Tag Archives: Bluebonnets

Two days and two really fun rides

Wednesday afternoon, with the temperature about 70 degrees F ( I think it may be measured in furlongs in Europe) under clear blue skies, Peggy and I got out and did a 6 mile meander through several nearby neighborhoods. We went slow and enjoyed the sightseeing.  I love riding with Peggy.  It just makes me feel good.

Today (Thursday), I rode the 17-1/2 miles over to Llano to meet a friend I had not seen in 29 years. Mark Belcher and I worked at a small computer start-up back in 1984 and had not had any contact since until recently when I tracked me down via Linked-In on the internet. Mark was in the area for some vacation time with his sister and her family and suggested that we have lunch, so I agreed, picking… wait for it… yes! The Berry Street Bakery in Llano.

Mark Belcher and I had some laughs and a great lunch at The Berry Street Bakery in Llano.

Mark Belcher and I had some laughs and a great lunch at The Berry Street Bakery in Llano.

We spent two hours catching up on 29 years of our two lives and having a couple of serious laughs at the expense of a couple of previous coworkers.

Afterwards I rode back to Lake Buchanan, taking my time to enjoy the flurry of emerging wildflower activity brought on by a recent downpour. 

Tomorrow 3-4 of us cycling geezerfolk will ride over to Llano for lunch at… wait for it… YES!  The Berry Street Bakery! 

It is really nice to be getting out and riding after a very slow month of February.  I guess not that many 69 year guys fret over only riding 150 miles in a month. 

Life is pretty good.

I am beginning to hanker for a Cherokee Burger and some Miss Sue’s Sweet Tea so there is a 67 mile ride in my near future.  That will help!

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Cycling – 61 miles of Wildflowers on March 24, 2012

On Saturday 24 March, Don Senzig and I made a pilgrimage to enjoy the great wildflower show on some favorite back-country roads out west of Lake Buchanan in northeastern Llano County.  Don did it on his road bike and I rode my Catrike Road.  My Garmin Heart Rate Monitor/GPS thinks I burned just under 4,000 calories.  For folks not in as good a shape as the two of us (average age about 72!) you can drive this route in your car.  If you do choose to drive, for Pete’s sake roll down all the windows and enjoy the smells of spring as well as the sights.  Our route is shown on the map below.  Then there will just be lots of pictures and very few words after that.

2012 Wildflowers in Llano County west of lake buchanan seen on cycling ride

The route started and ended to the lower right end of the route. Went to CR216 then north and west to TX16. Then north to CR226 then north and east to the end of the paved road (San Saba County doesn't pave many roads). Then back down to TX 16 and north to Cherokee for a burger at the Cherokee Store. Then south on TX16 to Llano CR215 then east to FM2241 and back to the start. 61 miles of cycling heaven!

 While there are some pretty flowers on TX261 and FM2241 before you get to CR216, we knew the best was NOT on those roads.

Wildflowers

Llano CR216

After CR216 we went north on TX16 to CR226.  In the shot below we are about to turn off TX16 onto CR226.

Wildflowers in llano County 2012

Texas wildflowers in 2012

Llano CR226 was Very nice

Bluebonnets and Sables on Llano CR226

Don thinks these are Sables. I wonder if they like the taste of bluebonnets or maybe know how great they look lounging amongst them. CR226

No unicorns on CR226, but it looked sorta like there might be.

Llano CR226 wildflowers about and the low water crossings are running

One of many cooling splashes through crossings of tributaries of the Little Llano River - CR226

I promise that was NOT a Unicorn!  Late breaking news!  Don Senzig has advised me that the horned critters are scimitar oryx, not sable antelope.

After returning to TX16 and riding about 6 miles north (mostly uphill) to Cherokee we enjoyed a burger and some of Miss Sue’s (the proprietress) sweet tea, then headed back south.  After going through Baby Head Pass the flowers started getting really thick again.

Bluebonnets in Llano County - March of 2012

TX16 Southbound. I am sorry about the hairy leg that keeps showing up, but riding the Catrike and shooting with the on-board camera makes it tough to avoid a little manly leg showing up from time to time.

I also show a few seconds of video as we cruised down TX16 (lots of welcome downhills).  Click here to view it.

TX16 Southbound.

 Eventually we reached the turnoff to Llano CR215, which climbs over two ridges then descends to intersect FM2241.

CR215 - Indian Paintbrushes coming up among the Bluebonnets

Bluebonnets - Texas Hill Country 2012

I feel sorry for people who cannot ride a bike (or Catrike) far enough to enjoy a ride like this.  I feel even sorrier for people too lazy to even get out in their car, roll down the windows and drive this route.  It is truly spectacular this year.  The Bluebonnets, Paint Brushes, Phlox, Wine Cups, and 6 or 7 varieties of yellow flowers are really making a show in 2012.

There are several other places to see the wildflowers online,

A cycling blog post with pictures on most of the route shown above , but two weeks earlier can be seen (click here) , or…

Pictures from a couple of weeks back on TX29 between Burnet and the Inks Lake Bridge  are also online (yup… click)

Really great wildflowers and floodwaters pictures taken on March 19 by Jim Baines.

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Cycling – 28.5 miles from Lone Grove with two new cycling friends

Having found this blog, a new friend Frank (no last names for privacy reasons) contacted me a few weeks back and we set a date for him and a cycling pal of his, Sam, to come down from Glen Rose (TX) to do some wildflower-focused cycling.  Frank reported that the two of them make trips all around Glen Rose, often riding 30 miles in a single outing, so they were obviously gonna be able to ride anything I could. Frank and Sam were also not new to the Texas Hill Country and the wildflowers that grace our part of the state most years.   But… they had previously ridden in organized events in Gillespie and Kerr Counties, … never in Llano County.  They could not believe the “target rich environment” the county roads of llano County present for cycling enthusiasts, even for those of us well into our “geezerhood!”   The bottom line is that they said that this trip to Llano County for cycling will not be their last.   

Cycling and Wild Flowers in Llano County - Lone Grove Community Ctr

Bluebonnets and Paintbrushes at the Lone Grove Community Center

We met at the Lone Grove Community Center at the intersection of Ranch Road 2241 and Llano County Road 216.  I have previously reported on two rides starting from there: 

  1- going across CR216 to TX 16  south to CR215  to RR2241 and back to Lone Grove, and, 

  2- going across CR216 to TX then north to CR226 and out to where the pavement ends then back via CR226, TX16, and CR216 to lone Grove. 

The wild flowers on both those routes have been nothing short of spectacular, so  we combined the two and rode from Lone Grove across CR216 to TX16, north to CR226 to its end then back on CR226 to TX 16 and south all the way down to CR215 and across it to RR2241 then back to Lone Grove.  This is a 28.5 mile ride.  The wild flowers exceeded expectations.  Bluebonnets, paintbrushes, coreopsis, white poppies, indian blankets, verbenas, and even quite a few early wine cups were thick not only along the right-of ways, but up hills, across pastures, and along creek banks. 

Cycling and wild flowers in Llano County Texas - Hill Country

Tres Geezeros start out on a 28.5 mile ride through wild flower heaven!

We took our time, being a trio of two 66 year-olds and a 68 year-old and more interested in the sights than in pretending we could ever keep up with our native son Tour de France winner (Lance Armstrong… I have found that we have readers from so far away that they may not realize that Lance is a Hill Country resident.)  Including stops to take pictures, munch on snacks, and whatever else came to mind, the ride took 3 hours and 56 minutes.  My snazzy heart rate monitor/watch/exercise gadget says my max heart rate was 155 beats per minute with a sleepy average of 107 BPM and a total calorie burn of 2134 for the ride.  The 155 came on the southbound leg on TX16 with Sam, the 68-year-old setting a blistering pace in order to get off the road that 18 wheelers inhabit as soon as possible.  But we saw only a couple of big rigs and they courteously gave us lots of room as they passed, so the haste was not really needed. 

Everywhere we looked we saw wildflowers.  It was truly amazing.  Rather than try to describe it, pictures follow. 

Off we go into the hills!

Cycling Texas Llano Country during bluebonnet season

Bluebonnets along CR216

Cycling to see wildflowers in Llano County, Texas Hill Country

mesquite and bluebonnets on CR216

Llano County Road 226 seriously burled oak tree seen while cycling

Seriously burled huge oak tree off CR226

Wildflower cycling tour in Llano County TX

Bluebonnets and coreopsis on CR226

It is likely that cows dried up and children fled at this strange sight.

Sam gets to the summit on CR215 well ahead of Frank and Don

The view from the summit of Llano CR 215 - looking south.Everywhere we looked, there were bluebonnets, paintbrushes, ...

It just does not get much better than this... about to descend on CR215

We descended from the summit on CR215, took a left on RR2241 and shortly found that we had finished the day’s planned ride.  Frank and Sam were planning to check into a local motel then join Peggy and me for dinner at Tamale King after a couple of hours of rest.  As we were loading the bikes and trike up, I suggested that Frank and Sam should take the detour down Shaw Island Road on the way back to their motel and check out the bluebonnets in a dry cove there (Lake Buchanan is up about 20 feet since last September but still down about 10 feet from full, so there are still some dry coves.)  Following are pictures Frank took there.
Bluebonnets near Shaw Island on lake Buchanan - Texas Hill Country

Bluebonnets near Shaw island on Lake Buchanan

Even a dry cove can be beautiful during bluebonnet season.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
After we all had time to shower, rest, and recover a little we met for dinner at Tamale King and ended up closing the place after a great dinner and a couple of bottles of a very good Yellow Tail Merlot/Cabernet blended wine.  To have heard us all laughing and telling stories about the long lives we have all enjoyed must have driven everyone else out of the place… oh wait, it closes at 9:00 on weekday nights and we left about 10:30 so maybe we just outlasted all the “youngsters.”

Peggy, Sam and Don (Frank took the picture) at Tamale King.

Frank and Sam both swore they are gonna come back for some more of this Llano County Cyclin’ stuff as they had never seen better wild flowers and had done it on a really great ride on varied terrain in perfect weather.  I plan to stop in at Glen Rose and let them show me around the back roads up there before long.  This was a really, really good day. 

As always, I extend to any reader of this blog the invitation to come ride the back roads of Llano County with me.  The sights are great, the people are friendly, we have world-class TexMex and BBQ joints and miles and miles of beautiful back roads with little traffic.  Now that Lake Buchanan is within only about 10 feet of full, the boating and fishing are good again. There are many good places to stay around the lake itself as well as rental cabins out in western Llano County in Castell and a beauty of a B&B at Walden Plantation out towards Castell.  Send me a comment to let me know when you can come out and ride. 

My next post will be about sailing!  Regatta season started with a bang in Shreveport, Louisiana last weekend and Peggy and I had a great weekend at the Shreveport Yacht Club and I survived sailing in really windy conditions after two years of not getting on the Sunfish due to the rigors of moving to Lake Buchanan.  I only capsized once, though I did abandon ship once to avoid a capsize to windward while dodging a boat (a friend, at that!) that failed to yield right of way.   That post is upcoming soon. 

Don