2008 Spring Hill Country Ride
Spring Hill Country Ride Recap
April 18 -20, 2008
by Chris Parry
The chaps asked me to write a brief account of the weekend as a Hill Country newbie, so here goes. I’ve done a bit of riding in various States so I thought I knew a bit about good roads and felt they were in fairly short supply in Texas. But I’d never been to the Hill Country and they assured me I was in for a treat – and by God, they were right. These are roads that make hardened riders shed tears and promise to be good from now on, if only they can run them just one more time. These are roads that sidewalks want to be when they grow up. These are roads that suck you in - swooping curves, spiraling elevation changes, breathless dips and gorgeous (if rather blurred) scenery.
I arrived at the party at the River Inn Resort on Friday afternoon – a lot of folks had been there for a day or two and there was a convivial atmosphere going on the patio overlooking the Guadalupe river. It’s a very pleasant setting and it was great to sit there with the group and have a quiet beer (followed by fourteen noisy ones). The steaks went on the barbie and the tales got taller and the rides got faster as the cooler got emptier.
Saturday morning, folks did their various things – I was lucky enough to be offered a tour of the local roads by Dennis who has been coming here for 20 years. Right out of the gate, we were on the twisties and I concentrated on not making a twit of myself behind a very smooth, fast rider. Down 39 and 83 into Leakey – we twice encountered deer that skittered across the road in front of us – you can see why people say to watch out in the morning and evening when riding here.
Through Leakey on 337 heading west, we started climbing (some very tight turns against the canyon wall – watch out for loose rocks!) and then turned north onto 55. This is a four lane road with fast sweepers, and it was here that we had another brush with wildlife. Dennis saw turkey vultures gathered around some road kill and kindly stuck out a boot to warn me. Next thing, the last bird to leave the banquet flies up and straight towards Dennis’ face at 70-plus! Dammit, I swear he ducked and the bird flew through the space so recently occupied by his helmet….. hoo boy, the thought of being socked in the kisser by one of those stinking buggers just makes your socks roll up and down. By the way, I’d set up my camera on a bar mount so we have footage on the website. [Check it out]
Undeterred, we pressed onto to Rocksprings where we fueled up before a short stint east on 377/41 and then south on 335 – yet another twist-fest with switchbacks. We briefly encountered a Harley train but we were able to blow by pretty quickly. Back in Leakey, we paused for a refreshing beverage and then headed north on 336 for some more hardcore scratching before looping east and south to take 187 towards Vanderpool. Our destination was the Lone Star Motorcycle Museum (http://lonestarmotorcyclemuseum.com) which is quite remarkable. More or less in the middle of nowhere is this vintage motorcycle utopia, filled with classics and all the work of a remarkable and amiable Aussie – Allan Johncock. I’m continually amazed by the depth and breadth of Britbike knowledge and ownership in Texas – a land which seems so removed from the place of their origin.
After that, we headed back to the River Inn for sundowners and pork chops the size of house bricks – and the day’s events were retold and embellished as the level in the glasses went down. A great, great day.
Kudos goes to those guys who brought their classics down, particularly Mike who rode his Norton Commando to the Hill Country. My Thanks to Dennis for showing me the roads (and grilling!), Captain Commando for organizing the River Inn Resort, George for route tips, and Everyone else for joining in the fun. See you next year!
Clay Walley in the foreground and Bob Hagemann in the background.
If anyone has a photo of this years Spring Hill Country Ride that they would like to contribute to a photo album please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Members in attendance this year included:
Copyright © 2000 NTNOA All rights reserved.
Revised: May 04, 2008.