We left the “City of Rocks” in New Mexico and headed east on I-10. Two and a half
days of just beating our way across West Texas to get to Austin where we are going
to attend the MotoGP motorcycle races at “The Circuit of the Americas” (know as COTA).
My personal opinion is that West Texas has nothing to interest anyone. It is a boring
run through a brush covered desert-like countryside.
When one gets to the middle of Texas one enters what is called the “Hill Country”.
Here one finds trees, hills, streams, both dry and wet, and interesting scenery.
We crossed the Hill Country and arrived in Austin at COTA. We took a narrow 2-lane
country road, without shoulders, that led to the camping area. This year, for an
unknown reason, we were told the organizers decided to open the gate at noon instead
of all day. RV’ers were lining up in the roadway waiting to get in. Finally they
opened it up and let us in.
The camping area is very near the track. One of the turns is in sight from our camping
spot. These spots are nothing more than looooong parking spaces similar to a mall
parking lot. Not good for watching the race but a very easy walk to an entrance that
lets one go all over the trackside areas. (That is not our RV in the picture. This
is the view out our windshield.)
There are three categories of racers in MotoGP, Moto3, Moto2, and MotoGP. A rider
starts out in Moto3 as a teenager and graduates upward as his skill increases, or
washes out if it doesn’t. There was also MotoAmerica racing here this weekend. A
totally different association from MotoGP.
The racing is held over three days. Friday and Saturday are practice with qualifying
for position as the last event. Then on Sunday the various levels of racers go at
it for real with the MotoGP race as the highlight of the day. This is the chicane,
a quick right, left, right, on the back side of the track. On the longest straight
the racers reach 200 mph (320 kph) and brake HARD for a sharp left turn.
Here is a link to a 14 second video of the chicane on YouTube. COTA Chicane (Use
your “Back” button to return here.)
The MotoGP calendar takes most of the year and holds races all over the world. We
had originally planned to be riding our bike in the hill country when the MotoGP
calendar came out. Finding that we were going to be only an hour away at a state
park during the races we quickly changed our reservations and bought tickets and
camping at COTA.
Over the two practice days we explored the best viewing options for us. We decided
the hill near the first turn overlooking the start/finish line was the best.
The start/finish line is to the left behind the guy’s right hand. The racers are
coming towards us. As you can see it was very crowded for this race. We can also
see a part of the track as it passes the viewing tower ($20 admission fee for 20
minutes viewing) and goes around to the left. I also have a YouTube video of the
start. MotoGP start
Normally we did not eat or drink inside the COTA grounds. There were lots of places
to do so. But on the Sunday when all the real racing, not practice or qualifying,
was done we really had no choice. If we left we would lose our spot. We chose two
slices of pizza and two 16 ounce (½ liter) beers. All this food for only $52.00!
WOW, what a bargain! Other options were even more expensive.
We really did enjoy ourselves. We had three days of fun, excitement, and sun with
reasonable temperatures. Our RV is self-contained (meaning we have indoor plumbing,
unlike all our motorcycle camping) with lots of solar panels on top to provide electricity
for all our normal lifestyle needs.
We waited until the next day to leave thereby avoiding the madhouse on the roads
after the races. That morning, before leaving, we watched the recording we had made
of the TV showing of the race. The TV camera at the first curve showed the crowd
at times. The guy in the white t-shirt in the lower center is me. Kathy is out of
sight to my left. My world-wide 4 seconds of FAME!
On Monday we left and headed to the Garner State Park in the Hill Country of Texas.
This is west of Austin and northwest of San Antonio. The reason for being here is
to ride the “Twisted Sisters”. Three county roads that run through the hills.
The three sisters are the two north/south roads and the east/west along the bottom.
They are local roads numbered 335, 336, 337.
The run is a little over a hundred miles and took about three hours. Just west of
Leakey is a bar & grill that lives off of the bikers selling food, beer, and t-shirts
advertising the ride. Of course, we did all three.
The burgers were each named after a brand of motorcycle.
The GoldWing was a “Fried Chicken Breast with Mayo, Lettuce, and Tomato”.
The Road King was “Angus Beef on a Jalapeno Bun”.
The Ninja was the same with “Pepperjack Cheese, Hatch Chili's and Cajun Mayo”.
The KTM was a “Garden Veggie Burger”.
The Victory Vision was a “Angus Beef on Telera Bun and 2 slices of Swiss Cheese,
Grilled Onions and Mayo”.
The Bobber was a “Beef Hot Dog on Artisan Bun”.
There were 19 different versions in total.
The quality of the roads has put them on several of the “Best of ...” roads lists.
This has led to many riders coming and trying their skill on them. Not all of them
finished the runs. Another spot, on another road, had the same sign except it had
13 as the listed number.
We left the hills and went to San Antonio. This is the home of the Alamo and the
River Walk. We skipped the Alamo, we had visited it the last time we were here.We
did go to the River Walk again. It is a green and cool oasis in the center of the
city. The river makes a loop in downtown. It is about 30 feet (9 meters) below the
city streets. The loop can be walked on either side along meandering sidewalks and
crossover bridges. It is lined with souvenir shops, bars, and restaurants.
We left San Antonio headed north. The original plan (mentioned on the previous page)
was to go south to Padre Island and spend a week there. But on the way to COTA we
had passed through Fredericksburg. This is a German heritage town in the Hill Country
west of Austin. As we drove through it we saw lots of wineries, breweries and German
restaurants. We decided to change our plans and head to it instead of killing time
on the beach. As the weather turned very windy and cool this turned out to be a good
decision. We tried several of the restaurants and had so-so to very good food. We
also visited some local sights.
One of which was Wild Seed, a garden company with lots of the wild flowers from the
Another was Luckenbach, Texas. This old ranch town is a music destination for many
people. Willy Nelson and Waylon Jennings made it famous in their music. Today it
is a live “ghost town” with the old post office the souvenir shop and music stages
and a dance hall among various buildings. It comes with a huge parking lot that would
hold several thousand vehicles for the nights when a popular band plays.
That takes care of the state of Texas. We are now headed to New Orleans in Louisiana.
We had been here before but that was during Mardi Gras. The whole town was crazy.
We had a good time but we did not get to “see” the city of New Orleans. So we are
going there to see the sights and have some local food.