Our route would start on the western shore of Lake Buchanan, then go west on FM261 and FM2241 to TX29 on the east edge of Llano, then down TX29 to TX16 where we would go south to Fm152 at the northeast corner of the Llano Courthouse square. At that point we would be 17-1/2 miles into the ride. Then we would head west on Fm152 for 18 miles to the little town of Castell, where we often ride from/to on the famous Tour de Longneques. Then we would continue west another 10 or so miles to the intersection with US87 and then north into Mason for lunch at the Willow Creek Cafe. We would leave Mason heading southwest on FM1871 through unending climbs and descents, one beautiful crossing of the Llano River, and yet more climbs and descents before reaching FM385. At FM385 our route would take us north, almost immediately coming to another Llano River crossing, Yates Crossing. There we would stop and soak up the place while recharging our energy reserves for a few minutes, then face a tough climb up the north side of the river followed by a turn onto FM3480. On 3480 we would immediately confront a short but thoroughly gutwrenching climb and then a slow climb until we hit US377 and could go left to Junction (or to the right back to Mason, if we were daft). Going left for about 12 miles on US377 we would hit US83 on the northern outskirts of Junction and proceed south to cross under I-10 and carry right on down the main drag of Junction to a city park, with which a couple of friends and I have some history dating back to 1962.
The Elevation Profile for this ride is enough to get my attention.
Junction’s elevation ends up a bit over 700 feet higher than where we started, but one makes that much climb several times in the course of going there via the route we chose.
We did it. We feel good about having done it.
Gil has posted a very good report on our adventure and I commend it to your attention. What I have tried to do is create a crude sort of pictorial report with minimal palavering from this point on. As always, in these posts, to see a larger picture, click on the image.
This was an incredible experience.
Arriving at Castell! 36 miles behind us!
Lunch was at Mason’s Willow Creek Cafe
The Llano River really was a pretty sight.
We zipped across way too fast to soak up the sights here!
Along the way we passed a small herd of Longhorns. Peggy got some pictures. The drought this year has been very hard on these animals. Look how skinny that cow with the calf is.
We go on and on, up and down, and then… finally we come to FM385 and hook a righty toward Yates Crossing!
Gil and I stopped at the top of the hill, overlooking Yates Crossing, and read a historical marker. Yates Crossing was used by the Indians and later by the cattle drives heading north and needing to cross the Llano River. I don’t know why Captain Call did not bring the herd from Lonesome Dove here to cross at this nice concrete low water bridge. That kid would not have been eaten up by those water mocasins!
Then we rode down to soak up the sights, smells and sounds of the living Llano River as it winds its way across Texas’ semi-arid western Hill Country.
Refreshed and ready to carry on our Quixotic adventure we had to make the steep climb out of the river bottom, then right at the top of that take a left on FM3480.
There we did a small climb then zipped down into Red Creek and got slammed with an absolutely gut-wrenching climb out of that creek bottom. This climb, while short, exceeds a 20% grade momentarily and is well up in the high teens for about 50 yards or so. At 86 miles into the ride, this climb was hard on us.
Once up that crushing climb, we had a gentle, 2-5% climb for a few miles over to the intersection with US377. There we had to decide whether to carry on the 11-12 miles to Junction to the left or ride 25-30 miles back up to Mason.
From here, it was only 9-10 miles to the intersection of US377 with US83 on the north edge of Junction. From there, we just cruised on into Junction!
Tired, hurting a little, and most triumphant!
A short distance farther downhill through downtown Junction and we arrived at the Junction City Park.
This is the park where in August of 1962 Bob Dawes, Eric Brewster and I parked my old Jaguar XK-140 and camped for the night on our way to a pre-college week in Garner State Park. I believe we camped just a few feet from where the picture above was taken. We had some memorably funny moments involving a hand-axe, a flashlight and some mischievous local teens, but I will leave that story for Bob or Eric to tell. That was so long ago.
We loaded up the machines in the truck and went to the Valero Truckstop at US83 and I-10 and got showers there ($5 each nice facilities). Then we went down to Lum’s BBQ and seriously pigged out before driving home.
This great adventure would have been very difficult without the help of my wife, Peggy, who drove along near us carrying water, bananas, apples, spare energy gels, almonds, and her ever present camera. She made sure we would have help if we had a breakdown out in the boonies, and that was a great comfort and help on this adventure.
All told we rode 101.5 miles. Garmin thinks I burned 7,005 calories and climbed something like 3,800-4,000 feet. Not bad.