Smitty’s has a bit of a history. It was originally dubbed Kreuz Market, but due to a family squabble, one sibling took the name and built a huge factoryesque Barbecue joint out on 183, while another kept the historic space in downtown, but had to come up with a new name. On another of my trips I tried Kreuz’s out. Though my day was over at Chisholm my first time out, Kreuz’s was just the beginning of my next trip.
From Lockhart, it’s a short hop over to historic Gruene, over on I-35, and from there into some very cool riding. The River Road splits off of SR-46 just west of town, and follows the twists and curves of the Guadalupe River for miles, just 10 as the crow flies becomes closer to 20. Deep in the canyon, with cool breezes and the river so near by, it’s the perfect place to spend the hottest hours. Leave some time for this, as the speed limits are low and there’s lots of tourist traffic from all the tubing businesses along the river.
After the River Road leads you to Farm 306, you’re greeted with fabulous views of Canyon Lake, as it follows the curves of the manmade reservoir. It wasn’t long after this that I figured out to mostly stay on the Farm and Ranch Roads. On the far side of the lake, I took 32 to 473 to where it ends at US-281. It was here that I heard about a little county road that looks like it’s going through people’s back yards, following an unnamed waterway (Little Blanco River perhaps?).
Little Blanco Road, aka County Road 101, is a one-lane road with 4 potential water crossings. I’d been warned about these super-slippery algae-covered concrete death traps before, and I’d crossed a few already with no real incidents, so chances are, by the time I got to this one, I was feeling cocky. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t dragging my Gore Tex boots in the water and going under 5 mph like I’d done before.
The first couple should have been a warning. Slipperier than the ones had been on the larger Farm Roads I made it past two of them without much of a problem, just steady throttle and super low speeds. The one that got me (GPS: Lat: 30 00’46” N Long: 98 26’19” W) was even slipperier, so slippery that at my very low speed, I still slid all the way across to the other side. Good thing too, as I don’t think I could have picked up the Cross Roads from the middle…it was hard to just walk on the stuff.
So this was my first moving street crash in 20 years of trying. Pretty low-impact, I somehow bruised my calf when the bike levered suddenly onto the crash bar. The only real damage to the bike was the chip in the paint of the tank from my camera that was dangling from my neck (like an idiot). My crash alerted me to one other potential hazard of riding out here alone. On a little road like this, it could be hours until another motorist comes along…and you can bet there’s no cell service.
After getting back underway, I discovered a pair of really nice and non-hazardous routes. At the end of 101, I turned left on Blanco road, then right on Crabapple for a truly wonderful backroad ride. Nothing too difficult, but just hilly beauty that feels like a thousand miles form nowhere with pastures, and streams tucked away between the trees.
Making my way up to Johnson City, I went east on 2766 toward Pedernales Falls. I no longer had time for the falls, but managed to ride the edge of the park, which is another slice of Hill Country heaven. Ironically continuing past the park into Fitzhugh put me back on County Road 101, but this time Hays County, not Blanco. This one’s safer, with just one not-very –slippy crossing.