Texas Hill Country Ride
May 15, 2009
Debbie and I had an early-morning breakfast and put the gear on for the dreaded morning rush hour trek out of Dallas. We planned the exit from the metromess against the grain to meet up with the Lone Star BMW Riders main pack in Lometa for lunch. The bad thing about heading south out of DFW is the 60 mile journey through the city and surrounding towns before the traffic lightens up to a relaxing ride. But, when we finally cleared the last of the trucks around Rio Vista, the payoff was worth it. We pulled off at a rest stop where I told Deb that these are the roads I seek, with very little traffic and interesting scenery and character all around.
|The wild flowers kept getting thicker and brighter the farther south we rode. The winds were very brisk, but they were hitting us straight on, so the only thing suffering was the gas mileage.
We rolled up to the Wagon Wheel in Lometa for lunch. This was the decided place to meet the rest of the group. It was all you can eat Catfish Friday, so mass consumption ensued…, and it was darn good. Deb and I visited with a bunch of the locals, including Gaylon, who moved from the West Texas oil fields around five years ago. Doyle Combs dropped by the table and told stories about riding back in the 70’s. He described himself as the bus boy of the café, along with being the owner’s husband.
|Out of the corner of my eye, I caught the familiar riding gear passing in front of the café and soon after, all of the LSBMWR folks came strolling in. More mass catfish consumption ensued… Jim appeared satisfied with the food.
We rode on south and pulled off the main route to go by Enchanted Rock and return on Crabapple Road. Stephen pulled the group to a stop at Crabapple School by a stone church built in 1897. The temperature was rising and it was time to get the air and bikes moving again. Debbie wanted a cold drink, so I suggested Luckenbach, and Tom and Jim followed along.
|Tom picked up Wi-Fi in Luckenbach, checked his e-mail, and we passed the time listening to fine guitar-picking.|
|The last three times I have been in Luckenbach, the same sandy-hair guitarist has been picking away, and serving up cold ones when he isn’t playing and singing. Pardon me that I did not catch his name. Send me a comment if you know.|
On to Koyote Ranch south of Kerrville and another gathering of riders for socializing. We watched the radar images of strong storms building to the west and speculated as to when they would hit the Hill Country.
Working out Saturday’s ride plans.
As we were sitting on the cabin steps listening to the evening melody of frogs, I noticed flashes of lightning over the hills. The longer we watched, the brighter and more frequent the flashes became, but it was strangely quiet. We hit the rock-hard bunks and somehow fell asleep quickly.
|The quiet did not last long as a direct strike in the camp woke us all up in the middle of the morning. The thunder continued rolling through the morning with some of the low-frequency rumbles literally shaking the cabin and our bed.|
May 16, 2009
We awoke to clouds but no major rain. We made our way to the grill for breakfast and looked over the radar images. Seeing that the rain was building on top of us and drifting east, we opted for a west ride.
Picking our way through the twisty turns of Hwy 16 and 337 in the rain demanded acute attention. Debbie grabbed my waist tightly on one particular turn. I’m probably still bruised from that one.
|The drizzle and rain came and went along 337, heavier in the elevations of the hills, and finally subsided totally after we went southwest out of Leakey.|
Alamo Village north of Brackettville was the destination. This is a movie set originally put together for John Wayne’s 1959 production of The Alamo. We stumbled across the 50th anniversary of this unlikely village out in the middle of nowhere. There are many opportunities for the study of light through photography, and I could have spent a lot longer there.
A line of storms was building quickly in the west and looking to be moving our way. I mentioned this to the barkeep, and he said the storms always fall apart at the county line. We had lunch in the saloon amongst the movie set history. The town marshal and a piano-playing singer kept us entertained.
We finished up and went back to the bikes, and sure enough to the west, the billowing thunderheads were turning into wispy clouds quickly. The return ride on 674 north to Rocksprings was fun. As we climbed back up in the hills, the temperature dropped 10 degrees, and we donned the liners for the final misty return to Koyote Ranch via Hunt.
Riders continued returning to the camp, parking the bikes, and convening at the patio for brews and story-swapping about the day. Stephen and Vickie rode north and east and waded through water crossings. Looks like our ride to the west was the drier option for the day. Food orders trickled along into the evening, and Tom sampled all that was offered to him. That worked out fine for all parties.
The rock-hard bunk seemed less rock-hard this evening, probably due to the ride wearing us down just a bit. But a satisfying hard-ride tiredness is a great way to retire.
May 17, 2009
I-10 was a short conduit east to get back on the desirable ranch roads towards Sisterdale. We continued east towards 281 and took the single-lane Old Blanco Road northeast. This road obviously had some history, and was a bit rough but with very much character. Hwy 281 north was fast, but as we approached Marble Falls, Deb tapped on my shoulder and said “get back on the ranch roads so we can see the animals”. Well, OK… no problem with that.
Back on the road again to enjoy the wildflowers and winding roads again on the way past Whitney and into Hillsboro. The ride on into Ferris and up I-45 was just a method to get back into the metromess, although Beltline road east of I-45 is unexpectedly enjoyable.
|She’s a pretty good woman. I think I’ll keep her.|
Guest blogger Debbie writes:
What I learned on my bike trip (in no particular order)
- Every ride is an adventure.
- Every road has a detour (and if there isn’t one, the guys will find it).
- If there is a shorter way to get there, we won’t be taking it (it would mean less time on the bike).
- 160 miles = 260 miles and 2 hours = 5 hours.
- Riding in the rain, as a rule, is not as bad as wind.
- No matter what you do, your hair will not look good.
- Treat crosses with respect, you don’t want to become one of them.
- Sometimes the longer way is the better way.
- Having a “room” doesn’t always mean having a bathroom.
- It’s not about you, it’s all about the ride.