We are underway! As I write this we are in San Antonio, Texas. I had my doubts
about getting away from home.
Two weeks before leaving I took the bike to the shop to get the wheels powder coated
and new tires put on. A week before leaving it snowed a foot. Two days before leaving
I brought the bike home in this. The main roads were clear but our street was a
mess. But on Thursday morning it was all gone from the street and we made it fine. The
weather was good until we reached the California border and then it began to rain,
hard. We rode through the afternoon in a downpour and stopped in Red Bluff, just
south of the rain.
We spent the night in a RV park with a space right near the bath house. It was ideal,
until 6:45 that morning when the garbage truck arrived and emptied the dumpster 30
feet from our space. At least we were already up.
We packed and got back on the road. Another long day of just running south on I-5,
boring and monotonous. That night we spent in a RV park in Bakersfield, CA. The
next morning at 6:15 the garbage truck came and picked up the dumpster 50 feet away. This
time we were not up!
So we got up, packed and got on the road again. This time we are heading east on
a long and boring Interstate. We cross Arizona and New Mexico in the next two days,
but no more garbage trucks. Then we enter Texas at El Paso and continue east to
Van Horn, TX. Here we turn south on a two-lane road with a speed limit of 70 mph. It
is long, straight and boring, just like the freeway. What keeps us going is the
promise of a good motorcycle road as we run alongside the Rio Grande.
And it is true. From Presidio to Terlingua the road twists, turns, climbs and drops. Often
just out of sight over the hump or around the curve. This is fun. In the picture
that is the Rio Grande and Mexico on the other side.
Many of the roads in South Texas are built without bridges in the low spots. It
rains so seldom and for such short times it doesn't pay to build and maintain them. So
they put in these "Flood Gauges" to show drivers how deep the water is in the low
spot. Then you can decide to wait or cross, your choice. We stayed that night in
a nice little RV park, run by some escapees from the rat race, called Study Butte
RV Park. We recommend it. It is small but the bathroom is spotless and complete. The
owners have a gift shop with items handmade right there. They are mostly made from
old silverware and are wind chimes, earrings, money clips, ball point pens, charms,
etc. They are clever and well done. It is very motorcycle friendly.
The next morning we were under way early, it is still cool in the desert in the morning. We
entered Big Bend NP, for free with my senior card, and took the scenic road to St.
Elena Canyon first. This is a bluff split by the Rio Grande River. It is coming
towards the picture and follows the base of the bluff off to the left. The right
hand bluff is US, the left hand one Mexico. This bluff runs for miles as a cliff
a thousand feet high or more.
Behind us is a fairly flat land with mesas and small hills. In the center distance
is a formation called the "Mule Ears". This area is volcanic and has been eroded
into many shapes and buttes.
We camped that night in the park, for $7, half price with my senior card and left
before dawn the next morning. We have a long run north and east to the "Hill Country"
of Texas. And it will be hot and boring again. This is all desert and I am more
of a mountains and trees type of guy.
On the way to the Hill Country we stopped at Langtry, TX. The home of Judge Roy
Bean and his "Law West of The Pecos". This is his actual courthouse/bar/pool hall
in the original location. It is now a state park. Judge Roy Bean served justice
and liquor side by side. He was fascinated by the singer Lily Langtry, hence the
name of the town. He even named the one-room house he lived in "The Opera House"
in an attempt to draw her to the town. She did finally come to Langtry, but by then
he had died, so he never actually met her.
Along the way we had a flat on the trailer and we had to pull over and change it
for the spare.
After spending a week in the desert, most of it on the Interstate, we finally make
it to the Hill Country of Texas. This is a very popular motorcycle destination. Three
of the most popular are named the "Twisted Sisters" and often make the list of "Best
10" or "Best 15" motorcycle roads in the country. We rode one of them and several
other roads in the area. Finally we have interesting roads to ride and trees to
look at instead of cactus.
Along one of the roads we found what is probably a political statement about protecting
ones livestock from predators. About a mile farther along there were another five
coyotes hung from the fence.
We made it to San Antonio mid-day and set up in the KOA on the east side of town. The
rodeo is in town and has been going on for three weeks. The finals are this week
and campground is pretty full of giant 45 foot long horse trailers that have a RV
unit in the front and space for the horses in the back. The KOA have a nice space
near the restrooms for our nine foot trailer that no one else fit into. We set up
camp and did some shopping and then I went and got the tire for the trailer replaced.
In the morning we rode the city bus into the center of town and visited the Alamo. I
had been here before but as a little kid but this was first time for Kathy. It is
an interesting site that was very important in Texan and Mexican history. We wandered
the paths and ruins and read the plaques. None of basics were new (we all learn
about the Alamo in American History classes) but the details were interesting.
We were getting hungry so we walked to the "River Walk" and looked at restaurants,
cafes and bars trying to decide what type of food we wanted for lunch. This is a
pedestrian area along a section of the San Antonio River that is about 20 feet below
street level. There are artisan shops, small open-air theatres and lots of food. British,
Irish, German, Mexican, Steak, Pub, Fancy, Casual and all alongside the water. We
After lunch we walked to the Mexican Market a few blocks away. We looked at a lot
of crafts and a lot of junk. It is now mid-afternoon and we are thirsty.
We had seen a Hofbrau House BierGarten somewhere on our way along the river. Now
we just had to find it again. We walked and walked and walked, and then finally
saw one of the info guide persons that the city has here for tourists. We asked
and got directions. It was only a block away! We gratefully sat down and ordered
two beers from the barmaid. This is a franchise of the famous Hofbrau House in Munich,
Germany. But the girls in Munich did not look like the one in San Antonio, to the
left, but more like the one below.
Today is a "maintenance day" where we do laundry, clean the tent, update this web
story and generally do what is necessary to get ready to get on the road again. We
leave tomorrow on the way to New Orleans and Mardi Gras. We will run along the Gulf
Coast, off the freeways, and visit several things along the way. Next Saturday we
ride in a parade with the local GWRRA chapter. Tune in again for that part of the
story in New Orleans.