By Lisa Chaffin
We started the morning at our shop in Dripping Springs (which was harder to find than I realized). First to arrive were the Rankin’s and the Ross’s and soon after, the rest began to arrive rather quickly. While we took over the backyard and roadway with our cars (22 in all), those inside had a chance to check out the shop we have been putting together for the last year. Cars and car related artwork, parts and repair shop on the bottom floor and a museum of sorts on the top floor, displaying family heirlooms, antique clothing and military artifacts. Brandon was busy running our cars to the gas station while our guests enjoyed donuts, coffee and good conversations.
We left Dripping Springs on time at 9:30am and headed east towards RR12 to take the backroads to Blanco. I guess my “first tour nerves” were in high gear as I missed the first turn onto Mt. Gainor Road. I had two cars behind me who followed my blunder but thankfully, Vic Donnell (backroad veteran) saved the rest from making the same mistake. I got turned around and then waited at the entrance of the road until I saw the last car in line and made sure they made the turn. Now at the back of the pack and feeling comfortable that the directions to our first stop were pretty clear, I was able to enjoy the winding roads, wild flowers, green grass, leafy trees and the back view of Brandon driving the Model A. Crossing over cattle guards and one lane bridges just added to the country feel of the drive.
We arrived at Arnosky Family Farms close to 10:30am. We all got out and enjoyed the flowers growing in the fields and the Amish style barn; it even looked as though some folks took advantage of the plant sale. I took a good deal of razzing for missing my first turn; I guess that means I’m officially accepted into the club! With the sound of the Lincoln horn, we all loaded back into our cars for the short drive to Blanco.
Our next stop was the Buggy Barn Museum, just off of Hwy 281. A few of us parked inside but most parked outside the fence looking like a giant school of fish (I’m sure it was a great spectacle for passersby). We paid our admission fee and then sort of scattered in different directions, some opting to look at the Western town, general store, dance hall, “hanging” platform and church at the back of the property while others went directly into the two story museum, filled with every type of buggy made. What started as an interest in buggies, carriages and wagons has become a collection the movie industry utilizes on a regular basis, knowing they can “shop” for the perfect buggy needed in their films. The hour went by quickly and before long it was time for another horn blast to indicate our departure for lunch.
Some thought I was getting lost again when I turned down 5th street (1 block before the restaurant) but were pleased to see we were headed to a large, empty parking lot where we could all easily park (the square in Blanco is not the easiest place to park 22 cars). We took a short walk to the Red Bud Café and got in line to order lunch. It took a little while to get all 42 of us through the line but in the end, I think everyone enjoyed their food and the comfortable setting.
At this point, many people said their thank-yous and departed while others opted to do some shopping at the Art Walk on the courthouse grounds and the antique mall across the way. It was a beautiful day and pleasant to be outside. Those finishing the tour back to Dripping Springs met up in the parking lot at 2:00pm. Unfortunately, we did have to be on FM165 for several miles and we had some modern vehicles that were a bit annoyed with our speed. It was wonderful to turn off the road at Loop 165 and be back under the trees and winding our way through the countryside. We even got to splash through one tiny low water crossing with some water in it! We followed Creek Road all the way back into Dripping Springs, took a one block jaunt on Hwy 290 and then ducked back down Bonnie Drive to our shop. Those who followed were glad for the air conditioned building and a cold drink while we talked cars and tours and enjoyed each other’s company.
Overall, it seemed like a great tour. I was the only one to get lost, we didn’t have any breakdowns, the weather was lovely and we had some great roads to drive on. Thanks to all of you who were able to participate, I enjoy how each event allows us to get to know each other better.