Sunday, April 20, 2008

April 3, 2008 - 1400+ mile Semi Sweet Ride to Palo Duro Canyon and the Cross at Groom, Texas

This ride actually started 5 months earlier at a South Austin bowling alley. We met after Church services to plan our rides for the first quarter of 2008. At that time we wanted to plan a ride that would be spiritually uplifting, a monumental challenge and an experience of God's great grandeur. In addition we wanted to share this experience with our wives. That said, our ride would be a "Sweet Ride" to Palo Duro Canyon and the Cross at Groom, Texas.

Here's a video showing God's glorious creation - Palo Duro Canyon.

Take a look at the second largest freestanding Cross in the Northern Hemisphere at clicking on the video below.

On the way back to Austin from Lubbock, we stumbled upon an abandoned jail house in Clairemont, Texas. This jail was supposed to have been built back in 1895, must have been a prety rough crowd back then. Inside the jail were cells that resembled steel cages more akin to holding large animals. For being over 100 years old, the jail was in remarkable shape and has a very eerie feel to it. Experience the Kent County jail by viewing the video below.

A piece of history we stumbled upon accidently while returning from Lubbock. No History markers here.

Friday, December 14, 2007

December 8, 2007 -Sweet Ride to Wimberley Trail of Lights

Video of Trail of Lights at Wimberley's EmilyAnn Theatre.

November 17, 2007 - Hook'em, Gig'em, Snook'em Ride

The theme of this ride was Hook'em, Gig'em, Snook'em Ride. A Holy Hog way of commemorating the annual football rivalry between the University of Texas Longhorns and Texas A&M Aggies. We would start in Austin, make a stop at Katy on the way to College Station (Aggieland). We also stopped by Snook to sample some unique cuisine there.

Although we all looked forward to our monthly ride, this ride had it's challenges. It was a long ride and the weather was wet for the most part. It was Fall and the weather was wet, misty and heavy overcast at best. I believe the weather affected our mood, in that we were all in a little funk.

Our route would take us through Smithville, Fayetteville, Katy, College Station, Snook, Caldwell, Bastrop and back to Austin. The ride would be at least 425 miles.

Video of Chicken Fried Bacon at Soduluk's in Snook, Texas.

October 20, 2007 - Blaze of Glory to Bastrop

All of our rides this year had been in hot and warm weather, like an endless summer. We are talking sleeveless shirts, jeans and riding gloves with the finger tips cut off. On this October ride, Central Texas weather transitioned into Fall weather and temperatures. The ride started at 7AM with a temperature of 47 degrees at Creedmoor. Our ride would take us through Bastrop, Bastrop State Park, Smithville and back to Creedmoor. Here is a link to our route.

The original intent of this ride was to send of fellow hog Chris in a "Blaze of Glory". Chris was called to Pastor a church in New Mexico and we want to have one last ride with him before he left. Unfortunately, Chris and Kevin could not make it because they were packing for the trip since Chris and family were leaving the next day.

Our ride would take us east bound to Bastrop for breakfast. We purposely avoided Hwy 71 and took a route north of the highway. In my 26 years in Austin, I've never take these back roads. I guess I thought that the east Austin within the city limits would be similar to the east of Austin outside the city limits - in other words, not too appealing.   My preconceived notions were wrong.  Once outside of the city limits, the roads and scenery were very nice.   Although not as hilly as the central Texas hill country rides we've done in the past, the trip of Bastrop was enjoyable with moderately winding roads through farm and ranch land.

At Bastrop we ate breakfast at the Texas Grill Restaurant on Hwy 71.  The instance you walked in the restaurant you knew you were no longer in Austin.  The restaurant smelled of cigarette smoke - something Austinites don't typically experience in a public area.  The food was good, just could get past the ambiance of cigarette ashtrays.

After eating we hit the road for a short 5 minute jaunt to Bastrop State Park.  The unique attraction of Bastrop State Park are the "Lost Pines" consisting of Loblolly pines and other hardwoods that surround the area.   The typical trees that line the landscape of central Texas include majestic Live Oaks, thorny mesquite trees and evergreen cedar trees.  However "Lost Pines" of Bastrop State Park is a forest of pine trees (70 square miles) that is refreshingly different for the region.  The area reminds me of the pines of North Carolina and Georgia.

We took Park Road 1C through the park.  This road leads you through 12 miles of tree lined park roads with plenty of curves and small hills.  The posted speed limit,the falled pine needles that covered the edges of the road and just the beauty of park had us riding a slow speeds to take it all in.  On a motorcycle, your senses are magnified, and the smell of the piney woods at the start of fall was incredibly refreshing.

Although this video does not even come close to the beauty of the area, it will give you an idea.

Park Road 1C exits through Buescher State Park with is just North of Smithville, Texas. From there, our ride continued through Smithville and the back roads south of Hwy 71.

Praise the LORD, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

Psalm 103:1

Saturday, December 1, 2007

September 28, 2007 - Semnole Canyon/Lake Amistad Ride and Campout

Job 1:21
He said,
"Naked I came from my mother's womb,
And naked I shall return there
The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away.
Blessed be the name of the LORD."

Years back, I remember hearing a talk given by Dennis Rainey of FamilyLife about camping with the family. Mr. Rainey said that camping as a family is great experience because inevitably during the campout some crisis will arise, and the family will rally together to get past the crisis. Rising to the challenge, overcoming adversity, resolving the crisis is what creates the some of the fondest memories in our lives.

The Holy Hogs ride to Seminole Canyon was a great and memorable ride because it was full of challenges and adversity. During this trip we together conquered torrential downpours, heat stroke, running out of gas, rain, lack of sleep, darkness and deer --- just to name a few. Yet as I write this blog, I’ve got a smile on my face and thank God for such a glorious ride.

The ride started on Friday, September 28, 2007 at 8:45AM from Ramon’s house. One of the goals of this ride was to do an overnight campout. Because of this, we started our trip on a Friday, rather than our typical Saturday start day. Our motorcycles were loaded down with camping supplies for the long trip. We fueled up our motorcycles and headed to Wimberley to fuel up our bodies.

At Wimberley we stopped at Cypress Creek Café to have some breakfast and plan out the route for our trip to Del Rio/Lake Amistad/Seminole Canyon. Click here for a full map route of the trip we took.

We then headed west riding through the towns of Fischer, Comfort and to Centerpoint. This part of the ride was identical to the ride we did on August 11. However from Centerpoint onward, this ride would take a more southern route to Bandera, Utopia and then north to Leakey. Like I’ve mentioned before in the blog, I believe that this part of the Hill Country best represents my thoughts on what “Hill Country” is. From Centerpoint to Leakey, you are surrounded by a combination of hills, valleys, streams and rivers. The terrain doesn’t support heavy industry or farming, so most the predominant business here is ranching – and there are some beautiful ranches in this area. Here’s a picture of Medina River from TX 173.

Definition of Utopia - An ideally perfect place, especially in its social, political, and moral aspects. I’ve always wanted to experience Utopia and during this ride we did. Here we are in front of the Old Rock Store at Utopia, Texas. The Old Rock Store was the first building in Utopia and was built in 1873 by Joe Hastler, who was a stonemason. This picture was taken by the camera's self-timer because the person we asked to take the picture said he woudn't because"You guys are too ugly". After that comment, we found Utopia not very Utopian, and we saddled up and left town looking for a place for lunch.

Our ride took us past the Frio river and Garner State Park and to the very small town of Leakey. We stopped at downtown Leakey, which consisted of a couple of multi-tenant strip type buildings. Our choices for lunch were limited, and we ended up choosing at Mama Chole's - a Mexican food restaurant. When we entered, it seemed like everyone stopped talking and stared at us. It was as if we were the "Del Fuego" motorcycle group the movie "Wild Hogs". We were served day old chips (at least day old), and everyone in the restaurant seemed to be listening to our conversation. The food was less than stellar and we were ready to get out of Leakey and to Camp Wood, and then Rocksprings. Just outside (10-20 miles) of Rocksprings on Texas 55, the area was densely populated with live oak trees. I've never seen live oak trees so thick and thought it odd that this western fringe of central Texas had so many oaks.

From Rocksprings, we rode southbound on RR 674 toward Brackettville. RR 674 had the most varied and picturesque of all the roads we traveled on this trip. In just a short 55 miles, RR 674 provided hills, valleys, creeks, windy curves, long straights, and lush to sparse desert-like vegetation. Jim hit a rabbit on during this stretch (his bike is a magnet for animals). Jim also took Val on a speed run on a long stretch of road - hitting 120, a new personal best. We also ran across a low water crossing with a whirlpool caused by one of the culverts. Water was streaming across the crossing - further evidence of this year's bountiful rainfall. Here's a video of one of our stops on RR 674.

We rode into Brackettville at around 6PM and took US 90 to Del Rio with sunset less than an hour away. We arrived at Del Rio with the sun setting in our eyes, reminding us that the remainder of the ride would be in darkness, on unknown roads and likely deer. Del Rio appeared to be a bustling town that was large enough to support all the typical businesses you would find in a large city. Even though we just rode through the town, the city reminded me of McAllen, Texas - another Texas border city. We continued on US 90 in a northwesternly direction toward Seminole Canyon. We passed over the Rio Grande and by the Lake Amistad Reservoir. The reservoir was formed in November, 1969 by the construction of Amistad Dam to provide flood control, water conservation, irrigation, hydroelectric power, and recreation to the area. The dam and lake are managed jointly by the governments of the United States and Mexico through the International Boundary and Water Commission. The name of the dam and lake is the Spanish word for "friendship".

Continuing on US 90, we encountered a border checkpoint. We talked with the border patrol agents about our plans and recommendations on where we could get fuel and food. The agents were very helpful and said that the only town that would have gas along the way would be Comstock. However Comstock businesses typically shut down by 8:00PM. It was 8:02 and we were low on petro and our stomachs were growling. We decided to back track about 10 miles to get some gas and grub before heading back out to Seminole Canyon. The border patrol agents reminded us that deer in the area are prolific and to keep a keen eye out for them since we were on motorcycles.

Now heading south on US 90, we stopped at an Italian restaurant called Carusso's. The place was like an Olive Garden. The food was good and the portions, fortunately for us very hungry guys, very generous. After dinner we fueled up, prayed for a safe trip and headed back north on US 90. We passed the border patrol check point again and into what seemed total darkness. At this point, it was pass 10PM and US 90 had very little traffic. The only ambient light was the moon. We rode in a reverse delta formation with Jim and Don illuminating the road ahead with their high beam headlights, and Ramon in the slot position. Knowing that there was deer around, I believe we were all driving with heighten awareness and white knuckles.

After nearly 15 hours of riding on our motorcycles, we reach Seminole Canyon State Park at around 11:30PM. We find a campsite and set up camp in the dark. Ramon has a small two man tent that sets up in less than 5 minutes. Don and Jim bring 6 man tents each and take nearly an hour setting up the tents. We eventually settle down and hit the sack at around 12:30AM. The three quarter moon was shining bright with low level clouds racing across an otherwise clear Texas sky. All you could hear were the crickets and the occasional gusts of wind flapping against our poorly anchored tents - then the snoring started, ha! Here a video of our stay at Seminole Canyon.

The next morning we packed up and decided to take the guided park tour of the prehistoric shelters and pictographs that make Seminole Canyon a historic site.

Before the tour started, one of the park staff was making an arrow-like weapon using just wood, lashing and an arrowhead. Turn out that this young man was making an Atalatal – an ancient Spear Thrower Spur weapon. The guy was very passionate about is Atalatal work and was very excited to demo how the weapon was used – the tour gave him some very gratifying ooohs and aaahhs. We found a picture of the guy at this link.

The guided tour takes one down into caves within a valley. The hike is probably close to a mile in length with 400 foot change in elevation. The Interpretive Specialist during our tour claims that the pictographs have been dated back between 4000 to 7000 years ago. This begs the question - are you an "old world" or "young world" believer? The video above gives you a good idea of what the tour is about.

On the way up, Don nearly had a heat stroke from the hike, the heat, lack of sleep, food and fluids. We eventually make it up to our motorcycles and headed out (Don still in shorts) to nearby Comstock for some lunch.

It was about 12 noon. All we had to eat for the day was some cereal bars that Denise, thankfully, packed for us. We hadn't had our 8 cups of coffee each yet. We had physically exerted ourselves with the guided tour and the ride in general. Yes, we were ready to eat something, soon! Comstock was the first town along our route out of Seminole Canyon. Comstock is a small town of about 400 residents. The heart of the town is on US 90 and has a gas station, a grocery store and a restaurant called "Holley's Bar and Grill" - BTW all the aforementioned businesses had the Holley namesake.

We walked into Holley's and quickly discovered that the place is a classic "Beer joint". The place featured a large bar area, a couple of pool tables, a couple of dining tables and wall's plastered with old beer posters. There was one patron having a beer. There was one employee - Vickie - the owner, waitress, barmaid and cook. We sat at a table that was right next to an air conditioning windows unit. Don needed the cool air. The menus were on handwritten paper bags. This place had a funky character and we were cautiously optimistic that the food could be good. We all ended up ordering a cheese burger with fries or tots.

Vickie went to the back of the establishment to cook our order while we guzzled large quantities of coffee and tea. The burgers were served and they were absolutely fantastic! The meat was a hand made, fresh patty, cooked to perfection. The buns were lightly toasted. The vegetables were very fresh (we heard her chopping up everything). Think of an old fashion burger and that's what we got a Holley's. Mmmm.

Refreshed from the food, drink and air conditioning, we mounted up and headed out of Comstock. Don and Jim fueled up at Holley's gas station and grocery. Ramon didn't fuel up because he thought he had the range to get to the next gas stop. Instead Ramon snapped this picture of Mexico from the highest point in Comstock - at the intersection of US 90 and TX 163. Mexico is only 5 miles from Comstock, so off in the distance should be Mexico.

Don returned to his normal self and as you can tell by the picture to the right, was very happy to be riding again. The weather was beautiful - about 80 degress, with partly cloudy skies and a slight breeze. The terrain on TX 163 varied between desert and hill country attributes. The road transitioned from long stretches of relatively flat roads with little brush to curvey roads surrounded by hills and medium sized oak trees.

There were several low water crossing that actually had water flowing over them on this stretch of road. In the Austin area, we typically see water flowing over low water crossing during flood conditions. From what we could tell, there hadn't been any recent heavy rains that could have caused the water to overflow - so water flowing over these crossings is probably a normal event. Jim said that Val didn't like driving over the flowing water.

After about 70 miles on 163, took US 277 south bound for about 6 miles, then eastbound in US 55 to Rocksprings. We encounter wet roads, but no rain. Just 3 miles out of Rocksprings, Ramon and Fofo run out of gas. Ramon was riding the anchor leg and was left behind by Don and Jim who were unaware. Fortunately by the time they reached Rocksprings, they noticed and back tracked to find Ramon on the side of the road. Don rode back the Rocksprings and returned with a gallon of gas. Never again will Ramon not take fuel with the rest of the group! Unfortunately, this incident delayed us about 1.5 hours on top of an already slow start home.

We all fuel up a Rocksprings with the next destination being Garven's Store on the way to Kerrville. Within 5 minutes of leaving Rocksprings we see rain clouds. There is also a rainbow. Looks like we are going to get wet. 10 minutes later, we are riding in a heavy downpour. With helmets fogging up, visors and glasses covered with splattered raindrops, we are riding with impaired visibility. God provides us shelter in the form of a covered rest area within minutes. We drive the bikes underneath the shelters and wait for the rain to subside. We are soaked to the bone. After waiting 30 minutes and assessing weather radar on Don's phone, we ride on.

We stop a Garven's to fuel up and buy Jerky and Three sisters T-shirts. We really like this store. It is now 6PM and darkness is closing rapidly. Driven by time and distance, we decide to take break one of our cardinal rules (Do NOT ride Interstates) and take I10 to Kerrville. With the legal speed limit on I10 at 80 Mph, we make good time to Kerrville. The sunset was beautiful, as was the deep cut throughs that I10 has through the hillside. In the distance there are anvil clouds with lightning to the north. Even though the clouds look 30 miles away, we begin to feel an occsional drop of rain as we exit Kerville to take TX 16 North. It is 22 miles to Fredericksburg. The sun completely goes away at around mile 10. At mile 18, the clouds let loose and it begins to rain heavily. God again provides shelter in form of a Shell station and a Denny's. We fuel up and eat at Denny's. We had discussions about the Cosby kids, of which Don has the most interest.

The rest of the ride is like autopilot for us - Fredericksburg to US 290, US 281, US 290, back to Austin in our reverse Delta Anti-Deer formation. We all eventually get home around the 11 o'clock hour, thanking God for the wonderful trip and fellowship we had.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sweet Ride #1

On September 15 we took our wives on a “Sweet Ride". The Holy Hogs and their wives are:

Jim and Kristen (16 years),

Kevin and Crystal (13 years),

Ramon and Denise (20 years),

Chris and Priscilla (9 years), and

Don and Carmen (18 years).

This ride was long antcipated for all of us, but especially for the girls. The Sweet Ride was Denise’s first long ride on Ramon’s Fofo, and she was a little anxious. Priscilla followed along in her car while Chris, recently back from Iraq, continued to gain experience on his new bike.

The morning started off with coffee at Ramon’s house. After we aired up, fueled up and prayed up, we headed out toward Wimberley. The air was cool and crisp under a beautiful partly cloudy blue sky.

Our first stop was for breakfast at the Cypress Creek Café. We enjoyed our meal at our usual first stop while we planned out the rest of our day.

Before leaving, a couple stood up and announced that they were celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary. Sarah and Ken – if you are reading this, we hope you had a great time in Hawaii.

After we left CCC in Wimberley, we headed out toward Gruene. Although we went on roads named “Devil’s Backbone” and “Purgatory Road”, clearly we were surrounded by God’s beautiful creation.

We took River Road on the way to Gruene as we usually do. This must be a favorite route of a lot of bikers because soon we were joined by a group of at least 10 other motorcycles.

Once we arrived in Gruene, the girls were anxious to browse the booths at Market Days. One of the nice things about the Old Gruene Market Days is that you can easily experience the small town charm and variety of local vendors within just an hour or two. If you have a chance to visit Gruene, Market Days occurs the third weekend of the month.

After everyone had a chance to visit the shops, we visited Gruene Hall which is historic for being the oldest dance hall in Texas. The Hall was built in 1878, is still not air conditioned, and continues to draw crowds and musicians to its old time wooden dance floor.

Lunch was next on the agenda. We passed up eating at the popular Grist Mill because the wait was too long. Instead we succumbed to the aromas of corn tortillas and fajitas coming from Adobe Verde. The open air patio was very relaxing, and everyone seem to enjoy the Mexican food as well as the fellowship.

As we headed back to our bikes, we ran into our friends from Austin – Anthony and Mercedes – small world. After a quick visit, we mounted up our motorcycles and headed back to Austin via San Marcos.

After saying our goodbyes, we went our separate ways. But everyone agreed we had a great day, and that it truly was a “Sweet Ride”.

They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Acts 2:42

Click here for more pictures.
Click here for a map of our route.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

August 11, 2007 Ride - The 480 Miler

All the group rides we’ve had this year have been very enjoyable. So much so that it seemed that we never wanted the rides to end. Since an endless ride for an endless summer isn’t really feasible, we opted for a really long ride for August. This ride will be “over the top” in comparison to our previous rides both in mileage and in hours. The ride would include several new destinations such as Texas RR337 and Stonehenge II. We would also take in a couple of ad hoc stops to take in the beauty of God’s creation. Here’s a link that details the routes that we took.

The August ride also was the inaugural ride for two new Holy Hogs – Chris and Mike.

Chris had been deployed in Iraq for the past several months and just recently arrived safely back to Austin. We’ve been praying for Chris’ protection while he was serving his country in Iraq, and we are certainly thankful that God hears and answers the prayers of his people. Chris is a wonderful minister of the Gospel and encourager of God’s people. The Holy Hogs are privileged to have him ride with us.

Chris bought his motorcycle while in Iraq and started riding when he returned. His motor is a Yamaha Virago 1100cc Vtwin – a shaft driven Japanese bike like the rest of us thus far.

Jim also brought along his nephew Mike from New Jersey whose family was visiting for the week. Mike would be riding as passenger with Jim on the Honda Valkyrie. Being just a teenager and not really having been on a motorcycle that often, Mike was quickly learning how to ride and later endure the day’s ride. The youngest Holy Hog’s easy going demeanor and youthful attitude was blessing during trip.

The ride began at Ramon’s house where we began with tech inspections of our bikes. Tire pressure was low on all our bikes, especially Don’s Fat Kaw. So much so that Don gained a 25% increase in gas mileage and 100% increase in handling performance.

After tech inspections the Holy Hogs mounted up and rode off to Wimberley’s Cypress Creek Café for breakfast. We took the winding route through Driftwood and Elder Hill Road. Here’s a video of the trip from Elder Hill to Wimberley put to the Oldie by Goodie “Get on your Bad Motorscooter and Ride” by Montrose. Do you recognize the lead singer of the group? The answer is at the end of this blog entry.

At Cypress Creek Café, Jim asked the waiter “What’s in your Spaniard?” and ended up having a Spaniard for breakfast. I never would have thought that Jim was into Spaniards. The rest of us Hogs had a traditional breakfast – eggs, bacon, biscuits, gravy and coffee.

From Wimberley the Hogs would ride east bound toward US 281 via RR 3237, Fischer Store Road and RR 473. Kevin and Chris broke off from the group at 281 to head back home to make other commitments.

After crossing 281, we continued on RR473 to Sisterdale and on to 1376 for a couple miles. Right after Sisterdale we took a left back onto RR473 and immediately pulled over for a rest break. While on our riding break, we couldn’t help but notice a small river with a dam and waterfall close by. We all had swimsuits underneath because we knew it was going to be a hot and long ride that would probably require taking refreshing dip in a cool Texas river. Plus since we all watched "Wild Hogs" together, we've all said we were going to the swimming hole scene ourselves. With the temperature increasing, we could resist the inviting water and took a dip in the Sisterdale stream.

The water was chest deep after the waterfall and was incredibly refreshing and helped to rejuvenate ourselves. The water before the dam was very still, yet the water after the dam was a pretty good torrent. We felt that we were at a God provided, Holy Hog waterpark. Mike (from urban New Jersey) seemed to really enjoy this little bit of Texas since there was nothing like this at home.

From the Holy Hog water hole, we saddled back up and continued east bound on FM 473. The landscape between Sisterdale and Centerpoint made the ride very enjoyable. This area had rolling hills with gentle curves and was all surrounded by hills and small mountains in the distance. This area still had an old country charm with very little development and only a few rustic ranches. When I think of the Texas Hill Country in my mind, this area best represents that mental picture in my mind. I highly recommend this stretch of road for riding to experience once again God's beauty.

We rode on past Comfort and stopped at Center Point Texas for lunch. Center Point is in southeastern Kerr County and has a population of about 900 people. The town has been around since the mid 1800s and in some respects still feels like an rural town that hasn't changed much. We stopped at Vicki's Burger Barn whose tag line is "Our Claim To Fame Is Our Burger". A burger sounded really good and Vicki's did not disappoint. Everyone had a burger with fries or onion rings (Jim had to have fries for some reason). The burgers were very, very good. The Onion Rings were awesome. Vicki's also servers their iced tea in glass pickling jars, which always makes tea taste better.

After fueling up the motors we continued heading sourtheast through Medina and onto RR 337. This part of the ride was very picturesque with many ranches lining the road. The plentiful rain we've had this year made the grass very green and lush and the well manicured lawns at the ranches reminded me of some Kentucky horse ranches with a Texas Hill Country flair.

Once on 337, the road and ride became more curvy and ran along a ridgeline over hilly terrain. The drop offs on the side of the road made for some good scenic overlooks. Here's a picture of the HHs at a scenic overlook about 15 miles outside of Vanderpool.

The next stop in the Itinerary was the Lone Star Motorcycle museum in outside of Vanderpool. The museum is home to probably about 100 motorcycles dating from the early 1900's to 1980. The owner/curator of the museum was onsite and open to our many questions. The guy was from Australia and his collection consisted of mostly european bikes such as Norton, BSA, Triumph, Ducati and BMW. There were a few Harley's and one Honda. The Honda happened to be the first bike that Rider Don ever rode. We also learned that Leakey is pronouced "Lakey", and that Leakey is the only wet town nearby.

Next on the Itinerary was a ride called the “Three Sisters”. This is the part of the ride that we were most looking forward to riding because of the following reviews given by several publicized reviews:

“The "Three Sisters" (RR335, RR336, & RR337) which are without a doubt the best motorcycle roads to be found in the Hill Country of Texas. These are the roads everyone wants to ride when they visit the Texas Hill Country. Again I caution, if you are a new rider or are a cautious type, then you DO NOT belong on these three roads. They follow canyons and climb over jagged, steep and crumbling hills. They have many tight twisty curves with shear drop offs and not much in the way of guard rails. In one section about 15 miles long, there are around 65 curves. If you are an experienced rider, then this is the ride for you. If you like scenic panoramic views, bring your camera and take this ride!”

"Ranch Road 337 is NOT for the faint of heart. This road follows canyons and climbs over mountains and has so many tight twisty curves that I lost count. If you are an experienced rider, then this is the road for you. If you like scenic views this is the ride to take.”

Our ride route would actually on take us onto “Two Sisters” (RR 337 and RR 335). However, even Two Sisters were pretty amazing. The twisties coupled with the views were awesome. RR 337 is a very popular ride with at least 25 other rides on the road with us. We would definitely recommend this ride to others.

Here’s a video of a portion of the ride on 337 (Song by David Crowder Band) – enjoy the curvaceous ride!

After three sisters, we began heading eastward on Highway 41. Unlike RR 337 and RR 337, HWY 41 was relatively flat and straight. On 41, I found that Fofo can do at least 105 Mph - fun! The heat of the day was taking it's toll on the riders and the road. When we stopped on 41, you could hear the pavement popping due to the tar bubbling up.

At this point the group was beginning to run dangerously low on fuel. Without any towns on the route, the likelihood of running into a gas station was not good, and Jim's motorcycle only has a few miles left before empty. Fortunately we ran into an old-timey gas station at the intersection of HWY 41 and HWY 83. The place was called Garvens' Store. The gas was about $.30 more per gallon, but at least there was petro! The pumps were dials (analog) instead of digital... a big throwback in time. The store catered to bikers with a special section devoted to leather gear. Jim and Don bought leather gloves for $7.00 (cheap!) and still use them today. Garven's store was a biker's oasis in the middle of the HWY 41 desert.

After cooling down with a couple of bottles of water and beef jerky, the Holy Hogs continued to ride down HWY 41 for 15 more miles and then took FM 1340 down to Hunt, Texas. The attraction at Hunt was Stonehenge II.

The original Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument located in the English county of Wiltshire, about 8 miles (13 km) north of Salisbury. One of the most famous prehistoric sites in the world, Stonehenge is composed of earthworks surrounding a circular setting of large standing stones. Archaeologists believe the standing stones were erected around 2200 BC and the surrounding circular earth bank and ditch, which constitute the earliest phase of the monument, have been dated to about 3100 BC.

Stonehenge II was erected as an amusing art project by the late Al Shepperd and his friend and neighbor, Doug Hill. In 1989, Hill had offered a limestone slab to Shepperd who stood the rock up monolith-style, and then odd thoughts started to seep into his head.
Within the next year, Shepperd bankrolled Hill to construct plaster and graphite-covered metal mesh and steel frameworks, replicating the mysterious stones of England, in the middle of Shepperd's pasture. The finished product is 90% as wide as the original, and 60% the height.

Also at Stonehenge II at Easter Island-based replicas of Moai. Moai or "Moˀai" are monolithic human figures carved from rock on Rapa Nui / Easter Island, mostly between 1250 and 1500 CE. Nearly half are still at Rano Raraku the main Moai quarry, but hundreds were transported from there and set on Ahu (platforms) which were mostly at the islands perimeter. Almost all have overly large heads three fifths the size of their body. The Moai are the “living faces” (aringa ora) and representations of chiefly, deified ancestors.

At this juncture of the trip we were beginning to suffer from delirium - 8 hours of riding in heat was beginning to take it's toll. We had a long ways to go, and we were getting tired, dehydrated and road weary. I believe that we were all guarding our speech and behaviour, as brothers in Christ pressing onward during trying times.

I could not help but think that all the riders were thinking of Philippians 3:12-14 : Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

So we continue on through Kerville and Fredericksburg. We take a right onto FM 1323 at Willowcity. This road has several farms. Given all the rain, hay farming looks to have a good crop this year. Throughout the ride there hay bales dotting the country side. On this road we also passed by a large goat farm - the stench seemed to last several minutes and was suffocating - beware!

At this time the sun was setting. Our next challenge now was limited visibility and insects. Our route took us to FM 1320 going southboudn to HWY 290. For the next hour of our ride, we were pelted by insects as we were riding at speed. Each insect would either splatter on our bikes and reduce visibility, or hit ourselves causing a brief stinging pain. This part of the ride was probably the least enjoyable of the entire trip.

We eventually get close to home and decide to stop and eat dinner at the Nutty Brown Cafe between Dripping and Oak Hill. Rider Don recommend this place, and we were not disappointed. Nutty Brown had great food and some Texas Swing live music provided by the Cornell Hurd Band. Oddly enough, Don knew Cornell Hurd because they lived nearby each other several years ago. During the band's break, Don approached Cornell and asked "Do you remember me?". After some Don gave some hints, Cornell Hurd remembered Don.

According to Don, the moment went like this:
'He (Cornell Hurd) said "I suppose you want me to play Born to be wild" I said yea that would be cool and he said "we don't play that and wow 10-yrs has really been harsh on us" then as I walked away he announced "Don Discoe with an E everybody, they just finished a 500 mile ride" clapping ensued and then they started another Texas Swing style song as I took what seemed to be a very long, painful walk back to the table...remembering the good ole days, of course.'

Good times! The food was great. The music was great. The outdoor seating was great. We highly recommend NBC.

By the time we finished eating, it was past 11PM. We had been riding for over 15 hours, and traveled over 480 miles. God had blessed the Holy Hogs with safety and good Christian fellowship - Thank You Lord!

Acts 2:46-47 : Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.

More pictures at

Answer to question above: Sammy Haggar