Trips & Tales

Don't Mess With Texas

by Rich Marin • March 2, 2001

Here is what you don’t mess with in Texas. Don’t mess with litterin’. Don’t mess with the Texas lone star or the lone star flag. Don’t mess with livestock and wildlife in the road. Don’t mess with buzzards enjoying road kill. Don’t mess with rainstorms with hail. Don’t mess with flood washes and gullies. And whatever you do, don’t mess with unmarked red Texas clay/mud roads after a rainstorm!

Here is what you should mess with in Texas. Mess with winding Hill Country roads. Mess with wildflowers by the roadside. Mess with Texas Bar-B-Q …. As often as you can. Mess with good ol’ boys who won roping competitions in 1956 and ones who own creek-side ranches with goats, llamas, wolf-dogs, great big campfire pits and, oh yeah, lots of Texas -Bar-B-Q.

Our Texas Hill Country adventure was a small gathering of brave riders from the four corners of the map. Rich (R1100RT) and Arthur (rented R1100RT) flew in from NYC. Steve Larsen (rented HD Dresser) buzzed in from Minneapolis. Bob and Ann Sinclair (1982 R100) trucked in from Santa Barbara, And Deb and Erin drove in with the familiar Wells Cargo trailer from Salt Lake City. We were introduced by Steve to and joined by Mike Paulson (Magna 750) and Mike McCall (Magna 750) of Dallas, who went on to introduce us to Harold and Jan Lotz (brand new banana yellow 1800cc Gold Wing.) We began and ended in San Antonio, but spent the trip in the Bavarian bosom of Hill country and home to the Nimitz Museum of the Pacific War as well as the George Bush (Sr.) Presidential Museum, the fair and lovely Fredericksburg.

This story is told by Bud Corkle, life-long resident of Kerrville, Texas, Champion Steer Roper (1956) and an all-around helluva cowpoke:

Bud Corkle, lookin' dubious...

So I was sittin’ on the porch on Main Street last Wednesday down Bandera way when I hear these motorcycles comin’ off Route 16 from San Antone. Now we get a lot of those fellers on them Harley Davidsons comin’ through here all gussied up in black leather and studs and such. And we get those youngsters from San Antone on them colorful Japanese scooters. But these boys on Wednesday were ridin’ all sorts of odd bikes. I think one of ‘em was a Harley, but the others were BMW’s … like the cars I guess. And they had these two trucks behind ‘em with their women, totin’ and carryin’ all the heavy stuff. Now these boys were not spring chickens. All four of ‘em had grizzly beards with a whole lot of white and grey goin’ on. I watched ‘em go into the Old Spanish Trail like all them city folks do when they come up this way. Geez, that Earl has done somethin’ right to make folks pay five dollars for a soda pop and a cinnamon roll. Hell, you can walk twenty feet in either direction and buy the same damn thing for two dollars less. I guess they like all that broke down cowboy junk up on the wall….and that little chuck wagon salad bar Earl thought up.

I wait for them to finish payin’ Earl and snap a few photos in front of the OST. They’re a laughin’ and a scratchin’ like a buncha kids. One of ‘em with a bright yeller jacket starts getting’ ready ta ride and puts on a little black cap like my ma used to wear back in ’35 when the winds kicked up. She said it kept the sand outta her ears. This feller must have the same problem cause he’s puttin’ these green gobs in his ears under the little cap. Strange. There’s a big un too with a black and yeller jacket. He seems ta be in charge cause he keeps bossin’ everyone ta saddle up and git. When he laughs he shakes like a hound dog trying ta shit a peach pit!

These fellers head outta town ta the north. I heard ‘em talkin’ about Leakey, so they must be headin’ up inta the hills fer a ride. Pretty country up there, but why would they wanna ride it in March in this weather when the wildflowers’ll be out in bloom in another month? Some people are just plum stupid.

I imagine they’ll be staying up ta Fredricksburg with all the other tourists, so I figure this ain’t the last I’ll be seein’ of them.

Shor ‘nough, The next mornin’ I stop by Andy’s Diner fer some ouveos rancheros with jalapenas and there they are a whoopin’ and a hollerin’ like they own the place. Seems they’ll be headin’ up ta the Willow City Loop taday from the sound of it. They picked up a few more boys along the way. These two look an’ like city boys, but this one feller seems ta be a good ol’ boy. From the sound of it, he’s got hisself a ranch up on Willow Creek. Probably one of them “big hat, no cattle” ranches, but I figger I gotta go up ta Llano anyhow so I’ll check it out later. I hope these boys know enough not ta be riddin’ later when this weather’s gonna sock in. From the look of it, I’d say it’s gonna be a helluva spring storm and from the lookka them I’d say they’re just crazy enough ta git caught in it on them motorcycles.

As I drive outta Fredricksburg I notice that the fleet is in. Damn, them Navy boys like ta come up here and gawk at that museum stuff over ta the Nimitz. I pass by Freidhelm’s at the end of the street and wonder how the devil that old codger ever stayed outta jail what with servin’ regular chow and callin’ it German cuisine. Hell, there ain’t been a real German workin’ there since old man Franz died twenty years ago! An he was a regler Nazi practically Sieg Heilin’ der Fuhrer whenever no one was a lookin’!

After a mornin’ a checkin’ on some fences up on the Loop I seen them bikers agin gawkin’ at the longhorns like they were somethin’ special. There’ lotsa deer and wild turkeys movin’ across the road this mornin’, so I hope they have the wherewithall ta not run anythin’ over. Them damn buzzards already got plenty ta eat from the main road. Now the bluebells woulda been somethin’ special ta see, but no, these boys couldn’t wait until April or May ta come down here.

Well, they got they’re comeuppance a few minutes later from what I could tell. When I stopped at Cooper’s Bar-B-Q fer lunch, there they were all soakin’ wet from that rainstorm that came through. Judgin’ by the wild look in their eye, I’d say they caught some a’ that there hail that came down as well. I had me some free beans and bread while those boys chewed on paid for ribs and chops like it was their last meal. Ate like they’d never had meat on wax paper before. I guess that ain’t dainty like where they come from. From the look of it they were gonna chuck it in and head back to F-burg by way of Enchanted Rock. Second most popular attraction in Texas they say, but hell if I can figger out what there is ta see but a bunch a old rocks and hills. That good ol’ boy is still with ‘em and I notice outside that he’s riddin’ a banana yeller machine that looks Texas-size. Man, that thing looks like it can pull a wagon and still go like spit!

Before headin’ home that evenin’ I slowed down over ta Route 16 near Willow City and I hear that familier whoopin’ and hollerin’ near that ranch I was thinkin’ might be fer sale. Damn if it ain’t those boys agin sittin’ around a big ol’ campfire out by the crik. They got a regler fiesta goin’ with chile lights an beer and, yep, more Bar-B-Q. You’ld think they hadn’t read all that there stuff from the American Medical Association about how too much char-broiled meat ain’t good fer ya! Well, this is a real pretty ranch and that feller who owns it has hisself a nice big truck, a dawg that you jist knoooow can hunt, cause he’s got more wolf than dawg in ‘im. He’s got a donkey an some goats and a llama ta look after ‘em. Pretty l’il place.

Now the next mornin’ I don’t bother goin’ ta Andy’s cause I jist know those boys are back there. I head straight up ta The Loop agin ta finish the fence work. As I’m workin’ my way East over taward Comanche Springs, I notice them bikers agin ridin’ up Route 310. Now that’s worth a chuckle er two. Seems they don’t realize that 310 turns ta dirt fer about 6 miles. An if it were jist dirt, that would be fine, but we got us some serious clay in these parts and that rain the past day ain’t given nothin’ any chance ta dry out. So I figger they are gonna have one helluva a fun ride up an down those arroyos with the clay and the washouts not ta mention the way them roads are gonna be chopped up causa’a them young Brewster boys up there a racin’ around and likely spinn’ their tires in the mud. Hate ta see what them pretty bikes look like later taday! Not sure a trip ta Marble Falls, where they must be a headin’ is worth all that.

Now you probably figger I know an aweful lot about where these boys are a goin’ every day. But ya see, when I was payin’ my tab at Andy’s that first mornin’ that big ‘un was in line ahead a me an he had on a tee shirt the size a Texas that actually had a map a Texas on the back. Had they’re whole trip a mapped out so I do know where their headin’ more or less. Friday was Marble Falls, Lake Travis and Johnson City. Now I can’t say what these boys are likely ta be doin’ over ta Lake Travis, but I shore do suspect that they’re hankerin’ ta stop at ol’ Lyndon’s place on the Pedernales River. That LBJ was a character. Personally, I never thought he would amount ta a hill a beans the way he used ta knock around. Hell, he even worked on a road crew with me one year, probably in ’46. He told me some day he was gonna be rich an famous an use his money an power ta fix up his ol’ family ranch proper like. Damn if he didn’t! Seems I recall them Johnson’s only had 600 acres back when we was boys. Now how that ranch grew ta be 2800 acres is either a miracle a modern science or more likely a miracle of modern politicks! Do you know that durin’ LBJ’s days as President he built 25 dams in the United States? And that 17 of them dams are on his property! Damn!

After a hard days work on the fence line, I figger I’ll git me some Friday night over ta Hilltop. Fred at the bar is always willin’ ta toss me a free beer or two if I look “colorful” enough fer all them Friday night tourists up from F-Burg er Austin. Well my biker boys don’t miss a trick an’ they come a bustin’ in at 6:30 like they own the joint wonderin’ if they got a wine list. Shiiiit, Fred’ll give ya a wine list …. an he’ll even fill up the bottles in the back from his big ol’ vat of Gallo an sell it to ya fer $50 jist so you can brag how much more that would cost in the city! These boys love a bargain so they order two bottles fer each table.

On Saturday I have ta take the missus inta Bandera fer some shoppin’ an she wants ta git an early lunch so we head over ta Busbee’s Bar-B-Q. The food ain’t so special, but they got that dang picture a me ropin’ back in ’56 up on the wall and they make a fuss fer the city folks an sometimes let us eat fer free. So guess who rolls inta town agin? Yep, them motorcycles are startin’ ta be a regler part a my life. But this time as they start makin’ a fuss about my ropin’ picture, some a the gals with ‘em start makin’ their own fuss about me. Now I figger that cain’t hurt me with the missus (it bein’ Saturday night an all tonight….if ya know what I mean!) so I let em go on an I pose with em for a few photos out on the porch. They weren’t sich a bad bunch after all. Said they were a headin’ back ta San Antone an were gonna go ta the Riverwalk ta party later. Now I figgered that might be fun, but I looked over ta Sally an started thinkin’ that my place on Saturday night is about as much fun as I can handle. They looked ta be splittin’ up after lunch. Two boys with Texas plates went East. That friendly couple with California plates headed North. And the rest a the bunch that had some Texas an Utah plates headed South toward Hondo. I’m not sure what their deal is, but I shore do know that Hill Country will be a lot quieter an a lot less prosperous without em.

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