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Old 10-30-2008, 03:25 PM   #1
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A woman and her bike, Texas

I apologize for not posting this trip sooner. I actually took this trip over memorial day weekend, but with my bike being in the shop (electrical) and down for a rebuild (lost oil plug) with an upgrade to the KLR 685 kit.

In all the mayhem, I was still trying to find time to ride, so my Texas trip kinda slipped out of my thoughts.... until this weekend on my trip to Arizona, I was talking to a fellow ADVer and he said it's never too late to post a ride report.... so here it is.
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Old 10-30-2008, 03:27 PM   #2
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Earlier in the spring I told my family and friends that I'd come down and visit on Memorial Day weekend. My family still lives in Texas, and I've only seen them a few times since I moved to Colorado just under 2 years ago, so it was time to go visit again. The biggest difference was that I was going to ride my KLR instead of taking the car. :

It took a while to get the bike loaded on the bike... hmm... my mtb is a Kona and my motorcycle is a KLR. So to avoid confusion I'll just use their names. Anyway I finally got everything situated and I'm ready to hit the road.


I wanted to take my Kona, because I had hoped to ride with some friends while I was there, and I hate to borrow a bicycle. The first leg of my trip was somewhat fast and furious, meaning that I didn't stop to get many pictures. My only major stop was when my Kona fell off my KLR and got sucked up between my rear fender and rear wheel before I could get stopped. A guy on a Harley stopped to make sure I was ok, and I was. I just needed something to secure the cross bar that holds the Kona off the ground, and luck being on my side the way it usually is (usually), I found some twine that I could tie the bar to the luggage rack. It worked pretty good, but I was a little nervous about the Kona for a while after that.. almost paranoid, because I didn't want to lose it.

I ended up stopping again at an off-ramp next to one of those single-lane concrete tunnels that go under the Interstate, because I wanted to get another piece of twine or rope to secure the other side of the cross bar. After I found something and finished adding it to the ad-hoc bike rack, I decided to grab a snack. I'd already been on the road for a few hours. As I was rummaging through my tail bag, my map printout and directions for the back way through the national forest flew out of my hands... did I mention that the wind was blowing extremely hard... maybe 25-30 mph? Well, when you're at one of those single lane concrete tunnels, it becomes a wind tunnel. So my papers fly through the tunnel and I take off after them as fast as I could run in full gear with MX boots. They get spit out the other side and tumble their way into the pasture on the east side of the freeway. My luck held again, because all of the papers were snagged by small weeds and grasses, so I was able to climb the barbed wire fence to retrieve them... and walk back to my KLR trying to catch my breath, and hoping that the wind hadn't knocked it over.

By this time I was wondering if that part of Colorado could ever be without wind. Every time I've ridden south... or heck even north for that matter, I seem to be met by ferocious winds. Luckily the Kona didn't change the KLR's handling in the wind at all... I was just worried about leaning so far and the gust stops and I lay the KLR on top of the Kona.

As it started getting dark, I still couldn't get over how cold it was getting, so I added a few layers when I stopped for dinner before I hit the road again. Dang, I can't remember the name of the diner... I think it's the Trinidad Diner or Cafe or something.


After dinner I cross the street to use the lights in the gas station parking lot to try to do a better job of tying the crossbar to the luggage rack. While I'm there a few people make comments and are thoroughly impressed that I'm carrying a bike on my bike, and this one guy pulls up. He's soooo impressed that he wants me to come to his place and hang out for a bit. He even offers to let me spend the night, but I declined. I wanted to camp in the National Forest, so I needed to get back on the road as soon as possible. So I finished getting everything put back together.

A shot of my handiwork securing the crossbar.


Back on the road, well after dark, I'm trying to follow these weird directions that don't seem to make a whole lot of sense, and the mileages are a little off. Not much, but just a little. I'm reading my map directions at this point trying to find a tiny little jeep road that'll take me over a mesa and wind up in Folsom, NM. I arrived at the last turn before hitting the jeep road, and it looks like I'm turning into a driveway... granted, it's out in the country, so driveways look like jeep roads. I ride between two houses.. no lights are on... at this point I'm very thankful for my quiet stock exhaust, because the last thing I want is to be shot for trespassing. Now I'm riding through their pasture on the other side of the house and I come to a fence with a closed gate. Dang!
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Old 10-30-2008, 03:27 PM   #3
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Looking forward to the rest of the report. I'm sure I'll see some of my favorite roads too!
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Old 10-30-2008, 03:28 PM   #4
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So I'm presented with a choice. Do I turn around and go around the National Forest or do I go through the gate and hope it's not private land.

I decide to turn around and make my way back between the two houses and continue on the direction I was riding before I turned into their driveway. It's about 10:30 at this point, and I've been on gravel roads for quite a while. I forgot to print enough maps to be able to know where I'm going, and I hope that I'm heading east. I rode for what seemed like forever on loose gravel and I hadn't seen a car in over an hour. The road made so many twists and turns, my big map didn't show any of the roads I was on, so every time I came to a point where my eastbound road T'd into a north-south road, I had to make a judgment call. As it turns out, my memory from looking at Google Maps was pretty good and I finally made it through the sleepy town of Branson, Colorado. I stopped and got this picture before I got to the town, because it was pretty with the moon high overhead. Yeah, I know you can't see anything, but it was before I learned about a cool feature on my camera that I explored later in the trip. wnker4


Most of you probably don't know, but I get mild vertigo, and twisty roads at night with no horizon reference other than the road and sloping ground on either side makes me somewhat lose track of which way is up. What should've been a quick ride from Branson through Folsom and to Des Moines seemed to take forever. I was going the speed limit, but it just seemed to take forever.... not to mention I was sleepy as heck. I think by the time I rolled into Des Moines it was around 12:30am. I decided back before I went through Folsom that I was going to stop at the first hotel / motel / hostel / national forest / place to lay my head and sleep.

So I came across this motel in Des Moines that seemed like it was open, but there was only a motorcycle and car in the parking lot. I pulled in, walked up to the door, but it was locked and there wasn't a buzzer. Before I gave up I saw a sign on the door that said "if you need a room, call ..." list of numbers. So I figure they know it's a motel and people might call at all hours of the night. A sweet lady answers the phone and says "oh, a customer! I'll be right there, I live just down the street". So I'm happy that I'll be safely sleeping in a short while.

I don't know how many of you have been through Des Moines... or more accurately how many of you remember that you went through Des Moines, but it's small. It's in the bend in the road between Raton and Clayton. The town is tiny, so I figured she could probably be coming from anywhere in town. After about 5 minutes I see her walking up the road, I get my room, and we talk for about 30 minutes. She's the friendliest motel owner I think I've ever met in my life. The rooms were small, but quaint. No TV, so that was nice. The rest was nice, and I was up shortly after sunrise ready for the next day.
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Old 10-30-2008, 03:30 PM   #5
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Maybe... depends on the part of Texas. I spent my ride time down the panhandle to D/FW area, then some around the southwest end of the metroplex. But if you ride those lonely roads, I'm sure you'll recognize quite a bit.
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Old 10-30-2008, 03:31 PM   #6
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I had breakfast on the eastern edge of Des Moines at a truck stop where all of the local ranchers eat. The food was good, but there was too much of it, so I had to leave about half of it on my plate.

While I was getting back on my bike, this group of Harleys ride up and start getting off their bikes, but they're trying not to stare at my setup. They finally ask if they can get a picture of me with my two bikes. It was funny, because on the whole ride there were people that would pass me, slow down... match my speed and stare for a bit.. then smile and continue on their way. I knew it was something that isn't seen every day, but I didn't realize it was such a novelty.

There isn't much that happens between there and Texas. The KLR is running smooth. There are a few lingering issues from the last service, but I haven't had time to address them yet, but nothing that'll stop my trip.

Entering Texas.


And not much happens for a while. I finally need to stop for a few minutes, so I stopped under a bridge just before the turn from 385 towards Amarillo.


This is a close-up of where my Kona tire was rubbed through by my KLR rear tire. I knew I probably wouldn't be able to fix the wheel while I was at my parents, so I considered stashing my Kona somewhere until my return trip... but there's no way I could do that.
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Old 10-30-2008, 03:33 PM   #7
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Some of you may be wondering why I include so many random pictures in my ride reports. I do it, because each picture represents something I was thinking about at some point in my trip. The next few pictures were in Amarillo. I hadn't been in touch with the Amarillo KLR World-ites all morning on the forum, so I posted again and waited for a while at the Whataburger (They don't have those in Colorado, so I had to stop there).


I think this is a prison that can be seen from the Whataburger... or is that a high school? (found out later it's a school)


And after about 30 minutes of sitting and waiting, I decide it's time to hit the road towards the route I found that should take me into Palo Duro via jeep road. I ended up in some rancher's driveway and asked them if there was a road nearby... they said there wasn't, and that people come out there every weekend trying to follow that road into the canyon, but it's all private property, so I turned around and took my "plan b" route.

I decided to get a picture on one of those long lonely roads before I turned south and headed into Palo Duro.
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Old 10-30-2008, 03:34 PM   #8
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Some of the beauty of Palo Duro. I pulled off to get some pictures, because who knows the next time I'll be heading through this way.



These are some pics from the dirt road overlook that I was told about. I took this opportunity to take off my under armor and remove the liner from my riding jacket. It was a little warm, but not unbearable once I removed my cold weather gear from the morning chill.






Every once in a while I have to refill my Karma bucket. Something unfortunate has to happen to keep my general good luck. This time it was the result of where I had placed my jacket liner. I had already been inside my tail bag 3 or 4 times on that stop, so I decided I'd stuff it down between my tent and tail bag. There should've been enough pressure to hold it until I stopped again. About halfway through the bottom of the canyon, after the historical marker, I felt something brushing my back, so I think "dang, I'm about to lose my liner!!!" I stopped pretty quick and turned around to see if I could see it... but it was a no-go. I backtracked to the other side of the historical marker and never found it. When I got home I posted in the Texas forum on here to see if anyone might ride out there and see it.... but alas, no luck.
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Old 10-30-2008, 03:35 PM   #9
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Since the road took me there, I had to get a picture of McKinzie reservoir.


I like stopping at this rest area. It has a nice overlook before Quitaque


For those of you that read my Albuquerque trip, you know that I have to stop and get a picture when I see one of these. I think it would probably make a good coffee table book... Towns with rock signs.



Just before I got to Old Glory, I had to stop in a liquor store to try to wait out a storm... lightning was all around me and no matter how much I tried to convince myself that it was a million to one that I would get hit, I'm just a little scared, so I decided to pull off and wait out the storm. It was around dinner time, and the owner of the store told me about a place up the road where I could buy food. I thanked him and rode the few miles to the store and decided to sit there and wait out the storm.
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Old 10-30-2008, 03:36 PM   #10
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Here are the pictures I took while I tried to wait for it to pass...




Got a little rainbow.




The setting sun made for gorgeous clouds.








I probably sat there for a few hours hoping beyond hope that the storm would go away. This was the first time the trip from Denver to Dallas took more than 24hrs, and it was starting to look like I was going to have to spend the night somewhere... and I didn't want to do that.

I visited with one of the guys that had dinner there while I was there. I found out that they're all related... everyone that was in when I got there. It was the grand opening, and apparently I got there just as they were trying to close, but they fed me anyway. It turns out that he had lived in big cities, but got tired of the rat race and moved back to the tiny town of Old Glory. It started me thinking about how nice it would be to have a simpler life than I do now, but it'll be a while before I can make a leap like that.
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Old 10-30-2008, 03:36 PM   #11
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Interesting. I'm not clear how you got Kona attached to KLR. Did you take detail pix of the rig?
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Old 10-30-2008, 03:37 PM   #12
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I finally decided that the weather was going to hold, so I hit the road. It held for a while... lightning would occasionally flash around me, but it seemed to hold. At one point the rain finally started, and when it started, it really started. I was coming up to a town, and I figured that most small towns have some sort of awning or maybe a building with something that I can get out of the rain. I was so wet that water was inside my gloves, my rain jacket, it was running down the crack of my hiney... I was soaked.

Finally the town of Newcastle comes into view. The high school was on the west side of town, so I turned into the parking lot and found an awning with quite a bit of space. Trying to get into it left me going through a waterlogged grassy area and the KLR tried to slip a bit before I was safe. I was soooo sleepy by this time that I considered sleeping under the awning and getting a start in the morning.

The rain poured for about 20 minutes. I was checking the weather radar on my cell phone, and I noticed that there were two bands of storms heading east along the route I was taking, and I had been riding between the two storms. I ended up catching the lead storm and had to wait it out. I decided to play with the "night scene" setting on my camera. I noticed that the shutter stayed open quite a while, so I spent some time trying to catch the lightning in the clouds and finally got some.





I have more lightning pics, but they're all varying levels of brightness of the two above. After a while doing that, I decided that I wanted to get my bike on bike silhouetted against the lightning clouds, so I tried that for a bit and got this.


When the radar showed that I was firmly in the gap, I got back on the road heading east and then southeast. I had planned my route through Graham and then south through Santo and Lipan to my parents house in Granbury. I got a little nostalgic, because the first time I took my first car on a trip by myself after I got my license, I drove to Santo. It seemed soooo far, and now it's a marker of being close to my parents house.

But I digress. The road between Santo and Palo Pinto reminded me of some of the roads here in the mountains. Granted the road didn't climb for 30 miles, but it had the switchbacks and the cliffs, so it was fun. If you Texas riders ever get the chance, that would be a fun little ride... Santo to Palo Pinto.... on Highway 4. :

I checked the weather when I got to my parents house around midnight, and the entire route between Santo and Graham was under the dark red and purple radar colors... so I was quite happy to be done with the trip for now.... ahhh... sleep in a bed....
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Old 10-30-2008, 03:44 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slide
Interesting. I'm not clear how you got Kona attached to KLR. Did you take detail pix of the rig?
Yes... I did actually. Here they are.













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Old 10-30-2008, 03:47 PM   #14
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The very next morning I had arranged to meet Patman and Drgibson near Granbury at I think 9am.

When I woke up at 10:00, I kinda freaked... panicked would be a good term. I hate when I'm late, so I immediately called Patman to see if they were still in the area. They were, so I said I'd be there in about 20 minutes... I threw on my clothes and hit the road.

I apologized all day for being so late, but they were fine... they wouldn't tell me why, but I was getting bits and pieces... drgibson's ride report from that weekend explained it in more detail, but it turned out that they had only gotten there just barely before I called Patman.... yet they let me apologize all day.



Since drgibson's ride report already went over these pictures, I won't redo his ride report. :) It was fun, I got to see the Patman first hand, I think we all had fun and had a good lunch in Glen Rose.... or was it dinner by then? I don't know.





We parted ways once we got back into Granbury. Both of the guys had a long ride before they were home, so we didn't spend a lot of time saying good bye.

Patman, drgibson, The ride was fun. I would like to do that again, but maybe a different route.
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Old 10-30-2008, 03:48 PM   #15
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My older brother was there when I got back to my parents house that night. I didn't know he'd bought a Harley, so we went out for a little ride together. It was fun. He let me ride his and he rode mine. Harley's handle weird.... it's hard to explain, but it's weird.

I got a picture of our bikes at Sunset to another good day of riding.
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