Destinations: Visit the Lone Star Motorcycle Museum in Vanderpool, Texas, for an impressive display of vintage motorcycles
Vintage iron on display at the Lone Star Motorcycle Museum in Vanderpool, Texas: 1938 Indian Collegiate Four.
Where: 36517 Hwy 187N in Vanderpool, Texas. From San Antonio take Hwy 16 North through Bandera to Medina. Go West on FM (Farm to Market) 337 to FM 187. Go North three miles and look on the left for the Lone Star Motorcycle Museum. (830) 966-6103
When: The Museum is open Friday through Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and the Ace Café Friday through Sunday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.- Adults: $5.00/Children under 12 free- Family: $10.00- Seniors 65 and over: $4.00- Groups 10 and over: $4.00/person- Lifetime Admission: $20.00
Why: Cool bikes, awesome roads and great food.
Scenic Routes: From the Museum take 187 South to Leaky, follow FM 336 North to Hwy 41 West to FM 335 South. Then Hwy 55 South to FM 337 East back to 187.
Best Kept Secrets: Nearby Hwy 336 and Hwy 337. Both are heaven on two wheels.
Avoid: Conflicting dates with vintage racing at Barber or Mid-Ohio — Johncock is off racing.
Folks in Texas know the Hill Country has the best riding roads in the state. And in the western reaches nestled in the rolling hills near Lost Maples State Park — the "Swiss Alps of Texas" — is a gem of a motorcycle collection. Housed at the Lone Star Motorcycle Museum in Vanderpool, a town so small it isn't on many maps, the museum is a pearl of Texas.
Operated by expat Aussie Alan Johncock, the museum contains all manner of delectable vintage motorcycles. Of the 50-some bikes on hand, most are of English origin, with a smattering of other Euro and Japanese machines and some early American iron.
The museum basically started by accident, the result of 20 years of collecting classic bikes. Before moving to Vanderpool Johncock lived in Houston, where he started his collection.
But once he moved to the Hill Country, the museum seemed like a natural direction to run. "We started building in 1999 and finished in 2003," Johncock says. "We didn’t have a master plan, we just opened it."
Johncock didn’t have any idea whether his museum would attract anyone, but even though the museum’s basically in the middle of nowhere it’s become a destination for thousands of classic bike fans, with upwards of 400 walking through on a busy weekend.
"It’s become a bit of a monster, actually," Johncock says.
Also housed in the Museum and opened in 2005 is the Ace Café, serving up Aussie meat pies (the national fast food of Australia), burgers and extras. "Bikers get mean if they’re hungry," Johncock notes. We’d suggest coming hungry to dine in the showroom among the vintage motorcycles.
Johncock restores the machines on site and shares his back workshop space with his wife, Debbie, who runs the café. We should all be so lucky. Besides doing his own restoration work, Johncock campaigns a pair of G50 Matchless — one in a Seeley chassis — in American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association road race events.
The museum is hidden deep-off the rural back roads, making it highly unlikely you’ll ever just happen by. But if you’re in the area it’s a trip worth taking, both for the great roads and Johncock’s great museum. Follow the directions at right, or log on to www.lonestarmotorcyclemuseum.com for more info. MC