Tag Archives: Hill Country

Texas Hill Country Wildflower Motorcycle Day Ride April 2010


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Texas Hill Country Wildflower Motorcycle Day Ride

Janet and I needed to get away, so last Monday we went riding in the hill country to see all the wildflowers. The wildflowers are really pretty this year because of the wet and cold winter we have had. It was nice to finally get out with Janet on the new Goldwing. Janet likes it better than the old bike because it is a lot more comfortable (i.e. nice big cushy seat and backrest). I’m hoping Janet will be a little more willing to ride more often and further on this bike. We have talked about riding to Arizona sometimes. I was hoping that we could ride to Mount Rushmore this September. Janet didn’t get to go on that ride and it was a fun ride and she really wished that she could have gone. We will see. Below are some pictures from our ride last Monday ride.

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Hill Country Wildflowers

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Yucca on cliff at LBJ Lake

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Hill Country Wildflowers


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Janet in the Bluebonnets at Buchanan Lake. Ain’t she cute?

We enjoyed that ride so much that we are going on a three-day trip Monday thru Wednesday. The ride will be about 570 mile thru some really scenic hill country roads and again the wild flowers should be really good again. It will be the first time we have traveled over night on the new bike.

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Bluebonnets at Buchanan Lake

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Yuccas by the road

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Above LBJ Lake

If you like this post you may like the 3 day ride we took a few days later. It was a great ride with more wildflowers. Click here to see.

Ride safe.



Texas Independence Trail Motorcycle Ride Day 4 May 2013

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Map of Day 4 Ride Route

Today is the last day of my “Texas Independence Trail” ride. I was up early this morning. I spent the night with my sister, she and her family were up getting ready for work and getting Tavy their granddaughter off to school. We had breakfast and said our good-byes before I headed out. It was another nice cool (cool for Texas) morning with a few clouds which burned off quickly as the day progressed. Before day’s end it did get rather warm at 90 degrees but still not a bad day for riding.

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Rolling down Hwy 59 to Fannin, Texas

My first leg today was down Hwy 59 to Fannin, Texas the historic site of the “Fannin Battleground”. This leg to San Antonio is typical “Texas Coastal Plains”. It is mostly flat covered with Mesquite trees. As you get closer to San Antonio you start to see gently rolling hills… covered with more Mesquite… Fannin, Texas is just off Hwy 59. The battleground is a bit further south on FM 2506. On this site in 1836, brave soldiers fought the Battle of Coleto Creek. The Texans eventually surrendered to overwhelming Mexican forces. Col. Fannin and his men were taken to Goliad and held. This morning was peaceful but somber as I thought about what had happened here so very long ago. I can only imagine what emotions the men must have had in their dire situation…

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Fannin Battleground

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Fannin Battleground Monument

From the battleground, I continued a short distance to Goliad and the site of the massacre of Col. Fannin and his men. At Goliad I rode Hwy 183/77 1.6 miles to Presidio La Bahia. It was here that the following happened.

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Final Resting Place of Col. Fannin and His Men.

The pervious evening, Colonel Portilla had received word directly from General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna to execute Col. Fannin and his men. It was a foggy morning on Palm Sunday, March 27, 1836. Fannin and his men had been held captive for one week. Fannin’s men were told to gather up their things. They thought they would be sent to New Orleans but were lead out in groups and executed instead. Colonel Fannin was the last to be executed. Fannin made three requests, not to be shot in the face, his personal possessions be sent to his family, and that he be given a Christian burial. He was shot in the face, an officer took his personal possessions, and his body was burned along with many of the other bodies. There were 342 men who died in the Goliad Massacre. Twice the number of men who died at the Alamo and San Jacinto combined. It was a senseless massacre by the brutal Mexican leader Santa Anna. This massacre inflamed the Texan’s cause and spurred the battle cry, “Remember Goliad!”

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Presidio La Bahia

There was some good that happened that day… Twenty-eight men did escape the massacre and seventeen men’s lives were spared. Because of the accounts of these men who escaped and were spared we know what happened that day. The Angel of Goliad, Francita Alavez, and General Urrea’s wife saved the lives of a number of men.

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For more than two months after the massacre, the ghastly remains of the massacred men of Fannin’s Command were found in the partially covered trenches where they had been dumped and burned. General Thomas J. Rusk, had the remains gathered and buried in a mass grave with military honors. At the grave General Rusk delivered a short, but eloquent address.

FELLOW SOLDIERS: In the order of Providence we are this day called upon to pay the last sad offices of respect to the remains of the noble and heroic band, who, battling for our sacred rights, have fallen beneath the ruthless hand of a tyrant. Their chivalrous conduct entitles them to the heartfelt gratitude of the people of Texas. Without any further interest in the country than that which all noble hearts feel at the bare mention of liberty, they rallied to our standard. Relinquishing the ease, peace, and comforts of their homes, leaving behind them all they held dear, their mothers, sisters, daughters, and wives, they subjected themselves to fatigue and privation, and nobly threw themselves between the people of Texas and the legions of Santa Anna. There, unaided by re-enforcement’s and far from help and hope, they battled bravely with the minions of a tyrant, ten to one. Surrounded in the open prairie by this fearful odds, cut off from provisions and even water, they were induced, under the sacred promise of receiving the treatment usual to prisoners of war, to surrender. They were marched back, and for a week treated with the utmost inhumanity and barbarity. They were marched out of yonder fort under the pretense of getting provisions, and it was not until the firing of musketry did the shrieks of the dying, that they were satisfied of their approaching fate. Some endeavored to make their escape, but they were pursued by the ruthless cavalry and most of them cut down with their swords. A small number of them stand by the grave-a bare remnant of that noble band. Our tribute of respect is due to them; it is due to the mothers, sisters, and wives who weep their untimely end, that we should mingle our tears with theirs. In that mass of remains and fragments of bones, many a mother might see her son, many a sister her brother, and many a wife her own beloved and affectionate husband. But we have a consolation- yet to offer them: their murderers sank in death on the prairies of San Jacinto, under the appalling words, “Remember La Bahia.” Many a tender and affectionate woman will remember, with tearful eye, “La Bahia.” But we have another consolation to offer. It is, that while liberty has a habitation and a name, their chivalrous deeds will be handed down upon the bright pages of history. We can still offer another consolation: Santa Anna, the mock hero, the black-hearted murderer, is within our grasp. Yea, and there he must remain, tortured with the keen pain of corroding conscience. He must oft remember La Bahia, and while the names of those whom he murdered shall soar to the highest pinnacle of fame, his shall sink down into the lowest depths of infamy and disgrace.

On June 4, 1938, in celebration of the Texas Centennial, a massive pink granite monument marking the grave site was dedicated.

There is much more to this story. You can learn more by following the links above.

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Mission Espiritu Santo

I was making good time so I stopped at Goliad State Park to tour “Mission Espiritu Santo”. The park is just a short distance from Presidio La Bahia when heading back to Goliad.

The mission was established in 1722 by the Spanish. It is one of the many missions in the area. Following decades of unsuccessful treasure-hunting expeditions in the southwest, led by Coronado and others, the Spanish turned to colonization. The system that emerged in the colonization process entailed the establishment of a mission, a fort or presidio. The system was intended to have the character of Spain’s system of feudal estates. Soldiers guarded the inhabitants to repel incursions from the French.  The mission housed the staff, native peoples, families, and others.

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Mission Espiritu Santo

The mission had moved several times and lay in ruin. Archeologists from the University of Texas at Austin and the Texas Archeological Society have done extensive excavations to the site. The church and other buildings have been fully reconstructed and furnished to provide a glimpse of the site’s colorful past. Interpretive exhibits help to tell a story not only of life at the mission but aspects of the archeological investigations and restoration process.

If you enjoy history and have some time to explore the rich history of the mission it is well worth you’re your time. I have plans to ride to all of the missions in the area some day. Stay tuned for that.

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The Alamo

When I left the mission it was starting to warm up. From Goliad I picked up Hwy 239 to Kenedy where I rode Hwy 181 to San Antonio the site of the Alamo. As you get closer to San Antonio you start to see more gently rolling hills… covered with more Mesquite… It was a nice ride.

The Alamo is located in downtown San Antonio. Many people are surprised by that. I was pretty warm by the time I got to San Antonio. All the concrete and asphalt help to collect the heat and make it even warmer. That is one reason I try to avoid city riding… that and all the cars, trucks and traffic…

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The Alamo Grounds

The Alamo is probably the best known story about Texas’ battle for independence. There are many more stories that could have been told. It is an amazing story about courage and overwhelming odds. Santa Anna thought it would be a quick victory and he would be moving on to wipeout the remaining Texas army.

The arrival of General Antonio López de Santa Anna’s army outside San Antonio, on February 23, 1836, nearly caught the Texians by surprise. The Texians and Tejanos prepared to defend the Alamo together. The defenders held off against Santa Anna’s army for 13 days. There were about 200 defenders at the Alamo. The defenders saw the Alamo as the key to the defense of Texas, and they were ready to give their lives rather than surrender their position to General Santa Anna. The best known among the Alamo’s defenders were Jim Bowie, renowned knife fighter, and David Crockett, famed frontiersman and former congressman from Tennessee.

The final assault came before daybreak on the morning of March 6, 1836. Mexican soldiers headed for the Alamo’s walls. Cannon and small arms fire from inside the Alamo beat back several attacks. The Mexicans regrouped, scaled the walls and rushed into the compound. The desperate struggle continued until the defenders were overwhelmed. By sunrise, the battle had ended and Santa Anna entered the Alamo compound to survey the scene of his victory.

As many as seven defenders survived the battle, but Santa Anna ordered their execution. Though Santa Anna had his victory, the common soldiers paid the price. Accounts vary, but best estimates place the number of Mexicans killed and wounded at about 600.

People worldwide remember the Alamo as a heroic struggle against impossible odds… a place where men made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom. For this reason, the Alamo will always remain hallowed ground and the Shrine of Texas Liberty.

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River Walk in San antonio, Texas

While in San Antonio I took the time to have a late… very late lunch on the “River Walk”. There are many restaurants all along the river to eat. To me it is the only place to eat in downtown San Antonio… particularly if you like Mexican food.

I had planned to ride to Gonzales to visit the Memorial Museum. The museum houses a large collection of objects, documents and photographs pertaining to Gonzales’ role in the shaping of Texas history. If I had rode there I wouldn’t have had much time to tour the museum and get back home in a timely manner. So after lunch I headed home via I-35… San Antonio to Georgetown via I-35, for the most part, parallels the Balcones Fault which is the boundary between the Texas Coastal Plain and the Texas Hill Country. Riding north you have the start of the Texas Hill Country on your left and on your right the terrain is much flatter with gentle rolling hills.

I made it home around 4:00. My only regrets were not having Janet along to share all the sites. My cousin W. D. supposed to have rode with me on this ride but wasn’t able to ride along due to putting his scooter in the shop. W.D. would have really enjoyed the ride and all the people we would have met would have enjoyed meeting W.D. W.D. is… how, should I say this… very entertaining… You just need to meet him to know what I am talking about…

The last four days was a fun ride. I’m glad I was finally able to do this ride. Click here for more information about the “Texas Independence Trail”. Weather you ride or drive you will see some beautiful scenic Texas countryside and explore many historic Texas sites.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about this ride as much as I have sharing it with y’all (you). We Texans are a proud bunch and are very proud of our history. Making this ride gave me the chance to revisit the history and learn a few things that I previously did not know. Visiting these historic sites brought the history and sacrifice into focus like it never has been before.

You can read the other posts about this ride here…

Texas Hill Country Fall Foliage Motorcycle Ride November 2012

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Ingram on the river

Texas Hill Country

Ride map – 270 miles

Texas Hill Country Fall Foliage Motorcycle Ride. 

In Central Texas we don’t get the fall foliage displays like they have in some places. Most of our trees are evergreen. Live Oak and Cedar trees are the most prevalent. There are pockets of deciduous trees throughout the area.” Lost Maples State Park” is the best known for its fall colors. The fall foliage displays here can be hit or miss depending on the weather during the year. The drier and colder the weather the better it will be.

On our ride we saw some good colors but not as bright as in the past. The trees with leaves were still green or have not completely turned. The weather has not been cold enough for some of the trees. The Red Oaks and the Lacy Oaks were starting to change some. The ride along the Medina, Guadalupe and the Sabinal Rivers, had beautiful golden brown Sycamores, and copper-colored Cypress trees.

This was a spur of the moment ride. The weather the day before was perfect riding weather with clear sunny skies with temperatures in the 50’s and 60’s. I thought we had better take advantage of our good weather and ride while we can. As it turned out today was overcast. I assumed the clouds would burn off as it did the day before… but I was wrong. There were short burst of sunshine earlier in the day but it remained overcast for most of the day. Being overcast made it a bit chilly riding.

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Stonehenge II in Ingram

Our ride took us from Georgetown to Llano via Hwy 29. We then headed south on Hwy 16 to FM 965 past Enchanted Rock to Fredericksburg. From there we picked up Hwy 16 again heading south to Kerrville. We stopped for gas and got a hot cup of coffee to warm up a bit. From there we headed west on Hwy 27 to Ingram. In Ingram we stopped to see the new home of Stonehenge II. Stonehenge II was moved from its original home just outside Hunt to Ingram.  The land of its original site was sold and the buyers did not want Stonehenge II. We were glad that it was saved and preserved here in Ingram.

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Picnic Area on Guadalupe River off Hwy 39 outside Hunt

From Ingram we picked up Hwy 39 to a picnic area on the Guadalupe River. The picnic area is just outside Hunt. Because of a special diet we are on we packed a lunch. The picnic area is a beautiful spot with the river, waterfalls and cypress trees that had turned to a beautiful copper brown.

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Guadalupe River off Hwy 39

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Lunch at Picnic Area

After lunch we continued down Hwy 39 to Hwy 187. We always enjoy the ride down Hwy 39. It is always scenic as it follows and criss-crosses the Guadalupe River. The fall colors were good all along the way. Hwy 187 takes us past “Lost Maples State Park”. 187 had nice views of the hill country and the changing colors of the trees. Just past “Lost Maples” we turned east onto RR 337 to Medina. RR 337 is one of the “Three Sisters” or “Twisted Sisters” (RR 335, 336 & 337) as some refer to them. At Medina we turned onto Hwy 16 again and headed north back to Kerrville and Fredericksburg. In Fredericksburg we picked up Hwy 290 east to Johnson City (named for President Johnson). At Johnson City we turned north onto Hwy 183 to Burnet. In Burnet we headed east on Hwy 29 to home.

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Hwy 39 Outside Hunt

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Guadalupe River

It was a good ride except it was a bit cool. We should have worn an extra layer to help with the cold. Normally we carry extra clothing just for such things, but I misjudged the weather. I won’t do that again.

We hope to see you down the road somewhere. Ride safe…

If you like this post you may like “Hill Country Fall Foliage Ride November 2010”

Day 1 Big Bend National Park Motorcycle Ride April 2007

259 miles – Georgetown, Fredericksburg, Ozona

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Ready to leave…


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Day 1 Route

This is day one of our Big Bend National Park motorcycle ride. Since our first ride to Big Bend we have been ready to get back and today is that day.

The trip consisted of 4 bikes 7 people going. Janet and me (Ivan), Larry and Jo Cooper, Larry and Shirley Talley and my brother Gary. The 1st day we rode from Georgetown to Ozona via Fredericksburg. Larry Cooper (my ol’ Air Force buddy from some 38 years ago) had a little trouble getting his bike started before we left. Fortunately he didn’t have any more problems starting it on the rest of the trip. All week the weather looked really good for Saturday but it ended up being really cold and windy. Needless to say it was not the best riding. We got a later start than planned due to the cold weather. We planned a stop at the Wild Seed farm outside of Fredericksburg but we just stayed long enough to have a cup of coffee, sample some of the dips, jellies, biscuits and warm up. The sun did manager to come out from time to time and that helped some. Normally our bikes get gas mileage somewhere in the 40’s but because of the strong head winds we were only getting gas mileage in the 30’s. We stopped in Fredericksburg to eat lunch (good German food) and checkout some of the shops. The sun was shinning so it seemed warmer when we weren’t in the wind. We got to Ozona around 6 or 6:30. After checking in at the motel we walked down the street to a small restaurant and ate. I have a cousin that lives in Ozona. We spent a good while visiting with him and he took us out to his ranch just outside of town. It was nice to see him. It seems that the only time we see each other is at funerals. I will try to get back out to see him more often.

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Shucking gear in Fredericksburg

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Gary took lead to Ft Stockton

Links to the other days of our ride…

Day 2 – 257 miles – Ozona, Ft. Stockton, Alpine, Terlingua
Day 3 – 187 Miles – Terlingua, Santa Elena Canyon, Chisos Basin, Boquillas Canyon, Terlingua (all in Big Bend)
Day 4 – 182 miles – Terlingua, Presidio, Marfa, Alpine
Day 5 – 188 miles – Alpine, Ft Davis, loop 166, Ft Stockton
Day 6 – 165 miles – Ft Stockton, Big Lake, San Angelo
Day 7 – 195 Miles – San Angelo, Llano, Georgetown

If you liked this post you may also like “Big Bend/Carlsbad Motorcycle Trip September ’09” or Our First Big Bend Motorcycle Ride

Texas Hill Country Wildflower Motorcycle Ride April 12 – 13, 2012 (478 Miles)

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Blue Bonnets at Buchanan Lake

Each year we try to do a Texas Hill Country wildflower motorcycle ride while everything is in bloom. Janet and I are lucky that we live at the edge of the Texas Hill Country. Besides Big Bend the Hill Country is the best place to ride in Texas. For the past year and a half we haven’t been able to do much riding due to other pressing things going on in our lives. We are constantly trying to get caught up on things… but sometimes you just have to make time to have some fun. So we took a couple of days to ride the Hill Country and see this year’s crop of wildflowers. We were afraid we had missed the peak of the wildflower season due to it turning warm sooner this year, but actually I think we picked the best time. I wasn’t sure about how the weather was going to be because they had forecasted 20% rain and breezy conditions. As it turned out it was a pretty good ride even though we did get some rain and it did get pretty breezy the last 40 or so miles of the ride.

There are so many good roads to ride in the Texas Hill Country. Every time we go riding in the Hill Country I try to take different routes to change things up a bit. It is amazing the different things you see when riding a road in the opposite direction. It’s as if you are riding a different road at times and I find myself wondering how I managed to miss some of the sites before.

You never know from year to year what the wildflower crop will be and because of the drought I was afraid the flowers would be few and far between. We were pleasantly surprised to find the flower crop was pretty good this year. As far as I am concerned, the only way to truly appreciate the wildflowers is on a bike, motored or otherwise. Seeing them from an air-conditioned car isn’t much better than seeing them on TV. When riding a motorcycle you not only see but smell and feel your surroundings. The smells are incredible as you ride along not just the flowers but nature in general. It has to be experienced to be fully appreciated.

Below are links to each day’s ride. Come follow along and enjoy the ride and scenery of our beautiful Texas Hill Country.

You may also like these rides in our beautiful Texas Hill Country.