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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Sanguis, Mar 1, 2017.
Ride on brother.
Thanx for letting me live vicariously through you.
At Scott's farm:
It's been my pleasure. I don't think I'll be able to keep doing this every other day, but I'll try. Keep send Laurie my regards!
Been following along and enjoying your RR thus far. I spent several weeks riding in Texas in 2016 and although I read earlier in your RR that riding Texas Hill Country wasn't your plan, since you're in Lubbock, I would highly encourage you to go ride the 3 Sisters (RR 335, RR 336, and RR 337) near Barksdale and Leakey, Texas. RR=Ranch Road! However, I do understand trying to fit in so much while touring can be tiring, though the 3 Sisters were heavenly on a motorcycle.
Good luck, be safe, I'll definitely be following along. Is riding through our gorgeous state of Michigan in your plans on your way to New England?
Hey BIG OIL,
Thank you for your reply. I am glad you are enjoying my RR.
I am planning on riding through Hill Country and the three sisters. Just not on my way to the east. I want to do it when I am taking my time on my way back.
Michigan is on my list as well, I will have to check what route I will be taking exactly though.
Really enjoy the way you bring your adventure to life for us, Ben. Look me up if your travel brings you through Vancouver BC and you are in need for a place to stay the night at.
Keep the adventure going but pace yourself and stay safe.
Thank you for your reply and generous offer. Vancouver is not on my route, but if I pass by there I will definately contact you!
Today I woke up at 6 am at Scott's farm. Repacked all my stuff and loaded it onto the motorcycle. When I took off it looked like it was going to be a great day. I couldn't be more wrong. After just a few miles the wind started blowing so hard that I was pushed off the road and onto the emergency lane. After a few seconds I realised that I could be tossed under a truck this way, so I stopped and just continued in second gear on the emergency lane with both feet off the pegs. It was crazy and it only got worse when I got further. The worst was probably at Guadalupe Mountains. Even cars stopped at the side of the road, because of heavy wind gushes. I stopped at a rest area just before the National Park. There was an older gentleman who had pulled his van over in order to take a break from the intense weather. Since we were the only two at that rest area, we got to talk and he introduced himself as Robert and said he was a dentist and artist from Iran. He offered me soup and some walnuts and dates. The hot soup was a very welcome surprise in this weather. We talked about life for like an hour, until I realized I really should get going. I was already delayed by a few hours because of the weather and I knew that I would be delayed even more.
I know that I was warned for this, but I have to say that the part of the country that I rode through today was a lot less spectacular than the parts from previous week. Lots of trash, many oil rigs and refineries, funky smells and the scenary was simply not as beautiful. I didn't like it as much. Ofcourse there were some cool parts, like the Guadalupe Mountains, but unfortunately because of the weather I couldn't enjoy them. I took the 62 all the way from El Paso to Lubbock and I was basically leaning to the right for 6 hours straight in order to compensate for the cross winds.
I got to Lubbock at around 16:30 (I was hoping to be there at 13:00), were Robert and Nadia live. I got in touch with Robert through tent space. They are great people and we had some good laughs. I was able to cross a few things off my bucket list again: I drank some real home made moonshine and I pumped a shotgun. So it got turned around and today became a great day anyway. I learned alot about American culture today as well. During the afternoon we drove around a bit through the town and in the evening Robert cooked a great meal. Thank you both so much for your hospitality and help. I really appreciate it.
Tomorrow I am going to Collinsville. Hopefully the weather will be a bit nicer...
Thanks everyone for your kind replies and help.
Fantastic report so far. Ride safe!
Great report. Thanks for taking us along, ride safe. If you are in NJ let me know you can definitely pitch a tent in my back yard.
I can't help but think of the movie Dumb and Dumber when they make a wrong turn and he says "I expected the Rocky Mountains to be a lot rockier than this..."
Ben was spotted in Ralls, Texas this afternoon...
making friends with a local farmer...
and then we had a hot beverage and a good chat. I could have just continued on riding east with him when we left, but I was out on Old Blue today, and a little under prepared for a real riding adventure.
Great meeting you... have a great trip around America. If you come back through Lubbock you have a place to stay. I'll PM you info on the mountain passes we talked about.
Ben made it safely to Collinsville TX this evening, despite his flat tire.
Ben, it was great having you as a guest for dinner. Your stories were wonderful, and you are just beginning your trip. Best of luck as you continue on your adventure.
Here is a quick pic of Ben hangin' out with my brother-in-law this evening.
Thank you for your replies, kind words and offers. I really appreciate it.
I had a great time. Thank you so much for your hospitality. Please send your family my regards.
I woke up this morning in Lubbock, said goodbye to Robert and Nadia and set off to Collinsville. I was happy, because I started riding early, about and hour before sun rise. I would be able to get alot of miles and even go see some Tulip fields next to Collinsville. But ofcourse Murphy had other plans for me... At Ralls, just a couple of miles outside of Lubbock, I got a flat tire. My initial thought was: ok, I am screwed. Started contacting people and a nice gentleman took me to the local tire shop, where they only patch car tires.
But then I thought: I got the tools, so why not give it a try myself?
I took off the back wheel, took out the inner tube, took out the nail that went straight through my tire. Then I put in the new inner tube and apparently it got stuck between the rim and the tire, so it got punctured. At this point I didnt know this, so I inflated the tube a little bit and put the tire on the rim. Then I tried to inflate the tire completely, but obviously that didn't work. Some man in a pick-up, who introduced himself as Robert (is everybody called Robert in Texas?!) saw me struggling and offered to help ("I ride a Harley myself, so I know your struggle!"). I happily thanked him and he tried to inflate it as well. When that obviously didn't work either, he said he could take the wheel to the local shop and see if they could maybe fix it.
After around 10 minutes he returned and said that they couldn't but a shop in another town closeby could. "I will take it to the shop, so you can stay and watch your stuff, just reimburse me when I get back." Gladly I accepted his kind offer. It was during this hour that another nice man, called James, came over to see what was going on. He kept me company, which made the situation alot better.
When Robert returned with the fixed tire, I asked him how much I owed him. "How about nothing?" I was in shock. I keep getting surprised in this country, in a good way. "Just, next time, when you see somebody in a situation like this, you gotta help him." That sounded fair to me. I thanked Robert wholeheartedly for his help and generousity and he was on his way.
Now James and I put the back wheel back in place, installed the ABS and got it calibrated again. At this time "TheRoss" arrived on his motorcycle to see what was going on and shortly after that another man in a pick-up who was a mechanic as well (where was he 3 hours ago?!).
TheRoss treated James and me on a hot beverage and after a short, but good chat, we were on our way. James went home and Ross and I continued on the 82 east. He went to visit a friend and I continued all the way to Collinsville. I was kind of worried about the patched tire, but I think it will be fine until Louisiana. There I want to replace it for a new tube.
The rest of the ride was nice. The scenery became a lot nicer than the day before. I also think the winds were less strong or I might just have gotten used to them.
I got in touch with "NoTimeToRoam"/David through the tent space and I arrived at his house at around 6 pm. I also met his family and we had a great dinner with great food and lovely conversations. I had a really good time. Since there was no extra room in the house I had two options: pitch a tent in the yard or sleep in a nice bed at his brother in law's place, one mile down the road. I picked the obvious choice, especially after hearing about the weather forcast.
Now I can hear you all think: you didn't even do some local riding together?!
David couldn't accept that, so he rode his motorcycle together with me to his brother in law. So technically we did (and it was 90% gravel!)
Thank you so much for your hospitality and hopefully one day we will do some more riding together.
After arriving at David's brother in law, Jeff, I was shown my room and we played some pool and had some drinks with his friend Simon. After a couple of hours of some good laughs and great stories, I was too tired to keep my eyes open, so I decided to call it a day.
Tomorrow I will ride to Willis, Texas.
Thanks again everyone for your help and hospitality.
Meet me here...
Ben left Willis Tx. this morning heading for Westlake ,lousianna. He had a full belly and was in good frame of mind. We had a great time with him, he made the mistake of letting me know he had never ate Tex Mex food so we took him to a local joint and now he is hooked for life.
My apologies for not posting the last few days. No excuses, just didn't feel like it. So here it goes for both yesterday and today.
I left Collinsville at around 8 this morning. It was pretty chilly, so I was happy with the decision to put my liner on under my jacket. It actually stayed cold for quite a while and for most of the day there was an almost complete overcast. If I remember correctly, I had to keep my grip heating turned on until 13:00-ish. I rode south towards Willis, Texas. I took the 902 east for a couple of miles and turned right on the 289. Then the 1461 east and right again on the 2478. These were nice little land roads. The wind was quite hard though, I believe because the countryside was mostly flat, with a little hill here and there.
When I turned on the 380 to the east it became a bit boring. It was a busy road, that wasn't too fun too ride all the way up to Greenville. There I took the 69 to Emory and from there the 19 all the way to Riverside. When riding south on the 19, I noticed the landscape changing. The more south, the more trees. Less farms and more regular houses and ranches. I definately liked the last half of this ride more. It was way more scenic than the previous three hours. Also the weather became better and better and even the sun came out when I got to Trinity, where I got some gas and decided to take a short break. I parked my bike next to an old, blue Chevrolet pick-up with chrome bumpers. There was an older man leaning on it, smoking a cigarette. He was wearing a baseball cap with white hair underneath and he looked to me like a typical American farmer. We got to talk and he introduced himself as Ronny Johnson. When I told him I was from The Netherlands, he said that when he was in the Army, he was stationed in Germany. We talked some more about life in Holland and in America, places where I should go and places where I definately shouldn't go. He treated me on a Gatorade and after a while it was time for both of us to continue our ways. Honestly I couldn't understand half the things he said, but I just smiled and nodded.
From Riverside I took some small country roads through the Sam Houston National Forest. That was a beautiful area. Especially the last couple of miles were amazing. There are some spectacular houses in that neighbourhood.
I got to Tony's and Marge's house near Willis at around 15:15. I got in touch with Tony through the tent space thread. They live on a beautiful piece of land in a house that they built themselves! Tony and Marge are very nice and hospitable people. They both ride motorcycles and plan on doing a big trip in a few years on adventure bikes. In the evening they took me out to eat Tex-Mex. I had never eaten this, but I was told about it and apparently it was something I had to eat. And it was awesome! Too bad that it is probably super unhealthy, otherwise I would eat it regularly from now on. After dinner we drove around in the nearby town, Tony's workplace and their neighbourhood. It is a very nice area.
When we returned to their home, Tony put on the movie Wild Hogs, which I hadn't seen before. Now I understand why Tony wanted me to see this. Great movie.
In the morning Tony made me an awesome American breakfast with bacon, sausage and scrambled eggs.
Tony and Marge, thank you so much for hosting me. I had a great time and I hope we stay in touch.
After breakfast I got my bike ready and headed out to the east. I took the 150 for a few miles and then the GPS told me to turn on a dirt road. I thought: are we really doing this? Yes, we are doing this. It was fairly easy, until after around 5 miles I got to a huge puddle that blocked the entire trail. I got off the bike to check its depth. It was pretty deep and the mud was super soft, I wouldn't be sble to do it and it wasn't worth it too get all my stuff wet, so I just turned around and went back to the main road and turned onto the 1725 instead. Followed that one to Cleveland, then the 105 until I turned left on the 770 until Kountze. All great smaller roads. I got some gas in there and took a short breakt to change the batteries in my camera and continued my way on the 327, 96 to Evadale and then the 2246 onto the 62 to Mauriceyville. The trees started changing and slowly but surely the soil turned into swamps. When I turned onto the 12 and crossed the line between Texas and Louisiana the entire landscape had changed. No more hills with pine trees, but swamps and cypress trees. At DeQuincy I turned on the 27 and then the 379 into Westlake, where Harry lives.
Also with Harry I got in touch through tent space. Great guy with some cool bikes and a nice shop attached to his house. He was very willing to help me with my bike and gave me some very helpful pointers. Also he told me about Cajuns and other cultures in the state.
The last few days were great. I really feel like I'm getting closer and closer to the deep south. Wooden houses with lots of pick-ups, tractors, motorcycles, quads or just random stuff on the grass. American and Confederate flags in every other yard. Very cool. Really just as I imagined it.
Tonight I am spending the night in Westlake and headed further east tomorrow, where I will meet DWalt and c17load from adv rider. Looking forward to it!