As 2018 comes to a close, we’re taking a look back at the 10 most-read stories of the year on texashighways.com.

Find Rustic Relaxation on the Nueces River at Camp Wood in the Hill Country

The Nueces River valley plummets from the Edwards Plateau with the abruptness of a summer squall. The topography plunges from dry to drenched when you cruise south from Rocksprings on State Highway 55, blank skies giving way to blue-green canopies of oaks and pecans as the road abandons the grassless flats for glimpses of resplendent waters that seem to chase canyon twilight into the brightness of day. Here, the Nueces River finds its voice: a convergence of forks, prongs, creeks, and springs that begin their last odyssey to the Gulf of Mexico as one.

History, Art, and Colorful Fall Foliage Distinguish the Great Plains Town of Canadian

Not far from the banks of the Canadian River, tucked among the River Valley Pioneer Museum’s artifacts of Panhandle ranching and railroad history, black-and-white portraits gaze from the gallery wall as if they’ve been waiting patiently for a century to look you in the eye.

Why Every Woman Should Take a Solo Road Trip

One sunny morning in July, on an otherwise unremarkable Wednesday, I slide into the driver’s seat of my car and head south. I pull onto the highway, a map of Texas in the passenger seat, like an ancient rune from a time before GPS, and I watch as the billboards turn unfamiliar and disappear. Big-box stores and strip malls turn to metal silos, oil refineries, and wheat fields.

At Paisano Ranch, the Spirit of J. Frank Dobie—and the Muses—Abide

My personal slice of Texas paradise lies 14 miles southwest of Austin, tucked into the idyllic canyon that cradles an immaculate stretch of Barton Creek. The Paisano Ranch is a 245-acre retreat owned by the University of Texas at Austin, and it has been awarding fellowships to a few select writers every year since 1967. My lucky number came up in 2010 when I spent three blissful summer months nestled in this sanctuary.

Scale Five Peaks in One Week on This Epic West Texas Road Trip

A mile or two into my hike to the top of Mount Livermore in the Davis Mountains, I stepped to the side of the trail as two speedsters overtook me on the uphill slope. “I guess that’s where we’re headed,” I said, nodding to a rocky outcrop on the horizon far above. “Nope,” one of them responded. “Baldy Peak is beyond that—you can’t see it yet.”

Has Brenham Become the Hamptons of Texas?

There aren’t enough synonyms for “quaint” in describing Brenham, that rare landlocked town that feels like it should have a lighthouse. Arranged around an Art Deco courthouse which, built in 1939, is one of the newer buildings downtown, Brenham keeps history in its place.

3 Places to Eat Barbecued Crab in Texas This Summer

Barbecued crab, a coastal delicacy born in a tiny corner of Southeast Texas, is tender, juicy, and laced with spice. This misnamed meal isn’t barbecue, though, which I realized some years ago when my friend Carolyn invited me home from college to visit her family in Beaumont, promising we’d eat something not found anywhere else.

An Unplugged Travel Challenge Through the Rio Grande Valley Leads to Unexpected Detours and Rewards

After U-turns on the edges of grapefruit groves, repeated pullovers to study our Rio Grande Valley street guide, and a precarious three-point turn on the narrow levee road where a border patrol truck blocks our path, we are really lost. Like so many wanderers before us, we are searching for La Lomita Mission, which a local history buff named Frank told me about at an Edinburg bar the night before. “Just travel the Old Military Highway that goes along the Rio Grande,” Frank said. What Frank didn’t say was that Military Highway, much like the river it runs along, is a trickster that stops, starts, and twists in unexpected ways.

Four Wildflower-Focused Texas Road Trips (Plus Guaranteed Photo Ops)

At Texas Highways, we’ve learned a few things over the years about spring wildflowers in Texas: We have lots of them, many kinds, all over the place. We’ve learned this, too: Once Mother Nature shakes off winter’s chill, there’s no better way to celebrate the new season than with a wildflower-focused road trip.

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