On Friday, April 24th we drove on Hwy. 29 west into Mason for a good lunch at the Willow Creek Café. Great burgers and homemade pie for all then a quick look around the square to see what is know as one of the prettiest small towns in the Hill Country. Also the only place in North America where you can pick up Texas Topaz off the ground. Took them up the hill to see the only building left of Fort Mason which was on the Texas Historic Forts trail. Robert E. Lee was actually stationed here before the Civil War.
Then we drove south to cross the James River and see some of the historic sites such as the marker that relates the kidnapping of settlers told in John Wayne’s movie “The Searchers” and then some of the sites where Mason County Wars were fought over cattle and sheepherding rights back in the 1800s. We drove on dirt roads to cross the James River. The “kids” had never seen a low water crossing so the Leader decided to get out and walk about 70 feet across to show them it was safe. Water only came to his ankles and almost made it across then his feet found a slippery place and down he went – on his butt in the river. So we drove out to rescue him and onto the other side. Had to strip off the wet clothes and hang them on a barbed wire fence to dry! Luck would have it as we were at the gate of the Star S Exotic Game Ranch. They have trophy whitetail deer and African species such as zebra, sable, gemsbok, kudu and Oryx. And this is a large, fancy ranch. About then two guys come along in a pickup and offer help and tell us to go up to their ranch called the Bar None and use their dryer for his clothes. The “kids” couldn’t believe we went and actually used the dryer. One of the other guys there was nice enough to let us look around and actually squeezed fresh oranges for screwdrivers to sip on the big front porch. Then they drove around to show a spring that supplies their water and the area where they host “survival” camps. They’d even had a wedding there two weeks before. Neat people and great afternoon!