Friends in Texas 2010

2010 August 11th

Mark:
This morning I woke up a good 30 minutes before the alarm was to go off. I got up and prepared some breakfast for myself. I woke up Niko before I was done in the kitchen, then I cleaned up and then I went to work on loading the last of my stuff onto the bike. Niko took a couple of pictures of me and then I rode off.

Nikoís foot has healed enough now so that he doesnít need someone to wait on him for his every need. Yesterday the doctor released the use of crutches to an ďas needed basisĒ and told Niko to start using his foot as long as it stays in the boot. I did however find myself checking for him in the mirror like I did so many times before on our other journey. I had to remind myself several times that I was on my own for this trip.

I left the house at 6:30am and since I was heading SE I had very little traffic to deal with. As I rode into the eastern prairie, I watched the mountains fade in my rear view mirrors. I took country roads out until I reached I-70 but I was only on that interstate for about 10 miles.

I ran into two sections of road construction. The first one the flagger waved me up to the front of the line and told me to follow the pilot car which was just turning around as I got up to the front of the line. I thanked him very graciously took off without waiting or having to pass all of those trucks later down the road. I wasnít so lucky on the second construction. I waited almost 30 minutes talking to the flagger because he waved me to the front of the line. This construction was over 6 miles long and they were using a pilot car as well. At the time the temperature was 95į and since I wasnít moving I was getting very warm. When the pilot car did arrive though I was first and I didnít have to pass any trucks afterward. This was very nice.

I only stopped three times today. Fuel and restroom each time I stopped. I rode for ten hours and came to rest in Childress, Texas. I found a place to stay with some nearby restaurants. Once I unloaded the bike I took a well needed shower and then had some dinner at the Mexican place next door.

When I left the house this morning the temperature was a nice cool 60į. Two hours later it was 85į. By the time I made it through Oklahoma and into Texas, it was 95į or better. I saw the temperature gauge reading 103į for a little while, but it went back down.

I rode a total of 520 miles today and that leaves me about 360 to ride tomorrow to make it to my destination. That should be an easy day for me.

Well, that about wraps it up for today. I will be posting my journey on this trip everyday that I can. Thanks for reading. Good Night.

2010 August 12th

When I woke up I realized that it was a little later than I wanted it to be, in other words, I slept in. I got up and got dressed and went to the breakfast room of the hotel. I made a waffle and while I waited for that to cook I ate a banana. The waffle turned out really bad so I was only able to eat about half of it. I drank some fruit juice and then I went back to the room.

I had packed most of my stuff last night after swimming, so I only had to load it onto a cart and take it out to the bike. It was about 9am when I rode out and it was already 85į. The temperature rose steadily until it reached 103į.

I had reprogrammed the GPS to take me around the Dallas / Ft Worth area so that I didnít get stuck in traffic and just sit in the sun. Riding in the heat is OK as long as Iím moving. When Iím stopped it can be unbearable. The GPS took me through some small towns where I saw a lot of ďTexan AmericanaĒ. I saw many small town people doing double takes as they saw me riding by, like they had never seen a motorcycle before. Probably more like they had never seen a guy wearing a jacket in this heat before.

The scenery was fairly bland with lot of rolling hills and prairies with some cattle ranches. I saw many plantation style houses on huge pieces of land with giant gates at the entrances. In some of the towns, the houses were huge with columns and multiple stories. The houses were right next to each other but were very large and looking a little like a dorm room for a college.

There was this one house that was quite amazing. The front yard alone had to be close to 30 acres with all manicured grass. The driveway had perfectly groomed trees lining both sides of the driveway as it led up the hill to the huge house. The house was a two story made of brick with a massive barn and equestrian area way out beyond the house. There was a sign out by the road that said that they raised Quarter horses. I thought to myself that this must be horse heaven, but then just down the road a little ways was another place even more massive than this one. I must have seen 10 places like this, all with similar setups each one trying to outdo the others.

Around 1pm I was feeling like I needed a break so I stopped at a Dairy Queen and cooled off and had a little treat. I met several of the locals and talked to one guy in particular. He was a rider from way back and always wanted to take a long trip on his bike. Everyone was very friendly and curious, but time was short and I had to keep moving on.

I made it to my friends Ernie and Debraís place at around 4:30pm. Ernie wasnít quite home yet, but he arrived shortly after I did. He had a place for me to store the bike, and I unloaded my stuff into a nice room that they had already prepared for me. Debra made us a great dinner and then Ernie and I talked and went over some computer stuff. Itís great to visit with Ernie and Debra again and of course their dogs.

I covered 382 miles today and Iím feeling a little tired, so Iím going to call it a night. Thanks for reading. Good Night.

2010 August 17th

I had a difficult time going to sleep last night and I didnít sleep very well when I did. I kept waking up and when the alarm went off I was still tired and I didnít want to get up. I used the snooze a couple of times and then I got up and going. I grabbed a little to eat and then I got dressed for the journey to Robertís.

These last few days were very relaxing just hanging out at Ernieís. The time I spent with Ernie and Debra was priceless for it helped me relieve some of my recent stress. I was able to talk with them and unload some of my thoughts and concerns with them. This definitely helped relieve some heavy thoughts that have been on my mind.

When I had all of my stuff packed and the bike loaded, I took a few minutes and played ball (fetch) with the dogs. They seemed to be a little upset that I was leaving. Debra was up by this point and so I gave her a hug and then I mounted up and rode off.

I took a couple of wrong turns right off and had to make a course correction, but I was soon on my way. It was a short trip on the bike and I arrived in less than two hours. The scenery was rolling hills and lots of trees. It was a pretty ride and the temperature was cool (82į) compared to recent days. I had plenty of fuel so I didnít even need to stop. I crossed over a dam shortly after one turn and here was this huge lake. I knew that this lake was very large but it is different to see in person than when looking at a map.

When I arrived, Robert was home and I think he was a little surprised to see me so soon. I took a quick shower so that I could get out of those sweaty clothes. We had a little bit of time before he had to go to work and we messed around with the computers. After Robert left for work, his mother, Debbie and I talked for awhile and then she went to rest for awhile. I worked on the computer and then I read some of my book. When she got up, we talked some more and I showed her the pictures that Niko and I took on our trip this summer.

We eventually decided to go over to the pool and we swam for a long time. I think that we were there for a couple of hours. The water was very warm and enjoyable. Shawna, Robertís girlfriend joined us at the pool along with her son. When we were done we drove around and Debbie showed me the neighborhood. This is a really neat place.

We went back to the house and fixed a little dinner. Robert came home right when we were eating and joined us. Shawna also joined us not too long after Robert got home. The conversations went on until the wee hours of the night.

I had a very enjoyable day and Iím very thankful for that. Robertís mother is a real kick. Iím thankful for the great day that I have had. Thank you for reading. Good Night.

2010 August 19th

It was good visiting with Robert and his mother for the last couple of days. Robert and I had planned to go out and take some more pictures of the area while I was here but the weather was really overcast and almost dreary. When he suggested that I might like to ride in the cooler weather, I had to agree.

I went back into the house and started to get my stuff packed up. I had things all over the place but in some sort of order. Once I had most of my stuff packed I changed into my riding gear. I loaded up the bike and then Robert wanted some pictures of me so we took a couple of shots.

Before I knew it, I was on the road and headed west toward Phoenix. I stopped at the dam and took a picture and fixed the helmet so that the music would play right. With all of that done I was on my way. I stopped for gas about 15 miles down the road. The next stop was for gas a couple of hours later. I took a quick break and had some jerky. When that tank of gas was gone I found a place to stay in a small town called Brady, Texas.

The temperature started out cool in the 80ís but it reached 103įF at one point; mostly staying nearer to 95įF. The landscape started out forested and turned to farms and ranches with cattle. The roads were very straight until later in the day where I had a little bit of curves. Since I left so late (11:30am) from Robertís place I was only able to cover 376mile today, but that is a good jump on the rest of the trip to Phoenix.

Once I took care of registering for the motel, I unloaded the bike and took a much needed shower. I was feeling hungry by this time as I had only eaten some jerky. I walked over to a nearby Subway and had a small sandwich. This motel seems almost abandoned since there is only my bike and one other bike in the parking lot, nothing else.

I spoke to Niko and my mom for a few minutes on the phone. I also called Robert to let him know where I was. I wanted some ice cream, so I went over to the McDonalds right next door but their machine was broken. I just laughed and walked out. Itís a little private joke between Niko and me.

I watched ĎThe Hurt Lockerí and then I worked on doing my journal. The movie was really good even though a little brutal, but I think that was the point. It is late and Iím hoping to get a good start in the morning, so Iím going to go to bed now. Thank you for reading. Good Night.

2010 August 20th

I was awake and rested before the alarm went off, so I got up and shut off the alarm. I started packing up what I didnít pack last night and then I got dressed for riding. I went over to the office, where they serve their version of breakfast. I looked at what they offered and grabbed some apple juice and then walked out. I took my vitamins and had a piece of jerky. I finished packing the bike and then I left.

I had to get fuel right away and then I was ready for the long day ahead. I rode until I needed gas again and then I took a quick break. I put ice in my Camelbak and I ate some more jerky. I again rode until I needed fuel. I made it to I-10, where the GPS told me that I had 702 miles left. The speed limit was 80 so I was able to go nearly 90 without risk of a citation. I made a really quick stop for fuel and then I stopped in El Paso for fuel and a good break. I used the restroom and then I filled the Camelbak with ice. I had some jerky and I sent a text message to Les telling him that I would be at his place by 7pm. At this point I still had over 400 mile to go.

There were only a few miles left until I reached the New Mexico border. When I did reach the New Mexico border the first 30 miles or so after that was under construction. This slowed my progress quite a bit and the speed limit was lower too. I kept charging on, only stopping for fuel.

As soon as I reached the Tucson, Arizona area the temperature soared from around 95įF to 108įF and stayed there until I reached Phoenix. I had one more stop for fuel and it was a fast one. 30 minutes later I was at my friend Lesí place. Les helped me get the bike parked in the garage and then I took a much needed shower.

We left and went to find some dinner. We had a great meal at Jasonís Deli and stopped in at the Liquor store next door afterward. Les had an errand to run and feed his friends dogs. Once we took care of that we went back to his place and had some Margaritaís. We caught up and talked the rest of the night until it got to be late.

I went to the bedroom and tried to work on my journal but found myself dosing off, so I put the laptop down and went to sleep. I finished this in the morning. Iím thankful for my safe arrival in Phoenix. It was one of the most brutal days riding that I have ever done. My feet and butt are very sore from riding and I was feeling like I was suffering from heat stroke a little near the end. I covered 878 miles and most of the time the temperature was in the high 90ís. Iím thankful for my safe travels. Good Day.

2010 August 26th

The last few days I have spent with a dear friend of many years. We have been good friends since 1985. We have had some barbeques and lots of good food over the last few days. We have also organized some things around his house.

This morning I wanted to do something a little bit different. I had called Rick of Xplorermoto (www.xplorermoto.com) yesterday; this is where I bought my Jesse Luggage system for my bike. We agreed on a time for me to meet up with Brit at the assembly plant in Phoenix. Rick had offered for me to stop by if I was ever in the area, and I was.

I left Lesí place around 8:30am to some cooler air than lately. It was about 95įF and cloudy. The GPS lead me directly to this industrial park warehouse area where Jesse Luggage Systems is located. I met Brit and then he took a quick look at my luggage. He went inside to grab a couple of tools. When he came back, he made some adjustments and now my luggage closes better than ever. Brit led me inside and he showed me around to the different rooms where they assemble the boxes. The place was neat and tidy and looked very well organized. Thank you, Brit for showing me around.

Just as I was getting ready to leave, Al Jesse himself showed up and we talked for a short time. It was a pleasure to meet the person that designed this luggage. Thank you for taking the time with me.

As I was leaving and headed back to my friends place, it started to rain. This brought the temperature down into the seventies. I was enjoying the rain and with it the cooler temperatures but it didnít last very long and soon I was riding along in 95įF again. By the time I made it Lesí place, I was all dried out.

My round trip excursion today was only about 60 miles, but it got me out when the weather wasnít trying to bake me from the inside out.

2010 August 30th

I didnít sleep very well last night. I think it was just mind chatter about what the next day would bring. I woke up before the alarm but I had no way of checking the time so I stayed in bed hoping that it wasnít time yet and that I could possibly get some more sleep. The alarm went off just a few minutes later so I was up and getting ready to go.

I ate some breakfast and my vitamins and changed clothes for riding. I had packed almost all of my stuff last night so I only had a little bit to pack up. I took things out to the garage and loaded the bike. When I was completely done and ready to leave, I called Les out of his room to let him know that I was leaving. He came out to say goodbye and then I left.

It was before 6:30am and the temperature was in the low 80ís. I was very comfortable. I headed north and on the freeways in rush hour traffic. The traffic turned out to be very little and being on a bike I could ride the HOV lane and bypass all of the stopped traffic.

I stopped for fuel about an hour after I left and gassed up. I stopped again about an hour after that to put on some more clothes and to zip up the venting on my jacket. It was getting cold, I had not felt temperatures this low in weeks.

The day seemed to go by very fast. I was covering ground until I had to stop for construction. I had to wait a good 20 minutes and then drive really slow for about 10 miles until I was past it. I reached Cortez, CO at about 2:30pm and that was where I wanted to stop but this was too early, so I continued on to Durango, CO.

I stopped at a couple of places and was a little shocked at the prices they wanted for a single bed. I found a place and unloaded the bike. I took a shower and then walked to this little Taqueria just a couple of blocks away. My dinner was awesome and so I went back to the hotel and I made some phone calls.

When I was done with the phone, I changed and went down to the pool to sit in the hot tub. There are a lot of motorcycles in the parking lot and I ran into a couple of the riders. We got to talking and I found out quite a bit about them. They gave me some suggestions of where to ride and I looked into it but I had a difficult time finding the road that they were referring to.

All in all I have had a great day and for that Iím very thankful. Thank you for reading. Good Night.

2010 August 31st

The sounds of other people woke me up before I wanted to get up this morning. I looked at the time and didnít want or need to get up at 6:15am so I stayed in bed trying to get some more sleep. I realized a little later that wasnít going to happen, so I got up around 7am.

I got dressed and went down to the office to see what this hotel offered for breakfast. It wasnít much but I had 2 boiled eggs and a yogurt with some juice.

I went back to the room to pack and get ready for riding. There were a lot of other motorcyclist in the parking lot and they were all interested in talking. I wasnít being rude but I was interested in getting things packed up on the bike and getting on the road.

By the time I left the parking lot it was 8:30am and a cool 56įF. By the time I got to the first of many passes I had to cross the temperature dropped to 46įF. I was happy that it didnít last very long and it warmed up again.

I stopped in Ouray, CO to pick up a souvenir and the bike fell over in the street when I tried to get on. It wasnít parked very well as the spot was sloped. The bike was situated very precariously. I went inside and did my business only to have it fall over when I tried to get on. I couldnít lift it up by myself because the kick stand was in the way. By the time I got that out of my way several people were right there ready to help. I was very embarrassed and quickly drove away without even checking the bike for damage. When I stopped for gas in Gunnison, CO I looked and I couldnít even find any scratches.

I crossed seven passes on my journey today and covered 372 miles. I was home by 3:30pm. The bike now has just over 10,000 miles on it. Not too bad for the first 90 days.

Niko was happy to see me and of course full of things to tell me. I took a shower and then we went to get something to eat. We then went over to Micro Center and bought a few things for the laptop that Les gave Niko. When we returned back home, Niko spent most of the evening working on it. I sat down and watched a movie and then worked on my journal. The movie was ĎJumperí. I saw this movie a long time ago and I didnít remember very much about it.

The grass is extremely long as Niko never mowed it while I was gone (3 weeks), so I guess I will have to do that tomorrow.

I had one thought that continually plagued me while I was traveling, ďWhy am I doing thisĒ. When I asked Les this question his answer was ďdistractionĒ. So, have I just been trying to distract myself from all of the feelings and troubles associated with Kathyís death? Am I just trying to escape? What then? This has been very puzzling to me. Now that Iím back home, what now? Plan my next trip I suppose.

Iím very thankful that I had a safe trip. Iím very thankful that Iím back in beautiful Colorado. It was nice riding through the mountains and going through Ouray. No other state has this many mountains and with so much beauty. I had a wonderful trip and for this Iím very thankful. Thank you for reading. Good Night.