The first day on the road is always an adjustment. The stress of our schedules and routines is sometimes hard to let go of, but as the Interstate, walled in by trees and barriers, gives way to open fields and rolling pastures, the stress becomes less burdensome and the possibilities of what lies ahead becomes the focus.

Nature replaces cities. A cluster of small, black birds flock over a beige field, a black cloud of winged fury. Hawks perched on power lines make the most of recent flooding, waiting for their next meal to scurry in search of safety between the waters and the roads.

Then, towns and cities again. The Monkey Barrel provides all we need for food and shelter, and a local Walmart provides an urban boondocking spot for the night. Bellies full, quiet sleep overtakes us as rain patters on the roof all night.

Morning comes, and with it, a local hole-in-the-wall offering donuts and coffee, fuel for any good road trip.

Jacksonville, Texas, has these giant tomatoes. The kids thought that was fantastic.

No matter where we were, it seemed we were constantly trying to outrun the rain.

But once we arrived in Austin, the reward for dealing with traffic was warmth, sunshine, and frozen treats from the Monkey Barrel freezer.

We have made it to Fredericksburg, and more on that later. For now, we will enjoy this neat town & what it has to offer.