Saturday, August 13, 2011

Days 3, 4, and 5

8-11 and 12, and 13/11  Today’s post is a threefer post; I’m going to cover three days in one post. 

We left our motel and headed southwest to San Antonio.  We left the Interstate and got on the secondary roads in Texas.  I like the roads in Texas!  Many of the secondary roads have speed limits of 70mph, and a wide shoulder wide enough for a vehicle to drive on.  The roads have driveways, businesses, and other things opening onto the roads, but still the speed limits are high.

Our destination was the Alamo in downtown San Antonio, and we found it okay.  I had been forewarned that it was a very small building, sorta nondescript, in the middle of San Antonio.  We got there, found parking in an expensive lot ($10 for 2 hours!), and walked to the Alamo. 

In truth, it was better than I expected; larger and had some pretty gardens around it.  We got there too late to do a tour, so we just walked around to see what we could see.  It was interesting, and I’m glad we did it, but I don’t need to see it again.

As we left the Alamo, we went looking for our host in San Antonio.  I had posted a question on the BMW ST forum, asking where the good roads were in the Texas hill country.  Whip answered that he’d be happy to take us out to the good roads.  When I asked where he recommended us to stay, he insisted that we stay with he and his wife, Mrs. Whip.  So we agreed.  When I talked with him the day before, he told me that he had 3 stores in San Antonio, and he’d be in the store across the street from the Alamo.

So, we stopped in one store and told the people we were looking for Whip, and they immediately knew him and where his store was.  Arriving at his store, we asked one of the sales people if Whip was there, and we were asked if we rode with him.  I guess this happens a lot with Whip.  In a few minutes, we met Whip and went to his office with him to talk a bit.  The plans for the night were laid out, along with some discussion of the ride the following morning.

After a bit, we left and started walking back to the bikes.  Along the way, we crossed over the river walk and decided to go down to the water and have a drink before going to Whip’s house.  The Margarita was great!  It was pretty hot outside, so a cool drink was very good.

Then back to the bikes and riding about 20 miles to his house.

His house is very unique, almost 50 years old, one story, and rambling.  But very nice.  It sits on a big lot (wide and very deep) that is completely fenced in.  Mrs Whip opened the gate and showed us where to park the bikes (in a big building in the back yard).  Inside the building were 4 bikes that he uses.

We met Mrs. Whip and talked awhile.  Each of us had a separate bedroom and a shared bath.  Very, very nice!  We showered and put on fresh clothes and then talked with her, while meeting their 5 dogs. 
Because Whip had to work late, we had an easy evening of resting and getting to know Mrs. Whip.
Later in the evening, she cooked a wonderful meal of grilled pork chop and a spinach casserole. Very tasty.

We ate and talked about bikes and adventures and had a very good evening.

The next morning, we got up, had a bite to eat and got on the bikes.  We rode about 40 miles northwest and met his buddy, Phil, who was guiding the ride.

Phil is from England, and is a very good rider.  He was very considerate of our riding abilities and checked in with us to see that we were going at an acceptable pace.  He’s a nice guy.

We rode for about 4 hours on some amazing roads.  Twisty, undulating, fast sweepers, and straightaways.  Great roads.  On one straightaway, I hit 107mph; it felt good and felt safe.  We had some parts of roads that were just like being on a roller coaster; steep downs and steep rises, with you almost coming off the seat at the top.  Lots of turns, some tight, some not so tight.  I worked on my cornering techniques and believe I made some improvements as the ride progressed.  Speed limits were generally 65 or 70mph, so it was a hoot to ride in the area.

Finally at around noon, Phil had to peel off to head back home.  We bid him goodbye after thanking him for his help, and he went on his way.  We continued the ride a while more and then went to eat.

We had lunch at the Lone Star Motorcycle Museum and  the Ace Café in Vanderpool TX.  In the museum there were many old bikes in very good condition.  I didn’t count, but guess there were maybe 50 or so restored bikes.  And a good burger.   A neat place for lunch.

Then back to the house to rest for the day.  We had time to do laundry (using their machines instead of sinks), fix a boot sole problem, and take it easy for a while.  Very nice to kick back and just relax.

Whip had to go to work when we got to the house, so he got home late last night.  Mrs. Whip prepared another wonderful meal of grilled chicken, pasta salad, and watermelon.  She’s an excellent cook and says she loves to cook.  I love to eat, and she loves to cook, so it was a good match!

Today, we got up and ate breakfast, packed the bikes and headed out for Marathon TX.  Whip and Phil strongly recommended that we go to Big Ben National Park, on the Mexican Border and the Rio Grand River about 300 miles west of San Diego.  US 90 is a major east-west road that runs to Marathon, so we went on the back roads to US 90. 

What a road.  It’s a 2, 3, and 4-lane road that runs across Texas.  Speed limit is 75 mph most of the way!  So, we could make great time running at 80-90 mph.  The road is very straight, and sight distances are very good, so running fast is safe.  We ran fast!!

Along the way, we discovered the little town of Langtry, where Judge Joe Bean held court at the turn of the 19th century.  He was quite a guy, never hanging anyone, but fining everyone that came to his court. And he pocketed the money.  I don’t think he was a real judge, but in the day, no one really challenged him, so he acted as one.

It was time for lunch, so we asked about places to eat, and were told that the service station had barbecue sandwiches.  Since it was only a half mile away, we decided to try it.  The Depot was an unusual place.  We walked inside and it didn’t look like a place for food, with the exception that it had a long table with about 8 chairs.  A guy was sitting at one chair, eating fried chicken.  We stood near the table, waiting for someone to come out to greet us, but no one came.  After several minutes, the guy eating chicken suddenly said “You boys want something?”  We told him we were there to eat, and he went to the back.  After a few minutes, he came out with 2 barbecue sandwiches. 
They were actually pretty good!  We ate, paid, and got back on the bikes.  Westward ho!

About 20 miles east of Marathon, we could see a good storm brewing towards Marathon.  We pulled off the highway at a picnic area so we could decide whether to wait out the storm or to move on.  After a bit of watching the numerous lightning flashes, we decided it was safe to head on.  About a mile later, we ran into the storm.  It rained pretty hard, lightning was flashing around, and the wind blew some.  But we kept moving and got to our hotel at around 4pm.

Checked in, walked to town (1/2 mile away), bought some beer and breakfast stuff and walked back.  Then the rain came!  We missed it at the hotel.

As we were sitting on the porch drinking beer and bloggng, a couple checked into a room in the building across from us.  A few minutes later, the guy offered to trade us hot beer for cold beer.  Since we didn’t need the cold beer right then, we traded.  Later, they returned the favor by letting us ride to dinner with them.  From San Francisco, they were on their way home and happened to need a room here.  They were nice, and we enjoyed having dinner with them.

Tomorrow—Big Bend National Park, the river road to Presidio (supposedly the best road in Texas), and on to Carlsbad.

1 comment:

  1. The roads in Texas sound awesome! Fortunate that you were able hook up with Mr and Mrs Whip for a place to stay.
    Good history lesson and picture of Joe Bean's bar/court in Langtry :D
    You are indeed having a most excellent motorcycle adventure this summer!