The Gay Place

Making a detour through Double Heart Ranch

Gay Gaddis has got it going on.

There is a mythical place called Double Heart Ranch where the ambitious and incomparable millionaire—the former owner of T3—spends her days painting landscapes in a jewel box of a studio that overlooks the Hill Country. When I read Gay was having her first open house to show her art at her fabled abode, I got a wild hair to swing by the ranch while riding my bike from Burnet to Marble Falls on Mormon Hill Road, which has been on my to-do list.

Now, I don’t have $12,000 to spend on one of her transcendent acrylic paintings—but before judging me on deciding to take this ostensibly gauche journey without buying anything, note that I am deep in the Gay Gaddis, LLC marketing funnel, having read her book, seen her speak at three events, and I interviewed her. That was my pitch, too, FYI. Lower funnel, for sure…

At roughly 900 acres, Double Heart is a doggone working ranch, known by people in Gay’s stratosphere, former employees included. Or, if you’re me, you heard her talk about it as the grounding place that has been her salvation when things get chaotic. The driveway leading up to her gallery is literally a mile long, winding through meadows with wildflowers and bouncing deer, majestic longhorns, and little bodies of water.

So, here I am—pumping up the final section of the road while wondering what it’s like to be Gay—and I see a golf cart with what appears to be Gay’s husband Lee, maybe her son, and most likely her granddaughter heading toward me, with slightly confused faces. (“We thought you were a stranger,” the young girl told me later.) Now driving parallel to me, Lee asks me where I’m going and I half-yell between pants, “To the studio! For the art show!” Relieved, he says he’ll open the gate for me.

On the other side is Gay, sporting a fabulous blue silk minidress and a red scarf tied around her neck. She greets me with a smile, guiding me to the studio with some small talk about having rain in the forecast. I was the only guest who signed up for this specific time slot, but it didn’t seem to faze her. She’s so rock and roll; she had already sold three paintings and had a party of 30 arriving the next day.

Her charming Executive Director Stephanie gave me the spiel as we walked through Gay’s studio, which sits next to the gallery on a deck facing God’s country.

Stephanie informs me that Gay has a dedicated outdoor sink where she rinses her brushes with rainwater: “She says it keeps her paintings light and airy, since there are less minerals in the water.” Love that.

Not wanting to overstay my welcome, I peddled out of there after 20 minutes, hauling my bike over the fence because Lee and company forgot about that detail, but no matter. I’m low maintenance.

As per my last email, I’m burying the lead. (Or am I?) Cyclists should know that this 34-mile route (minus the driveway through the ranch, because I’m not creepy like that) is perfect. Going past several gorgeous ranches, it has easy hills to coast down without any blind curves, and there is very little congestion because, duh, Highways 281 is the faster option.

While You’re There

Have a meal at Marble Falls’ Blue Bonnet Café, which now accepts credit cards. This place is famous for its pies, and I hear all of them are excellent. I settled on the peach pie, which was intensely gelatinous but exceptional. I also got the fried fish plate because that’s my jam and I burned, like, 1000 calories. There’s nothing like having a good meal at the end of a long bike ride. The same can be said about enjoying a frosty cerveza; and you can do that at Bear King Brewing Company, located near the cafe. I didn’t but just saying.

And don’t forget about Burnet. It’s considerably smaller than Marble Falls but has a quaint downtown, so consider walking around the square and learn some Texas history. If you appreciate random, quirky things stop by Oatmeal and get a selfie in front of the town’s water tower, fashioned to look like a canister of oatmeal.

Three For the Road

  • Austin-based Team Snacks is organizing rides again and is accepting new members! This WTF cycling group organizes chill bike rides throughout Central Texas, and every single person in the group is lovely.

  • Save the date: the next Bike Night at COTA is on September 7. I recently went for the first time and was pleasantly surprised to see the diversity of folks who came out for the event, from beginners to children to athletes.

  • Enjoy this Spotify playlist for getting mellow, whether it’s taking an easy spin on your bike or just doing summer your way by pouring yourself a cocktail, dimming the lights, and cozying up with Mr. Toast. Wut?

Hello potential sponsors! I’m looking for some new wheels. Hook me up with a shiny new bike and I will TOUT THAT THANG all over town. Mama has a need for speed. I’ll also take your merch, knick-knack-paddy-whacks, and snacks if that’s a better brand alignment for your demographic. Get in early and drop me a line at Totally not joking.