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Fredericksburg – the Very Name Conjures Hair Raising Tales of The Devil’s Backbone!

Bon Voyage:

The year was 2008.  I had just bought Z3PO. 

On a sunny Friday in Katy, at the prestigious car venue, Bass Pro Shop, ten fine motorcars arrived to embark on an adventure to the Hill Country.  Some went topless; others let their shiny BMWs speak for themselves in full factory gear.  A rainbow of colors, we departed just past noon.  Part of the journey blistered up Interstate 10 then we hit the roads for which these cars are manufactured.

Being from the East and having driven the Tail of the Dragon, I wasn’t expecting much in the way of curves.  Many of them were gentle fun that could be taken at speed.  Some came at the bottom of a dip in the road that squiggled sideways then whipped up another hill.  More times than one would wish, we managed to get behind the Ultimate Pace Truck – a Dodge or Ford pick-up driven by someone who did not understand the ‘pedal-to-the-metal’ theory.  This only enhanced the opportunity to open up once the Pace Truck pulled off our track.   We rode the Devil’s Backbone! One of Texas’ most scenic drives, officially RM 32, the Backbone is a winding, razor-backed ridge overlooking Hill Country vistas. It extends from RM 12 just south of Wimberley, Texas west some 24 miles to near Blanco.

The Friday adventure paused in Wimberly for a fine Texas barbecue at a local favorite.  The excellent food was served wrapped in brown paper.  To order you went into the smokehouse, then for drinks and sides you went to another counter in the restaurant.  Very quaint and atmospheric. And a fine view of some handsome cowboys (this from the POV of my friend Beda and I).  Okay, guys, this is what you get for asking a romance and fantasy writer to do an article on an adventure!

The new hotel proved to be a lovely experience, breakfast included in a fresh and light dining area with hot and cold selections – and good coffee, the prime requisite.  The convention center where we held our Spook Convention was very nice except that we could have used a light dimmer but there was an ample kitchen within which we could store our pizza homemade by Little Caesar, the frig big enough to house other refreshments of the liquid variety.  The snack table would have sufficed in and of itself, there was such a variety of delectable treats.

Halloween Party and the Infamous Pumpkin Carving Contest:

As guests we can claim V from V for Vendetta, the Nordic God Tor and the Goddess Adriana, a/k/a Sif,  Fiona and Shrek, a policeman and a policewoman bearing with them a bottle of Werewolf wine actually imported from Transylvania, Cleopatra, Sir Boo, a fried egg and bacon, and the roadkill couple.  The Halloween Trivia contest was like the trivia games you play in bars, but NOT.  The questions appeared on the screen, and you were allotted a certain time to answer.  The team called Black Swan won the contest and the useful prize of BMW interior cleaner.  I know one little roadster who was very grateful his owner was on the winning team.

Then, when you thought it was safe, came the masters’ trivia/quiz on BMWs.  Though I felt a total ditz, I learned a lot and I think most of the participants did.  My hat is off to the team who won this agile mental exercise.

No account of a spooky Halloween party would be complete without the piece de resistance – The Infamous Halloween Pumpkin Carving Contest.  In at least one or two instances, this contest has been called the Great Pumpkin Mutilating Contest but these accusations were whispered behind shaking hands.  It is to be assumed then that the smears to the Proctologist Pumpkin were occasioned by sheer envy or by sheer terror.  The BMW Rondel pumpkin was a work of art as was the Fiona pumpkin.  In fact, they were all works of art, depending upon your definition of art.  To wrap up Saturday, it can be said that we all partook of fun, and the spirit of Halloween, though some drank wine.  Our army of hungry ghouls feasted on pizza and salad.

The winners of a spectacular costume contest, judged by audience applause (and whistles and cries) were:  Shrek and Fiona (Susan and Mike Skalka), V (Tomme Eng) and Sir Boo (David Dalton).

I think Halloween falls under the category of “You just have to have been there.”

The Great Race to H.E.B.:

Since Saturday was a picnic, HEB was the first port-o-call, and you could see almost every member of the group hustling down the aisles in search of lunch.  I know the locals were glad to see us, at least on Saturday.  Maybe not the rest of the time.

For the picnic, Beda and I bought Brie, grapes and pate.   The only thing missing was the silver candelabra and linen tablecloth.  Oh and the chairs as Z3PO has limited trunk space (would you believe it?)  We patterned our picnic after the Polo matches when the mighty hood of the Z3 would have worn the white linen tablecloth and candelabra.

Saturday the real purpose of the adventure resumed with a drive through beautiful scenery, snappy curves and more Pace Trucks.  But the countryside streaming by the window was worth every curse at the truck.  I had never visited this part of the Hill Country and was totally enchanted.  We drove to LostMaplesState Park for a picnic.

Other park visitors were quite impressed with the lineup of BMW’s shining in the sun.  Many commented on the cars and asked questions of the owners.

Saturday night the BMW party reveled at August E’s Restaurant.  I have eaten at many restaurants that I would call excellent.  This dining experience is one of the finest I’ve had the privilege to enjoy.  The rack of lamb was mouthwatering.  One of the menu items was a fish that I’d never eaten before.  Hawaiian Escolar has a nutty flavor and ranks right up there with Char as my favorite fish.

Unfortunately, I wimped out of the Sunday Brunch, but I am sure it was as much fun as the two days of great cars, great fun and great companionship.  The hearty went to The Oasis on LakeTravis.  http://www.oasis-austin.com/  Apparently the patio at sunset is a place to remember.  If the shot on the web site is anything from which to judge, I’d say that would be truth absolute.  Or is that just Absolut?

We had 36 participants and 21 cars.  For example:  M3 convertible, 325 convertible, 328i, M3, 550i, 328ic, M6 convertible, 135i, 330 convertible, 328i, 530i, M3, Z4M, Z3, 540i, 840ci, 325it, M5 and 330i.

My friend Tom and I are going next weekend to this year’s adventure.  I’m going to the costume party as a Dark Fairy.   He is wearing his tux and going as one of the characters in a book of mine.  Fun here we come!

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