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The 2014 Hill Country Rallye will be held on the last weekend of March, 2014. This is Thursday, March 27 through Sunday, March 30 in Boerne, Texas. Please check back soon for more updates!
Here's a recap of the 2013 event by Jamie Novak.
Wow, Another year of the Hill Country Rallye (HCR) has come and gone. This is event number 12 over the past many years. It is hard to believe that we have had so many years of good events, good people and good luck. In many cultures the number 13 is bad. Consider that many people have Triskaidekaphobia (look it up) even dating back to the early 1900s. In our case we did nothing to stay away from 13. In fact, neither did anyone else that attended the HCR13 considering our number of attendees was more than double last years.
Have you ever wondered what goes on prior to one of these events? First, there are some emails and phone calls to decide a date. Then you have to get hotel rooms and setup registration. Then estimate people and find food to feed them. Then plan the routes and events so that people have a good time. Then print a bunch of paper such that you can give them out to participants hoping they will actually read what you have to offer. Usually, this last part about paper packets happens late on the night before the event. Nothing like planning months in advance just to stay up late stuffing stickers and route sheets into envelopes. At least beer helps. Here, you can see that I am drinking a local fresh beverage while the other guys work. (Left to Right, Jamie Novak, Sean Brindley, Morrie Larson) Huge thanks to all the hands that helped put this together. Special thanks to Morrie, our HCR chairman; Sean, our HCR webmeister; and Bill, our shirtmeister. (I guess I can also thank me, the tourmeister considering no one got lost during the HCR). Despite the late night prior to the event to clear email and prepare to leave work for a few days we managed to leave on time.
This was the first year we added an additional day. This meant that Thursday afternoon was a travel day. Leaving Austin we had 4 cars headed toward our rendezvous in Boerne, TX. There were others coming from Austin but due to other commitments we took different routes. At least we found a few good roads to travel down. It was crazy windy on the drive South. We had enar 35mph sustained winds due to an approaching cold front. Here are two shots I liked. The first is the three tunnel and the second is the one-lane hill. Now for those of you reading this from out of state take a look. We have green trees and green grass. This is prime driving season and infact, we are coming to an end. Soon, the heat of summer will take over and everything will be brown and drab as it is water starved.
Eventually, we arrive at our destination and realize that we… need more beer. For those who have not attended you should know that registration includes quite a few beverages. HMM Let’s go to the store. Wait, I need a shopping cart. The SWT will have to do.
This store the aisles were not large enough to drive down but they would have frowned upon that anyways. At least my shopping car has a handle.
The next morning we got up and started our first drive. The HCR was split into 3 groups leaving about 15 min apart. We do this to make things a little more manageable and prevent backups at gas and food stops. Friday was good except for some local traffic. We managed to stop at the top of a switchback ridge line for a quick break.
After the break we took two fabulous roads. I did not take any pictures as I was leading the group at “not quite ludicrous” speed. The road leading East out of Kerrville was so much fun. Then going North was great. Eventually we ended up at our lunch destination. We arrived early as the Alamo Springs Cafe is usually very busy and has a relatively small parking lot. One of our CA visitors found out how we make burgers in TX. Bigger, Better. Btw, this place made the cover of Texas Monthly magazine as one of the top 3 burgers in TX. Yeah, it was good! The lunch stop was also home to the oldest railroad tunnel in TX. Old Tunnel State Park is now home to a warm-weather bat colony. Unfortunately, they had not returned from their winter vacation in Mexico.
After lunch I lead the group on a short "hop" to a local brewery. It just so happens that Friday is the only day this is open to the public. Maybe this is why we added the extra day. Yeah, I am sure of it. We were able to sample a special cask experiment for a new summer ale. So yummy! So many samples of the famous (at least in TX) Fireman's #4 were consumed. OK, not a lot but when you have a large group of people it seems like a lot. The other half of the group toured a winery. Hops or Grapes? That was the route title. Take your pick and enjoy your favorite.
After the tasting we stopped and took a picture at a local water crossing. If you have not heard, TX is under an extreme drought. This area should have a few more feet of water here. The group looks good against the reflecting pool.
Once back to the hotel we did our usual parking lot BS session getting to know new participants and catching up with old friends. After a fantastic catered BBQ dinner we took over the parking lot for late night consumption. See, there was a reason we needed a Targa, (err, I mean shopping cart) full of beer.
Saturday morning started early. After a driver's meeting we split into two groups. One is the enthusiast drive and the other was a tour group. The tour group visited LBJ Ranch and Historic Fredericksburg, TX. I led one of the spirited groups on the enthusiast drive. We took a route over the "three sisters". These roads string together and total nearly 100 miles of incredible driving roads. I am not sure if there is much like it anywhere.
Heading out we dropped through a few canyons. Great place to take pictures.
I tried to figure out if the sign would actually fit in the back of the Targa. I thought it would look good on the garage wall. Sadly, this is just a reminder of a time long ago. Despite the traffic these roads bring there is not much else happening out this far from civilization. We were a good 2 hours from anywhere modern.
The next set of roads took about 1.5 hours of constant driving. It starts with a sign like this...
and then we start seeing lots of this...
on roads that look like this...
Eventually, we stopped for a quick photo and tree watering stop.
On the way back we stopped in Utopia. Wait? haven't we already been there for the past 6 hours. Yours truly on the left. John Brindley on the right. Yes, there really is a Utopia, TX. Its a small cross roads town but also the gateway to some fantastic driving. Maybe they new that back in the 1800s when it was named.
At the end of the weekend it was about friends and fun. The afternoons are full of relaxed people with smiles on their face. They may have a little sunburn, may have a beer in their hand or maybe not. But they always are friendly and we are glad they came out to support our event.
Thank you everybody for attending the 2013 Hill Country Rallye. We look forward to seeing everybody next year.
Here are a few more pictures from this year's event.
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