Luckenbach – The Pilgrimage

Luckenbach – It’s always strange to roll into a place that is known as a party town at about 0900 mid week.  But we needed to be there for something in our Texan DNA. And being just down the road, it was time.  And was it quiet, peaceful, enjoyable.  Only two other bikes this Tuesday am, both super bikes being ridden by men old enough to know that, well, to know that, a cruiser might increase their longevity.  The store took its toll on our wallets.  The bar had two patrons, one drinking beer the other coffee. The porch had two confident resident cats, and chickens that had just vacated the store.  Have to go back when the place is jumping.

Old Tunnel State Park – Ostensibly this was the reason to be in this part of the State, to see the daily bat flight.  The park is located “just a piece down the road” from Luckenbach, on the OSR (Old San Antonio Road).  But our timetable was backwards and I was not going to wait 7 hours.  Next trip, next trip, always leave something for the next trip. (Old Tunnel State Park)

LBJ Ranch – National Historical Park  (LBJ Link)  When you ride with Vets, LBJ is a name that gets a strong response.  Being 750 pages into the four part biography of President Johnson, by Robert A. Caro, I had to see the park.  It is worth the trip, the two dollar entrance fee, and the time to drive the ranch.  Even if we missed the party by one day (see photo).

LBJ’s early political career spans an incredible epoch in the history of the Texas hill country.  Caro, in The Path to Power, depicts life in this modern day Mecca for Texans, from the 1920’s forward.  He tells of the destruction of the land and the incredible poverty of the entire hill country region in the early 1900’s.  LBJ was instrumental, from his seat in Congress, for the coming of electric power to Johnson City in November 1939 – friends, that is only a generation ago.

Pedernales Falls State Park – Mid week is the time to see our state parks.  Wish someone had told me that years ago.  A picnic and rest stop, below the falls in the swimming area, provided cool shade and cool rushing water – on a day that had already reached 98 by noon.  Quiet and solitude.  Not willing to hike back up the hill to the parking lot for a swim suit, we made do.  A hint, riding ‘under gear’ should always look like swim wear, just in case you need to cover up in a hurry. Take Ranch Road 2766 east out of Johnson City, dodge the deer, and enjoy.  Five dollar entry fee, cool patches to buy, and even the parks roads are fun.

FM 1431 – Marble Falls to Lago Vista.  29 miles of a great road that runs through the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge.  On a lark, we grabbed 10th street in Marble Falls, which turns into FM 1431, and found a gem.

Hills, curves, sweepers and I found myself actually horsing the Venture just shy of scaring my passenger. It is one of those turn-around-and-do-it-again roads.

But at 29 miles, and 100 degree plus heat, we settled for a bottle of water and fuel.  A short and painful (compared to our wide open ride so far) route through suburban hell got us to The Oasis on Lake Travis for dinner.  There is bike parking up front, so ignore the parking garage!

Never tell if we stopped at Hippie Hollow first.

Day completed with a mundane run into Austin and a well air conditioned hotel room.

The Route:  Head east out of Fredericksburg on 290, stop and open your map and your eyes.  It is all within 60 miles of you!

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