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THE TEXAS HIGH COUNTRY: On the northern edge of the Hill Country the landscape spreads out high and wide.  With magnificent vistas in most every direction you get the feeling you're driving along a high ridge looking down on on the whole wide world.

A long lost relation inspires a journey from cyberspace
and on the way we find a parallel universe.
Story & Photos by IRA KENNEDY

Every road trip has a starting place and this one just happened to be in cyberspace.
When all was said and done we drove over 500 miles in eleven hours and saw a fair piece of the Northern Hill Country and only got lost once -- good and lost.

e.jpg (2697 bytes)very now and again I consult search engines looking to turn up something on "John Green Kelley", my great grandfather.  I had wasted time like this before so my expectations were low to say the least.  I reckon surprises only happen when you're not expecting them. That's when, few days ago, my semi-annual query on my Great Grandpa turned up a post from Dolores "Dodie" Ford so I contacted her and we commenced swapping information. 
       "Dodie" wasn't really a long lost relation 'cause I never knew she was out there to begin with. On the other hand, since she knew her great grandfather, Preston Otto "Tobe" Kelley, had a brother named John Green you might say I was lost to her. I just hope y'all don't get lost before I finish leading in to the headin' out part.
       John Green Kelley was born in 1856 or 1858 and died in 1941 three months after I was born. We were living in a migrant camp in San Saba and from his death bed John Green called for me, then died holding me in his arms. (My nickname was "Tobe" back then but I never knew why until now.)
       Some forty years later, when such things as personal history finally took on any meaning, I was told my great-grandpa was buried somewhere in San Saba County.  Well, I don't know if you've ever been out that way but you're looking at over 1,000 square miles with dirt roads going off in every direction then off in all kinds of other directions. Kinda like the work of a drunken spider. You can get lost out there with hardly any effort, so naturally I wasn't going to just head out and poke around.
       After swapping a few e-mails, Dodie informed me that John Green's final resting place might be the Linn Cemetery some four miles out of town. At least that's what she remembered being told. 
       Knowing I wasn't going to let this information go unexplored for long, Ms. Intrepid started looking at a highway map while I poured over a county map trying to locate the cemetery.  I marked a couple of possibilities and left the rest to Ms. Intrepid. 
       A few years back we had passed through Dublin and for reasons I'll go into later Ms. Intrepid set that as our primary destination with San Saba as the starting point.  I must say she sure can be accommodating when she takes a mind to. Me being me, it wasn't long before I put her kindness to the test.  But here I go, straying from my story.
       Naturally, since we leave from the same place every time, we pile up the real estate behind us long before we commence the actual trip. Generally I pass over that part and get to where the gettin is good, but some places deserve mention even if they don't figure in to the story.
       From San Marcos we took Interstate 35 then Hwy 183 out of Austin passing through  Jollyville and Cedar Park. I can hear momma sayin, "If you can't say something good.."  So I ain't sayin nothin about that stretch of Texas.  But once through Cedar Park the road is smooth and the landscape eyedeal. ( I reckon it's okay to make up new words as you need them.) And just up the road is Lampasas, as pretty a town as you'll find.
       We lit out at 10 a.m. so we probably weren't too clear in the head.  It was going on the noon hour so we stopped right between a bank's ATM machine and McDonalds.  Seems some of the better places in the Hill Country don't take credit cards so a little cash can come in right handy.
TurnA.jpg (4971 bytes)       Being more than a little hungry we were lured in to the fast food food line and ( "If you can't say anything nice..." ) bought a little bulk for our bellies turned toward San Saba.


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Texas Hill Country Wine: Torrie de Pietra Vineyards and Winery near Fredericksburg Texas