SWTR Pre-Tour in Texas Hill Country

Three days and about 165 miles of riding through Texas hill country, and the thing that I’ll always remember is our first water crossing!

how deep is that?
how deep is that?

This is an annual April rally that moves around the Southwest, but takes place mostly in Texas. GTR regulars Mark and Andi are one of the host teams this year, and since we’ve always wanted to attend this event, we figure this is the year. It’s not exactly a great time for us, it’s less than a month before the Georgia Tandem Rally, but we are ahead of the game and have already ordered and received most of our SWAG, so we feel pretty good about finishing up some of the (GTR) details remotely and we hit the road for the ATW, and then move on to Texas for 6 days of riding.

The pre-tour is a small, intimate group of 15 couples.
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We get a terrific opportunity to reconnect with old friends and make some new ones during our rides and meals. Starting in Georgetown on day one, we ride to Marble Falls and stay in a hotel with a stunning lakeside setting.

The view from our room, looking out at part of the Colorado River
The view from our room, looking out at part of the Colorado River

During the night we have a huge rain storm with a thunder and lightning show over the lake. The next morning while we are on the way to Lampassas (for our second overnight), we encounter three low-water crossings. The first is the worst. Much to my dismay, I learn that we have to take off our shoes and socks, and carry our bikes through to dry land.

Larry and Debbie cross first
Larry and Debbie cross first

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The flood gauge over on the right tells us how deep the water is, and apparently if it’s not over a foot (or so), it’s “safe” to attempt the crossing. Roger and I are last to cross. Ken comes back to help Roger carry the bike and a good samaritan out for a ride on his single helps our group. He comes back for me, asks if he can carry my shoes. I say I’m fine with the shoes, but ask if he can hold my hand. The water is almost as high as my knees and there is some current.

Photo By Michele Ullmann
Photo By Michele Ullmann

It turns out that my rescuer is a professional, as he is a firefighter in Austin. I thank him for his kindness and for helping me make the crossing.

While on the road we see very little traffic, lots of wildflowers, cattle, goats, dogs behind fences, ranches with impressive entrances, beautiful vistas and headwinds.
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Dylan & Lori, Reg & Michele
Dylan & Lori, Reg & Michele

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Larry & Debbie, Jeff & Darla up ahead
Larry & Debbie, Jeff & Darla up ahead
Ric Becker riding the route with the tandems
Ric Becker riding the route with the tandems
our group takes a break
our group takes a break

On our last day, heading back to Georgetown and the start of SWTR most of us stop for lunch at Dahlia’s Cafe in Liberty Hill.

Eve & Roger, Debbie & Larry
Eve & Roger, Debbie & Larry
The lead group enjoying a break
The lead group enjoying a break
Becky & Hugh
Becky & Hugh
Jorge, Kathy, Sofia, Walt
Jorge, Kathy, Sofia, Walt
Dylan, Michele & Reg, Lori
Dylan, Michele & Reg, Lori
with riding companions Larry & Debbie right before we finish the pre-tour
with riding companions Larry & Debbie right before we finish the pre-tour

This is a group of people who are fun-loving and easy to talk to. Thanks to our pre-tour organizers Lori T. Brown and Rhonda Anderson for making this happen. and a special shout out to Ric and Marcia Becker from House of Tandems. They make this all work by sagging and transporting our stuff from point to point.

In my next report, SWTR and the arrival of about 100 more tandems to turn the small event into a regional rally!

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