Riding with Her Dad
Sarah Eckert-Maurer’s love for Bird’s Eye View maps runs as deep as the land she chronicles.
Sarah grew up in the Texas Hill Country. Her father, Harvey Eckert, was the popular principal of the Stonewall school, and her family traces its roots back to the original settlers on both sides. One of her favorite memories is driving through the oak-covered hills and winding back roads with her father.
“He and I started riding together when he drove the bus for school,” Sarah recalls. “We’d leave at 6 am. I was always an early riser–why sleep when could be riding on a bus?”
So it was only natural when, years later, she took her dad along with her on drives through Hill Country side roads to record the mileage between locations on her maps. That’s when they talked, and he would tell her stories, of landmarks they passed, and of famous characters who had lived in the area (Harvey had several stories about a young guy named Lyndon who later became President of the United States).
That’s why Sarah’s maps mean more to her then simply how to get from Hye Market to Weinheimer and Sons General Store.
“Making these maps is a means to an end,” she says. “It is letting me stay in the area where I grew up. Cities are great, with lots of energy, but being in the country allows you to slow down and have real relationships. That is tough to do in a city. My maps are a way to stay connected to what I call ‘the feel-good happy fuzzies.’”
All those travels with her dad helped Sarah learn her way around, even along roads with different names depending on which end you started at. She uses that innate knowledge to create maps that guide those just now discovering the Texas Hill Country where to go and what to do.
These days Sarah still rides the roads drawn on her maps, but now instead of a bouncy old school bus, she enjoys heated seats and a sunroof. What hasn’t changed are the memories, such as buying ginger snaps out of a barrel at Weinheimer and Sons General Store.
A store that is still in Stonewall, by the way.
And her dad still rides beside her.