Monday, July 17, 2006

Alvin to Galveston with Dinner in Freeport

Here's a nice gentle ride for enjoyment of the wife. Starting in Alvin, TX and winding a leisurely rumble through the evening cool. Ok, it's July in South Texas, but I gotta dream of cool weather sometimes.

Anyway, here's how Santa Chuck set-up and reports the 165 mile ride.

We left the Shell station in Alvin (528/35) @ 4:15pm. Seems many had not been on some of these roads and CR316 out of 4 corners was a first for me also. I heard some good comments about the roads and selection so guess we did good. The resturant is called On the River, 919 West 2nd Street, Freeport. The "river" is old lost river and this resturant used to sit on the other side of 2nd street years and years ago. Capt Elliotts fishing fleet operate across the street from current location of the resturant. Turns out that I was the only one to have ever eaten here before. Bet it won't be the last time for this group! Our waitress was Audrey and man was she good. She ever took all of Todds BS and came back for more. The corn bread you'll just have to try and the home made cole slaw, too good to be true. Really TALL glasses of ice tea and water to quince our parched bodies and tasty food was consumed. We decided to take the Blue Water Hwy down to Galveston and then asked Todd to lead us to "The Spot" on the Seawall. There we took part in some creamy ice cream for dessert. More visit time then Todd took us via the Strand to Harborside to 45 and home.


SR-35 S to 1462 turn Right

1462 to 521 t
urn Right
521 to CR42 turn Left (my favorite local road)

42 back to
1462 turn Right
462 to Cow Creek Road turn Left
Cow Creek
Rd changes names to Nash Rd and CR 25 CR25 to Columbia Lakes and turn Right on 35
35 to 36 turn Left

36 to 522 turn Right

522 to 1459 turn Left

1459 to 524 turn Left

524 to CR316 go straight
316 to 2611 turn Left

2611 to 36 turn Right
36 turns into 288 and then 2nd Street
Look for the resturant and enjoy

After Dinner, mount up and head out and turn Right on Ve
lasco Blvd Velasco to 322 turn Right 322 to the Blue Water Highway turn Left

Have $2.00 ready for the toll bridge over to Galveston and just follow the highway al
l the way in.

"The Spot" will be on your Left, at about 25th street.
After your ice cream, you can head back toward where you
came and take any Right hand turn or continue down the sea wall and take any left to get to SR 87 which turn into IH 45 to take you back to Houston. Have a great trip.


Monday, July 10, 2006

Hill Country Weekend July 2006

One of the things I like best about my riding group is its informality. We have no officers, no dues, no meetings except to ride (and/or eat) and we don't restrict ourselves to a specific type, brand or configuration of ride - or of rider for that matter. We have riders that like to ride fast and enjoy the turns. Others live for the scenery and take things slowly. We have V-twins, opposed sixes, Silver Wing scooters, antiques and shiney new rides. About the only thing we don't have are crotch rockets, but that's not by our choice. We just can't keep up with 'em.

Anyway, all that is to say that our Hill Country Ride this year reflected our group's diversity. We arrived at our base camp (D'rose Inn) from Thursday afternoon through Saturday night and while we were there, we set out in small groups on a total of three separate group rides, two tubing trips, a hiking trip and a bat flight outing. And all this not including the rides to and from Leakey. Quite a trip for a thee day weekend. If you went on this ride and didn't enjoy yourself, I just can't figure out who you could possibly blame. There was something for everyone.

A note about D'Rose Inn and its Inn Keeper Deb Rose. All the rooms and cabins at the Inn are clean and well appointed. No sagging beds or clinking pipes in this place. Most, if not all rooms have a microwave and fridge. There is no TV, no phone, no internet in the rooms. Not a bad thing if you ask me. Each room is cooled by a window style AC unit that provides cool air along with white noise to help drown out any traffic from the highway or loud pipes arriving after bed time. I actually like that sort of background noise and I slept like a log.

Deb is re-modeling the rooms and cabins and is about half done. My room had a stone wall, wood ceiling and fresh new paint. All of the rooms and cabins have been recently painted, but not all have the decorating touches that mine had - but they will. Deb is "living her dream" (her words not mine) and is passionate about the comfort of her guests. One note for our friends of great stature. The shower in my room was 3 ft square. If you are 4 ft square, be sure to tell Deb that you'll want a room with a regular size tub and shower.

D'Rose Inn is rated #1 in Ride Texas Magazine and it is well earned. We wish Deb continued success.

The ride over was about 350 miles avoiding all interstates. Lunch was great at the Salt Lick BBQ resturant in Driftwood, TX. We also enjoyed a brief stop at Canyon Lake to watch the water skiers and browsing deer.

The ride back home Sunday was about the same distance but a different route.

Friday, our early arrivers were led by Santa Chuck on a loop West of Leakey for sight seeing and a laid back day in the hills.

Saturday, two group rides focused on the thee sisters. The first group sought a ride that focused on scenery and vistas while the second group went for fast curves. Both groups got what they wanted, and amazingly from some of the same roads.

The three sisters is a great loop. Maybe the best in Texas that I have ridden. I'd like to provide my impression of these three siblings if I may.

These Texas girls have much in common, starting with their names, RR-335, 336, and 337. They also share the curves and roller coaster changes in elevation that keep us coming back for more. But there are important differences too.

For me, Sister 335 on the West side of the loop is the girl I could live with forever. She moves North to South with dramatic curves and thrilling hills that float your stomach at the top and give noticable G-forces at the bottoms. With a hint of wild country in her vistas, and just a bit of danger from the deer that may cross your path at any time of day, she could keep me interested for a lifetime.

Sister 336 on the Eastern edge is a bit of a prude. She shares the same topography as her more desirable sister to the West, but she teases you with a short set of curves and hills, but then makes you pull up short with annoying cattle gaps that may or may not be a smooth crossing. I just couldn't maintain a relationship with such a tease.

Sister 337 is the mature girl. So mature in fact, that she is currently undergoing a bit of a tummy tuck for a ten mile section West of Leakey. Don't let it concern you, the road is dusty but not "loose." Just slow down and let her take you over to the next section of good pavement. While not part of the Three Sisters Loop, Sister 337 shows you that she has just as much to offer as her North/South siblings if you ride her East of Leakey. She has great hills and turns, and none of those annoying cattle gaps.

Now for the side trips.

Garner State Park has lots to offer, from hiking, and swimming, to music and dances in the evening. Some of our group enjoyed all of these features.

There are tubing opportunities seemingly at every nook of the Frio river. The water was down a bit this trip, but Deb, pointed us to Happy Hollow which shuttles tubers to a stretch that still had enough water to keep us moving and cool in the hottest part of the day. In wetter seasons, the Frio promises a faster trip and many more options for places to start and end the day.

The Bat Cave near Utopia is home to the second largest population of bats in the US, and the largest that is open to the public. Well worth the $10 price to get in, the bats started flying at about 8:30, and were still leaving the cave at 9:00. An estimated 3 million flew past us, some at eye level when you could hear their wings push by. The proprietor said that the bats live over a mile inside the cave, and the guano is more than 6 feet deep for that entire mile. Take a look at some of my pics.

RESTURANTS - Live to Ride, Ride to Eat

Vinnies Italian
on the West Side of 83 in Leakey - Rated highly by Ride Texas Magazine. I had Pizza which had great flavor. A small one was twice as much as I could eat for $13 including tax and tip. The crust is the kind that is chewy rather than crispy. Lots of people love it.

Mama Choles Mexican - Just down the road from the Frio Canyon Motorcycle Stop in Leakey - Superb Tacos. Best I've ever had.

Hill Country BBQ - Also on HWY 83 (most everything in Leakey is) I didn't eat here, but it is recommended by several folks in Leakey.

Some other place - That Frio Canyon MC stops said has GREAT fried chicken - but it is only open sometimes. Ask Deb for details.

Well, enough talk. Let's go riding