This morning was overcast with very low clouds and just a hint of precipitation. It wasn’t actually rain. It was the dampness in the air from an extremely high humidity. We are no longer in the desert, that’s for sure! We wanted to take a scenic drive but decided to wait and see what the weather was going to do. After 1:00 PM we decided it was not going to rain and the clouds were breaking up. We had read about a 95-mile local “Hill Country” drive called “The Three Sisters Loop”. It was made up of Texas Ranch Roads 335, 336, and 337 and was highly recommended by several Internet travel websites, which included a few biker sites. Just because it was an extremely popular ride for bikers was no reason to skip the scenery.
We chose to jump on the loop in Leakey and head north, or counter clockwise, on 336. We had seen a lot of motorcycles starting out on 337 to drive a clockwise route and thought perhaps they would all go clockwise so as not to meet other bikers. This turned out to be a very good decision. We must have met a hundred bikers on the drive but were passed by only a couple going in our direction. We saw very few cars or trucks on the drive.
The road was a little curvy and began a slow climb, winding through the hills and up the Edwards Plateau. The scenery wasn’t bad, just nothing like what we had experienced at other locations on our trip through the southwestern US. Once we turned south on 335 the road became more interesting. In addition to the curves we were getting something close to a roller coaster ride. There were a lot of dips where the road dropped to cross dry creek beds and then shot quickly up another hill. I even saw a road sign that let us know it was against the law to drive on dry river beds. You never know when there might be a flash flood. As a matter of fact, standing on the roadside by almost every one of the dips was a flood gauge. A white pole about 6 feet tall and marked in 1 foot increments so a driver will know how deep the water is across the road.
Where there are a lot of bikers there are usually biker bars and the Hill Country is no exception. There were probably close to a dozen such bars on the 95-mile loop and every one of them seemed to be doing a fair amount of business. If a biker stopped at each one on the loop he would never complete the ride. Now I understood why the bikers enjoyed this drive. They probably didn’t especially care about the scenery. It was the thrill of riding a roller coaster while pub-crawling that was fun!
As I mentioned, the scenery was so-so. However, we did see some interesting things. The route passed by many very large ranches, which boasted some very grandiose gates across the drives leading to the ranch house. Then there were the ranch houses. They were something else. Texans with money do like spectacular houses. We saw a fair number of cows, which was no surprise, but we also saw a giraffe! One of the ranches was apparently some kind of game preserve, which was a welcome change from the “deer blinds” that dotted the landscape. For those of you not familiar with deer hunting, a deer blind is a small box on stilts in which a hunter hides, aims a high-powered rifle through a firing slit, and ambushes an unsuspecting, and unarmed, Bambi. I’m not so sure why that is considered “sporting”. Now, if the hunter walked through the woods, tracking a deer (that might see or hear him and escape), I would consider that to be sporting. But I am getting away from telling you about the drive.
On the final 10 miles of the drive we came upon more bikers, the pedaling kind. They appeared to be a club on a Saturday outing and were strung out along the entire 10 miles. As we started up one of the hills we saw someone standing in the middle of the road on the hilltop. There had been some construction signs and traffic cones so I thought he might be a flagman. A cyclist was between us, struggling up the hill. As we got closer, the man began waving us around the cyclist and as we drove by we noticed that the man was wearing a Halloween skeleton costume and mask! After seeing a giraffe and then this skeleton guy I don’t think I would have been surprised by anything else.
Once back at the RV park we walked down to the river. It was no longer quiet. People were everywhere (there is a state park on the opposite bank). I sure am glad I took my photos Friday morning!