Thursday, April 22, 2010

What Has Happened to the People of Texas?

I was raised to respect other people and have respect for private property and property owner’s rights. I would not even consider trespassing on someone else’s property nor would I abuse it. Apparently lots of people were not raised that way or they do not think that other people should own property and keep them out. I have really struggled with whether to write this article or not but something needs to be said by somebody so I guess its me.

Last Tuesday was my 37th wedding anniversary and I took my wife on a day long trip through the Hill Country of Texas. We planned on visiting some of our favorite towns and restaurants while taking in all the spring flowers. After a pleasant time in Fredericksburg we headed up Highway 16 to Llano and decided to drive the Willow City Loop which is a County Road that winds through private ranches and is famous for the wild flowers there. At both ends of the road are big signs with orange streamers telling visitors that the land on either side of the road is private property and not to trespass. It also said do not pull over and stop or block traffic on the road. The signs also warn that trespassers may be prosecuted. Pretty simple but apparently not for hundreds of folks that must be too stupid to read or understand simple statements. We saw literally hundreds of people pulled over on the side of the road taking pictures and many of the women were picking flowers. At one creek crossing people had pulled their vehicles over in the creek bed to park and were wading the creek while another member of the party was setting up a tripod to take pictures while standing under a private property keep off sign with orange tape streaming in the wind. So many vehicles had pulled over in some areas that the vegetation was completely gone and will not grow back for years. People were driving the narrow county road at five miles per hour stacking traffic up behind them for hundreds of yards, many not even trying to stay on the right side of the road but driving down the center until they had to move over when meeting traffic. Some of the traffic was from the ranches that were trying to go about life and go to town or coming back with supplies and were forced to drive behind these people that thought the whole place was just for them. Several times traffic came to a complete stop as some idiot would stop in the middle of the road to take a picture or let passengers in the vehicle jump out and run onto private property to take pictures.

My first thoughts were these people must be from somewhere else and could not be Texans for surely they would not act like this, but then I noticed that nine out of ten license plates were Texas plates so at least they live here. Have we become such a selfish group of people that we really believe that the laws are for everyone else, just not us? Or is it we no longer respect anyone else or their property? This all took place on a weekday, I would hate to imagine what it is like on a weekend. Can you imagine trying to cope with all this on your only road to and from town?

The drive was beautiful but I did not enjoy it. I was ashamed of my fellow Texans.
I did not take any pictures so none are included. If you would like to see the flowers and many of the trespassing people standing out on private land with smiles on their faces while trespassing just go to Google images and type in Willow City Loop.

How would you like for people to drive by your house all day, stop in the road or pull over in your yard, jump out and take pictures or pick flowers in your yard.

Think about it, Wild Ed

Back to happier things, I would like to give a plug to some really great places where the people were super nice and customer service is still alive and well in the Texas Tradition. We stopped in at a place called Texas Jacks in Fredricksburg. It is just like you walked into an Old West General Store in the 1870-1915 era of Texas. You can come out looking like Wyatt, Doc, Kittie, Annie or any of your cowboy or cowgirl heroes. You can even buy the guns, leather and other accessories right there. My wife came home with a new straw hat with a Southwestern flare that looks pretty good on her. There is a fringed leather coat that I may have to go back for some day when I have the bucks to pay for it. Then I could look just like Buffalo Bill without the hair!

The Brewery over a street and down the block is a great place to eat lunch or sip on a home brewed ale while talking with a nice group of people. If you don't know what to order ask the help they are happy to tell you about what they make and provide assistance on your order.

If your in Marble Falls you have to stop and have a piece of pie at the Blue Bonnet Cafe they have some of the best meringue pies in the world in this pie eaters opinion.

The last place was a mexican food restaurant in Burnet called "The Maxican" the food was great and the prices were very reasonable. It is in an old house on Highway 281 as you head north from the main intersection in Burnet.

There are still a lot of jewels in the Texas Hill Country, get out and find a few of your own. Wild Ed

Remember to click on comments below to leave a comment or read the comments from other readers


Anonymous said...


Tim Covington said...

My personal opinion is that this is a symptom of the urbanization of our state. Generally, I love driving the countryside because of the courteous drivers. But, the closer you get to the urban areas, the ruder the drivers become.
I live in a suburb, and it is a sad fact that I had to put a no trespassing sign on the gate to my backyard. You see the same disrespect you witnessed on that road. I have had people park their cars halfway onto my grass and abandon their broken down vehicle in front of my driveway.. You will see people walking in the middle of the road when there are sidewalks, and people have no problem with their kids rough-housing in my yard.
I've quickly come to understand the curmudgeon's battlecry of "get off my lawn!"

James A. Zachary Jr. said...

Happy 37th wedding anniversary! Best wishes to you both.

Ed, I have pretty much given up hunting because of rude behavior by other hunters, including trespassing. Every time I thought I had exclusive use of a property (usually for a fee) I'd walk up on other hunters who were not supposed to be there. Every now and again I toy with the idea of buying some acreage just for me to hunt on, then imagine all of the problems associated with keeping trespassers out.

Yeah, folks all over seem to have changed.

Great post.

Anonymous said...

I disagree to a degree with your article. I agree that it is indeed trespassing. I also agree that it is morally wrong.

But a huge problem is the fact that nearly 100% of Texas land is privately owned and there is NOWHERE except for a few small parks where you can actually get out of your car without being on someone else's property.

My brother and I went to Sam Houston National Forest on Memorial Day and even inside the park there are posted private property signs. It is ridiculous. I miss Arkansas where you can just walk into the woods and explore and enjoy nature still in large portions of the land without worrying about buckshot in your hide for trespassing.

When you pen people in like cattle and forbid them to even move an inch away from the road humans are going to buck the rules. That is just how it is. I hate that they were "destroying" the land from your perspective but I am glad they were able to get out and move around and not be corralled in their cars and unable to enjoy the beauty of nature that you seem to also love.