Tag Archives: rain

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 10 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Banff National Park Canada

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Banff National Park Ride Map

Today is day  10 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 I will finally get to see Banff. When I was working, I did a lot of work in Canada. While in Canada, I was told to visit Banff many times. I never seemed to have the opportunity… I was always putting out fires (fixing problems) and never had any time to spare. The best thing about finally seeing it for the first time is I am riding through it. The best way to see Banff is from the seat of a motorcycle!

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Nice cool clear morning heading to Banff National Park in Canada

We took Hwy 1 from Golden, BC to Lake Louise Drive in Banff. Lake Louise was the one place I was told I must see.. We were not disappointed. Lake Louise is an alpine lake, known for its sparkling blue waters. It is situated at the base of impressive glacier-clad peaks that must be seen to be appreciated. It has been said,  “A pictures is worth a thousand words” but I say the heck with pictures… You need to experience this to fully appreciate its beauty.

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Early morning Banff National Park Canada

While stopping at the Information Center we were told we needed to visit Lake Moraine too. They said it was even better than Lake Louise. It was a 9 mile/14 km ride from Lake Louise. Lake Moraine is 6181 feet/ 1884 meters above sea level.  Lake Moraine is a bit higher in elevation than Louise with many scenic views on the ride up. Parking at the top was a bit of a hassle. We ended up parking in a couple of triangles by a walkway. It was perfect motorcycle parking and we didn’t get in anyone’s way. Once I saw the lake I realized I had seen pictures of it before. The lake seems like something unreal or made up. Both Lake Moraine and Louise are a deep-turquoise color with beautiful glacier covered mountains reflecting from its surface.  These lakes must be seen to be fully appreciated.

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Lake Louise Banff National Park Canada

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Lake Moraine Banff National Park Canada

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Glacier at Lake Moraine Banff National Park Canada

If you are into hiking, there are many trails in Banff and is probably the best way to see Banff up close and personal. The rest of our ride through Banff was filled with beautiful views of the surrounding glacier covered mountains with some of the most pristine sparkling clear streams all along our route. While on our ride we were told about rides we needed do while in the area.  Because of time constraints we were not able to do them… but when we make it up this way again I will include them in our plans. Several people told us we must ride up to Jasper. We were told the scenery is outstanding and is a must see. The other place is highway 40 between Highway 1 and Longview, AB. It is an outstanding motorcycle ride. So if you are headed up that way you may want to check these out and include them in your travel plans

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Riding down Hwy 1 Banff National Park Canada

As we rode closer to Calgary the landscape started to flatten out… a noticeable contrast to Banff but pretty in its own right.

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Riding through Calgary, AB Canada with rain clouds rolling in.

It’s been a long time (10 years or more) since I’ve been to Calgary. It too has probably changed a lot since then. I would have liked to spend some time in Calgary but we have miles to go before we sleep… so we rode the outskirts of Calgary on our way to Lethbridge, AB, our destination for the day. As we headed south from Calgary the scenery was mostly farm and ranch land… Very nice farm and ranch land… As we left the Calgary area the clouds got darker and we did encounter some misty rain from time to time. We seemed to have ridden between several of the rain showers that were all around us all the way to Lethbridge. The clouds and rain showers did keep the temperature down for some nice riding.

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One of the many farms between Calgary, AB and Lethbridge, AB

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Riding past one of the many rain showers on our way to Lethbridge, AB

Riding into Lethbridge we rode into a canyon and over the Oldman River. We had a good view of the railroad bridge above the canyon. It was a very impressive sight. The bridge is a bit of good engineering and construction… A good end to a very good day… Today was another good day of riding (296  miles) through one of Canada’s best National Parks. Scenery in and out of the park was outstanding with good weather all the way. I even enjoyed the ride from Calgary to Lethbridge with its scenic farm and ranch land. I enjoyed seeing some nice farm and ranch houses and barns as well as some that have seen better days. I always find myself wondering what life must be like living  there. Farming and ranching is a great life that takes a special kind of people to do it… It takes a lot of hard endless work with uncertain weather and economic futures always ahead.  A gamble when you do everything right… but very rewarding in the end. Having grown up on a cotton farm in Texas, I admire farmers and ranchers everywhere.

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 right 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…

Tomorrow we will be riding to Billings, Montana. There are no planned stops, just riding more scenic Great Plains .So ride safe and I hope we will see you somewhere on the road…

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 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 9 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Troy, MT to Golden, AB Canada

Troy, MT to Golden, AB Canada

Troy, MT to Golden, AB Canada

Today is day  9 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.

Normally we are up at 5:30 getting ready to ride but today we slept in a bit since today is an easy ride of  just 260 miles. I didn’t want to be rushed leaving today. I wanted to spend as much time as possible with Avis, Ed and Avis’ mom. I hope it won’t be another 41 years between visits.

Yesterday, one of Avis’ neighbors gave her some huckleberries. I have never had huckleberries before. I liked them a lot so Avis made crepes with a huckleberry topping this morning for breakfast. A mighty good breakfast… The best we have had on our trip…

It was really nice to visit and catch up after all these many years. I just wish Janet could have made this ride so she could have met Ed and Avis. After taking parting pictures and saying our good byes we were on the road about 9:00.

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My friends Ed, Avis and me

From Troy, MT we are heading north on Hwy 2. Hwy 2 ends at the junction of Hwy 95 in Idaho.When we reached the U. S. Canadian border we had to go through customs. That went rather smoothly & quickly. Once through customs,  it was on to Golden, BC, Canada. The route today, for the most part, was traveling through the valleys between distant mountains. Beautiful scenery with crystal clear streams and lakes  with nice cool riding temperatures.

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More beautiful scenery riding to Golden, BC

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Heading to Golden, BC with rain in the distance

We stopped in Cranbrook, BC for lunch at Denny’s. The service was slow because they lost our order. I miss place my camera memory card and needed to buy another. The slow service and having to replace the memory card did slow us down a bit. Later we encountered some lite rain and considered putting on the rain gear but it never got heavy enough for rain suits. We were a little behind schedule…

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More beautiful Canadian Rocky Mountain scenery

It was a bit different having to remember the speed limits were Kilometers per hour. I was glad my speedometer had both miles and kilometers per hour. The kph numbers were small and  a bit hard to see in some light. I kept letting Larry know what the kph were in mph. We tried to obey speed limits but the locals seemed to be fly by us…

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Another ride by shooting…

The other thing different was the gas prices were for a liter of gasoline. Also, some of the pay at the pumps operated a bit differently from those in the U.S. Nothing that we couldn’t deal with but did give us pause the first time…

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More rain in the distance.

We arrived in Golden, checked into our motel and walked next door to a nice restaurant for dinner. It was another good riding day with more beautiful scenery and perfect riding weather…

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 right column to receive notifications of new posts by email. Also please take some time and leave us a comment. We always love hearing from y’all…

Tomorrow will be a leisurely ride through  Banff  National Park. So until then, we will get a good night’s rest and dream about what tomorrow will hold for us. Ride safe and I hope we will see you somewhere on the road…

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 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!

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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…