Tuesday, January 09, 2007


I'm sorry I can't make the letters of the title float in with supernatural sounds, because those folks on the island had nothing on me in the early hours of this morning. I did not really think I could get lost in Bastrop County, but it can be done.

It all started innocently with a request from someone on Findagrave for a photo from a cemetery I had never before visited. I checked my stock of Bastrop books and discovered that the cemetery was out in the Alum Creek area and I estimated that it would take maybe 30-45 minutes to dash out there, get the photo, and get back home and to work. I took a quick look at my Roads of Texas mapbook, verified that the cemetery was where it was supposed to be and took off.

Lesson learned #1. Always put the map book in the car and take it with you. Things may not be as straightforward as you think.

I made the turn off Highway 71 onto Cottletown Road and thoroughly enjoyed the ride out on a twisty little country road. My idea of a good way to start the day. So far, so good.

And then I came to the fork in the road. My goal was the Antioch Cemetery. The left fork said Antioch Road. The right fork said Old Antioch Road. I tried to remember the map in the book back at home. Nothing came to me but a vague memory of County Road 153. Nothing said County Road 153.

Ah, I thought. This is an old cemetery and it will probably be on Old Antioch Road. I veered right and started driving. I remembered that I was supposed to come to a crossroad and the cemetery was supposed to be right at the crossroad. Quite a bit later down the road I did come to a crossroad, but no cemetery. I decided I might have made a mistake and should probably find my way back to Highway 71 and try it again. About that time I came upon Park Road 3.

I know the Park Roads. I've driven them many times. The bad thing about the Park Roads is that they twist and they double back and they loop and if you don't know where you came in, you can get disoriented in a big hurry. But, hey, sooner or later the dang thing has to come out at the Bastrop Park or Buescher Park entrance. So I drove. And drove. Passed two deer strolling in the road. Got behind a confused squirrel who was trotting down the center of the road, looking over his shoulder at me like it would be really nice if I would scram. And finally I got dumped outside Buescher's entrance.

Now here is where I really had a spasm or something, but the end result is that I zigged when I should have zagged. I decided to turn left, head for Paige and try the directions to the cemetery from the starting point of Highway 21 instead of 71. A short way down the road I saw a sign that said FM 153. That's the road that is supposed to lead to the cemetery, I thought to myself. I even stopped and verified that in the local history book I had brought along. Merrily I rolled along down FM 153.

About 20 minutes later, it finally occurred to me that County Road 153 and FM 153 were two separate and distinct locations. FM153 wasn't never gonna take me to that blasted cemetery. I think the light finally dawned when the sign told me I had crossed over into Fayette County. That's two counties over from where I had started.

At this point I had absolutely no idea where I was. I barely knew what direction I was traveling. I was contemplating which way to go when another sign announced the way to Giddings. I clung to this small ray of hope and headed down yet another unfamiliar road. A mere 14 miles took me to Highway 290 in Giddings where my internal GPS finally kicked in. I sped back to Bastrop and arrived 20 minutes after I should have clocked in on the office computer.

By the way, I kept my eyes peeled for the turnoff to Antioch Cemetery from Highway 21 and never saw anything that remotely resembled the directions in the history book.

So, I put in a few hours of work and then took Mother off to see the doctor in Austin. I asked her if she wanted to take a ride in the country when we got back to Bastrop. Poor, misguided woman said "sure". I did take the precaution of putting the map book in the car this time.

So about 2:30 this afternoon, I headed back down Cottletown Road. And this time when I got to the fork in the road, I took the left fork. And the damned cemetery was not more than a half-mile down that road, sitting squarely at the crossroads.

Lesson learned #2. Don't embark on a mission that requires a clear mind at 8:00 a.m. when you know you don't fully wake up until 10:00 a.m. I should have known to turn back and try the other fork as soon as I got to the point where I realized there was no cemetery where I thought it should be.

But, in my contrary way, I had a hell of a good time this morning. It's not the first time I've had a good time getting thoroughly lost and then figuring my way out.

Just wish gasoline was a little cheaper.


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