by Robert "Trip" Hilliard

My trip to the Texas Hill Country for 2010 was a special one. This year, I met with my good friends from KawaNOW. Last year, they asked if I would plan a trip to the Hill Country and show them the hills and roads. I'm not about to disappoint them. So, we all met up in Leakey from April 26-30, 2010 to enjoy everything the Hill Country offers. The following is a trip report outlining the great time we had.

Monday, April 26, 2010 - I packed up and left the house in Lindale at 6:00am sharp! I knew that it would be a 9 1/2 hour journey to Leakey, so I wanted to get a jump on the day and get there a little early. Weather was clear, but chilly, in the low 50's. My travels for the day took me from Tyler to Palestine, then I took Hwy. 79 to Buffalo, Hearne, Rockdale through Taylor and Hutto to Round Rock. I then took Sam Bass Drive to Hwy 1431 and went through Cedar Park to Marble Falls. As always, Marble Falls is the place to be for lunch. I always take the opportunity to eat at the Bluebonnet Cafe. Life wouldn't be worth the trip if I couldn't eat some of their pie!

After leaving Marble Falls, I traveled down to Johnson City and took 290 over to Fredericksburg. Then, it was Hwy 16 down to Kerrville and on down to Medina. At Medina, I took Ranch Road 337 into Leakey. I arrived in Leakey at about 3:15pm...good timing for me. I checked in at the D' Rose Inn and met up with everyone from KawaNOW in the pavilion at the D' Rose. Everyone made it safe and sound... Mitch and his wife Darlene rode in from their home South of New Orleans. Chainsaw, BillMac and his wife (and dog, Bea), Russell, Wanderer (who actually rode in the day before), Skeeter and his wife, ndbigfish and his wife and Jesse and his wife.

We all got together and rode to an Italian restaurant in Leakey and ate. Tomorrow we meet up and ride the best roads in Texas.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - We got up and ate breakfast and met up at the D' Rose Inn pavilion at about 9:30 a.m. and started our trip for the day on several of the best roads the Hill Country has to offer.

We left Leakey and traveled East on RR 337 until we got to Hwy 16 in Medina. We then went North on 16 into Kerrville. We stopped and ate lunch in Kerrville, then kept going North and Northwest on Hwy 27. We then detoured up Hwy. 1340 to see Stonehenge II. After that, we traveled down Hwy. 39 and 187 back to Vanderpool and on to Leakey on 337. We stopped frequently during the day to take in the sights of the Hill Country.

We were going to stop at the Lone Star Motorcycle Museum, but they are only open Friday - Sunday of the week. We got back into Leakey at about 4:00pm. At 6:00pm, we all met up and went to eat at a place called Chicken Earl's. But, since seating is outside only, some decided to eat at the local Subway. Tomorrow, we hit the Western part of the Hill Country.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010 - We all met up at 9:30am and left Leakey heading North on Ranch Road 336. RR336 and RR335 are part of what the locals call the "Twisted Sisters" which refers to the three best roads to ride in the area...RR337, RR336 and RR335.

We rode 336 up to Hwy 41 then it was West to ride RR335 down to Barksdale and Camp Wood. Of the two, I like 335 better. It features some roller-coaster like riding alongside a river that is a very scenic place. We stopped several times including a stop in Vance, Texas. We made it into camp Wood at about lunchtime and decided to eat BBQ there in Camp Wood. After leaving Camp Wood, we traveled down RR337 into Leakey. Originally, I had planned to take everyone to the Alamo Village in Bracketville. However, the owners have passed on and the family has it closed until they can figure out what to do.

We arrived back in Leakey and decided to take a quick tour of Garner State Park. So, we left Leakey and traveled 10 miles South and rode around in Garner. The Frio River runs through Garner and provides a picturesque scene with mountains, hills and pecan trees. It was well worth the look.

We all met up at the Frio Lodge Restaurant that evening in Leakey and talked about the day's ride. Tomorrow will be a free day...a day where anyone can go anywhere they want for the day.

Thursday, April 29, 2010 - Whenever I travel to Leakey and ride the Hill Country, I always make it a point to eat breakfast at the Lost Maples Cafe in Utopia, Texas. There a hungry person can get pancakes the size of saucers and all the coffee they can drink. So, I made the announcement to the group that I was planning on eating breakfast there on Thursday morning. Everyone decided they would ride with me to Utopia, then ride to other areas of their choosing for the rest of the day.

After eating breakfast, several rode North to see Luckenbach. Others rode back to Leakey and rested a while. Others decided to ride the twisted sisters again. I rode to Bandera and fueled up and decided to ride RR337 back to Leakey. Once in Leakey, I got out my laptop and caught up on the weeks emails and things going on at the KawaNOW forum. At lunchtime, I ate a BBQ sandwich. Then, I decided I would ride through RR335 and 336 again to take my time getting pictures and video. I have taken video of 337 before (which is my favorite road of the three), but I had never gotten video riding 335 and 337 from Camp Wood back to Leakey.

The sun was out, it was a warm afternoon...perfect for video and riding. That evening we all met up and ate at the Feed Lot, which is a restaurant that is famous for its' chicken fried steaks. After eating, we all rode down to the local grocery store and ate some Blue Bell ice cream. We discussed how good the weather turned out and wished each other well on returning home the next day. Tomorrow will be a day of travel for everyone...returning home.

Video 1 of riding Ranch Road 335     Video 2 of riding Ranch Road 335

Video 1 of riding Ranch Road 337     Video 2 of riding Ranch Road 337

Friday, April 30, 2010 - Well, as much as we hated it, time had come for us to go. We were all basically on our own for the day. I ate breakfast at about 7:00am and hit the road back home at 7:30am. I traveled the same route from Leakey to home as I did coming to Leakey. Everyone made it home safe, if not on Friday, then on Saturday. It did rain a little on some of us, but we all made it home safe and sound.

I traveled a total of 1,351 miles for this trip and had a blast getting to see some of my KawaNOW friends and riding the roads of the Texas Hill Country.

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