Pics Hill Country road trip


Wants to kiss you where it stinks
Jun 9, 2006
So a friend of mine and I went to Hill Country on our two-wheeled beasts. Here is the story:

Day 1

First official ride report so we will see how this goes.

After spending all night checking and rechecking everything I have been packing for the last week or so, I also cooked up the now-traditional meal bars. The bars are great (well let’s be real, edible) and I will give you a recipe if you would like, but on the road, they are a nice and healthy treat that’s temperature immune. Needless to say sleep was hard to come by so this morning will be a trying start to an epic journey.

This is the first time I am using my new bag, too, which turned out great. Lots of space, easy to remove and replace when I have to refuel (quite often as it turned out), and made it VERY easy to put my in-tent materials in one place so after the tent is erected I only have one bag to worry about.

After Brian’s windshield got a last-minute Asian spit-shine he joined me precisely around 8-ish.

Once we snacked on a bar, we got on the road and took the VERY long way through Austin on our way to our first stop, Junction. I had planned a trip via Joker’s route on ADVrider and the starting point was Junction, just like the first 1.0 attempt in May. We wanted to get to Junction and secretly to myself I was hoping we got to hit up the camp site we found last time. I was just hoping it was still the same as in May when we first visited. Passing over the dry riverbeds and creeks, however, I was worried our laundry and shower services would be disabled. With temperatures well into three digits, a shower or bath at the end of the ride would be a great feeling indeed!

As we wound through the Bastrop and Buescher State Parks around noon, (I promise, the park fees are in the mail!) we were starting to get hungry. Those meal bars last only so long. Between our hunger and my pathetic range on my scooter, the decision to stop at Bucees near Bastrop was a forgone conclusion. Oh the eye candy. Never a disappointment. Apparently Eric isn’t feeding Brian because size of his reuben sandwich he had for lunch was quite epic.

After a nice lunch and show we headed out back on the road. Unfortunately this stretch involved some time on I-75 slabbing it, which was unavoidable, but fortunately we missed some rush hour and cruised through Austin on our way to Junction without issue. After a lovely leisurely ride to Junction we were getting hungry again and it was starting to get late. One of the only places open just happened to be a BBQ place a friend recommended to me earlier, Lums. The BBQ apparatus out front near the gas station was suspect but we were hungry so we had our fill. At that point even the terribly dry brisket was edible.

After full but still rumbling stomachs (uh oh), Brian gave me the great news that he wanted to stay at the same camp site in Junction we had scoped out earlier in May. Smiling ear to ear, we set off in search of our site, just 10 miles away. When we got there, everything we expected was in place; the flowing “river”, the rocks, the tent-damaging nettles, the screaming cars with bright headlights, everything just as it was! This time, however, rather than offroading around some trees and against better discretion we set up camp right off the road in complete view. The new underbrush growth made that decision even easier for Brian.

And then the sky lights up. Really? Again with the rain and lightning? Huge clouds and light show threaten our otherwise great camping again, but hopefully the rain is far off.

After a quick and VERY wonderful bath/shower/laundry session devoid of snakes (this time) we hit the tents for some shut eye. All in all this was the best day of riding I had ever done up to that point and was looking forward to what Joker’s route and the Twisted Sisters had to bring the next day. Throughout this day, I was getting more calm in my riding, more confident, taking corners more comfortably and with less trepidation. All of this would be put to the test tomorrow. The start of this trip I wanted to expand my riding repertoire and challenge myself. Today was a great start, but tomorrow would be the true test.

Also I passed the 10K mile mark on my “bike”. After running it through some amazing terrain and for such long epic road rides, I can’t very well call it a “scooter”. It just doesn’t have the same connotation.

Miles: 413*

Fuel: 5.63 gallons

* – Since my odometer isn’t all that accurate this is a close approximation.
Day 2

So this was the day. Ever since I got my first two-wheeled vehicle I was told about this nirvana of roads, Twisted Sisters. Shrouded in mystery and danger, I have read of these amazing noodles of tarmac up and down the hills of mid Texas. Far and wide people come to enjoy blazing down the path cut into the rock, overlooking splendid landscapes and picturesque towns.

And all of the stories were true. These roads are amazing.

But to begin, the skies had cleared by morning and we both awoke ready to conquer the day. After the requisite breakfast bar was consumed we were quickly packed up and started on our way. When I say quickly, I mean Brian was packed and ready within a half hour, I was still fussing around. I still have to get this camping thing down.

Starting Joker’s run, we took 377 south to 41 east, then a quick jaunt, then to a very unassuming start to route 335, the first Sister of three. Primed and ready, I took a deep breath and started down the path. And the road did not disappoint. Quick hairpins, blind corners, narrow passes, stomach-turning hops, this road was as technically treacherous as I was lead to believe, but I was living for it. Every corner I gained confidence, dipping a little deeper than before, surer of my skills, as my smile got brighter and wider.

Unfortunately riding required all of my concentration and I did not get any pictures while on the way. There were no convenient pulloff points, either, sadly. More than once I needed to take a break from tensing up.

Since no one else was on the road and we started so early, we were finished riding the first road very soon. As a bit of a relax, we found a spot on the side of the road near a river crossing with the most clear water I have ever seen. Instantly Brian was ignoring the couple with their apparently-non-compliant dog, reduced his wardrobe to his skivvies and went for a dip. By the time I took my helmet and jacket off and took his picture, he was getting out already. I really need to speed things up while I am on “vacation”.

After a refreshing (for one of us) break, we hit the tarmac again to ride the second road. This was different than the first, adding gravel on top of the tight turns. This made for quite an adventure indeed. Some construction thrown in as well, for good measure, but turned out to be a convenient break. After much concentration, this road was dealt with and we approached the final Twisted Sister. This road ended up a mix of the first two, tight turns with gravel on them but with the added bonus of cattle guards. These are horizontal pipes laid in the road so that cows who are freeranging stay within their farmland, which happens to span across the road. Luckily we did not see any stray cows (that would happen later) but the pipes in the road made this road a bit more “exciting”. After that long stretch of road we ended our Twisted Sisters rally the same way we started, at an unassuming point on 41.

“Congratulations, good sir, for conquering Twisted Sisters with me,” I declared to Brian, proud of our accomplishments.

“That was it? Huh.” Was the response.

And to his point, it wasn’t even noon yet and we had finished the part of our trip that was planned for months and feared for just as long. What I had came to do and mentally struggled with I had completed. I was elated with my accomplishments. But Brian brought me back to earth and we started back to Kerrville on 41 in search of food and the rest of our day’s rides.

We took the suggestion that a friend who lived in Kerrville gave us to visit Mamacita’s and promptly ignoring that advice (the same advice for the sketchy BBQ the night before in Junction) and went to a gourmet deli just across the street. Not only did this place have shaded/covered parking for the bikes (VERY important for Brian, at all times) but amazing food and nice staff.

While snacking on delicious paninis and froyo with toffee chips (I told you, gourmet) we determined we should again camp by water and to make the previously-enjoyed Guadalupe River our basis for our search. While on the way, we met Stonehenge but it was surprisingly small. I guess the druids were a smaller race.

While traveling through the beautiful Ingram and Hunt we stopped for an extended break and asked some locals the best places to make camp. While chatting, of course as usual Brian’s tremendous BMW motorcycle with Alaskan plates attracted the most attention and he was quickly busy fielding questions about his ride while fitting his own questions about camp prospects. A gentlemen riding a lovely Triumph saw that Brian was already deep into unintelligible conversation with a local (this is why we brush our teeth) and finally gave me and my steed some attention.

“What is this, a 650?” the man halfheartedly questioned, just to make conversation.

“It’s actually a 250,” I responded, a little curious about his reaction.

“You mean you did all that on a 250? I have seen some guys do it on a 650 but never a 250,” he returned.

Buoyed with self-confidence and ginger ale, we set off, taking the toothless sage’s advice and looked for a camp site near his directions. Shortly after we passed the camp site we were directed to, we came across an intersection of the river and road with what looked like an ATV trail leading through some trees. Brian with the perfect eye for these things jumped off his bike and hiked down the path to see what was available. He comes back with a smile on his face.

“This will be the best camp site you have ever seen, if we can get back there.”

The ATV trail was quite treacherous and it went on for a while, but with Brian’s promise (he’s never wrong, annoyingly) and my newfound sense of adventure and confidence, I declared we should go for it.

Brian the seasoned offroading veteran of our pairing went first and pulls through cleanly to the clearing, still away from the water. Then it was my turn. After many near slips and practically walking my bike, it made it to the clearing as well. Elated with my mini-adventure I hopped off my bike to find the treasure at the end of the trail.

Next to the gently flowing river were beautiful tall trees giving a pleasing canopy over comfortable flat land. Lush greenery abounded, giving an oasis to this desert in Hill Country. It was gorgeous. Across the water were lovely homes with beautiful stone staircases twisting down into the water. A party was going on in one of the nearby houses giving interesting juxtaposition to the ethereal landscape.

Excited by our findings but worried about insects settling by the water under the shade of the trees we made up camp.

Being by the water again gave us the opportunity for a refreshing bath and a chance to do some laundry. Brian ingeniously used his drysack with a splash of soap to make an instant washing machine. In short order our clothes and ourselves were clean and ready for the evening. Secretly I had hoped to be invited to the pool party the neighbors across the river were throwing so I wanted to at least stop smelling like the ride. Tonight we would cook dinner. Unfortunately in our efforts in discovering and staging this spot and the difficulty it took to get back by the river, we had to make do with what food we had on the bikes. For me that was a package of ramen graciously donated by Brian that I embarrassingly had to ask directions on how to make. Brian made seasoned pasta noodles for himself. For an appetizer, another power bar each. Again the river came in handy, as well as our neighbor’s mercury yard lights, and we washed the dishes. Ready to hit the hay, Brian and I realized the bug infestation never happened, even with the stillness of the water and the forest-like texture of the landscape around. Between that revelation and the merciful and conveniently timed conclusion to the party from the neighbors, Brian decided (wisely I might add) to sleep with the screens open and let the gentle breeze flow through this tent.

This was a most wonderful end to an amazing day of riding that I will never forget.

Mileage: 289*

Fuel: 3.88 gallons
Day 3

After a great night’s sleep and the fastest camp pack-up I have performed yet, we were on our way. With a lot more confidence than I should have had I pulled away from the magical forest over the rough ATV trail with ease. Who knew an Italian sport scooter with Sport and City in the title running on tires named City Grip would be so able offroad? This shall be tested more completely later.

In our never-ending search for more water sources (few and far between we discovered out west in Texas in August, who knew?) we decided to check out Frio Rio, Cold River. This was far west of where we were, but we went for it anyway.

On our way we stopped at a great place restaurant, Old Spanish Trail, in Bandera. This was one of the places Kim did recommend that we actually took her advice for and we were very glad we did. Great food and cold AC.

After a very satisfying lunch, we looked at the map to determine which way we should head to hit up the Frio Rio. Rather than retracing our steps on the 337 section of road we didn’t ride on (which later would have been the MUCH better choice) we chose to ride a section called 1050 to get to Garner State Park and to Frio Rio. What we didn’t research was that there was a two mile section of the road that was completely unpaved. Road crews had torn that up and in the sweltering heat (again triple digits) were applying new asphalt. Because it was so dry, heavy water trucks were spraying the unpaved section with water to keep the dust down. This had the unfortunate outcome of making ruts in the road for that water to collect, making it slippery. Leaving Utopia to get onto this road was a sharp turn, Brian leading the way. He stopped at the start of the construction, turned back to me and asked if we should proceed. Unfortunately I didn’t actually see what was coming and said yes and to get going because we were holding up traffic. Boy that was a mistake.

I have never gripped the handlebars so tightly before. Slowly but definitely not steadily I road my “Sport City” with “City Grip” tires over a combination of fresh mud, fist-sized rock that was unsurfaced by the digging, and undulations caused by the soft material and large trucks with a UPS truck barreling down behind me. My confidence, soaring when I woke that morning from passing the technical exercise of Twisted Sisters and the surprise experience of the offroading bit to get to the second camp site, was dealt a huge blow by this pass. Staying calm and wanting to get through at my own pace, I pulled over to leave the traffic behind me pass. Resuming the “run” (the many road runner birds we saw would be running faster than me at this point) with less stress made it all the more fun and exciting and after white-knuckling it, we made it through. The bikes showed the cost of the battle but we were free and back onto pavement and we continued onto the end of 1050 near Garner State Park.

At the only gas station in miles we filled up with expensive petrol and observed the copious eye candy coming in and going out. While waiting we saw a convoy of trucks and cars filled with college students getting away for the last weekend before classes start, innertubes in tow. While Brian and I could have easily stayed right there watching the sexy parade we decided to join them in a bit of a swim and started back to a back entrance to the park and free access to the Frio Rio that the very nice gas attendant told us about. While on our way back, I noticed the sign “Extreme Caution!” “Trucks only recommend!” “Road Dangerous ahead!” warning of the upcoming construction. Maybe they should think about putting that sign up at both ends of the road.

Riding past the main park opening we spotted another paved path into the park that looped around back. We took this road down to see where it led. After shunning $10 parking “lots” we kept driving all the way to the river where the road forded over. Here lots of families were soaking in the sun and the water on their innertubes, enjoying what 5 months of hot temperatures can do to “cold” water.

Again in an instant Brian is stripped down to the bare essentials while I am still messing around with my scooter, worried we didn’t park in the designated parking but near “Posted Private” areas by the road. But yet again, the trusting soul that I am, I accepted his parking placement and followed the wardrobe protocol.

It is quite surreal watching the trucks go over the section of road fording over the river, slippery and very close to a 2 foot drop either side into the water. The trucks would kick up a lot of water, too, making us worried about crossing over. And it was mainly trucks that were attempting the crossing, not cars. It was my turn this time assuring Brian that we should just do it and not to be so chicken, surprising him AND me. We walked the ford, getting ideas for where we were going to travel, what section of road was less slippery, and our strategy crossing. Then we slipped into the water.

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH…….. It was so relaxing being in reasonable-temperature water after riding for now 3 days in 100F+ temperatures while ATGATT (All The Gear, All The Time – wear all of your safety riding gear for your whole journey) and cool off.

After a while, we had to pull ourselves away from the wonderful water and get on our way. After a leisurely redressing procedure we gingerly approached the ford. After crossing that section of 1050 that was unpaved, this was a complete dawdle. We easily cruised right over the ford, not even a slip. Onto our next stop!

Which was where? Again we pulled off to decided where to go next. We looked at the map and decided that to find more water, we had to go further west, to Amistad Reservoir. This would put us well in desert country and very near the Mexican border. While this was exciting, the roads to get there were very boring and tedious. By the time we got to Del Rio, the grandeur and beauty of the desert was not found on me. Brian was grinning ear to ear with this ride. I think maybe the heat was getting to him.

After running into an “Immigration” checkpoint (I can guarantee they do not have immigration papers for say a Dutch citizen to become a US citizen) where they only asked us if we were US citizens, we moved on. We both felt uneasy about the experience, privacy, liberty, Constitutional rights violated by such a restriction on a major thoroughfare into/and out of a “large” city. It’s not about trust but of common decency toward people. The angrily barking dogs did not ease the feeling of the superfluous checkpoint, either.

After reviewing the map for more water sources we could camp by, we found Devil’s River a few miles out. After parking on a large fire ant pile and proceeding to get bit so many times it looked like I had chicken pox, we decided to take a swim in the water to cool off. After a long day of not-so-interesting-scenery-to-me riding and 100f+ heat and the ant annihilation I was ready for a dip. After relaxing about the fishing now attacking me, the sun setting and the scenery really fell into its own and it was a beautiful night. We had wanted to camp near the water but there wasn’t anything available to get the bikes near. Fortunately as we went up the way about a mile, we saw free camping plots for overnight stays. These were nothing more than glorified rock gardens, but that was enough. After erecting our tents on the sharp rock, we munched on some Subway sandwiches we picked up at Del Rio and sat watching the stars. A nice relaxing end to one of the “worst” days of the ride. I say “worst” because even at it’s worst, I was in the middle of Texas, camping under the stars, enjoying a long and fun scooter ride. Nothing can bring down that euphoric high.

Mileage: 202*

Fuel: 2.85
Day 4

After packing up from the desert camping (getting better this time around) we noticed a cow carcass. It has been so hot and so dry where we spent the night, the carcass dried out rather than rotted. Sheesh!

On our way to the first actually planned stop of the trip, Enchanted Rock, to meet up with others, we drove through Junction again. This time we wanted to stop at a restaurant with a vintage sign advertising Air Conditioning for lunch. After an average meal and a painfully long wait, our day of joyriding was cut very short so we aimed straight for Enchanted Rock. Fortunately the road from Fredericksburg to Enchanted Rock was quite nice, so the day wasn’t completely devoid of some nice roads. Since we went straight on and quickly wrangled around with the reservations we had just a bit of time before the others came.

After being on our own and driving whenever we wanted to go and camping in the silence wherever we wanted to be, having an organized reservation on a populated camp site meeting up with a gaggle of people wasn’t all that inviting to us. But it is always nice to see loved ones and to hang out with friends every so often, and you can’t pick a better venue than Enchanted Rock.

After ripping our riding gear off in record time, we decided to have a nice hike around the rock(s) before the others came around. Good thing we did because with all of the hubbub of the group getting together and set up, we didn’t have time to go hiking later. The hike was very nice and the park is just awesome. Beautiful scenery, lovely landscape, and tremendous views. But more importantly than all of that, a shower. After 3 days in 100f+ heat in riding gear, the shower was a very welcoming thing indeed.

As the group gathered around the campsite, I was a bit saddened. It was nice to see everyone, but it also meant that our “epic” journey was coming to an end. I began to understand what wanderlust was now. And I had it. Bad.

But the reason the group was gathering was to watch the meteor shower that was happening that weekend. After a very picturesque sunset (well the sunset was completely obscured but we another couple we met up with took hundreds of pictures anyway) we snacked on some sandwiches and then went back to the rock to view the shower. I was so tired from such a long journey and it was getting so late to see the shower, I turned in early. I had spent far too much time arranging and rearranging my little two man tent for Tim and me AND our stuff and we were going to put it to the test that hot night.

Mileage: 274*

Fuel: 3.88
Day 5

The last day of our “epic” journey. After an awful sleep in a hot tent overloaded with men and equipment I rushed out to capture the sunrise over the rock. I am sure it has been photographed before, but it was still beautiful to me.

After another drawn out packing procedure and another soothing shower we went to Fredericksburg for brunch. Being that this was the last time on a winding road on this trip I really gave it my all and even Brian was having trouble catching up, saying a couple of my corners included pro-levels of lean. After a long brunch and stomachs full of delicious foods from the restaurant, we planned our course back home. This time we had a car in tow to keep us company but this last leg would be trying. We made a point not to slab it nor go the same way we came out and that meant driving very far south very far in the wrong direction. Awesome!

Driving through New Braunfels we enjoyed the small town and the tubing down the river and Brian vowed to return back to this place. I do not blame him at all.

The weather during this whole trip has been hot but clear. Well that was about to change and throughout our ride we would be dodging the clouds. The occasional sprinkles were a very refreshing way to drop the temperatures and clean the bikes and riding gear to be sure. They also produced very appropriate rainbows directing our path back home.

Concluding the longest leg of our journey, we arrived back in Houston. My gloves shot. I lost 4 pounds. New marks on my new helmet scratched through. My bike looking like it went through a warzone, not sounding as sweet as it once did, this journey was coming to an end. Just before we picked up 59 we pulled over for some farewell pictures to cap off our journey, and what a journey it was. Mentally, physically, spiritually, it was quite an experience. One I won’t soon forget. One I would like to add to later.

Now starts the cleaning.

Mileage: 380*

Fuel: 5.54
I'm only through day 1. I love how it starts with some near dong. And holy shit, how much can that dude pack on his bike. Looks like some bike from India or something. :fly:
I'm only through day 1. I love how it starts with some near dong. And holy shit, how much can that dude pack on his bike. Looks like some bike from India or something. :fly:

so yeah.... about dong.
@peanut pointed out to me last night, that after being curious if there were more trip photos available, she clicked on dz's forum profile, and its chock-full of pics of his dong and goatse impersonations.

not surprised in the least.
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so yeah.... about dong.
@peanut pointed out to me last night, that after being curious if there were more trip photos available, she clicked on dz's forum profile, and its chock-full of pics of his dong and goatse impersonations.

not surprised in the least.

...and she's now a full fledged UF member.
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I'm only through day 1. I love how it starts with some near dong. And holy shit, how much can that dude pack on his bike. Looks like some bike from India or something. :fly:

The guy that rode with me, Brian, has his life on that bike. He's in the middle of a trip from Alaska to Argentina he started 3 years ago. He has been in Houston for the past few months hanging out. So technically most everything he owns is on that bike.
so yeah.... about dong.
@peanut pointed out to me last night, that after being curious if there were more trip photos available, she clicked on dz's forum profile, and its chock-full of pics of his dong and goatse impersonations.

not surprised in the least.
Glad I can be of service. I have some videos of the orgy we had Friday if you want me to put them up, too.
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Enchanted Rock... Fredricksburg... the river? What a fun trip! We've done something similar when visiting my parents. I think it was two years ago we flew over to Texas went to Bandera, Fredricksburg (did you eat at the brewery?), did a full river trip in Frio, then ended the trip climbing on Enchanted Rock. Which Fly also was doing handstands and funny jumps. The rock is .... inspiring. heh. Did you check out the cave on the other side?
We didn't get a chance to check the cave out. We hit the brewery the last time we were at Fredericksburg. Almost started a fight actually lol.

You're so calm, how could you be involved with starting a fight? :lol:

The fight wasn't with me directly but someone from our group of 13 gays. One of the guys was quite drunk from our winery hopping throughout the day (he was doing shots and mixed drinks in the van in between wineries, asking vinters where he can score some weed) and a local made a passing critique about Obama and he flew off the handle. It was a very ugly scene, complete with the f*g bomb thrown around. The local couple left very pissed off for having a ruined evening, the gay went off alone into the streets, going somewhere. The ride back to Houston was very uncomfortable in the van (built for 12 people). The man has now vowed to never drink and has more or less stuck to it. this was in January.