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Pedernales Falls Park, TX

Few days we end up exhausted on a bike trip as we did yesterday (6-20-2010) when Beto and I took on a 200-mile circuit to Pedernales Falls State Park a dozen or so miles east from Johnson City, TX.

Our plan was to leave Beto’s house at 6:00 AM to head for the Hill Country and enjoy an early morning ride, so we could get back home at a reasonable hour to run some errands we both had to do. Our start was a little shaky as the alarm clock went off at six instead of at five in the morning. Beto forgot to set the alarm an hour earlier. When we were all showered and geared-up, we took precious minutes putting on a tank cover that we had bought the day before for BearBait so the chains on Beto’s vest wouldn’t keep scratching it. What an ordeal! It was already past 7:15 AM and the heat was already unbearable. We pulled the elastics, twisted the hooks, stretched the leather, got under the bike as if under a car, until it finally was set in place.

Eating breakfast at Lulu's

After we were done with the cover, we gassed up and went looking for a place to eat breakfast. You would think it would be easy to find a place for breakfast in San Antonio on a Sunday morning, but it took three tries to find a place near Beto’s house to find a place that was open. We arrived at Lulu’s Bakery and Cafe on Main St. Though the name sounds yuppie-ish, Lulu’s is a 24/7 place for late-nighters, drunks, down-trodden, barhops, and well… bikers, but they serve a mean cup of coffee, and great breakfasts.

8:15, we are finally on the road. I adjust my mile counter on Goldie and off we go to Pedernales Park. Our route this time: IH-10 out of San Antonio, FM 3351 to Bergheim and Kendalia; Kendalia to Blanco via Crabapple Rd and Old Blanco Road; In Blanco, take 281 N to Hwy 290 E, Co Rd. 3232 N to Pedernales Falls State Park (have fun there); Back to Co Rd 3232, Hwy 290 to E Drippings Springs, then take RR 12 S past Wimberley and on to IH-35 S back to San Antonio.

We were amazed at how these roads get more and more challenging as we take on more trips. We never plan on increasing the degree of difficulty as we gain more experience; but for some reason, parts of this road were hair-raising experiences that I would not have been able to ride on had this been my first time on Ms. G. The downhill curves and the extra narrow roads we encountered at times would, at some point, been quite disturbing in months past. But right now, they were nothing but pleasantly curvy roads to cleanse the soul on a Sunday morning. We were certainly communing with angels. It was an open-air church service experience. This trip had everything: open roads, narrow roads, long straight stretches, tight twisties, one-lanes, three-lanes. It was all a wonderful time.

Beto posing at the park entrance

Finally we arrived at our destination, Pedernales Park. Here, we took some pictures at the entrance, paid $5.00 each to get in, and got in the Pedernales River to cool ourselves off from the heat of the road. Although at some parts of the trip we hit 75 degrees, other parts were as hot as 92, so lying on the shallow bottom of the river with our heads sticking out was refreshing. We were not very prepared for this adventure on the river itself. We did take shorts and a towel, but the river rocks were rough and scraped the bottom of our feet when we got in trying to find a shaded, shallow area to rest under. The way down to the river was easy, but the way back up to the parking lot was a killer, the steep rock steps turned out to be torture climbing them back up. We stopped at times to take pictures and rest for a while.

Oak Creek Cafe in Dripping Springs

On the way back, we ate at the Oak Creek Cafe in Dripping Springs, made a few phone calls, and got back on the road down RR12 where we encountered a long line of cars behind a slow truck hauling a travel trailer at retired-person-we-have-all-the-time-in-the-world pace. It was exasperating following the line of cars on the single-lane road for long minutes. I must not forget to comment on a beautiful little town we rode by, Wimberley. We didn’t stop there, but we made a mental note to go back sometime in the future.  It is a charming little town that reminded me of a combination of small British taverns and Old German houses meshed together.  Lined with antique stores, small family restaurants, and old European charm, Wimberley is a place that captured my attention while we were riding through it.

Ultimately, we arrived in San Marcos and IH-35 which at least I was not to happy to see.  The traffic was again a reminder that the trip was coming to an end.  There, Beto and I took our individual way home to later comment over the phone about what our personal  thoughts had been at certain parts of the road and talk about the fun we had. We both agreed that the time spent under the water fighting the river current got us very tired.  The eight hours we spent on the road made this a good road trip to remember.

Road map and picture slideshow are below.

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