Road to Nowhere

Cutting across America’s heartland, US‑83 remains a must-do long-distance byway—transnavigating this broad, odd nation without once grazing a conventional tourist destination.

Junction

After passing through the attractively rugged but shallow canyon lands south of Menard, US-83 crosses high-speed I-10 at the aptly named town of Junction (pop. 2,688). Once a major crossing where the east-west Chihuahua Trail met a branch of the north-south Chisholm Trail (now I-10 and US-83 respectively), Junction sits at the edge of Texas’s famed Hill Country, where the Edwards Plateau crumbles into limestone canyons and cliffs along the Balcones Escarpment. As in the areas to the immediate north, wool and mohair production are the main means of local livelihood, supplemented by pecan farming (not to mention catering to passing travelers).

From Junction, I-10 heads southeast to San Antonio, passing through the Hill Country town of Kerrville, which hosts the very popular Kerrville Folk Festival (830/257-3600) around Labor Day.

To continue south along US-83, you can wind along Main Street or follow I-10 southeast for one exit, roughly two miles, to rejoin the old road. Another nice drive is along US-377, which traces a scenic route along the Llano River southwest of Junction, bisecting typical Edwards Plateau tableaus of limestone arroyos studded with mesquite, oak, prickly pear, and yucca. South Llano River State Park (325/446-3994, $4 adults), five miles southwest of Junction off US-377, protects 524 wooded acres and abundant wildlife (white-tailed deer, Rio Grande turkey, blue birds, finches, and javelina) and offers facilities for picnicking, camping, hiking, mountain-biking, canoeing, tubing, and swimming.

Junction
Kerrville
South Llano River State Park