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#1 Bill FJR

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 07:36 PM

This year, after 37 years of wedded bliss, my wife and I are planning to take a few months off to catch up on some long-deferred riding. We plan to leave Connecticut in early May and ride the FJ Rocket down familiar roads south to Natchez, Mississippi. After that we’re off to visit friends in Sante Fe, New Mexico, after which we will follow the weather and good motorcycle roads until we get tired of each other.

The first test of our relationship may well be the expanse between Natchez and Sante Fe. I’ve heard good things about riding in the east and west Texas hill country, but it sure looks likes there’s a whole lot of not-so-twisty roads between the two.

So how ‘bout it, Texas experts – any recommendations on how a pair of geriatric love birds can cross the Lone Star State on interesting two-lane roads? No rush – we’d rather spend three days on good roads than one day on the slab. And "rustic" accommodations are OK as long as they are priced accordingly.

Thanks!

Bill
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#2 theycallmemorris

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 08:18 PM

I've got a few suggestions to start off with, but will probably have a few more to add later.

North of Houston on the west side of Lake Conroe is 149, and it is a pretty good ride. It's a pretty relaxing and twisty(compared to the rest of this area) road through the Sam Houston National Forest. The hill country around Austin and San Antonio has some nice places too. Plenty to do around there, and a walk down the River Walk in San Antonio is a must. As for a really good ride, head out SW of San Antonio to Barksdale and take Ranch Road 335. Try and hit up the roads south of Rocksprings in that same area too. I haven't had the chance to ride out there, but driving my lifted dually out there was hell! Not a straight or flat section anywhere around. The surface is good though. I travel around the state for work most of the year, so have seem most of it. If you've got any questions about an area, let me know and maybe I can give you a little more info on it.

#3 Bill FJR

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 05:00 AM

Thanks, Morris - that's just the kind of info I need. I might have been able to guess about the good roads in Sam Houston National Forest, but roads like Ranch Road 335 don't grab my attention when I look at a map. Broad-brush regional information ("roads south of Rocksprings") is helpful as well. And I particularly appreciate info on surface condition - even the best twisties can be ruined by bad asphalt, and there's no way that kind of info can be divined from a map.

Thanks again,

Bill
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#4 SouthernCruizer

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 06:34 AM

Thanks, Morris - that's just the kind of info I need. I might have been able to guess about the good roads in Sam Houston National Forest, but roads like Ranch Road 335 don't grab my attention when I look at a map. Broad-brush regional information ("roads south of Rocksprings") is helpful as well. And I particularly appreciate info on surface condition - even the best twisties can be ruined by bad asphalt, and there's no way that kind of info can be divined from a map.

Thanks again,

Bill

Ranch Road 335 is one of the famous "Three Sisters" (335/336/337). It's one of the best roads in hill country.

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#5 theycallmemorris

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 07:18 AM

I'm glad I was a little help. Especially after all I've learned from this forum.

I didn't know that 335 was known for anything to do with riding. I work out at oil/gas wells and we drilled one off of 335 last month. I'm suppose to be heading back out there again tomorrow for probably a month and am wanting to load my bike up to take along. But... These wells are sometimes 20 miles down bad dirt roads(I stay on location the whole time) so I don't know if I could even get it back out to the asphalt to ride.

I'll keep an eye out for some more good spots to ride while I'm out there, and along the way.

I can't remember the exact road name that leads south of Rocksprings, but I was headed to Kickapoo Caverns State Park from Rocksprings when I found it. Some great views twisting through the valleys as it drops off of the plateau.

#6 jcyuhn

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 09:57 AM

I can't comment on east Texas, as I haven't fully explored those roads. In general that region is pretty pine forest with some gentle sweepers but nothing I'd call twisty. From Natchez it looks like you might want to work west on Hwy 84 to 28 to 63, ending up in Jasper. From there stay on 63 angling northwest to Lufkinn, then take 7 west. I don't think 7 is anything to write home about, but in general the area from east of I-45 to I-35 is darn flat and makes for uninteresting riding. Take 7 and then 84 to Goldthwaite. Now you're on my turf and things get much more interesting. :)

From Goldthwaite drop south on Hwy 16 - a very nice, smooth set of sweepers toward the hill country. Take it all the way to Fredericksburg. Fred is a tourist town. Lots of lodging and restaurants, though more expensive than other non-tourist towns. From Fred you can continue south on 16, or better yet, go east on 290 and take Old No 9/Old San Antonio Rd south. It's an old railroad route up and over the hill. The cafe at the top has fantastic food. The old RR tunnel there is now a bat cave as well. Continue south to Comfort, then work your way west back to Hwy 16. On 16 drop south to Medina. At Medina take 337 west (one of the twisted sisters. Don't worry, it gets a lot more twiested as you go west! Jog north to stay on 337 at Vanderpool. The Hill Country Motorcycle Museum is a mile or 2 north on 187 and has a decent little cafe. Check their website for hours. You are now in the heart of the twisted sisters.

My suggested route is to continue west on 337 from Leakey, then north onto 335 at Camp Wood, up to Hwy 41. East onto 41, then south onto 336. You're now back at Leakey and get to ride that segment of 337 again :)

After destroying your chicken strips on the sisters, you now have a decision to make. There aren't many roads to choose from when heading west. You can either head south and take Hwy90 west, touching the Mexican border, or head up to I-10 and slab it west. Hwy 90 will take you through Marathon (interesting lodging at the Gage hotel), Alpine, and Marfa (a funky, arty town these days), and near Big Bend national park, eventually dumping you onto I-10. The speed limit is 75MPH on most of Hwy 90. On the other hand, I-10 is more direct and the speed limit is 80MPH all the way to El Paso.

I've been planning a weeks riding vacation from DFW out to Big Bend and back, so have some info on things to see, do, and where to stay. Post up once you have some idea of route and overnight stops and I'll be happy to share details.

- JimY

#7 SouthernCruizer

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 10:52 AM

I'm glad I was a little help. Especially after all I've learned from this forum.

I didn't know that 335 was known for anything to do with riding. I work out at oil/gas wells and we drilled one off of 335 last month. I'm suppose to be heading back out there again tomorrow for probably a month and am wanting to load my bike up to take along. But... These wells are sometimes 20 miles down bad dirt roads(I stay on location the whole time) so I don't know if I could even get it back out to the asphalt to ride.

I'll keep an eye out for some more good spots to ride while I'm out there, and along the way.

I can't remember the exact road name that leads south of Rocksprings, but I was headed to Kickapoo Caverns State Park from Rocksprings when I found it. Some great views twisting through the valleys as it drops off of the plateau.

Hey, you need to come out to Bandera in April, for our 8th Annual Oilmans Invitational Hill Country Ride. Check it out at OMHCR. Every registrant is in the oilfield. We normally have close to 300 bikes there.

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#8 theycallmemorris

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 12:06 PM

I'll check out the Oilman's ride, but between being on call for work, and riding out to Orlando to see the girlfriend, it's hard for me to make much of any plans in advance. I've only ever ridden alone because of this... So it'd be nice to finally be able to get out and ride with some others.

Bill, even though the roads out further west are about as straight as they could be, there are some decent rolling hills and the scenery is pretty good. The world seems to look a little bigger out there with as vast as it all is. I haven't ridden out there, but the winds can be pretty strong at times and even push my truck around.

#9 k1oj

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 01:04 PM

I can't comment on east Texas, as I haven't fully explored those roads. In general that region is pretty pine forest with some gentle sweepers but nothing I'd call twisty. From Natchez it looks like you might want to work west on Hwy 84 to 28 to 63, ending up in Jasper. From there stay on 63 angling northwest to Lufkinn, then take 7 west. I don't think 7 is anything to write home about, but in general the area from east of I-45 to I-35 is darn flat and makes for uninteresting riding. Take 7 and then 84 to Goldthwaite. Now you're on my turf and things get much more interesting. :)

From Goldthwaite drop south on Hwy 16 - a very nice, smooth set of sweepers toward the hill country. Take it all the way to Fredericksburg. Fred is a tourist town. Lots of lodging and restaurants, though more expensive than other non-tourist towns. From Fred you can continue south on 16, or better yet, go east on 290 and take Old No 9/Old San Antonio Rd south. It's an old railroad route up and over the hill. The cafe at the top has fantastic food. The old RR tunnel there is now a bat cave as well. Continue south to Comfort, then work your way west back to Hwy 16. On 16 drop south to Medina. At Medina take 337 west (one of the twisted sisters. Don't worry, it gets a lot more twiested as you go west! Jog north to stay on 337 at Vanderpool. The Hill Country Motorcycle Museum is a mile or 2 north on 187 and has a decent little cafe. Check their website for hours. You are now in the heart of the twisted sisters.

My suggested route is to continue west on 337 from Leakey, then north onto 335 at Camp Wood, up to Hwy 41. East onto 41, then south onto 336. You're now back at Leakey and get to ride that segment of 337 again :)

After destroying your chicken strips on the sisters, you now have a decision to make. There aren't many roads to choose from when heading west. You can either head south and take Hwy90 west, touching the Mexican border, or head up to I-10 and slab it west. Hwy 90 will take you through Marathon (interesting lodging at the Gage hotel), Alpine, and Marfa (a funky, arty town these days), and near Big Bend national park, eventually dumping you onto I-10. The speed limit is 75MPH on most of Hwy 90. On the other hand, I-10 is more direct and the speed limit is 80MPH all the way to El Paso.

I've been planning a weeks riding vacation from DFW out to Big Bend and back, so have some info on things to see, do, and where to stay. Post up once you have some idea of route and overnight stops and I'll be happy to share details.

- JimY



This is a great suggestion. I have run the 'three sisters' many times and in fact we are heading back with a local group to Frio Canyon Pecan Farm for 4 days in April. Hwy 90 west of San Antonio will take you toward Hondo and on to the boarder. Following the border west toward Big Bend park is a nice ride but so is the hill country west and northwest of San Antonio. Have a good ride!

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#10 Bill FJR

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 03:34 PM

Thanks, guys - looks like I now have a different problem. Instead of figuring out how to get through Texas, now I have to make sure I take enough time to do it justice! Keep the ideas coming and I'll see if I can propose a route for comment.

Thanks again,

Bill
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#11 RnotU

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 07:32 PM

The route from Natchez across Louisiana is a good route to take not alot of curves on US84 good road surface though not alot of heavy truck traffic(are big trucks but not like on supper slab)If going to TX hill country to ride the 3sisters take LA 28 through Alexandria,when going through you have to go N.on I49 north of town you turn W.follow signs for 28 to Leesville and Fort Polk. Ts into US 71 turn left go LA63 W. Follow to Jasper, TX. US190 follow to Livingston, south on US 59 about 2mi, Right on FM1988 follow this to FM 3278, takes pass Livingston dam, at FM 222 turn right. follow to TX150 turn right, follow to town of New Waverly,turn left to FM1375 turn right. this takes you to 149 turn right follow to Anderson, TX. Here take TX 90 to Navasota, take TX 105 through town stay on 105 for about 10mi. pass Washington on the Brazos State Park you'll come to TX 390 take this it will take you to US 290 at Burton, TX. 290 toward Austin. You'll get to TX 21 take this south through Bastrop to San Marcos. In San Marcos pickup FM 12 to Wimberly, where 12 turns right to go into Wimberly go straight on FM 32 follow this across Devil's Back bone till you get to FM 473 follow to Comfort, TX. From here you can stay in Kerrville and access the 3 sisters you were told about off of TX 16 at Medina. This route avoids Houston and other large cities. There are hotels and state parks for camping along this route. Hope this helps.

#12 SouthernCruizer

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 05:50 AM

"You'll get to TX 21 take this south through Bastrop to San Marcos. In San Marcos pickup FM 12 to Wimberly, where 12 turns right to go into Wimberly go straight on FM 32 follow this across Devil's Back bone till you get to FM 473 follow to Comfort, TX. From here you can stay in Kerrville and access the 3 sisters you were told about off of TX 16 at Medina."

Yes, the above is good stuff. I only wish that hwy 21 thru Bastrop had about 50 more miles of scenery that you will see in the state park area. As for the 3sisters, you owe it to yourself to continue south on hwy 16 at Medina (check out the Apple Store) to continue on to Bandera, and have a meal at OST Cafe, and just check out the little cowboy town. Then you can head back north up hwy 16 and access the sisters.

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#13 jcyuhn

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 07:00 AM

I see you're getting more good advice above from the east Texas experts. Their suggestion means missing Hwy16 north of Fredericksburg - a very nice ride - but is overall a much better route because they are giving you the best ride across east Texas into the hill country.

One suggestion I neglected to post previoiusly - there are many very helpful folks over on the Two Wheeled Texans forum - www.twtex.com. Don't hestitate to introduce yourself and ask for input there.

#14 jmdaniel

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 04:32 AM

Lot of mention of Hwy 16 to Fredericksburg here. If that does end up on your route, be sure to include a stop for lunch at Cooper's, in Llano. It's on Hwy 29, but just a half mile or so off 16.

Yum, yum!

Texas barbecue is a hotly debated topic, but this place is legendary. I was just up there Saturday with a couple of Cooper's virgins, and it's always fun to see a newbie's face light up when they step up to the box to pick out what they want to eat. :yahoo:
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#15 RnotU

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 02:58 PM

If you wanted to get back to TX16 from Leaky go N. on US83 to TX39. This takes you back to Kerrville by following the Guadilupe River. This is a very fun ride, just watch out for low water crossings and tourist. If riding in summer months beaware of the heat and carry plenty of water.

#16 ErikW

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Posted 26 August 2012 - 09:41 PM

I rode to TX some what recently and found the twisted sisters to be the highlight. Some of these roads were already mentioned but I liked 336 the most. There was no traffic but I had to dodge a bird and there were some cattle guards.

I went through San Marco, Blanco and stayed in Fredericksburg. I stopped by Luckenback just to get a picture. I should have stopped by Lagrange just to get a picture there as well. Ahh, music references. You should totally prep your trip with some TX music. Maybe some ZZ top, Stevie Ray Vaughn, or Willy Nelson. You may also want to check out the devils backbone near Canyon Lake. At one time in my life I camped in the area(El Rancho Cima - Boy Scout Camp) in the Summer and it was nice. Perhaps there is something similar. If you camp check your boots for scorpions before putting them on. Basically the same as a bee sting if you do get stung.

If you like boats you can take the Ferry in Galveston but it is not my thing. If you go through Galveston there is Moody Gardens and I liked the rain forest exhibit. There are all kinds of things to do in Houston but who wants to be in a big city. You may want to ask some locals about traffic through the big cities.

Lockhart has good BBQ. Black's or Kruez's are great. I also enjoyed The Salt Lick outside Austin, TX.

Any I intend to make a trip that way again but go further next time. I want to take a trip to Big Bend and around Davis Mts near Fort Davis. I also run by Gaudalupe Mts and stop in (now into NM) Carisbad Cavern. On my way back I want to stop by Amarillo. In Amarillo there is "Out Door Musical Drama" called that I saw as a kid that I would like to see again.

Hope my input provides some ideas.

Not sure if anyone mentioned this but speed limit in TX on i10 is a little faster than normal. It is 75 when you get into TX (from LA) and goes to 80 an hour or so west of San Antonio. Not that you should take interstate but if you have to make up some time it may be worth knowing.

Edited by ErikW, 26 August 2012 - 09:44 PM.


#17 FJRMGM

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 08:05 AM

oh, there are LOTS of good secondary roads to ride in Texas but the problem you have is its a BIG state and to take the secondary road route means you will meander a lot and travel a lot of miles to get from the east to the west side of the state.

You are looking at about 800 miles of riding - if you take the straightest (boring) and fastest route.

So how much time do you have as that will influence the route I suggest?

I now live in motorcycling paradise - NW Arkansas!!


#18 jmdaniel

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 10:08 AM

I ran up to Denver for some riding last week, and as someone who has made the trip a few times, this is the best way to do it.

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#19 FJRMGM

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 07:49 AM

hey, what trailer is that you are using? Looks nice.

I now live in motorcycling paradise - NW Arkansas!!


#20 jmdaniel

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 08:26 AM

It's a Kendon single. It's the second one I've owned, after the first one was a 100% POS. Read my review here for the details of that disaster. This one worked great on its inaugural trip, (I've had it for 3 years), but I always tell folks to pick up a used one, after the experience I had with the president and owner of Kendon.
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