Travelling Texas In the Fall

(Ed. note - if it's another month, it's another adventure for Red River Riders club member Drew Newcomer. Drew loves to ride and is always looking for places to do so. We all want to be like Drew when we grow up.)

By Drew T. Newcomer
The Motorcycle Sport Touring Association has been meeting in the Texas Hill Country for a fall ride nearly 20 years. The last time I made this event I was riding a Honda (and that has been some time ago!) So, when fellow BMW rider and club member Bob Mizner extended an invitation to enjoy some hospitality and join him for the Hill Country event, I had no good excuse not to go.

Heading out to Bob and his wife Barbara’s place on November 5, I rode I-20 to Texas Highway 14 where I turned north toward Hawkins, Texas. Bob lives just north of Hawkins and I cleaned up the R1150R in his garage and turned in for the night. With Bob in the lead we headed out about 8:00 am on Friday morning. Bob chose a variety of farm roads to wind us southwest where we finally intersected Highway 31. We rode 31 to Corsicana where we grabbed highway 22 west after a good hot cup of coffee and a cinnamon roll. There was not a cloud in the sky as we rode on to Meridian, Texas, on through Cranfills Gap to Hamilton where Bob left 22 to join FM 2005 which took us to Goldthwaite, Texas. In Goldthwaite we jumped on Texas Highway 16 which would take us all the way to our destination of Kerrville and the Y. O. Ranch Resort.

Bob had a treat in store for me when we arrived in Llano. A quick left on Highway 29 and one block lead us to Cooper’s Bar-b-que where large pits were manned by several chefs cooking everything from chicken to sausage to rib eyes to tenderloin. Now, Bob neglected to tell me that it is very easy to overeat when at Cooper’s. I selected some sausage, some tenderloin, and some pork ribs. Boy was I surprised when my bill totaled in the neighborhood of $21.00! The meat seemed to have enlarged from the time I picked it on the grill till the time I sat down at the table to chow down. Good thing Bob was willing to help me with this feast. Although we didn’t arrive till 2:00 pm, Cooper’s was still plenty busy and after talking to a few locals, I discovered that Cooper’s is famous in these parts and people drive long distances to sample the great fare they offer.

On very full stomachs we finished the last hour of the ride from Llano to Kerrville. We arrived at the Y. O. and checked in after “blue sky only” ride of 380 miles. Many riders had already arrived and it was nice to visit with folks that I hadn’t seen in a long time. Many attendees went out to eat Friday night, but I pleasantly declined as I was still stuffed to the gills with bar-b-que! Needless to say, I slept very well that night.  Saturday morning arrived with a brilliant sun and many riders headed to Destination Cycle, a local dealer in Kerrville.

Coffee, doughnuts, and breakfast tacos were in store for those that stopped by. After a light breakfast, I left the group behind and headed down Texas 173 to Bandera. I was greeted by some fog which was thick enough to cause me to slow down in spots. This being the first weekend of the local deer season was another reason to be especially vigilant. Bandera, known as the Cowboy Capital of the World, has grown exponentially from the first time I came here years ago. I headed west from Bandera on FM 470 to Tarpley and on to Utopia where I headed north for a few miles on FM 187 to Vanderpool. One of the most popular roads in Texas for motorcycles is FM 337 between Vanderpool and Leakey. I rode it west, liked it so much that I turned around and headed back east. I even had my photo made by a local entrepreneur who takes photos, posts them on the internet, and lets you select and purchase them if you like (yea, I bought a couple !!) After arriving in Vanderpool for the second time I turned north for a final time on 187.

There is a small, but very interesting motorcycle museum on 187 just a few miles north of Vanderpool. This was another place I had not visited in a number of years so I stopped and looked at the fifty or so motorcycles and had a burger as my breakfast was now gone.  Interestingly enough, 187 is where I had my deer encounters. I had a couple run across the road in front of me, but they were far enough ahead of me that there was no cause for alarm – deer are rampant in this part of the world and I have come closer to a few than I would like at all times of the year.

187 took me to Texas 39 where I turned east to Hunt, Ingram, and finally back to Kerrville. The weather was ideal and it would be difficult to imagine a better venue. I will not let so much time pass before I get back to the Hill Country at this time of the year.

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