Tag Archives: Colorado

Day 2 – Pacific Coast Highway Motorcycle Ride

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Day 2 route map Amarillo, TX to Georgetown, CO

Day 2 – Pacific Coast Highway Motorcycle Ride

Our motorcycle ride of 5534 miles in 14 days, riding more scenic western U.S. roads. Today we are riding from Amarillo, Texas to Georgetown, Colorado, 476 miles via Hwy 87, I-25 & I-70. We rode up this way several years ago on what I called our “National Park” and our “Mount Rushmore” rides. On those rides we made stops at Capulin Volcano National Monument and Pikes Peak National Monument. Today, we are just riding, putting some miles behind us, getting to our destination, the Pacific Coast. So, we won’t be stopping except for gas, food and rest but we will be seeing nice scenery along the way…

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Leaving Amarillo early morning

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Somewhere between Amarillo and New Mexico state line

We were up, and on the road a bit later than usual, but not too late for the number of miles we are riding today. It is partly overcast and 67 degrees, making for some nice riding weather but it did warm up as we traveled northwest and it was a little above the average temperatures for this time of the year. On our ride last year the temperatures were 10 to 15 degrees warmer than normal and we rode in triple digit weather on several days. The hottest temperature last year reached 115 degrees L… This year so far… so good…

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Riding past Capulin Volcano in New Mexico

We picked up US Highway 87 just outside Dumas, Texas and rode it to Raton, New Mexico (215 miles). Everything is few and far between on this stretch of road so, if you are riding out this way, I would suggest planning food and gas stops appropriately.  The scenery  on Highway 87 is mainly rolling hills with a few sizable peaks. Scenery along this route is mostly ranch land with views of cattle and antelope along the way. Capulin Volcano National Monument is just 30 miles from Raton. If you haven’t been there, I would suggest checking it out. The history and views from the top of Capulin Volcano is something you don’t want to miss. At its base is a visitor center featuring exhibits about the volcano and the geology, natural and cultural history. In Raton there are many places to eat, stay and get gas. And is a good place to stop at the end of the day.

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Old Dairy from early 1900’s in Pueblo, CO

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Rolling down I-25 headed to Colorado Springs.

At Raton, we picked up I-25 and headed north. Once on I-25 we were in the mountains and rode across Raton Pass. Just over the pass, I-25 pretty much parallels the Rocky Mountains to the west. We planned on staying on the interstate to make time… and intended riding it to Georgetown, CO. via I-70… But we ran into very heavy traffic at Colorado Springs. Instead we took Hwy, 24, 67 and 285 to I-70. We traveled this route to Georgetown several years ago when we rode “Pikes Peak” The scenery along this route is better and a bit slower pace. It did take a little longer but I’m not sure it was any slower than I-25 traffic. Going this way was a lot easier on the nerves for sure. Traffic on I-70 was heavy but not too bad for the time of day.  Today has been a long day. The sun was starting to set by the time we arrived at our home away from home in Georgetown. We were ready to eat and rest up for the next day.

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Rolling down I-70 to Georgetown, CO with sun setting…

Larry T. found a fellow “Vision” rider among the “Damn Builders” who were staying at the motel. They swapped Vision stories. He gave us a few suggestion for places to eat. We walked down the road to a little café for some good local food.

When Janet and I lived in Aurora, Georgetown was a favorite get away for us. If you are out this way there are lots of things to see and do here in Georgetown.

Georgetown was once the third largest town in Colorado, but today it is home to about a thousand residents. George and David Griffith, two prospectors from Kentucky founded Georgetown in 1859. Georgetown’s name honors the older brother. Before the silver boom collapsed in 1893, the town’s population exceeded 10,000. At one time, some of the town’s people tried to move the state capital to Georgetown from Denver. It’s probably a good thing that never happened.

Georgetown is a great place for visitors who want to shop, sight see, have lunch or spend the night at a Victorian bed-and-breakfast.

If out this way you will want to check-out some of the history. A must see are the Hotel de Paris and Hamill House Museum. The Georgetown Loop Railroad  takes visitors on a round-trip narrow-gauge steam train ride from Georgetown to Silver Plume and back.

If hungry, there are many restaurants like these to choose from.

We will have to explore Georgetown the next time through because we are just riding to get to the Pacific Coast Highway. We will be leaving early and riding 517 miles to Ogden, UT via I-70, US 191, US 89 & I-15.  Come follow along and enjoy the ride…

I hope we see you down the road somewhere… Ride safe…

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

Day 4 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Georgetown, CO to Pinedale, WY

Pinedale to Grand Teton to Yellowstone to Gardiner, WY

Georgetown, CO to Pinedale, WY

Today is day 4 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.

We have another  long (429 miles) ride today from Georgetown to Pinedale, Wyoming so we got another early start. We didn’t plan any stops except for the occasional photo stop as we rode through  many scenic areas.

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Day 4 Silverthorne Colorado pit stop

From Georgetown we headed west down I-70 to hwy 9 where we headed north to Steamboat Springs.

In winter Steamboat Springs offers excellent skiing and snow boarding opportunities. In summer the Yampa river is a popular conduit for water sports like fishing, rafting, tubing, and kayaking. In 2011, Steamboat Spring’s was recognized by the League of American Bicyclists as a Gold Level Bicycle Friendly Community.

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Day 4 Farm: Heading to Pinedale, Wyoming

From Steamboat Springs we rode west on Hwy 40 to Craig where we stopped for gas. From Craig we headed north on hwy 13 to I-80. We rode I-80 to Rock Springs, WY and another stop for gas. Turning north again on Hwy 191, we rode to Pinedale our destination for today.

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Green Mountain Reservoir, Hwy 9

We rode past many scenic farms and ranches in the Rocky Mountain valleys. I did not know there would be so many farms and ranches on this leg of our trip. Many of them had beautiful lakes or streams which caused my imagination to wander to a different place and time. Such a beautiful,  rugged, rural life it must be living here.

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Kaw A. Saky with Larry following

Today was another good riding day with beautiful weather and scenery. I love riding in the Rockies and was glad to be able to ride places today I have never rode before.

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One of the many farms and ranches on our route today.

Tomorrow we will be riding through Grand Teton and the west side of Yellowstone National Park… See y’all Tomorrow… 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 3 National Park Ride – Dalhart, TX to Georgetown, CO
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

National Park Motorcycle Ride – 5542 Miles in 16 Days 2013

 

National Park Motorcycle Ride Route Map

National Park Motorcycle Ride Route Map

WOW, I can’t believe we did it and it’s in the books. We just rode 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).

We had a great time and everything went pretty much according to plan. I thought I would be worn out physically and mentally but Larry and I felt really good for the whole ride. I got back July 29th around 4:00 PM and felt so good I mowed the lawn the next morning!

 

Me and Larry at Pikes Peak

Me and Larry at Pikes Peak

They say a picture is worth a thousand words but experiencing it is worth millions. There is no way pictures can capture the adventure nor can I describe it all with words. It can only be experienced… Traveling by car gets you there but is only a few notches above watching the scenery go by on TV.  Traveling by motorcycle is the ultimate way to experience travel. You are in the environment, feeling the wind, sun, cool, heat and rain. At several points along the ride we could hear the rushing water in the streams and rivers. The smells are incredible. The smell of crisp cool air in the morning, pine forest, flowers, rain in the distance, food cooking, fresh-cut grass, fields of corn, fresh-cut hay and many unidentifiable smells… and yes the occasional not so good smell of dead animals, feed lots etc… Many of the smells took me back to my boyhood when I lived on a cotton farm in Texas. Those were good memories.

Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park

Beside all the great national parks, monuments and historical sites on this ride there were many beautiful farms and ranches in the valleys of the Rocky Mountains and on the Great Plains of the U.S. and Canada. Having grown up on a farm I have a great appreciation for the land and the people who work it. Rural life is a great life but a vulnerable one. There are many perils from Mother Nature and the economy. I also enjoyed seeing the many old farm houses and barns. I can only imagine the  many lives and stories of love, laughter and tears could be told about each and every one…

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Lower Falls Yellowstone National Park

Another part of the ride I enjoyed was the many small towns and the people who lived there. I enjoyed the local businesses and the architecture of the many old buildings. Some buildings were still in use and some have seen better days. If walls could only talk… what a story they could tell.

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Glacier National Park

Larry and I met so many nice people on this ride. Our motorcycles and our tags from Georgia and Texas were always getting comments. Larry’s Victory Vision got most of the comments and questions. My mascot Kow A. Saky started many conversations too. We met people from all over the world. To name a few… a nice couple from England riding a rented Harley, a guy from Belgium riding with a motorcycle tour group, a group from Europe who shipped their antique cars over and were driving the Lincoln Highway, a couple from Ontario riding a Goldwing and many more. There were so many riders we met and riders traveling by car wishing they were on their bikes as well as many “want to be riders” and people just interested in where we were from and where we were headed. To those of you whom we met, who may be reading this, we would like to say thanks for making our ride that much more enjoyable. Please take the time to comment and say hi. We would love to hear from you again…

The other special part of this ride was stopping to see a couple of friends I had lost contact with over the years. I have just recently reconnected with them…

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

We stayed in Georgetown, Colorado on July 16th. Jimmie drove from Aurora and met us at the Super 8 where we were staying. I first met Jimmie when I went to work for Geophysical Service Inc. in June of 1965. I had just graduated from high school and was attending college part-time. He was about 10 years older but treated me as an equal from the start. We worked in Houston, Texas; Sydney, NSW, Australia; Dallas, Texas and Denver, Colorado. Over the years we worked together at different companies and I owe Jimmie a lot for my success in business. It was great seeing Jimmie and his lovely wife Diann, again, after so many years. We ate dinner at a little restaurant down the road from the motel. It was a great time but much too short. Now that we have reconnected I will have to get back up there to see him… Thanks Jimmie for all the great times and memories and a special thanks for all the support you gave me while working with and for you…

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My friends Ed and Avis and me

While I was in the Air Force, Ben, my roommate in tech school was always writing friends back home in Montana. One of those friends was a girl named Avis. I told him to say hi or something to Avis. She wrote back and we became pin-pals for four or five years and became good friends. I went to visit her, a couple of times, over that time. The last time was 41 years ago. Life got in the way and we eventually lost contact with each other. I have wondered many times what had become of Avis. I hoped that life had treated her well… About ten months ago, I tried to find her when I started planning this trip. I did find her and we have reconnected!  We stopped by and stayed with Avis and her husband Ed. Life has been good to her… Avis has a great husband and two great kids. Avis and Ed are very proud of their kids, as they should be…  They live outside Troy, MT on beautiful acreage. It is so beautiful and peaceful with views of mountains and a lake hidden across the road from them. I’m jealous… While there we caught up on what has been happening with us over the last 41 years. We still have more to catch up on. It was nice to finally meet Ed too. Avis and Ed are great hosts. Someday, I hope Janet and I can return the favor and show them part of our great state of Texas. Our time there was short but good. Thanks again to Ed and Avis for being such great host…

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Lake Louise in Banff National Park Canada

While on this ride we visited Pikes Peak, Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Glacier, Banff (in Canada), Little Bighorn, Devils Tower and Mount Rushmore as well as many other sites along the way. I will be posting about each day of our 16 day ride in the coming days… Please, follow along as we ride some of the most beautiful scenic country in the U.S. and Canada.

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Little Bighorn Historical Site

 

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Devil’s Tower National Historic Site

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Mt. Rushmore

For more pictures of our ride click here and don’t forget to like “The Texas Rambler” Facebook page. Look for the “Subscribe to Texas Rambler via Email” at the bottom left column to receive notifications of new posts by email. Also please take some time to leave us a comment. We always love hearing from y’all…

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

Day 1 & 2 National Park Ride -Getting There
Day 3 National Park Ride – Dalhart, TX to Georgetown, CO
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
Day 15 & 16 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Heading Home

Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Glacier, Little Bighorn and Mt Rushmore 41 Years Ago

Route Map 41 Years Ago

Route Map 41 Years Ago

Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Glacier, Little Bighorn and Mt Rushmore 41 Years Ago

I had just finished my 4 year enlistment in the USAF and was to return to my former civilian job with Geophysical Service Incorporate. But before doing so I took a little break before returning to the real world of civilian life. That was 41 years ago, this August. I drove my AMC Gremlin to Montana to visit Avis my pen-pal for the last 4 years. Along the way I visited Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Glacier, Little Bighorn and Mt. Rushmore.

I have many fond memories of the places I visited and my pen-pal Avis and her family. The scenery and summer climate is beyond description. With low temperatures in the 50’s and highs in the 80’s and smell of pine trees in the forest, you are transported to a heavenly place. I loved Montana. I have always wanted to get back up that way but life has gotten in the way. We had planned to ride there in 2011 but again life got in the way and we cancelled our plans.

Well… the trip is back on for this July and as the time draws near we are getting excited about hitting the road. Plans are finalized, reservations have been made and we are sitting on go.

I know many of you have ridden or driven that part of the country… There is much to see and do… So if you have any suggestions about any part of our trip, please share them here. We would love to hear about your favorite things there.

Below is my route map and itinerary.

Planned Ride Map

Planned Ride Map

From/To Day Total Miles For Day Running Total Mileage
Georgetown – Dalhart

1

561

561

Dalhart — Georgetown via Hwy 67

2

469

1030

Georgetown – Rock Springs, WY — Pinedale

3

429

1459

Pinedale — Gardiner, MT

4

229

1688

Gardiner — Yellowstone — Gardiner

5

174

1862

Gardiner — Kalispell

6

407

2269

Kalispell — Troy

7

306

2575

Troy — Golden

8

260

2835

Golden — Lethbridge

9

296

3131

Lethbridge — Billings

10

404

3535

Billings — Gillette

11

233

3768

Gillette — Rapid City via Hwy 385

12

199

3967

Rapid City — Alliance

13

215

4182

Alliance — Garden City

14

415

Garden City — Abilene

15

420

5017

Abilene — GTN

16

201

5218

 

Because of the length of this trip I am planning on doing something I have never done before… Post logs of the trip on the road. Space is always an issue when packing for a long trip. To conserve space I have a new Netbook. Wish me luck and stay tuned for on the road post…

One more thing… I lost contact with Avis many… many… years ago. When I see something about Montana I am drawn back to that trip long ago. When planning this trip, memories of that first trip flooded my mind. I again wondered what had become of Avis. I hoped that life has treated her well. This prompted me to see if I could find her using the internet. After searching and hitting many dead ends I did eventually find an address. We have reconnected and we plan on stopping by to see Avis, Ed her husband and her mom. We have a lot to catch up on. We both have good families with lots of history and many stories to share. Seeing this beautiful part of the country again is the cake but seeing Avis and her family after all these years will be the icing.

Ride safe…

Texas Independence Trail Motorcycle Ride Day 2 May 2013

 

Map of Day 2 Ride Route

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

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

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

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 base of the San Jacinto Monument

Text on the 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

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

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

Rolling down San Louis Pass Road

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

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

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

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…

 

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.

motorcycle, route, ride

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…