KC Wedding – Adventure Cycling Texas Hill Country, Part One

April 5 – 14

And so, spring rolled around, and we began nearly three months of travel, two in the States and one in Europe.  First up would be the road trip, which we will break down into segments that will culminate with our nephew Dillon’s wedding on May 14th in Kansas City.  The first segment related to a week-long bike tour, Texas Hill Country, with Adventure Cycling.  This would be our fifth tour with the group, and it would be one we’d long planned on doing.  Now was the time. 

Texas Hill Country

The tour started in New Braunfels, Texas, outside of San Antonio and our original plan was to break the drive there into three days, with stops in Tucson and Fort Stockton on the way.  That changed a week or so before the start when we decided to leave two days earlier and instead go to Henderson first as Jessica, Kris and Gemma would be staying there with Kim and Marty.  Besides getting to see all of them together, another bonus was that it would cut two hours out of our drive to Tucson. 

Home to Henderson

We took off on a Tuesday just after noon, taking care of a couple of doctor’s appointments in the morning and that day of the week provided us with less traffic than normal for an easy drive on the interstate.  Our two-night stay passed quickly, the highlight being a trip to the Las Vegas Discovery Place with Gemma to watch her run around and excitedly engage with many of the displays.

On Thursday we set out for Tucson, a relatively easy drive of six hours with only one challenging section, a long stretch of Highway 93 in Arizona that alternated between a four lane and two-lane road.  A quick stop at a McDonalds for a dollar menu chicken sandwich apiece kept us fueled for the balance of the journey and our arrival at the Best Western Royal Sun Inn and Suites, where our elevated rewards status again netted us a suite. 

We’d be meeting friends Bonnie and Mike at 7:30 for dinner giving us a few hours to kill before heading to the restaurant, a welcome respite after a number of busy days.  Soon enough, the bewitching hour arrived, and we made our way to Pastiche Modern Eatery for dinner.  We arrived a little early and were seated for a few moments when Bonnie and Mike found us at the table.  We ordered a round of drinks, the Ned Sauvignon Blanc for me and a Love Potion (Empress Gin, Chambord, topped with sparkling wine) for Joanna. 

Food came next, a bowl of very good ham and cheddar soup to split and then the Chicken Scallopini (Panko and herb crusted chicken breast, lemon champagne velouté, grilled asparagus garnished with fried capers, micro greens, and sun-dried tomatoes over angel hair pasta) for me and a Chili Relleno of the day for Joanna. 

As is often the case, portion sizes were large enough for each of us to take about a third of each dish with us back to the Best Western.  Knowing we like music, Mike had picked this place not only for the food but for the entertainment available there as throughout dinner Connie Brannock and her  band performed, leaving us surrounded by a sizable crowd of older Tucsonan’s who danced up a storm during her two sets. 

Connie Brannock

With a nine-hour drive and two-hour time zone loss ahead of us, we got an early start and took advantage of the free breakfast next door at Bumsteds, where we opted for excellently prepared standard choices of French toast for Joanna and Bacon and Eggs for me, the bacon peppered, the potatoes, some of the best I’ve had and everything fresh and tasty. 

Tucson to Fort Stockton

This would be just a long day in the car, nothing exciting about it, a grind you sit through and get caught up on reading, viewing downloaded video, and perhaps a couple of short naps.  Early in the afternoon we stopped for gas and lunch at the only food option available to us, a Wendy’s just off the interstate.  We don’t often frequent this chain for no other reason than there are so many others to choose from, but did confirm that when it comes to a chicken sandwich, they all do a very good job. 

We arrived in at the Best Western Plus Fort Stockton Hotel early in the evening, although to our bodies it was two hours earlier.  We quickly unloaded the car to our, again, upgraded suite, and hustled downstairs to the dining area to catch the last thirty minutes of a happy hour that featured free hamburgers and nachos.  I bought a Shiner Bock (I would subsequently drink a boat load of this beer) at the bar and sat down to await the burger, dressed with lettuce, tomato and onion, a not bad offering for the venue involved. 

It was exactly what was needed for that day, freeing us from having to climb back in the car to go find a place for dinner when we weren’t that hungry after the Wendy’s lunch, the downside being my leftover chicken from the night before would end up uneaten.  Joanna though would eat hers the next day when we stopped for lunch at a Sonic, where I indulged my craving for a chili dog. 

Fort Stockton to New Braunfels

The current drive at six or so hours seemed simple compared to the day before and just before arriving at Lazy L&L Campground, sitting on the Guadalupe River, outside of New Braunfels for the start of our tour, we stopped at a local quickie mart so I could pick up a twelve-pack of beer to prime the tour’s beer stock.  On these excursions, the caterer or tour staff, stock a cooler with beer and wine and participants then contribute some fixed sum of money for each one consumed, on this tour just two dollars (past tours have run four to five dollars). 

Coney Dog

We found our group and after unloading the car in order to move it to the long-term parking lot for the duration of our tour, set up camp and settled in to meet a bunch of the folks we’d be spending the next seven days with.  It’s a good time, those first conversations, the who, what, and where of getting to know people.  And it would continue for the rest of the week. 

Restroom on the Road

Links

Texas Hill Country: https://www.adventurecycling.org/guided-tours/fully-supported-tours/texas-hill-country/

Best Western Royal Sun Inn and Suites: https://www.bestwestern.com/en_US/book/hotels-in-tucson/best-western-royal-sun-inn-suites/propertyCode.03074.html

Pastiche Modern Eatery: https://www.pasticheme.com/

Connie Brannock: https://www.conniebrannockband.com/

Bumsteds: https://bumsteds.com/

Best Western Plus Fort Stockton Hotel: https://www.bestwestern.com/en_US/book/hotels-in-fort-stockton/best-western-plus-fort-stockton-hotel/propertyCode.44701.html

Lazy L&L Campground: https://lazylandl.com/

Blog Post 4-24-22

KC Wedding – Adventure Cycling Texas Hill Country, Part One

April 5 – 14

And so, spring rolled around, and we began nearly three months of travel, two in the States and one in Europe.  First up would be the road trip, which we will break down into segments that will culminate with our nephew Dillon’s wedding on May 14th in Kansas City.  The first segment related to a week-long bike tour, Texas Hill Country, with Adventure Cycling.  This would be our fifth tour with the group, and it would be one we’d long planned on doing.  Now was the time. 

The tour started in New Braunfels, Texas, outside of San Antonio and our original plan was to break the drive there into three days, with stops in Tucson and Fort Stockton on the way.  That changed a week or so before the start when we decided to leave two days earlier and instead go to Henderson first as Jessica, Kris and Gemma would be staying there with Kim and Marty.  Besides getting to see all of them together, another bonus was that it would cut two hours out of our drive to Tucson. 

We took off on a Tuesday just after noon, taking care of a couple of doctor’s appointments in the morning and that day of the week provided us with less traffic than normal for an easy drive on the interstate.  Our two-night stay passed quickly, the highlight being a trip to the Las Vegas Discovery Place with Gemma to watch her run around and excitedly engage with many of the displays.

On Thursday we set out for Tucson, a relatively easy drive of six hours with only one challenging section, a long stretch of Highway 93 in Arizona that alternated between a four lane and two-lane road.  A quick stop at a McDonalds for a dollar menu chicken sandwich apiece kept us fueled for the balance of the journey and our arrival at the Best Western Royal Sun Inn and Suites, where our elevated rewards status again netted us a suite. 

We’d be meeting friends Bonnie and Mike at 7:30 for dinner giving us a few hours to kill before heading to the restaurant, a welcome respite after a number of busy days.  Soon enough, the bewitching hour arrived, and we made our way to Pastiche Modern Eatery for dinner.  We arrived a little early and were seated for a few moments when Bonnie and Mike found us at the table.  We ordered a round of drinks, the Ned Sauvignon Blanc for me and a Love Potion (Empress Gin, Chambord, topped with sparkling wine) for Joanna. 

Food came next, a bowl of very good ham and cheddar soup to split and then the Chicken Scallopini (Panko and herb crusted chicken breast, lemon champagne velouté, grilled asparagus garnished with fried capers, micro greens, and sun-dried tomatoes over angel hair pasta) for me and a Chili Relleno of the day for Joanna. 

As is often the case, portion sizes were large enough for each of us to take about a third of each dish with us back to the Best Western.  Knowing we like music, Mike had picked this place not only for the food but for the entertainment available there as throughout dinner Connie Brannock and her  band performed, leaving us surrounded by a sizable crowd of older Tucsonan’s who danced up a storm during her two sets. 

With a nine-hour drive and two-hour time zone loss ahead of us, we got an early start and took advantage of the free breakfast next door at Bumsteds, where we opted for excellently prepared standard choices of French toast for Joanna and Bacon and Eggs for me, the bacon peppered, the potatoes, some of the best I’ve had and everything fresh and tasty. 

This would be just a long day in the car, nothing exciting about it, a grind you sit through and get caught up on reading, viewing downloaded video, and perhaps a couple of short naps.  Early in the afternoon we stopped for gas and lunch at the only food option available to us, a Wendy’s just off the interstate.  We don’t often frequent this chain for no other reason than there are so many others to choose from, but did confirm that when it comes to a chicken sandwich, they all do a very good job. 

We arrived in at the Best Western Plus Fort Stockton Hotel early in the evening, although to our bodies it was two hours earlier.  We quickly unloaded the car to our, again, upgraded suite, and hustled downstairs to the dining area to catch the last thirty minutes of a happy hour that featured free hamburgers and nachos.  I bought a Shiner Bock (I would subsequently drink a boat load of this beer) at the bar and sat down to await the burger, dressed with lettuce, tomato and onion, a not bad offering for the venue involved. 

It was exactly what was needed for that day, freeing us from having to climb back in the car to go find a place for dinner when we weren’t that hungry after the Wendy’s lunch, the downside being my leftover chicken from the night before would end up uneaten.  Joanna though would eat hers the next day when we stopped for lunch at a Sonic, where I indulged my craving for a chili dog. 

The current drive at six or so hours seemed simple compared to the day before and just before arriving at Lazy L&L Campground, sitting on the Guadalupe River, outside of New Braunfels for the start of our tour, we stopped at a local quickie mart so I could pick up a twelve-pack of beer to prime the tour’s beer stock.  On these excursions, the caterer or tour staff, stock a cooler with beer and wine and participants then contribute some fixed sum of money for each one consumed, on this tour just two dollars (past tours have run four to five dollars). 

We found our group and after unloading the car in order to move it to the long-term parking lot for the duration of our tour, set up camp and settled in to meet a bunch of the folks we’d be spending the next seven days with.  It’s a good time, those first conversations, the who, what, and where of getting to know people.  And it would continue for the rest of the week. 

Links

Texas Hill Country: https://www.adventurecycling.org/guided-tours/fully-supported-tours/texas-hill-country/

Best Western Royal Sun Inn and Suites: https://www.bestwestern.com/en_US/book/hotels-in-tucson/best-western-royal-sun-inn-suites/propertyCode.03074.html

Pastiche Modern Eatery: https://www.pasticheme.com/

Connie Brannock: https://www.conniebrannockband.com/

Bumsteds: https://bumsteds.com/

Best Western Plus Fort Stockton Hotel: https://www.bestwestern.com/en_US/book/hotels-in-fort-stockton/best-western-plus-fort-stockton-hotel/propertyCode.44701.html

Lazy L&L Campground: https://lazylandl.com/

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