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Old 11-24-2009, 03:43 PM   #16
LoneStar OP
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Location: Texas Hill Country, Zip Code EIEIO
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeyBones
+1

I was ticketed for 73 in a 55 outside of Truth Or Consequences, NM at 2 AM years ago. Not one other car on the road, in either direction, during the whole interaction with the Officer, including the time it took him to flip a u-turn and come after me.
Been there done that

Thanks for the heads up - I fixed the links just a while ago
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Old 11-24-2009, 04:33 PM   #17
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Great photos and words. Will stay tuned.
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Old 11-24-2009, 09:38 PM   #18
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Sign me up! Great photos! It feels like I was just there.
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Old 11-24-2009, 10:03 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dave6253
Sign me up! Great photos! It feels like I was just there.
I think you were - in fact I could still see your tracks in the road. Man what fun am I having thanks to you!
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Old 11-24-2009, 10:34 PM   #20
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Aaaaah, beeyootiful morning out here! Yowza!

I didn't have much of a chance to explore Tombstone, as it was late when I arrived and after 2 days of 9 hrs on the bike I was pooped. SInce I hadn't eaten since breakfast, my plan was hit a restaurant downtown, but instead I spent the evening trying to get online. GRRRRR. Stupid technology!








Instead, about 11pm, I dined at the "Vending Corral" restaurant. The meal was only $1.50 and came in a plastic bag with "Lay's Potato Chips" emblazoned on the side. I washed it down with a cup full of tap water. Mmmm.




So, with that in mind, I ate a big breakfast before heading for the boardwalk in Tombstone.









The tall, one-armed Texan cast a long shadow as he walked slowly down the deserted street towards the OK Corral.




Arriving about 8 am-ish, the old ghost town was a ghost town. Actually, it was fun wandering around with no one there. About 9-ish, a few locals began to arrive and set their tourist traps. I had a few conversations about the bike, and generally hung out with my cup of coffee from the OK Restaurant.




























I never realized cowboys had trinkets




The county courthouse... for all those landmen out there, and you know who you are




I think we're both parallel



I didn't want to wait for the OK Corral to open. And that was OK.

I also have decided that Tombstone is the only place in the world where it's ok to wear a full length duster and not look like an idiot. (Besides Australia) SO... now you know where you can wear it at last! ( and I know half you guys reading this have them hanging in the back of your closet, afraid to wear it publicly)

The only other place I wanted to see was Boot Hill Cemetery, so I headed over, where a sweet little old lady strong-armed me out of a $2 donation - which I gladly payed - and for which I received a tour map of all the graves. It was fun reading about all the different folks and how they were violently killed or died. Actually, it was quite fascinating.







The Clanton gang's all here...



Including daddy...



This one's for you Dan




The border road was calling my name, so I finally saddled up and rode out of town. Well, about 1/2 mile to the Circle K to gas up, and while there saw this:







Like Elvis and Michael Jackson, Wyatt is apparently alive and well and has much better taste in cars.



From Tombstone, I took Charleston road to Sierra Vista, which turned out to be a nice curvy road and fun to ride, that is until I got stuck behind Granpa Cooter driving 35 mph in an old Grand Marquis, belching gas fumes and oil smoke so strong I couldn't breathe. Finally I got past him and zipped on towards Sierra Vista and the mountains beyond.

I stopped to take a shot of the observation balloon overhead:



Meanwhile, Granpa Cooter passed me again and I was stuck behind him all the way into town. Aaaargh.


Sierra Vista was a modern town, replete with Lowe's, Best Buy, yada yada and possibly Prada, so I topped off again for the remote border road down south. Jumped on 92 south to the turn off for Coronado National Memorial and the Coronado National Forest, then wound my way into the foothills. Once again, the crystal skies, cool temps and beautiful scenery could not have been finer.









I stopped at the Visitor Center to ask about the route, carefully checking the parking lot for Coatimundi's first, and the Ranger inside was very helpful. She said the route was rough and only a "dirt bike" could make it. Also said the Border Patrol usage had really roughed up the switchbacks, so to be extra careful on the washboard in the turns. She told me I'd pass the National Monument to Priest Blahblahblah, (sorry, I can't remember his name!), who was the first European to enter the area back in the 1500's. Let's just assume he was hangin' with Coronado since the forest is named after him. She said he was also the priest who told the King of Spain that there were indeed, 7 Golden Cities in America and launched the whole schmear. She said "I call him Friar Liar." Well, I can't remember his real name, but I did remember that

But enough of history. Once again, having checked for Coati's, I downed a bottle of water and took the silver foil quilted jacket liner - aka the Sweat Sack - from my jacket as it was beginning to warm up already.













The Duquesne - Lochiel road is remote and follows the border of Mexico, very closely in some areas, for about 60 miles to Nogales. It is an area heavily used by smugglers and illegals. The Ranger told me it would take 2-3 hours at least to get to Nogales, depending on the road. I was pumped!

The pavement ended quickly and the switchbacks started almost immediately. They were indeed heavily washboarded and a little rough and rutted from wheel bounce. The road headed quickly up the side of the mountain. The ride up required concentration on the heavy GS, but the ride, road and views were awesome. I had shut off the ABS on the pig before heading up, and a good thing, as there was a lot of loose gravel and the drops were magnificently sudden. Not that it was super tricky, it's just that a 650 lb bike with semi-street tires likes to go it's own way in the loose stuff and there was enough of that on the hairpins to keep me awake and inspired.







Sorry I don't have more pics on the way up but I was busy


At the top, there is a fantastic view both to the east and to the west. I pulled in on the east side and got off the bike, admiring the view back, when I was accosted by a guy wanting to talk about the GS. If I could get a dollar for each time someone wants to talk, I could ride a lot more LOL. Anyway, he was older and had raced desert in California back in the day... we talked about Husky WR's and such. He eyed the GS again and wished me well on the trip.

Looking back to the east from whence I'd come




From there I wandered over to the west side and was blown away by the view. There is a vast valley heading down into Mexico, remote and empty, and the scale can't be caught in pictures. I was like "Wow", and thought "Man I'm about to head out into that!"




It was easy to see why the Border Patrol has their work cut out for them. It is huge and nothing but wilderness. Also interesting was the radar/optic/hoosamawhatsit rig they were scanning the valley with. It was pretty cool standing there and looking out over that scene.





Nogales was still about 50 - 60 miles away, so I headed down the rocky road following the switchbacks into the valley below. I was on the pegs all the way down, as it was pretty rough with a lot of loose rock, gravel and the ever present washboard and ruts. I wasn't able to get much in the way of pics until I got lower










I passed several BP trucks, and was passed by a couple as well. They are very, very active on that road, and honestly I was glad to see it. I had begun to notice that the dirt on the sides of the road was smooth as if it had been swept, and about the time I realized they were doing it purposely so they could see footprints, I came up behind a BP truck dragging a set of tires.




I followed slowly behind him until he noticed and pulled over a bit for me, and I waved as I passed.

Having descended the mountain, I rode up and down through the foothills on the narrow dirt road. Again, after a few miles I'd see another BP truck, and at one point I was showered in dust as a truck overtook me and passed at a good clip.

Taking a break to pull off another layer








The ever present eye in the sky



Eventually the terrain changed into vast rolling grassland, and the road got smoother and wider. It was truly inspiring to be riding in the huge valley, with no human activity or presence visible as far as the eye could see.

I was able to open up the big bike and haul in some stretches, and it felt so good after the tedious switchback areas.








This ride is one that will forever be in my memory. The air was cool and crisp, the sun brilliant, the sky as clear and deep blue as I've ever seen it, the wind blowing the golden grass in waves as I glided up and down the rolling road with dust behind me. I asked God to forever burn this moment into my being.

It was interesting, as there were some areas I went through that were exactly like the area of the Hill Country where I live. At one moment, when I was down in a draw, it was so weirdly the same that I would swear I was on an old ranch road near Leakey.




At some point, you enter private ranch land on the road, and it was interesting seeing a windmill or two, old cattle stations and the distant ranch house.













Slowly the road became smoother and more manicured, and I could tell I was re-entering a region less remote. I came down through the remains of Lochiel, and shortly thereafter, hit about a 100' section of asphalt, then immediatley was back on dirt. I thought "That was weird! Wonder why?" Right after that, I blasted past the Liar Friar monument and did a quick U-ie.

The monument is a giant concrete cross and sitting area, overgrown and unmaintained. I stripped off my gear and relaxed a while, looking out over the rolling grassland and savoring the sound of the wind.












In a bit, I heard the rumble of a diesel engine and a Border Patrol truck idled up, the window rolling down as he stopped. I walked over to the window and the agent said hello and commented on the bike. He introduced himself as Dirk, and we talked a while. He said he knew Kerrville well, as he had been born in San Angelo, and spent a summer or two at Mo Ranch before his parents moved to Alaska. I never cease to be amazed at what a small world it is.




In commenting on the number of BP trucks and activity, he said business was brisk due to two other areas being clamped down on, and thus the smuggling had picked up here tremendously. While we talked, I heard the radio chatter of "We've got two runners - they're definitely running..." and other snippets of conversation. Quite interesting to have a moment in his world.
He also pointed to the strip of asphalt I'd just wondered about, and said it was there to cover an archaeological site that was found directly in the current road. They simply buried it again and covered it with asphalt to protect it.

Dirk was more than happy to pose for a quick snapshot, and then was on his way.




That was my cue to head on as well. The road continued on through rolling hills, until reaching the base of the mountains again, at which point the road climbed steeply into sharp switchbacks and gravel as it cut the mountain edge.












Ahead in the trees, I caught a glint, and was wondering what it was when suddenly a pickup came barreling out of a side road and stopped dead in front of me. I locked up and slid to a stop, then rolled back down a ways. The truck had two Marines in it, and they maneuvered around until passing me, with a second truck doing the same, but this one being law enforcement. If I hadn't seen that little glint, I'd have been creamed by the truck in the switchback.

Up and over the top, I slowly wound down into a valley again.












At the base, I began to hit grey silty areas on the road. For those of you who ride GS's you know how they like to take a dive when silt or sand comes along. I started to get a little antsy, especially at times when the sun is behind you and the flat light makes it impossible to read the surface.

The silt was getting deeper and sure enough, I rounded a corner to find two BP trucks stopped for a chat in the middle of the road. The only area I could get past was on the side where the soft stuff was and as I went past, the silt was deep and I did my best imitation of the guy riding the giant sand worms in Dune. I didn't go down, but I'm sure the agents in the trucks were highly entertained watching me.

The road smoothed out and eventually became asphalt again, leading up to Hwy 82 south for Nogales. I was getting hungry, and Mexican food in Nogales seemed appropriate. It wasn't far into town, but as I got into the congested downtown area, I decided I wasn't hungry any longer. I rode through a couple of neighborhoods built on the hills, then looped back out of town.




This Friar was not a liar - they have a large memorial to him - Padre Eusebio Francisco Kino. As the plaque says, "Founder of Missions, Man of God, Pioneer, Explorer, Astronomer, Rancher, Teacher, Cartographer, 1645-1711"



I had planned on continuing my ride on west, taking Ruby road across to Arivaca, but the sun was low enough to remind me that the days aren't lasting as long as I think, so I decided not to push it.

Instead I headed northeast on 82 for Patagonia. Sounded like an interesting place and it turned out to be just that. Kind of an artsy community and sleepy little town. They had a great coffee shop and I enjoyed a quick lunch and downloading pics. It was nice not pushing for a change.




The plan was to check in the hotel early, get a hot shower, relax and do the ride report. I parked in front of the old hotel, got my stuff off, drug it into the lobby and waited for the clerk to return. Twenty minutes later, still no clerk. I went next door and a guy in a black cowboy outfit walked out of a large old bank vault and asked me what I wanted. Told him I was looking to check in to the hotel, but no one was there. He suggested I go down the street a little to the bar and relax until Judy the owner showed up again.

Instead, I wandered the main street a while, enjoying the sunset and air, and eventually saw an older woman head into the bar. Sure enough it was the hotel owner/bartender, and an hour later I finally got a room So much for an early day LOL.




Still not sure which roads I will ride tomorrow. I plan to continue the west route of the road I was on today, which is called Ruby Road and goes to Arivaca. However, I have been warned by three folks now, that the road to Arivaca is dangerous and I had better "go heavily armed," as there have been "bandits" operating on that road. Gotta check the alternate routes and see...

Today's ride was fantastic. One of the best roads I've ridden, simply by the variety of terrain encountered, the incredible weather and the circumstances surrounding it.

If you're in that area, it's a great ride and perfect for a GS if you have decent skills.


More tomorow amigos!



(The Route and altitude)




LoneStar screwed with this post 11-15-2010 at 01:25 PM Reason: Added map
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Old 11-25-2009, 10:37 PM   #21
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Two Words. Ruby Road Rocks.

Man it was cold last night. How do I know? I was sitting in the dark out in front of the coffee house uploading pics at 11 pm and freezing. Only place I could get wifi. I gotta tell ya, these reports are a lot of work. Each time I do one I swear I won't do another, then enough time expires between rides and I forget. :)


Was up early and outside looking for coffee at 6:30 am! Problem was the entire town was still asleep, and the coffee house was still closed so I wandered around aimlessly and shot a few pics before the sun came up. A rancher sat idling in his pickup outside the grocery market, so I wandered down there and about 7:15 they opened the door. The two of us gang rushed the door for cofffee, but were beaten to the machine by the clerk who said she had to have coffee before she could help us.

Sleepy Patagonia












Rumor has it this place has great pizza



Finally got a cup and asked her who was open for breakfast. She said the hotel restaurant "usually" was open at 7. They weren't, so she sent me down the street to Mercedes Mexican food. The waitress was talkative and friendly, and I ordered Huevos Rancheros and stared longingly across the street at the coffee house, anxious for them to open so I could get wifi







The best Huevo Ranchero I've ever had. Period.



Sorry for all the food pics in the report, but it ain't easy padding these things out ya know

They didn't have change for a 20, so she tried to comp me the meal, but I told her I'd be back with the money later.
Planning on riding Ruby Road and having heard the warnings the day before, I asked if she'd heard of any bad activity recently, and she said no, but then proceeded to explain the generalities. She said I was likely to encounter two types of folks in the remote roads, one being those simply trying to get into America, and the second being the drug mules.

She said the illegals may try to stop and ask for some money or water, etc., but the drug mules would want cash and would rob you. In either case, she said, "You shoulden stop! Do na stop and wander off de road!" I appreciated her warnings, and did not tell her my plan had always been not to stop. El Rojo Puerco del Diablo would plow over anyone and kill them anyway EVEN IF I was trying to stop...

From there I finally got to the coffee shop and getting online was a problem (I swear I've had more trouble getting a good connection on this trip - you'd think I was in Mongolia) and it was getting late, so I packed the bike and went to return the key and get a receipt, but of course the owner lady wasn't there, and no one in town knew where she was... same as the night before, and after wasting more time, blew off the receipt and dropped the cash for breakfast off before heading south.

The hotel courtyard - honestly, I don't recommend this place







Whine time: (Skip over this if you hate whining and sniveling)
I was a little miffed from the day before, and then having lost so much time in town the day before and this morning, I was a bit grouchy. Lemme splain. The day before I left Kerrville, my speedometer drive gear failed. I called the BMW dealer in Tucson to see if they could slap a new one in when I got there. No problem, but to get the part in by Tuesday or Wednesday so they could fix the bike while I was in AZ, I had to pay a 15% rush fee. Fine. So they connect me to parts, and immediately the kid has no idea what I'm talking about and tries to order an entire speedometer. I carefully explain the part, the reason it needs to be there by Tuesday since I'm riding all the way from Texas to Tucson. He understands clearly, and yes BMW has 21 in the US, and we do the deal, and he assures me it will be here Tuesday so they can fix the bike, and he will call me Tuesday to let me know. Great. I get no call Tuesday morning, so when I get into cell coverage, I call them. The parts guy is excited, because he remembers and tells me the part came in that morning. Cool! I tell him to let service know so I can set up the time to have the bike in Tucson. Silence on the line. Not a good thing. Then he tells me he had just mailed the part out to my address in Texas by U.S. Mail. Let's see, I live in Texas, order a part from BMW to be sent to a dealer in Arizona and pay 15% rush shipping to Arizona, so that they can have it there first thing Tuesday morning when they open, so that he can then mail it by U.S. Mail to me in Texas. Makes perfect sense. If you're a crackhead.

Need I say more?

Whine time over - back to your regular scheduled program...

Anyway, the whole morning I'd felt bad mojo in the air, so it felt good to get moving again. Heading back towards Nogales, I caught the River Road over to I-19 and then continued on Ruby Road.

Hmmm hmmm hmmm... la de da...







Very quickly, the paved road began twisting it's way though hills covered with golden grass. The road was absolutely fun to ride, twisty, hilly, with tight switchback curves and heading deeper towards a range of mountains.








That little blacktop road was absolutely a fun ride, and after a few miles ended abruptly in dirt. If you're in the area and on a street bike, take the ride till the asphalt ends - it's a good road and you'll enjoy it.




The sign had said 32 miles to Arivaca, and when the asphalt ended, the fun began. The road was rougher and narrower then the Duquesne road, and immediately started to climb, with sharp switchbacks, blind corners with steep drop-offs, loose rock and heavier washboard and rain ruts. I could tell this was gonna be fun!








The views were great - golden colored hills and rock formations as you climbed, with the road a narrow cut on the side of the ridges and mountains. It was very tight and twisty, and quickly took you back into raw wilderness. I kept stopping for pics, nervously so, as the corners are blind and it would be easy to get hit by a truck.












As I got further in, I was aware that this was more remote, and less traveled than yesterday's ride. With the terrain and so many blind corners, I was thinking it would definitely be a good place for a hijack, as there is no way to see ahead in most places.

With that thought fresh in my mind, I stopped at an edge for a pic down, and suddenly was buzzed by an Apache helicopter overhead. The chopper had come out of a canyon behind me and up over the ridge I was on. I watched him go low overhead and maybe about a half mile in front of me where he pulled around and hovered over an area for a bit, definitely looking at something. He then wheeled away and vanished.

Nothing like a little drama to add to my ride. 24 miles to go. I wasn't worried about "bandidos" or getting robbed, as I know how incidents get blown out of proportion, but I also know to use caution and common sense. Still, I kept thinking, "Dang man... if they need an armed Apache helicopter to deal with stuff out here... and what was he looking at further up the road right where I'm going?"

Anyway, it was kinda cool and added to the atmosphere.
















The road is just a great dual sport road. It was rough in some areas, but the pig took it in stride and I was having a blast and riding a little faster than I should have. At one point, I sat down for just a moment and hit a deep pothole hard and fast. It was a situation where the sun was behind me and the light flattened all texture and dimension, making the pothole invisible. It jammed my back, and I hurt for quite a while after, just one of these things but the pain distracted me a bit.








At some point you drop down off the higher portions into a sheltered area, and I started to feel like it was an area to be careful in. To be honest, I felt a little uneasy and increased my speed, riding faster and harder.

Not too much further along, it happened. I came around a tight corner, and there, right in front of me standing in the middle of the road was a Mexican guy. I was going fast, but our eyes met, and I don't know which of us was more surprised. He was very dark from the sun, wearing dark blue pants and a dark short sleeved shirt, looking like he'd slept on the ground for days, dirty and sweaty. He stood there in sandals, holding a small duffel bag in his right hand and a clay jug in the other - I remember it was clay pottery with a piece of hemp rope tied around it. There was no look other than staring at me, as I shot past him not three feet away. It happened so quick there wasn't time for a reaction by either of us.

Mule or a man escaping Mexico - I dunno, but I have to hand it to anyone who can make it that far in that kind of terrain.





Another mile or two down the road, I passed the area known as Ruby - it appeared to be several small buildings behind a locked gate.




Here and there on the route, there are old road signs, but some have painted markings on them. One had a spray painted blue hand, another some thing else. I assume they are signals to illegals but I'm not sure.

Eventually, I began getting into areas with more signs of humanity, and shortly came up a hill to a tower. There was a spot to pull over, and I climbed off the bike to pull off a layer of clothing and drink some water. When I looked back, my tail bag was missing. One of the cross straps must have broken, and I lost the case, which contained two spare fuel cannisters, two tie downs, bailing wire, zip ties and not sure what else. Just for a moment I contemplated heading back, but God only knows where it flew off in the 30 miles LOL. I was going faster and harder in the rough stuff than I should have, so I'm not too surprised it bailed. In addition, I blew a front fork seal from some impact.

SOOO, maybe some rider will run out gas on the road, and while wondering what to do, will see a black pouch in the bushes and discover 2 pints of gas, miraculously waiting for him








As I took the remaining straps off to put them in the side case, a sudden gust of wind caught the lid, and yanked it back, snapping the hinges in classic BMW GSA case fashion, the lid hitting the ground with a clang. What is really weird, is that the lids both had safety wire straps to keep that from happening. Weird, but the wire was evidently broken by the force of the gust and lid. Sheesh! If that's not a sign from God to order the aluminum aftermarket hinges I don't know what is!

Ok, I'm beginning to wonder what's next, so I drive into Arivaca and gas up. It was an interesting little wide spot of a town, and full of characters, which I enjoy mucho












This guy was crazy about Christmas, and told me hadn't even started decorating yet



With my bike still getting poor mileage, and beginning to suspect that the fuel gauge is acting up as well, I decided I'd feel better replacing the two lost MSR bottles as soon as possible. I decided to head up I-19 to hit Tucson and catch Mission San Javier on the way.

Biggest steer skull yet!



The Mission, whch is still an active church from the 1600's if I heard right:
















































Indians selling fry-bread outside on the plaza







The mission San Javier was great - would love to had more time to explore, but I needed to ride. I was feeling like it was time to begin heading back towards Texas, and debated whether to just head on for Las Cruces after Tucson or to return to Tombtone.

In Tucson, I found a Sports Authority and picked up a couple of MSR's and a fanny pack to use as a tailbag for them. I jumped on I-10 and headed east to Benson. I stopped to refuel the bike and bottles, and debated heading on east, but decided to go for Tombstone instead.







Tombstone after dark



The crowd in the Crystal Palace Saloon




All in all, a fascinating day and Ruby Road is my favorite ride! What a great road!

Not sure where I'm heading tomorrow

See ya my friends!


The route and elevation:



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Old 11-26-2009, 05:01 AM   #22
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One of my favorite parts of the Country.... Thanks for posting. It's worth the trouble!
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Old 11-26-2009, 05:27 AM   #23
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Thanks for posting. I rode from Boerne to San Diego a couple years ago, many of the same roads. Beautiful country.
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Old 11-26-2009, 06:36 AM   #24
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excellent pics and prose..

appropriate and proportional food/motor-sicle photo ratio also...
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Old 11-26-2009, 07:04 AM   #25
LoneStar OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1DN5UP
appropriate and proportional food/motor-sicle photo ratio also...
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Old 11-26-2009, 07:51 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by janner
Thanks for posting. I rode from Boerne to San Diego a couple years ago, many of the same roads. Beautiful country.
Sorry to hijack, but do you mean Boerne, TX, outside of San Antonio?
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Old 11-26-2009, 08:14 AM   #27
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Great pics and story...

I'm REALLY enjoying this RR. I've been thinking about a ride through this area during my Christmas break; I think this seals it.

Great job! Keep up the good work.

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Old 11-26-2009, 08:31 AM   #28
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Loved the picture of the riding boots on the old west wooden sidewalk! Ha. Good job on the RR and your GS looks great with those panniers.
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Old 11-26-2009, 10:52 AM   #29
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_________A really beautiful trip.
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Old 11-26-2009, 11:02 AM   #30
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Joined: May 2008
Location: The Great State of Texas
Oddometer: 95
Great report and great pictures! Hopefully I will get to head that way soon.
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2013 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic LT

2008 Kawasaki KLR650 - Sold
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