Ride Report – Texas SoloCade

Stevadoo got back into the MC world earlier this month by buying a 2005 Yamaha FZ6 from a coworker.  It only had 3,996 miles and cost $3,200.

Stevadoo’s wife was in Maine for her sister’s *surprise* second marriage, so he took the opportunity to go west.  The plan was to head towards Fredericksburg and the Texas hill country.  But first he had to negotiate the Katy Freeway, aka I-10.  Recently expanded, I-10 is big – really freakin’ big.  26 lanes big.  That is not a typo; in each direction there are 4 service lanes, 6 main lanes, and 3 HOV lanes.  Getting to an exit from the HOV lane is an ordeal that looks like this:

Signal, look, turn.

Signal, look, turn.

Signal, look, turn.

Signal, look, turn.

Signal, look, turn.

Signal, look, turn.

Signal, look, turn.

Signal, look, turn.

Signal, look, turn.

Signal, look, turn.

Signal, look, turn.

Signal, look, turn.

Turn right onto your cross street.

 

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Luckily the I-10 was pretty empty at 7 AM on a Saturday, so Stevadoo had the HOV lane to himself (motorcycles count, yay!).  But needless to say, riding on the superslab sucks.  Even if you are going 75 MPH minimum (that’s the speed limit!) dodging the F-350 duelly super cabs is not fun.

The first destination was 135 miles away:  Buc-ee’s in Bastrop, Texas.  Buc-ee’s is a Texas institution and was voted the #3 best awesome roadside eats by Jalopnik.

http://jalopnik.com/5848526/the-ten-most-awesome-roadside-eats/

They, like Texas, are big.  The newest one has 60 (count ’em sixty) gas pumps.  Inside it’s 68,000 square feet.  Note that most large Wal-Marts are less than 99,000 square feet.  It has all your normal c-store goodies and sodas, plus a slew of Texas memorabilia up to and including $1,000 smokers and BBQ grills.

Stevadoo just had a sammich.

 

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Just past the Bastrop Buc-ee’s the plan was to get off the beaten path.  This side of Austin is not really the Hill Country yet, but even highway 71 is basically an interstate highway.  But at least you get to drive by La Grange.  I do not mean Joseph-Louis Lagrange, the scientist who developed Euler–Lagrange equations for extrema of functionals.  This was the city in Texas where there was a really good brothel, as heralded by the musical “the Best Little Whorehouse” in Texas and ZZ Top’s eponymous song.  The Chicken House, doncha know.

Anyhoo, Stevadoo took route 21 which was a pretty good motorcycle road to the southwest.  There was a little rain, but nothing more than a few big raindrops that soon stopped.  Stevadoo was surprised to see signs for the Circuit of the Americas, where he will be going in October to watch the Formula 1 event.  And hey, they were giving tours!  So he ponied up his $25 for a 1 hour bus tour and got on with the show.

 

 

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The first thing he noticed was that at turn 1, there is a huge elevation gain.  He’s seen both F1 races that happened on this track, and this wasn’t really shown.  But it’s a big hill!

 

 

 

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Stevadoo’s seats will be in the turn 12 grandstand, just to the right of the tower.  In the foreground is turn 1.

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View from the tower.  You can see above the red stripe that there used to be some Texas stars painted on the pavement.  Well it turns out that Bernie Ecclestone didn’t like them, so he forced the track to paint them out.  Jackass.

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Next up Stevadoo continued south on 21 to San Marcos.  Fortune smiled on him again has he ran across a Commemorative Air Force (formerly Confederate Air Force, but the Northern Aggressors Yankees PC patrol didn’t like that name and they forced them to change it because hey, didn’t we win that fucking war?) hangar.  They had a bunch of interesting planes, none more so than a flying B-25 Mitchell. You know, the kind that Gen. Dolittle bombed Tokyo with.  There was also a pair of AF trainers that had been painted up to look like Japanese zeros for the film Tora! Tora! Tora!  Some very nice guys there, too.  If he had $425 to blow, he’d go for the B-25 ride on July 4th weekend…but he doesn’t.

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Next up was a little stretch on I-25 South to Braunfels.  This is one of the larger towns started by Germans who emigrated to Texas.  As the story goes, they came here and saw tremendous fields of waist-high grass, so they moved with their cattle and pigs.  Turns out that the soil was very fragile, and after only a couple years the animals had trampled it down to the limestone.  Whoopsie.

Route 46 over to Boerne was nice, but route 16 up to Kerrvile was sublime.  This was the real hill country with actual hills.  Worth all the super slab riding.  Route 16 up to Fredericksburg was fast and scenic, but at this point Stevadoo was over 300 miles for the day and he’s fragile, so he was getting pretty tired.  The finest room at an EconoLodge was procured and he slept the sleep of a tired, happy motorcyclist.

Sunday AM he headed out to Johnsonville, the town near President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s ranch.  It was founded by his uncle, Mr. Johnson.  It’s not very big so Stevadoo didn’t get to see a big Johnson, other than the one in his trousers.

But for historical edumacation, Stevadoo stopped in to see the Texas White House and took the tour.

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LBJ had a Ford that he used for hunting on his ranch.  Note that there is a wet bar in the back seat.  His favorite drink was Cutty Sark and Fresca.  Really!

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He also had an Amphicar!  As the story goes, he would drive it into the nearby river and frighten his unsuspecting guests.

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He spent about 25% of his presidency here.  This was facilitated by the runway on the ranch that could handle a Lockheed JetStar.  Not a bad way to commute.

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After visiting the LBJ Ranch, Stevadoo had to start making for home.  He made some good travel road decisions (route 165 / 2235 from Blanco to Wimberly and route 159 from La Grange to Bellvile), some bad ones (Route 290 / 71 from Dripping Springs to Bastrop) and some terrible ones (route 529 / 290 from Cypress to home – seriously, route 290 is a big fucking road why should  it be ‘closed for the weekend’?!?!)

Home, tired Sunday at 6 PM.  625 miles on the clock.

 

update:  maps

 

Fredericksburg Ride

Fredericksburg Ride 1

Fredericksburg Ride 2

 

One comment

  1. science says:

    Excellent ride report! Wish I could have joined you. Did you scope out the Austin music scene for the evenings of our F1 trip?

    If the maggots reading this get the urge to see the race, can you get more hotel rooms?

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