March 2009 Blizzard
Texas Roadtrip - Part 2. Texas Painted Churches

Texas Roadtrip - Part 1: Texas Wildflowers

Kevin and I decided that end of March/ beginning April would be a perfect time to do a roadtrip down to Texas to photograph the wildflowers that usually bloom around this time.


We drove from Denver south I-25 to Raton NM, and then entered Texas from NM. The wildflower region is quite far south. So we only ended up being situated in the wildflower area by the second night, after about 1,000 miles of driving. This year the best wildflowers were located in Washington County, and we found that Brenham TX made a good base camp. On the way down to Brenham watch out for the famous Czech Bakery at West. Be warned there are long lines and an extensive wait.

As we approached Brenham we saw more and more wildflowers on the side of the highway. Mainly bluebonnets (in fact bluebonnets was the predominant flower on our trip.) The highway has high speed limits posted so we felt really nervous about pulling off the road to do any extensive photography. We located a hotel - a very comfortable, reasonably newly opened La Quinta. We always use AAA discounts (10% on hotel rooms.) We were charged with discount $116 exclu taxes for a non smoking King for one night, and because of the Roundtop Antique Fair that was currently happening any other days would be $132.
We ended up spending 4 nights in Brenham.

The La Quinta had right next to it a number of large fields that were just covered in bluebonnets, with  occasional paintbrush and primrose.


Our MO for the next 4 days - was each day select an area and route and drive off with our photography gear for some shooting. We didn't necessarily spend every day shooting flowers. Often the light - especially at midday is just not real good for great photographs. We did have other things that we wanted to see - The Monastery Miniature Horses (located just north east of Brenham) and we wanted to see the famous painted churches located around Schulenburg. Kevin also wanted to sample world famous BBQ.

Day One:

First day we concentrated East/ NE of Brenham. Just east of Brenham is the quaint and picturesque hamlet of Chappel Hill. We found some great flowers - We took Farm Road 1155 North, and then took the Dairy Farm Road.


Stopped at Washington on the Brazos State Park [historic park]. We ended up as far as Navasota at "The Filling Station" for lunch. After lunch we traveled to the Whitehall region as Kevin had read on the internet of some really good fields there. We found some farmer's fields that did not disappoint.


After a thorough photo session we headed south toward Hempstead and then Bellville. We found a lovely field of daisies on the 159 just before Nelsonville. We pulled off into a private road (a no-no) and took photos. At Nelsonville we took Farm Road 2502. That route had lots of gorgeous flowers. We took the 109 back to Brenham. We decided to try an Italian restaurant in Downtown Brenham that was advertising extended hours due to the Round Top Antique Fair. So dinner was at Volare Italian Restaurant, 102 Ross Str Brenham TX 77833 Tel # 979 836 1514. Kevin had spaghetti with Italian sausage, and I tried their eggplant parmiggiano. I have a weakness for eggplant - especially when it is done well. This one was - eggplant was cooked perfectly. I could have done without the fettucine. Tiramisu was also quite good - light and fluffy. After dinner we ambled around the shops in historic downtown, then back to our hotel to photograph the wild flowers in the fields right next to the hotel.

Second Day of Wildflowers:

Kevin wanted to try  famous Texas BBQ. So we drove West to Elgin to have BBQ at the Southside MArket and BBQ. Flowers - Explored FM 1155 and Kruger Road and surrounding. Good blooms. Also back to Dairy Farm road for a second look.

Third Day of Wildflowers:

Met photographer Allen Rokach who was on assignment to shoot wildflowers. Recommended a spot quite close by where he had received permission to shoot. Great field - with flowers stretching to the horizon.


We swapped notes on good flower spots. We decided this would be the day to see the painted churches. See separate blog post about that. We ended up at Allen's spot to photograph the sunset, and hopefully get some backlit Indian Paintbrush, blue bonnets and primrose. On the other side of the farm road a group of curious cows watched our activities.


We ended up having some dinner with Allen when we met up with him at the hotel. We had a pleasant time talking photography and other things over a Corona and some warm food.

See separate Blog posts for painted churches, the Golden Cheeked Warbler, and Miniature Horses. 

Washington County seemed much more affluent than other counties we explored. In fact we joked about the cattle ranches there - the seemed more like cow parks - beautifully manicured parks for cows. Below - some unusual Belted Galloways.