Here's the link to this weekend's trip:
Friday: I left the house just after 8am and worked my way over to I-10. The ride through San Antonio was simple enough. I jumped up on 410 over to I-35S which made getting through San Antonio easier.
I decided to ride part of the Fort Davis loop so instead of turning south at Balmorhea on Hwy 17 I stayed on I-10 to Kent. There I turned south on Hwy 118 and headed to Ft. Davis. I arrived at the motel just before 5pm after having stopped at the gas station to top off. Total distance, 638 miles in 8 hours 46 minutes.
Fuel economy was the only challenge today. I just don’t have the range on this bike that I was used to with the older one. I was looking for fuel every 150 miles. Fortunately this should be the last trip without the aux fuel cell.
Saturday: I always enjoy Saturdays out here because it’s a day to play around on the fun roads in the area. And this weekend was wonderful because the weather really cooperated. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
We decided breakfast would be at 7am down at the drug store in town. Everyone was up and at their bikes before 7 and we made it into town just a few minutes after they opened. Breakfast was OK although a little cold.
The decision was made to run our normal loop backwards this year. So we headed off to Presidio with a fuel stop along the way in Marfa. When we reached Presidio we stopped at the gas station to let everyone gather up, make phone calls and hit the restroom. Then people casually began to head off onto the river road in smaller groups.
I took off between 2 groups and had the road to myself. Initially I kept plenty in reserve because I wasn’t sure how the Michelin PR3 were going to perform. But as I got more and more into the ride I gained confidence in these new tires. Just before I reached the planned stop along the river road I caught the group in front and we all pulled in to wait for the rest of our group. It didn’t take long for everyone to arrive.
After some visiting we all pulled out again in small groups. Fred and I were in the front for the ride into Study Butte. With the increased confidence in my tires I quickly found myself out front setting a very spirited pace. When I got into the Terlingua area I made a key mistake and the friendly Sherriff's deputies were there to help me out. I failed to recognize the speed limit change to 45 and maintained a speed of 60mph. At least that’s what I was told, I seemed to remember looking at my speedometer and seeing 51mph as I waived to the deputy thinking I was in a 50mph zone. Apparently I was wrong. After a short and friendly visit along the roadside, I left the encounter with a couple extra pieces of paper and a commitment to contact the judge on or before February the 8th. Ooops.
After I topped off my tank at the gas station in Study Butte and visited with the guys for a bit, we all headed into the park to go to Santa Elana Canyon. Fred and I peeled off from the group to ride the Old Maverick Road which is a hard pack dirt and gravel road. While the road was rough in spots it was certainly do-able on a street bike as Chuck proved later. I did discover the PR3s will work fine for as much gravel as I expect to find on most rallies. Of course, if the weather is wet, then dirt and gravel should be avoided as the PR3 is definitely a street tire.
When we got to the end of the road we headed up to the Castolon Store and waited for the rest of the group to visit the canyon and start heading back. When they arrived everyone grabbed a snack and then visited for a while before deciding we should probably head back into Study Butte to get a late lunch as it was already after 2pm.
When Fred, Dick and I arrived in Study Butte we found the place had closed between lunch and dinner. So we headed up to Alpine and then decided to press on into Fort Davis so we wouldn’t have to ride the last bit at dusk or be rushed during dinner.
The Pizza place where we stopped was like most places out here, friendly and glad for the business. But clearly not ready for any size of group to speak of. I was trying to stick to my diet so I had a Cesar salad with chicken. They got it out very quickly and I was done eating before the others even received their pizzas.
After dinner we headed toward the hotel stopping along the way to top off the tanks for tomorrow’s ride out of town. I put in 3.6 gallons after having ridden 161 miles. Wow, 44.7mpg is definitely a change from the 30 ~ 31mpg I was seeing yesterday. Of course the 45mph speed limit in the park helped that a bunch I’m sure.
Total distance ridden today was 310 miles over an 8 hour 45 minute period. That’s an overall average of 36mph. Certainly not my normal iron butt style pace but it was nice to visit with people I don’t normally see, talk about the fun roads we just road and to see a part of Texas I only get to see once a year usually.
Tomorrow we are heading to Abilene for a steak at Lytle Land & Cattle Company. I think I just might indulge a little bit while I’m there. The filet may be calling my name. I’ll just have to wait and see.
OH! I almost forgot. About my little roadside chat in Terlingua. I think the Valentine 1 will be going up for sale on ebay soon and a motorcycle specific TPX Radar from Adaptiv Technologies will find it’s way onto the bike. I at least want my farkles to work as intended.
Sunday: I think I’ll call this bag day, more on that as the report goes along.
The planned departure time was 8am, and as usual everyone was ready to go as day light broke. We pulled out of the parking lot at 7:46am and headed north on Hwy 17. The plan was to run up to I-10 and eat breakfast at the Fina station before continuing the trip on I-10 to Ft. Stockton. Since it was still pretty early and prime time for deer activity we kept the pace sedate and made it to breakfast in 45 minutes.
When we went inside for breakfast I was a little concerned. Something didn’t seem right. It didn’t take long for me to figure out what it was. There was only 1 person there to run the café. She was doing her best and took our drink orders quickly before going back to the kitchen to prepare a meal for some folks who arrived before us. Our orders did finally make it out of the kitchen with errors. It had taken so long though no one wanted to point out the issues. When I cut into my second egg and gooey yellow yolk poured out I just grabbed the salt and pepper and kept eating. We finished up and were back on the road in 1 hour and 20 minutes.
The next leg of the trip was on I-10 and since I had cruise on the GS I took the lead into Ft. Stockton. I do love my aftermarket cruise. I’m glad to see BMW finally listened to their customers and will be offering cruise on the new water cooled GS models.
When we got to Ft. Stockton we filled up at the Shell station and a few of us took the opportunity to get rid of the coffee and tea from breakfast. When I pulled in several of the pumps had plastic bags on them. Which made for a little waiting while we managed to get our bikes filled along with the other customers wanting gas. When I went inside to the bathroom, the 2 urinals also had plastic bags on them leaving only the two stalls in service. Another period of waiting.
With gas in the tanks and bladders emptied we took off again on I-10 heading east with me in the lead. I set the cruise a tick above the posted speed limit and settled in until I got to my exit for Hwy 67 N. The wind was blowing out of the south moderately but it was consistent rather than gusting so it really didn’t affect me much.
We headed up Hwy 67 toward San Angelo. The plan was to stop for gas there but as we progressed I wondered if Robert on the GL1500 would be able to make it. Around the 90 mile mark from the last gas stop Fred pulled into a gas station in Big Lake for a bio-break. I checked with everyone else and they were doing OK on fuel and Robert went ahead and topped off. Dan mentioned his eyes seemed really dried out. I was glad to know I wasn’t the only one suffering from that problem this weekend. Eye drops relieved the discomfort some but not 100%.
After the break we continued north on Hwy 67 and stopped briefly in Barnhart to fill up. Fred and I decided we could make it into San Angelo, and if we could make it on our bikes everyone else certainly could. So we kept going. It’s probably best that we skipped the gas in Barnhart, as it seemed that was a prime opportunity to get some really old, stale gas out of the 1 pump station.
When we got to San Angelo, I opted for the first Chevron I found even though it was crowded with others wanting fuel. I knew we were about to get on a loop around town and wasn’t sure what the gas station options were going to be. Again, we had to deal with out of order pumps with plastic bags on them. Really, come on store owners, FIX YOUR PUMPS.
We enjoyed a nice visit before continuing on our way up Hwy 67. In Ballinger we turned due north onto Hwy 83 toward Abilene. The end was in sight and I was glad it was as I was getting hungry having skipped any snacks along the way after breakfast. We pulled into town just after 3pm and decided to go check in before dinner.
We checked in at the Whitten Inn not far from the restaurant and unloaded the bikes. Fred had a problem with his room as the AC unit did not work at all. So they had to relocate him to another room which seemed more difficult than it should have been but they finally got him moved a few doors down.
Dinner at Lytle Land & Cattle Company was great. I had saved up the calories for the day and enjoyed a fantastic Filet Mignon cooked just the way I like it. The green beans and house salad completed the meal. I must say, this trip has raised my rating of the place. It’s still not the best steak I’ve ever had but it’s certainly high enough up there now that I’d have no problem hopping on the bike to ride up for a steak.
Today’s trip was a 346 mile long ride taking 7 hours and 30 minutes. And all for a steak. It was definitely worth it and a nice way to come home from the BBFO.
I’ve been slacking on posting photos during this trip. Mainly because I’m still figuring out this new GPS enabled camera. As you can tell in this photo I need to work on getting things into focus.
Monday: The ride home
No matter the trip, when I know the ride will end at the house I’m always a little disappointed. And I become a little impatient as well. It’s like pulling off a band-aid. The quicker you do it, the less painful it seems.
The plan was to leave by 7:30am as the sun came up. But everyone was packed early so we decided to take advantage of my extra lights and pulled out of the parking lot at 7am. Very quickly we were on Hwy 36 south out of Abilene.
The Future Vision Projector HID lights worked well. I had complete light coverage across the road, all the way to the fence posts while still having some long range lighting as well. I’m quite please with this light selection, and choosing the Hi/Lo beam option definitely helped as I was able to leave them on without offending oncoming traffic.
When we got to Cross Plains we stopped for breakfast at Jean’s Feed Barn. I wish I had been recording the waitress’ face when I placed my order. “Number 4, break the yolks and burn the eggs, I want them hard, bacon, grits and toast please.” She completely shutdown after “burn the eggs”. Needless to say, I broke her routine. Unfortunately the cook didn’t understand Over Hard as she wrote on the ticket but at least the yolks weren’t still runny. Honestly, is thoroughly cooking an egg really that hard?
With our appetites sated, we returned to the bikes, filled the tanks and headed south on Hwy 36. The next stop was in Gatesville. It had been 100 miles since breakfast and at least a few people were ready to take a break. Being used to riding tank to tank with a 300+ mile range doesn’t always make me the best ride leader. The plan was to wait on filling the bikes until we got down to Temple which would allow us to make it all the way home without another gas stop.
Twenty minutes later we were back on the bikes rolling south again. This time I fell back in the pack to relax a little and just watch others in the group ride. Being at the front of the group is fun when you are in the twisties but it feels a little lonely. As planned we stopped on the south side of Temple for a quick gas stop and I told everyone goodbye as I didn’t plan to stop with them again. I had all the fuel I needed to make it home.
As it turned out, they managed to get back on the highway ahead of me and after a short time I found myself at the back of the pack which was fine by me. Things were going along just fine until Dan suddenly began slowing down. When I pulled up next to him on the shoulder I understood why. His left fork seal had blown thus covering his helmet, jacket, windshield and face with Honda fork oil. Randy, Robert and I helped him clean up a little then I tied a rag around the fork to help catch any remaining oil so he could drive it home without too much trouble. When Fred and Doug realized the rest of us weren’t behind them any more they called to say they would meet up with us at the Shell station in Somerville.
With the fork seal problem handled we headed back out. Again, I took the rear position following behind Robert. Somehow as we went through the small towns him and I ended up further behind and eventually I got caught at a red light. I caught up with the 3 of them just as we got to the Shell station in Somerville. I waived as I kept going.
It was now just me and my bike for the last leg of the trip. Just as the trip had started. I noticed I was starting to feel a little hungry so I planned to stop at a favorite BBQ joint in Bellville when I got there. Unfortunately, they are closed on Mondays so I grabbed some peanut butter crackers out of my top case and kept going.
I arrived home at 2:29pm with my gas gauge telling me I had reached 0 miles on the range indicator. That’ll be perfect as I won’t have a hard time draining the tank later this week when I work on installing the bulkhead fitting for the aux tank.
Total mileage today was 353 miles in 7 hours 29 minutes. Overall average was 47mph.
The total mileage for the trip was 1647 miles over 4 days. The ride home got me to thinking about what I want to do in February. I think a BBG1500 is in order. A good 1,500 miles ride in 24 hours or less is great to get the mind thinking about what things still need to be fixed before rally season cranks up.
UPDATE: An unexpected outcome of the weekend was found when I stepped onto the scale on Tuesday. I had lost 3 pounds over the weekend. I guess I made decent food choices along the way.