One bright, warm, sunny Monday morning, I woke up early to go on a much needed solo ride to see the Texas Bluebonnets.
About the Texas Bluebonnets…
Bluebonnet is a name given to any number of species of the genus Lupinus. The beautiful blew flowers are predominantly found in southwestern United States. The shape of the petals on the flower resembles the bonnet worn by pioneer women to shield them from the sun.
Let’s go take photos of flowers…
Since Dan is not overly emphatic about stopping to take a photo of every little thing, he decided not to go. Don’t get me wrong, he loves pretty flowers. However, he’s a guy. To him, flowers are what you give a girl to show you love her or you’re trying to make nice after pissing her off.
Anyway, he wanted to stay behind anyways to do some much needed maintenance done on Liberty. Days prior, 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 it alone this time.
My fairytale ride…
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.
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 we each went on our way.
Onto the Willow City Loop…
I followed RT 16 North all the way through Kerrville and Fredericksburg, which were quite busy as any small city is on a weekday and of course, tourist season here has already begun. Once I got past Fredericksburg for about 10 miles, I turned right shortly after arriving in Eckert onto CR 1323. There was a small sign pointing the way to the Willow City Loop.
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 onto private properties and livestock ranches.
But I did want to get a shot of this large prestigious looking cattle ranch gate of the Mark Harman Ranch.
I was so glad I chose to go on a Monday and not the weekend. I was advised by a couple locals that the weekends are way too populated with tourists (like me??).
Boots and Bluebonnets…
Once I found myself a safe spot to park alongside the road, 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 ever get to see!
However, my solace was short-lived. It didn’t take long for others to join me. 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.
After about 15 minutes of just taking a million photos, I rode not even 100 yards to stop and take this photo. I kind of wished I had one to leave my mark however, I wasn’t giving up my $40 Harley Davidson blinged hat in my saddlebag.
I have to warn those who want to venture this way. Willow City Loop is not a fast road. And don’t even think about being mindless driving like you’re in New York city here. First, it’s a ranch road. Second, we have to be mindful of others who may be suddenly stopping or pedestrians crossing the road. And third, there are cattle guards that stretch from both sides of the road.
In fact, I barely even got out of second gear most times. Even if I could, I didn’t want to because there was so much to see around every twist and turn.
I also looking at the different ranch gates. Some were big iron-clad poles suspending ornamentation with the names of the family ranches overhead. While those were quite elaborate, there were others that were more humble and simple looking. But they all had one thing in common; wild Bluebonnets at their every entrance.
What was only a few-mile loop, I made into an all-day ride. Stopping every few hundred yards, I’d take it all in and of course, more photos.
I pulled off onto small hill that overlooked the valley below. It was a sea of Texas Bluebonnets.
I couldn’t help taking photos of some interesting native cactus’ alongside the road.
…and of course, some other native Texas wildflowers.
I also found perfectly-shaped White Poppies basking in the sunshine.
But still, the Bluebonnets stole the show!
After taking what seemed to be a zillion photos, I looked at my watch and realized I needed to make some headway to get back to Liberty. Since Hill Country is also known for big game animals, I needed to get moving.
Speaking of BIG critters animals…
I didn’t get a few hundred yards down the road and this happened. This big heifer ran right in front of me. She bolted right across the road to the creek bed below.
I giggled to myself thinking, “whew, those large critters start tormenting motorists early.” I must have spooked her with my engine. I had forgotten that I was riding on ranch land.
After gathering my composure and making sure I got photo evidence for this story, I saddled up again to ride another few miles. I noticed another motorcycle parked in a pull-off below. He was taking photos up in the air to the right. As I neared him, I looked in the direction where he was pointing his camera and thought to myself, “WOW!”
I stopped myself, to take the same photos. They spires looked like stone castle turrets. It was something I didn’t expect to see in the Texas Hill Country.