and miles went into the development of the first edition of the
Hill Country Street Guide (HCSG). The credit for most
of the map compilation goes to my son Josh who spent MANY hours
acquiring and converting source information and posting it to
the map file - in reality almost two years.
was the field checks that had to be done. Miles and miles - hours
of driving and checking. It took Josh a bit to understand that
field check driving is not like everyday driving. At first he
drove normal speed which was too fast for checks,
but too slow to go from here to there. After several times of
me saying "Slow
down, I can't check that fast." or "Now you can drive
as fast as you want to get to the next check point." he
got the hang of it and became efficient at time usage. And then
there are stories of unusual circumstances that developed as
we drove some backroads. But those have to be told in person.
Roads that passed through gravel bottomed creeks that we just
barely made it through. Roads that literally died in the middle
of pastures! And along the way, we saw some great scenery, and
visited MANY cemeteries
(I can't pass a cemetery without stopping - they're full of history.).
All in all
I figure we drove more than 50% of Bandera County, 80% of Gillespie
County (data from Gillespie was not that great), 40% of Kendall
County, and 10% of Kerr County. That was just to check and verify
information that was contradictory from various sources, or just
plain wasn't available.
The map file
actually includes about 12 counties but to date we've only developed
4 fully, and 4 partially.
All of this
was done on Macintosh computers (Is there any other?) using commercial
illustration software, and several changes of equipment along
Along the way
of developing the map file Mapsco and I met to discuss their
need for a Tri-County Street Guide. I had the map file, and they
are great with marketing and sales. It seemed natural to team
up. Then about 1/3 of the way into the project I convinced them
to add the Eastern 1/3 of Bandera County. And as things progressed
I decided why not include all of Bandera County. So we did. Then
of course Junction, Mason, and Llano needed to be included so
we added pages to cover those cities. This project management
is typical of how I work - ever thinking and design changes as
And the final
topping was finding Webcrafters as the printer. Actually it was
probably destiny that Webcrafters did the printing as I'd used
them for many atlases we printed at The H.M. Gousha Company.
Acquiring them as the printer was coincidental though. As Tracy
(Mapsco) worked on the pricing structure, I kept wanting a lower
printing price and insisting on 4-color. Then an email arrived
where he said he'd gotten a good price with a printer. I quizzed
him who that might be if he didn't mind sharing that infomation
(I'm always looking for cost saving printing). "Webcrafters" he
emailed and wanted to know if I knew anything about them. "I
certainly did!" I replied. And I told him the background
I had with them.
And that brings
us to this point - printed and now into sales. It was quite a
trip, lots of work, and many late hours. Will I ever recoup my
invested time and materials? Only time will tell. But we sure
have one great Street Guide for the Hill Country! And folks are
clamouring for it. I've even had UPS guys literally knocking
on my home door wanting to buy it!
entered our second year of distribution, it was obvious the HCSG
was a HUGE hit, and the 5000 we printed was barely going to last
2 years. So, halfway into our second year of distribution we
began the task of updating. That took about 5 months, more digital
files to convert and check, more roads to drive, anda lot of
great folks. Most of our original advertisers renewed their ad
plus we added some new ones. We finished the updates late October
and sent the files to press (Webcrafters again!).
We know you'll
be very happy with your purchase of the Hill Country Street
Look for it EVERYWHERE!
& son Josh