When you're trying to make the most of a long weekend by squeezing in a quick motorcycle trip without burning your PTO at work, it's important to be rested and relaxed. That's why, when I glanced at my watch in the Continental Club in Austin, Texas, and saw 1:17 a.m., I shouted out an order for another round of whiskey and Lone Star beers over the sound of a screaming steel guitar.

Rest and relaxation are fine, but my riding buddy, Brett Walling, and I also needed to blow off a little steam, Texas style. That meant some live music, a few rounds of cheap whiskey, and dancing with every woman willing to brave her toes to our motorcycle boots.

Good, old-time country music at the Continental Club in Austin had us dancing until they kicked us out. Photo by Brett Walling.

Admirably, we were showered, packed and on the road by 10 a.m. the next morning, heading for Caliente Harley-Davidson in San Antonio, where we swapped our rental car for a Street Glide and a Road King.

Brett made a beeline for the Street Glide, punching buttons on the dash and desperately scanning the radio dial.

“No more of this Matchbox Twenty shit,” Brett proclaimed, clearly displeased with my musical selections thus far. “We’re in Texas and all I want to hear is mariachi bands and country music.”

With a loose route in mind, mariachi music on the radio, and 72 hours of freedom in front of us, the strip malls of San Antonio morphed into rolling green hills as we made our way out of town. I have to admit that while I have ridden across Texas numerous times, I had never ridden Hill Country prior to this trip. I was quickly learning why people gushed about riding in Texas. These roads were amazing.

Relaxing in the apex of one of the middle sister's many curves. Photo by Spurgeon Dunbar.

But first, I needed some attitude adjustment. I quickly learned that my Road King preferred to meander through corners, as opposed to attacking them. Brett, at peace with his mariachi music, was a bit more patient. I am so used to using a motorcycle as a tool for furious acceleration as a way to outrun the stress of a long day that it never occurred to me that I could instead back down the pace and let all of life's deadlines and distractions just pass me by.

“Just relax and slow down,” Brett shouted over the radio. I eased my twisted right wrist and soon my Road King fell right into pace alongside Brett’s Street Glide, as we turned left onto the first of the Twisted Sisters.

Brett putting some time in on the Road King. Photo by Spurgeon Dunbar.

The Twisted Sisters are three roads (RR335, RR336, and RR337) that can be traversed via a 130-mile loop full of long sweepers and tight switchbacks that put the “Twisted” in the name. I found serenity with a slower pace just as one of North America's most famous stretches of highway snaked its way to the horizon in front of me, tempting me like the serpent it was.

The winding curves and elevation changes found on the Twisted Sisters of Texas Hill Country attract motorcyclists from around the country. Photo by Spurgeon Dunbar.

Knowing Texas State Troopers' penchant for passing out speeding tickets, I was almost relieved we were on the Harleys as we followed the sisters' curvy lines. Floorboards sparked across the blacktop as the bikes wallowed hard through the corners, reminding us of their limitations, keeping our speed down, the troopers’ radar guns at bay, and leaving my newfound serenity intact.

Feeling the effects of the previous night's whiskey, women, and dancing, we decided to make it an early night, finding a hotel overlooking the North Llano River in Junction, Texas. We feasted like kings on gas station sandwiches and a bag of chips as we sat behind our hotel, watching as the sun set over the water.

Shapow! Brett says he doesn't like being in front of the camera, yet he has no problem hamming it up with me. Photo by Brett Walling.

The next morning, we headed down to the river for an impromptu photo shoot, where I wrestled the Street Glide’s keys from Brett and took off down the road before he could protest. Unlike the Road King, with its classic lines, the Street Glide has a sinister look that appeals to the rebel within. The natural and comfortable reach to the Street Glide's handlebar, coupled with the low-profile tires, gave it an advantage in handling. However, I preferred the wind protection provided by the King’s windshield to the Glide’s batwing fairing. I found the tech package, housed in said fairing, to be counterintuitive, and soon I was riding sans mariachi music to avoid crashing. Having to explain to the big boys upstairs that I totaled a $20,000 Harley while searching the radio for Mariachi Los Toros was not a conversation I felt like having.

While there are a lot of similarities between the two Harleys, their marked styling differences set them apart. Photo by Spurgeon Dunbar.

Weaving our way back down RR335, the westernmost sister, we pulled into the dusty town of Camp Wood around noon. Stopping at the only gas station in town, we found ourselves chatting with Rodney and Marlene, a husband-and-wife duo touring around on a BMW R 1200 RT and Triumph Thruxton, respectively. Just 24 hours earlier, I would have found myself lusting after Marlene's Thruxton, but I was getting used to my relaxed pace and all of the scenery I normally miss while staring intently through the next corner.

We had originally planned on aiming for Kerrville to bed down for the night, but they insisted we push through to Fredericksburg, about 20 miles further down Highway 16. With the promise of a small-town Main Street, clean hotels, and a brewery with strong microbrews, we found no reason to argue.

With multiple vistas and countless amazing views along the road, the hardest part of this trip was trying not to stop every five minutes for a photo op. Photo by Brett Walling.

We spent the rest of the afternoon cruising lazily through the hills of Texas. Stops were made for urgent matters such as sitting in the shade of a tree, wading into a stream to escape the heat of the Texas sun, or eating ice cream at the local Dairy Queen.

The Medina River, running south of the town which bears the same name, looks like something from a Mark Twain novel. Photo by Brett Walling.

We pulled into Fredericksburg as the sun was setting and took a slow spin down Main Street before settling on the Sunday House Inn with its blinking vacancy light luring us in. The muggy Texas evening was perfectly offset with a few rounds of cold beer and some fresh grilled catfish at the Fredericksburg Brewing Company.

When ordering a growler of beer to take back to the hotel pool with us, we misunderstood the waitress when she asked, “18 or 32?” Assuming she meant ounces, we opted for “32,” while commenting to each other that those were really small growlers. As it turns out, she meant dollars and we ended up with enough beer to host a college frat party. Even growlers are bigger in Texas.

Up with the sun and facing another beautiful Texas spring day, we were on the road by 7:30 a.m., trying to cram in as much riding as possible before we had to drop off the bikes and catch a flight back to reality. We headed north to check out the famed Texas wildflowers on the Willow City Loop. Maybe I am just not that into flowers, but this stretch held as much excitement for me as watching Kenny G. break the Guinness World Record for holding one note on a saxophone for 45 minutes. However, the loop was packed with onlookers, so what do I know? Perhaps it's an acquired taste, like drinking beer.

The wildflowers were in full bloom. Photo by Spurgeon Dunbar.

Brett and I completed the loop and began a slow southern descent into San Antonio. The green rolling hills morphed back into crowded strip malls with fast food joints advertising meals in minutes, laundries with 60-minute turnaround times, and five-minute car washes.

Watching this transformation, I was reminded of the old Alabama song, “I’m in a hurry (and I don’t know why).” Randy Owen sang that he was “rushing, rushing ‘til life’s no fun.” That was back in 1992, before iPhones, Google, and email accountability. Can you imagine how he feels now?

The open roads of Texas are perfect for the Street Glide's insatiable thirst for tarmac. Photo by Brett Walling.

With this trip we had nowhere to go, no destination, no agenda, and yet I still couldn’t wait to get there. The Street Glide and Road King, while not my typical ride, helped remind me that sometimes it’s OK to slow down and smell the wildflowers. Despite the handlebar, which was uncomfortably high for me, the Road King ended up being my favorite of the two bikes. It inspired me to ease up and lock the cruise control in at 55 mph.

We only had one long weekend but that didn't stop us from sampling a few famous roads and making some lasting riding memories. You don't have to take two weeks away from work and family responsibilities to go on a ride to remember. All we needed was a weekend, a couple of rental motorcycles to try and, in my case at least, a little attitude adjustment. It turns out there is so much more to see when one slows his roll.