From the Frio to Del Rio: Travel Guide to the Western Hill Country and Lower Pecos Canyonlands has landed in my hands this week in the form of page proofs from the publisher! Hooray! Texas A&M Press has done a beautiful job on layout and design of the book. My brother, Thomas C. Self, contributed some great photos of the Western Hill Country and friend Jack Johnson has some wonderful photos of the Lower Pecos Canyonlands in the book. Texas Parks and Wildlife and the Shumla Research and Education Center also graciously shared photos with me. The pictures really make the book pop and add a lot to the story.
The book tells lots of forgotten history about places in the region, and tries to include all the players. For instance, did you know that a woman named Jerusha Sanchez was one of the first settlers in the Nueces canyon? She was a widow and served as a midwife to the few women in the area in the 1870s. Did you know that a Texas Ranger named Bigfoot Wallace fought Comanches in Val Verde County around that same time? And wait ’til you find out what Charles Lindbergh did!
Besides what to see, where to stay and where to eat, I also tell you where to buy gas and groceries, where the hospitals are, and other information travelers need to know. But the part I like the most is the section on Scenic Routes. There’s the New Money and Old Art Trail, the Bat Trail, the Buffalo Soldiers and Black Seminole Indian Trail, and the Aviation History Trail to name a few.
I’m doing my final proof reading and making a few corrections before I send it back to the publishers by early October. Then a couple of months for the magic of the printed word (and picture) to happen. The actual book itself should be in a bookstore near you sometime in April, 2017.