January 18 thru 21 was a three day weekend for some people depending on their companies outlook on national holidays. Fortunately I was off with pay to take advantage of it. As I was closing out my day on Friday I began to consider options for possible rides. Invites were going out from friends and riding groups but I just couldn’t decide which one to go with. All of them were taking day trips but none of them were going anywhere new. I pulled up the National Weather Service and stuck our zip code in the box. The results that came back were baffling. For all three days the temperatures were going to be in the high 60’s or higher? That seemed kind of weird to me considering all of the cold we have been having. Now back to the task of figuring out if we were going to take a day trip or just stay home and flop around all day doing nothing productive. As my pondering continued a crazed spark of suggestion hit me in the head. “Ride the 3 Sisters in Leakey, TX it said”. Huh…..realistically why not? I quickly pulled up a google map and put together a sketchy route to find it was very doable. I sent an email to Margaret about it and she hesitantly responded we could consider it. WHAT?! Consider it?! And I thought she was unstoppable on a bike!
Friday’s are half work days at our site so it was still early when I got home. Margaret asked me if I was crazy but with all of her yapping about whether we could do it or not she had already began looking up accommodations in Kerrville, TX. She found what seemed a nice place, called them and in order to fill vacancies they gave us a great rate for 2 nights. Our three day weekend road trip plan came together in a couple of hours so we excitedly prepared and packed to leave the next morning.
Even though the high’s were going to be in the 60’s and 70’s, the mornings were still cold and the temperatures were dropping quickly in the early evening. The ride from Fort Worth to Kerrville was 255 miles. We waited until 11am on Saturday before leaving and headed out. We didn’t ride all that hard, stopped for lunch, and still arrived at our hotel by 5:30pm. Our comfortable riding window was about 7 hours out of the day and it worked out well on the first day.
Sunday we took our time getting up, had breakfast, watched a movie, and finally headed out at 10:30am. We rode a scenic route to Leakey, TX that took us on roads that were every bit as beautiful as the 3 Sisters. At one point I stopped at a scenic overlook while climbing high into the hill country to take some pictures and Margaret points to a huge yellow and blue warning sign that gave the death count of motorcyclists since 2006 for the next stretch of road. I saw a bit of panic coming across her face and explained that we were just cruising the road not racing on it. I had to remind her that she had become a very good rider in the short time since she started and that everything would be fine. As we crested the hilltop and a huge valley opened before us you could see the road snaking along the edge of the hills with the sheer drop on the outside. The incline and turns were quite extreme with speed limits posted at only 10mph in many places. We took our time, riding the speed limit or just a few mph over it and arrived safely at the bottom onto long expanses of open road. We rode these into Leakey where we stopped at the Bent Rim Grill for lunch. This is one of those must stop biker places that you will find at the head of just about any well known riding route. They have a gift shop with lots of 3 Sisters stuff so we bought a couple of T-shirts, route patches, and vest pins.
It was about 1:30 when we finished our lunch and headed out for the 3 Sisters ranch roads. It was getting so warm by now I had to remove my jacket. We started the route by going north on ranch road 336. Again, early into the ride there was another one of those yellow and blue warning signs stating how many motorcyclists had died on the route. Again I had to remind Margaret that she rode well and how well she did on that ranch road 337W coming into Leakey. We took our time doing the speed limit or a couple mph over and enjoyed every bit of the road. A few times we had to dodge fallen rocks and dead animals. This part of the ride was very curvy with quite a few inclines. When we finished that Sister and arrived at the junction road that led to the next Sister. Margaret had relaxed quite a bit from her death grip on the handlebars now that she had completed one of the routes.
We took Texas 41 West until we reached the next Sister which is ranch road 335. This road was not as twisty as the previous Sister but it was more hilly with a lot of roller coaster ups and downs with sweeping curves. Once again this was a beautiful ride and still one more Sister to go.
We took ranch road 337 out of Camp Wood, TX for the final Sister. This ranch road is the easiest of the three. Most of it is beautiful scenery with long stretches of road and long easy curves. Towards one end though there is one short section where the turns and road grades get serious and you have to be careful. Especially after riding 50 and 60 for long stretches to suddenly confront steep inclines and sharp 15mph turns, it could be easy to mis-judge and fly off into the valley below. Coming out of the hills at the end of ranch road 337 brings back past the Bent Rim Grill and finishes the 95 mile 3 Sisters route.
By now it was 4:30pm so we headed straight back to Kerrville. I had stopped towards the end of ranch road 337 and put my jacket back on because you could feel the cold coming back quickly. We took a more direct route back so it only took a little over an hour to arrive. We stopped for dinner and by the time we got back to our room the temperature had plummeted to the mid 40’s. It was cold for sure but we did well to be able to enjoy the experience within our riding window time frame. If this had been spring or summer we would have ridden a bit more and spent more time at our stops since the temperature wouldn’t have been and issue. Considering we were able to make this trip with such nice weather in the middle of January we were both grateful.
Monday morning came quickly as did the ride home. It took us 5.5 hours to make the trip back. This gave us a chance to unwind from the three days of excitement. It seemed as if all three days came and went in a blink though as time seems to escalate when your having a good time. Margaret’s confidence in her riding ability is much higher now from the trip and now she knows she can handle more than she thinks she can. Altogether we rode 754 miles in those 3 days. We didn’t get as many pictures as we wanted, mostly due to the roads simply not having any place to pull over safely to take shots. I did get a good amount of GoPro footage though so be prepared for a long video. Being an amateur in video I still have difficulty expressing what I am seeing and feeling on rides and so often it doesn’t express what it’s like actually being there. The video is 14 minutes long since I included the ride to Kerrville, then the ride to Leakey, and finally the 3 Sisters route.