We started by taking FM 2288 (the road that fronts RCW) north to Grape Creek, then US 87 north to Water Valley. Water Valley is a small community in the north part of Tom Green County. The school there is always in the news as they produce some fine athletic teams in all sports. I'm not sure how they perform academically. There isn't much else in the community except a convenience store and a post office.
We turned west on Hwy 2304 for a few miles. There is a county park there along the North Concho River called Harper Park. It's a lovely setting for a park, with towering pecan trees and nice grass. There are several RV hookups within the park, which is popular with Water Valley residents.
|Looking upstream at the North Concho River from the bridge on Hwy 2304|
|Pecan trees and grass in lovely Harper Park along the North Concho River, just west of Water Valley.|
|Shelving Rock Historical Marker on Hwy 2304|
After returning home, I researched Shelving Rock but found very little. The site interests me because of the last sentence on the marker: "There Rangers, state militia, and a posse of settlers hunting horses and Indians rendezvoused a few nights prior to disastrous battle of Dove Creek, Jan. 8, 1865." The Battle of Dove Creek is one of the more interesting battles in Texas history, but few people have ever heard of it. To learn more about this "battle", consult the Handbook of Texas Online. I first learned of the battle while reading an Elmer Kelton novel. I believe the novel was Stand Proud.
A few miles past the marker, the highway falls away, offering a great view to the north. The photos below really don't do justice to the view.
|Upon spotting the drop off, I parked the truck and crossed the highway to snap this photo.|
|As we were driving down the slope, Donna commented that this section reminded her a little of the Davis Mountains.|
|It's rugged country out there.|
Just a short distance beyond this slope, we turned north on Paint Creek Road. This county road cuts through to intersect Hwy 158.
|Not much water in Paint Creek, but any water is good water in the west.|
We turned around, got back on the highway (158), and headed east towards Robert Lee. We began seeing good stands of bluebonnets and other flowers along the highway right of way as well as in pastures.
|Beautiful stand of bluebonnets in a pasture, with a nice backdrop of hills.|
|Close up of bluebonnets|
|E V Spence Reservoir, near Robert Lee, Texas|
|Coke County, Courthouse -- Robert Lee, Texas|
|Downtown Robert Lee, Texas|