Map of Day 2 Ride Route
I was staying with my son Tony and his family. They were sleeping in so I loaded the bike and slipped away. I stopped at Denny’s for a leisurely breakfast. There was no hurry because it is only 50 miles to the San Jacinto Monument. I hate driving in Houston traffic on four wheels so I really hate Houston traffic on two… Even though I rode through Houston it was a nice ride. The weather was 67 degrees with just a few clouds and very light Sunday morning traffic…
Early Sunday Morning I-610
I have a love/hate relationship with my GPS… I had more GPS problems today. When I tried to enter my first stop, “The San Jacinto Monument”, the GPS couldn’t find it! I tried to enter the address 3523 Independence Parkway but still no result. I looked at the GPS map and found the street to be labeled Battleground Road instead of Independence Parkway. Using 3523 Battleground Road worked. What a hassle… So if you are heading that way and using your GPS please take note… Once I found the road… the signs use both names… The map people didn’t get the memo…
You can see the monument for miles before you actually get there. It is an impressive sight.
San Jacinto Monument
There is no charge for the monument unless you want to see the view from atop the monument. You take the elevator up to the Monument’s Observation floor, 489 feet above the Battleground. Once at the top you will have a beautiful view of the city, Houston Ship Channel, harbor and surrounding area. The San Jacinto Museum of History is housed in the base of the San Jacinto Monument and has priceless artifacts, dioramas, 250,000 documents and 40,000 books chronicling more than 400 years of early Texas history.
Walking the Battleground there are granite markers designating locations of the Texian camps, the Mexican camps, the advance by Texian forces and other information about the battle.
San Jacinto Monument
If you are not a Texan you may be asking yourself… “What’s the big deal?” Well… the Texans had lost the battles of the Alamo and Goliad. The men at those locations fought a fierce fight and died horrific deaths for what they believed. Santa Anna thought he had it all wrapped up except for finishing off Sam Houston and his men… few in numbers and corner at San Jacinto. Two of the plaques on the on the monument sums it up best.
With the battle cry, “Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad!” The Texans charged. The enemy, taken by surprise rallied for a few minutes then fled in disorder. The Texans ask no quarter and gave none. The slaughter was appalling, victory complete and Texas free! On the following day General Antonio Lopez De Santa Anna self-styled “Napoleon of the West” received from a generous foe the mercy he had denied Travis at the Alamo and Fannin at Goliad.
Measure by its results, San Jacinto was one of the decisive battles of the world. The freedom of Texas from Mexico won here lead to the annexation and the Mexican War, resulting in the acquisition by the United States of the states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, California, Utah and parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas and Oklahoma almost one third of the present area of the American Nation, nearly a million square miles of territory changed sovereignty.
The fight lasted just 18 minutes. About 630 Mexican soldiers were killed and 730 captured, while only 9 Texans died. Santa Anna fled the battle disguised as an enlisted man. Santa Anna was captured the following day and held as a prisoner of war. Three weeks later, he signed the peace treaty that paved the way for the Republic of Texas to become an independent country.
Text on base of the San Jacinto Monument
Text on the base of the San Jacinto Monument
So this is a big deal for us Texans and we are proud of our history and culture. All the historic sites of the “Texas Independence Trail” help remind us of where we have come and help us to be mindful of our responsibility to our past and future generations.
For more on the battle click here ( http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/qes04 ).
San Jacinto Monument Reflecting Pool with Battleship Texas
While at the San Jacinto Battleground and Monument you may want to spend some time at the Battleship Texas, located just across Battlefield Road. You can see the battleship when looking down the reflective pool from the monument. The admission fee is $12 for everyone 13 years old and older. The tour is self guided and there is a lot of history to be seen about the battleship and World War II.
Beach at Galveston
The rest of the ride was very enjoyable. By now it was overcast and it was in the low 80’s. From San Jacinto I rode to La Porte and rode down Hwy 146 to Galveston. Hwy 146 parallels Galveston Bay with many nice views of the bay all along the way. When I got to Galveston I rode Seawall Blvd. to the northeast end of the island before turning around and heading southwest to Surfside. There was lots of swimmers on the beach today and traffic on Seawall Blvd. was rather heavy.
Rolling down San Louis Pass Road
San Louis Pass Road
I rode to Surfside via Seawall Blvd., San Louis Pass Rd., and Bluewater Hwy. There is a toll ($2) bridge where San Louis Pass Rd. ends and where Bluewater Hwy starts.
Because I forgot the GPS was set to avoid toll roads, it kept trying to route me around this bridge. I forgot about the toll bridge and was a bit annoyed with the GPS… again… When I got to the bridge I realized what my problem was.
Rolling down the Bluewater Highway
This leg of my ride was a nice leisurely ride with cool sea breezes, over cast skies and great beach views along the way. At Freeport I picked up Hwy 36 and rode to West Columbia my final destination for the day.
First Capital of Texas at West Columbia
West Columbia is my hometown and was the “First Capitol of Texas”. Around 1833 Leman Kelsey built a story and a half structure. In 1836 West Columbia then known as Columbia became the first capital of the Republic of Texas and this building was one of two that housed the new government of the Republic of Texas. The Congress convened here and Sam Houston took the office as President and Stephen F. Austin as Secretary of State. In 1837, the government moved to the new city of Houston. The 1900 storm destroyed the original capital. A Replica was built at this site in 1976-77. The replica depicts how the interior and exterior looked during 1836.
Replica of the First Capital Of Texas Building
Replica of the First Capital of Texas Building
Much of my family still lives in the area. When I say much I mean much… I have over 40 first cousins and many aunts, uncles and second and third cousins! I will be staying with my brother Gary and his wife Ginny tonight.
It was a fun and busy day riding and exploring just a small part of Texas’ history…
You can read the other post about this ride here…
Posted in Motorcycle Touring Logs | Tagged 146, 1833, 1836, 1837, 1900 storm, 36, Alamo, American, Antonio Lopez De Santa Anna, Arizona, Battleground, battleship, Bluewater, California, Colorado, Columbia, congress, Fannin, fifst capital, Freeport, Galveston, Goliad, government, GPS, History, Houston, Hwy, Independence, Kansas, Kelsey, La Potre, leman, Mexucan, monument, Motorcycle, museum, Napoleon of the West, nation, Neveda, New Mexico, Oklahoma, parkway, President, rd, reflective pool, Remember, replica, Republic, ride, road, Sam Houston, San Jacinto, San Louis Pass, Santa Anna, Seawall, Secretary of State, sovereignty, Surfside, territory, Texas, Texian, tool, Trail, Travis, United States, Utah, War, West, Wyoming | Leave a Comment »
Map of Day 1
After seeing an article in the “Texas Highways” magazine about the “Texas Independence Trail” I thought it would be a good motorcycle ride. I have seen the road signs in the past many times but hadn’t given it much thought until seeing this article. The Texas Historical Commission has charted out a good motorcycle adventure with its delineation of the Texas Independence Trail region. The trail is an area that winds through the Houston/Galveston area following the coast to West Columbia and Victoria. The trail then continues on to Goliad, San Antonio, Gonzales, Bastrop and Brenham. All along the trail are sites rich in Texas Independence history and much more.
Texas Independence Hall @ Washington on the Brazos
Texas Independence Trail road signs.
Here is a timeline for those of you not familiar with Texas history. It will help you unravel what happened and maybe you understand what I was seeing…
- December 1821: Stephen F. Austin settles the first 300 Anglo families in Texas.
- April 1834: Santa Anna takes control of Mexico and repeals Constitution of 1824.
- October 2, 1835: The first military engagement of the Texas Revolution.
- February 22/24 1836: Santa Anna attacks the Alamo.
- March 2, 1836: Texian delegates (comprised of Anglo and Mexican) gather at Washington on the Brazos to sign a declaration of independence and create a government.
- March 6, 1836: The Alamo falls to Santa Anna and the Mexican Army.
- March 27, 1836: Col. Fannin and his men are massacred at Goliad.
- April 21, 1836: General Sam Houston and the Texas Army defeat Santa Anna at San Jacinto.
- October 1836: The first permanent government of the Republic was elected under President Sam Houston, and met at Columbia in the fall of 1836.
Due to the logistics, I wasn’t able follow the exact trail. I did follow it as much as possible. There is a lot to see on the trail, but I was limited by time, so I tried to hit the most significant points along the way. These were my goals…
Janet was in San Diego so she wasn’t able to go on the ride. My cousin W. D. was going but at the last minute he had to put his scooter in the shop and he is waiting on a part. I thought about not doing the ride. I decided if I was going I needed to leave the next day. Late that night, I packed everything and loaded the saddle bags to leave the next morning and hoped I hadn’t forgotten something.
When I left the weather was perfect, 66 degrees and partly cloudy. I headed out and was about 20 miles from home when I realized… I had left the camera! I had to have the camera… so back home I went. I lost about an hour but I had lots of daylight left. The total mileage for today was 198 miles, excluding the miles for going back home for the camera.
Independence Hall @ Washington on the Brazos
My first and only stop today is Washington on the Brazos the site of Texas declaring its independence from Mexico. The ride to Washington on the Brazos was a good one. The spring wildflowers were still blooming and added a splash of color to the green from the recent rains. Along my route were many gentle hills covered in trees and open pasture areas. There were some nice gentle curves along the way, too. It was a cool ride both figuratively and literally.
Washington on the Brazos Visitor Center
Washington on the Brazos, the birth place of Texas, is now a state park. You can walk the grounds where there are markers telling what was where at the time. Everything is free unless you want to take one of the guided tours or tour the new “The Star of the Republic” museum. The museum is administered by Blinn College.
Independence Hall is revered as one of Texas’ most significant historic places. The original building burned sometime around the turn of the century but a replica of Independence Hall marks the place where the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed and the government of the Republic of Texas was created.
Also at the park is the Barrington Living History Farm where you can travel back in time to participate in the daily activities of an 1850’s cotton farm. You may take part in seasonal activities, daily chores, games and toys of the time.
I could have stayed longer at the park… there is a lot to take in… but it was almost 1:00 and I was starving. So I was back on the road looking for a good place to eat…
Texas Independence Trail
I had made good time in spite of the late start. Now it was on to visit my son Tony and his family in Spring. The ride was more of what I had seen earlier in the day. Gentle hills and curves with wild flowers beside the road and in open pastures… It was nice, not too warm and traffic wasn’t bad. I was dreading Houston traffic and was relieved that it was not too bad… This was partly because it was Saturday and I had some good luck.
I stayed the night with Tony and we had a nice visit. Savanna, my granddaughter, wasn’t too sure about me and the motorcycle… but since grandma wasn’t with me (she is a grandma’s girl) it didn’t take her long to get over it. She had to show me all of her dolls, toys and her new big girl bed.
Tomorrow it is on to the San Jacinto Battleground and Monument… Stay tuned…
Posted in Miscellaneous | Tagged 1821, 1824, 1835, 1836, Alamo, Anglo, Army, Barrington Living Farm, Bastrop, battle, Battleground, Birth place of Texas, Blinn College, brazos, Brenham, Columbia, Constituation, curves, Fannin, First capatal, Galveston, General, Goliag, Gonzales, graves, Hall, heroic, Highways, hills, Historical Commision, Houston, Independence, massacred, Mexician, Mexico, Motorcycle, Republic, Revolution, ride, Sam Houston, San Antonia, San Jacinto, Santa Anna, Stephen F. Austin, Texas, Texian, The Star of the Republic, Trail, Victoria, Washington, Washington on the Brazos, West Columbia, wildflowers | 4 Comments »
A visit to Branson is not complete without at least one meal from Mel’s Hard Luck Diner, a 50′s style restaurant, home of Branson’s original singing servers. The diner’s servers, hosts, cooks, and cashiers are also professional singers, song writers, and musicians. You are always greeted with a smile, served great food and entertained by great singers. A show for the price of a meal…
This is our third trip to Branson in two years and of course we ate at Mel’s again. My brother Gary and his wife Ginny were our travel companions on this trip. Gary and Ginny have been to Branson many times but they have never been to Mel’s until now! They will be back!
We discovered Mel’s on our first trip to Branson two years ago. We eat there every chance we get. On this visit when we being seated, I ask if Kelly Bryant was working and if so I wanted to be seated at one of her tables. We met Kelly two years ago and she is my favorite singer at Mel’s. On our first visit, Kelly sang the gospel song “I Call It Home”. I had never heard the song before and immediately loved it. After buying one of Kelly’s CD’s with that song, it has since become my favorite gospel song.
Kelly was working and it was a pleasure visiting with her again. On our first visit Kelly (a displaced Texan) ask where we would go on vacation in Texas if we had the choice between Galveston and South Padre. We told her South Padre hands down. So I had to ask Kelly were they ended up going. They chose South Padre and Kelly excitedly told us how much She and her family enjoyed it. I know we weren’t the only ones who gave her that advice but it was nice to know she and her family really enjoyed South Padre. South Padre is Janet’s and my favorite Texas beach.
I requested Kelly sing “I call It Home” again. When she sang, she said it was her favorite song too. Kelly did a great job as usual and we enjoyed it very much.
If you are ever in Branson you have to eat at Mel’s and if Kelly is working tell her hello for us.
I’m no talent expert but I know what I like and I like all the singers at Mel’s. Each singer has CD’s available for purchase. So help them out, they always appreciate your support.
Mel’s… great atmosphere, great food and great entertainment… we will definitely be going back on our next visit.
I hope we see you on the road somewhere… Ride safe…
Posted in Miscellaneous, Places | Tagged 50's, Branson, Bryant, cashiers, CD, cook, Diner, entertainment, favorite, food, Galveston, gospel, host, I Call It Home, Kelly, meal, Mel's, Mel's Hard Luck Diner, Missouri, musicians, original, professional, servers, singer, singing, song writers, South Padre, style, Texan, waiter | 2 Comments »
“Have Goldwing Will Travel”
If you see me on the road traveling, please say “Howdy”. It is amazing the number of people who read this blog. As we travel around, I continually wonder if any of the people we meet on the road have ever seen this blog. So far no one has indicated they have… If for no other reason there is no way for you to know who we are… Until now… You will know it is us if you see this (See picture above) on the trunk of my Goldwing…
“Have Goldwing Will Travel”
So until we meet, ride safe and I hope we meet somewhere down the road.
Posted in Miscellaneous | Tagged blog, Have Goldwing Will Travel, Howdy, If you see me, Motorcycle, on the road, ride, say, TheTexasRambler.com, travel | 7 Comments »
Front tire wear
I checked my tires (tyres) a few weeks ago and found my front tire was wearing just on the left side. The right side had a lot of tread but the left side tread was gone! What could cause that? It looked like a major problem to me. I have never had a tire wear that way before. My first thought was to take my bike to the dealer to have them check it out but I didn’t have time. A week or so went by and it was still bugging me. I thought I would google it and see what would come up. WOW, a lot came up. There are a lot of riders out there with the same problem asking the same question. I found a lot of answers but some of them were pretty crazy… Below are some of the answers…
- Something else that affects left side tire wear is a lot or riders cruise with only their right hand on the bars. The left hand sitting in your lap or resting on the tank. This causes you to subconsciously shift your body weight slightly to the left to compensate for holding onto the right side of the bike.
- Were you ONLY turning left? Not a good thing at all. Left fork and left rear shock on different settings/ fluid levels than the right?
- You may want to watch how you load the saddle bags, if your heavy on the right side you will tend to lean left to keep going straight….
- Actually, how badly crowned are the roads where you live? Here in Maine, we have some roads at, if they got more crowned, you could confuse them for the roofs of houses. That can (and does) cause uneven wear on tires. (will cause a little less than normal wear on the right, a LOT more wear on the left)
This is what I believe to be the correct answer or reason for the left side tire wear. Last September we did a ride with thousands of curves. Lately, we have done a lot of rides with a lot of curves… more curves than normal… That’s normal for around where I live. You folks who live in countries that ride on the wrong (left ) side of the road may notice the same tyre (tire) wear but on the right side.
The short answer… Each left hand turn is longer than a right hand turn because we ride on the right side of the road and most people are more comfortable taking left hand turns and will ride more aggressively. In other words you are riding longer distances making left turns and you are riding harder…
I did find several posts stating this same reason. This post goes into great detail about all types of tire wear. If you have a tire wear question, this post probably answers it. Here is another post worth looking at…
Problem solved… answered…
Posted in Riding Tips | Tagged agressive, answered, crowned, front, left, Motorcycle, problem, right turn, road, tire, turn, tyre, wear | 4 Comments »
Oak Hill Inn Bed and Breakfast
Natchez is either the start or the end of the “Natchez Trace Parkway” depending on if you start or end there. Several years ago we drove the “Trace” and ended our drive at Natchez. Ever since that time we have wanted to ride the “Trace” and spend time in Natchez exploring a town rich in history.
Unfortunately we aren’t riding the “Trace” this trip. Janet and I met Larry and Jo in Natchez. We couldn’t ride the bikes for a number of reasons so we spent four days relaxing and exploring a small part of the history here.
Oak Hill Inn fountain and grounds
Our accommodations were Oak Hill Inn, a bed and breakfast housed in a historic home built in 1835. The owners Doug and Don restored the home after purchasing the home in 2004. They did an excellent restoration job and received the 2005 Restoration Award from the Natchez Historic Foundation for their restoration work. Oak Hill is a great accommodation with a superb breakfast. If you eat all the breakfast you may want to skip lunch. Doug is a great host with a wealth of knowledge about Oak Hill, all the antebellum homes, history and restaurants of Natchez. For more information, please check out their website.
Oak Hill Inn
The week we were there was during Natchez’s “Spring Pilgrimage” of antebellum homes. Twenty nine mansions open their doors to visitors during the pilgrimage. We always enjoy exploring old historic homes. We love the history, architecture, stories of how they came to be and the families who have lived in them. Many of the homes in Natchez have been passed down through the generations and some of those families still live in them. We toured the following three homes.
The Burn Mansion
The Burn 1832 The Burn, a Greek Revival home built circa 1834 by John P. Walworth, is an elegant three-story mansion set on two landscaped acres covered with Camellias. The name “Burn” is Scottish (I believe) and means brook. The Burn’s interesting history was told during a tour of the home. Like many of the antebellum homes on the tour, “The Burn” is a bed and breakfast. The 5 Bed and Breakfast rooms are named after the Walworth children.
The Elms Mansion
The Elms 1804 The Elms is a beautiful home built circa 1804. It has been in the same family for more than 130 years. Esther Carpenter, the present owner, is the fifth generation to live and own The Elms. She returned to Natchez in July 2006 to renovate and restore The Elms to its place in Natchez history.
Hope Farm Mansion
Hope Farm 1775-1789 Home of the Spanish Governor, Hope Farm was built in the 1770′s. Hope Farm was also the home of Mrs. Katherine Grafton Miller, who was the founder of the famed Natchez Pilgrimage. There are four guest bedrooms and is one of the many bed and breakfasts in Natchez. As an overnight guest at Hope Farm, you will be treated to a private tour of the home and its unforgettable treasures.
Longwood is not part of the “Spring Pilgrimage” home tour but is available for tours. Tickets may be purchased on site. It was my favorite of the homes we toured. Because of the Civil War only the basement was finished. The exterior was mostly finished but the upper floors have remained unfinished and left mostly in the same state they were in when the war broke out. We can imagine what a splendid home it would have been if it had been finished. It is a shame it was never finished. If finished it would have been a beautiful and unique octagonal structure with an onion dome.
Longwood Mansion Unfinished Interior
Emerald Mound Natchez Trace Parkway
Emerald Mound is the second largest prehistoric ceremonial mound in the United States. It is located just off the famed Natchez Trace Parkway just north of Natchez.
The mound covers nearly eight acres. Prehistoric native Americans who were the ancestors of Natchez Indians used the mound for roughly 350 years.
It is an impressive site and is hard to imagine it being built with the many loads of soil that had to be transported by the Native Americans. I guess it was the public works project of their day… For more information click the link above.
Natchez City Cemetery
Natchez City Cemetery is located at 1 Cemetery Road. The cemetery was established in 1822 and covers approximately 100 acres of land. The cemetery is on high ground overlooking the Mississippi River. Once you learn the history of some of the characters of Natchez you will want to visit their final resting place. We did a self-guided tour following a brochure and map. To take it all in you should spend at least 3 hours there. You may be interested in hiring a guide so you’ll get all the details of the deceased. Either way it is worth the time walking the grounds.
There are also many good restaurants in Natchez. These are the ones we enjoyed while there.
The Magnolia Grill is located on Silver Street in Historic Natchez Under-the-Hill. The Under-the-Hill district was home to the roughest groups of folks… gamblers, prostitutes, drunkards and all types of criminals. Under-the-Hill now just Silver Street is home to the Magnolia Grill, the Under-the-Hill Saloon, and the city’s only riverboat casino, as well as a few other historic buildings.
Dinning at the Magnolia Grill allows you to enjoy your meal while watching the mighty Mississippi River roll by. The Magnolia specializes in regional cuisine with offerings such as fresh, Mississippi farm raised catfish, fresh gulf seafood, steaks, burgers and sandwiches.
Fat Mama’s Tamales serve up the best hot tamales, chili, Knock You Naked Margaritas and other tasty items.
Mammy’s Cupboard a unique structure built in 1939 is located at 555 U.S. Highway 61 South. Mammy’s serves daily lunch specials, sandwiches and famous deserts. Dinning in this unique structure is worth the trip and the food is really good.
Breaud’s Seafood and Steak is located in the middle of downtown Natchez, Mississippi, in the old Brown Barnett Dixons building at 511 Main Street. Breaud’s proudly serve New Orleans-style poboys and muffalettas, fresh salads and soups, seafood gumbo and shrimp and crawfish corn chowder, whole or half rack of baby back ribs, covered in home-made honey Jack Daniels, BBQ sauce and a huge burger called the “Breaud Burger”.
Pig Out Inn BBQ where “IT’S SWINE DINING AT IT’S FINEST”! It’s just one block from the mighty Mississippi river at 116 S. Canal Street. The owners learned the barbeque trade in the Dallas, Texas area. As a Texan I can say it is up to Texas barbeque standards.
We stayed just four days in Natchez. You really need more time to take everything in. If you like southern towns you will enjoy Natchez. There are too many things to list and I could never do them justice, so check Natchez’s website. If you are ridding the “Trace” or in the area you need to stop by and spend some time here.
Posted in Places | Tagged Americans, Antebellum, architecture, Award, Bed and Breakfast, Breaud's, Canal, casino, City Cemetery, criminals, Cupboard, drunkards, Emerald Mound, Esther Carpenter, families, gamblers, Greek Revival, Grill, historic, History, Hope Farm, LongWood, Magnolia, Mammy's, mansions, Mississippi, Naked Margaritas, Natchez, Natchez Trace Parkway, Native, New Orleans, Oak Hill Inn, Pig Out Inn BBQ, prostitutes, restaurant, Restoration, river, riverboat, Silver Street, Spring Pilgrimage, Swine dinning, tamales, The Burn, The Elms, Under-the-Hill | 4 Comments »
If you ride, you will meet people who ride and people who do not ride. The conversation always gets around to your ride and why you love… or in some cases hate your bike… or trike. Everyone has good reasons what and why they ride. I have learned a lot over the years talking to other riders. There is no one bike for everyone… If you have ridden any length of time you know that. The bike you ride is as important as the gear you wear. A bike that does not fit your style of riding or how well you fix on the bike will eventually cause you to want something else. I’m vertically challenged and that affects what bikes I have to choose from. All the vertically challenged know exactly what I talking about. Vertically superior riders have their issues too. I think I would rather have their issues… but they may not agree.
I’m always getting prospective first time riders who ask what bike they should buy. I have my experiences and they have served me well… but I feel I could know more.
No one wants to buy a bike and wished they had bought something else. They say it takes 3 bikes to get to the one you really like. From my experience I think that tends to be true.
Please take a few moments and tells us what you ride and why… We could all benefit from your knowledge.
Rest stop with town in the distance…
Posted in Miscellaneous, Riding Tips | Tagged bike, experience, gear, Motorcycle, ride, trike | 10 Comments »
Santa Elena Canyon in background from Burro Mesa Pour-off
- I ride because it is fun.
- I ride because I enjoy the freedom I feel from being exposed to the elements, and the vulnerability to the danger that is intrinsic to riding.
- I do not ride because it is fashionable to do so.
- I ride my machine, not wear it. My machine is not a symbol of status. It exists simply for me, and me alone.
- My machine is not a toy. It is an extension of my being, and I will treat it accordingly, with the same respect as I have for myself.
- I strive to understand the inner-workings of my machine, from the most basic to the most complex.
- I will learn everything I can about my machine, so that I am reliant upon no one but myself for its health and well being.
- I strive to constantly better my skill of control over my machine. I will learn its limits, and use my skill to become one with my machine so that we may keep each other alive. I am the master, it is the servant. Working together in harmony, we will become an invincible team.
- I do not fear death. I will, however, do all possible to avoid death prematurely. Fear is the enemy, not death. Fear on the highway leads to death, therefore I will not let fear be my master. I will master it.
- My machines will outlive me. Therefore, they are my legacy. I will care for them for future bikers to cherish as I have cherished them, whoever they may be.
- I do not ride to gain attention, respect, or fear from those that do NOT ride, nor do I wish to intimidate or annoy them. For those that do not know me, all I wish from them is to ignore me. For those that desire to know me, I will share with them the truth of myself, so that they might understand me and not fear others like me.
- I will never be the aggressor on the highway. However, should others mess with me, their aggression will be dealt with in as severe manner as I can cast upon them.
- I will show respect to other bikers more experienced or knowledgeable than I am. I will learn from them all I can. However, if my respect is not acknowledged or appreciated, it will end.
- I will not show disrespect to other bikers less experienced or knowledgeable than I am. I will teach them what I can. However, if they show me disrespect, they will be slapped.
- It will be my task to mentor new riders, that so desire, into the lifestyle of the biker, so that the breed shall continue. I shall instruct them, as I have been instructed by those before me. I shall preserve and honor traditions of bikers before me, and I will pass them on unaltered.
- I will not judge other bikers on their choice of machine, their appearance, or their profession. I will judge them only on their conduct as bikers. I am proud of my accomplishments as a biker, though I will not flaunt them to others. If they ask, I will share them.
- I will stand ready to help any other biker that truly needs my help.
- I will never ask another biker to do for me what I can do for myself.
- I am not a part-time biker. I am a biker when, and where ever I go. I am proud to be a biker, and hide my chosen lifestyle from no one. I ride because I love freedom, independence, and the movement of the ground beneath me. But most of all, I ride to better understand myself, my machine, the lands in which I ride, and to seek out and know other bikers like myself.
Posted in Miscellaneous | Tagged attention, biker, cherish, control, death, elements, fear, flaunt, freedom, harmony, learn, limits, machine, master, respect, ride, skill, toy, traditions, vulnerability | 13 Comments »
My route to/from Dallas, Texas/Dumas, Texas (411 miles)
Several weeks ago I met my cousin W. D. (aka Dub) in Lagrange, Texas (of “Chicken Ranch” fame). Dub recently bought a new camper for his retirement travels and was setup at “Colorado Landing” RV park. He and I lived close by growing up and have been like brothers since we were kids. Dub is 18 months older, so like any little brother I wanted to do everything Dub did. Cousins are your first and best friends. We have a long history so we spent the day visiting and talking about old times.
My KZ400 that I rode on the trip.
Dub and I rode our first long motorcycle ride together. He lived in Eastlake, Colorado just north of Denver, Colorado and I lived in Dallas, Texas. We were young and rode the trip “on a wing and a prayer”. The only thing we planned was the date of travel and our destinations. We met each other in Dumas, Texas which was about midway for each of us. Back then there were no cell phones to communicate with each other as our trip progressed. Dub devised a crazy way for us to communicate on our trip without having expensive long distances charges. When we stopped for gas or to eat etc. we would call Dub’s wife Barb “person to person”. If everything was okay we would ask to speak to ourselves. Barb would reject the call if everything was okay. If either one of us had any problems we would call and ask to speak with Barb. Barb would accept the call and we could tell her what our problem was. This worked very well. As the day progressed we kept checking in and knew the other rider was having a good ride. Fortunately, we did not have any problems that needed to be relayed during the trip.
That first day the weather was great… not too hot or too cold. We both made good time and arrived in Dumas about 5 or 10 minutes apart. I was riding a 1974 Kawasaki KZ400 and Dub was riding a 1974 Yamaha 500. Seats on our bikes were not made for staying in the saddle for hours on end. As the hours became longer and longer it seemed as though we were sitting on 2×4’s turned edge ways. When we met up, we both shared similar stories about how hard the seats were. I had passed many riders that day who were standing while riding. It wasn’t long before I understood why they were riding that way. I was soon doing the same. If I remember correctly I could only travel about 100 miles before stopping for gas. It was a welcome break from the saddle. I also had to stop occasionally to oil and make adjustments on the chain. Because of that trip I decided my next bike would not have a chain drive.
Our route from Dumas to Clovis (182 miles)
We were a bit paranoid about parking our bikes outside the motel room, so we pushed them into our room for safekeeping. Nothing like the smell oil and gas as you sleep. The following day we got an early start and headed to Clovis, New Mexico. Dub’s brother John was stationed at the Air Force base in Clovis. It was a short ride relative to the day before. We stayed with John a couple of nights. John had a bike so we spent the following day riding around Clovis. Dub had a minor mishap the first day. Shortly after starting his ride he broke his windshield and had ridden with half a windshield. We checked with the local Yamaha dealer there in Clovis to get a replacement windshield. They had a windshield that was the same size and shape but the mounting holes did not match. We solved the problem by drilling a couple of holes to make it work. Later on the trip, Dub would find replacing the windshield to be a good decision.
Our route from Clovis to Eastlake (511 miles)
After a good visit and rest we rode to Eastlake the next day. It was a long ride of 511 miles. As we started out that day it began to warm up. We noticed there were hundreds of tarantulas sunning themselves on the road that day. We entertained ourselves by holding our boots just above the pavement and when our boot hit a tarantula; it would go flying down the road. Please remember this was 30 plus years ago and our youth was showing.
The weather was great when we started but then turned to light snow and eventually rain. When we started up Raton pass (7834 feet or 2388 meters elevation) the clouds started to roll in. As we reached the top of the pass snow started falling. To add to the situation both of our bikes were carbureted and ran really rough in the higher altitude. I think at one point I may have downshifted to second gear climbing the pass. On the other side of the pass it was all downhill to coin a phrase. A short while later, I thought I had a major engine problem. It was as though I turned off the key. No power… it was a dead engine. I watched as Dub’s tail light became smaller and smaller as he rode farther away. Dub had not realized I was falling behind. I was in a bit of a panic not knowing if he would realize I was not behind him any longer. About a mile down the road Dub turned around and came back to see what the problem was. I had taken my hand off the handlebar to wipe my nose and in the process I inadvertently hit the kill switch. Because of the gloves I was wearing I did not feel my hand hitting the switch. It took a few minutes to realize what had actually happened. What a relief to know there was no problem. After having a good laugh we continued on our way. The snow eventually stopped and we thought we were out of the worst of it but then it started to rain rather heavily. I was wearing a cheap rain suit. It worked well until the pants started to come apart from the knee down. I was getting soaking wet from the knee down. Being wet is one thing… being wet and cold is another… As we were riding through Pueblo Colorado we were passed by a car full of kids. They rolled down their window and were laughing and shouting at us riding in the rain. We had the last laugh. They ran off the road while trying to make fun of our situation. Dub and I smiled and rode on.
Later, we stopped at a rest stop to call Barb and let her know our ETA. While Dub was talking to Barb I decided to put on some dry socks. Sitting on the curb by my bike I thought the warm engine would feel good on my cold wet feet. I was right. I was lying on my back with my feet on the engine when Dub came looking for me. Because I was lying down he could not see me. He was walking around wondering where the heck I had gotten off to. We had another good laugh when he saw me laying on the ground. The engine heat did feel really good on my cold wet feet.
It was still raining when we got to Eastlake after sunset. Dub’s driveway was long and was two strips of concrete made just for a car. Because the concrete was narrow, wet and slick, we both slipped off the runners and dropped our bikes. We just let them lay and went in the house to clean up and warm up. Later that night we got the bikes up to the house and cleaned them up the next day. We learned a lot that day…
I stayed several days visiting, site seeing and resting up before riding back to Dallas alone. I missed having my cousin riding along. For the most part the ride was uneventful. I had good weather, a bit cold and partly overcast the first day but not bad considering it was October. When riding that time of the year in Colorado the weather could have been really bad. I was lucky.
My route from Eastlake to Dumas (401 miles)
I stopped at Capulin Volcano to take a break and play tourist. On the way up to the top of Capulin one of the supports broke on my windshield. I was in a bit of a panic until I figured out a fix. It held together the rest of the trip.
I spent the night in Dumas again. I got an early start back to Dallas. Somewhere along the way I lost my Air Force fatigue shirt I had strapped to the luggage rack. I rode a ways back looking for it but had no luck finding it. I paid 4 years of my life for it and didn’t like losing it. Your fatigue shirt was like a “badge of honor” back in those days.
Until this ride, the longest ride I had been on was a 610 mile round trip. This ride of 1858 miles round trip ignited my love of motorcycle touring. It took me out of my comfort zone and I learned a lot from this trip. After this ride I knew I needed better gear and a bike better suited for long trips. I started a family shortly after that trip and I had to put my riding on hold for 23 years. Now I am trying to make up for lost time. My posts here will attest to that.
Dub and me 30+ years later…
Dub still rides but has downsized to a Yamaha scooter. We hope to do some riding together again. We have tried to get together to ride but life has gotten in the way. I’m going to try to get him to ride with me in May. I plan to ride the “Texas Independence Trail Region”. Stay tuned for that post…
Posted in Motorcycle Touring Logs | Tagged 500, Air Force, Capulin, cell phone, chain, Chicken Ranch, Clovis, co, cold, Colorado, Colorado Landing, Dallas, Denver, Destination, Dumas, Eastlake, ETA, kawasaki, kill switch, KZ400, Lagrange, long ride, Motorcycle, New Mexico, nm, park, pass, person to person, Planning, rain, Raton, riding, RV, saddle, scooter, seats, snow, socks, standing, Texas, Texas Independence Trail, travel, tx, volcano, weather, wet, windsheild, wing and a prayer, yamaha | 4 Comments »
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