by Robert "Trip" Hilliard
On April 19, 2007, Gary Brooks and I set out on a motorcycle trip to the Texas Hill Country. We had both been to the Texas Hill Country many times before, but it had been a while since we had both visited the Hill Country, plus we needed a break from work.
As always, we decided on camping at Garner State Park near Leakey, Texas. Riding the "3's" as well as other roads in the region was the plan. We enjoyed our stay in the Hill Country and hope to go back as soon as possible. The following report chronicles our trip. I hope you enjoy it and I hope it can possibly be used as a guide or template to future trips to the Texas Hill Country for you and your riding friends.
Thursday, April 19, 2007 - Gary and I met at 7:45am in an empty parking lot on highway 155 just South of Tyler, Texas. Our plan for the day was to ride down to Palestine by way of FM 315, then link up with highway 79 until we reached Round Rock, just North of Austin. It took us about 4 hours to make that leg of the trip. In Round Rock, we stayed on 79 until it turned into Sam Bass Road. Sam Bass then emptied into highway 1431. Once at 1431, we headed West to Marble Falls, Texas.
As mentioned in other trip reports, Marble Falls is home to the Blue Bonnet Cafe which sports the best piece of pie this side of the Mississippi. Gary and I arrived at the Blue Bonnet about 1:00pm and after eating our fill, continued on through Johnson City, Fredericksburg and Kerrville before heading down to Medina by way of highway 16. We then turned West on Ranch Road 337 and 35 miles later arrived in Leakey.
After checking out things in Leakey, it was time to head South on highway 83 for the ten minute ride to Garner State Park. We arrived at Garner around 5:30pm, too late to check in, so we found a suitable camping spot and pitched camp for the night. Tomorrow, we ride some of the best roads Texas has to offer.
Friday, April 20, 2007 - We got up about 8:00am, got ready and headed for Leakey for breakfast. After eating some scrambled eggs and pancakes at the BBQ restaurant (don't let the name fool you, the breakfast was pretty good!), Gary and I headed out for the day's ride. The skies today were clear and the temperature was in the mid 70's. Today our plan was to ride West of Leakey. Here is a breakdown of the roads we traveled in riding order:
From Leakey - RR 337 West to Camp Wood
North on Highway 55 to RR 335 at Barksdale
North on RR335 to highway 41
West on highway 41 to highway 377 through Rocksprings
55 South out of Rocksprings to Barksdale, Camp Wood continuing on to Uvalde
In Uvalde, turn South on 83 then East on highway 90
Stay on 90 through Sabinal and D'Hanis to Hondo
In Hondo, turn North on FM 462
Then turn West on 470 from 462
At 187 turn North to RR 337
Then turn West on 337 back into Leakey
It took Gary and I approximately 5 hours to ride this route for a total of about 260 miles. Fuel points were Leakey and Uvalde. Highway 55 between Rocksprings and Barksdale has some very nice sweepers and turns. 462 out of Hondo is a very nice road as well as 470 out of Tarpley. Gary and I stopped in Leakey to eat dinner then traveled back to our camp site to talk about the day's ride and plan the next day's ride.
Saturday, April 21, 2007 - Gary and I woke up to slightly cloudy skies but no rain. We rode into Utopia and ate breakfast at the Lost Maples Cafe. Once done, we set out to ride roads on the Eastern part of Leakey for the day. Here is a list of roads we traveled:
1050 East to 187 then East on 470 to highway 16 near Bandera
Take 16 North through Medina, then turn West on 337.
Turn North on 187 and continue until you reach 39
Turn East on 39 and ride through Hunt and Ingram
At Ingram, 39 will connect with 27 that will eventually intersect with highway 16
Turn South on 16 and travel 16 until you reach Medina
Turn West on 337 at Medina and ride 337 all the way into Leakey
Gary and I stopped at the Motorcycle Museum located in Vanderpool and we stopped and viewed Stonehenge II located on FM 1340 in Hunt. Total miles for the day was about 200 taking us about 5 hours to travel.
Sunday, April 22, 2007 - We awoke Sunday to find clouds, wind and a mist in the air. As the day went on that mist turned into rain. We packed up our gear for the trip home and as we traveled 337 back to Medina and 16 up to Kerrville, the rain seemed to get worse. In fact, it didn't ease up until we reached Marble Falls for lunch. Gary and I basically traveled the same route home that we traveled coming to Leakey. We were just thankful that it rained on the day we were returning instead of raining during our stay at Leakey.
Trip riding Highway 16 between Kerrville and Medina, Texas
In conclusion, we feel the trip was excellent. We got to ride some excellent roads and see some awesome scenery. We put over 1,200 miles on our bikes with a total trip cost of about $250.00 each. Even though Gary and I have ridden the roads around Leakey before, we still love the area and can't seem to get enough of it. We hope to return soon for another ride.
Here are some facts about the trip that we thought you might want to know:
- We stayed away from Ranch Road 336 due to the cattle guards. Over the years 336 has been paved a few times thus causing the road to elevate a little bit higher than the cattle guards. You can either rattle your teeth and possibly loose some mufflers or slow down to a crawl at every guard. We chose to avoid RR 336 altogether this trip.
- There is now a photographer that posts himself on Highway 16 between Kerrville and Medina. What www.KillBoy.com does for Deals Gap, this father/son team do for riders in the Hill Country. They will take your picture as you ride by and post it on their website at www.txmotofoto.com for purchase.
- Due to budget cuts by our Governor and Legislature, Texas parks are becoming under funded. Garner is no exception, so be prepared to pay higher rates for camping. Especially if you want a spot with water and electricity.
- Also, weekends at Garner can be very crowded. It is suggested that if you can, stay at Garner during the week instead of on a weekend.
- The Motorcycle Shop (previously located at the corner of RR 337 and highway 83 in Leakey is now located 1/4 of a mile West of Leakey on RR 337. The new facility is bigger, roomier and sports a larger store. Just be forewarned that the parking lot is gravel and somewhat on a hill.
- Ranch Road 337 has always been rated the number one road to ride in Texas on a motorcycle. In our opinion, this is very true. However, we feel that RR 337 between Leakey and Vanderpool has always been and continues to be....primo! We call it 15 miles of heaven.
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