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South Texas Tour – Day 2

By: Travis “Blydawg” Blythe

There is nothing like planning a trip, putting it on the books, taking time off of work, and then having good old mother nature throw in a monkey wrench.  When you plan a trip over a month in advance, most of the time you don’t think of the weather unless you plan something outside or on motorcycles.  Of course once you plan, buy flights, and book hotels, you are pretty much committed.  Watching the weather forecast for our south Texas trip turn into 3-days of rain was not something I had pictured.  We couldn’t exactly not go and no where around was it not forecast to rain, and not just rain, but thunderstorms.  Lucky for us, we encountered about 30-40 minutes of very light rain.  Not that it was pleasurable by any means, have you ever stuck your head out the window of your car and just let the rain hit you in the face at 70 miles an hour?

Once we holed up for the night, we watched the news in anticipation of what we would have for the following two days.  It was not very promising, rain everywhere and severe flooding. We didn’t think our luck would last very long, we were ready for a long weekend of rain-gear and being wet.  So day two actually starts at about 2am when the hotel door flies open because it is storming so hard and the wind is blowing (apparently we didn’t latch the door very good after the Pizza girl delivered our dinner). All I could think was “oh great, can’t wait to ride in that later today”.

But to my surprise, we awoke to the sun shining! After breakfast at the adjoining restaurant and taking our picture with the Betty Boop statue, we took off for our daily adventure.

Knowing the main goal today was to conquer the “3-sisters” loop, we were pleasantly surprised to find a good stretch of road on Hwy 16 just south of Kerrville, TX en route to the first sister FM 337.  Our first taste of the fun to be had was just starting.  We made our way on to Vanderpool, TX and our first stop was the Lone Star Motorcycle Museum. This little nugget in south Texas has over 30 vintage motorcycles on display ranging from the 1930’s to the 1960’s.  It also has a nice little café inside called the Ace Café, the owners being from Australia, claim to have the best and most authentic meat pies around.

Upon departing, we continued westbound on the first sister and stopped at The Frio Motorcycle Stop in Leaky, TX.  Here we obtained our “we did the twisted sisters” t-shirts and then had lunch at the attached Bent Rim Grill.  The Bent Rim Grill is a great biker bar and restaurant, we had the burgers and I would highly recommend them.

We continued on with our adventure and finished the first sister and jumped right onto the next one, FM 335.  Filled with twists and turns and some of the best scenery the hill country has to offer, we breezed through the second sister.  The third sister FM 336 didn’t have as many hills, but didn’t disappoint when it came to twists and turns that keep you on your toes.  Although I have personally ridden on much more challenging roads, the sisters did not disappoint with the changes in altitude, switchbacks, and scenery.

We exited the sister’s loop and headed back north towards Hunt, TX were we went to visit the Stone Henge II. This is a 2/3 scale version of the famous Stone Henge or at least the interpretation of it by its builder.  He also threw in a couple of Easter Island heads on both ends just for good measure.  Definitely a must see if you are in the area.  The road leading up to Hunt, TX, TX 39 runs along the Guadalupe river and again is a great road for its views, twists and turns.

We ended the day back in Kerrville, ready to rest our sleepy heads!

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South Texas Tour – Day 1

By: Travis “Blydawg” Blythe

It has only taken 18 years since my brother turned 16 and was old enough to legally drive, for us to take a trip together along with our dad. Don’t get me wrong, we have all done a ton of separate trips and met together in D.C. one year, but the three of us have never taken a trip together, just us guys.  Seems pretty odd, since we have been taking cross country trips since I turned 16, but living in different parts of the country does make it hard sometimes.
So here we are, taking a trip soon to become legendary, the Blythe boys, Travis “Blydawg” Blythe, Brett “Bubba” Blythe and Don “Old Skool” Blythe, two brothers and their father. We decided to take a south Texas tour and show my little brother what Texas has to offer.
Leaving Ft. Worth, we headed south towards the town of Hico, TX (pronounced Hi-Co) where our first stop was the Koffee Kup restaurant. I have been stopping here on my way to Austin for over 5 years and I love this place. They now have a banner from the Texas Monthly Magazine as one of the 50 Best Burgers in Texas for 2009. Unfortunately, we arrived early and had breakfast, which as always was pure awesomesauce! I am definitely suggesting to ThunderRoads Texas to add this place for the Points Across Texas Program!

We stayed in Hico, and went over the Billy the Kid’s Museum. Legend has it he actually was killed in New Mexico. You can Google that story; however, this town believes he actually moved here and lived to be an old man. They even tried to prove it, but didn’t convince the New Mexico government, so says Ms. Sue Land the Curator. So we have two places where tourism thrives on the dead outlaw. By the way here in Hico, they believe (according to the real Billy the Kid) he really only killed 9 people and not the reported 21, and one of those was self defense. This is a great little place and the curator is just Awesome to be around and full of great knowledge. She told me to bring at least 100 bikes to town next time and she will throw us an old west style party complete with Billy, saloon girls and cowboys. How can I turn that down?

We left town and headed south to our next destination. Along the way we encountered our first bit of bad weather. We had been chasing the rain all day and it finally caught us about 30 miles north of Burnett, TX. So we donned our rain gear and pushed on. Note to self, make sure you check your gear before you leave; I didn’t realize that I grabbed two right handed gloves for the rain gear (I have two sets). Ummm…yeah, wearing a glove upside down is a tad bit uncomfortable and makes it a wee bit difficult to pull the clutch lever.

We arrived to the Falkenstein Castle and the sun was actually starting to emerge. Just outside of Burnett, TX is the Falkenstein Castle. What an awesome site this is, a freaking castle in the middle of Texas. Although you can’t drive up to it, there are a few places to get some great pictures.

We drove down the road to Marble Falls, TX where we were in search of one of the great Hamburgers in Texas. Well, a disclaimer should be said here if you follow Ride Texas Magazine, it appears the 10 Best Burgers which are voted on. Plain and simply don’t go anywhere this magazine recommends when it comes to food. I should have known when they listed Whataburger in the top ten, something was up. I am not knocking Whataburger, I believe out of all of the fast food burgers this is my favorite. However, we searched out #4 on the list, Storms restaurant and were greatly disappointed when it turned out to be a copy of Sonic but with a hamburger theme. Hoping to sit inside and relax, we left and moved on to another “Must Eat” place in Marble Falls.

We arrived to the Bluebonnet Café. Another “Must” eat at place according Ride Texas magazine, they even had all of the hoopla and awards since 2003 from the said magazine all over the walls. Being hungry (Bubba gets grouchy when he is hungry) we were stoked to try this place. We all concurred and we do not recommend you get the burgers here. Although the pies looked awesome and huge, it appears those are the claim to fame at this place, they have a pie happy hour. Unfortunately we didn’t have any pie; we choked down our burgers and took off.

Back on the road, we headed further south, things are looking up, as we can see the sun off to the west and we know we are heading that way. Our next pit stop was the famous Luckenbach, TX. Upon arriving to Luckenbach, it was everything we know and love about the place. Friday evening and there was a good gathering and random musicians playing. We sat and listened as one guy grabbed his sister and a guitar and played the famous Luckenbach song as we sang along. I gave my brother the total Luchenbach experience and I think he actually liked the place a little.

We finished the day and headed to Kerrville, TX and settled into our hotel, the Bestwestern. I am glad they have on the sign, “New beds to rest your head”. Yes thanks for that, we need the rest.

Of course our day was filled full of humor and good times. Some of the funny moments have to be watching Bubba shift to neutral then proceed to stomp on the shifter to get the very high revving engine back in to gear and out of the middle of the road, while curing profanities the whole time. Then there was me, missing my eye with the eye drops and squirting them right on to my shirt instead. I also had the two right gloves and Bubba’s rain suit was a tad bit too small, the big banana coming at you down the road. It was only fitting his pants were flooding as we rode in the rain!

Starting tomorrow, we tackle the 3-sisters loop!