The ride begins in Medina, near where the North and West Prongs of the Medina River and Elm Creek meet.
Highly recommended for breakfast and a stop off before you begin is Keese’s Bar-B-Que. Coming into Medina from Bandera, it’s the friendly restaurant on the left where locals and bikers mix to swap stories, prepare for their day and enjoy breakfast or lunch.
The Patio Restaurant at the Apple Store at Love Creek Orchards serves delicious sandwiches, burgers, ice cream and such.
The first leg of the legendary Twisted Sister motorcycle and touring ride officially starts at the corner of State Highway 16 (SH-16) and Ranch to Market Road 337 (RM 337) in Medina, Texas.
The first 9.8 miles from this point opened on November 25, 1975 to join an existing RM 337 that first began in 1945 connecting Camp Wood eastward to Leakey. It eventually expanded into Vanderpool by 1968.
Cyclists are urged to check weather events the days BEFORE the intended ride, conditions the day OF the actual ride, and FORECAST for the region.
Rocks, branches and debris can have fallen, scattered and left from flooding and high winds.
Beware that although it may not be raining where you’re riding, storms can occur at nearby higher elevations causing flash flooding on your route.
Only experienced and smart cyclists should attempt the Twisted Sister. As of this writing (May 26, 2020) 13 people have lost their lives motorcycling RM 337.
Passage through the Hill Country canyonlands, northwest of San Antonio can be treacherous and deceiving.
It’s a common phenomenon to experience dichotomies of simultaneous breathtaking nature and deceptions. Those who have survived going over the edge, or off the road, tell of experiencing spectacular beauty, synchronized with the horror of disillusionment.
A description of the experience follows:
1. The first pass over water is over the Medina River, “The calmest river in Texas.”
2. A few minutes later Elm Creek passes over and meanders on the left for awhile. At this point the typical cyclist is enjoying the view and likely thinking “this is smooth, pretty and a piece of cake.” In actuality, hairpin switchbakes are waiting ahead.
In April 2006, Texas Monthly deemed RM 337 as #18 on their “75 Things We Love About Texas” list.
3. Next comes Elam Creek, followed by Love Creek, goats, sheep, horses, cows and bulls all on the left. But here is where the deception usually begins. Most didn’t see the deer jumping the fence line from the right. The most unfortunate actually hit one and the trip had just began.
4. Again, on the left are the wonderment of cliffs and hills peering above a spectacular Siesta Valley Ranch. But beware, on the right could be fallen rocks cascading from higher slopes above the comforting asphalt.
5. Nature opens up to striking panoramic views, most likely the kind you were hoping for. But preconceived ideas can be far from reality. Trees and landscape suddenly tighten up as if to squeeze the road inward, only to spread and curve in ways not expected.
The most intelligent of us realize by now not to let your guard down. But is it possible? Yes, but be careful of your guard. Instinct and reading the lay of the land will tell you the road is curving one way, but truth can prove you dead wrong.
6. Soon enough the ride begins to leave the big ranches and “T”s at Vanderpool. Take a right on Highway 187 until you see the Lost Maples General Store.
6.b. Here is a good stop to consider an option. Just a few miles straight on 187 will take you the Lone Star Motorcycle Museum.Not only is it a favorite of riders passing through, it’s a nice place to gather your wits, calm down and contemplate the joys of why you ride. Afterwards, just backtrack back and turn right to go West on 337 to Leakey.
7. If you didn’t go straight on RR 187 to the Museum, a left on 337 takes you to Leakey.
More views appear, but this time the concert of sceneries are not visually in sync. Signs warn of multiple curves and speed limits. They’re not suggestions. They are mandated musts to keep you alive.
8. Mill Creek and Evans Creek await, but first, you ramble, twist and meander your way through sidewinding inclines and serrated passages. It’s becoming fun if you stay sharp and wise. This is not a rollercoaster. It’s the first Twisted Sister.
People die here. Don’t be one of them. It’s all about enjoying survival amongst the spectacles without be lured. Winners do this with a kind of brave elegance and with grace.
9. The quick turns soon descend into the Little Dry Frio Creek Valley. After crossing the Sabinal River Bridge, 337 takes you to an intersection with choices of Utopia or Leakey.
In Leakey, a Stripes at 83 and 1120 South there are 10 gas pumps (When we were there in May 2020 has was $1.66 vs 1.80+ at nearby places), diesel ($2.14), an ATM, stacks of water, a Subway, propane available, and ice was $2.79 for 10lbs, $3.99 for 20lbs.
Note to RVers: We did not see any motorcoaches or pulled trailers on 337. A suggested route would be from Bandera to Tarpley via RR 470 westward. For 29 miles take a left on RR 187 to Garner State Park or right to Leakey.