We called it simply the "River Road." I travel that road still everyonce in a while if only in my mind when needed.
It stretched from Austin to just outside of Bastrop Texas. It is a road that I could not even try to tell you how many times I rode or drove down. From adventure rides into the big city of Austin to visit family and friends as a little boy, to joy rides later on as a young adult.
Lots of memories, a lot of good times and lots of good friends who lived along that road and the dirt roads and back roads that came out to meet it as it snaked along following the Colorado River through the leading on towards Bastrop.
Along the way you came upon an old run down General Store at one of it's curves. I can remember it's screen doors that slammed shut behind you announcing your entry. I seem to remember a Buttercrust Bread hand push on the screen door or perhaps it was Rainbow, it was a long time ago. I can remember the floors creaking under my weight even though I could have been more then 4 or 5 years old. Looking through the glass countertops to pick a dime or nickle piece of candy then a run to grab a Dr. Pepper to go along with it.
There was my Best Friend's Grandparents place who lived in the only true Dog Trot Cabin that I knew of at the time. It sat on a little dirt side road leading to nowhere, backed up to the river bottom's hillside overlooding the pastures and crop fields over as far as the little fly through community of Webberville.
Living in that little community was a lady we use to go see because she owned and raised Cinchillas in a small air conditioned cinder block shed behind her house. To us, at the time, tthey were the most unusual creatures we had ever had the opportunity to hold and cuddle.
But of course the best memory of that little town was the picnics on Family Night at the Masonic Lodge that my Father and Grandfather were members of. Eating a pot luck banquet of what everyone brought on long tables in the yard. Then as the sun dropped below the pecan and willow trees that were rooted along the banks of the river there, we all took off to catch Fireflys and Ladybugs so we could sneak up on and place on Grandma and Mom's shoulders to only run off laughing as they made a make believe scream so they could hear our giggles and snickers as we got ready for a good game of hide and seek.
Later as a teenager and into the first few years of manhood, there was the, at least once a summer, going with my firends to make the River Road Full Moon Run. Guided only by the full moon and your knowledge of every curve and hump in the road. You did it with your lights off. From the turn off at Hunter Bend Road to the County Park along the river in Webberville. It was the "real" way to prove to anyone and especially yourself that these were "our" old stomping grounds. OUR back roads. What a Adrenaline rush.
Then there were the early morning rides after closing down the nightclubs, and Dance halls of Austin to take a ride along it's curves, and straight aways used to show off to a new young lady who had decided to take a chance on a Crazy Country Boy. The ploy was to go watch a beautiful sunrise, while lying on a blanket out in the middle of a cow pasture down by the river. I can remember the line oh so well, "Want to go see the Second Most Beautiful Thing in the World?" with the inevitable question by them, "The First Most Beautiful Thing in the world? pause......Well... That would have to be you." How many nightly rides, how many young ladies? Well, it was the 70's, we won't go there.
I have gone back several times over the years when and if I find myself in the area. They come fewer and farther apart now and now- a - days, you have to stop for red lights and pedestrian crossings along some of it's miles. I must admit, it's just not the same.
So... The way I travel it now is by closing my eyes and letting the memories of days gone by take over for just a little while. Allowing me to lean to the left and then to the right as I take its turns and curves then push the make believe gas pedal under my right foot down all the way to the floorboard for it's straight-aways, only letting up just in time to coast around the next curve without having to touch the make believe brake.....
That was the way it has always been done.
The way a man can still run that road with his eyes closed.
Because I still own that road....