View Full Version : A Castle, cemetery, deer, cows and a wrong turn!

10-23-2006, 07:12 PM
Yesterday DH and I set out to do a 52 mile ride through the Texas Hill Country. The day was crisp and the roads so quiet. We started in the small town of Bertram (pop. 1100) and headed down the back roads to Burnet. All that seemed to be out there was ranches, fields and cows.

Along the way we rode under a cute little railroad bridge. The thing was so low I think some pickups couldn't fit under it! After we passed through Burnet we turned onto Park Road 4. The road leads you out of Burnet toward Longhorn Cavern (http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/findadest/parks/longhorn_cavern/)State park. Along this road we saw the craziest thing- a pet deer!! A dog (bloodhound?) started running down the fenceline barking at us, followed by a white tail deer with a collar! The deer was acting like a dog, it ran the fence line and stopped at the corner.

We continued over rolling hills mixed with a few steep hills right past the Falkenstein Castle (http://www.falkensteincastle.com/). Some people just decided to build a castle in the middle of the Texas Hill Country. I learned of this castle planning my wedding a little over four years ago, but I never imagined how breathtaking it would be. It looked like it had been dropped straight out of a fairy tale.

We got to fly down a steep downhill with several switchbacks, perfectly fitting of an area with a castle. At the bottom of the hill was Hoover's Valley (http://www.falkensteincastle.com/)Cemetery, which is a state historical site. The marked graves date back to 1850 and the site is still in use. This is where we missed our turn, but we didn't know it yet.

We kept rolling over one hill after another and eventually saw Inks Lake (http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/findadest/parks/inks/). It was gorgeous, the only thing I could think was how lucky I am to live in central Texas. Along the lake we saw several white tail deer. One buck sat patiently on the side of the road until we rode by. :D I kept thinking he would run out in front of us.

At this point we were still happy as could be and had no clue we were off course. We figured out we were off course when we hit Hwy 29 and it said "Burnet- 9 miles". :confused: Uh-oh, it was supposed to be 2 miles to our turn IN Burnet. What was worse, the 9 miles was all up hill on a highway with a narrow shoulder. I was having trouble staying on my bike and anxious to cover those 9 miles. It took about an hour to climb to Burnet!! We finally made it to Burnet, my nerves were shot and I was beginning to wonder if we would make it back to Bertram by dark. I tried and tried to press on, ate a Luna bar and kept pushing. Before Hwy 29 we had been averaging 16 mph, but I couldn't get there after that.

I was so relieved to see the Betram water tower appear in the distance at 6:20. We ended up making to back to the car at 6:45- 15 minutes to dark! Our total distance ended up being 58.7 miles and an average speed of 13.7 (thanks to Hwy 29). It was a gorgeous, challenging ride and I plan to do it again but we won't make the wrong turn!

Tri Girl
10-24-2006, 05:27 AM
Great ride report- and very fitting that it be in the adventure section. :D
Sounds like you got to see some great "hidden treasures" in the Texas backcountry. So glad that you made it back to the car just a smidge before dark! Sounds like fun!

And a pet deer? Too funny!

10-24-2006, 08:54 AM
Ooh, that sounds like so much fun! Thanks for sharing the pictures.


10-24-2006, 11:32 AM
What a beautiful ride. Love the Castle.:)

10-24-2006, 11:32 AM
Hi Aggie Ama!

Thanks for sharing, I think I should try that ride myself someday.

Today I rode on Palmer for the first time. It was pretty fast and fun, I was sorry when the road narrowed and we had to turn around. We usually ride 360 and Bee Caves so this was a nice change.

Do you ever ride with the REI group on Sunday mornings?

Are you moving? Where are you going?


10-24-2006, 12:02 PM
Next time I plan to take my own camera. All the photos are what I could find on the web. Other than getting lost this was a great ride.

Karri- We aren't leaving Austin. I would NEVER do that, we are just moving out to Liberty Hill. Which way were you headed on Parmer? If you were heading towards Leander, don't turn around!! You can keep going across FM 2243 down a relatively quiet country road (sorry I can't remember the number) and to some great hills. It looks like the unknown, but eventually you hit Hwy 29 that runs between Georgetwon and Liberty Hill. There are ways to lead back around to Leander, PM me if you want the directions.

We don't ride with REI, I usually just go where DH wants to try. I am a member of the Austin Cycling Club and we just use their maps. Every once in a while we try to take part in one of their rides. This weekend we are going to Bastrop for some great climbing!

10-24-2006, 02:52 PM
Thanks for the info. That is exactly where we turned around, well... a block or two after the intersection. We weren't sure about the road, but next time we won't be afraid to keep going forward.

I'm going to have to your castle ride before I move...to North Carolina in June :o

Maybe I'll see you on the Wurst ride. I'll try to wear my TE jersey (it is a little tighter than I'd like)


10-29-2006, 09:07 PM
Junie-come-lately here, I'm just now reading this thread :rolleyes: :p !

Amanda, did you do that Bastrop ride? It was beautiful out there that morning! My enthusiasm dimmed a bit when I headed back north and found myself bucking a headwind the whole way back, but I was really taken by the countryside.

I've done much the ride you described in the OP, past the castle, caverns and Inks Lake, only we started from XMIL's house in Granite Shoals. I love riding in Burnet County.

11-13-2006, 11:52 AM
I just saw your post about Bastrop!

We didn't get to do that ride. I was not feeling well and it was a long drive out there. I love cycling through the park and was disappointed to miss it. We want to go camping and try to do the rides ourselves.

11-13-2006, 08:14 PM
I just realized I was actually referring to the Blanco ride :o :cool: ! Really pretty, lots of waving grasses and rolling hills. Temps in the mid 40's kept the crowds down!

The Lost Pines ride is great! I've done it twice :D !