Since February Janet and I have been really busy and were in need of a break. Each year we try to do a Texas Hill Country wildflower motorcycle ride. Since the wildflowers are the best they have been in who knows when and since we haven’t had a chance to break-in the new bike we decided to take a 3-day ride to the Texas Hill Country. Riding is the best way to see the wildflowers because you are out there with them. The sights and smells are beyond belief. The only downside to this trip was we didn’t have our usual motorcycle buddies along (Larry & Jo Cooper and Larry & Shirley Talley) and it was overcast for most of the first day, which kept the temps 55 to 68 degrees. All in all it was a great ride. Our route looked like a figure eight and covered 610 miles total.
April 19, 2010 270 Miles
The route was Georgetown, to Llano, to the Willow City Loop, past Enchanted Rock, to Fredericksburg, to Kerrville, to Hunt, to Camp Wood. The first part of this day we have ridden before. The last part from Hunt was new and was beyond anything we had anticipated. Most of the day was overcast and a bit cooler than we had expected but by the end of the day the sun was out and we got to enjoy the new roads in the sun. Most of our route was covered in wildflowers (mostly Bluebonnets).
The Willow City Loop was good as always. It is a special place and it has to be ridden at least once every season, to see it in its entire splendor. The descent into the valley offers views of neighboring mountains, canyons and creeks. It must be ridden slowly to enjoy the views, as it is one of the most pristine and striking examples of Hill country landscape. There were a lot of people out on the loop for a weekday. I would not even think about riding the loop on a weekend in wildflower season. Way too many people on weekends, especially this year with a bumper crop of wildflowers. While always enjoyable, this ride is spectacular when the bluebonnets are in bloom.
From the loop we backtracked to RR-965 and rode to Fredericksburg. RR-965 goes past Enchanted Rock State Natural Area and is a favorite road for bikers. RR-965 offers great views all along the way and even better views with all the wildflowers. We ate lunch in Fredericksburg before heading down Hwy-16 to Kerrville. From there it was on to Hunt. Hwy-39 is another nice biker road but we only went as far as Hunt and then took RR-1340 to Hwy-41.
We have heard and read a lot about RR-1340 but this was the first time we have ridden it. It snakes through scenic country and offers a view of the Texas version of Stonehenge, a one-quarter-size replica of the original. There are a couple of Easter Island stone head replicas also. There was supposed to be more but the Texan creator passed away. While at Stonehenge we talked to a group of riders from Louisiana. There was about 10 or more bikes in the group. Some have ridden here many times and for some it was their first time. The first timers thought Texas was flat… not anymore…
From RR-1340 we rode Hwy-41 to RR-335. At the intersection of Hwy-41 and Hwy-83 is a store called Garvan’s Store. Janet heard about it on the radio sometime back and wanted to stop. It was a small country store. It sold souvenirs and leathers for all the bikers that ride through there. They had some good prices on the leathers but we didn’t need anything. We got a Dr. Pepper and Pepsi and we were back on the road.
RR-335 is one of the roads that make up what bikers call the “Three Sisters”, some refer to them as the “Twisted Sisters”. After riding two of the sisters I know why they might call them twisted. RR-335 was one of our favorite roads on this trip. It followed along the west bank of the Nueces River and had some really great views. Verbena was the most prevalent wildflower on this road. Some of the fields and pastures looked like a sea of purple and the smell hung in the air for miles and miles. Along the way we came across a ranch that raised all sorts of wild animals. Near the road were kangaroos with little Joeys, giraffes and further down we saw camels. RR-335 is a twisty roller coaster of a ride but doesn’t have sharp turns so it wasn’t so bad. We road nice and easy.
It was about 5:00 when we got to Camp Wood. The town was a lot bigger than I thought it would be. We stayed at the Woodbine Inn. The rooms were roomy and quite nice. The owner was nice and I spent quite awhile talking to her about Camp Wood. There were several restaurants to choose from there. Not all were open but still surprising for a town of 800+ people. We ate dinner at B.J.’s Café. It was a typical small town café with all the ambiance. The burger and fries were good.
April 20, 2010 180 miles
Today’s route took us to Leakey, Vanderpool, Medina, Kerrville, Fredericksburg, Doss, Mason and Brady.
This morning we ate at Casa Falcon Restaurant in Camp Wood. The food was good except for the coffee. It was a bit weak for our taste. Because we were only riding 180 miles today we took our time getting up and getting on the road. The temperature was about 55 degrees when we got up but warmed quickly once the cloud cover burnt off about 9:00.
We rode RR-337 an other road of the “Three Sisters” from Camp Wood to Medina. I’ve ridden part of 337 before but from Camp Wood to Leakey was new. That leg of 337 is actually the best part. It offered great views with the twisties. It was a bit more twisty than 335 but it wasn’t really that bad. Janet didn’t mind it so I was ok with that. RR-337 had great scenery too. We also saw several buffalo along the way.
From Medina we took Hwy-16 to Kerrville and on to Fredericksburg. Hwy-16 from Medina to Kerrville is another favorite biker road. It has many twisties with several hairpin curves. Needless to say you have to take it slow and easy.
We ate lunch again in Fredericksburg at one of the German restaurants. It was good as usual. After lunch we spent time walking around town doing touristy things.
From Fredericksburg we took Hwy-87 to RR-648 to Doss. I have read about this road to Doss and we were not disappointed. You ride into a valley with wildflowers all along the way. Doss consisted of a Lutheran Church and school and not much more. From there we took RR-783 back to Hwy-87. RR-783 was a great ride too as we climbed back to Hwy-87. Taking Hwy-87 on to Mason and Brady was pretty quick. We checked into the Days Inn in Brady around 4:00. McDonald’s was just next-door so we just grabbed a quick bite there for dinner and took it easy.
April 21, 2010 152 Miles
Again since MC Donald’s was next door to our motel and they have really good coffee we had breakfast there. The sun was out and only a few clouds. We knew the ride would be good.
Today we rode to Pontotoc, Cherokee, Bend, Lampasas and on home. Today was a lazy easy ride home with lots of bluebonnets and other wildflowers in abundance. We also saw several bunches of hybrid bluebonnets from Texas A&M. I guess you can’t call them bluebonnets because they are maroon. Maybe call them maroonbonnets instead!
We rode Hwy-71 to Pontotoc then took RR-501 to Bend where we picked up RR-580 to Lampasas. These were less traveled roads. We saw only a few cars until we got to Lampasas. From there we took Hwy-183 to FM-970 to Andice where we stopped and had lunch at the little store there that claims to have the best hamburgers. I must admit they were good and by the number of people eating there they must have thought so… or they saw the same sign we did… We got home a little after one and rested up the rest of the day.
This was the first real long ride on the new bike. Janet likes the seat better than the old bike. She says she can ride longer between stops, that is a good thing since the range is greater with the 6.6-gallon gas tank. All in all we really enjoyed this little trip and the new bike. We are looking forward to next year’s wildflower crop. We will be back to ride more Hill Country roads.
If you liked this post you may also like “Texas Hill Country Wildflower Ride April 2012”