On the Wednesday before our ride one of Texas' icons, Lady Bird Johnson, passed away. I was too young to experience the political aspects of Lady Bird as first lady. However her legacy as a conservationist and her beautification programs in Central Texas are things I am thankful for every time we ride motorcycles.
Riding through Central Texas in the spring and seeing a carpet of wildflowers along side rural roads is just incredibly beautiful. There is no way to describe with justice the beauty of God’s creation when riding motorcycles through the Hill Country in the Spring on a motorcycle. You can smell faint sweet scent of the flora. Your eyes delight in the blankets of blue, red, yellows and green at your side as your travel at speed. You just can’t help but marvel at God’s goodness while experiencing this.
Lady Bird was direclty involved in several beautification programs such as preservation of wildflowers and native plants. She sponsored and help to pass the 1965 High Beautification Bill (AKA The Lady Bird Bill). She was also a staunch advocate of civil rights amid anger against Lyndon Johnson's administration.
So for working to preserve the beauty of God's creation in nature and people, we salute and thank you Mrs. Lady Bird Johnson! As a tribute and as a way to honor Lady Bird, it seemed appropriate to make the LBJ State Park in Stonewall a destination for our July ride.
The riders met up at Ramon's house in true Holy Hog style - everyone was late (even though Ramon tried to entice them to come early for breakfast tacos). We eventually saddled up and hit the road at 10:30 AM. The first leg of the ride took us from outside Buda, Driftwood, Drippings Springs, Johnson City
and then to LBJ State Park/LBJ Ranch.
We took a scenic route to Johnson City from Drippings Springs by taking RR12 to West Fitzhugh Road. I highly recommend this route to other bikers because the road has a lot of turns, hills and not much traffic. Fitzhugh road is lined with Ranches, and the Hill Country views are very nice. There are also a couple of low water crossings that actually had a little water flowing over them due to the unusually wet June.
I am sure that Lady Bird herself enjoyed this scenic, "road less traveled", route many times while traveling from her Ranch to Austin. Throughout the ride it was cool to see people flying their flags half staff to honor Lady Bird.
Ramon rigged up a "Rider Cam" on Fofo to video the trip so that others can get an idea of what it is like to ride with the Holy Hogs and experience the Hill Country on a bike (the video doesn't do justice, but it is better than nothing). Here's a short video of the trip to the LBJ Ranch - "Going Mobile - beep, beep"
As you can see at the end of the video, we arrived at the LBJ Ranch/State Park to find that it closed in preparation for Lady Bird's funeral the next day. The park was closed so there wouldn't be any overnight campers trying to attend the private funeral services.
After talking with the guard, we were stopped by an Austin American Statesman reporter named Sue. She was visiting family in the area and noticed our group of motorcycles stopped at the LBJ Ranch. She asked questions about our group and why we were stopping at the ranch. Sue, if you reading our blog, we enjoyed talking with you and hope you got some good story leads that day. Please let us know you were here by commenting or sending me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Turns out that the Holy Hogs did make it in the Austin American Statesman paper on July 15th on page A6 on the left margin. "Holy Hogs pause bike ride to pay respects - Near Johson City, at the entrance to the Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site, which is closed through Monday, a group of Christian motorcycle riders called the Holy Hogs paused in their monthly ride to take some photographs for their blog. 'We came down here to take some pictures and to pay respect to Lady Bird,' rider Don Discoe said."
From the LBJ Ranch, we headed out on a short 7 mile ride to Albert, Texas.
Ramon had read an article in the Austin American Statesman about the town of Albert - a town named after Albert Luckenbach. Apparently someone bought the town 3 years ago and opened up an Icehouse, which frequented by mostly biker clientele. The small town, currently with a population of 4 (which is overestimated), was also has an old time schoolhouse where President Lyndon Baines Johnson attended school one year. That being said, Albert seemed like a perfect destination for this ride, and we were not disappointed.
Hmm Population 4 - 1) Ramon 2) Kevin 3) Don 4) Jim
The icehouse sits right on FM 1623 right across the only residence in Albert. You can park your bike in the front, or you can a circular dirt road back toward the back of the establishment. The icehouse has a place for band and serves only beer. The slogan of Albert (and hence the icehouse) is "Good songs, cold beer, good friends, tall tales". There wasn't a live band when we got there, but we got next the next thing - ZZ Top's Elimnator Album.
The outdoors of the Icehouse is covered by a canopy of two 500 year old live oaks trees. A large deck overlooks a backyard outfitted with oversized picnic tables. Even though it was a muggy and rather warm day, sitting on the deck was very pleasant. The shade of the oaks and the country breeze made lounging around on the deck very comfortable.
The place serves about 500 people a day on weekends. Most of the customers are bikers. This place is really a piece of Hill Country heaven.
So the questions is --- can the Holy Hogs make a decent living out here? Here's the plan. Albert is for sale at a price of 2.5 million. The Holy Hogs would buy Albert and we would fill the following positions.
Don - Mayor
Kevin - Police Chief
Jim - Icehouse Operator
Ramon - Chief Blogger and Wifi Administrator
Please send donations to the Holy Hogs so that we can make the purchase soon! :)
OK - the dream sequence ends. We get back on our bikes and head out to Blanco - a short 11 mile ride.
We stop on the Blanco River off of River Road to take in the scenery. At our stop there is a little dam. The water is moving, but not as fast as I assumed given all the rainfall that we had. The water is nice, cool and inviting. We all take turns dipping our heads in the water to cool off a bit.
Next time we vowed to bring shorts and tubes. We will have to figure out a way to pack an air compressor and tubes into Buxom Beauty's saddlebags.
From the Blanco River, Don takes us to an Exxon gas station for lunch. We were running out of time and needed to get a quick bite to eat. I am not going to give you a lot of detail about this place because we would NOT recommend it to you.
Jim and Ramon tried to order sandwiches from their in store deli, but it seemed that for everything we requested the answers was "we ran out of that". Uhhh, can I have bread with the sandwich!!?
The bathrooms also had hand blowers that sounded like 747 jet turbine engines. Other than for gas, you should pass on this place.
From Blanco, we headed back home and made an obligatory stop at Wimberley. Don had to split off and high tail it to pick up his family at the airport. On the way to Wimberley, we get caught up in a rain storm. We persevered and make it through safe and sound all the way home.
Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
More pictures at http://picasaweb.google.com/EmailRamon/HolyHogs0707