TEXAS HILL COUNTRY

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We all know that Texans like to call their state God’s Country and if God did indeed live in Texas he would probably live in Hill Country.

This region of central Texas, known for its rugged hills of limestone and granite covered with top soil, stretches all the way from the northern suburbs of San Antonio to just west of downtown Austin…

And if God were to fashion an area exclusively for motorcyclists it would probably be Hill Country – where thin ribbons of asphalt wind their way through sweeping turns and mountain like vistas or dramatic straightaways through rocky flatlands. In Hill Country the scenery is ever changing and in many ways reminiscent of what the American west must have looked like two hundred years ago.

I made my first trip to Texas Hill Country nearly a decade ago and I have been back several times since. One of the things that makes this area of Texas a great place to ride is the assortment of places to stop along the way.

Where else but in Hill Country can you pick your barbecue off the grill… pay for it by the pound and eat it right off the butcher paper it was wrapped in, with a roll of paper towels nearby for the cleanup. At Coopers BBQ in Llano you can do just that and believe me at Cooper’s it’s all about the meat.

http://www.coopersbbqllano.com/

Or how about a full size replica of Stonehenge, complete with some Easter Island figures thrown in for good measure? Yep you’ll find that in Hill Country too.

http://www.hcaf.com/index.php/stonehenge-ii

And then there’s Harry’s, a real Hill Country Hole in the Wall, where they serve up cold long necks from an ice chest and encourage you to write your name on the wall; or just about anywhere else you would like.

But perhaps one of the most famous places in all of Hill Country is a little bitty place with a really big name. It’s a place so small that you really have to be looking for it to find it – but ask any country music fan and they can tell you all about it.

Luckenbach, Texas was established around 1850 or so. There never really was very much here, just a couple of barns and a General Store/Post Office. In fact the biggest Luckenbach ever got was about four hundred people. The total population had dwindled to just three when Texas Folklorist Hondo Crouch and some friends bought it for $30,000 back in 1970.
But in 1973 after Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings recorded their famous song, Luckenbach, Texas finally earned a real place on the map. Today it is popular with tourists, motorcyclists and country music fans…

There’s no hard liquor served and no police force either, but there is rarely a problem here – as the song says, “in Luckenbach Texas, ain’t nobody feeling no pain.”

http://www.luckenbachtexas.com/

Another one of my favorite places in Hill Country is Bandera, Texas. This peaceful cowboy town of about a thousand is located near the geographic center of The Lone Star State, about 60 miles or so west-northwest of San Antonio. In recent years Bandera has become a motorcycle mecca of sorts, a popular place to gather and ride the Hill Country….

And it’s not just the Hills that draw Bikers to Bandera. The town is tailor made for motorcycle tourists. There are plenty of shops to poke around in and at least one saloon for every 50 or so residents. You can even find real cowboys playing country music downstairs in the basement of the Silver Dollar.

One of my favorite hangouts in Bandera is the 11th Street Cowboy Bar. Not a lot of cowboys here but Harleys and Horses are said to play well together, and you will find a lot of ladies underwear hanging from the ceiling. Not sure what that’s all about and I haven’t left any of mine there, but the boys seem to like it.

But if you came to Hill Country to ride, you cannot leave without checking out the “Sisters” also known as the “Three Sisters” and the “Twisted Sisters.”

Texas Ranch Roads 335, 336 and 337 take you through foothills and mountain passes, featuring tight turns and beautiful sweepers.

Here is a ride Bob Courtney and I did a few years back. Enjoy the video.

If you are looking for a great motorcycle vacation, with lots of terrific riding, good food and some really cool places to hang out, I suggest you plan a ride through Texas Hill Country. If you are like me, you will quickly find out that it’s a place that was tailor-made for riding. Perhaps God did have motorcyclists in mind when he created Texas Hill Country.

See you on the road!

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T.W. Robinson

~ by larider on June 11, 2014.

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