I stopped by Harrys on the Loop in Willow City for beverage and conversation. Quicker than thought Harry asked, "Would you be interested in an article about a road trip to Click that Cork and I took?"
"Sure," I said. And a week or so later Harry presented Corks piece to me for publication. I liked what I read, but...
"Wheres the rest of it?" I asked Harry
"Well, it stops in the middle of nowhere, and theres no Click in sight." After reading Corks article, I was beginning to see Click is a Hill Country Bermuda Triangle, where expectations and explanations go awry. I hadnt thought of it that way before; but it is an easy place to lose yourself.
I explained to Harry that a road trip has to, at least, reach a destination. I persuaded Harry to write enough words to get us to Click. In time I received Harrys part and realized I needed a picture of two to accompany the article(s), plus a little explanation. I dont know why, but sometimes it takes two or three people to write a story.
PART ONE by Cork Morris
All journeys, spiritual or statute, begin with a belief. It doesnt even matter if one even believes in the belief; it is just good form to have one.
We began our journey believing that there was a Click, Texas. It was rumored to exist in that nether land where Gillespie, Llano and Blanco counties blur into each other. I have heard that tax assessors who blunder in there are never seen again. Hunters who stalk these grounds become the huntee, and in time become vegetarians.
A journey must also have a starting place. This began, as many do, at Harrys on the Loop.
It was a beautiful fall day; clear and breezy enough for a jacket. The full beaver moon had risen the night before, so all of us somewhat odd folks had met, purely by accident at Harrys. We were listening to Harry tell of a rumor he had heard about the Click Store.
"Its just full of old Texas collectibles and priceless antiques," he panted, the gleam of non-spiritual notions dancing in his eyes.
"How do you get to Click?" He asked no one in particular.
The question sparked a half-hour harangue among the partons as how one might go, and if it really existed.
I, having spent way too much time looking for Bowies lost silver mine, listened but did not offer an opinion. I had a small secret; I had been to Click. It was year ago, and I could not say that I could find it again. At the moment I was uncertain as to whether I was still in Texas. Panic had faded the memories.
"Bring a boat," a deep gravelly voice for the darkened corner table whispered.
All was still. All eyes flicked toward the corner.
"Pardon me?" Harry responded
The stranger deliberately rolled the ash for his cigarette on the edge of the ashtray.
"The road will end in water, and appear on the other side." The stranger leaned out of the shadow. He seemed young, but his hair was white, and the lines on his face seemed frozen there.
"Going to Click is easy. Leaving is something else. You may want a boat." He slowly sought each face in the room. Even Harrys son, Wyatt, was still.
Finally, as I knew it would, his eyes me mine. "Isnt that right?" The stranger asked as he leaned back into the shadows.
"Youve been to Click?" Harry asked me, chidingly.
"Is there a store there?"
"How far off the pavement is it?"
The man in the corner laughed softly.
I sighed. "There is no pavement in Click, Harry. There is just dirt."
Harry scratched his jaw thoughtfully. One could almost hear the wheels turning. "Lets go," he said finally.
Nietzche had said, That which does not kill you, makes you stronger. The man had obviously never been to Click.
"Ok," I said.
As Harry gathered up provisions, I recalled what I had heard of Click. When cotton was king, and going anywhere was a major production, little stores popped up everywhere. Click was on of those. In their day these stores were the hub of communication and commerce for an area. There is little left in Click to tell one how big she might have been. But once there was a post office there, so sooner or later everyone in the area dropped by. It was located, for lack of a better term, by an intersection of two ranch roads. The road from Llano was the dark gray of crushed shale and granite. The one from everywhere else was the white caliche we all know and love. The intersection was a whiter shade of pale.
We climbed in the truck and went around the corner to a surviving post office at Homanns store in Willow City to get all the gas we could carry.
As we slipped into traffic on Highway 16, I felt that I should be honest with Harry if we were to tread the path to Click.
He raised his eyebrows, naively.
"Im not sure I remember how to get to Click." I confessed.
"I thought you said you did."
"No, you assumed I did. I just said that I have been there."
"So, now what?"
"I think there is a sign up by the Oxford Cemetery."
"Are you saying that we have to go through a graveyard to get to Click?"
I had to be careful how I phrased my answer. The signs of panic were obvious. He was realizing the true nature of our task.
Silence filled the space around us for the next few miles. We crossed the county line into Llano, then 965, Legion Creek and closed on Oxford. As the cemetery sign come closer we slowed. We looked around but there was no sign for Click. An old weathered sign said Abandon hope all.... but the rest was unreadable.
We went on hoping for a sign (road sign), that might show us another way. Llano was getting closer and our hopes dimmed.
"Dabbs!" Harry shouted.
I leaned away from him, thinking that the pressure might be causing him to crack. Many brave and fearless men have been reduced to mush and gibberish by Click.
"Take it easy, Harry, everythings ok."
He looked at me oddly. "The Dabbs Railroad Hotel. Its in Llano. Someone there will know another way."
With renewed hope we rode onward to the Dabbs.
It was a peaceful scene on the back porch of the hotel overlooking the river. A young couple was playing checkers with beer bottle caps. Their cute young dog bit Harry, as someone went to find Gary, the owner.
He was, it seems, asleep, but he greeted Harry enthusiastically, and introductions were made all around. We sat at the table and chatted amiably for several minutes. Finally Harry asked the question:
"How the hell do you get to Click?"
"Why do you want to go....there?" It was as if he didnt dare say the name.
Harry shrugged. I shrugged. The dog shrugged.
Gary must have seen the determination in our faces. He seemed to sigh as he said, "Ill draw you a map." He spoke as he drew. "You could have gone down the Oxford Cemetery road...."
Harry and I nodded sagely at each other.
"But the quickest way from here is to head down Highway 71. Im not sure how far it is, but there is a road to the right that has a sign that says, Something Cemetery."
"Are you saying there is a cemetery named Something?" I asked incredulously.
"No," Gary said calmly. "Im saying that I dont know the name of it."
"Who cares what the name of it is," Harry almost shouted. "Are you saying that if we want to get to Click from any direction, we have to go through a graveyard?"
"Why....yes. I thought you knew." Gary said, though with great concern. "I have heard that there is a third way to escape from, I mean, get to...that place. But, I dont know what it is."
Faith in a higher power, I thought to myself, might be handy.
"Weve come this far," Harry said as he stood, "lets see it through."
I had to admire his bravadoand he was my only ride back to Harrys on the Loop. So we headed for Something Cemetery road. The sun was heading down as we finally spotted Honey Creek Cemetery Road. Harry turned onto it without hesitation. It was smoothly paved, and the county or someone had recently mowed.
"I thought you said it was all dirt. Sometimes I think youre full of...."
We trembled over a cattle guard and landed hard on the dirt, sending up a cloud of dust Harry had to immediately swerve to miss several deer on the road.
"Holy moley," he said.
"Yep." We were on the Gray Dirt Road.
PART TWO by Harry Hickman
I heard there was an old store out in the middle of nowhere in a place called Click. I began asking around but nobody had a clue. Then I became really interested. So when my friend Cork informed me he had actually been to the place, at my insistence, we planned a day trip.
When the day came we didnt get started until late in the afternoon. After icing down plenty of provisions we were ready to roll. All the while, Cork had been acting kinda mysterious about the place. I knew we were in for an adventure when he suggested we bring a reserve ice chest.
Six miles out of Llano, on Highway 16, Cork fesses up that we missed the turn because someone had stolen the sign.
"Not to fear," I said and suggested to Cork, that we go to the Dabbs Hotel. "Gary can tell us how to get there."
Well, Gary was asleep on our arrival; so after several threats to wake him myself, someone volunteered while I was getting bit by this young ladys dog. After defending myself, the lady moved her checker game and the dog to the front porch. After a short conversation with Gary, he made us a map (of sorts) and we were on our way.
We drove for quite some distance until we ran out of pavement. From there the road turned to gravel, then to dirt, then gravel again. And then back to dirt. About the time I decided we were lost in Clickland, two wooden buildings appeared alongside the road.
This was the place, but it was deserted. One building, judging form the double doorway set high off the ground, looked as though it was used to unload wagons into the store, which is one large room, a few window, cracks in the walls, bricks strewn around the foundation. The ramshackle appearance gave the place plenty of character. The other building was in far better shape with a fine porch.
We found the mysterious community of Click. It was so quiet I wondered what it was like a hundred years ago, and I pondered what was here now and what could be here tomorrow. People evidently left Click for the big city and progress. Now people leave the big city to seek out places like Click where there is no progress.
But, what if there were just a little progress in Clicka place for a cold drink, a domino table, and some music. I wonder if people would wander back to Click and back one hundred years to the way it was, and the way it could still be. Alive.
FINDING CLICK -- ik
One of the best kept secrets in the travel lore of the Texas Hill Country is "The Click Route".
Years ago Willow City Loop had the same reputation, but as more and more people discover the Texas Frontier such places become prime destinations and they are secrets no longer. Here at Enchanted Rock Archives we have dedicated ourselves to the mission of revealing the secrets of the Hill Country. Anyway, I let the cat out of the bag a little while back when I took Gerald E. McLeod, the Day Trip writer for the Austin Chronicle, on the route.
"If you take me Ill have to write about it," Gerald warned me. Well, he hasnt reported on the route yet, so I decided to get the jump on the Chronicle.
The easy way to find Click is to get out your map; draw a line from Llano to Johnson City, then another from Fredericksburg to Kingsland. Where the lines intersect is Click. X does mark the spot.
To get to Click by car youll need a four wheel drive if its rained recently, cause youll have to cross Sandy Creek two or three times, depending on the route you take. Of course, you could get to Click without crossing the Sandy Creek at all, but thats not near as much fun.
Coming from Fredericksburg on Highway 16, take the first right after the Oxford Cemetery. Thats Llano County Road 315. At the intersection of County Road 308 turn right again, and youre there.
To find Click for Highway 71, turn on County Road 308 which is located just west of Packsaddle Mountain at the Honey Creek Cemetery turnoff. Stay on 308 and youre there. From Click there are many adventurous ways out. Here is a map.
A word to the wise: Youll be driving a little public roadway through private property the whole time, so stay in the cargetting shot at or arrested by a disgruntled citizen can ruin your whole day. Its their land and youre fair game. And, by all means, dont litter. This is pristine Texas Hill Country.
PART TWO BY CORK MORRIS NEXT MONTH (Feb. 2002).
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