Routr 66 on motorcycle in winter (Jan.~Feb. 2016)

Discussion in 'Americas' started by johnwan12, Dec 29, 2015.

  1. johnwan12

    johnwan12 Been here awhile

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    Day4:

    I am in San Antonio now, I have finished "eating miles" task today (last three days , Miami to Gainesville 365 miles, From Gainesville to Baton Rouge 581 miles, from Baton Rouge to San Antonio 481 miles), from now on I will start to smell roses and will slow down a bit as my friend, a fellow American rider, Mike mentioned the best parts of my trip are in Texas Hill Country and in northern part of California .

    I left from Fairfield Inn at about 9:00 am (don't want another cold and foggy morning again) , arrived at La Quinta Inn in San Antonio ($79 per night)at 5:45 pm.

    Again it's cheap price and easy for me to get on to the I-10 to Texas Hill country. I didn't take the place Mike mentioned on his trip, not only the price (a bit expensive, $159 per night), also I just didn't feel comfortable to do "U" turns twice to get there ( I noticed this when I looked at the Google map carefully). I am still new to a big cruiser bike like this HD street glide, so I would like to take it easy.

    It was an easier riding than the one I did yesterday, but one thing I need to mention I felt the windshield on the Street Glide is not high enough to stop the wind coming towards my helmet at 70 miles/per hour speed or above, the wind hits my helmet and shakes my head via my helmet constantly, it's annoying and causing fatigue after hours riding. So I think Harley Davidson should build an adjustable windshield screen, 10 cm higher on the highway would be much better.

    I had dinner in Mi Tierra café, had a Mexican food for dinner and two huge glasses of beer ( I think called Corona), spoke to an old lady Linda who served me and has lived in San Antonio for last 30 years, she was originally from Canada and tried to help her brother's business in San Antonio then, but ended up living here forever.

    For now, I am going to plan tomorrow's trip, it's the Texas Hill country and the Big Bend national park.

    Will update you guys soon.

    Attached Files:

    #81
  2. mikegc

    mikegc Long timer Super Supporter Supporter

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    John, you're going to have a great time today and I'm envious! Enjoy your time in the Hill Country. just before leaving Del Rio, fill that big Hog up. Actually, there are a few places to refuel at the lake but, once you cross the big bridge, there's virtually no fuel until Sanderson. You can get regular fuel at the little store in Langtry in a pinch. The Marathon Motel is a very clean place and you'll like the price. If you're a light sleeper, use the ear plugs they provide as the trains do come through during the night. Enjoy a great dinner at the Gage Hotel, either in the restaurant or the bar.

    Mike
    #82
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  3. johnwan12

    johnwan12 Been here awhile

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    Day5:
    I rode from San Antonio at 9:30 am and arrived at Marathon motel at about 6:30pm, not via the I-10, but via the Hill Country, please see the blue line I made on the map. It was an awesome ride, the best of the West Texas, I made video via my action cameras.

    Had a nice dinner and beer in Gage Hotel.

    Don't know what I am going to do yet, have a day off or do the big bend?

    Attached Files:

    #83
  4. mikegc

    mikegc Long timer Super Supporter Supporter

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    Go down to Big Bend!!!!!!

    Mike
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  5. Boulder Ed

    Boulder Ed Bin Ridin

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    and go the speed limit while there :-)
    #85
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  6. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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    Try to see the night lights near Marfa.
    #86
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  7. mikegc

    mikegc Long timer Super Supporter Supporter

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    He's in Las Vegas, now, and heading to Death Valley for a couple of days.

    Mike
    #87
  8. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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    Oh boy. He may hit some rain. Aren't the ADV crew in Furnace Creek this weekend? It usually rains when they are there!
    #88
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  9. mikegc

    mikegc Long timer Super Supporter Supporter

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    Yeah, I see that storm over here on the east coast but, hopefully, it's blow through tonight. Tomorrow's forecast for DV looks pretty good even if a bit cool. He seems to be having a good trip.

    Mike
    #89
  10. johnwan12

    johnwan12 Been here awhile

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    Hi Guys,

    I was too busy to update my trip reports during my trip, the internet connection was not so reliable in some places, but okay in other .

    I have successfully finished my trip and returned the bike to Eaglerider office in Los Angeles in the morning on 5th of Feb. flew back to Melbourne from LAX at 10:20 PM on 5th of Feb., safely arrived at Melbourne airport at about 9:30 am on 7th of Feb.

    Went back to work on Monday the 8th of Feb., so much things to do my first week in office.

    I would like to say thank you to all of you for helping me on my 15 days motorcycle trip in USA, now it's time for me to give you guys some my trip reports which I didn't get chance to do so when I was on my journey.

    The reports will start the day 5 of my journey as I previously posted day1~day4 , it may take a few days for me to produce reports of day 5~ day 15, but they will come

    Thanks for your patience.

    Regards

    John
    #90
  11. mikegc

    mikegc Long timer Super Supporter Supporter

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    We look forward to your report, John. Glad the trip went well!

    Mike
    #91
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  12. johnwan12

    johnwan12 Been here awhile

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    Day 5:


    I rode from San Antonio at 9:30 am and arrived at Marathon at about 6:30pm, not via the I-10, but via the Hill Country, please see the purple line I made on the map. It was an awesome ride, the best of the West Texas, I made some videos via my action cameras. The weather forecast in the morning did indicate there would be foggy weather condition in the morning around TX hill country area, so I didn't start riding at 8: 30 am, but at 9:30 am instead. I was hoping the morning sun light would clear up the foggy condition. I was experiencing foggy condition in some sessions of the Hill Country this morning, even though it was already almost 10:00 am .

    on some roads before Comstock, I accelerated my motorbike to 110 miles/per hour three times for testing and fun, the bike was still very stable at this kind of speed. it was very exciting indeed.

    The river near Comstock was so beautiful, I was trying to stop and take some photos, but I lost the balance after stopping my bike on the side of the road (bridge), a man driving a van from opposite direction slowed down his van and did a U turn and he helped me to pull the bike back to the balance position. This was my first time receiving some help from a local American, thanks you, I still don't even know your name.

    Had a nice dinner and beer in Gage Hotel, Marathon.

    Don't know what I am going to do yet, may have a day off or may do the big bend tomorrow?

    Decision was yet to be decided.

    Attached Files:

    #92
  13. johnwan12

    johnwan12 Been here awhile

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    Day 6:

    Had a good sleep last night, checked the weather , it's not that good, showers intermittently and much colder than yesterday, I have decided I will hole up this motel another night, I really like the Texas style room, it's small but comfy , also would like to give my body a rest as I have done "eating miles"4~ 5 days in a row without rest.

    I was going to visit the town and speak to the local people and take some videos and photos.

    Went to the motel reception and extended another night in the motel, spoke a lovely young lady Vanessa who recommended me a place to have my breakfast--- J&G Grill, the GAS Station.

    I went to the GAS station (the first one , not the second one when you arrive at Marathon) for breakfast in J&G Grill, the couple Gilda and Juan (both are Catholic) were very nice, Gilda cooked my breakfast "beacon and sausage omelet" , it was fantastic. Gilda also made my lunch, so I don't have to walk a fair bit distance to get my lunch in the afternoon. Their children all grown up, who went to San Antonio and found job /life there. The population in Marathon is about 350~400, most of them working in hospitality business. I am not so sure how the town can sustain it's life style/culture when all youngsters go else where for living. I also bought myself a big can of Texas beer from the station, that Juan recommended.

    I walked around in the street after my breakfast , and went to visit a gift shop with lots of old/new books and other interesting stuff, I spoke to the shop keeper Michelle, she is a beautifully young lady with very charming character. Michelle grew up in Alpine region TX, educated and worked in NY , now she is happily living in Marathon, working in Gage Hotel and this gift shop.

    Then I went to Gage Hotel, it's a beautiful place built in 1927 by acclaimed architect, Henry Trost, the legendary Gage Hotel offers authentic laid-back luxury with premier accommodations, top-notch service and a first class dining experience. The 45-room hotel offers guests a multitude of hotel amenities and activities, including a full service spa, heated swimming pool, 27-acre landscaped native garden, fitness center, or enjoy planned activities arranged by the hotel concierge in near-by Big Bend National Park and the surrounding area. Located in the beautiful Texas Mountain Region in the charming community of Marathon. I walked around the Gage hotel, restaurant ( I had a very nice dinner there the night I arrived in Marathon), gardens, corridors, fireplaces , swimming poor and other hotel amenities, they are absolutely beautiful, I promised myself I will take my wife to live here for a night or two in the future.

    Came back to my room and I was setting up my Canon camera for my video dairy (first time I got the chance to get the camera out of my bag) on the porch outside of my room , I saw a young beautiful woman came out from the room 12 next to mine (my room was 11), we said hello to each other and exchanged info what we had done and what we were going to do. She was travelling alone and heading to Big Bend National park and she had worked and traveled many places in USA. She invited me to have a breakfast with her to chat more, but I was too busy/stupid to accept her invitation , also I didn't realize she was going to check out and never come back again. Such is life, someone appears once in your life and disappears forever.

    I actually went to Oasis cafe for my lunch in the afternoon, reserved my "lunch" from J&G Grill for dinner. Spoke to the waitress Fanny, she served me with a big burger with lots of chips and coffee. Fanny came from elsewhere many years ago, she is quite happy with the life style in a small town like Marathon, she warmly greeted everyone walking into the cafe , she kept filling my cup with coffee, a lovely and cheerful lady.



    I saw snow when I opened my door in the afternoon, I was glad I had reserved my "lunch" from J&G Grill for dinner:) whilst I was worrying about the weather and road condition tomorrow. I kept my fingers crossed and prayed for better weather tomorrow. Please see my video clip of my trip report:


    I would like to head to the big bend national park tomorrow if weather and road condition are okay.

    Attached Files:

    #93
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  14. johnwan12

    johnwan12 Been here awhile

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    Additional info for Day 6:

    The reason I dropped the breakfast invitation from a beautiful young woman , not only because I am a married man and I was focusing on the journey ahead, it was because my mind was concentrated on my Canon 550D camera. This is not a normal Canon DSLR camera, two months ago I upgraded the firmware of the camera from 1.0.8 to 1.0.9 and installed a software called MagicLantern as an add-on software, that transformed my Canon 550D to a professional camcorder. I was preparing for shooting my first documentary about my USA motorcycle trip and testing the settings on the camera I had learned last 2~3 months. Sorry for not accepting her invitation , I did't even know her name.

    Attached Files:

    #94
  15. Meriwether

    Meriwether Following big footprints.

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    Hi John,
    Congratulations on asking for advice on this trip, it sure would have been an adventure as initially proposed. Winter in mid America compared to winter in Melbourne is like chalk and cheese.
    Cheers,
    Mark
    #95
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  16. johnwan12

    johnwan12 Been here awhile

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    Day 7:

    From Boeme to Leakey, then Uvalde, Brakettville, Del Rio, Sanderson and Marathon, we call these places " Texas Hill Country". From Marathon to Big bend National Park , then Terlinggua, we called these places " Texas Desert Region".
    Snow was almost gone this morning, I started my trip from Marathon Motel at about 10:40am. The snow on the road disappeared very quickly last night, the road condition was very good.

    The riding from Marathon to Chisos Basin via 385 was fantastic, before entering the National Park, there was a small park entering station , i needed to pay $25 for national park entering fee there ; spoke to a park ranger Susan in the station, I realized I was no longer in Texas Hill Country , but in the Texas Desert Region. Susan was amazed by knowing my USA motorcycle adventure trip from Miami to Los Angeles and I was from Australia.

    Arrived at Chisos Basin mountain top, went to a general store and spoke to an old lady the shop keeper, who was originally from Washington DC, moved here with her husband to help her children's family not long ago (12 months ago) and have lived here so happy and never want to go back to Washington DC anymore and I could see happiness everywhere on her face, particularly from her eyes.

    From Chisos Basin mountain top to Terlingua via Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive then 118, the riding was fantastic, my heart was singing , the sky was blue, the road was utterly beautiful.

    I arrived in the holiday hotel in Terlingua at about 3:00 pm , I didn't book a room in advance but I got a room called Black Bear Suite.

    One challenging thing for me before I could unload my bags from my bike was to ride my big heavy Harley Davidson Street Glide from the general store to my room via a rough unsealed gravel sloping surface , but I succeeded after carefully investigating the surface and took some advises from the local people, I made it through without any hassle: parked my heavy street glide in front of my room, I was so relieved and happy.

    I had a big breakfast from Oasis cafe this morning, but I did feel a bit hungry by now it's almost 3:30 pm, so I went to the general store again and grabbed myself some sweet snack and a bottle of Texas beer.

    I was mesmerized when I sat on a bench on the porch outside of my room , looking at the beautiful surrounding and drinking the Texas beer and eating snack, I thought I was falling love with this deserted ghost town called Terlingua, and somehow for some strange reason I felt I was home in Texas, very strange feeling indeed.

    No sure where to get my dinner, but I think the pub (Starlight Theatre) next to the store must be the place to go, but it's not open until 5:00 pm.

    Went to the Starlight Theater at 5:00 pm, waitress led me to the best table next to the music band's chairs. I had a huge steak with homemade chips and sauce and salad, and a large glass of Texas beer for dinner, what could I ask more than that to end the day like this:)

    The music band (three country musicians) started to perform at about 6:00 pm , I was amazed how professional and dedicated these three musicians were, I put $20 into the glass jar before I left, the leading guy gave me a thumb up and expressed his gratitude for my generosity. For some reason, Willie Nelson's "To all the girls I loved before " was stuck in my head for a while after I left the Theater.


    The following video clip was recorded on my iPhone 5S with Filmic Pro 5.0:



    I will head to Presidio early in the morning(8:00 am, may be), and have lunch in Fort Davis , then carry on the routes a fellow USA rider Mike recommended me from his previous emails, I will update you when I get chance tomorrow .

    Attached Files:

    #96
  17. mikegc

    mikegc Long timer Super Supporter Supporter

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    Great report, John. You really "soaked up" the Texas culture, didn't you? That shot down the sidewalk from the Marathon Motel and town looks cold! I think we'll see you and your wife back on this side of the pond soon.

    Mike
    #97
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  18. johnwan12

    johnwan12 Been here awhile

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    Day 8:

    I got up early and packed up my bags, still dark outside, so I used my laptop to check my account balance of my cash passport master card , noticed a Shell station near Washington DC area took 2xUS$99.85 from my account 1 day ago, Washington DC, the place I never visited, it's far away from my Miami to Los Angeles via I-10 route. I was upset for a few minutes and suspended the cash passport card immediately, luckily I had another card with the same account. Opened the door of my room, saw the morning view of beautiful surrounding desert countryside in Terlinggua, it was stunning , it lift my spirits and i soldiered on at about 8:00 am.

    I turned left on the highway as soon as I was out of Terlingua ghost town and then rode for 3~4 miles to find a gas station at a T junction (i was told by other people the day before) , I filled gas and went back to the road I came from, arrived Lajitas via 170 and asked two men on a golf cart kind of vehicle where the road would lead me to Presidio (as my GPS app Navmii on my iPhone 5S consistently told me another very long 6 hours route ( a big circle) to Presidio other than road 170, I still don't know why Navmii doesn't like 170). The men told me to keep going all the way via 170 .

    Please see the following advice I got from my friend a fellow American rider Mike via an email a few days before:
    Texas Farm Road 170 is one of the premiere motorcycle roads in Texas and it’s a ‘must do.’ It’s pretty twisty with lots of ups and downs so pay attention and you’ll be fine. Be careful of your speed around Presidio. From there, it’s wide open country, past the ghost town of Shafter, on up to Marfa (nice little town). Past that, the scenery changes as you proceed on up to Fort Davis. Be sure to see the old US Cavalry post there. Don’t take TX 17 as it’s just wide open country. Instead, just past the old cavalry post, to the left, you’ll see Texas 118. Take that up to Mt. McDonald. There’s an observatory up there that’s pretty interesting. Keep going on that until you see a left turn onto Texas 166. Stay on that through the mountains until, once again, the country opens up. When you get to Texas 505, take a right and that leads you down to US 90.

    Have a great time in that great country!!!!

    I did exactly what Mike recommended, I had lunch in Drug Store in FortDavis as Mike recommended, , i had chicken sandwich with salad , it was fantastic. I added more gas in the tank at the gas station just passed the old cavalry post before 118.

    I reckon the ride from Lajitas to Presidio and the ride on 118, 116 and 505 via Texas maintain range were the one of the best experiences in my USA motorcycle trip so far, but only one thing I would like to mention , the road condition on 90 was not great, I did pay attention to lots of pit holes on the road, road work was in the process, but I think it would take months if not years to repair all the pit holes on this session of US 90, so please be careful when you are on this road in the future.

    I refilled my tank in Van Horn and headed to El Paso and the final destination: the Fairfield Inn in Las Cruses . I didn't go up to El Capitan, Texas’ highest peak as Mike recommended due to the time.

    There are lots of restaurants near Fairfield Inn, I went to Uno Chicago Grill for dinner, had seafood pasta and two pints of beer , it was awesome.

    Attached Files:

    #98
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  19. mikegc

    mikegc Long timer Super Supporter Supporter

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    John, darned if I don't see Javailna every time I'm on FM118 and the adjoining routes. Reminds me of some family reunions I've attended:
    [​IMG]

    The one on the far left looks so much like my great aunt it scary!

    Anyway, you were darn sure hitting the good places. I'm looking forward to following your tracks as I leave Sunday.

    Mike
    #99
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  20. johnwan12

    johnwan12 Been here awhile

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    Day 8:

    I left Las Cruses at about 8:30 am via I -10, Safford-Globe to Phoenix, I made about 200 km on I-10. I got off the big road in Lordsburg and took US 70 through Safford and over to Globe, AZ where I picked up US 60. That section right after Globe is called Top of the World and it’s a nice ride through the Tonto National Forest. After that, it flattens out for the trip into Phoenix.

    I met a group of veterans (12 people) riding motorcycles and motor tricycles in Safford, I recorded some videos of them from Safford to Globe, and had a chat with them at a gas station and I gave my business card to one of the group member and told them to contact me if they want some video clips I recorded during the journey .

    I arrived at Residence Inn in Phoenix at about 5:30 pm.

    Just had a big steak meal and a big glass of beer in Bobby Q restaurant, it was fantastic.

    I will head to Las Vegas, will update you tomorrow when I have the chance.

    Attached Files: