Back at Tom's Ranch it after a frigid ride in to Marble Falls, the temperatures rose as the afternoon sun burned away the clouds. Tom worked t he saw cutting many Juniper, or as locals call them, "cedar" bows. The burn pile was roaring and my duty to put out runaway embers in the tall grass.
The opportunity to help on a Habitat for Humanity project in town presented itself. The home dedication was Sunday so the work needed to be completed quickly. I cannot say enough about the wonderful and colorful team of volunteers in Marble Falls. Following the hard work at 4:00, we retired to The Double Horn for a hard earned beer.
Tom invited me back to Marble Falls for some work around the Ranchito and some fence building on the Habitat for Humanity house in town. Looking forward to giving back and lending a helping hand to some great people. The weather is only getting warmer after tomorrow so that too is a plus! Spoiled by the warmth of the last week.
As a fan of all regional foodways, my uncle suggested we take a drive south to Lockhart, TX for a meal from the historic Kreuz Market. Established in 1900, the unique Texas landmark uses post oak to smoke their meats. Their slogan: "No Barbecue Sauce, No Forks, No Kidding" points to the pride they have for the flavor of the smoke. The interior is a vast barn-like space with a huge line leading to the door. We waited for about 20 minutes to order and another 20 minutes to get drinks. IT WAS WELL WORTH IT! The brisket and sausages were served wrapped in paper alongside a choice of either crackers or white bread.
Following Hwy 1431 along the Balcones Canyonlands NWR, I worked my way toward the Austin metro area. The pace of traffic quickened and flagstone entrances to familiar suburb communities of McMansions lined the roads. Soon I was following I-35 south toward the city limits to meet up with a friend for a brew and finally my family that lives south of town. I spent the long weekend in town taking the opportunity to explore the sights by car in a broad tour of the area. My family spared no expense and effort in showing me around and treating me to the delicious foods and lifestyle Austin has to offer.
Austin is home to a series of giant light towers built back in the late 1800's known as the Moonlight Towers. I had heard about this oddity through the 99% Invisible Podcast ( http://99percentinvisible.org/episode/under-the-moonlight/ ) and was intrigued. Sure enough, a happened across one on my way out of town today. It was a neat site and an interesting listen if you take the time.
From podcast: The height of the Moonlight Towers was a means of accomodating the lighting technology at the time: carbon arc light, a precursor to the incandescent bulb. Arc lights are essentially a continued spark between two carbon electrodes. They are extremely bright and produce a lot of glare—the sort of thing you use in a searchlight. Arc lights at street level would be blinding, so municipalities put the lights up high in order to spread the glare out. Still, even on their high tower, arc lights were tremendously bright. Their light would be harsh by modern standards, but they were an especially stark contrast to gas lamps. A gas lamp has the power of about 15 candles. An arc light has the power of a couple thousand.
In May 2014 I quit my job to ride a Honda Ruckus over 69'000 mi and counting. Wild camping most nights and cooking most of my own meals, I keep the costs low and the landscape changing.