Bastrop State Park: An $8.00 entry fee for two allowed us to tour Bastrop State Park, home of the Lost Pines. Lost indeed, after the wildfires of 2011. A year later, and on our first visit, we saw towering black matchsticks that rise above green, ground level vegetation that is ‘starting over.’ Fire damage aside, the place is still beautiful – lakes, camping areas, trails, CCC cabins. We saw it previously at Possum Kingdom Lake, and again here – random buildings and areas that the fire spared for no apparent reason. Homes and barns untouched, while surrounded by blackened trees. Burn lines that stop as if drawn with a (long) ruler.
Buescher State Park: Park Road 1C is 13 miles of park road that connects Bastrop State Park to Buescher State Park, and the Ranger suggested this one to us. Ride it, it’s a bucket list road. To find it, you really have to drill into online maps – or – you can just listen to the Ranger. Not a bad idea to always ask the Ranger what is a ‘must see’ when you check in. Take note of the radio aerial in the lower right of the photo. This is a practiced photographer shooting back over her head without looking. Wonder where she learned that?
The Route: From Austin, 71 east to Bastrop. This is a heavily traveled road. FM 969 (MLK in Austin proper, FM 969 east of 183) is north of 71 and could be a good alternate. Continue east through Bastrop, and the entrance is right there at the highway intersection. After riding Park Road 1C, you exit onto FM 153, and a right turn will take you back to 71, and another right turn takes you back to Bastrop.
If you have already eaten breakfast at Maxine’s on Main Street as we had, grab 95 north and start the trek home. Yes, Maxine’s made Texas Monthly. And now, I know why, AND I have the t-shirt. Or rather my photographer has the shirt. Per the manager, it was the first Maxine’s t-shirt sold to the hungry public. Really! I saw the box being ripped open.