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Terry & Dave Taylor

Langtry, Texas | Judge Roy Bean | Lily Langtry

Alpine, Texas:  "The Stars at night, are Big and Bright - Deep in the Heart of Texas." Tonight we are camped, as DT says, "Deep in the Texas Alps". These Alps have sage brush and cactus, but are never-the-less a welcome sight to our Western Eyes. Today was a driving day, but that is not to say it was without excitement. We can always find an Interesting Diversion, even in the Middle of Nowhere in Texas.

We started our day again on the bike path along the San Antonio River, adjacent to the campground. A couple camped next to us, had their Border Collie-Something mix dog out in the park, running free. She really, really wanted to play with Snickers, so I let him off his leash and the two of them chased each other and played for about twenty minutes - until My Old Boy said "enough already" and came back to me, begging to be re-leashed and dragged back to his breakfast. His playmate was 2 years old - so Snickers was quite pooped for our long drive today! DT ran five miles while we played. As we headed out of the campground, our brake lights were not working AGAIN! After bragging to How that we had fixed the brake light problem by replacing the cable, the fuse needed changing again! Luckily, we now know how to fix this trouble and we were on the road in 2 minutes!

We went west on Highway 90, wanting to avoid the Interstate and hoping to see a bit of the Texas countryside. We drove through Hondo, where a sign greeted us: "Welcome to Hondo. This is God's Country. Please do not drive like Hell." We obeyed. Today "we" have driven 8.000 miles - so far - on our trip!

We took this strange route through a very undeveloped and unsettled section of Texas, so we could avoid the truck-traffic on I-10, and so we could stop in Langtry. Langtry - just West of the Pecos (river) - is the famed home of Judge Roy Bean. After the railroad came through this area, there was a need for a Justice of the Peace and Roy Bean was appointed. Judge Roy Bean was absolutely obsessed with the English actress and performer Lily Langtry. So much so, that when he opened his Courtroom/Saloon/Pool Hall, he also called it an "Opera House" in the hopes that Miss Langtry would perform here. There is controversy if the Judge named the town, or if the town was already named Langtry - but he sent the actress countless letters telling her he had named a town after her, hoping she would visit. Judge Roy Bean had an unconventional style of justice. He has the nickname of the "hanging judge", but there is no evidence he ever had anyone hanged. His favorite punishment was to take the money, gun and horse of a criminal and then kick them out of town. The hazards of getting to another city with no horse, money or gun was scary enough to deter many would-be criminals. Miss Langtry did finally visit her city, 10 months after Judge Roy Bean's death.

Judge Roy Bean's Courtroom/Saloon, The Jersey Lilly
Judge Roy Bean's Courtroom/Saloon, The Jersey Lilly.
The sign maker - who was paid in whiskey - misspelled "Lily"

Judge Roy Bean's Courtroom/Saloon, The Jersey Lilly
The bar/courtroom of The Jersey Lily - Judge Roy Bean presiding

The building is the original, on its original site, with the original bar - all organized and run by the Texas Department of Transportation and is an official "Texas Welcome Center". It is said that when a criminal was brought in, Judge Roy Bean would close the bar and get a jury from his patrons and hold the trial! He had a copy of the 1879 Revised Statutes of Texas, but it seems he rarely relied on actual law. One common sentence was a fine of about fifty dollars and "a round of drinks for the jury". These days, Langtry is a dreary little town, with a cafe, gift shop and RV park, but the Judge Roy Bean historical site is very nice and worth a visit. They also gave us many "Don't Mess With Texas" stickers and car litter bags at the Welcome Center! Score!

The rest of our day was most uneventful. We did see many deer (actual living animals, as opposed to the road kill we usually see) on the side of the road, and also many head of fabulous Brahma Bulls! Finally, when it was getting towards dusk, we pulled-over in Alpine, Texas for the night in a road-side RV Park. The park has 35 sites and it is really full - and everyone seems to be over-nighting. We enjoyed a beautiful sunset and then I made an easy vegetarian dinner. The cable TV here is interesting. DT is watching Monday Night Football from an ABC station in Denver, PBS comes from Nebraska, etc.

RV Park: The Pecan Grove

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