I set out rather early for a brisk ride on my motorcycle. It was about 63 degrees when I rolled out of the garage and it was wonderful riding weather. I could wear my leather jacket and riding boots without being uncomfortable.
As is my normal practice, I headed North – to the Texas Hill Country. I wasn’t alone – there were hundreds, if not thousands, of other bikers on the roads already. I had planned to meet up with a group of about 75 riders that were doing a run of about 150 miles – instead I decided to go my own way for a while.
Eventually I met up with so many bikes that I ended up riding with a group of (primarily) Harley’s for about 45 minutes I got tired of their noise – I turned off onto a one lane paved road. I had no clue where it went, but it was quiet. It turned out to be a very long, twisty ride through some pretty good sized hills. Soon I realized I was driving right through a ranch, as I crossed over cattle-guard after cattle guard. Cattle guards are holes cut into the roadway covered with a steel barred section. The cattle won’t walk over these – so they are effective as fences for cattle, but cars (and motorcycles)can easily pass over them.
Ahead of me I saw a large number of Texas Longhorns being moved across the road, from one field to another. There were probably 50-75 of them, and they were magnificent. I crept forward – keeping the bike quiet so as not to disturb them. Soon I found myself surrounded by cattle – each of them easily weighing more than my bike and I combined. The walked slowly past, seemingly uninterested that I was there. The vaqueros working the cattle came over to talk. Two were on horse, one was in a giant Ford F350 King Ranch Edition pickup. I was joking that I was afraid one of these cattle would hit my bike with their horns – they assured me that they would not – they told me the Longhorns had an extremely finite control over their horns. I hoped they were right – some of these horns were over 6 feet long on each side of the Longhorn. That makes for a very wide load.
They offered me a bottle of cold water, which was much appreciated. I hadn’t started my bike in months, and had neglected to put it on the trickle charger – so I was afraid if I shut it off it wouldn’t start – but I put in in neutral and let it idle as I sat in the shade of a giant mesquite tree and enjoyed a cool drink of water and a smoke. The Vaqueros were very nice guys – they asked where I was going (I had no destination) and offered me some suggestions for a ride – one of them cutting right through the 18,000 acre ranch I was on. They assured me that el hefe (the boss) would not mind me riding on the property.
I left them and took what seemed the safest of their suggestions – a fully paved road that wound for miles through the ranch, just past the main house, and finally out the northwest side of the property. It took nearly an hour to get through the entire property – it was a wonderful unspoiled piece of land. I passed through several small communities of vaqueros and their families. The children all came out to look at what was probably an unusual site for them. The women pretty much stayed on the porches and waved. The men were apparently all out working. While they told me the name of the ranch, it was a Spanish name, and it escapes me now. But I appreciate the fact they let me enjoy their spread. It was a very slow and peaceful ride.
I was not even surprised when I turned a corner and saw four adult giraffes in a field – there are many ranches in this area with exotic wildlife on them. But seeing them in an open field was somewhat magical.
Finally I found myself back on a two lane road, and eventually back on IH-10, about 25 miles Northwest of Boerne, TX. From there it was a 45 minute ride back home, all on the Interstate. Traffic was light and people were amazingly polite about letting me pass when I needed to (although I was cruising right at the speed limit). I pulled back into my driveway just before 11am – the temperature was still below 80 degrees, so it had been a very comfortable ride.