Saturday, July 12, 2008

Day 1 - Abilene

The vacation is under way. We left the house this morning at 6:38am. I have to give Reagan credit for rushing me a little otherwise it would have been closer to 7 by the time we actually got moving. But with her motivation we were on the bike and rolling. A quick stop by the post office to mail a letter for the business and the vacation was in full swing.

We had a mission on this first day of the trip. That was to reach Snow's BBQ in Lexington before they ran out of brisket. That's right, they are open until they run out and then they close until the next Saturday. With 3/4 or so of a tank of gas we didn't waste time fueling up, besides I wanted to get out of Houston so I could get some real 100% petro instead of the b.s. 10% ethanol crap. Ignoring the GPS we rode down 90A to 99 then up to FM1093 out to Wallis. Then north on 36 until we got to Belleville.

Reagan wanted/needed her dose of caffeine so we stopped in at Neumans Bakery for coffee and a kolache. For 7:45 in the morning it was pretty busy with the locals. The bike crowd hadn't made it there yet so we were in and out by 8 o'clock. The excitement while we were there was next door at the insurnace place. Apparently someone forgot to lock the door. When we arrived officers were walking through the place, and when we left an officer was talking to the fellow who appeared to be the owner. It was big time excitement for the BPD this Saturday morning.

So we continued north on 36 until we got to Brenham and Hwy 290. Then it was a left turn to point us west on 290. As we merged onto the highway a Honda ST1300 riding 2 up passed us so we followed them for a bit. It was easy to keep them in site as she was wearing a pink helmet. I kept waiting for Reagan to point out that SHE found a pink helmet. I guess the Shoei is pretty comfy. Any way I digress, so we continued down 290 and end up in some construction that's got us down to one lane and going 55mph. The Garmin was on "shortest distance" so when we got to Burton it diverted us up 125 to scenic 390. I figured that was better than 290 to 77 considering the construction. Once we got up 390 a little ways it started taking us down back country roads. At least twice I saw signs for "Pavement Ends" just before the gps would have me make a turn. Reagan was starting to wonder about that gps and the pilot up front.

By 9:30 we rolled into the little town of Lexington, home of Snow's BBQ. As expected there was a line out the door waiting to get the tasty Q that Texas Monthly rated as the number 1 BBQ in Texas. Most of the folks in line had read the same article, shocking! We ordered 1/2 pound of brisket, a link of sausage and a potato salad. In all the ordering excitement I forgot to order a side of beans as they are free. Hmmm, guess I'll have to go back. The man with the knife was slightly reluctant to serve us from the brisket flat he had just taken out of the foil as it was a little dry. But it was lean and that's what I like in my brisket. Upon sitting down I picked up a very tender piece of brisket. It was almost as fall apart tender as my own, almost. But not quite as juicy. The flavor was very good and the second bite proved that it also went well with their sauce. Their sausage was a little course ground for my liking but it definitely had that home-made taste to it. So it took a little under 3 hours and 128 miles to get there. Is it worth it? Sure it's BBQ and it's a ride. The next time I go, assuming someone goes with me, I plan to leave a little earlier so I can enjoy a few other roads along the way. But you don't want to dilly dally too much, when we were there they only had 7 briskets left. Considering they appeared to be cooking 10 ~ 12 pounders and there was a constant line coming through I doubt they were serving brisket at 10:30.

So with good Q in our stomachs it was time to knock out the remaining 244 miles to Abilene. The temperature was of course rising, our time critical goal had been acheived and did I mention our tummies were full. We jumped on 77 and got back to 36 where we continued our northern journey. By noon:30 I was ready for a break. Reagan thought there was a Shell station with booths up ahead in the next town. No such luck so we contined on to Commanche. She was hoping for a grocery store or such near our resting spot and in Commanche we found just what we needed. A DQ next to a Shell station with a Family Dollar and Brookshire across the street. We hit the jackpot. So we stopped at the DQ and parked in the shade. Then went inside and I enjoyed a Dr. Pepper Float while she just had a Dr. Pepper. Afterwards she ran across the street to get some things while I filled up the water bladders with ice and chatted with a fellow rider who was in the cage today on a family trip. Once she returned we geared up and finished up the last hour and 20 minutes of the ride.

So as the clock hits 2:30 we are checking in at the Whitten Inn. Not too bad, 8 hours and we ate three times along the way. DQ was about as much of a chain as I want to eat on this trip. The plan for the rest of the day is to take a nap and then head over to Lytle Land & Cattle for a steak.

Tomorrow we're heading to Palo Duro Canyon but Reagan has already said if it's too hot she'll just see it another day. Oh boy, another excuse for an overnight trip!

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