Tag Archives: Dallas

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

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

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…

My Best Friend and Motorcycle Riding Buddy

Larry is my best friend and riding buddy. My best friend after my wife that is…

I don’t know of many friendships that have lasted as long as Larry’s and mine. Many, many years and miles and miles apart.

Larry and I met when we were stationed at Brooks AFB in San Antonio, Texas in 1969. Yes, we are older than dirt. He and I both worked at the base dispensary. Larry worked in the flight surgeon’s office just down the hall and I worked as an x-ray technician. We soon became good friends when he became my roommate after his divorce from his first wife. We were two kindred spirits. While in the Air Force we spent our time spelunking (exploring caves), exploring the Texas Hill Country, camping, cliff diving, swimming daily, chasing girls (didn’t catch any thank goodness) and meeting some of the greatest people on and off base. It was a fun time with a lot of good memories.

My wife Janet thinks we could be brothers because we are so much alike. We like the same things, even think alike about most nearly everything and we have the same weird sense of humor.

Larry’s tour of duty was up in November of 1971 and mine was up in August 1972. Larry returned to his home in Georgia and I moved to Dallas, Texas to resume my job with Geophysical Service, Inc.  Larry remarried and I married the love of my life in 1978. We kept in contact over the years but because we each had families and we lived so far apart it was difficult to get together.

 

Our first motorcycle ride in July 1978.

Our first motorcycle trip together was in July 1978. I rode a KZ400 and Larry rode a KZ900. I rode from Houston, Texas and met him and our other friend Larry T. midway. From there we rode back to Larry’s home in Bryant Alabama. The Larry’s have been friends since their childhood. It is fun introducing them…  “Hello, this is my friend Larry and this is my other friend Larry…” I know it is confusing having two friends named Larry.

Soon after that first ride in 1978 we both stopped riding to start our families. In 2000 we both renewed our love of riding. We were both empty nesters, so we had more time and money to do the things we have longed to do for so long. We both bought 2000 Kawasaki Vulcan Nomads. Our first trip together after laying off so long was the first leg of the “Trail of Tears Remembrance Motorcycle Ride” in 2001.  The following year we rode to the Big Bend area of Texas. Over the years we have done many rides together.  You can read about many of those rides here. I haven’t added all of those rides to this blog yet. It is a work in progress so keep checking back for new post.

Many years later 2010 Larry T, Larry C & me

To date (2012), we have been friends for 43 years. Considering we live so far apart and have families it is amazing that we have been able to continue our friendship over the years. Our wives are good friends as well which has helped to keep the friendship going strong. I am very thankful for our friendship and look forward to more of our adventures riding motorcycles or otherwise…