This past weekend, Josh and I decided to take advantage of a gift certificate given to us last year as a wedding present from his former co-workers at vidbook.com. The gift certificate was good for a 24 hour rental of a big twin Harley Davidson motorcycle from Eagle Rider in Austin. Josh reserved us a Heritage Softtail Classic equipped with a sissy bar (backrest for the passenger) and saddle bags. We were told we could pick it up at 3:00 P.M. on Saturday. When we arrived, the manager of the shop, Keith had his hands full so we amused ourselves by browsing through the merchandise. When Keith was ready to serve us, he informed us that our reserved bike was still out-and-about. Apparently some VP’s of a well known company in Austin had rented ten bikes the previous Thursday and were supposed to have returned them by noon on Saturday. Since they had decided to abide by their own schedule, Keith scrambled to find us a replacement. Luckily he had another Heritage Softtail Classic in stock, so he proceeded to check us out. To accommodate us for the mix up, he gave us until 4:30 P.M. the next day to return the bike instead of 3:00 P.M. (On a side note, Keith told us a lot of famous people rent from them. Russell Crowe was riding the same weekend we were. Willie Nelson rents from them a lot, and apparently Ron Howard rented a dozen or so for the filming of The Alamo.)
Once Josh and I situated our belongings, we headed for the hill country and Fredericksburg. We made a pit stop about 20 miles east of Fredericksburg and it was there that Josh informed me he wouldn’t mind having a Harley. I wasn’t at all surprised. I too was impressed with the ride the Harley was giving us. In fact, at one point I almost closed my eyes, but then I thought better of it. One thing I should mention here is the backseat person’s viewpoint. If Josh were telling you about our ride, he would probably mention the power of the Harley and a bunch of other bike-speak that I wouldn’t know the first thing about. What I do know is the thrill and scare you get knowing that your life is right there in the belly of danger. You don’t have a seatbelt or metal encasing, or even a sturdy windshield to protect you. The only thing you have is a helmet, some sunblock and the driver to hang on to. I should also mention my fascination of the camaraderie that exists among bikers. It’s a general rule of thumb when you come across another biker that you exchange a greeting. I was thankful to have learned this prior to this weekend from riding with Josh on the Trusty Shadow. In my rookie riding days, the first time I tried to enact the “wave” I almost took my arm off and Josh with me. Bad news. It’s not a traditional wave where you hold your arm up. You have to hold it down at your side with your palm facing your “friend”. With that said, it made me happy every time we came across other bikes and exchanged the “wave”. It felt like we were in a secret club.
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We arrived in Fredericksburg to a herd of people lazily strolling up and down the sidewalks on Main Street…just in time for Josh to make our appearance known. As we dragged Main, Josh made sure to exercise the Harley’s robust pipes. After we turned several heads, we decided to park and check into our room for the night. Since Josh had booked the Harley, my task was to find our accommodations. Fredericksburg is known for its bed & breakfasts, so I did some online scouting and found an affordable and convenient one. (It also boasted “free beer”.) We checked into the Fredericksburg “Bed and Brew” where we were promptly shown to our room. We had been given a choice of rooms based upon different themes. We chose to stay in the “Blue Velvet” room which housed blue velvet bedding, silk scarves hung on the walls in canopy fashion, renaissance artwork and mirrors on the wall across from the bed. Now I know what you’re thinking, but it was very tasteful. In fact, the room was much more modern than I had imagined. It looked as if the owners had done some recent renovations.
With our items stowed, we headed downstairs to the restaurant/brewery to partake in our free beer. The bartender gave us 3 samples of beer brewed in-house and Josh and I each got a to go cup of the one we liked the best. (He got the porter and I got the red ale.) With brew in hand (legal to drink on the street), we walked up and down Main Street checking out the different restaurant menus. Since it was the hottest part of the day and hunger was setting in, our beers started to take hold and we retraced our footsteps several times before finally settling on Silver Creek Restaurant and Biergarten, a restaurant with a patio and musician playing cover tunes of Texas artists. I stuck with my German roots and ordered Jager Schnitzel: traditional German schnitzel smothered in a wild mushroom herb sauce. Served with German potato salad (not as good as Grandma T.’s) and sauerkraut. Josh ordered the Grilled Texas Quail: locally raised semi-boneless quail marinated and served with a port wine-lingonberry demi-glaze. Served with horseradish-mashed potatoes and fresh steamed vegetables. We both started with the tomato basil soup. Don’t ask me why. It was probably 100 degrees out and we were the only people ordering soup. I guess the beer was really good. Josh said his quail was the best quail he’d ever had. My dish was pretty good as well, although I think I would have appreciated it more had it been a cool fall evening.
After dinner we decided to drive out to Enchanted Rock. It was dark by the time we got halfway there so we spent most of the drive dodging deer and cattle. When we got there the park was closed so we rested for a bit and headed back to town. Not wanting the evening to end we asked some locals where we could go. One of the bars that was recommended, Skooters, is a biker bar. We decided to put the Harley to good use and try it out. I think the “biker” part of the bar was understated because when we arrived we saw maybe three other bikes out front. It was still a good time. We checked out the locals and listened to the band and after about an hour we headed back to our room.
The next morning we got up at 7:30 A.M. and headed out for breakfast. I noticed a place on our way into town the previous day that had a sign advertising Sunday brunch. Never mind the name of the place is Sunday House. Coincidence? It was a quaint place that had been a house once. It wasn’t very fancy, but definitely homey. With our bellies stuffed… again… we headed for Enchanted Rock. The ride was perfect because we were out while it was still cool, but as soon as we were ready to climb, the sun was out in full force. It didn’t help that we were still wearing our jeans and boots. Why didn’t we change you ask? That would’ve been too much work, so we suffered the hike to the top. Actually, it wasn’t that bad. We (read me) rested frequently along the way and once we reached the top the wind was blowing and the view was worth it. I had been to Enchanted Rock once before about four and a half years ago, but Josh had never been. I figured since it is a Texas State Natural Area and Josh is a Natural State Texan, it was time he see it. I’m not sure he was all that impressed, but we were kind of rushed. He waited patiently while I snapped pictures, but reminded me that our time was limited. We headed back to the bottom where we decided to capture some film of the Harley.
On our way back through Fredericksburg we decided to shop a little and grab some lunch before heading back to Austin. We stopped at Wheelers for lunch and were entertained by the bicycle cop outside the window. I guess Fredericksburg is a pretty rough town because we saw him circle a tree about eight times, escort a boy on his bicycle through traffic and I think he might have carried an older lady’s groceries across the street (kidding about the last one, the other two are true).
Our ride back to Austin was nice. It was kind of a downer knowing the weekend was over, but enjoyable nonetheless.
Thank you Evelyn, Julie, Amy, Whitney, Corey, Chic and Gene