Texas Hill Country 2020

Steve Kinchen, Sr/ February 28, 2020/ Touring/ 0 comments

Part 1:

February in New Orleans usually means one thing- the madness of Mardi Gras.  To the locals, there is very little grey area; you either love it and embrace all that the insanity has to offer, or you despise it and flee until the city resumes some sense of normalcy.  I fall into the latter classification and usually try to avoid the “festivities” at all costs.

This year, Mardi Gras fell later on the calendar than some years, February 25th, so the weather could be nice for a long weekend ride to somewhere…  That somewhere was the Republic of Texas, more specifically, the Hill Country north of San Antonio.

I planned a quick get-a-way that would include my oldest son, Steven Jr, that has been on several longer motorcycle trips with me, and for the first time, my second son Nathaniel would be joining us too. We had four days to squeeze as much out of the area as we possibly could, so proper planning was imperative.  

Overview of the route for the two days that we would spend in the Hill Country

Our plan was to venture towards the riding-rich areas of Kerrville, New Braunfels, and Fredericksburg, Texas, and also tour the historical site of the Alamo in San Antonio.  Most of our group had never visited The Alamo, and only a few of us had ever ridden in the Hill Country area, so this would be a series of new experiences for much of the 4 days.  

It was a nippy 40 degrees when the three of us departed New Orleans at 5am Saturday.  We picked up the other riders that would be joining us for the weekend’s adventure along the way out.  Our first rally point was in Kenner, LA at Loyola ave and I-10 where we were joined by Matt, Randall, and a new rider to our group, Lenny.  Rolling on towards Port Allen, LA, we met up with Trent

Our group from left to right: Lenny, Matt, Trent, Randall, Steve Sr, Nathaniel, Steve Jr.

Day one was a “get there” day, but with the Cardo Pack Talk comms, the time seemed to pass quickly.  We stopped off for a quick lunch just outside of Houston after being diverted due to traffic on I-10. Mexican fare seemed appropriate for the area and the call proved to be a good one.  

Temperatures never really seemed to get out of the 50’s until late in the afternoon. We were fortunate that the majority of the traffic for the day seemed to be flowing in the opposite direction of us and our arrival at the downtown Drury Inn was just after 4pm.  

We agreed to freshen up and meet later to walk the riverwalk area in search of dinner.

After dinner, we took a quick stroll to see The Alamo that led us on a wild goose chase and fighting the throngs of revelers that were attempting to transplant the Mardi Gras lunacy in San Antonio.  After 15 minutes of trying to figure out where we were, we headed back to the hotel for rest as Sunday would be a full day.

The Riverwalk at night


Sunday: Day 2

After a leisurely breakfast at the hotel, we made our way to The Alamo on the street level which led me to realize that we were less than one block away the night before… ugg… 

There is construction/restoration all around and inside The Alamo Plaza.  It appears that the effects of time and the weather have taken a toll on the structures and there is a movement to preserve the buildings for the next generation.  This is encouraging of course, but what was not so is the fact that there seems to be an effort to “rewrite” the history of the battle and the events surrounding it to be more “politically correct.”  I was told that there is even plans to remove the monument to the unknown fallen soldiers that has been in place for generations.  This effort reminds me of what happened here in the south with the confederate monuments.  History is what it is… our story, of where we are from and what we were.  It serves many purposes, not the least of which is to remind us of our successes, and failures.  When we remove those reminders, we are destined to repeat those mistakes.    

As we walked through the old mission, we heard one of the tour guides telling an interesting tale of how David Crockett was actually a Mexican and not from Limestone, Tennessee… Say what???  I had to ask him to repeat it, and he did.  So even the tour information is attempting to rewrite history?  

We decided that we didn’t have time for a discussion and moved along our way.  The rear area of the Alamo is not part of the original mission complex, but has been built out to emulate what it may have been like during the time period that the battle occurred.

After a quick visit to the gift shop that yielded nothing of any consequence, we walked back to the hotel to gather our gear to hit the road…

We decided to head straight to our lunch stop, Krauses Cafe and Biergarten which was a short jaunt up I-35 to New Braunfels.  I have to admit that the Reuben sandwich there was better than the last few that I have had in NYC, and their home cut fries were spot on.  We did not want to waste the daylight hours, so we ate and then saddled up for the afternoon.

We rode a few selected routes within the north-central area of the Texas Hill Country, and with so many roads to choose from, many that would take us too far from where we would be staying to lay up for the Twisted Sisters on Monday, I picked as many (Butler Maps) G1’s as were practical, and then connected them with as many G2’s and G3’s as I could… Other than the 40 or so miles of interstate early in the day, we we’re on back roads and scenic routes the rest of the day!

      • Some of the G1 and G2 roads included:
        • Guadalupe River Road
        • Rebecca Creek Road
        • HWY473
        • Mill Dam Road
        • Old Hwy9
        • State Hwy 27
        • Grape Creek Road (the one road that seemed questionable within BaseCamp, but turned out to be just fine!)
        • Bear Creek Rd
        • McCollough Ranch Rd
      • Most of these were either connected, or separated by just a few hundred yards and proved to be a fun afternoon of riding!

We made it to the hotel Sunday evening just as the sun was setting and, after a quick top off of the fuel for the next day’s ride, we set out to find a good meal.  At this point, all I can say is we know where NOT to eat next time through… 

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