Ranch Roads 335, 336, and 337, known as the Twisted Sisters Ride, or Three Sisters. These three Ranch Roads offer some of the finest curves to run a motorcycle through in the state. Ever since I heard about this ride I’ve been wanting to go. It’s about 3 hours southwest of where I live in Austin.
About 12 of my biker friends, both guys and gals, tried to do this trip in the fall of 2016. The first day went smooth enough but the second day we were completely rained out. We ended up riding in the rain, each one of us drenched to the bone despite having rain gear, all the way back to Austin. One friend’s bike bogged down because of water in the air intake and we had to load it on a trailer to haul back to Austin. We lost another member at a turn and he had to go back a different route by himself. It was a mess.
Determined to do ride uninterrupted, I booked the same campsite as last time, Andy’s on River Road in Concan, TX. I set a date for early May, when weather in Texas is usually at its finest. We decided to make this trip a 3-day instead of 2 days like last time. Oe day to get to campsite and set up, one to ride the roads, and another for the return trip home.
This time around went without a hitch. We left early Friday morning, taking the back roads to get there. An entourage of 10 motorcycles plus my friend in a truck with a trailer for camping gear and in case of a break down. We rode through Blanco, to Boerne, Bandera, Vanderpool and finally Leakey. That put us 17 miles north of our campsite, Andy’s on River Road. It’s a great spot. They charge for the campsite, which holds 13 people, instead of per person. They don’t charge for parking, which was a big turn off when I was contacting other campsites in the area. I kept wanting to yell: “We’re on fuckin’ motorcycles dammit! What parking?!”
We got to the campsite around 6pm, and the others set up tents and me my hammock. A few of us changed into swimsuits and rode a few minutes to the Río Frio (Cold River) to swim. The water was chilly and only about thigh-high where we stopped, but we brought a few beers and had a good time. That night we ate a bunch of burgers and got a large fire going. I clung tight to a bottle of mescal which I drank from the whole night. I experimented with some night, long exposure photography with some success. As it got later the number of revelers dwindled. Finally it was down to 4 of us. The fun went in a bit of a dark direction as we all played the songs we wanted played at our funerals. Then we played old western movie songs while my friend read from a Cormac McCarthy novel. The reading and music went well together, albeit a bit eerie. I sipped my mescal and pantomimed gestures that I imagined the characters doing. I finally hopped into my high-strung hammock to sleep sometime after 3 am.
The next day was grandiose. We woke up and made breakfast tacos. We managed to corral ourselves and left the campsite at 11:00 am which surprised the hell outta me. The weather was perfect, cloudless, about 80 degrees with a slight breeze. We went and rode the Twisted Sisters. Words don’t do them justice, but I can say that each road is breathtaking and very unique from the other two. The first road, RR 335, was twisty and windy, full of sharp curves. The road twisted and curved, rose and fell with and through the steep hills. At one point the road rain straight but up and down over some hills. I gunned it and hit about 120 mph. At the top of one of one hill, flying at that speed, I felt my bike was lifting off the ground. One hell of an adult roller coaster. We found a small pond of turquoise green water and stopped to jump in. The sun at its zenith was beating down on us.
RR 336 was characterized by longer sweeping turns and less sharp twists. This allowed us to see further ahead, open up the throttle a bit more and stay in a higher gear set. The road quality was also better, not as much gravel on this road as the other two. The gentle back and forth weave of the road was really a pleasure to wind through.
A brilliant array of wildflowers lined RR 337. At every twist and turn were blue, red, yellow and white flowers dancing in the breeze as we rode past. It was gorgeous and and I had a huge smile on my face at every bend. After a few hours on the road, RR 337 started descending and the road became less and less windy. It finally let us out onto the main highway that runs north and south through Leakey, TX. We went to a local diner where it took an agonizing amount of time to get our food. Some of the group went back to the campsite. Though, during lunch Matt, Brenda and myself devised a mission. We were going to ride hard to Uvalde, the closest town with a Wal-Mart, and buy a BB gun for entertainment that evening. We were tired as hell so to shorten the ride time we rode a steady 90-100 mph the whole 40 mi there and back. Back at camp we shot cans even when the sun was long gone and the moonlight was our only illumination. I drank from my mescal bottle as usual. The ride and heat took its toll that day, and everyone went to bed rather early.
Next day we packed up and started our return. We stopped at the motorcycle museum near Vanderpool. It was a small space but pretty packed with a collection of bikes dating as far back as the 1920’s. We recovered our tracks. Bandera to Medina. We lunched in the historic center of Boerne. Last leg was through Blanco and finally back to Austin.