By Dwight Dawson, Photos by Greg Fleischer
A road-trip to a part of Texas many of us had never experienced… it was a March event that exceeded expectations. The official start was breakfast at the Roadhouse in Tomball.
Mike Woodward “borrowed” some routes and ideas from the Texas Triumph Register and refined a plan for our travels over a Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It was about 500 miles total driving and moved us through some very rural territory. Our noon meal was “in the woods” at a place that provided very tasty nourishment. Every entree was $10 but we would have paid that much or more for their scrumptious apple dumplings. Larry Bruce Gardens is near Kennard and a dining establishment really worth the trip.
By late afternoon, we arrived in Nacogdoches for a final stop at Toyland. In reality, it is a small warehouse full of toys from the ’50s and ’60s. Owner Randy Legler says, “I buy old toys and pedal cars.” As the photos attest, Randy has thousands of old toys that bring back childhood memories for most of us. It must be one of the largest collections of its type in the U.S.
Nacogdoches claims to be the “first town in Texas.” (There is evidence of Indians living there about 10,000 years ago.) The city of 33,000, home of Stephan F. Austin State University, has done a great job in preserving the past and providing a very comfortable small-town getaway with lots of history. As the sun set, we walked to a fine restaurant for a well-arranged group dinner. The bar back at the hotel provided beverages for easy sleep.
After breakfast on Saturday we traveled 65 miles back to Palestine in search of the Texas State Railroad. As we pulled into the parking lot we heard, “All Aboard!” With minutes to spare we found our assigned passenger “luxury car” for travel to Rusk, Texas, an hour and a half to our east. It was a comfortable Piney Woods journey, with lots of distractions on a mostly sunny day. In Rusk we enjoyed a pleasant picnic lunch by the lake as the ’50s era locomotive prepared for the return trip to Palestine. The road trip back to our hotel included many rolling, twisty country roads.
On a previous driving event, Gordon and Angie Bard tangled with a deer. We all observed that it rearranged the front of the 1972 blue MGB a bit. As you could almost predict on this trip, another deer was dancing at the side of the road as it timed its crossing over. After Gordon came to an abrupt STOP, the deer bolted across the narrow roadway. “Hit me once, shame on you. Hit me twice, shame on me.” We watched it happen from behind but could not get a camera up in time for a picture. We are glad that no British metal or deer hide was damaged this time.
Back in the oldest town in Texas, we enjoyed a little time at a local brewery, a block from the hotel, along with other St. Patrick’s Day patrons. Then it was another short walk to a restaurant for fine Italian cuisine.
With a leisurely start in the morning and a 10am rollout, we traveled west to our lunch spot, Jerry’s Cafe in Onalaska. There, Shy Quiet Gordon, reconnected not with a deer, but a dear, that he got know while securing vintage motorcycle parts some years ago. Ahhh… small-town Texas.
Stuffed again, we all headed back to the Big City using a variety of routes dictated by exact final destinations. Once again we observed that overnight Club events are not only fun but most effective in promoting closer friendships among participants. We welcomed brand new members Peter and Maria Ferrer who were compelled to drive along in their late model Jaguar. Others who will recall the enjoyment of this LBC trip for years ahead are: Gordon and Angie Bard, Walter and Leona Bernard, John and Cindy Blum, Dwight and Candy Dawson, Greg Fleischer, Bob and Kathy Schroeder, and Mike and Stephanie Woodward.
As participants who had no choice but to drive “a lesser car,” we can encourage that you tag along on these trips without an MG if you must. It will be well worth some embarrassment and minor harassment.