Ready for the Republic of Texas biker rally? We’ve got the best motorcycle routes in Central Texas

Last year, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo, right, greeted bikers at the Republic of Texas Biker Rally parade in downtown Austin Friday June 10, 2016. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

The Republic of Texas Biker Rally is this weekend at the Travis County Expo Center in Austin. If you want to take a ride near the city, here are some of the best routes you can take:

The Three Sisters (aka The Twisted Sisters): 131 miles

This 131-mile ride has some of the best scenery you can get. Riding alongside rivers and past Texas ranches, this route is one of the best the Austin-area has to offer. The ride is known for its scenery and road quality and not so much its amenities, but a few can be found along the way.

Devil’s backbone/Old Spicewood: 33 miles

On this 33-mile stretch of scenic road, you’ll get a great view of Balcones Fault. You won’t be going too fast, but the road quality is good and so are the amenities.

Gruene-Fredericksburg-Bandera Loop: 239 miles

Clocking in at 239 miles, this scenic route takes you through the countryside and farmland of Central Texas. For amenities you can stop at Gruene, Luckenbach, Fredericksburg, Kerrville and Bandera, which all have great things to see and do.

Day trip to Luckenbach: 72 miles

This 72-mile trip goes through the Hill Country back roads. If you get hungry, stop at a mom-and-pop burger restaurant called the Alamo Springs Café.

Bikers park their bikes to register for Rot Rally on Friday, June 10, 2016 at the Travis Country Expo Center. This is Rot Rally’s 11th anniversary. Jessalyn Tamez / AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN

South-Central Texas Route 16: 88 miles

If you just want to ride through different towns in the Hill Country, including Kerrville and Fredericksburg, this 88-mile route is scenic with great roads.

Hutto-Granger-Georgetown Loop: 61 miles

This northeast Austin route has good scenery filled with creeks and rives. There are also plenty of curves to ride on. If you are looking for somewhere to eat, there is Louise Miller BBQ in Taylor.

Spicewood Springs Road: 5 miles

Looking for a short ride? The Spicewood Springs has good scenery and road quality. You’ll see some farms with horses and creeks and rivers. Its not a fast road, but you will be able to soak up some Texas beauty.

FM 487: 11 miles

This ride is on the shorter side but it has some nice scenery and good road quality. You’ll be riding through Texas farmland and woods. However, don’t expect there to be many roadside amenities.

Texas Twister: 61 miles

This 61-mile ride has great scenery as you’ll be in Hill Country near the Texas Highland Lakes. The road quality is good, but the road side amenities are not the best.

Hippie Hollow Horror: 40 miles

The Hippie Hollow Horror is 40 miles of great scenery that will take you to the north end of Lake Travis. There are also great roadside amenities with stops in Austin and Four Corners.

We may be getting a Texas flag emoji soon, but it might not be because of the Legislature


Last week, state Rep. Tom Oliverson, R-Cypress submitted a resolution to the Texas Legislature that called for “Texans not to use the flag emoji of the Republic of Chile when referring to the Texas flag.” HCR 75 would “hereby reject the notion that the Chilean flag, although it is a nice flag, can in any way compare to or be substituted for the official state flag of Texas and urge all Texans not to use the Republic of Chile flag emoji in digital forums when referring to the Lone Star Flag of the great State of Texas.”

The Texan flag.

The two flags do look a lot alike (hence the inevitable substitution of one for the other). But according to a Dec. 9, 2016 blog post from Emojipedia, Emoji 5.0 is now available for public review, and a Texas flag emoji is on its list of upcoming features. A release date for the update has not been set, but it will most likely be in the first half of 2017.

A third-party developer has created a pack for all 50 flags and Washington, D.C. which will be available to vendors to see if they want to support those features on iOs or Android. Flags from Scotland, Wales and England are on the list, too.

So, basically, even if that resolution goes through, it might be worthless by the time you update your phone with the latest operating system.

And if you really want a Texas emoji that bad, you can download that third-party emoji pack mentioned above through the App Store here.


Are ‘Brexit’ and ‘Texit’ as similar as their catchy names?
Boats decorated with flags and banners campaigning to leave the EU sail by the British Houses of Parliament in London. Photo by Niklas Hallen/Getty Images

Some Texans have long awaited their chance to secede from the U.S. in a “Texit” — you know you’ve seen those bumper stickers. So will the United Kingdom’s decision Thursday on whether to stay a member of the European Union have any effect on our state’s fate?

In what Slate called the “most important political story in the world,” Great Britain might become the first country to leave the EU. Those who want out argue that the EU has impeded on British sovereignty and diminished its influence. 

And a few Texas groups — like the Texas Nationalist Movement, the Republic of Texas and some Republicans — feel similar sentiments toward the U.S. government. Of the 27 million people that make up Texas, Daniel Miller of the TNM told the Guardian that 260,000 people support the idea of Texas secession. He said the arguments for Brexit and Texit are fundamentally identical.

“You could take ‘Britain’ out and replace it with ‘Texas,’” he said. “You could take ‘EU’ out and replace it with ‘US’. You could take ‘Brussels’ out and replace it with ‘Washington DC’. You could give you guys a nice Texas drawl and no one would know any different. So much of it is exactly the same.”

In this state where people still celebrate its independence from Mexico in 1836, those of TNM have called for Texas to decide whether to remain a part of the U.S. via a referendum. Just a few years ago, after President Obama was re-elected, the White House had to respond to a Texit petition that received more than 125,000 votes — of course, the answer was no.

Texas Standard spoke with Tom Dart, the journalist who interviewed Miller for the Guardian. Dart, a former British reporter and recent Texan, said there are important differences between Texas’ status in the U.S. and Britain’s status in the EU.

“Even if this is a relatively small part of Texas’ population, you could argue they’ve been making increasing amounts of noise in recent years,” Dart said. “They’ve been getting more organized, they’ve been having a bit more traction in the Republican Party of Texas – certainly among the Tea Party wing.”

He said Texas secession isn’t widely supported, though Texas rhetoric has been anti-federal government as of late. Texas Standard notes that “could be a consequence of Gov. Greg Abbott’s statement that he’s sued the federal government 40 times.”

The Dallas Morning News also said there is little parallel between Texit and Brexit. The article brings up the idea that Brexit could actually affect trade with the U.S., “which means Texas has a dog in this hunt.” The U.K. is one of the top countries receiving Texas exports but a “leave” vote might affect U.S. negotiations for a free-trade deal in Europe.

Miller though, like much of the world, is eager to see what happens with Thursday’s vote. While we wait, below is a roundup of tweets under the hashtag #Texit: