Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Llano Rocks!

       When I was researching gold and gem locations for one of my Rick Remington adventure stories, I came across the small west Texas town of Llano and immediately knew we had to go. Caution: Panning for gold in Texas is illegal unless you have a permit.  With no permit in hand, Suzanne and I decided to learn about the gems and minerals of Texas purely through research.  In the Hill Country, treasure hunters scour the rocks for blue topaz, but in Llano, gold is prize they seek.  Finding small amounts of gold in the area is still possible, though improbable at this point, but we discovered another unique treasure found only in Llano.  Llanite is a unique form of granite that can be seen in a rock outcropping just north of town. Eager to see a treasure that can only be found in Texas, our quest began!

 Our first priority was to find lodging.  We had heard about a resort called “The Canyon of the Eagles”.  Who could resist that name?  Suzanne booked a cabin overlooking Lake Buchanan and off we went.  When we got to the Resort, we were delighted to find that our cabin was a rustic 1920’s style Hill Country house with a front porch.  That evening, we ate at the Overlook restaurant on the property with an unobstructed view of Lake Buchanan.  What a nice way to end a long day.  The food was good and the beer cold.  What more could you ask for?

The next day Suzanne and I headed for Llano.  We stopped by the local rock and mineral shop and did some browsing.  Llanite granite is known for its beautiful blue specs.  With our newfound knowledge and thirst for rock hunting enhanced, Suzanne and I headed out highway Texas 16 to search for Llanite in a rock outcropping near Baby Head Cemetery.  Not sure where to look, we checked the rock outcropping along the highway near the entrance to the cemetery.  We were disappointed to find absolutely nothing that looked like Llanite.  More than a little hot and somewhat discouraged, we decided to look up the road.  At the next large outcropping of rocks, we stopped again.  This time we hit pay dirt! We found the Llanite.  Like those before us, I chipped off a small piece of Llanite for a souvenir. 

With our prize possession of Llanite, Suzanne and I headed back to town for some lunch.  Cooper’s Old Time Bar-B-Que is a must when dining in the Llano area.  The lines are often long, so arriving early is key.  Luckily the line wasn’t too long and we slipped in behind a large group of college kids.  An enormous, slow, pit cooked 1” thick pork chop with sides was our reward for the wait.  Great food!  But we had a half of day left to kill. 

 Suzanne and I decided to drive around town and look for something interesting to do.  As we were driving, we noticed this business with a whole city block of granite and marble slabs.  Since we are designing our new house near Lake Livingston, we had to stop and check it out.  They gave us a golf cart to drive around to look at their offerings.  How cool is that?   They had so many different colors and patterns that it was difficult to pick out a favorite.  If you are looking for granite countertops, the Living Stone Company in Llano is the place to shop!

With the afternoon sun smiling down on us, it was time for a drink to cool off.  The Badu House Wine Pub with its 14 foot long bar made of polished Llanite was our target.  The Badu House is a pretty cool building in it’s own right but we came to see the Llanite!  We were not disappointed.  The bar top was beautiful with its deep blue hue.  Texas Rocks!

 After finishing our drinks, it was time to head back to the Canyon of the Eagles to relax and enjoy the Texas sunset.  From the Piney Woods of east Texas to the rocks and hills of west Texas, on this starry night we thanked our lucky stars we chose Texas to look Thru Our Back Door!

Join in our fight against breast cancer.  Visit Suzanne's new blog "My Equations for Life" as she reflects on life B.C. (before cancer) and A.D. (after diagnosis) and help support new early cancer detection research at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center with our Go Fund Me project below.

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