Today, I got a very late start, at least for me it was late. I'm normally a very early riser but with writing yesterday's ride report, changing the oil in the scooter, the free motel breakfast and jawing with John and his lovely bride, whose name I regrettably did not get, about their upcoming ride down to Terlingua, I didn't manage to get on the road until after 9AM. I've read ride reorts where the writer didn't hit the road till 10 or 11. I always wondered about the late start. Next time, I'll understand why.
I always see people post pictures about their meals. I had to post this Belgian waffle. Those of you in and around Texas may have seen them before but I never have.
Pretty much since I left Tucson I'd been thinking about changing the oil. Originally, I thought that I could make it to Giddings, my first long stop. By Alpine, the oil was looking pretty dark.
Several months ago I'd written to several companies about sponsorship, especially for the Cannonball portion of the trip. One of those companies was Jiffy Lube. Their response was no response at all.
As I rode along, I'd been trying to come up with a relatively quick, very clean way to change the oil. Here's my idea. I stopped at the local grocery store a bought 2 gallon jugs of water, .79 each. One quart of oil from Auto Zone, where they'll recycle the used oil. I dumped both water jugs out and cut the top out of one jug to use to catch the oil. After draining the oil, I then transferred it to the good, sealable jug, which later got taken back to Auto Zone. I then wiped out the oil catch jug and put it in the dumpster. Oil change completed and not one drop of oil hit the motel parking lot.
The oil change project......you can see just a bit of the jug catching oil and the good transfer jug.
Here's my neighbor last night. This beast is owned by John and his lovely bride whose name, regrettably, I did not get. It's a Honda 1800 Something-er-other. John and his wife were on their way to Terlingua and the Big Bend Country.
Leaving Alpine, it was bright and sunny and getting warm.....but the bright and sunny only lasts for about 50 miles.
By then, I noticed that I seemed to be riding under a dark and ominous cloud. I also noticed that the normally dry desert was glistening with water this morning. There were water rivulets cut in the dirt, more than a few large puddles and all the grasses next to the road were all pushed over in the same direction. The night before, in Alpine, it had rained about 12 drops. In Alpine, far west Texas, 12 drops of rain constutes quite a rainstorm but it looked like they'd had a gully washer out here.
A few miles on, I noticed that the edges of the road were wet, then puddles where the road surface meets the shoulder of the road. This was not looking good for riding in the dry all day. Now there were drops on the windshield. By the time I stopped in the little town of Comstock for gas, it wasn't exactly raining but it was sure a damn thick mist. I filled up and put on my rain gear. I asked the lady at the station about any weather reports that she'd heard. She said there was cold front coming through and that it would be here for a few days. I told her that I was headed to Eagle Pass. She thought that I could probably ride through it. Great, I thought. I'll ride all the way through it only to get hit with it again later.
Now, my putting on rain gear is usually a sign to the universal powers that be to stop the rain. In another 5 miles, I must have ridden out the other side of the cold front because the drizzle stopped. Even though I was sweating in the raingear, I hated to stop to take it off as that's a sign to the universal powers to make it start raining again. It did stay overcast the rest of the day but no more wet stuff.
I love riding through country that looks like this. We have a lot of country thhat looks like this in Arizona, up around the towns of Holbrook, Taylor and Snowflake. Can't you just picture Matt Dillon and Chester riding out from behind one of those scrubs? As I ride by, in my head, I can hear Matt Dillon say to Chester, "Come on, Chester, Let's get back to the Long Branch a see what's going on with Miss Kitty and Doc". I know it's weird but I love it. If you're too young to remember Matt Dillon, Chester, Miss Kitty and Doc, feel free to stick the western movie stars of your choice. I'll stick with the Gunsmoke people.
I've been taking quite a few pictures of these historical markers but, with around 15,000 in the state, I've got quite a few picture taking opportunities ahead of me.
You can learn a lot from these signs. This one tells us that crime doesn't pay, at least it didn't pay for these two guys.
Right behind the historical marker in the previous picture is this. For those of you who haven't seen it, this is the border road. Even though the border is around 50 miles or so to the right of this picture, the only thing between here and the actual border is a whole lot of nothing. This is the road that the Border Patrol rides looking for people walking north.
This picture is looking west. Notice the tractor tire on the right side of the picture, used by the Border Patrol to drag the road and keep the surface fresh so that they can see footprints.
This is Emily.
Right before I took this picture I had no idea who Emily was. All day long, on Hwy 90, I'd been passing people on bicycles packed similiar to Emily's. I decided to stop. It seems Emily, and all those other people on bicycles, are traveling the Southern Route across the country, from San Diego to San Augustine, Florida as determined by something called the Adventure Travel Something-er-other. Since I have no intention of riding a bicycle anywhere, I didn't get the exact name of the organization. Emily was from Portland but I think she started this trip started in San Diego. She left back on March 6th. The halfway point is Comfort, Texas so, in almost a month, she's not quite halfway yet. Funny thought, we'll both probably finish around the same time, the middle of May. Have fun Emily, thanks for taking the time to talk with me and may we both enjoy our rides.
As you cross Hwy 90, I think every vehicle, except the big rigs, stops here.
A bunch of old, or recreated buildings, reasonably close to where the original ones were but.....it's free!
The only thing I thought of when I stopped here was Paul Newman as Judge Roy Bean, the Law West of the Pecos.
All day yesterday I'd been watching the odometer on the scooter. I wanted to document the rolling over to 20,000 miles. I knew it would happen shortly after I left Judge Roy Bean's place in Langtry. I guess after I left Langtry, I was thinking about other things because I missed it by 11.8 miles, but here's the picture anyway. When you look at the picture, take a sharpie and draw three extra zero's on the computer screen, that's what I did. It works but only once!
It seems like I've been writting this ride report for the last 4 hours, due to my fumble fingers and a lousy internet connection. Now, I'm bound for Los Ebanos, Texas and the ferry to mexico in my search for America.....by Helix.