Gruene, Texas

Mostly empty as far as the eye can see, driving across Texas is an intense experience.

Desolate and monochromatic, the vast emptiness is dotted by millions of grazing cattle, thousands of genuflecting oil derricks, wild boar hurtling across the Interstate , abandoned, re-imagined and rejuvenated towns, and magically, from the rolling hills and steep plateaus both gleaming cities and industrial monoliths appear like Oz.

Early morning on Gruene's main corner. The merchantile building is to the left and the Gristmill is the former Cotton Gin now a restaurant with 11 distinct dining areas.

Early morning on Gruene’s main corner. The mercantile building is to the left and the Gristmill is the former Cotton Gin now a restaurant with 11 distinct dining areas.

Since the early 1700s, Mexicans, Europeans, most notably Germans, and Americans have been staking claims in this too-cold-and-too-hot barren and brutal landscape.

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