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Old 05-21-2012, 11:58 AM   #1
rudolf35 OP
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Location: Arlington, TX
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Wicked Ft.Davis, TX Nightrod test run

This year has been a strange one. Between work, family health and all sorts of issues I had very little time to properly road test my 2012 Nightrod (NRS). But not all is doom and gloom, a window of opportunity opened up and it was time to make a run for it.

So, on a Thursday I loaded up the NRS and started out for a short run to Fort Davis, TX.


Nightrod packed and ready to show what it can do

The idea of this run is to test the NRS on the back roads to see how it behaves; keeping in mind that this Fall there is a run in the works that will aim it at Yellowstone via Iowa and Nebraska. Anyway, so out on US67 we went; noticed that I could not get rid of the DfW traffic until around 120 miles from Fort Worth - like stepping in mud, it keeps with you for a long time.


Finally ditched DfW traffic

So after finally getting out of the DfW traffic, 128 miles from home, the road opened up and I could settle the NRS on a nice steady 75mph and sit back and grin.


Time to smile and enjoy

Up to this point the NRS was behaving as it should, sucking gas and smooth as my BMW's - love it. After passing through Stephenville, Brownwood and Santa Anna I came to the little village of Talpa. Not much to look at but a good spot to take five and look the NRS over.


NRS in Talpa, TX


Scenic Talpa, TX


Photogenic village but almost dead


The only sign of live in a 20 minute R&R stop

After that exiting stop it was time to blast on, the next stop I was aiming for was San Angelo, TX. Not much to see there but the gas was cheap compared to what I have seen along the way ($3.32 for mid-grade). The only other excitement worth noting was that locusts where out in force. By the time I got to San Angelo, my windshield and riding pats had been festooned with yellow splotches of dead bug juice.

And on we went - locusts, oil service trucks and dust be dammed - full speed ahead; or at least 80mph. As the miles clicked by the NRS never once gave any indication of issues or not liking the speed. I noted that the footrest I mounted, some H-D made ones with swing-out heel-rests. where performing very well and gave me all the "wiggle around" room I wanted. At this point I also noticed that the stock seat had not given me any soar spots or back issues (more on the seat at the end).

Keeping up with my tradition of stopping at out of the way places I found another semi-ghost town, Barnhart, TX. Not a typo and this village's claim to fame is the junction between US67 and TX163; not much to brag about but it did have a place to get some fluids in me.


Now that is yellow


How is that for contrast?


Dust and road, what a mix

Onward; blasting through Big Lake, TX my next gas spot I was aiming for was McCamey, TX. Another oil service town with a few gas stations and a lot of DUST. At this point I looked at the GPS and noted that it was just a short hop to Fort Stockton and just another 16 miles to the cutoff between US76 and I-10; there should be gas at the 67 10 junction!


A Spanish name makes things sound so nice; still just a dusty road


Yeah, this is a back road


This should alleviate any doubts that I was in Trans-Pecos country


Are we there yet?


But it was the junction of US67 and I-10

So on I went. I gleefully hit I-10 and at a legal 80mph headed for the southern junction of I-10 and US67 (where US67 again splits off from I-10). Happy in my delusion that there was gas to be found at the US67 and I-10 junction I made the not so bright choice to blast through Ft. Stockton and all the gas I wanted.

Coming up on the I-10 US67 junction I noticed a total lack of anything but road signs that pointed me South towards Alpine, TX - just as a cruel joke there was no millage indicated. So on South I blasted, happy at 75 without a care in the world until the next sign. Reality does have a sense of humor, just as I passed the sign stating "51miles to Alpine" my remaining miles indicated 40miles to dust. Well, I was to far from Ft.Stockton, 51miles from Alpine and 40 miles remaining - time to crap shoot.

In a gallant attempt to trade speed for range I slowed to 55mph and tugged on toward Alpine. Now mind you, this is way West Texas and anything under 80mph is considered stalled. I did the semi-smart thing and kicked on the 4-ways and stayed on the right edge of the lane; talk about a humbling experience as mommy-wagons passed me doing better than 90mph.

Coming up to another taunting road sign, I was dully informed that it was another 15 miles to the junction of US67 and TX90, all the while my "remaining miles" showed "Lo". Great, around another 28 to Alpine and I get the "Lo", @#$%@#$ - looks like walking time.

But it seems the incompetence of the H-D fuel gauge makers and pure luck saved my bacon.


No walking on this trip

Now, to be dead honest the picture of the Alpine city sign was taken the next morning; if one knows the area, one can tell that the sun is coming from the front of the sign, East. As I crept into Alpine I pulled up to a Fina station and kicked the trip meter over from "remaining miles" to the "A" which I zero at fuel stops - it read 168 miles! Now for my GS that is just getting into 1/4 tank range but on this NRS I was near dust. As I stood there happily hearing the pump feed my tank the shut off clunk seemed to come way to early, WTF!?!? I pulled the nozzle out and brimmed the tank; as I turned to replace the nozzle on the pump I noted that I had pumped in 4.5gal/US! OK fine, that means that I had another 15 to 17 miles remaining - either the going 55mph saved a bunch or the H-D factory can not set a gas gauge right, anyway, from now on 130 miles is my gas point no matter what the gauge reads!


Goal for the night

So, the stats for the day where 485 miles, a bucket of "Angst" and a fun ride - not a bad day, all in all.

After a good nights rest the days goal was to see what can be seen around the Fort Davis area. That needless to say, entailed a ride from Alpine to Fort Davis, view the fort, go to the McDonald observatory and do the Fort Davis loop (TX188 and TX166). Having filled the tank the night before I headed West on TX118 towards Fort Davis.


Just out of Alpine looking towards the Davis Mnts

Arriving at the historic Fort Davis (of Buffalo Soldier fame) it was time to do the "turista" thing.


Officer row


View from the parade ground


View from barracks building


That will keep the peace


As would this


Riding the updrafts

Having had my fill of the fort it was time to head West on TX118 toward my next stop, McDonald observatory. Now, TX as we all know it basically flat. But there are exceptions to every statement and the Ft.Davis loop is one of them.


What is in store


Not your typical TX rest stop

At this point the number of pictures drop off and I just enjoy the most twisted road I have ridden in TX. The Ft.Davis loop reminds me a bit of the Pig Trail in AR but with a lot less trees.


A nice sweeper


More of the same


NRS was on the Ft.Davis loop

After some very nice sweepers my second goal for the day came into view; McDonald Observatory.


One of the many copulas of the McDonald Observatory


McDonald Observatory entrance


View from visitors center

After parking and drinking what seemed to be a gallon of water, I opted for the guided tour ($8.00 got a lecture and a ride to the two major telescopes).


Top of TX?


Road leading to the observatory


Science country


Yes dear, we are 4,000ft above TX


McDonald observatories newest telescope


Backside of the 1936 telescope


Now that is what I call a solid footing


Everything is big in TX, even the guide - she knew her stuff though


Segmented mirror telescope, the newest telescope


Air-suspension for the telescope; thought for the NRS?


Million dollar black boxes

Having lost total track of time


Arrived at 10:00 per this device

It was time hit the Fort Davis loop again. At this point pictures where the last thing on my mind; I just twisted the throttle and smiled all the way around the loop back to Fort Davis (just short of a 100 mile ride). Having not ridden many miles that day i was surprisingly worn out and head straight to the motel, dinner and R&R time.

Now life has a way of biting one in the butt and now was my turn. After receiving a call from home, informing me of a medical situation at home, it was time to remap the trip and head for the home front (ditching the part of the trip to Terlingua and the Big Bend park).

The following morning I loaded the NRS, grabbed some breakfast and headed back toward the DfW area and home. But on this part of the trip I had to make time so interstate travel was called for.


Ready for the run home

The fasted way to the DfW area from Alpine is either the way I came (US67 all the way) or I-20 East from Monahans, TX. I choose the latter. Blasting North on US67 and then East on I-10 to Fort Stockton; this time refueling for the run to Monahans (never went to much under 80mph). On the way to Monahans, TX there was a nice rest stop and I did take a moment to shoot a few images.


Butterfield Overland marker on TX18


NRS and TX scrub brush


NRS at the Butterfield Overland rest area

Once reaching Monahans and fueling it was a straight, boring, shot East towards the DfW area. Traveling at 80mph until Eastland county and from there a steady 70mph I made it home by 16:04. Not bad for 490miles and several stops to fuel and give the cheeks a moment to relax.


Trip stats per Garmin

Now since the trip had to be cut short I did not do as much millage as I wanted to, but it did show me a few things about the NRS. One, fuel gauge is way off, wide tires and big chip black top do not mix to well and the seat works somewhat. I say the seat works somewhat because I do not know if it was my right hip giving me a "hello", or tension due to family issues made me tense up my right side. Anyway one slices it, my right hip and butt hurt. Now I know it will take some more "testing" but I think a more relaxed ride will prove the seat.

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rudolf35 screwed with this post 05-21-2012 at 12:42 PM
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Old 05-21-2012, 12:37 PM   #2
Dave.0
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nice pics - I love getting out into that area, including marfa and big bend.
Last time I was out there I picked up a performance award for passing a truck that was going 85 on a two lane road where the speed limit was 80. I must have been going well over 100 at the time, but got a ticket for 87.
Sweet looking bike, too.
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Old 05-21-2012, 12:55 PM   #3
ganze
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great trip. you went from dfw? I think I am going to plan a similar trip in the fall. anything you would do differently?
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Old 05-21-2012, 02:06 PM   #4
Spartandude
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Awesome. Thanks for taking us with. The morning light shots are excellent (not saying the rest were bad).
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Old 05-21-2012, 02:43 PM   #5
rudolf35 OP
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Thumb Anything different

Quote:
Originally Posted by ganze View Post
great trip. you went from dfw? I think I am going to plan a similar trip in the fall. anything you would do differently?
Not really! US67 will take you all the way from I-20, South of Dallas, to Presidio. The roads are good and as someone has already stated, speeds are almost wide open. Coming back, I-20 is alright but it is a boring interstate, it is what it is. Remember, Ft.Davis is generally 20F cooler than the surrounding area so have liners with you.
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