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2012 Uncle's Around the Bend rally: Mar 1-4, 2012, Terlingua, TX

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Glaves
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This weekend the Dustbowl Beemers and the Two Wheel Texans were in town. Paul and I got to spend a night in Lajitas compliments of the resort and Hank Woji played at the Thirsty Goat. River Road riding, fire dancing, EMS and Firemans' Ball at the Starlight. Lots more signs of spring and what water can do for our thirsty desert. Old friends and new. Ghost Town Farmers' Market. Just another fabulous weekend in Big Bend. Off to the Cookie Chill Off this afternoon and grilling on our own porch this weekend.

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izz

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Friday night burelesque show, Saturday night the "Terlinqua FireFly" firedancer lady, was this another couple of great riding days in Big Bend or a weekend in Vegas?

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So for those who expressed concern, here is my ride report from today. Written from my backyard with a nice hot cuppa' in hand and my lovely lady at my side. I was surprised that so many thought a ride to Dallas on a 650 such a foolhardy exploit? Having chatted to Voni last night I realize that for her this would be a Sunday morning donut run at best. Anyway my three motel neighbors were heading out to Austin with a trailer (manly rating = trip to nail salon), to Colorado with a GS (manly rating = bare chested) and to San Antonio on a 250 (manly rating = bare, hairy chested with medallion and prison tattoo acquired in a Moroccan jail) respectively.

The day started early & cold. Really early and really cold as a matter of fact and I had only brought my medium chill riding gear with me. By the way, did I mention it was cold? I rolled out of the Chisos Mining Hotel at 6:20am after enjoying a nice coffee from the coffee maker & checking the local weather on the television. Actually I made those last two up, the Chisos Mining Company actually faithfully recreates the conditions the 49'ers of yore endured without including any of the luxuries they enjoyed. I didn't check to see if the store took company tokens but I'm betting they did. Either way I’d have traded the TV for a saloon girl (not the coffee maker) but none were forthcoming.

First stop was an hour later with a young Hispanic chap from the Border Patrol. He asked me if I was an American citizen which we both knew to be a rhetorical question because Latinos are much too smart to be out riding in the middle of the night in sub-zero temperatures. They refer to things like that and the 90 meter ski jump as "crazy white-dude stuff." Seriously, have you ever seen a ski jumper named Gonzalez? Exactly - too smart for that.

Alpine had presumably lived up to it’s college town reputation, partied all night, eaten pizza and collapsed into bed a hour or so before I showed up leaving nothing open to provide sustenance for man or motorcycle. By the way, it was still really cold. Did I mention that before? Finally, Fort Stockton and a MacDonald’s, a welcome sight, and seriously, how often do you hear those three in the same sentence? It was a double egg macmuffin morning with coffee that this rider was not planning to sue anyone over being too hot. Frankly, at this point the very fires of Hades would have been a welcome relief. In the Mickey D’s I met a pair of fellow TWT’ers who informed me they had seen the temperature readout in their (warm I presume) truck read 20 degrees in the lowest parts of the valley. I confirmed their suspicions that it had been really cold out there. But, having finally warmed up from cadaver grey to hypothermic blue it was time to be on my way again. Eastbound and down my friends!


After a bash down I-10 of which there is little to relate except the obvious that Freeways and limited capacity motorcycles don’t mix, I was headed towards San Angelo on Hwy 67. And here’s where the fun starts. From this trip I can conclude that Southwest Texas does three things really well, Border Patrols, Oil Fields and Roads. Of the first two enough already, but of the third, long black smooth snaking ribbons with towns placed a jolly 30 miles apart and a 75mph speed limit, fantastic! I don’t know what boondogglin’ and horse-trading it took in Austin to get these built & frankly I don’t care, it was worth every shuck n’ jive. Each town gets to impose their own speed limits, these generally follow the same pattern, a 65 followed by a 55 followed by a 45 and then back up the range, all in the space of about a country mile. Some throw in a 35 but I really think you have to have a Dairy Queen to legitimately slow down traffic that far. By now the sun was shining, the day was warming up and consistent cruising (between the aforementioned towns) at 75+ was easily do-able. McCamey, Rankin (barely there), Big Lake and Mertzon (DQ Country) all passed by under my wheels and soon enough it was time to gas up and slug a Red Bull (sugar free of course, if you’re going to drink bull pee makes sure it’s not adding onto the love handles).

Miles, Ballinger, Santa Anna, Bangs (according to Ricky Martin she does), Brownwood (big metropolis), Early, and Comanche all rolled by in a broad sweep of road and sunshine and I fell into that motorcycling Zen that makes us all come back and do this idiocy time and again. Dublin dictated a stop for a Dr. Pepper where $1 still buys a cane sugar original, however the disappointment came when I asked where to return the bottle and was told by the young lady (whose accent could have shown Pee Wee Herman around the Alamo) that “aw heck, we just throw ‘em in the trash.” So much for my nickel back eh?

At this time I started spotting many of the famous Harley Rider (genus : cappus dooraggus) and soon they were out in great numbers all displaying their vibrant spring plumage of bright orange and chrome. An interesting creature that only appears in a narrow range of climate conditions, the day was perfect for fans to bag a few for their personal collections. Of course many of them waved but I did not denigrate myself to return the gesture. After all, me being a creature covered in head to toe with genuine American dust (and some Mexican) could not really identify with a species comprised solely of parts assembled in the USA and sourced from many Nations. We have standards you know.

At Stephenville it all started to go downhill. Traffic and traffic lights placed by rural city engineers trying to ape their big city counterparts without realizing that the concept is to ease the flow of traffic not create more of it. Endless strip malls and chain restaurants blended Stephenville into Granbury and then on into the edge of Fort Worth. Much of my time was spent dodging bubba in his pickup who does 90mph unless talking on the phone, in which case he does 52. “No baby, no honey, I don’t care what she told you baby, I wasn’t with her, really baby, why don’t you believe me?”
For probably the 1st time in my life it was a relief to turn onto I-30, head through Fort Worth, onto Arlington, where I briefly considered entering my KLR into Ripleys for a “Believe or Not this made it from Terlingua” exhibit. Onto the North Dallas Tollway which was surprisingly West Texas-like in it’s lack of traffic and finally to my own garage. Where then it was now.

578 miles in 10 hours and 10 minutes, an average speed of 57mph. Voni of course would have stopped for lunch and got the other 600 done before dinner, but it was enough for me.

Thanks everyone for a fantastic trip!

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