Day 356 – Heading back East to get computer fixed
Today I rode from Fredericksburg to Comfort, TX along a beautiful stretch of rode mostly devoid of traffic and surrounded by thousands of wild flowers on all sides. The sky was blue, the sun high and bright in the sky with a pleasant lapping wind whenever I stopped to take a picture.
Along the way I stopped for a break at Old Tunnel State Park. A short-lived rail tunnel that is now home to over 3 million Mexican free-tail bats. I also stopped by Grape Town. All that’s left is the school house and neighboring teacher’s residence and smoke house. I don’t know how it got it’s name, but like it.
First order of business in Comfort was a haircut and then food. Both needs were satisfied handily by a quaint barber shop and then High’s – a combination cafe/store with with fabulous food and a few books that caught my eye. I highly suggest High’s if you are in the area – the menu is always changing and the food and atmosphere are…well comforting.
I was very pleasantly surprised to learn that Comfort was founded by German Freethinkers in 1854. This was a highly educated group that wanted freedom from religion and oppressive government and found it, for a time, in what is now called Texas Hill Country. There is a plaque across the street from Highs’s that summarizes who they were and I felt a kindred spirit in their ideals. People of principle, that valued the use of reason to understand the world around them.
When Texas decided to side with the Confederacy a group of men that didn’t want to fight in support of slavery headed for Mexico in hopes of joining Union forces in New Orleans. In the Battle of Nueces Confederate troops killed many of them and left their bodies. After the Civil War ended their bones were brought back and buried under the Treue der Union Monument located 5 blocks west of High’s Cafe on High Street. It’s a simple monument with two plaques that moved me.
It appears to me that these German Texans gave their lives based on reasoned principle and I feel that is one of the most powerful decisions a person can make. The only reward being the upholding of those principles.
I think I am also so happy to learn about Comfort and the Free Thinkers, because it is opening me up to the complexities of Texas History and giving me a greater appreciation for the state. Growing up in Seattle and than living in NYC my knowledge of much of the US in general and the South in particular is based on stereotypes and mass media. To me Texas has been all about religion, the Bushes, oil, rednecks, beef, cow boys, etc. I hadn’t given much thought to the many peoples that settled it and their diversity.
I very much enjoy learning, even if only a small taste, of what has happened in a place and how that challenges my perception of it. History comes alive when you are in it’s location and can imagine how it was. Thankfully Comfort has a lot of well preserved buildings that help to give it a place in time.
While I was at the Cafe, a cyclist saw my bicycle and we started chatting. It turned out to be Christopher and he was on one of his daily loop rides around the area. He does leadership consulting and has developed a set of materials based on his own research. He runs the business out of his home upon a hill overlooking town and invited me to meet his family and stay the night.
I had a wonderful time meeting his wife Amy and their three dogs. Tom their younger son is very much into swords, bows and knives and gave me a tour of his collection in addition to giving me a folding mermaid knife. Thanks Tom.