The morning was sunny and clear with a slight chill (which was a welcome way to begin the 600+ mile ride that will surely get hot-hot). I pack up and hit the road, opting for a route home that takes me through the Davis Mountains, a nice ride.
I turn west out of the park (even though I’m headed east, go figure! The preferred motorcycle line is usually not straight, eh?) and descend past El Capitan for a view of the other side.
It’s kinda funny that it almost completely obscures Guadelupe Peak from this angle. El Capitan dominates the scene with it’s sharp, vertical faces while Guadalupe’s frumpy sloping angles are an after thought in the background. Well, we know the truth! From the peak yesterday El Capitan sure seemed small...
The speed limit on the highway that passes through the park is predictably SLOW and I saw several cops the day before making sure everyone knew about it, so I cautiously cruised out. After taking the El Capitan pics I keep seeing all these 75 MPH signs in my direction, and at one point I actually turned around to confirm that I wasn’t imagining things. Sure enough, 75! Whoo-hoo!
My next highway connection to the south has one of those long, sweeping entrances I barely have to slow down for, and I see a straight black line of pavement shooting ahead of me. I put the needle at about 80 and settle in for a day of big miles.
Soon my radar detector gets anxious and I instinctively snap some brakes as I see the Black-&-White approaching, probably two miles out. I start going through the mental calculations and try to remember what the speed limit actually is (so often I just ride and don’t worry about it, maybe not the best plan, but I like it!). It’s still early in the morning and my mind is a little foggy, but yeah, I DOUBLE checked those 75 MPH postings, so I should be golden. The red and blue lights come on anyway...
I know there are many different approaches to handling a traffic stop, but I find that being courteous, polite and friendly certainly doesn’t hurt my chances for riding away with a only warning. If the lights are on, I pull over immediately. Running seems like a great way to kill myself or get seriously arrested, so I try so smile and be Mr. Nice Guy Citizen who just happens to be riding a 100+ horse power motorcycle. I’ve gotten out of some doozies just by being nice. D-o-o-oozies. If the lights don’t come on, however, I get the hell outta there before the officer changes his mind!
It turns out that the speed limit changed back to 55 (groan...) when I made that banking highway connection, but the officer lets me off after I explain that I double checked the 75 MPH signs, and this road is just as straight (or straighter, sheesh) as the last. I chat him up for a bit and find out he’s actually based in Houston (huh?) and for some reason is patrolling way out here. He warns me that I’ll need to slow way down for some bumps (?) about fifty miles ahead that would throw me off my bike at 75 MPH.
Well, there it is! It says right here on my warning citation: V-I-O-L-A-T-O-R... That’s me!
I only had to the stones to pull out the camera after he pulled off:
So now I’m spooked down to 55 MPH for at least the next fifty miles, great. At least there are a few mountains to look at. After a time the left-handed camera comes out of the pocket, mostly cause I’m bored.
This bike used to be all shiny. Hrumph. As I ride slowly onward my mind starts to drift to... Motorcycles naturally! This is the only hobby I think I’ve ever had that I day-dream about while I’m doing actually doing it. Oh man, I really want a big dual sport that’s ready for some abuse. This bike has been great over the years, and I’ve learned so much, and I think that where my riding is I’m ready for the some new challenges. Mostly I want a travel bike that’s tough, dirty, and ready for anything. I’m not really interested in motocross, stunting, road racing, enduro, or iron butt competitions specifically, but if I get an itch to try a sampling of any of those things I want a bike that’s up to it. There are only a couple out there that fit the bill, and spending time on ADVrider.com only fuels that desire, right? Well, I’m a struggling musician and a one-bike man, I’ll just have to save my pennies and be patient. Oh, and those "bumps" that the officer warned me about were a joke, had I known I would've tried to jump them at 90 MPH!
There! The Davis Mountains. This really is a big sky out here.
Heh, I wish! It’s been a while since we’ve seen those prices. My lunch stop:
Between Alpine and Del Rio I’ve noticed this funny service road that parallels the highway. It’s quite long and looks fairly challenging in sections. I decide to give it a try on my BMW.
Inspired by the ADV community here I know it’s possible to go some crazy places on sport bikes, but this time isn’t really very fun. Standing on the pegs is difficult as my neck starts to hurt because I’m hunched over funny to reach the bars. I give it a go for a few hills just as an experiment but return shortly to the pavement which lies only a few yards away. I’d really like to explore this type of riding...
Have you guys seen these? I’ve run across these hand-dryers in several locations recently. Holy-Schnitkke, these things BLOW! Leave your ear plugs in, guys. Seriously, they’re probably over 100 decibels. Never did I imagine I’d be posting about a freakin’ hand dryer, but there it is!
Trial run for moto-music: Success! Let’s get this party started. I leave for a month-long trip soon, stay tuned.