Words and photos by Heath Braun
There is a road in Central Texas known for it's twists and turns. It has it's ups and downs, it's breakdowns, it's torrential downpours, and is filled with down and out filthy bastards. This road is The Road to Ruin. What started as a small yearly run between friends has transformed over the past two years to a low down and dirty chopper party for the no drama, no clique crowd that doesn’t always find it’s place among the bigger runs in Texas.
When I first heard of the Road to Ruin a year ago I was in a bad way. I had just finished a month and a half long journey from Portland,Oregon to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Fort Worth, Texas with only my camera, camping gear, and two wheels and I was longing to hit the open road again. I didn’t know anyone in Texas and I was desperate to find like-minded chopper heads to get on the road and in the garage with. That’s when I stumbled onto the Road. I found the Road through chopcult and that’s why I think it’s appropriate to share my experience here. I met some of my closest friends at last years inaugural ride and this year was no exception.
The Road to Ruin is a weekend long campout focused around the ride on Saturday through Texas hill country. For three days, dirty bikers camping down by the river and drinking the town dry double the population of sleepy San Saba, Texas. Friday afternoon was spent setting up camp and welcoming those rolling in throughout the evening, cracking beers, and sharing stories of the days ride in.
Saturday was sunny and warm despite the forecast of rain and everyone was itching to get on a bike and ride. Led by Dennis, the group of about twenty riders took off on a 100-mile search down Texas country roads for the best barbecue that the lone star state has to offer. We rolled into Castell around 2 o’clock and were surprised that the general store was packed. 20 bikers had just stumbled into an old school, Texas goat cook-off. Everyone filled up on BBQ and beer and set off back on the bikes, knees in the breeze and winded our way through little towns and long empty stretches of nothing but empty fields and farm roads.
As we pulled back into camp in San Saba, under the train tracks and across the footbridge, we were all exhausted and ready to relax, and that’s when the rain started. Luckily we had missed it while we were on the bikes but Saturday evening the skies opened up and all 60 bearded, exhausted dudes rolled their bikes under the large pavilion while we watched tents get swept away and hammocks fill with rain. Some slept on picnic tables and others braved the rain to save what was left of their flooded tents. When we woke up soggy on Sunday morning and surveyed the damage we all had a good laugh and remembered that we were about to get back on our motorcycles for the ride home and that made the rain seem like nothing but a bad dream. I don’t know about everyone else from that weekend but I know that I for one will be riding the road to ruin everyday until next October
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