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Texas routing help needed - please

Texas T

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I'm riding this route clockwise next Friday starting at 6 am which obviously puts me in the Houston area during rush hour on a Friday evening.

43680068_10212136960929042_7092970092266258432_o.jpg




Coming north from Galveston I need to get to Luling. Bing Maps is taking me up into Houston and then west on I-10.

Is taking Hwy 6 from Galveston over toward Mo City a better option?

Can I ride the Sam Houston Tollway without stopping to pay the tolls? In other words will they take a photo of my plate, track me down and send me a bill or will I be breaking the law?

Same questions with regards to the 130 toll road north of Luling taking me north of Austin before I jump back on I-35.

If taking the toll roads and stopping to pay the tolls are my best options, what would the costs be?

Depending upon traffic I'm looking at 18-20 hours to travel this route, only leaving me 4 hours for fuel, food, and bio breaks, so anything I can do to reduce that travel time will be beneficial for me.
 
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In Houston, the toll roads are now all "tagged" ie no place to pay a human for the privilege of using the road. I'm pretty sure the 130 toll road is the same. And yes they will track you down. Be prepared to pay the toll plus a "service charge" (that's what they tried with me and I have the tag) of about $5 per toll not paid.
Friday afternoon rush hour in Houston...:eek2: just sayin.. I think I'd just suck it up and pay the tolls once they catch up with you. Ride safe.
 

woodsguy

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In Houston, yes basically breaking the law!! Not sure of the fine, but might get expensive. Coming in on I-10, at least your going against traffic, but 45 south could be a problem at that hour.

Are you going counter clockwise? But if coming north from Galveston, almost anything you do to skip Houston at rush hour is better. I live between Trinity and Huntsville if you need anything in that area!
 
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Sh130 in Austin is pay by mail as well. Last time I got a bill from them(before I got a tag), it was alittle pricey. But not ridiculous.

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You’re fine on the 130 toll road without any kind of electronic toll transponder. They will send you a bill in the mail. The rates are higher than having a transponder, but it’s all good.

It’s different in Harris county/Houston. You are required to have an account, and there is not always an option to pay cash. The toll authority will bill you for the tolls, but with a $5 fine for the first violation and $33 for subsequent violations. Not sure if a violation is the first single toll, or group of tolls from a single trip - suspect it’s the former. But you’re definitely at risk of receiving a multi-hundred dollar bill in the mail that will turn into a warrant if you don’t pay it.

There is a kinda/sorta end run around this. If you go onto the Harris county toll authority website and pay tolls & fines before they issue the violation notice in the mail, then you pay only $1.50 additional per toll. You look up your vehicle by license plate number. It can take 30 days to post, so you’d have to check daily for a month to be certain to catch them all. http:/www.hctra.org. I would not recommend this approach.

Given all this, my inclination would be to either get a toll transponder/account ahead of time or to route entirely around Houston and avoid the whole issue. Perhaps Hwy 6 up to I-69, then southwest to Hwy 36? Locals and or Google maps can predict how long this might take. I can tell you that heavy traffic on Friday afternoon will extend quite far west on I-10 - probably to Columbus, where Hwy 71 splits off from I-10.
 
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You have probably done this, but check google traffic for the areas you plan to ride around the same time. The Sam Houston parkway still has toll plazas, but many of the other toll roads do not.

If you want to use the HCTRA roads without an EZ Tag research the EZ Tag Express mobile ap. It allows payment based on you plate and no transponder is required. It may not be available for motorcycles though. Give them a call.
 
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Brian, you might check a route from Galveston to Yoakum to Luling. That would keep you well away from Houston traffic. I 10 west out of Houston at that time of day is a problem. Friday's are HORRIBLE for making time.

130 toll road will bill you via mail. Not saying I've ever done it but once you are north of the 130/45 intersection on the southeast side of Austin you can avoid additional tolls by riding the center stripe through the toll cameras. No sensors on the stripe on that part of 130.

Also pay attention to the timing of the Point Boliver ferry. There should be at least two running that time of day, so maximum wait is +- 30 minutes. Also, I don't believe there are any easy quick fuel stops on 130 so my advice is to plan to run that portion with plenty of fuel to make Georgetown.
Good Luck. I was hoping to make it but my wife's caregiver has to have that weekend off.
 

SL350

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It's been a few years but HWY 6 south and west of Houston is mostly slow, school zones, lotsa traffic and tons of red lights. I would avoid that too.

Then there are Friday night football stadiums and 30 car caravans headed to the away games.
 
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As you said, your route thru Houston proper at rush hour is not good.
Although motorcycles are allowed to use the HOV lanes, I-45 does not have inbound HOV in the afternoon.

Beltway 8 around the south side is a bit better, but when you get to the west side before you get to I-10, it can and will congest there.

Beltway 8 still has pay-as-you-go toll booths on the south and west side.

All other sections of toll road are EZ Tag only and for whatever reason, HCTRA has not adopted pay-by-mail like other toll road authorities around Texas and the US.

You can take Hwy6 out of Galveston but the speed limit varies as you go through Hitchcock and Santa Fe. I would take off west no later than Alvin. There are few Brazos River crossings through that part so if you don't use FM1462, you are headed into the mess.

The route suggested by DesertSkies is used by many of us on the southeast side of town use to get west.
 

drfood

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I would avoid Bolivar. They no longer allow motorcycles to cut in line. Plus Friday afternoon/evening is the heaviest traffic. If you elect to go Bolivar then check the ferry operation schedule because there have been times recently where they only ran 1 ferry and the lines get insane.

You're a very brave man taking I-10 west from Houston. We no longer get on it unless very short distances. If we're going west toward SA we always take 90A.

Any particular reason you WANT to come to the Houston area? If you're doing an Iron Butt I can think of many many better routes from Dallas.
 
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I would avoid Bolivar. They no longer allow motorcycles to cut in line. Plus Friday afternoon/evening is the heaviest traffic. If you elect to go Bolivar then check the ferry operation schedule because there have been times recently where they only ran 1 ferry and the lines get insane.

You're a very brave man taking I-10 west from Houston. We no longer get on it unless very short distances. If we're going west toward SA we always take 90A.

Any particular reason you WANT to come to the Houston area? If you're doing an Iron Butt I can think of many many better routes from Dallas.
Good to know about Bolivar.

BTW, if you're planning on taking 90A during the week and want to miss the gravel truck traffic between Houston and Altair, take 36 and 1093 instead. It's a couple of miles longer, but there is little to no traffic. Coming to Willowbend from the farm I take 1093 all the way to the Westpark Toll Road.
 

Texas T

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Hi all,

Thank you for all the comments and suggestions. I'll read them in-depth when I get home tonight. I did correct my initial post to show that the route is actually clockwise which probably led to some confusion when you compared my statements to the map.

I'm a former 18 year resident of The Woodlands so I'm extremely familiar with the traffic issues.

It looks like I'm safe with billing on the 130 but I'll look into the SH Tollway concerns.

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This is 2hr 37 min to go 127 miles. This is real time research today at 4:32 on this Friday afternoon with wrecks shenanigans according to your Google map route.
Don't know what happened to my link, guess google seen fit to reroute it. My orig was up 6 to Alvin, 1462 to 36, to needville, up to 59 then 90 to eagle lake then up to Columbus. No way would I take either of the routes google picked.

Stupit google. :doh:
 

Texas T

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Brian, here is the route I take out of town when I head west.

https://tinyurl.com/y8wt2f6v
Your route is basically the same miles/time as if I rode north on 45 to the Tollway and took that around to the west side of I-10. I'll have to keep your route in mind IF it looks like I'll be fighting rush hour traffic because then your alternate roads will make a lot more sense. If I'm leaving Galveston late then I might be safe to stay on the bigger roads.

Thank you
 

Texas T

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Brian, you might check a route from Galveston to Yoakum to Luling. That would keep you well away from Houston traffic. I 10 west out of Houston at that time of day is a problem. Friday's are HORRIBLE for making time.
I will definitely keep this in mind. I haven't yet checked my times from point to point to find out when I'll be predicted to leave Galveston, so if it's early Friday afternoon I'm probably going W and then NW to come back up to I-10, but if I'm leaving Galveston any time after 7 pm I think I'll be safe to stay on the main roads.


you can avoid additional tolls by riding the center stripe through the toll cameras. No sensors on the stripe on that part of 130.
Good to know.


Also pay attention to the timing of the Point Boliver ferry. There should be at least two running that time of day, so maximum wait is +- 30 minutes.
Good point. I'll need to pull up the schedule and compare it to my routing times. I've never been on a ferry, let alone be on one with a bike. What do I need to be aware of?


Also, I don't believe there are any easy quick fuel stops on 130 so my advice is to plan to run that portion with plenty of fuel to make Georgetown.
I'll try to remember to fuel up as I leave Luling.


Good Luck. I was hoping to make it but my wife's caregiver has to have that weekend off.
Sorry to hear that. This week is the five year anniversary of my wife's stroke. She won't remember that and I'm not going to remind her of it. Our son is currently living with us and she's self-sufficient these days so I don't have any real concerns about leaving her behind.


.
 

Texas T

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It's been a few years but HWY 6 south and west of Houston is mostly slow, school zones, lotsa traffic and tons of red lights. I would avoid that too.

Then there are Friday night football stadiums and 30 car caravans headed to the away games.
Good points. I hadn't considered the Football issue.
 

Texas T

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I would avoid Bolivar. They no longer allow motorcycles to cut in line. Plus Friday afternoon/evening is the heaviest traffic. If you elect to go Bolivar then check the ferry operation schedule because there have been times recently where they only ran 1 ferry and the lines get insane.

You're a very brave man taking I-10 west from Houston. We no longer get on it unless very short distances. If we're going west toward SA we always take 90A.

Any particular reason you WANT to come to the Houston area? If you're doing an Iron Butt I can think of many many better routes from Dallas.
If I avoid Bolivar I have to come west on I-10 from Winnie, then drop south through Baytown to get to Galveston. All the points on the map are required stops as it is an IBA event, but it's a rally/saddlesore, not just a saddlesore ride. I'm doing 2 regular SS rides that weekend; one to get to Dallas and one to get home.
 

Texas T

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My orig was up 6 to Alvin, 1462 to 36, to needville, up to 59 then 90 to eagle lake then up to Columbus. No way would I take either of the routes google picked.
Duly noted.

From Needville, is there a reason I shouldn't just continue NW on Beasley-Needville Rd instead of going NE to 59 and then back W on 90? It looks like I can cross 59 at Beasley, then continue N on 1875 until I hit 90 and then go west to Eagle Lake and then NW to I-10.
 
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StromXTc

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No opinion on routing. You normally like to stay on the big roads to avoid the wild life (of all types) on these endurance rides , correct?
 

cdc

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Don't know if it was mentioned, but I-10 heading West from Downtown, you can use the HOV lane and avoid tolls.
 

Texas T

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No opinion on routing. You normally like to stay on the big roads to avoid the wild life (of all types) on these endurance rides , correct?
Aside from the need to hit the points designated on the map, yes. This ride will be primarily secondary roads other than after I leave Luling. At that point I'll be on the 130 and then the 35 most of the way to the hotel.
 
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Duly noted.

From Needville, is there a reason I shouldn't just continue NW on Beasley-Needville Rd instead of going NE to 59 and then back W on 90? It looks like I can cross 59 at Beasley, then continue N on 1875 until I hit 90 and then go west to Eagle Lake and then NW to I-10.

That is correct, take 360 out of Needville, little dogleg to the right under 59 then left on 1875 to 90A. Out of Eagle Lake take 102 to Alleyton and I10.

Note: The underpass at 360 and 59 is fairly new and may not be in your GPS maps. In that case, your GPS may route you up to Beasly but you can go under 59 and skip the Beasly part of the route.
 
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Texas T

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Good morning all.

I just finished looking at the times/mileage for each of the stops, and using a very generous time allotment (in other words, NOT shaving off time) puts me at the Galveston stop at 9 pm, meaning that the majority of HEAVY Friday night commute traffic would have dissipated by then.


***** The difference in mileage and time (with light traffic) between Galveston to Katy via I-45 and I-10 compared to I-45 and the Tollway is negligible, so does anyone see a benefit in using the Tollway at 8-10 pm versus just staying on 45 up to 10? *****
I'm still open to either option.


Using my routing with generous time allotments puts me back at the hotel at 0530 with a DNF time of 0600 so I'll still be cutting it pretty tight. I know Texas traffic tends to move rather quickly on the big roads, but much of this will be secondaries until after I leave Galveston. I'll have to try to make time during daylight hours as best I can.


Fuel: I'll need to fuel either just prior to the Galveston stop or just after. Is gas on the Island priced about the same as on the Mainland?


Thanks for all the help everyone has given.
 
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Don't know if it was mentioned, but I-10 heading West from Downtown, you can use the HOV lane and avoid tolls.
Yes, I was thinking about that this morning. One of the managed lanes is toll and the other is HOV. Use the marked HOV.

As for I10/Sam Houston or I10/45. I think it is a wash at that time of the night. The tollway is newer construction with better shoulders and I10 just west of loop 610 has been grooved to cut down on tire noise. The tollway is under construction at 288. Frankly, if you have a way to check the traffic then I'd let that be my guide.
 

Texas T

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Next set of questions:

I'm leaving the hotel in Allen (Dallas) at 6 am on a Friday. The maps have me routed south on the Sam Johnson N Central Expressway but I'm concerned about morning rush hour traffic through Dallas.

Is the George Bush Turnpike a better alternative? Take it to the 30 to the 635/20 and then down to the 45?


What does anyone know about the Turnpike? Will they also grab a photo of my plate and bill me like the 130 will?
 

budzrex

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yep the George Bush will grab your plate and bill you at least they do me when I chose to ride to Dallas instead of drive


That time of the morning that is what I would do, Our office is up in the Richardson/ Plano area just south of Allen and depending on what customers I am going to see that is what I do to get south of Dallas in the mornings
 

Texas T

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yep the George Bush will grab your plate and bill you at least they do me when I chose to ride to Dallas instead of drive


That time of the morning that is what I would do, Our office is up in the Richardson/ Plano area just south of Allen and depending on what customers I am going to see that is what I do to get south of Dallas in the mornings
Thank you. I think they also partner with EZTag, so if I'm correct on that they will just pull from that account, or if I'm wrong they'll bill from the plate info. Either way I'm good.
 

Texas T

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Well, you guys have fully convinced me to never go to Houston ever again.
When I rode through last month on my way from San Diego to Jacksonville it was a piece of cake. I don't think I ever got below 55, and this was on a Saturday, probably between noon and 2 pm. I'd have to go back to check my tracker to be more specific.

BUT... having lived there, yes, I can attest to the nightmare of commuting within Houston.

The best time of my life was when i lived AND worked in The Woodlands. A ten minute commute, ability to drive home for lunch, it was wonderful. :sun:
 
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Next set of questions:

I'm leaving the hotel in Allen (Dallas) at 6 am on a Friday. The maps have me routed south on the Sam Johnson N Central Expressway but I'm concerned about morning rush hour traffic through Dallas.

Is the George Bush Turnpike a better alternative? Take it to the 30 to the 635/20 and then down to the 45?


What does anyone know about the Turnpike? Will they also grab a photo of my plate and bill me like the 130 will?
I used to leave Plano quite often between 5:30 and 6:30 AM heading down central to downtown. My experience is that traffic flows fine on Central prior to 7AM. I don’t think the extra miles to loop around Bush/30/635 could be justified. Traffic would need to be much faster for the extra miles Not to cost time, and I think that unlikely. Traffic is usually lighter on a Friday as well - everybody sleeps in a little bit at the end of the week.
 
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drfood

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Good morning all.

***** The difference in mileage and time (with light traffic) between Galveston to Katy via I-45 and I-10 compared to I-45 and the Tollway is negligible, so does anyone see a benefit in using the Tollway at 8-10 pm versus just staying on 45 up to 10? *****
I'm still open to either option.

.
Be aware that the Sam Houston Tollroad on the south side of Houston is under construction and widening. This weekend it is completely closed at Cullen and traffic is being diverted onto the 2 lane feeder. What a freaking mess. If you can avoid the beltway then I would do so. They are also working on tieing in 288 to the beltway so that could be a mess as well.

My only other concern would be I-45 between Galveston and the South beltway. The last time we were there it was under major construction and traffic was a complete mess. Someone who knows that part of 45 can fill you in on the current mess of rebuilding 45.
 

Texas T

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I used to leave Plano quite often between 5:30 and 6:30 AM heading down central to downtown. My experience is that traffic flows fine on Central prior to 7AM. I don’t think the extra miles to loop around Bush/30/635 could be justified. Traffic would need to be much faster for the extra miles Not to cost time, and I think that unlikely. Traffic is usually lighter on a Friday as well - everybody sleeps in a little bit at the end of the week.
Good feedback. Thanks. I'll have to check Waze as we're getting ready to leave the hotel and see if there are any hot spots going south that would cause me to decide to use the turnpike.

Of course, considering "rally luck" it will look clear and then just as soon as I pass the Turnpike there will be an accident ahead on the Expressway. :doh:

:mrgreen:
 
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A bit late to inform you, but I-45 is under heavy construction from Dickinson to NASA Road 1 and you are guaranteed to stop several times in that 5 mile stretch - would probably take at least 30 minutes during Friday rush hours.
 

Texas T

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Be aware that the Sam Houston Tollroad on the south side of Houston is under construction and widening. This weekend it is completely closed at Cullen and traffic is being diverted onto the 2 lane feeder. What a freaking mess. If you can avoid the beltway then I would do so. They are also working on tieing in 288 to the beltway so that could be a mess as well.

My only other concern would be I-45 between Galveston and the South beltway. The last time we were there it was under major construction and traffic was a complete mess. Someone who knows that part of 45 can fill you in on the current mess of rebuilding 45.

Thanks. I did go to the Transtar pages and I don't see anything that would impact the tollroad that night other than some exit closures.
 
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Good feedback. Thanks. I'll have to check Waze as we're getting ready to leave the hotel and see if there are any hot spots going south that would cause me to decide to use the turnpike.

Of course, considering "rally luck" it will look clear and then just as soon as I pass the Turnpike there will be an accident ahead on the Expressway. :doh:

:mrgreen:
Waze is a good strategy. I used it almost every drive around the metroplex.

There is a southbound HOV lane you can use on Central. The start moves around a bit due to construction; looks like it’s around Plano Parkway now. It runs to LBJ, where you take a ramp up and exit to the service drive, then renter the main lanes from the right just south of LBJ. It is a win if traffic is backed up in the mile or two prior to LBJ, but if traffic is moving it is best to stay in the left mainlane and motor on through.
 
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...everybody sleeps in a little bit at the end of the week...
...but not on Sunday afternoon.
I just rolled in from a NE Texas twisty loop. Bumper to bumper southbound 45 at 1:00 pm from about Legacy to... the Equator. No construction or accidents, just a lot of stupid.
 

Texas T

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A bit late to inform you, but I-45 is under heavy construction from Dickinson to NASA Road 1 and you are guaranteed to stop several times in that 5 mile stretch - would probably take at least 30 minutes during Friday rush hours.
I don't anticipate being in that section until somewhere between 7 pm and 10 pm. According to TranStar they don't close down the lanes until 9 pm so hopefully I can get through before then.
 
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from the Storm Prediction Center
https://www.spc.noaa.gov/

Day 4-8 Convective Outlook
NWS Storm Prediction Center Norman OK
1213 AM CDT Sun Oct 14 2018

Valid 171200Z - 221200Z

...DISCUSSION...
The threat for severe thunderstorms is negligible across the CONUS
during the Wed/D4 to Sun/D8 period. High pressure and a cold front
will shunt a moist, unstable air mass largely offshore by Thu/D5,
the exception being FL with the threat of a few convective showers.
Some low-level moisture return will occur during the Fri/D6 to
Sun/D8 period across southeast TX eastward along the northern Gulf
Coast, but winds aloft will remain weak there with an upper high
centered over the Gulf of Mexico.

..Jewell.. 10/14/2018

I'll be here (Chicago) at work starting tomorrow night (11-7) thru Saturday morning. I'll watch the thread and try to keep the weather updated for you if you would like.
 

StromXTc

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Oct is the 2nd wettest month in texas, Sept is #1.

Did you get that undercarriage thing taken care of on your Goldwing ? Hard to imagine alligators in the desert:brainsnap
 

Texas T

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Oct is the 2nd wettest month in texas, Sept is #1.

Did you get that undercarriage thing taken care of on your Goldwing ? Hard to imagine alligators in the desert:brainsnap
October is the wettest in Arizona history since they began keeping records around 1886.

Yes, the lower cowling was replaced. I had asked him to keep the old one so I could hang it in my garage, but he forgot and tossed it...

:doh:
 
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