Hill Country Ride - October 2006
My buddy Chuck Mandernach and I took a wonderful Fall street bike cruise down to the Texas Hill Country.
Chuck (and his son) got my dad and I into riding dirt bikes roughly 30 years ago and for the past
year I've been riding street bikes with him. I ride a Honda Shadow Spirit 1100 and Chuck rides a Harley
Dyna Super Glide 1450cc. We had great weather for the ride - no rain and cool
temperatures. We rode 350 miles from Dallas down to Fredericksurg on Saturday and rode 350 miles
back on Sunday. Along the way we saw some beautiful country, ate lots of good food, met some interesting
people and had a couple of well-deserved cold beers in famous Luckenbach, Texas.
--- Chuck at Mel's Burger Joint ---
Chuck took on the task of navigating us down to Fredericksburg and back. He picked some wonderful back-road
routes that took us through small towns I had never been to: Meridian, Cranfills Gap, Indian Gap, Energy,
Priddy, Mosheim, Iredell. No, I'm not making those names up. In Copperas Cove we stopped to look at our maps
to ponder our southerly route into Marble Falls. While still discussing our route a nice, young
lady stepped out of a nearby church (by the way, there are more churches in these small towns than there
are Starbucks in the big city) and she told us that a place just down the street called Mel's
had mighty fine burgers. She was right; it was one of the best hamburgers I've ever eaten.
After we checked into our hotel in Fredericksburg, Chuck and I headed over to nearby Luckenbach,
. I've always enjoyed visiting Luckenbach; there's just something about that little spot under
those big oak trees. It has a warm, unpretentious feel to it. I had always driven my truck down there, so
it was kind of neat cruising in on my bike - especially knowing that I had ridden it all the way from
Dallas. It certainly made the celebratory beers taste that much better.
Luckenbach has become a famous destination for bikers from all over the U.S. The bike on the left was built
by the Martin Brothers
, well known custom bike builders from
Duncanville, TX. They recently won The Discovery Channel's Biker Build-off. We saw Joe Martin get off that
bike just as we were arriving. The bike on the right is the muscular 2300cc Triumph Rocket III. That engine
is more than twice the size of my bike's 1100cc engine. It's so fast, it looked like it was moving just
Chuck and I listened to a some local pickers behind the Luckenbach bar - and met some interesting (if not
inebriated) people. The gal in between Chuck & I was friendly to say the least, but she kept telling me - with
slightly slurred speech - how terrible it was that the bartender had "cut her off". Chuck and I also met
a young couple from Dallas (right-hand picture). Both are attorneys living in downtown Dallas and were really
We stopped by Enchanted
Rock on our way home.
--- Chuck on the Willow Loop ---
After seeing Enchanted Rock, we rode the very scenic Willow
- a private road just off of Hwy 16 north of Fredericksburg. The Willow Loop is well known for its
views of the Texas Hill Country and for its blue bonnets in the Spring. We saw several deer and long horn
while cruising the loop.
--- Chuck at a crossroads ---
Just north of Goldthwaite the small farm road we were riding suddenly turned into a gravel road. Street bikes
get a little squirrely on gravel, so we turned the bikes around and looked at our maps for awhile and thought
about heading back toward Goldthwaite. But then we decided to proceed cautiously down the gravel road. It
was the right call; it was gravel for only a couple of miles before returning to pavement.
Not long after returning to a paved a road, we rode into an all-but-abandoned town called Indian
. That's me on my bike near the old general store.
By the time I got home Sunday night, I was a little fatigued (mainly my forearms and upper back) but I was
pleasantly surprised that after 700 miles of riding over two days, I felt quite good overall. It sure was
a fun trip!
Return to my home page