since it was nearing twilight, Dianne and I walked down a trail to the tunnel entrance, searching for the flying mammals. My last memory of Dianne and a bat was when one woke us up while flying around the bedroom of our former home in Indiana
in the middle of the night. Dianne thought it was a bird. When I told her it was a bat, she dove under the covers and refused to come out until I assured her it was gone. It was very brave of her to make the trek to the tunnel considering she did not have a blanket to hide under. Back to the hike... there were several benches along the trail for viewing the spectacle. Unfortunately (or fortunately if you view bats as Dianne does), the residents of the cave were vacationing for the winter in Mexico. They won't be returning until March. We'll have to come back.