A Tale of Two Beccas
Hill Country Weekend
July 15-16, 2006
This is a story of two Rebeccas in the Texas Hill Country, but it's also a story of a reunion of friends. Here's the backstory so you, the reader, can understand the reason for the trip:
From 3rd to 8th grade, Taryn was my best friend in the whole world. We did everything together….slumber parties, swimming in the pool, air hockey, reading books side by side on the schoolyard bench. I remember throwing her cat into the pool, getting pestered by her bratty brother Tory, and trying to stay out of the way when she threw tantrums about having to wear her retainer. We played air hockey, rode our bikes into the foothills, and walked to the local convenience store for ice cream cones.
At the end of 8th grade, she and her family moved far far away….to San Antonio, Texas. I may have written to her once or twice…it was so long ago (relatively) that I really don’t remember…but I never saw her again.
A year or two ago I was bored and typing names into google attempting to reconnect with past friends, when I stumbled upon her website and sent her an email. It was a lame little wave from the ether. I’m really bad at keeping in touch with friends that don’t use chat programs, so nothing ever really came of the contact.
Two weeks ago she initiated an email exchange which resulted in an invitation to visit her house in Boerne, TX for a Saturday afternoon party in the heart of the Texas Hill Country.
Normally I’d plan a long route and head out on my own for adventure and derring-do. This time, I decided that my friend Rebecca might enjoy the chance to go out to the Hill Country. I knew from other group rides that our paces were compatible. I was both excited and apprehensive to be heading out on an overnight trip with a buddy, something I haven't done in a long time.
Saturday, July 15, 2006
Houston to Kerrville
The plan was to meet in Brookshire at 8am. Just as I was about to head out the door at 7:30, I got a text message from Rebecca that she was running behind and to “slow down.” Fair enough. I sat down on the couch and took advantage of the extra time to pet the bunnies and play with the dog. I dallied for half an hour before strapping on my camelbak and hitting the road.
Rebecca was already waiting at the gas station when I pulled in to fuel up. We stopped for a quick chat about the morning’s plan before taking some initial pictures and mounting up.
We started the day with local twisties to breakfast at Orsak’s in Fayetteville. A Goldwing group from Austin had tied up the kitchen, so we had plenty of time to sip iced tea and chat with a nearby couple who had spilled over from the Goldwingers table.
About half an hour later I found myself staring aghast at the GPS directing me down a distinctly unpaved road. I continued past the turnoff and pulled over to seek alternative routes. I felt very embarrassed that my gadgets had already screwed up.
When I told her the situation, Rebecca laughed. “Oh, I’ve come this way before. I’ll take my V-Strom down Post Oak Rd while you detour south to 77. I’ll wait for you at the other end.”
I watched her dust rise in the wind as she sailed confidently away down the dirt road. Yes. Must work on acquiring a dual sport.
After meeting back up and enjoying some more twisty roads together, we entered Bastrop/Buescher State Park. Park Road 1 is a unique road in the region. It’s a 1.5 lane nicely paved ride through a forest with lots of elevation changes and creek crossings. Uber scenic.
During the ride through the forest, we stopped to take pictures and swapped leader several times. The give and take felt natural. For once I was comfortable enough to relax into my riding with another person following. I didn’t worry about how bad my lines were, or whether I was going too slow. Rebecca seemed happy no matter how fast we went.
After the ride through the state park, we had several miles of local highway to cross I35 and get to the next twisty leg. About 80 miles from Taryn’s house I pulled over and asked Rebecca if she wanted to stop to rehydrate and get a snack in the next town.
As we pulled into Kyle, a Dairy Queen appeared on the right. I knew that Rebecca was probably puzzled when I didn’t pull into the parking lot, but I had other plans…
Swinging my leg off my seat in front of the Texas Pie Company (Life’s Short, Eat More Pie), I turned to see a big grin on Rebecca’s face. As we ate our individual pies and sipped water, she remarked that pie was MUCH better than Dairy Queen.
After crossing I35, we were officially in the Hill Country. The terrain had definitely changed. We rampaged through rolling hills and over low water crossings up to near Dripping Springs and then south to Wimberly.
While waiting for Rebecca to pass a truck that had gotten between us, I noticed a great photo opportunity. We spent several minutes goofing off at Rebecca Creek Rd. A fish and game ranger even pulled over to check on us, concerned because he’d seen one of us lying down on the side of the road.
“No worries,” we said. “Just taking a picture.”
We pulled into Taryn’s neighborhood around 4:30. It was somewhat rural, with large lots, so I was having a hard time reading house numbers. It was Rebecca that finally found her house. We pulled into the driveway and geared down while people watched from the back porch. I commented to Rebecca that “They’re probably wondering who the *biker scum* are.”
Hair brushed and feeling presentable, we moseyed up to the patio. A man wearing sunglasses greeted us and confirmed that it was the correct house. I introduced myself and his mouth gaped. It was Taryn’s dad and he hadn’t initially recognized me. Moments later a tall young woman who I immediately recognized stepped out of the house.
What do you say in a situation like this? We’d shared everything from 3rd through 8th grade, and then nothing for 14 years. I’m sure it was only awkward to me, but I’ve always been introverted. Yes, we hugged, and did the “How’ve you been’s?”. It wasn’t until later in the party that we had a chance to sit down over munchies and reminisce. I found out, for example, that I’d had a raging crush on her little brother (I really don’t recall this). Unfortunately, Tory was off carousing with friends and never made it to the party while we were there. Taryn’s mom Cindy was just as I remembered her. She too seemed glad to see me.
I was happy to see that Rebecca was having a good time. She played with Tory’s rambunctious puppy and sang along to the guitar music that Taryn’s dad and his friends were making. She was absolutely fascinated by the margarita machine that Tory and his friends had fabricated from a large thermos cooler and a garbage disposal.
Regretfully, we had to say our goodbyes and leave around sunset. We wanted to be on I10 to Kerrville before dark to avoid the hill country deer as much a possible.
It was only 330 miles, but I was exhausted when we pulled into the hotel porte cochere in Kerrville. I put the kickstand down and turned to see Rebecca struggling to hold her V-Strom up inches from the ground!
Entirely forgetting bike droppage etiquette, I ran to help her and held the bike up while she extricated her leg. We quickly got it upright. Because it’s a dual sport and has engine guards for stuff like this, there wasn’t a scratch on it.
Afterward she laughed, and reminded me that because I hadn’t immediately reached for my camera, “Without pictures, it never happened.”
We parked the bikes on the sidewalk in front of the lobby and got a snack from a nearby gas station before viewing the day’s pictures and collapsing into the beds.
Huge thanks to Rebecca for sharing her pictures. We're both in the process of writing trip reports, and I'm excited to see which pictures she chooses to tell the story her way.
Tomorrow - Day 2 and 530 miles of Hill Country Bliss!