One bright and warm sunny Monday morning, I woke up pretty stoked because of the day I had planned the night before. Ever since we got to Texas late last year, I was patiently waiting for springtime to see what the hoopla was about the Bluebonnets.
Let’s go take photos of flowers…
Since Dan is not overly emphatic with my photography skills (in other words, I like to stop often and takes tons of photos…of things…ok…EVERYthing!), he decided not to go. Don’t get me wrong, he likes flowers but well…he’s a guy…and flowers are just flowers to a guy…need I say more?
Anyway, he had to stay behind anyways to do some much needed maintenance done on Liberty as we had just returned from our month stay in the salty air of Galveston Island so it served both of our purposes that I go solo. Even AWOL, our mascot Eagle, got to go.
A ride I’ll never forget…
I made a pit stop in Bandera, the Cowboy Capitol of the World, to fuel my steel horse and get some vittles for myself. I had lunch at Sid’s BBQ on RT 16 right on the main drag downtown near the shops and business district. Holy moly, talk about meat overload! I’ve come to expect that in Texas but they sure like their meat and lots of it! It was nice to sit out on the picnic table with the warm sun on my back taking up a chat with some of the locals.
There were a couple local businessmen in their ‘cowboy business attire’ (cowboy hats, jeans, boots and shirt with tie) on their lunch hour as well as some other out of towners. Coincidentally, there was a couple of RVers from Ohio who were also fine dining with me at a neighboring picnic table. We exchanged travel cards, finished our lunches and they went on their way. It was time for me to get back on the road anyways.
As I rode into Willow City (watch out if you sneeze, you’ll miss it!), I turned left onto the Willow City Loop. There was a courtesy sign advising motorists and visitors to please not trespass as these were private properties and livestock ranches. At first, I was the only one that stopped shortly past this large prestigious looking cattle ranch gate.
For one, I was so glad I chose to go on a Monday and not the weekend as I was told by a couple locals that the weekends are way too populated with tourists; of course, not admitting I was one of them too. Once I found myself a safe spot to park, I took my helmet off and removed my sunglasses to get a better picture. Literally, tears started rolling down my cheeks. I was getting to see ‘in person’ what 99.9% of the world’s population won’t or haven’t.
It didn’t take long for others to join me. The other posie-peepers probably thought I was out of my mind but hey, I’m an emotional tourist, what can I say? I truly enjoy the gifts God gives us; this being no exception. The Bluebonnets stretched as long as I could see along the fence of this ranch. THIS is what I had waited for; to see the Texas State Bluebonnets.
It was mere perfection; not one deadhead or wilted flower to be seen. It looked like a blue carpet of flowers…and bees…lots of bees and for that I was grateful also…you know, the whole ‘bee thing’?
This ranch was unique as each fence post hosted an upside down old cowboy or cowgirl boot. It was pretty impressive. I’m sure every boot had its own story or who wore them and where they came from that we will never know. It was great that we all took turns taking our photos next to the fence posts and the Bluebonnets.
After about 15 minutes of just taking a million phots, I mounted up again only to ride only 100 yards to stop to take this photo; a donation of hats/caps on this fence. I kind of wished I had one to add but I certainly wasn’t giving up my $40 Harley Davidson blinged hat.
The Willow City Loop was not a fast road. In fact, I barely even got out of 2nd gear most times which, even if I could, I didn’t want to because there was so much to see around every twist and turn. Every so often, I’d have to slow way down for cattle guards in the road; rows of heavy pipe lined and spaced horizontally to keep cattle from crossing.
I also was taking note of the many ranch gates; big iron clad poles suspending ornamentation with the names of ranches overhead. Some were quite elaborate while others took the more primitive and simple, but they all had wild Bluebonnets at every entrance.
What was only a few mile loop, I made into an all-day ride. I loved stopping every few hundred yards to take more photos. There was always something new around each bend.
I pulled off onto this small hill that overlooked the valley below. It was incredible. It was a sea of Bluebonnets.
I couldn’t help taking photos of some interesting native cactus’…
…and some other native Texas wildflowers.
Then I found perfectly shaped White Poppies glowing in the sunshine…
…but still, the Bluebonnets stole the show!
After fooling with my camera, I looked at my watch and realized I needed to make some headway back to Liberty before big critters sought me out to try to ruin my day as the sun would be setting soon.
Speaking of BIG critters…
I didn’t get a few hundred yards down the road and THIS happened! This young lady ran right in front of me; taking a quick right down into the creek bed. I had to giggle to myself and thought, “whew, those large critters start tormenting motorists early.” I must have spooked her with my engine. I had forgotten for a moment that I was riding on ranch land and the road was still their’s and had to be more attentive.
As I rode on again, this was a few hundred yards on my left. One thing I learned about Texas, no two views are ever the same. Perhaps that’s why those who live in Texas call it ‘God’s Country’.
I neared the end of the loop back to Route 16. I had thought, NOW I REALLY needed to get moving but just a few last photos to finish my quest to see the Bluebonnets.
It was an AWESOME day!
About the Texas Bluebonnets…
Bluebonnet is a name given to any number of species of the genus Lupinus predominantly found in southwestern United States and is collectively the state flower of Texas. The shape of the petals on the flower resembles the bonnet worn by pioneer women to shield them from the sun.