The Twisted Sisters

Today we head south to Kerrville and then west along the Guadalupe River Our mid morning stop is at the Lost Maples State Park. It is famous for birds, especially Spring migration in April. The park provides bird feeding stations where you can sit and watch many varieties of birds come to the stations. We missed the morning bird walk during which the birders logged 88 different bird sightings The serious birders were there also. They are way too intense and on a mission. They are so serious about their lists that I am not sure they enjoy the birds. We stay for an hour and see several new species. Then its south to Highways 335,336, and 337. The complete trip is about 170 miles and is referred to in motorcycle circles as the “Twisted Sisters” The hills and twists and turns cause motorcycle enthusiasts to consider this one of the best rides in the USA. It is fun and scenic climbing up the hills of hill country Texas around the rims of canyons and back down to the bottom which drops 2000 feet. James enjoys his day although he thinks the ” Tail of the Dragon” ride in Tenn. and N.C. is better. We stop for lunch at the Bent Rim Cafe famous for it’s decorations of broken and busted motorcycle pieces from crashes along the Twisted Sisters. Its a full house as a Pentecostal Baptist group are traveling through on bikes and very nice classic convertibles. They were having a large time. The Twisted Sisters is the reason for our route but along the way we ride next to the Guadalupe River which is very scenic. The river, at times, is only a trickle about ankle deep. Other times it is deep with swimming holes inviting us to stop for a cool refreshing treat. There will be many hot days ahead. We wind past a ranch with worn out boots of every description and color slipped over the tops of fence posts for over a mile. It is drawing close to 4:00pm and we are back at the Bent Rim Cafe having completed all three Sisters. James wants the T Shirt now that he has finished the ride. I get one too! Opps, we now need to find a place to stay for the night. We can go back 70 or so miles to Kerrville or 20 miles down the road to Neal’s Lodge at Concan Texas on the Guadalupe River. I explain to James it will be rustic at Neal’s Lodge. James decides 20 miles is better than 70 after a long day. Neal’s Lodge is a summer retreat which gets real busy after school lets out. Stephanie at the desk informs us that she has plenty of accommodations right now. She calls the maid, Anna, on the radio telling her that they have some ” drop bys”. This means we have arrived without sheets and towels. We are offered unit 14 which is one of the nicer units with two bedrooms. We are given a map of the grounds which includes their bird feeding stations and the location of the restaurant. She also gives us a schedule of the restaurant’s hours of operation which change every day. Now, I find this place fascinating in a wonderful way. A cool clear river surrounds us and there are Cypress Groves, and birds everywhere. Horseback riding is available for only $25 per hour. I am in Heaven. James, on the other hand, is seeing it differently. The cabin is indestructible with no soft surfaces anywhere. Gives you a hint about the people who stay here. The box springs for the bed is sheet of plywood. The food is horrible and his wife wants to go see 10 million bats fly out of their cave at sundown. ( This doesn’t happen). That afternoon I head down the uneven crumbling stairs with inconsistent hand rail to the swimming hole. Two boys are jumping of boulders into the water which is filled with rocks.It looks too shallow to me. Across the river a frontend loader is grading the rocks on the rock beach. No sand in sight. We have heard this is a big drinking hangout. Strange since the County is dry. I am not sure how OSHA lets this place stay open, but it is Texas. The next day I talk him into going on a hike to the farthest feeding station which looks like a mile away. After an hour of walking we find the feeder. James is urging me to stop as it looks like we are entering someone’s front yard. A small dog comes toward us barking loudly and a lady comes out to greet us. She says” seen anything good today/”. She explains that the people who live in the house formerly owned all the land around here but recently sold it to the owners on Neal’s Lodge. She is just a relative staying in the house. James is hoping for a ride back to the Lodge. No such luck. At days end, I go for a horseback ride. The horses are nice and we ride towards the mountains to a gate with a high fence. Neal’s Lodge has African exotic animals, deer,and buffalo which we see as we ride along near the watering holes. Tonight the restaurant is closed. Nothing around for 40 miles in any direction. I go off to the combination convenience store and laundry to buy something for dinner. We dine on Campbell’s Creme of Chicken soup ( no milk available) together with a can of english peas. This is complimented with saltines and a wedge of cheese. The meal concludes with a can of fruit cocktail. What could be better? James isn’t speaking to me. Adriene, the horse guide tell me that if I come back tomorrow I can help him with the 20 head of horses to ride them and get them in shape for the summer campers who will be coming soon. I am ecstatic! James says No. We are leaving tomorrow morning. No bats, no horses, no more Neal’s Lodge. He must not be feeling 100% yet. I go outside and look at the stars. I would come back.