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

Focus on the Backroads: Lost Maples State Park/Utopia TX

Utopia imaginary place considered to be perfect or ideal. Utopia does exist in the Texas Hill Country. Is it perfect, probably not….but it is a great destination if you are looking for the perfect get away.

Located 85 miles NW of San Antonio, Utopia was settled in the early 1850’s. By 1880 the population was 150 people, there were two gristmills, a cotton gin, a blacksmith shop, a store, and three churches. Current population is 227.

Lost Maples State Park is located about 10 miles west of Utopia. The 2,174 acres were acquired by the state of Texas in 1974 and the park opened in 1979. In 1980, it was designated a National Natural Landmark by the Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service. The park contains 11 miles of hiking trails, campsites, and primitive camping. It is bordered by the Sabinal River and contains two small lakes and several ponds. Lost Maples is included on many of the top 10 list for spectacular fall color which peaks in November. There are a large number of Bigtooth Maple trees within the native Ash, Oak, and Basswoods.

Utopia may be ‘imaginary’ but you can experience a glimpse of Utopia hiking the trails of Lost Maples.

I would suggest contacting Fox Fire cabins in Vanderpool for lodging.

Other points of interest in the area:

Gardner State Park
Utopia Golf Course – was the setting of 2011 movie Seven Days in Utopia starring Robert Duvall
Utopia Musicfest – a two day music festival in October
Lonestar Motorcycle Museum – Vanderpool, Texas

A must is eating at THE LOST MAPLES CAFE in Utopia. Of course they are world famous for their pie!

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Take A BackRoad

BLOG ROAD-1-9Backroad (noun) – a little used secondary road especially one through a rural or sparsely populated area

The Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 was signed authorizing the construction of the Interstate Freeway System. By 2010 there were 47,182 miles of interstate highway costing close to $425billion to construct. Today most travelers speed “down the highway” stopping only to grab a hamburger or stop at one of the 2,500 rest areas along the interstate.

Left behind are the “little used secondary roads” which for many years were the life veins of America. Many people wonder today if good old American Values still exist – they do – most folks do not slow down enough to see that they do.

Only on the back roads of Texas can you find towns with emotional names such as Happy, Smiley, Comfort, and Friendship. Towns with names that will make you hungry like Bacon, Noodle, Oatmeal, Turkey, and Trout. Towns that you will swear you took a wrong turn like Memphis, Reno, Miami, Pittsburg, and Detroit. Towns that sound international but the people still talk with a Texas drawl such as Athens, China, Egypt, London, and Paris (Viva la Texas). Texas is even the center of the Solar System with towns named Earth and Venus. One of my favorite Texas town is the perfect little town of Utopia – only in Texas can you find Utopia.

Each of these destinations is special. It may be the history, it might be the people, or it might be the little cafe on the corner that serves the best pie in the world (every small Texas town has one of those cafes). These are the reasons that make me WANNA TAKE THE BACK ROADS!

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