Tag Archives: Capulin

Day 3 National Park Ride – Dalhart, TX to Georgetown, CO

Dalhart to Pikes Peak to Georgetown, CO

Dalhart to Pikes Peak to Georgetown, CO

Today is day 3 of our national park motorcycle ride. Over the course of 16 days we will ride some of the best national parks, historic sites and national monuments in the U.S. and Canada (Pikes Peak National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park, Banff National Park, Little Bighorn National Historic Site, Devils Tower National Monument and Mount Rushmore National Memorial). Come follow along as we ride one of our dream rides on our bucket list. Today we are headed to Pikes Peak.

We were up early and on the road. Today’s ride was 469 miles from Dalhart, Texas to Georgetown, Colorado via Pikes Peak.

From Dalhart we rode Highway 87/64 to Raton, New Mexico. It was a pleasant 62 degrees with cloud cover that looked as though it could rain at times. It was a scenic ride through the great plains of Northern New Mexico. Miles and miles of ranch land with rolling grass-covered hills and Prairie. Everything is “few and far between” with the occasional barn, home, windmill, cattle and pronghorn antelope.

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Rest stop heading to Raton, NM

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Capulin Volcano in the distance through the misty rain

100 miles out of Dalhart we rode past Capulin Volcano National Monument. Because of the number of miles we are riding today, and since we stopped here 5 years ago on another ride, we elected to ride on. If you are in the area I would suggest you  and stop. Capulin Volcano began over a million years ago. Recently,  Capulin has been a hub of activity as native people  traversed across the Great Plains. The ride to the top of Capulin spirals around the volcanic cone and has spectacular views.  It’s not for the fain of heart as the road is narrow and fairly steep with a shear drop off on your right going up. The panoramic views from the top are incredible.  There are views of other extinct volcanoes,  snow-capped mountains, and views of  New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Colorado. All around Capulin are large volcanic fields with over a hundred recognizable extinct volcanoes. At the top you will gain insights into 10 million years of the geological history. So take some time to see this unique site.

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Riding over Raton Pass

The ride over Raton Pass is always a highlight on this route. My first time  to ride Raton Pass was  36 years ago. Raton Pass’ elevation is 7834 feet/2388 meters and is designated as a National Historic Landmark.

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Riding I-25 heading to Colorado Springs & Pikes Peak

We have finally made it to the mountains and cooler temperatures. On Pikes Peak the temperature was 37 degrees and the hottest it got on our ride was 85 degrees. For most of the trip it stayed in the 60’s. Hopefully, we can enjoy the cooler (not cold) temperatures for the rest of our time in the mountains. I know we will have to eventually return to the hot temperature of Texas but for now we will just enjoy…

From Raton Pass we ride up I-25 to Colorado Springs and  to the top of Pikes Peak. The Pikes Peak Highway is a breathtaking scenic 19 mile ride  to the summit. The terrain and scenery varies along the ride. The road is a tollway. When you pay the toll you receive a map and brochure. You need to take a look at the map to see where there are pullouts for photo opts.

Me and Larry at Pikes Peak

Me and Larry at Pikes Peak

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View off Pikes Peak… Noting to see due to cloud cover

The last time I was  at Pikes Peak was also in July, many years ago. As soon as we reached the summit it started snowing so hard we were unable to see anything beyond a few feet. Today it was cloud cover that spoiled our view. Part of the ride to the top was difficult in spots for 2 reasons… 1) The clouds made it difficult to see very far ahead. It was nice to see the hair-pin-curves on the GPS ahead of time. 2) We were following a car that slowed almost to a stop in the hair-pin-curves. After the first one I put a lot of distance between us to give them plenty of time to get through the curve.

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Heading to Georgetown, Colorado for the night

From Pikes Peak we headed to Georgetown. Yes, Georgetown is a popular town name. It seems that just about every state has a town named  Georgetown.  When Janet and I lived in Colorado Georgetown was a favorite day trip for us. This is why I picked it as the destination for today. We took Highway 67 to I-70 to Georgetown. This is a very scenic route which took us through Evergreen another favorite day trip destination for Janet and me.

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Our home for the night in Georgetown, Colorado

Georgetown, Colorado has many attractions that include the Georgetown Loop Railroad, Hamill House, and Hotel de Paris Museum. Georgetown is a quiet little town, just off busy I-70 an hour west of Denver.

My old friend Jimmie and his wife Diann with Larry and me in Georgetown, Colorado

My old friend Jimmie and his wife Diann with Larry and me in Georgetown, Colorado

In Georgetown, I met Jimmie and Dianne . Jimmie and I have been close friends ever since we worked together beginning in June of 1965.  We lost contact years ago and I just reconnected with him recently through Facebook. We had a lot to catch up on…

 Today was a great ride through some beautiful scenic country and I got to finish the day catching up with and old friend. Tomorrow we ride on to Pinedale, Wyoming through more beautiful Rocky Mountain scenery.

More post coming so check back…

Ride safe…

 

This has been one amazing ride for Larry and me. Check out the other post from this ride using the links below…

National Park Motorcycle Ride – 5542 Miles in 16 Days 2013
Day 1 & 2 National Park Ride -Getting There
Day 4 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Georgetown, CO to Pinedale, WY
Day 5 National Park Motorcycle Ride: Grand Teton & Yellowstone
Day 6 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Yellowstone National Park
Day 7 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Gardiner to Kalispell
Day 8 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Glacier National Park
Day 9 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Troy, MT to Golden, AB Canada
Day 10 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Banff National Park Canada
Day 11 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Lethridge, AB to Billings, MT
Day 12 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Little Bighorn Battleground
Day 13 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Devils Tower National Monument
Day 14 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Mount Rushmore

W.D. & Me On Our First Long Motorcycle Ride 36 Years Ago!

Dallas -Dumas 411 miles, motorcycle, route, ride

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

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.

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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.

Clovis - Eastlake 511 miles

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.

Eastlake - Dumas 401 miles

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 & Me

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…

Mount Rushmore National Park Motorcycle Ride September 2008

Mount Rushmore National Park Motorcycle Ride -(Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma 2821 Miles)

I just got back from a motorcycle trip with 2 of my friends. Larry Cooper (my old Air Force buddy) from Alabama and Larry Talley (Larry Cooper’s friend from high school) from Georgia. I’ve known Larry Talley almost as long as I’ve known Larry Cooper because I met him when I first went to visit Larry Cooper in Alabama.

I wasn’t sure if I would be able to go on this trip because of all that had happened during the 2 previous weeks. Two weeks before the trip we were going down to take my parents to Victoria to see my sister Edna who had just had a mastectomy. Just before we left we got a call from Ginny (sister-in-law) telling us that my dad was in the hospital due to chest pains. We never made it to Victoria. My dad was released from the hospital on Monday and Wednesday we brought them back to Georgetown because hurricane Ike was supposed to hit the coast there. We also brought my Aunt Bips too. Later Janet’s Aunt Pat and Uncle Perry and their 3 great grand kids came to stay with us until it was safe to return. We also had my brother Gary and Wife Ginny, Ginny’s mother, Ginny’s mother’s neighbor, their daughter Mandy and her 2 kids and a couple that was friends of Mandy’s staying in a motel near by. When the storm passed I drove down to Victoria and picked up a generator for my parents since their power was out. I stayed there until Thursday taking care of various situations. I thought I was going to stay longer because my dad was scheduled for a heart cath on Friday. Since it was cancelled I was able to go on the trip. I spent nearly all day Friday getting ready for this trip.

This was the longest MC trip I have ever been on in terms of miles. Actually it was too many miles for such few days. In spite of it all it was still fun. I think we all decided that next time we travel this many miles we will be taking 2 weeks instead of just 8 days. Besides getting older and our bodies needing more time we need more time to see the sights. We saw the sights in more of a blur. There was much more that we could have seen if we had more time.

September 20 Saturday

Map

487 miles: Georgetown, TX to Amarillo, TX

Amarillo Texas, Motorcycle Ride

Motel 6 in Amarillo

It was a long ride for me and it ended up getting pretty warm before I got to Amarillo. T. Bone Pickens wasn’t kidding about Sweetwater, TX; there are hundreds of those windmills that generate electricity there. I’ve seen them in many places around the country but there were hundreds of them around Sweetwater. (See www.pickensplan.org)

I met the 2 Larry’s in Amarillo. Because of all that was going on with me the Larry’s left a day later and we rode the trip backwards so that I would be able to go. They left on the19th and rode to Ft. Smith, AR (I think) and rode the remained on the 20th. I arrived before they did and I got us a room at a Motel-6 on I-40. They arrived not long afterward. We had originally planned to meet at the Big Texan Steak Ranch on I-40 but since I arrived much sooner I decided to go ahead and find us a room. We didn’t eat at Big Texan Steak Ranch because they were so busy. They had some kind if entertainment going on that had a lot of people attending. We ended up eating a steak across the street from our motel. The steak wasn’t bad but I’ve had better.

September 21 Sunday

Map, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado

365 miles: Amarillo, TX to Colorado Springs, CO

We ate breakfast across the street where we ate the night before. Then we headed for Castle Rock, Colorado. In the past when I had driven that way I had traveled to Dumas, TX then took Hwy 87 to Raton, NM. This time we followed the route Gladys (My GPS’ name given to her by Janet & Kristy) mapped out for us. Gladys took us Hwy 1061 to Hwy 385. We then picked up Hwy 87 at Hartley. The wind picked up and blew pretty hard for most of this day’s trip. I think it blew the hardest traveling through New Mexico. We stopped to see Capulin Volcano.

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Welcome center at Capulin Volcano

New Mexico, Motorcycle ride

View from atop Capulin Volcano

Approximately 60,000 years ago, the rain of cooling cinders formed Capulin Volcano, a nearly perfectly-shaped cinder cone, rising more than 1000 feet above the surrounding landscape. The ride to the top spirals around the volcano with quite a drop off on one side and a shear wall on the other. If height bothers you then … the view from the top was something to see. You could see for miles and other volcano were visible too.

From Capulin we rode over Raton pass and stopped in Trinidad for gas. We then rode through part of the town because Larry T. wanted to see what it looked like. From there we rode to Colorado Springs. We decided to spend the night there instead of riding on to Castle Rock. I knew Katie (my youngest daughter) was in Colorado taking a break from hurricane Ike. She was with out power in Kingwood and she didn’t have to be back to work until Wednesday so she took a quick hurrication (Katie’s word for this vacation) until Wednesday. I gave her a call to see where she was and guess what!!?? She was in Colorado Springs. It was late and we were all (Katie and her friends too) tired so we didn’t get together since they were about 12 miles away from where we were staying. Needless to say Katie and I were both surprised that we were that close. Janet told Katie she can run but she can’t hide from us…

September 22 Monday

map, Colorado, Wyoming, Colorado Springs, Central City,Cheyenne , motorcycle ride

251 miles: Colorado Springs to Cheyenne, WY via Blackhawk, Estes Park, and Loveland

We rode to Castle Rock, took Hwy 85 to Hwy 470 to I-70 to Hwy 72. Hwy 72 took us through the mountains to Blackhawk and Central City. Janet and I went there numerous times when we lived in Aurora (1978 – 1986). It was one of our favorite destinations… but what a difference 20+ years makes. It had completely changed… instead of being the quaint little old historic towns they were in the past they were now a casino Mecca.

Streets of the old Central City. 20 years ago it would have been full of people.

Court House Central City Colorado

Wyoming, motorcycle ride

Checking map…

The ride through the mountains to Estes Park was nice. The air was crisp and clean with the Aspens turning to bright yellow. Seeing the Aspens turn is one of the many things Janet and I miss about Colorado. I had forgotten much of that road but I did remember a few things. I had forgot coming into Estes Park from Hwy 72. You look down on Estes Park from atop the mountain. Estes Park is still a very pretty little tourist town. From Estes Park we rode through the Big Thompson Canyon. Big Thompson canyon was truly a pretty ride too with the road following the Big Thompson River through the canyon. Once we were back on I-25 it was a quick ride to Cheyenne. Just before we hit the Wyoming state line we suddenly hit a wall of cold air and the wind picked up too. The temperature drop felt like it was at least 20 degrees. Needless to say we were ready to find a room and get off the bikes for a while.

September 23 Tuesday

353 miles: Cheyenne to Spearfish, SD via Devils Tower

After a stop at Wal Mart for a few things and an attempted to stop at a motorcycle dealer (they were closed) we headed toward Devils Tower. The Larry’s had brought things for making sandwiches so we stopped at a picnic stop along the way for lunch. Most of that ride the scenery was mostly rolling plains but once we got near Devils Tower the scenery was hills covered with pine trees. This was the first time any of us had been to Devils Tower. We spent quite a while walking around the base of Devils Tower and taking pictures. It was an impressive sight.

Devils Tower rises 1267 feet above the Belle Fourche River. Once hidden, erosion has revealed Devils Tower. This 1347-acre park is covered with pine forests, woodlands, and grasslands. Deer, prairie dogs, and other wildlife are seen.

Also known as Bears Lodge, it is a sacred site for many American Indians.

From Devils Tower we rode to Spearfish, South Dakota and spent the night.

motorcycle ride Wyoming

Lunch on Hwy 85 in WY on our way to Devil’s Tower

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Devil’s Tower

September 24 Wednesday

motorcycle ride

180 miles: Spearfish, SD to Chadron, NE via Spearfish Canyon, Deadwood, Sturgis, Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse Mt.

We got an early start. The temperature was 39 degrees. Before I left on this trip an old high school friend (Butch Kay) told me about several places that we needed to ride while in the area. One was Spearfish Canyon. Like I said it was 39 degrees that morning but I know it was much colder in the canyon. I was wishing I had brought some warmer gloves. But in spite of the cold it was a great ride through the canyon.

Spearfish Canyon is one of the oldest and most miraculous canyons in the west. Located in the northern portion of the Black Hills National Forest, the canyon spans 20-miles along a scenic and unique State and National Scenic Byway. Less than a mile wide, the canyon is always ‘close and upward’ dwarfing the one-million annual visitors

After leaving the canyon we rode on to Deadwood (Where Wild Bill was shot) and on to Sturgis. Sturgis looked like any other small town. From there we back tracked through Deadwood, stopped at Pactola Reservoir for a short break and rode on to Mt. Rushmore. The Black Hills are really pretty and a great place to ride. We spent some time at Mt. Rushmore walking the trails and taking pictures. It’s been 30 years since I was there last and it had changed quite a bit. There was also a lot of people there which was a surprise to me since it was late September. I can’t imagine what it would have been like in July.

motorcycle ride, South Dakota

Pactola Reservoir

motorcycle ride, South Dakota

Spearfish Canyon

From Mt. Rushmore we rode on to Crazy Horse Memorial. I had been there 30 years ago. They have removed a lot of the mountain and Crazy Horse now has a head (face). They have been working on him for 60 years. Needless to say they have a long way to go and it will take another generation of the Ziolkowski family to finish the memorial.

motorcycle ride, South Dakota

Mt. Rushmore

motorcycle ride, South Dakota

Crazy Horse Memorial

Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski and Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear officially started Crazy Horse Memorial June 3, 1948. The Memorial’s  mission is to honor the culture, tradition and living heritage of North American Indians.

We had planned to ride the Needles Hwy this day but since we all had a long way to go to get home (me 1100 miles and about 1400 miles for the Larry’s) we rode to Chadron, Nebraska and got a room.

September 25 Thursday

motorcycle ride, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas

466 miles: Chadron, NE to Garden City, KS

motorcycle ride, Nebraska

Nowhere in North Platte, NE

I rode with the Larry’s to North Platte, NE and from there we said our goodbyes. They headed to Anamosa, Iowa to see a motorcycle museum. Anamosa was the original place we were to meet but due to all that happened the 2 weeks before we left we rode the trip backwards. I thought about going with them to Anamosa but I decided to make an easy ride home for my self.

At one gas stop I met a couple from Pennsylvania who had been riding for 5 weeks riding to the northwest and California etc. They weren’t ready to go home but had jobs they had to get back to. We had a good visit and then we went our separate ways after they took my picture to add to their travel log.

I rode to Garden City to spend the night.

September 26 Friday

motorcycle ride

423 miles: Garden City, KS to Abilene, TX

I got an early start and headed to Abilene. The scenery in Nebraska and Kansas was pretty much the same. A lot of farm and ranch land… and a lot of very smelly feedlots. It seemed that every town had a feedlot. In its own way it was still pretty and I’m sure a different way of life. Miles and miles between towns.

September 27 Saturday

motorcycle ride

205 miles: Abilene to Georgetown (Home)

The morning I left Abilene the sky was filled with hot air balloons. It was quite a site. The balloons could be seen miles way from Abilene.

The ride home was easy for the most part. I have ridden this stretch several times. I saw many familiar sites and a few I somehow missed. I was ready to get home. It seemed as though I hadn’t seen Janet in a month. To my surprise when I got home Janet had cooked me a coconut cream pie (my favorite). It’s nice to be missed.

All in all I must say it was a good trip. For the most part we had really good weather and saw some really pretty country. The only thing I would change is taking more days to travel that distance.

If you liked this post you may like this of another ride here.