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The HillCo300/350/400

thrill-billy85

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tyler
So I'm calling it the 300/350/400 because the initial planned route was 300 miles.....

Then the presence of a gate put the route to 350 miles

Once it was all said and done, we rode 398 miles....

Only one rider went down, and he was out for the trip.... Due to his own *******ery. He wouldn't have it any other way.

So, four of us met up at my parents house Saturday night. Philip Barrett, Anton, his dad Chris, and myself, along with my parents. We had fajitas and beers, and we reminisced, and told stories of our naval exploits with my close friend, Anton, I haven't seen since 2009.

The next morning we get up, and my mom cooked us up some breakfast tacos, and Ivan, and Thomas (RG) arrived.

We set out down the road around 9:30. The weather COULD NOT HAVE BEEN MORE PERFECT.

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We were headed north west on Rr962 for a few miles before our turn off onto a gravel road. The road was narrow, un-painted, and was punctuated with some of Texas' moat breathtaking views.

Before long we passed an old house, so we stopped to take a few pictures and poke around. That's when Ivan realized he'd lots a front caliper bolt, and those brakes were useless. I borrowed an m8 bolt from his top triple clamp, and we were back in business

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We set off down the road, eventually joining hwy290w, and RR1, past the LBJ ranch. We gassed up at the store in stonewall, and headed south past Lukenbach.

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Anton and I were out front, and having a blast hitting the ditches. These roads were really pretty, and followed Grape Creek, making for some pretty scenery. We finally got to lankmark #1. An old train tunnel outside Sisterdale. The train had run from San Antonio to Fredericksburg back in the day. It's now a seasonal home to over 3 million Mexican Free-tail Bats.

The tunnel starts down that hill, in the valley
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Group pic
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After this, we turned towards Comfort, where we were supposed to each lunch, but it was still early. We rolled into Center Point around lunchtime, and ate at some Mexican place. Ivan got gas.

South of Center Point we picked up a dirt road that took us all the way into Bandera. Along the way the views got better. Between the hills and the creek crossings, the day was really getting fun. We had a few small excursions to check out other dirt roads, but none of them went anywhere


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Not sure what this is
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PB (PhilipBarrett), and RG (Thomas) checking the scenery and their Garmins

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PB Blaster crossing the creek

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RG said "f--- the bridge" and rode through the creek right beside it. It was deep, but this guy is like a magician on that big KLR650. (No pic)

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And my folks crossing the bridge. I really can't explain how nice it was having a truck follow us with a cooler full of cold drinks, and tools and bike transportation, if, for instance, you and your xr650l did a cartwheel through a rocky creek bed and broke your engine case...... ANTON :clap: more on that, later... :rider:

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Next we hit Bandera, and stopped at a gas station. Ivan got gas.... We all did actually.

Heading south out of Bandera on 1077 we got to the Hill Country State Natural area, and rode the dirt roads all the way through it. Beautiful place. Fun ride.

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We turned north on 462 into Tarpley. Along the way, I spotted a promising road. We waited at the intersection for my folks before we set out back south for Ross road.

Turning southwest onto Ross road, with me and Anton out front, and an antsy feeling, we both opened the throttle up on our big bikes. Blasting down caleche roads at 65. We both have quite a bit of time on supermoto, so we don't skeech out when we start backing the rear around. It's alot of fun. We got to the top of a giant hill, in between two peaks, and decided to wait up on the group. It was about 3pm, and time for a break anyhow. We could see the dust trail on the horizon as we waited. ;-)

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The road eventually turned to asphalt, but the views stayed oppressive

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We stopped in Utopia for gas. We all filled up. Especially Ivan. Apparently he'd hit reserve twoce on this trip, THAT WE KNOW OF. I think he was keeping it a secret the other times. Twice he had to fill up off his spare rotopax jug. ;-)

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We headed north, but not before RG got his camping stuff loaddd in his bike, and set off for lost maples to camp for the night.

Headed north on 187, Anton apparently was getting bored.... So he decided to do his cartwheel, superman manuver into a rocky creek bed. This is where he broke his stator cover, and his day ended. Busted nose. Cut hands. Bruised shoulder, etc. I've been riding with this guy for years. You just gotta expect it. He's cut from a different cloth. He lives his life on his own terms, and will answer for every mistake he's made in the process. Wild as h377, but a true mans-man. It was good to see him again.

We turned onto 39 that snakes along the Guadalupe. This is truly one of the most beautiful drives in the state. I was leading, but behind some old lady that decided to come to almost a complete stop on the road. At the time I was unaware of Anton's wad-up. I passed her, and continued. A few minutes later, I see headlights behind me. Close. I couldn't tell what they were, by it assumed, it was my buddy. He was definitely putting the race of me, so away I went. Riding the big 525 like a supermoto, only with dirt knobbies. I couldn't let him pass me. Hahaha. Pretty soon I look back over my shoulder after I thwarted yet another passing attempt.... Only to realize it was an extremely pissed off dude on a GS. HAHAHAHA!!! I let him pass, as well as his buddy. I got the BMW stink eye as they passed.

I pulled into the hotel and waited on the others. They were not too far behind. But not Anton. They wouldn't be along for almost a half hour.

The hotel is beautiful. No two ways about it. Situated right on the pristine Guadalupe river. After getting situated and showered, Ivan, Philip, and myself borrowed my dad's truck and jetted into Kerrville for dinner at the YO Ranch hotel restaurant. It was delicious. We were hungry. Philip talked a french couple into tryi g Pecan Pie. A Texas favorite, they now share.

Back to the hotel for a peaceful nights rest.

I'll post day 2 tomorrow.
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Day 1 is in green
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Last edited:
Joined
May 7, 2005
Messages
112
Location
Live Oak TX
Great report on an awesome couple of days. Anyone that doesn't know my bike only has a two gallon tank would think i was stinking up the hill country. :lol2:
But seriously, i want to thank you for setting up the ride and also your mom and dad for their wonderful hospitality, you made us feel like old friends.

The weekend didn't go off without a hitch or two. First, i almost ended my ride early by not tightening the front brake caliper bolts after replacing the fork seals, a real bonehead move which luckily did not result in an accident. While contemplating how to fix the situation Aaron came up with a great idea, we replaced the missing bolt with one from the upper triple clamp (this bike has four) and we were on our way. We ran into a few locked gates and some paved roads where we expected dirt, but thats all part of the adventure.

Great weather, great roads, awesome company. Thanks to all.
 

thrill-billy85

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Ivan--- how many times did you hit reserve??? Lol. I'm just giving you a hard time.

I'm really glad you made it out. Had it not been for you, we wouldn't have ridden the state natural area, OR found Ross road, which, in my opinion, was one of the nest ones.

I am actually mapping out a few dirtours (see what I did there) from the paved roads. I'm sure we all would've preferred this whole thing be dirt, BUT the paved roads still were awesome. I've actually omitted that long stretch north, out of utpoia. That route is all dirt now.

I think one of my favorite parts was when we got to the gypsum mine, and Philip wouldn't take 'NO' for an answer. (More on that, tomorrow)
 

bwdmax

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Victoria
TB looks like a fun ride. I'll have to check it out some time. I'm with you on the more dirt the better. I'll be watching for day 2.

It was deep, but this guy is like a magician on that big KLR650.
RG is an excellent pilot of that old KLR and an all around good guy to share a ride with.
 

thrill-billy85

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Hey fellas---

I've got the GPX available (2 seperate files) of the ride we actually did. All I did was clean up what didn't work, and add some more dirt in lieu of the asphalt that goes north, out of Utopia. We were gonna ride it, but were running out of sunshine.

I'll add day 2 tonight. I know RG got some really good pictures when we were in the Mason and Llano county areas, up north. Especially Enchanted Rock, which the route took us all the way around. So I'm waiting on those... ;-) those granite boulders are fun to ride on.
 
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San Antonio
Nice report!!! Looks like you had a great time, and came up with some "roads" that were well worth the riding!
Please send me those gpx files of where you actually went when you have them ready. I can tell most of it from your descriptions, and have been on them on my Savage.. just want to know if I missed anything!
It doesn't sound like I could have kept up with you even if I went. My bike is not dirt bike, or even a dual sport, so I have to take the rough roads pretty slow.
 

thrill-billy85

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The only thing you probably haven't been on is this one place, north of Harper. Is was definitely some guys ranch, but was marked as a county road, coming and going. Two unlocked gates halted our transit, momentarily. It would be impassable in anything less than a pickup, as parts were pretty rough. Fun two-track.
 

thrill-billy85

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Ohh hey Philip..... We TOTALLY could've gone through it.... I found where the road goes. That Foreman was lying his ***** off.

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Totally could've made it.
 
Joined
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I hope everyone who owns a motorcycle had a chance to get out this past weekend. As Aaron mentioned early on, the Fall weather was made to order for putting some wind in your hair and a few bugs in your teeth. :rider:

Y'all know how these rides often start out - in some store's back parking lot and we all ride off hoping our vehicles are still there and not up on blocks when we return. :doh: Not the case this time. Aaron's folks provided a great place to park and an ideally located base to ride from. Their hospitality went above and beyond from start to finish. :thumb:

This was a classic Hill Country dual sport ride in the finest tradition. Some of the routes included places I've seen but Aaron also put together a good many that were new to me and some really good riding in general.

We enjoyed many unpainted rural roads where the scenery of a big sky and aroma of cut cedar is straight from the heart of Texas. :sun:


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This is a road I'd been down a couple years ago. I may be going out on a stretch here but seems like somebody doesn't want me riding through anymore. And, I was very well behaved back then... honest. :angel:

I mean, how many dadgum locks does it take to kill the albatross?


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The route took us by Enchanted Rock which always seems like a great opportunity to do a little uphill romp and stomp but, strange as it may sound, the park folks just don't share my enthusiasm. Go figure... :shrug:


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Couldn't ride up Enchanted Rock so we went on down the road to Bedazzled Boulder. Here's the crew from l-r:

Phillip, Ivan, Aaron and Anton. And of course an honorable mention to the raggedy old KLR holding the foreground.


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Coming down - they all make it look so easy. :clap:


https://youtu.be/lq5lXsLh8kQ


Phillip and Ivan are both friends whom I've ridden with many times through the years. Their company is always a treasured joy that just makes a good ride even better. The young folks here are Aaron and Anton who's youthful exuberance added that unanticipated spontaneity which pushes the fun factor gauge a little farther up the scale.

Thanks guys.
 

philipbarrett

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Well you rode past where it kept going and didn't see it. You were reconnaissance!!!
Au contraire oh sidestand-impaired one.

Green was our way in. Orange my fun off piste excursions and red the way out. Or as I said "I guarantee that past the offices is the way" but you guys were too busy sticking your tails between your legs and being obedient to The Man to head that way.

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thrill-billy85

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Day 2-

With Anton's bike in the back of my dad's truck, and Anton's dad not really feeling like riding, Anton was granted permission to continue the trip on his dad's drz400. Obviously with certain restriction applied. Lol

Let me stop there, and talk about this particular drz400. He bought it new, in 2006. The ONLY thing he was EVER done is change the oil, add a kick starter, and ride the heck out of it. 30,000 miles. Never touched the valves. No manual cam chain tensioner. No lock tite fixes.... Nada

Ivan, Philip, and RG got antsy, and rode the short distance to hunt. Anton and I hung back, and ate breakfast tacos my mom cooked. AMAZING.

After breakfast Anton and I rode into hunt, and along the way I realized my GPS mount was failing.

We all gassed up and headed northwest on 1340. Along the way, I raced a doe, who after realizing shed been beat, got suicidal and ran out in front of the small car behind me. We headed into the Kerr WMA only to find there was a gate added... .with about 20 different locks.

That's fine. I mean, its not fine, but oh well. What's not fine is the fact that before we got TO this gate, some rancher had come through it, and then stopped when he encountered us, and told us to enjoy the ride..... Knowing **** well Wed shortly come to a locked gate, and have to turn around. Grrr

We got back to 1340, and pressed on to 41, where we turned east. We took 27 north under 1-35, and the north again on to hoot-philips road. It's accessed from the 27 feeder road on the north side of 35.

Folks, let me tell you... This was the funnest road of the ride. It was 100% ranch land. Some granly rocky two-track that a pickup truck would have to tip toe through. Several unlocked gates to open and close behind us.

We picked out way through beautiful country before heading west on hwy290. And turned north on Sapp road, aka cr443. This road turns to caleche at a county line, and eventually puts you out on Knoxville road, where we turned east.

This where things got ugly. We turned north just outside Harper. This road led us to another road which was cr433. It ended at the gypsum mine. Or so the Foreman that was adamant we turn around and lef, said.

The above reveals otherwise.

From there we turned around, only to find out a few if us were running out of gas. Ivan had been on reserve for about 10 minutes, which is about 10 miles of the road we took in. We were 14 miles from Harper. We had to rendevous with my folks for some emergency fuel, and once in Harper, filled up. (Ivan would run out of gas again later)

We headed north out of Harper and made a wrong turn into a quasi-residential area. Back on 485 headed north, followed by an Eastern heading on 433, again. Awesome dirt road that snakes behind Enchanted Rock, and offered some of the best scenery of the trip. There were numerous creek crossings, crushed granite county roads, missed photo ops, one more gate, willow city loop, and Althus Davis road, back to my parents.

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thrill-billy85

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Hey Chris! Good to see you around! Glad you made the ride, and joined up here. Lots of good rides happening, and people to help sort out bike issues. There's a drz400 thread that E. Marquez frequents. He's one of "the guys" when it comes to DRZ400 specific issues.
 

thrill-billy85

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I know! The only bad thing about this ride is all the regrets that follow it.

I wish I'd have gotten set up for easier access to a camera.

I regret not looking at our course better, and having a better picture if the route through the gypsum mine. As the guy that made the route, it would've been ideal to have my parents take a route north, and avoid it altogether, and me stop us and say "okay.... We're about to rude through a gypsum mine..... And we're gonna do it fast, and without stopping. We're not asking permission, nor is it techinacally "allowed". Those that do not wish to try this, follow my folks. Well meet up later."

Shoulda' woulda' coulda'

Ohh yeah.. My kickstand.... That part sucked too.

And the GPS mount

Dang, as much time as I put into my preparations, that's a long list.

I guess it being my first real DS trip, I got to discover some new things.

I also wish I would've spent more time exploring random places. The river beds, side roads. Etc.
 
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Sounds like a fantastic 2 days out.. Would have loved to join you guys if I had known about it. Hoping my wife and I will joint the ET450/500 if it happens next year!! This also sounds like one not to miss.. :trust:

Gary
 

thrill-billy85

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Sounds like a fantastic 2 days out.. Would have loved to join you guys if I had known about it. Hoping my wife and I will joint the ET450/500 if it happens next year!! This also sounds like one not to miss.. :trust:

Gary

Where can I get the tracks for this???
 

philipbarrett

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I guess it being my first real DS trip, I got to discover some new things.
First rule of DS riding. If it can break it will.

Look at that wire on my GPS power lead. Mil-spec wiring job but the vibration caused the tiny fuse holder to vibrate enough that it broke the wire purely with metal fatigue. On a street bike that connection would have lasted 100K.
 
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