After a few weeks of living in the desert environment and only a few sporadic opportunities to be near forests, the little Ruckus rolled north and east toward the Texas Hill Country. I was impressed by rolling hills which gave way to small forests of oak and cedar. Vast ranches with creative and artistic entry gates lined the roadsides, their fences holding back cattle, goats and sheep from the roadway. The stubbier oak trees gave way to sprawling live oaks with massive trunks and branches of evergreen leaf shading the grass. It was a pleasant surprise to return to the land of forests and trees, knowing there are many more ahead of me continuing east. The shifts and changes in environment are one of my favorite parts of traveling.
The famous "Three Sisters Road" loop turned out to be just down the Hwy 41 so I made a point to ride over to Neuces Canyon for a change of scenery. The winding road crawled up the steep canyon walls along the blue waters of the Neuces River. The wind blew strong from the North but I didn't care, I was back in the land of twisties after so long! Eventually I made my way up to the town of Junction, TX on I-10 and made camp at the city park. The local grocery store had sausages and fresh bread which I cooked on a grill fed by pecan wood. The din of trucks continued through the night but at least I was under a tree again and could hear the faint sounds of the flowing river nearby.
The following day I took a variety of empty back roads to the German settled town of Fredericksburg, TX. A sign greeted me with "Wilkommen zum Fredericksburg" and I was surprised to see "Road" replaced by "Strasse" on some signs. 100+ year old buildings of tight limestone and characteristically German architecture reminded me of the small towns off Hwy 11 in the Shenandoah Valley. Following the advice of a fellow rider I met at the visitor center, I stopped in at the German Bakery in hopes of finding Laugebrochen. They didn't have any but their selection of strudels and treats looked delicious. I picked one up and continued through the green pastures and rolling hills of the Pedernales River Valley. I felt very much as if I was back in Shenandoah or out in the fields of the Rhine River. An occasional cactus reminded me that I was in fact, still in Texas.
In May 2014 I quit my job to ride a Honda Ruckus over 59'000 mi and counting. Wild camping most nights and cooking most of my own meals, I keep the costs low and the landscape changing.