Focus on the Backroads » Photo Journeys

Focus on the Backroads bio picture

    There is approximately 50,000 miles of Interstate Highway in the United States.....filled with cars traveling at an average of 75 miles an hour. Several years ago I began driving the BACKROADS throughout Texas and the surrounding states - discover many fascinating places and people. While traveling "off the beaten path" I have tried to capture the spirit of these forgotten roads in photographs.

    After sharing some of these journeys with folks I have met I've been encouraged to document my travels.........I invite you to FOCUS ON THE BACKROADS!

    "To often......I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen"
    Louis L'Amour


Kendalia, Texas is  located about 25 miles northeast of Boene off FM Raod 473.  The  town was named after George Wilkins Kenall who established  a sheep ranch in the area in the 1840s.  In 1883, Kendalia was first surveyed by D. W. Grady for an early settler, Carl  Vogel, who built a gristmill there.  In 1895 the Curry’s Creek post office was transferred to Kendailia.  By 1900 the town had a general store, a post office, a drug store, and two churches.   Like many of the other towns and communities in the area Kendalia’s economy  was and continues to be dependent primarily on ranching.

Kendalia Halle was built in 1903.  Like many halls built during the period Kendalia Halle was the “place to meet” for entertainment,  family gatherings, and to enjoy live music and over course dancing.  Folks would travel from all over the area spending the weekends visiting, eating, dancing, and family fun.

The red fir lumber used to build the hall was shipped by train from Oregon arriving in Boerne and hauled by horse drawn wagons to the construction site.  Kendailia Halle stands today as a remarkable example of the Texas Dance Halls that were built in the 1800s.  It’s dance floor has been voted the best in Texas

A visit to Kendalia Halle is a step back to a simpler time.  There are regularly scheduled dances at the hall featuring popular Texas artist – at the door you will be greeted by current owners Lee and Judi Temple.  For more information and schedules please visit

For more information about Kendalia Halle and other Texas historic Dance Halls visit

Way down texas way they play fiddle music every night and the dance hall rings with laughter till the early morning light………….A SLEEP AT THE WHEEL: “Way Down Texas Way”

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Twin Sisters, Texas is located in southern Blanco County.  It is named after a pair of hills that can be seen for miles that served as a landmark for early settlers in the area.  In 1854, Joel Cherry homesteaded in the area.  Cherry was from Tennessee (we Texans consider Tennessee a very important ally – REMEMBER THE ALAMO).  In 1856 settlers petitioned and received a post office.  By the end of the 1850’s, Twin Sisters was a major German settlement.

Max Krueger settled in Twin Sisters in 1875.  Krueger owned a grist mill, cotton gin, and one of the three general stores in the town.  In addition to these business ventures he served as the post master and the justice of peace.  In 1869  he opened a dance hall and bowling alley,   these became the entertainment center for the folks in Twin Sisters and the surrounding area.  Max named these Twin Sisters Hall and Bowling Alley.  A major two year drought hit the area in 1894 forcing many of the local famers and ranchers into bankruptcy.  Krueger had to sell out because of the hard economic times.  In 1951 the Twin Sisters Post Office closed and moved to near by Blanco, Texas.  In 1967 the bowling alley burned to the ground.

Through these many years, the Twin Sisters Dance Hall remains.  This hall is considered the oldest Dance Hall in Texas.    Twin Sisters Dance Hall  continues to host a public dance every first Saturday of each month as well as special events through the year.  These dances feature live music and ALL ARE INVITED!

I recently had the pleasure of attending one of these monthly dances at Twin Sisters.  It was a great experience – people of all ages,  young and old, enjoying live music and dancing the night away.  I sat and watch (in my Nikes – little advise wear cowboy boots) as generations of families and friends delighted in  each others company.

When you dance, you purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor.  It’s to…..ENJOY EACH STEP ALONG THE WAY               Wayne W Dyer

For more information on Twin Sisters Dance Hall and scheduled events please visit the following websites:        this event is schedule at Twin Sisters on Saturday December 6th  – mark you calendars to FIDDLE AROUND AT TWIN SISTERS!


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HORIZON (noun) 1. the line or circle that forms the apparent boundary between earth and sky.   2.  the limit or range of perception, knowledge, or interest.

If you are standing (or driving) on a flat road it appears to stretch forever – however because of the curvature of the earth, the horizon is only three miles away.  Unless you are wearing heals then it is a little further!  When standing on a beach at the Pacific Ocean it looks humungous, it appears to stretch forever.  It actually does but you are only seeing three of the nine thousand miles across it.

When I was young my family would drive from Washington State to Montana to visit my grandparents.  Mom and Dad would be up front and my two brothers and I would jump into the back, after fighting who was going to have to sit on the “hump”.  We would head out of the neighborhood to begin our 665 mile drive from Vancouver to Helena (now you know why we fought over who would sit on the hump).  After following the Columbia River for about an hour and after singing 100 bottle of beer on the wall (at least a 100 times – which is actually 10,000 bottles of beer) we would start asking “how much further to Grandma’s house”…..only to be told either it was over the next hill or it was up over the horizon.  Later I realize that everything in life is up over the next horizon.

The horizon provides many things… the morning beautiful sunrises, in the evening beautiful sunsets.  It is a marker for a destination driving down the road (just ask my parents).  It is the FOCUS point of many photographs.  Most important it give us hope as we wonder what is BEYOND THE HORIZON:  below is a poem by Abbin Joseph


The sun disappeared beyond the horizon after burning brightly
The sky appeared rosy like the pomegranate before darkness crept in
Birds in a row swiftly fluttered their wings to reach their nests
I stood still staring at the sky beyond the vast horizon

The horizon is the dividing line between the known and the unknown
Beyond the horizon there is always hope;hope of the unknown
Hope of the unseen,hope of a better tomorrow and a bright future
The horizon is a symbol of days yet to come and duties yet to perform

Beyond the horizon there is the thrill of expectation and zest for life
The readiness to embrace whatever happens for the love of life
The indomitable will to face the challenges of life from time to time
The realization that the battle of life is to be fought till the end

Beyond the horizon there are unfulfilled dreams and unsung songs
Unknown worlds,untrodden paths and unconquered heights
I stood still lost in my thoughts like a naughty kid
Streaks of light appeared beyond the horizon in the farthest end

The horizon brings contradictory thoughts in a disturbed mind
Series of anxious thoughts about the future as well as the present
Revealing the mind’s dilemma to face the unknown fearing failure
Showing man’s basic reluctance for change and novelty due to fear

We dream many things and build castles in the air
They are shattered in a moment by unexpected events
Like a sudden storm that wipes out trees and roofs en route
Life,like the imaginary horizon is full of uncertainties and surprises


Keep your eyes on the horizon (and the road)


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One March 1, 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant signed a law establishing Yellowstone as the first national park in the United States.  For centuries Native Americans lived in the Yellowstone area.  This area was by-passed by the Lewis and Clark Expedition in the early 1800’s (if they had visited this region they may have stopped and never made it to the Pacific Ocean).  Except  for visits from Mountain Men there were no organized exploration of this area until the 1860’s.  Almost immediately 3,500 square miles of the most beautiful  and unusual terrain  in the US was set aside to be enjoyed by people from around the world.  From 1872 till 1917 the US Army was in charge of overseeing the park. When the National Park Service was created the this task was transferred.

Yellowstone  Lake, one of the largest high altitude lakes in North America is centered over the Yellowstone Caldera, the largest super volcano in North America.  There have been three super eruptions occurring 2.1million, 1.3 million, and 640,000 years ago.   These along with numerous smaller eruptions formed the spectacular sites at one of our most visited National Parks.

Hundreds of species of mammals, birds, fish, and reptiles have been documented in Yellowstone.  These include Grizzle bears, wolves, bison, elk, deer, and many others.  This area has many recreation opportunities:  fishing, hiking, camping,  white water rafting, site seeing, and (you guessed it) MANY PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES.

My family roots are firmly planted in Montana.  Both my parents and grandparents were born and raised there.  Along with my family I made many trips to this area when I was young and had the pleasure to visit Yellowstone during the “Wonder Year” period of my life.  Recently my son and I visited Yellowstone and the Tetons (subject of another blog entry).  With our cameras in hand we headed out before the sun came up and returned long after it went down at night.  He and I did not get to visit every square mile of the park, we tried, oh well a good reason to go back.

If you are planning a trip to Yellowstone I would suggest checking out Yellowstone Under Canvas.  If you are looking for a “non-traditional” place to stay – this is the place.  It is Glamping at its finest!

Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better.  Albert Einstein


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Coupland Texas was founded in 1887 by Major Theodore Van Buren Coupland  on land that he had inherited from his uncle A.J.  Hamilton.    After the Civil War Hamilton had been appointed provisional Governor of the State of Texas  by Andrew Johnson.

Coupland, Texas is located on highway 95 between Elgin and Taylor.   Like many other towns in the area the early residences of Coupland were farmers. The building that is now the home of the Coupland Inn and Dance Hall was built in 1904 and housed the Coupland Drug Company. The Coupland Tavern was built in 1910, and has also been the home of a hardware store, newspaper,  (The Coupland World Globe News).  The bar in the Coupland Tavern was purchased and moved from an Old Tavern, the Palace Saloon, in Schlunberg, Texas.  This bar which is well over 100 years old is today the main bar at the Coupland Dance Hall and yes THOSE ARE BULLET HOLES!

In 1992, after much blood, sweat, and “a few beers”,   Barbara and Tim Worthy opened a 7,000 square foot dancehall naming it Coupland Dancehall and Tavern.  Shortly afterwards  phase two was completed when  the Worthys opened the doors to the Coupland Inn – serving some of the best bar-b-que in the area.  As the word got out about the great food and hospitality folks from all over the area began making their way to Coupland.  Well as every Texan know bar-b-que is served until “you run out of bar-b-que.   Barbara and Tim soon decided to expand their menu to include other Texas favorites including Steak and as Tim told me recently – some of the best Chicken Fried Steak you will ever eat! A visit to The Coupland Inn and Dance Hall is like stepping into a true  Texas tradition.

Many music legends, such as Jonny Rodriguez, Ray Price, Gary Stewart, Brad Paisley, Ricky Trevino and others have performed on  the large stage in the dancehall.  You also can hear some of the best local Texas musician every Friday and Saturday night.  The restaurant is open Thursday through Saturday.   The Inn has seven guest rooms available, each with its unique style and decor and includes a delicious  country breakfast. So saddle us the wagon, well the SUV, and visit this Texas Treasure!

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