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LoneStar 07-04-2009 10:31 AM

LoneStar's 2nd Annual 4th o' July in Terlingua
In the grand tradition of mad dogs and Englishmen, I too, headed out in the noonday sun. It wasn't necessarily by choice, but simply that it's the first long weekend I've been free to ride in a very long time... woohoo!

Terlingua and Big Bend is about the closest place within a reasonable riding distance to where I live, and it's far out enough to be... like, far out, man.

Last year I had ridden out for the 4th weekend and it turned out to be a great trip so I figured what the heck, let's do it again.

And so the story goes:

Thursday evening I got the bike prepped and packed, ready for the long, hot ride down I-10. Plan was to be up and on the road by 6 am to try to get as far out west as possible before the real heat started. Fat chance.

Amazingly, I actually got on the road by 6:30. Wow. I don't relish riding in the dark or low light in the Hill Country, due to the number of deer intent on committing suicide, so I was glad to hear the birds singing and the light coming up as the bike warmed in the driveway.

Last night it rained here, leaving steaming humidity which still lingered this morning. The ride in was damp, cool, and overcast, with the beautiful pink glow of sunrise slowly brightening the sky.

The ride to Kerrville took about 20 minutes and a few deer bolted across the road on the way in. So far so good, but now came the real danger... Blue Hairs. For those who don't know, Kerrville is populated with older retired folks, and driving here is dangerous. Trust me. Just ask anyone who's lived here.

I made it to the Shell on I-10, gassed up, filled the Camelbak and added a couple extra water bottles to the cases, scarfed down a muffin and geared up to hit the road. Woohoo!

As I dug for my earplugs, I realized I had left my cell phone on the kitchen counter. Aaargh! I knew I couldn't do 3 days alone in west Texas without my phone so I grudgingly rode all the way back to the house, grabbed the phone and made the treacherous journey back through Blue Hair territory to I-10, now almost an hour later than planned.

Cruising at 80 mph on 10 felt great. It's been a while since I've had time to ride and it wasn't long before the groove came back. With the sound of the Cowboy Junkies playing in my ears, I pegged it for Junction in the cool morning air.


Somewhere between Junction and Sonora, a rider on a yellow 1200GS overtook me and slowly disappeared ahead. I was already running 85 and he must have been at 90 or faster but I had no desire to chase him.

Approaching Junction

At Sonora, I zipped off to gas up and the 1200GS was just pulling out. We gave thumbs up as he went past and I pulled in for gas. I topped off the tank and filled my spare fuel canisters before buying another couple of water bottles in the store. The Hispanic woman behind the counter stopped arguing with her sister long enough to take my money, smile and tell me to be safe, then immediately resumed arguing loudly. I had to chuckle as I cranked up the pig and headed west for Fort Stockton.

By the time I reached Ozona, the sun had begun to have that familiar sting to it and as the terrain began to flatten the winds began to pick up. The wind was strong enough to keep things interesting. Which was good because as anyone who's driven I-10 knows how dull and uninteresting it can be.

Nothing interesting ever happens on those long, lonely stretches of empty wasteland

The ride from Ozona to Ft. Stockton seems to take forever, and my mind wandered as the Allman Brothers jammed in my earphones. To the north and south, the giant wind farms slowly slid by, each wind generator spinning fervently in the gusty winds. Here and there, the occasional sour smell of crude oil reminding me of the presence of oil pumps beside the road.

Suddenly, right on my bumper at 80 mph was a State Trooper, lights flashing. I felt my colon bump my Adam's apple and instantly got that "oh crap" feeling and pulled into the right lane. He blew past me and kept going, thank God, but it took a while for my cheeks to let go of the motorcycle seat. Man he came out of nowhere and must have going 130 mph to come up so fast behind me.

About 10 miles down the road, I caught up to him driving slowly behind a flatbed wrecker which had an out of state car on the back. As I passed them, there was another State Trooper right in front of the wrecker driving slowly as well. They were definitely escorting either the wrecker or the car that was on the wrecker. Wonder why...

It was getting significantly hotter now, and I was more than ready for Ft. Stockton to come up on the horizon.

I got there right at Hot:30 and filled up at another Shell station, the two old bittys (bitties?) working there being quite unfriendly despite their price gouging on fuel. Sheesh. Nothing like overpaying and then being treated rudely for it. Oh well.

Agua mucho

Ft. Stockton fascinates me for some weird reason. On the surface it appears to be a typical west Texas town, one road down the center with a few businesses on either side, and it is, but if you look closely it has quite an eclectic collection of truly funky buildings and homes. It's an interesting place if you get off the main road and explore it a bit. I'm not saying I would ride out there just to see the place, but there are some funky cool places if you're into photography.

Ol Pete

I zipped though the old downtown area and grabbed a few shots before
catching 385 south for Marathon.

I wonder if they'll add Michael Jackson... hmmmmmm.

Headin' for Marathon

Man, talk about strict!!!! Sheesh... this IS Texas ya know

The cows have more sense than me. What's new.

Love those Texas skies

By the time I reached Marathon, I was whipped and needed a break. The ever-increasing heat and wind buffeting had given me a headache and the blueberry muffin I'd eaten for breakfast was long gone from my tummy tum tum. Lunch, Advil and 5 gallons of ice tea was on my agenda.

I topped off again at the little Shell station at the edge of town before stopping in the downtown section to get lunch.

Lunch time

Johhny B's cafe was full, so I sat outside and ordered a hamburger and iced tea. Not sure what it is about the place, but I really like Marathon. It seems to be isolated from the world, and yet has a cool, artistic feel mixed with classic western influence. I see more signs of it becoming yuppified, which is disturbing but what ya gonna do?

New found friend

Last year I had accidentally stumbled across the Marathon "Post Dance" they have each 4th of July, and really enjoyed it. This year I wanted to see it again, and planned on going to Terlingua Friday, riding a bit Saturday and catching the Terlingua Parade to Kathy's Kosmic Kowgirl Kafe, then riding back up to the dance afterward and spending the night in Marathon. Of course in my usual last minute preparations I hadn't booked a room in Marathon and the place is always sold out for the 4th. Last minute calls, as I sat outside the cafe waiting for my burger, found a cancellation at the Adobe Rose Inn bed and breakfast. As I asked the proprietor of the Inn where they were located, he told me to look across the railroad tracks for a man watering his yard and waving to me. Sure enough, there he was waving at me from a couple of blocks away. I told him I'd be over in a bit to book the room and waited for my burger to show up.

As I patiently waited for the grub, a Deputy Sheriff came out, decked in his hand tooled leather gun belt and Stetson, followed by two guys dressed in semi-para-military outfits, SWAT tactical boots with navy blue BDU's tucked in their boots, and loaded for bear with handguns, batons and radios. As the two "Mr. Tactical" guys turned their backs toward me, their navy blue shirts had "State Fire Marshall" emblazoned across the back in letters like the FBI and other ilk. I'm sorry, but why in the heck do Fire Marshalls need to be armed and dressed like SWAT cops???????

An ex-burger

The burger was great, but I burned more calories waving the fly swarm off than I consumed in the burger. Man there were a bunch and they were faster than city flies by a longshot. Maybe it's the healthier climate - or maybe it's a lack of food, but these guys are fierce. Two years ago I had an encounter with them at French's Grocery... how soon I forget. The horror.

At any rate, I was driven off to a nearby bench to continue cooling down for a bit before heading over to the bed and breakfast and then on south to Big Bend. It was definitely hot in Marathon, but the breeze was quite cool and I wanted to just spend the day in the shade, talking to the myriad tourists wandering down from the Gage Hotel.

I finally mustered up enough gumption to put my gear on and head back out in the sun and heat.

The Inn was an old historic building, semi-restored, (at least enough to keep you from falling through the floor), but it included breakfast and, as the owner made clear several times, "a well stocked bar". Hey, at least it was a room in Marathon, and considering the dance is from 9 pm to 1 am, I knew there was no way I was gonna ride from there to either Alpine or Sanderson at 1 am to find a hotel... so I booked it, Danno.

From Marathon, I continued south for the Park, passing the Border Patrol checkpoint a few miles south of town. Each trip to the Bend, I've wanted to take Ranch Road 2627 to the border but hadn't had time. This time I decided to catch it on the way in.

Marathon had been hot, but now as I dropped lower towards the park, the heat became much more intense. Waves of heat came so strong they almost took your breath. It was approaching 4 pm and I'd seen no cars at all on the ride down from Marathon and I began to wonder if it would be wise to detour on RR2627 with the heat issues. Oh well, I decided it was now or never and turned onto the road and headed for the Stilwell Store and RV Campground on the way to the border.

The little road was narrower and rougher but turned out to be a beautiful ride. There were large clustered bushes of pink flowers along the road - quite a shock in the intense heat. In addition, the creosote bushes had flowered yellow and further down the road there were huge areas of purple sage flowering. It was quite a sight to see.

After about 6 miles I reached the Stilwell Store, RV Park and Museum. I had been drinking my Camelbak dry all day but was still hot and a little dehydrated. I went in the "store" and rang the bell for help. An older man slowly wandered in, and I asked him about the road and where it ended at the river bridge. He didn't answer for a long time, then said "You can't cross the bridge." End of conversation.

I have to admit however, that when I asked him the question, my voice was a couple of octaves higher than normal. It sounded almost like someone on helium... not quite that bad but you get the idea... I guess the heat and wind had dried out my vocal chords or something. I attempted to clear my throat and in a deep, manly voice tell him I wanted to buy a Coke... however it still came out in the high toned, midget man voice no matter how much I tried. Anyway, I paid him for the Coke and we spoke no more.

The museum was locked and it was so hot I was too lazy to walk back to the store to get the key

Sitting outside, the mildly cool Coke burned the crud off my throat and my voice returned to normal. Shortly after, a red car pulled up and an older woman and middle aged man began unloading groceries. The car was full so I volunteered (foolishly I might add) and carried in the bulk of the groceries, depositing them in the kitchen of the house/store. Each time they'd hand me a few bags they'd say "That's the last of it." and each time I came back out they'd hand me more. I must say, they were very good at loading a car to the brim.

She thanked me and wished me well and I headed on south for the border. RR2627 is actually a nice ride. Lots of natural beauty and no traffic. It was still 20 miles or so south of the Stilwell store and got hotter and hotter. I began to imagine how long it might be before someone might come along if the bike died down there.

I finally reached the end of the road and the single lane bridge that spanned the Rio Grande. The bridge has been closed since the 911 attack, as most of the border crossings have.

La Linda bridge.

Mexico. So close yet so far.

The old mine on the Mexican side.

Can anyone identify what this blue thing is?

My name is Zartron and I come in peace...

Ok, it wasn't a spacemen. It was actually me. Ha ha ha ha ha hee hee hee ha ha ha

I walked around and shot a few pics, but it wasn't long before the heat began to get to me. Dude it was hot. And no, I wasn't wearing my riding jacket thank you very much.

How hot was it you ask? Well, it was so hot, fire ants were actually on fire. It was so hot I spontaneously combusted, but my sweat soaked clothing doused the flame. And, dare I say it, it was even hotter than me in a leopard print man-thong.
Can you imagine that???

After all the hot-ness, I cranked up the red pig and heaed for the Park Road and eventually Terlingua.

Entrance to zee Park

The ride into the park is always great. Cresting the hill and entering that long, wide plain surrounded by buttes and mesas gives me warm fuzzies... which made me wish for cool fuzzies. The area is special and you can feel it when you enter.

Putting along at 45 behind a couple of SUV's gives you the chance to slow down and take it in. The 25 miles to the park hq takes a while but eventually reached the Panther Junction Park Headquarters and turned in to the gas station to top off the tank.

Panther Junction HQ

I had drained the Camelbak once again, and refilled, also grabbing a cold ice cream sammich. Ummm Mississississippippippippi Mud. The cold felt good on my midget man vocal chords.

I think she was getting a ticket for speedo-ing...

I cranked up the tunes and headed west for Study Butte and Terlingua, enjoying the ride immensely, stopping hither and yon for snap shots.

The Study Butte Store

As I went on through Study Butte, I passed Kathy's Kosmic Kowgirl Kafe, which was closed since it was near 7pm, but I honked anyway in case she was working inside.

A couple miles down the road I pulled in to the El Dorado Motel and went inside the bar to get a room. I was the only guest and the bartender said it had been a very slow summer. Oh well, I'm doing my part for the local economy. I got in the room and got the AC going, drug my gear in and took a long cool shower. Unfortunately, the long cool shower was a short hot one. Both the hot and cold knobs gave only hot water. (Isn't this really interesting?)


Washing with Cashmere handsoap

El Dorado

I cooled in the casa for a bit then rode the pig up to the town and circled the store, pulling up to the porch. There was a small crowd drinking beer and watching the remains of the sunset and moonrise. I chatted with a couple folks and said hi to Doug, my ever present porch buddy with beer in hand.

After lolligagging for a bit I headed into the Starlight for dinner and another 5 gallons of ice tea. The music that night was good - the guy was singing old Willie Nelson and Bob Wills songs and his voice was like a mix of the two. Very pleasant time.

As he played a special request, the waitress grabbed one of the patrons and they danced in the darkness of the theater.

Outside, I could hear fireworks popping to the yells of locals, and after the music stopped I paid the bill and wandered outside. A couple of young long haired guys were setting off fireworks in the parking lot. I hung around a bit until it got quiet in the moonlight.

I started the bike and putted down to the graveyard, and as I got near a huge bottle rocket came shooting across about 15 feet in front of me. To my left, some campers yelled "Sorry!" amid howls of laughter. I yelled back "Good shot!" and they laughed.

A few more feet down the road I reached the old cemetery and turned the bike off. The moon had gone behind clouds and it was dark and peaceful sitting there. To my left I heard the thump of a fireworks cannon and shortly thereafter the boom and flower of sparkling fireworks. A second thump and a second explosion, followed by voices in the dark.

Moonlight in the old cemetery

After a bit of enjoying the cool air, I hit the motel room and called it a night.

Total miles ridden for the day was 521.

More tomorrow mi amigos...

kwakbiker 07-04-2009 10:47 AM

Great stuff

DarrenM1 07-04-2009 11:01 AM

Great report, Thanks. Rode yesterday to Jefferson TX myself... It was hotter than heck!

TheTomcat 07-04-2009 02:07 PM

Awesome pics and report. VIVA TERLINGUA!!!!
:freaky :jose

1DN5UP 07-05-2009 06:04 AM

great report...
mercifully sparce and porportional on food references.... thanks..

tricepilot 07-05-2009 06:23 AM

ESPN "Instant Classic"
Poetry and Photography, not just narrative and pics. :thumb

This is superb. Should be a printed.

One don't have stock in Shell do you?

Makes me wish I was back at Kathy's Kosmic for coffee around the fire ring.

Bob :jose

Norhasken 07-05-2009 06:44 AM

Really nice report! Easy read and fun. :thumb

princess jamaica 07-05-2009 09:30 AM

all the above,thanks:clap .

BlazerRalph 07-05-2009 11:40 AM

Great! I love the area.:clap

GB 07-05-2009 11:52 AM

Beautiful ride, report and pics! thanks for keeping that tradition going! Enjoyed your report immensely :thumb

LoneStar 07-05-2009 07:23 PM

Thanks for the comments guys :thumb

LoneStar 07-05-2009 07:26 PM

I slept great and awoke to the sun just peaking over the Chisos and skimming the Ghost Town.

Sunrise on El Dorado

Firebase Tequila - dwelling of last night's rocketeers

The old graveyard in the light of day

After snapping a few pics I started the bike and made a circle through the town and over to Roger's place. He was gone of course but I surveyed his little bit of heaven and then motored on over to Kathy's for coffee and conversation.

The usual crew was there including my friend Ray whom we'd met last year. His wife Winnie wasn't there but it was a good time listening to the local gossip and humor. Of local interest was the construction of a new "justice center" which was combining DPS, the local sheriff's office and EMS. They weren't too happy about it since it was bringing state troopers directly into the town and they weren't looking forward to a continuous stream of rookie troopers who'd be trying to make a name for themselves. As Ray said, the sheriff's know the folks and have to live with them, but the troopers...

Kathy was busy serving great breakfast and prepping for the parade later in the afternoon. It wasn't long before I was starting to sweat and knew it was time to get moving. Said my goodbye's and motored back the motel to finish up the ride report before loading up and heading over to the Ghost Town Cafe for breakfast. I normally eat at Kathy's but needed a comfortable place to upload pics and the cafe had a/c and wifi.

If pigs could fly

The ladies working there ogled the bike outside and said it was "pretty" and the owner told me how she used to ride a custom chopper before having to sell it from an injury. The waitress and cook were arguing over music until one of them went to her truck and produced a cd for the cook. I ate a breakfast of biscuits and gravy to the muffled sounds of reggae from the kitchen while the photos uploaded for the report.

Four or five party-ers stumbled into the restaurant with obvious hangovers from the night before and ordered lunch. One turned to me and asked if I was the guy they'd almost hit with the rocket the night before. I laughed and said "yes" and they apologized, saying the bottle fell over right when they lit it... I told them it was fine and I'd spent many nights shooting bottle rockets at cars myself. The girl with them said they freaked when they saw me stop the bike at the cemetery right after the rocket went past and figured I was calling the sheriff. Too funny.

I headed up to the porch afterwards to snag a "Viva Terlingua" bumper sticker since my other one is now in Montana. Conversation on the porch centered on the terrible humidity since it had rained a couple of times... I was thinking WHAT humidity????

Terlingua S.W.A.T. team weapons locker

Doug loadin' his Lone Star

We watched a thunder head forming over the Chisos basin and they were hoping it would head towards town. I was planning on riding up to the basin and the rain shower looked great to me. Nothing like a little cool rain in the middle of 105 degrees. I knew the basin would be much cooler and I hadn't been up there in a while.

Main discussion centered on the two spikes protruding through the roof of the cloud... they'd shoot upwards and disappear and then do it all over again

Very little traffic and people at this time of year and today was no exception as I rode into the park from the west entrance.

I watched as the rain cloud moved north from the Chisos and it looked like I'd miss it. Darn. I was looking to cool down. Eventually the road wound it's way around until it looked like I'd be hitting it after all. Woohoo!

As I crested a rise, I began to doubt my desire to get wet. Ahead there was a solid white wall of rain coming straight at me, so dense you couldn't see through it. Crap. Just as I saw it, 4 cars came out of the white wall with headlights on, wipers going and worst of all, traveling at 70 mph in the 45 mph speed zone. They raced past me and I could see the debris from high winds blowing in front of the deluge and it was coming fast.

There wasn't time to stop and suit up and so I did a fast u-turn right as the biggest drops of rain began thumping me hard. I nailed it and outraced the deluge until I caught up to the cars and slowed a little. It looked clear down towards Santa Elaina Canyon so I motored up Ross Maxwell drive to Sotol Vista. I stopped to take a pic or two and the rain racer cars had just pulled in. As I stood looking over the valley, I overheard one of the ladies saying "Oh my God, I felt so bad for that poor guy on the bike. He had no idea what he was riding into! I hope he's ok". Eventually they realized it was me and that I'd turned after them. She began telling me how bad the storm was and said the wind was whipping from three directions and the rain was torrential. She was glad I hadn't ridden into it. Me too honey.

From there I rode on down to Castolon and got more water and a can of Jumex banana/strawberry nectar. While there, a man and woman with British accents came over to look at the bike and talk shop. The guy had had a BMW in years past and was about to do a 2 week motorcycle trip through North Vietnam.

Wished them well and headed back for the Basin again since it looked as if the storm had gone north. Thunderheads were forming over the mountains in Mexico above Santa Elaina behind me so it seemed like a good time :)

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By the time I reached the main road, it was 4:30 and I didn't want to miss the 4th Parade so I turned west for Terlingua instead. By the time I reached the west gate I could see dust clouds blowing up from the storm coming from Mexico and barely beat the dust but got the brunt of winds blowing across the valley.

It was still early for the parade so I went on to the porch and sat listening to someone playing guitar, egged on by one of the porch goers who had a little too much to drink. Speaking of which, drinking seems to be the national sport of Terlingua, as it seems the folks around you either:
A.) have a hangover
B.) are working on one
C.) are recovering from one
D.) are planning one for later.
Some are probably, E.) all of the above.

One by one the folks disappeared from the porch and it was about time to head back for the Parade. I got to Kathy's a little early and immediately had a water balloon lobbed at me. Unfortunately it missed and I got roped into blowing up balloons for the parade marshall's car. Shortly after everyone zoomed off for Study Butte to queue up for the parade.

The afternoon was cool and overcast - about 75 degrees - and I was happy to be enjoying cool weather.

After a while you could hear sirens in the distance which signalled movement. The 12 of us who had gathered to watch waited with white-knuckled excitement I'll tell ya.

More and more folks began to show up and lined the road from the Chisos Mining Company Motel to Kathy's. I finally realized most of the population was probably IN the parade. Doh!

Eventually the parade got close enough to see the horsemen, fire department, law enforcement, atv's and cars, all weaving and circling behind the slow moving horses.

As they approached, the two lead riders charged up the hill and reached the top waving flags - it was quite cool to watch. Kathy in the old Parade Marshall's car - which had belonged to her dad - made big circles in the road honking and waving. The rest of the gang showed up with sirens blazing and it became a fiesta in short order. The crowd swelled and the music started. The EMS personnel began serving food - which by the way this parade is for - to support the local EMS - and the party got started. I chatted with a few folks and paid for my plate, enjoying the circus going on around me. What a hoot!

All good things must come to an end (for me at least) and I had a room booked in Marathon and a dance to get to. It was about 7:30 and was dark and cludy to the north so I knew I needed to get going to make the dance before it was over.

With a tinge of sadness I fired up the bike, getting thumbs up from some folks around, and headed for the park entrance. A front had moved in from the west and north and I knew it would be darker sooner than normal. I had hoped to be there a little early to get a shower and get to the dance for the fireworks show when it started. I knew it wasn't gonna happen, but still wanted to get there before dark if possible. It's about 60 miles through the park at 45 mph before you can open up for the 45 miles to Marathon. I didn't relish the thought of riding in the dark, but even less what I was about to go through...

Shortly after I reached Panther Junction and turned north, I got hit with violent stomach spasms and cramps - probably the worst I've ever had. I tried to continue on, but in a few hundred yards I was sweating profusely, trying not to throw up and feeling very dizzy. There was no place to stop and I struggled on until finally reaching a pull-out. I was barely able to get off the bike as I had become weak and the stomach cramps were very intense. I felt severely nauseated and sick and began to wonder if I was about to spend the night on the desert floor. It was that bad, and I was praying hard, believe me.

Laying over the seat of the bike, I watched as the drops of sweat hit the dry ground near my footpeg. As they did, suddenly 6 or 8 black beetles came running out from under the creosote bushes, swarming the wet spots on the ground. I did not relish the thought of spending the night on the ground.

Just great. Violently ill, alone on the edge of the road, with 30 miles behind me and 70 in front with darkness falling. After a while, the cramps subsided some and I was able to begin to think again. I was shaking, weak, and soaked with sweat but got the bike started and headed north. My goal was to try and make it to Marathon, or to just stop at the park entrance if I couldn't go on and wait for someone to come by.

The light was fading and the clouds made it darker. The park ranger station was empty as expected but I finally made it out the north entrance and got the throttle seriously on. The cool wind helped but I still was having smaller stomach spasms and was very weak. 44 miles to go, as quickly as I could.

It's nothing but open range land between the park and Marathon, and I had no idea what large game would be crossing the road in the dusk. As the light got so dim that I could barely make out shapes, sure enough, a mule deer bolted across about a hundred feet ahead and I grabbed hard, but he went on across.

By this time my face shield was covered in bug splatters and it was getting hard to see. A ways down the road I hit a rabbit who'd been sitting in the middle of the road - I didn't see him and he didn't move... (sorry Hollin :( ) Just after that, I saw a dark shape move to my left and I hit the brakes hard and swerved... only to realize it was a spot on the face-shield that looked like movement in the low light. Let's just say that was a long hard ride to Marathon. I felt so poorly, I was glad to see the flashing red light for the Border Patrol checkpoint. I knew Marathon wasn't too far away. I must have looked pretty bad as the Patrolman passed me through pretty quick. I had driven from Panther Junction all the way and seen not a single car. Would've been a long wait for help.

Approaching Marathon, the mountains to the west were a faint silhouette in the distance. Fireworks were exploding off to my left against the mountain backdrop, presumably from the dance, so I guess I got to see them after all, just not as I'd have preferred.

Still feeling queasy, I arrived at the Inn and got my gear into the room. All I wanted was a shower and to rest a bit. As I turned on the water, the shower door fell off. Crap. 10 minutes later I had rigged it back on and enjoyed the cool water. I tried to drink a glass of ice water, but it caused further spasms.

Didn't feel like it, but changed clothes and went back out to ride down to the dance. There seemed to be a steady stream of diesel pickups rumbling past toward the park. It's a few miles down a single lane road to the park, and about 600 yards out, both sides of the road were lined with truck after truck. Headlights revealed couples dressed up walking together hand in hand, folks carrying coolers and chairs, all drawn towards the music from the darkness ahead.

It was almost 11 pm by the time I got there and got parked near the main gate behind a couple of DPS cars. The country music was playing and the crowd was dancing on the pad, illuminated by a few light bulbs. In the cool evening air, kids rushed past playing in the dark, families sat in chairs picknicking and enjoying the scene.

I watched and wandered, shooting a few pics here and there, but mainly just taking in the sights and atmosphere. The night air felt great despite the tinges of pain in my stomach. Fireworks popped in the darkness behind the stage to the squeals of kids.

What a nice night it was, even feeling lousy.

The long day finally caught up with me and I headed back to town. I sat on a bench in the dark on Main St. and listened to fireworks across the railroad tracks until finally heading over to the Inn and crashing.

Not sure what caused the stomach spasms... breakfast, a snack or the donated foods prepared for the parade. Possibly the heat releasing something from the plastic of the Camelbak into the water? Who knows!

Life's an adventure right?

More tomorra amigos!

bullfrog 07-05-2009 09:39 PM


i always enjoy your RRs. i have ridden these same roads. i am impressed with your photography. when i ride somewhere new i see many things that i should stop and photograph but i always keep rolling. you, otoh, stop and enjoy the experience (which you capture in your photographs.) excellent.

maybe we'll meet in the bb area some day. i'll feed you a beer.



LoneStar 07-06-2009 10:34 AM

Bullfrog - that's a deal :evil Hope to meet up some day so I can collect

Thanks for the comments and you're right - I usually blow past on the bike and go "I really should stop and take a pic" but keep on truckin. Decided to stop more than usual this trip. How's the 1150 treatin' ya?

bullfrog 07-06-2009 01:35 PM


Originally Posted by LoneStar
Bullfrog - that's a deal :evil Hope to meet up some day so I can collect

Thanks for the comments and you're right - I usually blow past on the bike and go "I really should stop and take a pic" but keep on truckin. Decided to stop more than usual this trip. How's the 1150 treatin' ya?

i'm glad you decided to stop more than was worth the effort.

i'm lovin' the 1150...finally made it "mine"...been riding the crap out of it...

here's what she looks like now.

speaking of beer...i have been wanting to head over to Shiner when it cools down a bit...October maybe???

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