With my Austin-to-LA flight leaving today at 3 pm, yesterday was my only shot at enjoying one of those “bail on the film festival in order to absorb rural atmosphere and smell the grass” days. So I rented a Mazda and drove west on 290 out to the Texas hill country.

The True Grit courthouse in Blanco, Texas — Thursday, 3.17, 7:05 pm.

I first visited Johnson City, and then the Lyndon B. Johnson ranch, just east of Stonewall, for 90 minutes or so. (Those who haven’t yet seen David Grubin‘s LBJ, a 1991 American Experience doc, need to do so.) I then visited and got the hell out of Fredericksburg — a grotesque, tourist-choked Disneyland town — as fast as I could. And finally I checked into a nice little motel in Blanco, where Joel and Ethan Coen shot a portion of True Grit.

Snapped in one of about 200 tourist shops lining Main Street in Fredericksburg.

A five-day-old Hereford calf on the LBJ ranch. Wow, here I am, gaining two pounds a day. And when I get big and heavy enough they’ll take me and my pallies off to the slaughterhouse!

Gravestone of Lyndon B. Johnson, 36th President of the United States and one of the great tragic figures of American history.

Before I took this the guy sitting at the table had apparently never even looked at the menu painting.

LBJ ranch main residence — Thursday, 3.17, 3:05 pm.