Archive | March, 2011

The Pies of Texas are Upon You!

24 Mar

Following their ongoing mission of “Pursuit of the Perfect Pie,” the Two-Wheeled Texans motorcycle group organizes once-a-month rides to various small towns for lunch and pie.  People ride in from all over; and last Saturday Desha and I met them at Royers Round Top Cafe in Round Top, Texas, for a little pursuit of our own.  As they say at Royers, “The Pies of Texas are upon You!!!”

The tiny town of Round Top  is best known for antiques, and I’d never heard of this quirky restaurant with a surprisingly varied menu, which even includes quail.   We arrived early at around 10:30, and by 11:00 bikes and cages were crammed in everywhere.  As far as I could tell, everyone was there for lunch at the Round Top Cafe!

I’d had a large breakfast, so skipped lunch and went directly to the pie.  It’s hard to say what I liked best:  the “Not My Mom’s” apple pie, the biker-friendly atmosphere, or meeting Bud, the pie man.  Take a look at Royers Round Top Cafe website and you’ll see what I mean.  In fact, I’ll buy you a pie if you don’t laugh out loud at least three times!

Here is Bud taking names.  Yes, he’s every bit as colorful as he looks! 

After lunch the Two-Wheeled Texans had drawings for a gift certificate and a pecan pie — and yours truly won the pie!  How cool is that?  Thank goodness Desha has plenty of under-seat storage on her Burgman! 

Before long everyone parted ways for the ride home.  Usually our route is beautiful this time of year, with splendid wildflowers lining the roads.  I’m sorry to say that because of the drought,  we saw only a few sparse spatterings of  buttercups and Indian paintbrushes and, sadly, even fewer bluebonnets.

Here is a link to a short video about the ride, where you’ll see the dry, brown roadside.   Normally those roads are green and full of life.

We had a lot of fun in Round Top and will most likely join the Two-Wheeled Texans again in their pursuit of the perfect pie.  In all honesty, I’ll never concede that anyone’s pie could taste better than what my grandmother used to make, but will say that Royers’ “Not My Mom’s” apple and pecan pies come darned close!

Peace on the Road!
BT

Texas Independence Day Ride

2 Mar

Is there a better way to honor Texas Independence Day than to get out and ride under a clear, blue Texas sky?

Today’s episode starts way back in 1835 when dissatisfied settlers of Mexican Texas started the Texas Revolution.  On March 2nd, 1836, with the Alamo under siege by Santa Anna’s army, Texas formally declared its independence from Mexico.  Only a month and a half later, on April 21, 1836, Sam Houston defeated Mexican troops at the Battle of San Jacinto  in the Texas Revolution’s decisive battle.   The Republic of Texas  remained an independent nation until 1845, when it joined the Union.  Nowadays Texas Independence Day is an official state holiday and is celebrated every March 2nd with parades and festivals.

I’ve lived in Texas for 33 years and am still in awe of  Texas culture, especially in small towns.   Most of that culture is great and some is not so great, but one thing is for sure:  there ain’t nuthin’ like it anywhere else on earth!  On this warm, springlike day, it was only proper that I get out to explore and appreciate some of that culture.

My first stop was the small town of Blanco.  No matter what direction you come from, you can’t help but notice the old Blanco County Courthouse filling the main square.  It was built in 1885, but in 1890 the county seat moved to Johnson City when the county lines were redrawn.  Since then the beautiful stone building has been a school, hospital, bank, museum, restaurant, and now an information center.   It’s an interesting stop, where you’ll see many Hill Country artifacts on display, old pictures and clean bathroooms (!!!).

Headed over to the Blanco Bowling Club Cafe for a heavy dose of small-town experience and an early lunch.  

When was the last time you had roast beef that melts in your mouth, perfectly steamed cabbage, mash potatoes and gravy, and a small salad for $4.62?  (Not so enthused about that included desert.)  This was the small portion.  You should’ve seen the large!

The Bowling Club is known for its pies, and here is the chocolate meringue.  Unfortunately, meringue bothers my stomach so I was forced to admire from afar.

While I’ve stopped here several times before, I’ve never taken the time to learn about the Bowling Club’s history.  As it turns out, there doesn’t seem to be anything in print about the history, not even on the back of the menus or anywhere on the internet.  Lucky for me, the manager introduced me to an oldtimer having lunch in the back, who knew all about it.  Before long, two other patrons got in on the story.

Ninepin bowling clubs are an old German tradition, and several small towns in Central Texas still have them.  This particular club was built in 1947 by a private investor, and shortly thereafter he sold shares or memberships.  In fact, the original document with the bylaws is still tacked to the wall for anyone to look at.  It’s yellow and brittle, but miraculously intact.  Today the club has over 300 owners/members, and they vote like stockholders.  They still have ninepin bowling leagues that play Monday through Thursday.  The pins are set up by hand.

Here is one of the score tables.  The sign shows how the bowling pins are set up.

Bar, complete with bowling shoes.

It was a lot of fun visiting here, and I highly recommend stopping if you ever get the chance.  I thoroughly enjoyed talking to everyone, and they seemed proud to tell me about the club.  Here is the best part, though.  Not one person asked me for a link to my website, which has never happened before.  I love the fact that they don’t seem the least bit impressed with us city folks!

Next stop was the Leatherlyke motorcycle luggage factory in Bulverde for a few minor repairs to Lizzie’s rear trunk.   Although I wasn’t expecting it, they replaced and installed the latch and lid gasket  for free.  How nice is that?   Didn’t take a picture because the building is boring and nondescript with no signs, only an address.  The inside lobby is the same, and you’re not allowed to see where the luggage is put together.  

What used to be the tiny town of Bulverde pretty much seems to be a suburb of San Antonio.  If there was any old-time culture going on, I missed it!

Took several roads less traveled to get home.  Rebud trees are popping out and everything is starting to turn green.   It’s scary to think what will happen if we don’t get some rain soon. . . .

Now for a quick EFM auto clutch update, sort of.  It still looks like the auto clutch is doing exactly what I need it to do.  I’m having to learn a few new techniques and change some ingrained habits, which is turning out to be harder than expected.  However, I rode well over 200 miles today and my left arm and hand felt zero strain, which is amazing.  I’ll continue to reserve final judgment on the EFM auto clutch until I have more time in the saddle!

Today was a lot of fun, and I hope I did my adopted home state proud by celebrating this Texas Independence Day on two wheels.  

Peace on the Road!
BT

P.S.  Did you know that the name Tejas, which later became Texas, comes from the Caddo Native American word “teysha,” which means “hello friend”?

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