Friday, December 14, 2007

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

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