Sixteen Geezers spent a week in Fredericksburg, Texas (known as Fred Burg by the locals) and did daily loops into the country to admire carpets of bluebonnets, acres of Indian Paintbrushes and skads of little yellow flowers that we didn’t know what they were. Of course, we had to have a beer and get our pictures taken next to the statue of “Hondo” at Luckenbach. Speaking of Lukenbach, David Lukenbach came down from Llano about 40 miles north on Highway 16 to join us.
Fred Burg is actually two towns; from about noon on Friday till Sunday afternoon it’s bumper to fender traffic and at least 10,000 tourists milling like cows on main street. At exactly 4:00PM on Sunday, it’s like someone blew a whistle or fired a gun; everyone hops back on the tour busses, settles themselves on the leather seats of their Beemers or swings a leg over their Harleys and all roar out of town. By 4:30, you could fire a cannon down main street and not hit a thing. All the restaurants close, T-shirt shop doors are locked and the antique places go dark. Everyone simply locks the doors and goes home. The only thing left moving on main street is the trash carried along by the wind. One restaurant stays open to feed the locals.
Fred Burg has about 75 restaurants; 72 German, one Italian, one Mexican and one Chinese. The night we arrived, instead of going German, we had dinner at an Italian restaurant where we were served by a Chinese waitress. Can’t get any more cross-cultural than that. Nearly every restaurant there (except the golden arches) closes at least two or three days a week. Only the locals seem to know which one will be open for which meals. Out of perhaps 20 meals we had there, I think no more than a couple of them were in the same place. One thing about it, no matter which place we visited, it advertised as having the “Best Cheeseburgers in Fredericksburg.” We know that Opa (Grandfather) makes all the sausage and Oma (Grandmother) makes all the cheese served or sold in town; perhaps some little lady makes all the cheeseburgers and just delivers them to the restaurants.
Other than our bicycle helmets, once the tourists were gone, Fred Burg turns back into a dusty Texas town of about 6000 residents. Whatever restaurant happens to be open for breakfast has the usual tables of the courthouse crowd, cowboy hats, school teachers and old men wearing caps advertising farm machinery. Of course while we were there, we had our own tables of lycra shorts and jerseys with more advertising than sandwich boards. Fred Burg is a popular spot for cyclists and we must have seen fifty of them plus a couple sag vans for commercial tours.
The Geezers, actual and wanna be, were: Joe DiMonico (Margaret couldn’t go), Jim & Freda Foreman, Tom & Karen Russell, Fred & Bonnie Kamp, Fenton & Linda Ramey, Derral & Pat Idleman, John & Kay Shenk, Penny Speck (Jim couldn’t go), Bob Reynolds, and Gary Ingram. Bonnie, Freda, Pat, and Kay provided SAG and shopping support.
Fenton alternated riding the tandem with Linda and riding his road bike. Jim took a couple of short rides. Due to a dog bite, broken leg and an auto accident, he hadn’t been on a bike in over a year and it was quite a struggle. “My muscles had turned to silly putty and the broken leg still swells after a few miles. Oh well, it’s a start down the road to recovery and that’s what counts”, he said. Fred was just getting over a broken ankle and he looked for every abbreviated ride and shortcut available.
The south wind was strong, the hills steep and plentiful, and the weather misty, most days. Most of the Geezers averaged about 30 miles a day.
- Going up hill, up wind, into the drizzle for three miles past the turn to Cain City.
- At Harry’s BBQ on the Willow City loop, when Joe asked the biker babe type waitress, “Are you Harry?”
- David Luckenbach performing a complete on the road front axle repacking job on Tom’s bike on the gorgeous Llano loop ride.
- Bonnie’s split second timing in bringing the picnic lunch on the Llano loop
P.S While the Geezers were doing Geezer things in Fredericksburg, we came across a bicycle built from bamboo. It belonged to a lady who was is an interior decorator and she rides it back and forth to her studio. [Ed. note: It’s actually a steel-framed bike wrapped in rattan.]
More Photos Below: