We took four days in mid-April to ride up to Gruene, Texas. The weather was perfect, unusually cool for Texas in mid-April so riding was great. On Thursday, at 7:15am we left our house and met up with Albert and Lisa as we headed to Edinburg to meet up with three other couples, Sid & Letty, Joe & Sonia, and Leo & Terry. By the time we all gathered together North of Edinburg we were ready to head out about 8:15am or so, five couples and all riding Harley Davidson motorcycles. We stopped for breakfast in Falfurrias at a new Mexican food restaurant by one of the new overpasses under construction. The food was good and we decided that the weather being so nice we should just take our time riding and enjoy the ride so by George West we stopped to fuel up before heading around San Antonio on Hwy 72 via Karnes City.
We pulled over in Panna Maria to check out the church there. Panna Maria (Virgin Mary) is the oldest permanent Polish colony in the United States. Approximately 100 Polish families reached this site on Christmas eve in 1854 to settle the area. Other than the church there isn't much activity around, but the church and grounds are special and worth a stop.
We made our way through Seguin and then New Braunfels before arriving at our destination in Gruene. Don't bother trying to input "Gruene" into your GPS like I tried on my Garmin Zumo 550 without any luck. Gruene is officially a part of New Baranfels so all addresses are in that city's name. I was able to input my address without any problem at all.
The Yellow Haus
We stayed about two blocks from the old Dance Hall in Gruene at a place called, "The Yellow Haus" which was a little pricey, but not too bad when split among four of us. It was so close to everything in Gruene. It had four bedrooms (three of which were roomy), a nice back porch area and a very long front porch. We took advantage of both porches to relax and enjoy some good spirits & morning coffee. There's a separate unit attached to the back part of the house that is also available, for more money, of course. There's a car port dedicated for that back unit, but it was unoccupied the first two days we were there so we used it to park our bikes.
We arrived in Gruene about 2pm giving us plenty of time to ride over to the Dance Hall, even though it's an easy walk. We took time to have a couple of beers. It was nice at the hall, not too crowded on a Thursday afternoon and it's usually very busy since made famous by the movie with John Travolta in Michael. We walked around a bit after that and ended having an early dinner across the street from the dance hall. Once back at the house we made a quick run for some food and beverages and spent the remainder of the evening just relaxing and planning the next day's ride.
On Friday we spent the morning at the Javelina Harley Davidson dealer checking out the bikes. While I was there I went ahead and replaced my key-fob battery which is something I like to do every two years so I won't end up in the middle of nowhere with a dead key-fob. That set me back a couple of dollars. We hadn't ventured out very far because the weather forecast called for severe thunder storms by mid-day. Weather Bug was right, right about noon the thunder clouds moved in and it started pouring. We watched it all from our front porch. By three o'clock it was clearing up and the sun shone through in spots so we headed out on Purgatory Road headed to Wimberley.
Wimberley is a smaller Fredericksburg which to me means nicer. It's less than an hours ride and it's northwest of Gruene or northeast of Canyon Lake. The ride is very nice as it skirts along Canyon Lake and goes through some nice remote hill country without a lot of traffic. We landed at a good coffee shop and spent the afternoon checking out the local stores and the creek that runs through Wimberley. The main river that runs through that area is the Blanco River.
Back in Gruene that evening we went over to the River Grill, but this time we walked over so we didn't have to limit our beverage intake. The place is much like Gristmill and I was told that there's at least three restaurants with the same owner. Considering that these places are just churning tourists in and out the food wasn't bad and the lady behind the bar didn't limit the amount of liquor to just a shot!
Ole Blanco Courthouse
Saturday morning we started out early and rode towards Johnston City. We stopped in Blanco for their open market day around the old court house and checked out all the vendors and their booths before moving on to Johnston City for lunch. After some good BBQ we ended up at Becker's Vineyard and their lavender fields. Becker's is a nice stop, but it's a little uppity as we all stroll around with our wine tasting tester glass in hand. The opposite ambiance of Becker's is Luckenbach where there's lots of hats, but they're all cowboy hats and lots of bikers. We had funnel cake and beer as we relaxed and enjoyed the live music.
We left Luckenbach with some of us going to Bouerne and others back to Gruene. It was a good leisurely day of riding that ended with a nice dinner in Gruene. Back at the dance hall, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band was playing, but we opted not to drop in at $57 a head.
Sunday morning we headed back to the valley only detouring of I37 near Campbellton as we rode the old highway 281 which is seldom used by anyone since I37 re-routed traffic around Campbellton and Whitsett. It's worth the extra 10 minute detour to travel on the only major highway connect the valley and San Antonio back in the day.
We had a quick four day trip with limited riding and only 800 miles on the clock, but we enjoyed ourselves and just as in the hill country this area northwest of San Antonio has lots to offer with some great back roads.
Dinner Time in Gruene
Dance Hall in Gruene
Leo, Terry, Irma, Ricardo
Sid & Letty
Irma & Ricardo in Lavender Field at Becker's
Joe & Sonia
Irma & Albert as Hosts rejecting customers at restaurant