Solitude. It’s one of the things I look forward to on my rides. Being in the moment moving through a constantly changing landscape.
I only made three more day trips in the summer of 2017. I went in different directions in a widening circle around my home. At some point the idea of visiting every county courthouse in Texas began to take shape.
My long held ambition of taking longer rides got a shot of inspiration from someone who was criss-crossing Texas at the time: Beto O’Rourke was running for US Senate.
Beto was committed to meeting and visiting voters in all 254 counties. Though ultimately it did not lead to an electoral win, I loved the ambition and scope of the plan.
At the time, I don’t think I believed I would actually follow through with my plan, but it was something to think about. I certainly would not be holding rallies and giving speeches, like Beto. I’d be exploring a big beautiful state and the solitude of its lonely highways.
On June 4th, I went northwest through Burnet (Burnet County – rhymes with “durn it”), Lampasas (Lampasas County), and Belton (Bell County).
About 54 counties have a county seat that shares its name. Burnet/Burnet, Lampasas/Lampasas, Even Belton/Bell can be seen in that light: Bell-town > Belton. Another 20 counties have a name that is the name of another county seat. For example, Ozona is the seat of Crockett County, Crockett is the seat of Houston County, and Houston is the seat of Harris County.
On July 2, I went southeast through Bastrop (Bastrop County), La Grange (Fayette County), and Giddings (Lee County).
On September 2, I went southwest and then north, through Johnson City (Blanco County), Fredericksburg (Gillespie County), Mason (Mason County), and Llano (Llano County). I ate lunch at Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que in Llano. Can’t go wrong there.
[Update 2021] Sadly, the historic Mason County Courthouse was destroyed by an arsonist on February 4, 2021.
After that September ride through the hill country, it would be another year and a half before I would visit another Texas county courthouse on my motorcycle. Solitude became a rare luxury as I would meet more people, shake more hands, and knock on more doors than I ever had before.