COOPER DISCOVERER The "not so hilly" Texas Hill Country

I am an avid outdoorsman, however a rookie when it comes to overlanding. Due to my love for the outdoors I have completely fallen in love with overlanding. I have spent my nights in front of google earth looking for dirt roads leading to water, points of interest, pieces of history, anything and everything I can explore in my "backyard". I recently set out with my sons, a friend, and his son on a sunday funday to explore some of the interesting things I have found behind a computer screen. Now I know sitting behind a computer screen isn't everyone's cup of tea for finding these things, however with Texas being mostly private land we have to be very careful where we "explore" so a little research goes a long way.

I am an avid off-road enthusiast, my buddy Bill on the other hand, a complete rookie to anything dirt. After our sunday he is ready for small lift and more modifications to his otherwise stock silverado.

A true zero to hero comparison in this photo of my truck alongside Bill's. His truck is bone stock and creeping up on 315k miles, mine on the other hand, extremely capable of nearly anything I put in front of it.

Everything is growing in central texas with all the rains we have had this year, it is truly making for some remarkable scenery in retrospect to the dry creekbeds we have been used to in a drought. There was water everywhere, flowing beautifully along every stream, river, creek and pond we encountered, abundant with plant life and wildlife!

We encountered a few soft water crossings with a couple inches of water flowing across but had to stop when we encountered this rushing water. Unaware of how deep it was we stopped and threw a couple rocks in to gauge the "kerplunk" we would hear and evaluate the crossing. We weren't as concerned with the depth of the water as much as we were with the rate at which the water was flowing. However a local rancher happened to come by and chug right through it without incident. So on we went, crossed without a hiccup!

One of the things I enjoy is mechanical engineering and building, building anything at all. So every chance I get to take in the work, especially old work, I really like to take it in and appreciate what could be done with limited technology and tooling of our father's, grandfather's, great grandfather's work like this old truss bridge, no longer in service it still stands as a walk bridge with a reminder of hard work and dedication to the task at hand. Adjacent to the bridge we were in awe of the massive pecan tree we found, we figured it had to be at least 120 feet tall! Gorgeous!

If you ever have the chance to make the scenic drive up hwy 281 in the hill country, one of the must stops is the "Down Unda Trading Post" in Adamsville, owned by a couple of Aussie transplants, they really enjoy your conversation and visit. They also make genuine australian meat pies at the store which are delicious, coupled with some hand crafted Dublin sodas from nearby it makes for a great brunch stop. The shop has some really neat items as well, and nearly everything is for sale!

Of course avoiding as much pavement as possible we were quickly back on some dirt through ranches, wheat fields, and more water of course. With all the rain the crops are flourishing and making me glad to live in a "fly over state". Wild flowers in bloom, trees as green as ever, vegetation trying to take over every inch of soil. We just drove, nearly silent, taking it all in and telling the kids what all the plants and flowers were that we came across.

As much as the vegetation is flourishing, so is the wildlife, we joked about needing bumper stickers "we brake for turtles" as the boys especially love the timid creatures and this big fella was no exception. we encountered turkeys, turtles, snakes, countless deer and livestock, donkeys, and numerous hawks, cardinals, and blue jays along the trip as well, the kids truly love seeing the birds and animals.

Speaking of snakes, at the first water crossing we encountered, we stopped to look around, Bill was standing near the drop off of the water crossing when my oldest boy walks up and goes "wow Billy check out the snake" which happened to be enjoying the sun on the rocks about 2 feet from where Bill was standing. If you ever want to hear a grown man screech like a girl, this is how you do it! After we calmed down, we let him be on his way to search for his next meal.

As our day came to a close we encountered the deepest crossing I have ever traversed, the water was not moving very fast but at the deepest point was intimidating, careful, steady throttle and keeping your intended line made it a breeze.

Without a doubt the drive had been amazing and as we turned south towards home, we were still on cloud nine wondering if we would encounter anything else spectacular. I will say hours of searching the computer screen will not let you find everything as we stumbled across a scenic outlook just northwest of Pidcoke, Tx. The drop had to be at least 200 feet straight down, we stopped for a snack and to let boys see if they could reach the river below with some rocks. It was neat waiting for the rocks to hit the water several seconds after being released from your hand.

Driving home left me with a sense of satisfaction, that doing the research and plotting some points of interest had allowed my sons, and my friends, to see some beauty in the Texas hill country that I love. As I sit here typing this story more rain is falling in central texas and attempting to put a stop to our annual river floating and camping weekend, but maybe, just maybe, the sun will come out and let us out for a few days this coming memorial day weekend. I truly hope you will get out and enjoy your "backyard" like we did, every chance you get.

Trip Info

Awesome trip, hard to believe you found this in Texas. Would you share some of your POI"s from the trip for the Texas overland community?

I am in the Houston area if you ever looking for an addition to your trip.