Tag Archives: plains

Day 15 & 16 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Heading Home

Day 15 OshKosh, Nebraska to Pampa, Texas (479 Miles)

Day 15 Ride map ...Oshkosh to Pampa

Day 15 Ride map …Oshkosh to Pampa

Today is day  15 of our national park motorcycle ride. Over the course of 16 days we 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). Checkout the previous days as we rode one of our dream rides on our bucket list.

We were up early (5:30) as usual getting the bikes and ourselves ready for today’s  ride. We were expecting a big storm to blow in over night but it didn’t happen… But it was over cast and looked like rain. Our luck with the weather has run out. Today is the beginning of the end of the best motorcycle ride I have ever been on… to date. I am leaving with mixed emotions. Larry and I will be splitting up at Oakley, Kansas. He will take I-70 toward home to Georgia. I will continue riding on US-83 to Texas. I can’t believe it is over except for riding home… The good part is I will be getting home to my sweety, Janet ;).

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Packing up and getting ready to leave Oshkosh, NE

At North Platte we stopped at the same convenience store we stopped at 5 years earlier. What I remembered about the store was the sign above the door that read “You Are Nowhere”. This was where we split up 5 years go but today Larry will be riding a bit further south to Oakley.

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We are nowhere… Actually North Platte, NE

The rain… We were riding in intermittent misty rain until North Platte, Nebraska. Not enough to put the rain suits on. As we headed south from North Platte the rain increased and the visibility decreased to 100 yards (meters) or less. Out came the rain suits. When we arrived at Oakley it was raining a lot. I’ve ridden in worse…

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YES, it’s RAINING… Really raining for the first time in 15 days…

At Oakley we stopped at another convenience store for gas and a bit of lunch. A tour bus had also stopped for lunch so it was a bit crowded and food selection was minimal.

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This is where we split up. Leaving in the rain…

This was our splitting up point. We said our good-byes. Larry headed east down I-40 and I continued south on US-83. Larry had 1057 miles ahead of him and I had 789 miles… a bit less.

Back in Texas... Yes, that is an oil drilling rig...

Back in Texas… Yes, that is an oil drilling rig…

It wasn’t too long before I rode out of the rain. The roads dried up and it was clear sailing. The rain slowed me down a bit. By days end I was back in Texas. Pampa was where I ended my day.  530 miles and I will be home to Janet 😉

Day 16 Pampa, Texas to Georgetown, Texas (530 Miles)

Day 16 Ride map... Pampa to Georgetown

Day 16 Ride map… Pampa to Georgetown

I was up at 5:30 and on the road before 7:00. I wanted to cover as many miles as possible before I would hit the triple-digit temperature forecast for this afternoon.  Today was just riding and enjoying the scenery of the “Panhandle Plains” along the  way home.

Donley County

This is by far the fanciest rest stop I have ever seen… Even for Texas…

It didn’t get very warm until the afternoon and even then the temperature was 97 degrees. Today was the hottest temperature over the last 16 days of our trip. The weather over the 16 days has been amazingly good. There were only a few days that reached 90 degrees and the lows were in the 50’s most mornings. Just one low in the upper 40’s. We only wore the rain suits once. We did encounter light misty rain several days with heavier rain in the area that we somehow always managed to avoid. Having good weather on the ride made for very enjoyable riding and allowed us to enjoy all the amazing scenery the way it was meant to be seen.

We grow a lot of cotton here in Texas

We grow a lot of cotton here in Texas

I made good time and was home before 4:00. I can’t believe it is over. I am glad to be home. It was nice to be sleeping in my own bed again and I finally am able to share some of my wonderful ride with Janet. Hopefully she can make the next one.

Almost home... :)

Almost home… 🙂

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 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

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…

Day 5 National Park Motorcycle Ride: Grand Teton & Yellowstone

Yellowstone National Park

Grand Teton & Yellowstone National Parks

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Heading to Grand Teton National Park from Pinedale, WY

Today is day 5 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 Grand Teton and Yellowstone national Parks. We rode from Pinedale, WY to Gardiner, MT via Grand Teton and the west side of Yellowstone National Parks. Todays ride is a leisurely 230 miles so we can take in all the majesty of these two grand national parks. Its been 41 years since I’ve been here. It seems like yesterday. I wish I had gotten back sooner.

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Riding into the clouds heading to Grand Teton National Park

We rode Hwy 89 north to Teton Park Road. The ride through Grand Teton was nice with views of pristine lakes, and alpine terrain on our left and to the right are grass-covered rolling plains land. In Grand Teton National Park you can explore over two hundred miles of trails, float the Snake River or just enjoy the serenity as you ride or drive through this remarkable place. We only had time to take pictures and memories as we rode through Grand Teton National Park.

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Grand Teton National Park

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Signal Mountain Lodge on Jackson Lake in Grand Teton National Park

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Grand Teton National Park

We rode the west side of Yellowstone National Park to our destination for today. Tomorrow we will spend the day in Yellowstone. There are so many places to stop and see in Yellowstone you need as much time as possible. Today we stopped at “Old Faithful” Geyser. I told Larry we would probably get there just after the last eruption… You guessed it. We had to walk through hundreds of onlookers leaving the last eruption. We just missed it… So we took our time exploring the grounds until the next eruption. The average interval in 1939 between eruptions was 66.5 minutes. The average interval today is 90 minutes. Eruptions can shoot 3,700 to 8,400 US gallons (14,000 to 32,000 Liters ) of boiling water to a height of 106 to 185 feet (32 to 56 meters) that last from 1.5 to 5 minutes. As you would expect “Old Faithful” did put on a good show . I hope it is not another 41 years before I get back to see the next one.

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Entering west side of Yellowstone National Park

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Riding west side of Yellowstone National Park

It was getting late in the evening so we rode on to Gardiner, Montana for the night. As we rode I was making mental notes about what we should stop and have a closer look at when we returned tomorrow. Tomorrow we will spend the day riding the figure eight in Yellowstone, stopping to see as many sights as we can.

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Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park

Traffic was a bit heavy riding to Gardiner. There were a lot of slower moving RV’s traveling through the park that didn’t take advantage of the “pullovers” to allow faster moving traffic by. I guess I should have expected the traffic since it is July and probably the peak season  for visitors.

The ride into Gardiner was very scenic where Highway 89 parallels the river. The water in the river was running so fast we could hear the rapids as we were riding by! Beautiful scenery and sounds.

Gardiner was a small western town with quaint storefronts surrounded by snow-capped mountains, green valleys, and abundant wildlife. The local folks were very friendly. We enjoyed our two night stay here.

There were Elk walking the streets of Gardiner! They were everywhere. Not only did you have to watch for pedestrians in the cross-walks but Elk that would step-out from anywhere into the street! I was wondering why many of the houses there had very high fences… but after seeing all the Elk I didn’t wonder any more…

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Elk in Gardiner Montana

Today was another great riding day. My only regret is not having our other riding buddies along. I really miss Janet and that she is missing all the beautiful sights…  especially the Elk roaming around town. I will be back with Janet for sure. Until then Janet will have to be content with pictures and my stories…

For more pictures of our ride click here and don’t forget to like “The Texas Rambler” Facebook page.

Update: June 28, 2013 Here is a video of the day…

See you tomorrow when we ride more of Yellowstone.  I hope we see you down the road somewhere. 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 4 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Georgetown, CO to Pinedale, WY
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

Texas Independence Trail Motorcycle Ride Day 4 May 2013

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Map of Day 4 Ride Route

Today is the last day of my “Texas Independence Trail” ride. I was up early this morning. I spent the night with my sister, she and her family were up getting ready for work and getting Tavy their granddaughter off to school. We had breakfast and said our good-byes before I headed out. It was another nice cool (cool for Texas) morning with a few clouds which burned off quickly as the day progressed. Before day’s end it did get rather warm at 90 degrees but still not a bad day for riding.

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Rolling down Hwy 59 to Fannin, Texas

My first leg today was down Hwy 59 to Fannin, Texas the historic site of the “Fannin Battleground”. This leg to San Antonio is typical “Texas Coastal Plains”. It is mostly flat covered with Mesquite trees. As you get closer to San Antonio you start to see gently rolling hills… covered with more Mesquite… Fannin, Texas is just off Hwy 59. The battleground is a bit further south on FM 2506. On this site in 1836, brave soldiers fought the Battle of Coleto Creek. The Texans eventually surrendered to overwhelming Mexican forces. Col. Fannin and his men were taken to Goliad and held. This morning was peaceful but somber as I thought about what had happened here so very long ago. I can only imagine what emotions the men must have had in their dire situation…

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Fannin Battleground

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Fannin Battleground Monument

From the battleground, I continued a short distance to Goliad and the site of the massacre of Col. Fannin and his men. At Goliad I rode Hwy 183/77 1.6 miles to Presidio La Bahia. It was here that the following happened.

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Final Resting Place of Col. Fannin and His Men.

The pervious evening, Colonel Portilla had received word directly from General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna to execute Col. Fannin and his men. It was a foggy morning on Palm Sunday, March 27, 1836. Fannin and his men had been held captive for one week. Fannin’s men were told to gather up their things. They thought they would be sent to New Orleans but were lead out in groups and executed instead. Colonel Fannin was the last to be executed. Fannin made three requests, not to be shot in the face, his personal possessions be sent to his family, and that he be given a Christian burial. He was shot in the face, an officer took his personal possessions, and his body was burned along with many of the other bodies. There were 342 men who died in the Goliad Massacre. Twice the number of men who died at the Alamo and San Jacinto combined. It was a senseless massacre by the brutal Mexican leader Santa Anna. This massacre inflamed the Texan’s cause and spurred the battle cry, “Remember Goliad!”

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Presidio La Bahia

There was some good that happened that day… Twenty-eight men did escape the massacre and seventeen men’s lives were spared. Because of the accounts of these men who escaped and were spared we know what happened that day. The Angel of Goliad, Francita Alavez, and General Urrea’s wife saved the lives of a number of men.

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For more than two months after the massacre, the ghastly remains of the massacred men of Fannin’s Command were found in the partially covered trenches where they had been dumped and burned. General Thomas J. Rusk, had the remains gathered and buried in a mass grave with military honors. At the grave General Rusk delivered a short, but eloquent address.

FELLOW SOLDIERS: In the order of Providence we are this day called upon to pay the last sad offices of respect to the remains of the noble and heroic band, who, battling for our sacred rights, have fallen beneath the ruthless hand of a tyrant. Their chivalrous conduct entitles them to the heartfelt gratitude of the people of Texas. Without any further interest in the country than that which all noble hearts feel at the bare mention of liberty, they rallied to our standard. Relinquishing the ease, peace, and comforts of their homes, leaving behind them all they held dear, their mothers, sisters, daughters, and wives, they subjected themselves to fatigue and privation, and nobly threw themselves between the people of Texas and the legions of Santa Anna. There, unaided by re-enforcement’s and far from help and hope, they battled bravely with the minions of a tyrant, ten to one. Surrounded in the open prairie by this fearful odds, cut off from provisions and even water, they were induced, under the sacred promise of receiving the treatment usual to prisoners of war, to surrender. They were marched back, and for a week treated with the utmost inhumanity and barbarity. They were marched out of yonder fort under the pretense of getting provisions, and it was not until the firing of musketry did the shrieks of the dying, that they were satisfied of their approaching fate. Some endeavored to make their escape, but they were pursued by the ruthless cavalry and most of them cut down with their swords. A small number of them stand by the grave-a bare remnant of that noble band. Our tribute of respect is due to them; it is due to the mothers, sisters, and wives who weep their untimely end, that we should mingle our tears with theirs. In that mass of remains and fragments of bones, many a mother might see her son, many a sister her brother, and many a wife her own beloved and affectionate husband. But we have a consolation- yet to offer them: their murderers sank in death on the prairies of San Jacinto, under the appalling words, “Remember La Bahia.” Many a tender and affectionate woman will remember, with tearful eye, “La Bahia.” But we have another consolation to offer. It is, that while liberty has a habitation and a name, their chivalrous deeds will be handed down upon the bright pages of history. We can still offer another consolation: Santa Anna, the mock hero, the black-hearted murderer, is within our grasp. Yea, and there he must remain, tortured with the keen pain of corroding conscience. He must oft remember La Bahia, and while the names of those whom he murdered shall soar to the highest pinnacle of fame, his shall sink down into the lowest depths of infamy and disgrace.

On June 4, 1938, in celebration of the Texas Centennial, a massive pink granite monument marking the grave site was dedicated.

There is much more to this story. You can learn more by following the links above.

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Mission Espiritu Santo

I was making good time so I stopped at Goliad State Park to tour “Mission Espiritu Santo”. The park is just a short distance from Presidio La Bahia when heading back to Goliad.

The mission was established in 1722 by the Spanish. It is one of the many missions in the area. Following decades of unsuccessful treasure-hunting expeditions in the southwest, led by Coronado and others, the Spanish turned to colonization. The system that emerged in the colonization process entailed the establishment of a mission, a fort or presidio. The system was intended to have the character of Spain’s system of feudal estates. Soldiers guarded the inhabitants to repel incursions from the French.  The mission housed the staff, native peoples, families, and others.

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Mission Espiritu Santo

The mission had moved several times and lay in ruin. Archeologists from the University of Texas at Austin and the Texas Archeological Society have done extensive excavations to the site. The church and other buildings have been fully reconstructed and furnished to provide a glimpse of the site’s colorful past. Interpretive exhibits help to tell a story not only of life at the mission but aspects of the archeological investigations and restoration process.

If you enjoy history and have some time to explore the rich history of the mission it is well worth you’re your time. I have plans to ride to all of the missions in the area some day. Stay tuned for that.

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The Alamo

When I left the mission it was starting to warm up. From Goliad I picked up Hwy 239 to Kenedy where I rode Hwy 181 to San Antonio the site of the Alamo. As you get closer to San Antonio you start to see more gently rolling hills… covered with more Mesquite… It was a nice ride.

The Alamo is located in downtown San Antonio. Many people are surprised by that. I was pretty warm by the time I got to San Antonio. All the concrete and asphalt help to collect the heat and make it even warmer. That is one reason I try to avoid city riding… that and all the cars, trucks and traffic…

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The Alamo Grounds

The Alamo is probably the best known story about Texas’ battle for independence. There are many more stories that could have been told. It is an amazing story about courage and overwhelming odds. Santa Anna thought it would be a quick victory and he would be moving on to wipeout the remaining Texas army.

The arrival of General Antonio López de Santa Anna’s army outside San Antonio, on February 23, 1836, nearly caught the Texians by surprise. The Texians and Tejanos prepared to defend the Alamo together. The defenders held off against Santa Anna’s army for 13 days. There were about 200 defenders at the Alamo. The defenders saw the Alamo as the key to the defense of Texas, and they were ready to give their lives rather than surrender their position to General Santa Anna. The best known among the Alamo’s defenders were Jim Bowie, renowned knife fighter, and David Crockett, famed frontiersman and former congressman from Tennessee.

The final assault came before daybreak on the morning of March 6, 1836. Mexican soldiers headed for the Alamo’s walls. Cannon and small arms fire from inside the Alamo beat back several attacks. The Mexicans regrouped, scaled the walls and rushed into the compound. The desperate struggle continued until the defenders were overwhelmed. By sunrise, the battle had ended and Santa Anna entered the Alamo compound to survey the scene of his victory.

As many as seven defenders survived the battle, but Santa Anna ordered their execution. Though Santa Anna had his victory, the common soldiers paid the price. Accounts vary, but best estimates place the number of Mexicans killed and wounded at about 600.

People worldwide remember the Alamo as a heroic struggle against impossible odds… a place where men made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom. For this reason, the Alamo will always remain hallowed ground and the Shrine of Texas Liberty.

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River Walk in San antonio, Texas

While in San Antonio I took the time to have a late… very late lunch on the “River Walk”. There are many restaurants all along the river to eat. To me it is the only place to eat in downtown San Antonio… particularly if you like Mexican food.

I had planned to ride to Gonzales to visit the Memorial Museum. The museum houses a large collection of objects, documents and photographs pertaining to Gonzales’ role in the shaping of Texas history. If I had rode there I wouldn’t have had much time to tour the museum and get back home in a timely manner. So after lunch I headed home via I-35… San Antonio to Georgetown via I-35, for the most part, parallels the Balcones Fault which is the boundary between the Texas Coastal Plain and the Texas Hill Country. Riding north you have the start of the Texas Hill Country on your left and on your right the terrain is much flatter with gentle rolling hills.

I made it home around 4:00. My only regrets were not having Janet along to share all the sites. My cousin W. D. supposed to have rode with me on this ride but wasn’t able to ride along due to putting his scooter in the shop. W.D. would have really enjoyed the ride and all the people we would have met would have enjoyed meeting W.D. W.D. is… how, should I say this… very entertaining… You just need to meet him to know what I am talking about…

The last four days was a fun ride. I’m glad I was finally able to do this ride. Click here for more information about the “Texas Independence Trail”. Weather you ride or drive you will see some beautiful scenic Texas countryside and explore many historic Texas sites.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about this ride as much as I have sharing it with y’all (you). We Texans are a proud bunch and are very proud of our history. Making this ride gave me the chance to revisit the history and learn a few things that I previously did not know. Visiting these historic sites brought the history and sacrifice into focus like it never has been before.

You can read the other posts about this ride here…