Nov 11, 2006 Hill Country
Blanco - Wimberley - Lakeway (Austin)
Nine motorcycles, dozen riders in all, started out at 8:30 from the Exxon in Leon Springs, near FM3351 and I10, and traveled thru hill country above San Antonio:
I failed to check gas and air pressure on my R1100RT. Not a good start as I found later. Really nice day, cool even with heated grips. Had to show wife how to tie helmet straps as she rarely uses one and this was an occasion it was needed. Everyone had leathers. FM3351 seems not to intersect I10. There is a 3351 exit sign, but the road is Ralph Fair and it became FM3351 after a few miles. Didn't see any dead deer on Highway 46 this time, maybe the hunters got all the strays. Somewhere past Kendalia we took on a small winding road that was not identified on the map "Crabapple Lane" and rode that into Blanco. This avoided highway 281 traffic. I grounded out twice with the frame hitting the road. The first time it was in the middle of a right turn over a low spot and I ended up on the left side of the road. Crabapple Lane is only one lane total so being on the left side means going off the road. The rider following me went off also, but his Harley didn't ground out: he just followed me off the road thinking I knew what I was doing. I started paying more attention to what was going on and noticed that I was totally out of gas according to the instrument gauge but the yellow reserve light had never come on. Normally it lights up just before the gas gauge hits bottom and I got 30 or more miles. Right about that time my wife Terry asked me if I had enough gas, as if she should read my mind. If the reserve gas sensor was working I had enough. A few miles later I grounded out again, this time there was no turn, the bike was upright and I suspected I had a problem with the tire or needed to adjust the shocks for the additional weight of two-up.
We got into Blanco and ate at the the bowling alley. There is not much in Blanco and the bowling alley doubles as the main eatery for the locals. There is like a "5 star" place for tourists to eat nearby, but the locals don't eat there. The meal was excellent and the price was right. Their specialty seemed to be country gravy on biscuits but the spanish omlette was good also. Both covered the entire plate. If you ordered hash browns they came on a full size dish as well. When I left, one of the locals asked me about my leather jacket. He had been in the navy and recognized the navy ships from the insignia's I had sown on my leathers. Jacket here.
Although not a schedule gas stop, I filled up in Blanco and inspected the rear tire. It seemed like it had air in it and looked OK but I should have taken out the gauge and checked the pressure. We left for Wimberley, went thru Dripping Springs and got into Lakeway, west of Austin. While riding down 360 one intersection had a sign pointing to "Hippy Hollow". We kept going straight and it left me wondering what I missed by not riding into "Hippy Hollow".
We stopped at Texas Custom Chopper in Lakeway. Not sure if they are one of the Discovery Channel builders, but I thought I recognized their trailer from when I was at the River City Bike Fest a year or so ago. They were closed on account of veterans day, but Sean, the owner, was kind enough to open it up and show us around his shop. The make some beautiful bike there, and a few wild machines. No sooner had we arrived, then at least 100 sport bikes shot by with a police escort of gold wings.
I dug out my air gauge and sure enough, the air pressure in the rear was only 18 pounds. It needs to be 30 - 32 and I borrowed Sean's air compressor and filled up my rear tire. It looked deformed after filling to 30psi and I suspect it was because the tread on the side had been worn from riding two-up with low pressure. I had already been riding on a plug for at least 4 months and should have checked the air pressure before letting my wife get on. Sean said he occasionally plugs tires and pointed out a "big dog" with a huge rear tire and said you would not throw away a $400 tire because it needed a plug. He said he patches tires like that from the inside but I think he was referring to tube tires, not tubeless.
I dropped out of the ride at this point because I wanted to visit my son who
had moved up to the Austin area. We later stopped in New Braunfels and ate
at the Friesenhaus. It was formerly known as the Krause Cafe and was (and
still is) an attraction. The waitresses wear authentic German style
dresses and we got ours to pose for a photo. She thought I had a Harley
and seemed disappointed when I told her it was just a BMW. She thought I
had a Harley and seemed disappointed when I told her it was just a BMW. She
said she always wanted to ride on a Harley but I couldn't lie about the BMW,
especially with the wife present.