Monthly Archives: May 2007

Day 6 & 7, Austin, Alamo, Rudys, Carsbad, Rosewell

Pulling out of Austin this morning I started to get a chance to roll at Texas speed, highways in Texas have drivers that are much more polite, and also much more liberal speed limits. Time spent on the slab allows you to really eat up the miles.

The AlamoWent down to visit the Alamo and I have to say it is a lot smaller in person than in the John Wayne movie, I have heard the guys from Cartalk mention that the Alamo used to be outside of town and they dont know when it was moved into the city center. The riverwalk looked great and it would live up to the hype, but parking looked messy and I have miles to consume today so I kept rolling.

Rusty's BBQNot eating in the riverwalk paid off pretty well as when I stopped at Rudy’s North of town I ended up having some very tasty pork. I have been eating a lot of dry food like cereal bars or eating gas station sandwiches, so this was quite a treat.

 

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Mesa

Having heard about Mesas before heading out West I didn’t entirely understand what made them cool, I heard they were mountains with the tops knocked off. But they really are cool.

As I get further into the trip I find more and more people introducing themselves to me. I ran into a group of guys heading out to national park and they swore up and down that Big Bend is a place I should see before I die. It is too far away from my planned trip but I will have to go back at some point. Starting to get to really pretty sunsets,

 

IMG_2589 May12th stared in the middle of nowhere but already I saw my first actively working oil well. A quick stop at the Apache trading post had me coming out empty handed, Also seems like a good time to pay more attention to the drivers around me so I don’t get surprised by someone who is impaired.

The scenery continues to change as I climb up towards Carlsbad Caverns.  There is no real point in putting a picture of the caverns here as the photos I took could not do it justice. It is also fun with my national park/monument pass the wonderful treatment I get. I am sure much of it just comes from dealing with nice people, but there is an extra thank you for this card that is not that expensive. I just did the short tour as time is not on my side. I need to work out why I am rushed on this trip, 8000+ miles in 20 days is ambitious, but I could use some more R&R time.

IMG_2677 After a natural wonder it was time for super natural, and Rosewell NM. What a cool idea this town is, from what I can tell it would be a blip on a map with no note if not for the alien shenanigans a few years ago. As I got the ‘museum’ not too long before closing I got a discounted entrance rate. I can not imagine what a person would do if they had more time, as I think I hit everything the museum has to offer.

As I went north i stared running into some of the biggest bugs I have ever seen. My helmet was getting pinged by very large, fairly glow in the dark bugs. I guess they count as UFOs but it is not the type I expected. For a good bit of the ride my visor had a nice phosphorous glow.

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Day 5, Austin TX via Cotton Gin

Burton Cotton Gin & Museum Since I didn’t have a huge amount of miles to eat today, it was more about touring, seeing things I had not seen before and then getting to Austin around the time the ladies were getting home.

I stopped in to see the Burton Cotton Gin, this bad-boy has been around for a long time, has a huge amount of contraptions and I was shocked when the lady said it had the modern equivalent of maybe 125 BHP. So right now I am laying down into my back tire enough power to run this whole Gin. Bonkers.

IMG_2449 Good old work-wife Joanne as soon as I got to the house she had a load of Fat Tires waiting for me. We got to go through the crazy flagship wholefoods store, I had never walked in an aisle long beer cooler before. We also of course checked out the bats of Austin that were in fine form. Joanne and Darlene also have a really cool way of doing business. As they live far enough out of town that you need to drive, the partner that does not know the guest gets to get hammered and your representative is the DD. What better way to get to know people than laughing at the DD.

IMG_2457I could see living in Austin, obviously I didn’t spend very long there, and after a few days on the cycle this was my longest break, I arrived there before sunset and left the next day but there was a cool vibe. And of course the house they had was insane.

Some more heavy miles starting tomorrow so I will enjoy a nice comfortable bed tonight.

 

 

 

Day 4 – New Orleans, BattleShip Texas, Houston

IMG_2411 Things went later than I wanted last night, as I didn’t want to park the Bapper in New Orleans, but when I was rolling out of the city there was nothing available for a good while  I wanted to find a place that was good to leave the machine.  So I woke up this morning with cows outside my window.

A quick ferry ride and I was able to see the Battleship Texas, but much more importantly once I got to Houston I did a drive-by on the Johnson Space Center. It was weird with all the super-suburban tree lined drives, not sure what I expected but I am sure it was lovely.

Nothing much to report tomorrow will be fun as I will get to see Joanne and Darlene.

Lyndon B Johnson Space Center

 

 

Day 3 – Opelika, AL to New Orleans, LA via Gulfport, MS

Things started off pretty nicely this morning, I had planned to call a cab but the good folks Opelika  Police Car of Opelika finest said to call in as a distressed motorist. When I got to the garage they had a replacement battery ready to go, but since they don’t worked on Beemers they didn’t know how to work on it, so I showed them how to replace the battery.

Last minute I got a hair up my ass to keep the old battery, it had gone flat and had not tested as good on all cells, but I wanted to keep a spare. Again thanks to the good folks of Opelika, town seems to be falling on hard times but anyone I interacted with was cool.

 

A quick visit to a battleship and then on to Gulfport, it had been two years Camille S.S. Hurricane Gulfport since Hurricane Katrina but my expectation was that things were still going to be rough. First top in Gulfport was the SS Hurricane Camille, it was pushed ashore.

A quick pop across the road to the West Side Pier, and then I got my toes into the water on the Gulf side. The West Side Pier was really nice with a pretty sunset. The ride into Gulfport was pretty depressed. A lot of really torn up looking and abandoned buildings IMG_2369that showed no plans to repair. New Orleans got a lot of coverage for its destruction and what I saw a couple of hours later was undoubtedly in bad shape, but parts of the city were coming back. Gulfport looked like no-one was ever going to try and fix.
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One onto New Orleans proper, being my first time in that town it was a shame that I was not going to be able to properly enjoy the city. So I parked beside a scooter, grabbed a po-boy and a quick beer. A little walk around the French Quarter and I was ready to hit the road. I need to come back to this city again and do it right.

 

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The ride into New Orleans had some really long causeways that made me question the logic of having the town there when it needs to much faffing around to just make a road work.

 

Day 2 – Myrtle SC to Opelika, AL

Hung out in the morning with Brew-daug and got to check out some of what Myrtle had to offer, Also took advantage of the beach to dip my toes in the Atlantic.
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Mr Brew was then good enough to escort me back to the main road, and it was clear that he would have been good to come a thousand or two miles further.

Getting into the miles now, stopped off to check out the IMG_2317 Laurel and Hardy Museum in Harlem Georga, but sadly when I got there it was closed. Since I am still getting set into the bike I am OK with that, gives me more time to eat up the asphalt.

So you know that gas gauge problem I mentioned, funny story I got some crappy fas and instead of my usual 250 to a tank, I crapped out with something like 130 miles into the tank. Luckily I had a nice deck chair with me, so I set it up down the embankment and called for fuel.
Funny story number 2, between the GPS to report my location and the hazard lights, when the guy showed up with the fuel there was not enough power left in the bapper to turn it over. The towtruck guy as only called out for fuel, so he had not charped up his jump start box. So back down the embankment with the sweet smell of roadkill and I waited for the flatbed.

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This is were I got to understand why copes are referred to as the … finest. I got to meet Opelika’s finest, from the office who picked me up and made sure I got to a good hotel at a good rate. To the cops who ran by the bike dealer the bapper was dropped to for service, through the guy who picked me up the next morning so I could go pickup the bike and get a new battery.

It is still early days on this trip but I am already fascinated by the experience of just meeting people, there is something about being on a bike loaded down like Beverly Hillbillies that makes people open up to you. One of the officers was telling me about the big trip he wanted to take, a bike is just a great way to meet people. Toes are good, other parts are sore a lot more miles to go but another solid performance today with 450.

Day 1 – Arlington to Myrtle Beach

Heading Out

I had put in a couple of good practice long days on the bike, while prepping for the long days I found the range of the bike to be a bit of a challenge. Once I got to about 200-250 miles I would end up looking for fuel. On the big trip the 250 miles range is probably not going to be too much of a challenge.

IMG_2277In an unfortunate development just a couple of days prior to the roadtrip my tank gauge dropped to zero available and didnt come back. So I am starting my first really major roadtrip without a working gas gauge. Ripping the bike apart to get to the tank just before going out was asking for trouble.

Day 1 on the trip, pulled out with a very overloaded cycle and was off to Myrtle, I really did a poor job on the load-out. I was packed in super-tight so ended up a bit bloodied but so be it.

Things started getting a bit uncomfortable on the ride, and as I was becoming acclimatized to the ongoing nags of being packed in tight I came up with a great idea, if I just put my boots on the black-top I could keep my legs stretched out. This worked pretty well until North Carolina as the reduced road maintenance caused my boot to snag on the black-top and rocked up under one of my paniers. I was pretty sure I had fractured a toe based on how sore it was. Of course that was not a challenge until I had to get off the machine so I voted to keep rolling.

 

IMG_2282I got to stop for the first time at South of the Border, Pedro is a handsome chap, a lot of it was closed when I got there but since it was a bit of a tourist trap (should I have said spoiler alert) that was probably not for the worst.
Rolled down to Myrtle and spent the night with Brew-Daug and the family, was great catching up with them, just wish I had longer to hang out.

 

Brian