Many hours 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.

Then there 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 the way.

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 work progresses.

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!

As we 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 Guide. Look for it EVERYWHERE!

James Craft (aka "Poo")
& son Josh

 









JCGraphix
2783 Bandera Hwy.
Kerrville, TX 78028

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