“Back to the Basics” Luckenbach Texas

We had traveled east for days across the arid deserts of California, Arizona, New Mexico and western Texas doing our best to stay just ahead of distant rain squalls, thankfully only experiencing them in our rear view mirrors.

Storms Behind Us West Texas
Storms Brewing Behind Us in West Texas

Our primary mission – to escape the waves of flash flood producing storms drenching the western states by driving to Texas and exploring its hill country.

We also intended to find and eat some traditional Texas style BBQ and immerse ourselves in the local music scene of its Hill Country.

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Finally arriving in the German settlement of Fredericksburg, we realized our goals had been achieved, we were just a few miles from a Texas institution, Luckenbach, and it was +79 degrees.

We had long awaited to return to the Texas Hill Country after briefly visiting in 1994 as we returned home from a three month driving trip to Guatemala in a $600, 1981 turbo diesel Peugeot.  The story of that adventure is for another post.

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The Texas Hill Country covers a region of Central Texas and South Texas consisting of rugged limestone hills covered by thin layers of top soil where 300 year old oak trees grow.  These hills reach from San Antonio’s northern suburbs and ending southwest of Downtown Austin.

Our ultimate destination was the 10th annual Luckenbach Blues festival.  Luckenbach is located just 14 miles outside the historic town of Fredricksburg and is just over 9.5 acres in size.

It is situated along the banks of the slow moving South Grape Creek (a tributary of the Pedernales River) and Snail Creek. 

Luckenbach Post Office
Luckenbach Post Office

In 1886 Luckenbach was first established as a community trading post, one of a few that never broke a peace treaty with the Comanche Indians, with whom they traded. 

Citizens of the town claim a resident (Jacob Brodbeck) launched the first airplane years before the Wright Brothers.

Liad back Luckenbach
Liad back Luckenbach

One of its two main buildings houses the remnants of a post office, a working saloon and a general store. The other is the dance hall.  The post office was closed in 1971.

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Luckenbach Cemetery
Luckenbach Cemetery

A 1970 newspaper advertisement offering “town pop. 3 for sale” led Hondo Crouch, a local rancher, to buy Luckenbach for $30,000.  Crouch used the town’s rights as a municipality to govern the dance hall as he saw fit.

Eddie Turner Band Kicks It
Eddie Turner Band Kicks It

Luckenbach’s association with outlaw country music began in the summer of 1973 when Jerry Jeff Walker, backed by the Lost Gonzo Band, recorded the live album Viva Terlingua at the Luckenbach dance hall.

The album became an outlaw country classic. 

Sol Patch Performs During The Blues Festival
Sol Patch Performs in the Bar During The Blues Festival

In 1977, after Crouch’s death, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson vaulted Luckenbach into the national spotlight with the #1 country and #25 Pop charting song “Luckenbach Texas (Back to the Basics of Love)”.

Jimmie Lee "The Korean Elvis" Preforms
Jimmie Lee “The Korean Elvis” Performs

We were able to camp on a hill just above Luckenbach dance hall.  Parked among the oaks, it was a great spot to sit and listen to the music or wander down the hill to enjoy the lively dance hall.

Our Camp At Luckenbach
Our Camp At Luckenbach

Our close camp also made it easy to partake in local libations and not have to drive. Luckenbach has live music in its bar and dance hall seven days a week.

Denise Goes Country
Denise Goes Country

We spent three days listening to some fantastic Blues, Blues Rock, American folk, Country and guitar picking.  What really made this event special were the great people.

We seemed to be the only travelers there and we were treated like family. Everyone was extremely friendly and accommodating. 

Listening To excellent Blues At The Silver Beer Garden and Grill in Fredricksburg
Listening To the Blues of the Ben Beckendorf Band At The Silver Creek Beer Garden and Grill in Fredricksburg

During the day we loaded the pups into the Cabose and wandered the local back roads.  There are hundreds of miles of two lane roads running throughout the Hill Country.

FM (farm to market) roads were built criss-crossing the countryside to enable farmers to bring their goods to local markets.

We visited the small town of Sisterdale and its very cool historic 1800’s Dance Hall  where dozens of weddings are held every season.  What a cool place.

Sisterdale Dance Hall
Sisterdale Dance Hall

There are hundreds of Wineries throughout the hills due to its perfect climate for growing the grape.  One of our favorites was the Historic Becker Winery located off the beaten path surrounded by oaks and vines.

Theres nothing like sitting on the veranda and sipping a great Cabernet. 

Becker Winery
Becker Winery

Fredricksburg is an historic 1850’s German frontier town with many unique shops and eateries.  The museums are worth checking out.  This is a major tourist destination and weekends tend to be very busy.  

Afternoon Delights At "Pies, Quilts and More"
Afternoon Delights At “Pies, Quilts and More” in Fredericksburg

Just down the road from Luckenbuch is the Texas White House where LBJ was born, governed the country from and eventually died.  The ranch is now a National Historic Park and is well worth visiting.

The LBJ Ranch
The LBJ Ranch

The Texas Hill Country and Luckenbach is home to many unique and beautiful locations and is well worth the long drive from the west coast. We certainly plan on returning for the food, the music and especially the people.

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Don’t miss our latest video “Back to the Bacsis” Luckenbach Texas

 

Next stop – Austin for more of the same type of fun… keep you posted

 

 

18 thoughts on ““Back to the Basics” Luckenbach Texas

  1. the other half of OurWaypoints here …just now got to slip in the ear buds and crank up the volume to get “Back to Basics”. All that was missing was a glass or that Iconoclast. Beautifully orchestrated production you guys!! Thanks – Imkelina

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  2. Looks pretty basic…and laid back. Our kind of stop. Never would have guessed that Luckenbach is such a tiny town…based on the song being such a huge hit. Photos tell the story and your video and soundtrack are a hit. Got caught up with your posts now that we have “unlimited data”….stay warm in them hills!

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    1. Thanks you guys, we should meet there for the Blues festival next year…it would be great fun.
      Just left Indian Bread this AM and hated to go but are now headed to LP to meet friends in the A Hills.
      Tonight camped in the rough near Gila Bend. Enjoy that data!

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  3. Thanks for sharing Texas with us. Love your “country” video. We are planning a Texas trip in the next year or two. We have not explored that area at all. One the the places on our bucket list in Big Bend National Park. Friends have hosted there and say it is a “can’t miss” experience. We are presently boon docking outside of Ajo. Headed west in a few days, then north to home at the end of the month.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the video. Luckenbach is one of those places where life is easy going and the people are always having fun. We may be headed to Big Bend next since its going to be wet on the gulf coast for awhile. We are currently in Austin sitting inside our rig with the air-con on high, its 90 outside way to hot for big woolly dogs. In the evenings when it gets cooler we go out and listen to music and eat. Enjoy Ajo!

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  4. Hey Tim and Denise – enjoyed the great post, who knew Texas had so much good stuff! We are huddled in the Bay Area hiding from the rain, wishing we were in Luchenbach sipping wine and listen to great music! Almost time to head North to catch the ferry on the 17th, loooking forward to seeing the Motsko’s along the way! Safe travels, look forward to catching up next summer.

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    1. Hi Beth and Elwood, thanks for the nice comments. We wish you were here to! We are in Austin now where the music choices are endless and so is the food types. We found a great place to camp in the middle of things very convenient and quiet. Hope your trip north goes as planned, send the Motsko’s south when you are done with then 🙂

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  5. Never, ever would I have imagined you listening to a country song let alone putting one in your videos! Glad you’re finally able to enjoy them! 🙂

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    1. When in Rome……
      You would feel right at home here Brad lots of big pickups, pointed boots, wide brimmed hats and very nice people.
      Have you been to Texas? if not I recommend it.

      Thanks for following the big dogs!

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  6. Wow! Love the music and what a lovely spot. Former DENA seasonal Diane Kirkendall works at LBJ during the winter. Hope you see Hot Club Cowtown in Austin! Glad you’re staying out of the rain! Hugs, Kris

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  7. If you head back that way, you might find a tour of the Garrison Brothers Distillery entertaining. Quite the sense of humor. I forced Al to tour the LBJ Ranch and we’re both glad we did. We particularly enjoyed the Sauter Family Ranch (think that was the name). Glad you’re enjoying your Texas visit!

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  8. Looks like you are having a fun time! The Hill Country is definitely one of my favorite places that I experienced when I was in the Air Force stationed in Austin. At one time, we lived in Maxwell, and in Lockhart – just outside of Austin. If you want some good barbecue, check out the Salt Lick in Buda. Back when I used to go there, it was just a big screened in area around the pit, and they usually had live country music. Have fun and see you soon!!

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    1. Ron, Yes we are enjoying the hill country. Very cool you used to live here we will check out the Salt Lick BBQ. Thanks for the tip
      Hope your winter hasn’t been to hectic!
      Hi to Kristi and your pups!

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  9. Tim and Denise – thanks again for the great pictures, stories and videos. I am jealous and wished I could travel like that. It looked like you two were not having any pain – great wine makes everything much smoother!!!
    Gert

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  10. Ahhhhhh “Pies, Quilts and More” sounds delightful to me Denise! 🙂 And you looked great going “country” – Hugs from the Northland where light (if not much warmth) is returning. Hugs to you, Tim, Tuks, & Lulu!

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    1. Thanks Kay Lynn! Ya Denise is really turning into a cow girl….not! but she does look good in a cowboy hat. Glad your daylight is returning and hopefully your warmth soon. Will be over 80 here tomorrow which is the opposite of to cold for our group.
      Hi to David and Iorek and Gretta
      Tim

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