Burnet, TX is a 4 hour drive from Plano. Down I-35 to Temple, west past Ft. Hood, South from Lampasas directly into Burnet. Burnet is a town of about 4,000 people, the county seat of Burnet county, deep in the Hill Country. They pride themselves on the wildflowers and the tourist train from Austin that brings people in April for the Bluebonnet Festival. They have a whole weekend of festivities in early April including a Pet Parade, the Confederate Air Force exhibit, and the bike tour. We were there mainly for the bike tour, but enjoyed both the Pet Parade and the Confererate Air Force flyover.
We drove through Burnet about 5pm, parked and walked the town square. They were deep in preparation for everything, food and crafts booths setting up, pets gathering, people milling around. We had time so we headed on south to Marble Falls, where our hotel was.
We drove back to Burnet for the Pet Parade that Friday afternoon. It started at 6pm, lots of contestants, mostly young kids with their young pets. The best of show was a girl with a big lizard (iguana?) on her head looking forward with it's tail wrapped around her neck. The lizard would look left and right, while the girl looked right and left. Very striking. We sat off to the side with a bunch of locals and watched everything. It was very, very hot that evening, 96 degrees! As we watched the Pet Parade a cold front came through. We saw it as a heavy, heavy line of clouds off to the north. It passed over and everything darkened, the wind started really blowing, and the temperature dropped. But no rain! It felt great to have the temperature drop off.
The next day when we arrived we had 30 mph north winds and the temperature was 54 degrees when the bike ride started! It was cold all day. Anne wore her fleece jacket, long tights, and blue bike jacket, all day. Stewart wore his long sleeve jacket all day too.
They had a new route this year and it was the best ever. We headed north first, then east, then south, west back into Burnet. We started at the high school this time, instead of the town square. These were very remote roads with very little traffic, winding, vista views, lots and lots of cattle crossings! It felt a lot like we were riding the ridges.
The ride was very small. It usually is, maybe about 200 people (maybe less). The rest stops didn't have port-potties (bummer) but some were setup near small churches and we could use the facilities there (great!).
There was a great golden retriever at the last rest stop. Didn't seem to belong to the older couple that was manning the rest stop, but always knew where to put his head to get the most pets. He seemed to move from person to person as people arrived on their bikes and stole some pets from each then moved on. He was very good at it.
After the ride we drove back to our hotel and got showers, then drove back to Burnet and out highway 29 toward Lake Buchanan to 2341 then north along the east side of the lake. On the far north end of the lake we found the Canyon of the Eagles, a resort with a lodge, campsites, hiking trails, cabins, a great restaurant, and various activities, including star-gazing with their big telescope, the Vanishing Texas River Cruise that takes large groups out on Lake Buchanan, hiking, other stuff. Anne is talking with them to see it could be a place for the cousins reunion next year. While along the lake we also went wildflower looking and it was very beautiful. This area is the best for sight-seeing around the Texas Hill Country.
We stayed at the Hampton Inn on the river in Marble Falls. There was a Chili's and Jammin (steaks and seafood) next door and we ate dinner at Chili's both nights. We couldn't get into Jammin. It was so convenient, and 20 miles south from Burnet. We sat at the window on both nights looking out south toward the lake. On the first night we watched the cold-front drive through and stall just south of us. During dinner we watched the storm off to the south giving a spectacular light show. Then we headed back to the Hampton and sat out near the pool, also on the south side, and watched the storm with our feet soaking in the hot tub. It was great!