Easter Hill Country Tour 2005

We’re back from our annual pilgrimage to Fredericksburg (hereinafter referred to as “Fburg”) and Kerrville (“Kville”) to participate in the Easter Hill Country Tour, a series of supported bike rides through the Texas countryside. While there is no theme for each year’s event, the 2005 edition can legitimately be labeled as a Wash-Out. This made it a bit of a disappointment in some ways, but overall the long weekend was quite nice.

Due to the early arrival of Easter this year (here’s some related trivia; according to this website, Easter has fallen or will fall on March 27th only five times during the 250-year span from 1875 through 2124), the fabled Hill Country wildflowers were a no-show. We saw a mere sprinkling of overachieving bluebonnets scattered about, a far cry from the literal blankets we encountered last year. Judging from the way the flowers were budding, I’d guess that the view will be spectacular in about two weeks. Lord knows they’ve gotten enough rain.

Which brings us to the literal washout, which occurred on Saturday…which is the big riding day of the tour. The weather forecasts had been predicting the arrival of a cool front and a chance of rain and when we arose on Saturday morning the skies were threatening. We had to make a decision: take a chance and head to Kville for the formal ride, stick closer to home and ride around Fburg in order to bailout if the weather turned really nasty, or just call off the whole thing. I always hate canceling a ride, especially when we’ve come so far, but I hate riding in bad weather even more, so we decided not to chance it. Perhaps we could get in an afternoon ride, since the front was supposed to be moving fast.

Good call. About 10:00 the skies opened up, first with rain, then with hail, then with really heavy rain. We’d have been miserable, if not in actual pain, if we’d taken a chance. It continued to sprinkle on and off throughout the day, the wind stayed up, and the temps never got past the mid-50s. It was a good day to walk around town and generally veg out.

We did manage to get in a self-paced 30 mile ride on Thursday, before the formal tour began, and we had a very enjoyable 47 miler on Friday, over various ranch roads north of Kville. Seems like there was more interest than usual in our 10′ dual-lounge chair bicycle; we spent a lot of time at the rest stops answering questions about it.

Since there weren’t any wildflowers to speak of (other than blanketing the countryside for a solid 90 miles from Midland to Iraan, of all places! I’ll provide some photographic evidence in another post.), I have no breathtaking photos to share with you. However, here are a couple of pics that capture some of the flavor of the weekend. The first one is a view from the front porch of our B&B. If you look closely, you can make out the layer of mist into which the dirt road disappears. Very spooky. The second photo is taken from an ant’s eye level…a fire ant, to be exact. That’s a fire ant mound in the foreground, probably 10″ tall. MLB is astride the longbike in the background, along with the south end of a north-facing cow who was, apparently, a bit camera-shy.

Photo - Misty Fredericksburg Morning

Photo - Fire Ant Mound and Bicyclist

This will not go into the history books as our best EHCT ever, but we stayed safe and healthy, and the countryside was still beautiful even without the wildflowers. (Never underestimate…or take for granted…the blessing of the color of green in the Texas landscape.)

We had lots of good food (dinner at the Herb Farm in Fburg was a highlight), although it remains a mystery to me why you can’t get any decent TexMex in a town that’s only 60 miles from San Antonio.

Abbye got to play like a farm dog (which is OK except for those blasted falling leaves!), we lingered in the hot tub under clear blue Texas skies on Friday, and we got to spend some quality time with my parents (who stayed in the Hangar Hotel which is right on the Fburg municipal airstrip). So, in the end, it was a good way to spend an extended Easter weekend.

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22 comments

  1. Eric, welcome back, and thanks for the photos.
    Something I’ve been wanting to ask you the last couple of days … Friday afternoon, about 3:30, I caught a very brief glimpse of a couple peddling up Main Street on a bicycle-built-for-two, and I wondered if it was you and YLB.
    The road from Brady, through Mason to Fredericksburg, then from Fredericksburg to Llano, did have a nice selection of wildflowers, about six varieties in limited patches … a preview, I hope, of what should be a spectacular wildflower season in the Hill Country.
    Our worst weather was in Llano, Friday night … thunder and lightning, heavy sheets of rain, and the wind blowing something awful. Lights were flickering off-and-on all over town. We were having dinner at Coopers BBQ and I warned the boys that, if the lights went off and stayed off, we were to grab their tub of blackberry cobbler and head for the door!
    Glad you all returned home after what sounds like, all-in-all, a good trip.

  2. Jeff, that wasn’t us on the tandem; we pretty much stick to north and west of Midland for our riding. There are at least two other tandem recumbents in Midland, and many more “wedgie” tandems.
    I suppose the bad weather you experienced Friday night was the leading edge of the front that hit us Saturday morning, although I’m surprised it moved that slowly…it tore through Fburg very quickly. We did have one brief power outage, but nothing serious.
    But I like your emergency action plan: save the dessert, at all costs!

  3. Ooops, forgot to say in my original post, that was Main Street (Hwy 87/16) in Fredericksburg, just this past Friday afternoon.

  4. Minor detail. 😉 But, still, it wasn’t us. Our route on Friday started in Kerrville and got within only a few miles of Fburg.

  5. Maybe a drive to the Hill Country in 2 weeks would be in order! Barbecue would be a worthy substitue for Tex-Mex!

  6. Nix on TexMex. Ya to German food in F’burg.
    Yeah, I know…but sometimes, you just need a fix.
    I would have expected more red sand.
    This was up in the hills; the soil’s pretty loamy in places…it’s just not very thick.
    Did you poke it?
    What do you think? 😉 I guess all the critters were pretty dug in; I’m sure they’d seen the weather forecast, too.

  7. Barbecue would be a worthy substitue for Tex-Mex!
    Yeah, the barbecue joints were doing a booming business. You have to hit ’em early; most close for the day by mid-afternoon.
    We’ve had mixed success with bbq around Fburg.

  8. Am envious that you went to Fberg Herb Farm though…I love that place. I always like to go to Altorf’s at the edge of town.
    *shakes head* over looking for TexMex in that German town, though.
    OH, if you to go San Antonio, go to Mi Tierra’s. THE BEST Mex food in town!!

  9. OH, if you to go San Antonio, go to Mi Tierra’s. THE BEST Mex food in town!!
    Oh, yeah…we never miss MT! Plus, we can hardly carry the bags full of pastries that we somehow acquire at the bakery…

  10. Thank you, Eric, and our lovely daughter-in-law, for allowing us to join you all on your annul treck to the Hill Country for so many years that I’ve lost count. It has always been a joy to spend that time with you both and this year was no exception. It was wonderful to have our very own “chauffeur” to drive us places in Fredericksburg, and especially to all the neat places to eat, like The Peach Tree, Catfish Haven, and the others you have mentioned. We feel blessed to have such thoughtful and caring children.

  11. You should be impressed. My mother’s running OS 10.3.8 on a G4, scanning old pics and Photoshopping them for uploading to a family website, and doing all sorts of geeky things. So watch your mouth around here, especially when you start in on our beloved Apple stuff! 😉

  12. Hi, Eric! Glad to have you back! A couple quick questions:
    Is it the perspective of the photo or is your bike’s front wheel a different size than the rear wheel?
    Your bike is the same shade of turquoise favored by Apple, isn’t it?

  13. Mr. Freen, your perceptive eye has caught a common trait of most recumbents. Ours has a 20″ front wheel and a 26″ rear wheel, a combination that’s found on most ‘bents. It’s very rare to see a recumbent with equally sized wheels. I suppose it’s due to design considerations…primarily related to maintaining a lower center of gravity.
    The bike’s color, however, is a metal-flake green…very pretty in bright sunlight. Any resemblance to turquoise is due to camera limitations or lighting conditions. I can’t recall how we decided on the color. The bikes were built-to-order, but we didn’t have a lot of choices at the time. I can assure you that Apple never entered the equation! 😉

  14. That is a cool picture of YLB on the bike. Glad you had fun over the weekend in spite of the rainand hail. I enjoy reading your entries each week. You have another fan.

  15. Bud! I didn’t realize you were lurking about; I’m really going to have to watch what I write now! 😉
    Thanks for dropping in…

  16. Eric, don’t let me stop you from saying anything that you want to. Keep up the good work.

  17. Bud, I was just kidding. I’ve always been a pretty good self-editor. Besides, if our family has any deep dark secrets or skeletons in the closet, it’s news to me. If we were a soap opera, we’d be canceled after the first episode! 😉

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