Texas Hill Country 2020

Steve Kinchen, Sr/ February 29, 2020/ Touring/ 0 comments

Part 2:

Monday’s are usually a day of relaxation in my household as my regular work schedule is Tuesday thru Saturday.  This Monday found me wide awake with anticipation at 4:30am for what lie ahead this day.

Our route for day 3 including the three twisted sisters, and a brief visit to Kickapoo State Park

The three Hill Country Ranch Roads, 335, 336 and 337, are known throughout Texas as the Twisted Sisters, and riders come from near and far to enjoy them, as shown on the map below. 

We headed south from Kerrville on Hwy 173 to catch Lower Turtle Creek Rd (G2) to bring us to our main conduit, Hwy 16 to Medina where we picked up our first string of G1 and G2’s of the day.

The First “Sister” that we encountered was Farm Road 337.  This “sister” features the longest continuous G1 stretch of our day, but there were many more to come!  Riding 337 from end to end rather than making the loop shown above, we picked up a good stretch of TX55 heading north to TX41.

TX 41 is a very ordinary east to west corridor that we encountered several times throughout the day as a means of  getting to more interesting roads.   TX 55 on the other hand has a long stretch of G2 and a several miles of G1 designations as we traveled north to TX41

After a brief encounter with TX41, we met “Sister” #2, Ranch Road 335 heading south towards the same intersection that we met TX55 creating the first big loop of the day.

We followed 335 back towards the town of Leaky for our lunch stop at “The Bears Den” which is rated as “the Best Restaurant in Leakey”… Not sure what that means, but we opted for this rather than revisiting the Mill Creek Cafe that we hit last time we were in the area.  All I will say is that if this is the best that Leakey has to offer, we need to look for another mid-day hub for our next visit.

 

Leaving Leaky, we made sure our fuel was topped off for the next leg of the day, and we headed due north to encounter “Sister” #3, also known as Ranch Road 336.

Sister #3 has the second longest continuous (19.6 miles) stretch of G1 designation for the day starting just outside of the town of Leakey, running to just a few miles south of TX41.  Often referred to as the “roller coaster”, we followed 336, with all its steep ascents, sharp declines, twists and turns, some listed as a bit too close to the hillside for comfort, due north until we reached Highway 41.

We used TX41 once again as our conduit to more interesting roads.  This time, for a short jaunt on TX Hwy377, not to be confused with Ranch Road 377 mind you, but Hwy377 to pick up TX674 to Kickapoo State Park.  After reviewing the original route, looking at it in reverse, upside down, and otherwise, I came to the conclusion that the route for the day would be darn near perfect for a summer run, but too long for a mid-“winter” day where we should expect roughly 11.5-12 hours of daylight. 

I had to eliminate a large west to south, to east, to home loop where the southern most point (Bracketville) back to interesting roads would add approximately 40 miles of just plain, ordinary, dull, and uneventful roads before we hit good stuff again.  Instead, I had us routed south on TX674 to the Kickapoo (don’t you just love saying that?) where we turned right back around and rode that sucker north all the way back from whence we came.

Our time on TX41 was short lived once again and shortly after we blew past Ranch Road 336 for the second time, we picked up TX83 for roughly 6 miles of absolutely boring, straight riding until we found TX39.

TX39 taunted us just a little at first with a few flirty sweepers and gentle curves until we picked up the stretch along the South Fork Guadalupe River where the road begins to hug the voluptuous curves of the river for miles as it brought us into Hunt, TX.  Our home stretch from Hunt, TX was an easy 15 miles where we decided to head straight to dinner before going to the hotel for the evening.

 

We had a restaurant plugged into the GPS that was close to the hotel, but along the route, we noticed the a place that we really enjoyed a few years ago when we passed through Kerrville on another trip.  Mamacita’s is a chain Mexican restaurant from what I can tell, but their food is fresh, delicious, and consistent.  So, we stopped there for dinner and skipped the unknown option that was closer to the hotel.

 

Day 4 was a “Go Home” day with little excitement in the ride plan.  We encountered very heavy traffic getting through San Antonio and Waze re-routed us several times, the first time with a ridiculous exit off of I-10 to the service road for less than a quarter-mile.  The third re-route attempt turned out to be a huge success and helped us bypass numerous miles of bumper to bumper traffic and treated us to one last twisty road as a surprise plus.

Clear sailing until the Houston construction that plagues the I-10 corridor for what seems like unending mile after mile.  We made a combined fuel and lunch stop at Buckee’s… a first for me.  What an operation they have going, and a very good brisket sandwich to boot!  

We made our fuel stretch until Iowa, Iowa Louisiana, that is, which is just before Lafayette.  (I never knew that we had our very own Iowa so close to home…) Leaving Lafayette, we encountered a driver with one of the worst cases of road-rage that I have ever witnessed.  He carelessly weaved in and out of traffic with blatant disregard for anyone else around him.  As he recklessly filtered in and out of traffic, he came up on one of our group and cut in front of him with just inches to spare.  The two lanes of traffic were racked and stacked behind two columns of big rigs and everyone on the elevated section of highway over the Atchafalaya basin were stuck behind a wide-load occupying both lanes.

This knuckle-head continued his assault on our tight group formation on nearly every rider almost taking each of us out in the process.  As he pulled in front of me, he proceeded to start yelling at us and showing us that he thought that we were all “number one to him”.  I returned the sentiment and watched as he continued on for a few more cars forward only to finally get locked in behind the string of big rigs that weren’t going anywhere fast.  He exited at the Grosse Tette exit, and I commented that his head was more like a brick and not really that large…

The rest of our journey home was uneventful in comparison and we began dropping riders along the way as they made their respective ways home.  I have not stopped thinking about my eventual return to the Texas Hill Country.. with so much to offer in the way of exciting roads, I am sure I will visit more than just once more…

-Steve

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