The Texas Hill Country is an exceptionally nice area of Texas that generally runs west of a line between San Antonio and Austin.
February is an ideal time to ride the hills; but, first you've got to find a window of warm (or at least not freezing) days to get there--and then, to get back.
I'd be riding south following the route of the Chisholm Trail, and would return along part of the Great Western Cattle Trail.
The Red River. That's Texas on the far bank.
Bowie, Texas was named in 1881 for the defender of the Alamo, but otherwise it has nothing to do with James Bowie.
I stopped for lunch just south of Jacksboro at the Village Kitchen. It's a good sign when the waitress calls you “Hon” and chicken-pot-pie is on the menu.
Mineral Wells, Texas.
As much as anything, Mineral Wells is known for their great, hulking Baker Hotel that has been closed for good since 1972 (after several earlier attempts to shut the doors).
Hico, Texas. “Where Everybody is Somebody!”
Yes; in this part of Texas you can expect the local drugstore to also have a soda fountain and to scoop up some ice cream for a chocolate sundae.
The state of Texas identifies some twenty-five counties as being part of the “Hill Country” covering an area that extends all the way to the Mexican border. Realistically, though, it's not quite that large.
I didn't have a plan; I'd just head to one spot, and then look at the map for the next destination.
Keep in mind: these are called “hills”; not “mountains.”
Pednernales Falls. Most all the time, the falls look pretty much like this. But, on occasion a flash flood lets loose up river and the falls can be quite dangerous.
Wimberley, Texas. We're a little too close to the Austin / San Antonio corridor with a little too much traffic. Things are better west of here.
The Blanco River.
Fischer, Texas is a town, but I think it hasn't really changed much from when it was the Fischer Ranch.
You'll still see evidence of the old ranch houses from the time before the “Hill Country” became a tourist destination and winter vacation home site.
A school and church from the 1800s.
Stay away from the primary highways, and you'll have all the road to yourself. This was to be a perfect riding day.
Center Point, Texas.
The general store in Camp Verde has been here since 1857. This is quite a nice place for a break. Camels were once thought to have a future as pack-animals by the Army, and fifty of the animals were brought here before the Civil War. By the end of the war there were one-hundred camels in Camp Verde. What happened to them? I have no idea.
It's a pleasant day to operate the stop sign. I am waiting for the pilot truck...
Lost Maples nature area.
The path has been here many years, and now looks like it's just part of the natural landscape.
The Guadalupe River.
The river isn't so high all that often that these low bridges are a problem. I wouldn't attempt the crossing with water flowing across.
Boots. An easy way to keep the fence posts from rotting at the end-grain.
Texas Long Horns are as much pets as anything else, these days.
You can see the “Enchanted Rocks” in the distance.
Yes; there is a legend of an Indian maiden leaping off the rock to her death (a requisite story).
I considered walking to the top, but didn't. Look closely and you can see two people half-way up. It's a steep climb.
Llano, Texas. Heading back north and hoping it doesn't get too cold (nights have been into the low-thirties).
San Saba, Texas.
Rising Star, Texas. The post office objected to their first suggested name of “Star” as being already in use, so the citizens renamed the town “Rising Star.”
You'd need to be going pretty fast to catch any air on this road.
Throckmorton, Texas. Now riding the Great Western Cattle Trail.
We're well away from the “Hills” by now.
Red River and a fairly new bridge. I hate to see the old narrow steel-truss bridges dismantled, but I can't question that these concrete things are safer.
Oklahoma, too, has their granite outcroppings. The western end of the Wichita Mountains.
You don't see too many Kaiser-Frazer dealerships these days.
Elk City, Oklahoma.
An isolated farm in the Canadian River Valley.
My return-window was only a day wide, but I made it back without the need to ride in thirty degree weather. A good trip.