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Where Mandarin goes to Yellow (stone that is...)


Nov 28, 2006
North of Weird
El Puerco Mandarino heads North...

This was my first big trip on El Puerco Mandarino (aka: The Mandarin Pig). Having not taken any vacation in over a year, I figured it was time to go somewhere. But where? I looked at my map of the states I had been to on a motorcycle, and Idaho wasn’t filled in. Thinking it was a good time to go since Austin has had so much rain and heat, I jotted down a few quick targets, packed some gear a few days before departure, and then headed off.

My primary goal was to visit Idaho and anything else was just part of the trip. I had one week to kill and decided to ‘hotel-it’ for simplicity. I also decided to try and eat at local places to support the community.

Penciled in included:
Day 1 - Austin, TX to Clovis, NM
Day 2 - Clovis, NM to Durango, CO
Day 3 - Durango, CO to Pocatello, ID
Day 4 - Pocatello, ID to Jackson Hole, WY
Day 5 - Jackson Hole, WY to Grand Junction, CO
Day 6 - Grand Junction CO to Lamar, CO
Day 7 - Lamar, CO to Matador, TX
Day 8 - Matador, TX to Austin, TX

El Puerco Mandarino is a 2001 R1150GS I purchased used in October of 2006 with only 5,400 miles on the ODO. I have the stock BMW cases and BMW tank bag for storage. A Helen-Two-Wheels bag and a river bag held clothes and the additional riding gear.

Having opted to stay in hotels, all I really needed was a few changes of clothes and a shave kit. I really like the simplicity of this type of trip. My camera is a Nikon Coolpix S7c. I’ve got a Garmin GPS III+ in a Touratech mount and a RAM camera mount setup. I brought along my iPod shuffle as well. I also had a “Stop & Go” tire plug kit on-board.

Most of the trip I rode in my Olympia mesh pants and Joe Rocket Phoenix jacket. I did bring along my Tourmaster heavy jacket and riding pants just in case. Gloves were a Sportsman’s Warehouse doeskin. Helmet is an older Shoei 800. TourMaster rain pants and an el-cheapo rain jacket rounded out the gear.

Stay tuned as Mandarin goes to Yellowstone


Nov 28, 2006
North of Weird
Day 01
Saturday July 07, 2007
Austin, TX to Santa Fe, NM
746 Miles

I didn’t sleep very well the night before, and was up until midnight or so just fiddling with stuff so I dreaded when the alarm clock would go off at 5:30am. My target departure was 6:30am and went without a hitch. After saying the good-byes, I headed out Hwy 71 with great anticipation that this was going to be a fun journey.

About an hour out of Austin, the cloud deck was pretty low, and they were still fairly thick giving the impression more rain was on the way. After 12 days straight of rain, this was getting old and fast.

A few hours out of Austin in what’s known as the Texas Hill Country, the clouds finally broke and the sun came out in full force. The hill country is probably one of the primary reasons I like Austin so much. Gentle rolling roads are everywhere…


In Brady, I made the turn North on Hwy 283 headed for Abilene. From Abilene, I slabbed it on I20 over to Sweetwater and caught Hwy 84 Northwest up through Lubbock where the hills gave way to rolling flats

Once past Lubbock, it wasn’t too terribly far to the New Mexico border where I purchased a lottery ticket (non-winning I might add) and crossed over into New Mexico.

My initial destination for the evening was Clovis, but it was fairly early so I decided to just push on. This I figured would give me a shorter next day into Colorado and allow me to play there a bit more than originally planned. So I kept moving West on Hwy 60 to Fort Sumner

Approaching Vaughn still on Hwy 60

Encino didn’t have a lot to offer. I bet this would be a nice fixer-upper.

At Encino, I headed up Hwy 285 to Clines Corner.

Around Eldorado getting close to Sante Fe NM.

Overall, today was a great day. I threaded through some rain showers and missed them all. After checking into a few places to spend the night that all ranged in the $150 category, I settled on a Travel Lodge for considerably less. After a quick shower, I headed into a small arts district and had a great dinner at a place called Cowgirls with a western motif.

Tomorrow will bring me mountains!


Nov 28, 2006
North of Weird
Day 02
Sunday July 08, 2007
Santa Fe, NM to Durango, CO
396 Miles

This morning I rose to cool temperatures which were a welcome relief. The trip out of Santa Fe was uneventful, with a nice ride on great road through the many communities up Hwy 285.

Just North of Santa Fe was a little art gallery that I thought would make a nice addition to the stack of images collected thus far.

About 30 or so minutes up the road, I saw this neat cross

And then the mountains started to kick in. By now I had turned North on Hwy 84.


I believe it was around Chama there was a nice little narrow gauge railroad operation. I’ve always thought it fun to see these smaller scale trains…

The ride from Chama to the state line was really nice. I think I could live there. Yet another required state sign…

Pagosa Springs was an interesting little town. Seemed to me like quite the little tourist trap and all, but still a nice little place. Here I headed West on Hwy 160 for the run to Durango.

“Chimney Rock”, an interesting formation.

Arriving in Durango, it was still fairly early. I secured a room at the Super 8 and headed into downtown. It’s been several years since I had last been there, and I was amazed at how much it had changed. I think I overheard someone refer to it as “Greater Aspen” at one point. The little hotshot engine was working hard and I noted I could always quit my job and move there to work at McDonalds. They were hiring.

With my gear in the room, I decided to make a run up 550 to Silverton and have dinner in Ouray, then return before sundown. On the way up, I tried my first shot of a reflection in this nice little lake.

Coal Bank Pass was nice with spectacular views and crisp temperatures.

Next up was Molas Pass. I think the GPS liked the fact it tagged 11k feet ASL.


Rounding some nice twisties, Silverton was not far off.

As I rolled into Silverton, I had noticed the Durango-Silverton train in town. I was anxious to get a shot of it and I arrived just in the nick of time prior to departure. It sure is a pretty little train.


Once the train left, I spent some time walking around town. I had a nice conversation with a resident and asked all sorts of questions about business, tourism, real estate prices and job opportunities. Alas, after my conversation I decided that Silverton just not be the right place for my next move. In spite of how beautiful it is, the fact remains it’s still a tourist town and selling t-shirts just isn’t what I want to do.

Continuing North on 550 from Silverton I set my sights on Ouray. The road was magnificent so here’s the obligatory “Twisty Road Picture #1”

Working my way down the mountain into Ouray was a treat as always. I took a slow ride through town peeking at the springs. I still haven’t stopped in, but this is as close as I’ve been. The fish in the pond were amazing too.

I ate dinner and started the trek back to Durango. I had wanted to get back before dark. I also had on a t-shirt and my mesh riding jacket so I knew I was in for a bit of a chilly ride over a few passes.

The way the road is cut from the hillside is amazing.

Along the way back was a mine reclamation project.


And just before arriving in Durango, the sun provided a great backdrop to some cows in an absolutely lush green field along the D&S Railroad line.

Today brought great weather and fantastic scenery. Tomorrow would be the run to Pocatello, ID.


Nov 28, 2006
North of Weird
Day 03
Monday July 09, 2007
Durango, CO to Pocatello, ID
609 Miles

Word for today? HOT!

Leaving Durango on Hwy 160, I made my way over to Cortez, CO and picked up Hwy 491. By now, the mountains were really fading into what I’ve heard referred to as High Desert.

In the Cortez area, I took this shot as I pondered how hard life must have been 75 or more years ago. I wondered who might had lived in this, or for what purpose it was used.

Yet another obligatory state sign

Turning North on Hwy 191 at Monticello, UT, I came across this great sandstone structure. However, I can’t find any reference to it on my map and there was no sign. Nonetheless, it was still a magnificent chunk of rock.

And sitting just below one of the fence posts was this little guy

Another few miles up Hwy 191 was this arch just South of Moab

By now the temps were really climbing. I hit Crescent Junction at I-70 and headed West over to Green River. I’m thinking only one word describes the terrain – Desert. That’s about all it was. Hot, Windy Desert for the 60 miles or so run up to Price.


At Price, I jumped on Hwy 6 and headed to Provo. This is where the trip became ‘interesting’. I had wanted to get to Idaho as that was one state I somehow missed on my trip to Alaska a few years back. The fact that there was a ‘hole’ in my highlighted map has bugged me for a while and I wanted to be able to say I rode in that state so I had to make that a destination. Once in Price, there really isn’t an easy quick way to Idaho without going a long way around on yet another interstate. Thus, I opted to just slab it on I15 up through the Salt Lake City/Ogden corridor.

Once I was on I15, I was amazed at the amount of traffic. There were 5 lanes with the HOV lane and they were all about 70% full running at 75mph or better. Where did all these people come from, and where were they going? All I could do was focus on the traffic (I opted for the HOV lane), and every once in a while could glance to my right to see downtown SLC or left to see the great salt lake. This didn’t let up for an hour or so and I finally arrived at Brigham City where I peeled off on Hwy 91 up to Logan and off the major slab-o-rama. Still running North, I hit half a dozen little towns that all seemed to have road construction of some type going on. Start/Stop. Repeat. And it was 99*F according to all the bank signs.

Not to be defeated, I stayed the course and punched through to Idaho.

North of Swan Lake was a nice turn-out with a beautiful vista.

Five miles South of Downey was Red Rock Pass, a magnificent structure.

I rolled into Pocatello just before dusk and located yet another Super 8. I’m starting to like these as they have laundry facilities on-site. After unpacking the bike, I walked to a local steak and seafood place called the Sandpiper. Feasting on a great rib-eye and a Crown & 7, I called this day done with yet another smile on my face.

I can now highlight Idaho on my map.



Nov 28, 2006
North of Weird
Day 04
Tuesday July 10, 2007
Pocatello, ID to Jackson, WY
310 Miles

Now that Idaho is crossed off, and I had already been to Montana and Wyoming, I pondered a bit on what would be a good direction to head next. I still had five days left, and after a bit of consideration I opted to make a run up through Yellowstone park, pass through the Grand Tetons and stay in Jackson Hole WY for the evening. It had been some 40 odd years or so since I was last in Jackson so I thought it time to make a return trip.

I left Pocatello headed up I15 under a beautiful sky and yet again another day of great, 56*F crisp temperatures. By now, I’ve gotten in the habit of putting in the liner of my mesh jacket for the morning ride, and taking it out mid-afternoon when the temps warmed up sufficiently. At Idaho Falls, I saw a large Military Surplus store that just begged me to visit. If you were ever wondering what M38A1 is, the M38A1 was the Korean era ¼ ton jeep for the military. The CJ5 was produced as a result of the M38A1. Thus, I’m always interested in old military stuff.

After a quick splash of fuel, I ducked off on Hwy 20 headed for the West Yellowstone MT entrance to Yellowstone. Along the way, I had a lone bike behind me and tried the infamous ‘mirror shot’.

Continuing up Hwy 20, I went through some nice little towns. One included Island Park that had a beautiful river flowing through it and plenty of fly-fishing going in.

A bit further up is what I believed to be a bald eagle nest or some sort of hawk. I still don’t know what it is, but there were three little heads sticking up every once in a while. Later on in the trip, I would see these poles in the middle of nowhere with these big birds on them.

Yet another obligatory state sign…

The trip across Montana was short. As in about nine miles to West Yellowstone. This little town was booming with tourists and activity. I didn’t spend much time in the town as I wanted to get inside the park and get to Old Faithful and drop out the South entrance.

After paying the $20 motorcycle fee good for seven days, I wasn’t in the park a few miles at most, and the scenes just started to take my breath away. If these first few miles were any indicator of what was to come, this would be a treat.

The hot springs were truly amazing as were the mud pots. There were still a lot of reminders of the great fire of 1988 too. Wildlife was abundant including caribou, bison, and deer. I didn’t however see any bears.




Old Faithful was up next. As I was pulling into the parking lot I noted the huge number of vehicles exiting. I figured I must have just missed ‘the show’. I found a spot and parked the bike and wandered over to the viewing area. I learned all about the formation and why it does what it does, the frequency, and history. Next target time was in about 50 minutes so I figured I could wait that long just to see the show. As the appointed time came closer, the crowds began to really filter in. Then, without any warning, the geyser started to belch a bit more steam than had been released. Within a few minutes, water started to spout up with increasing intensity, peaked a bit then slowly returned to a small spout and then steam. The whole event was about four minutes. I only took one picture, but recorded the entire event on the video option of my camera. Here’s a still shot just blowing steam.

Just before I exited the park at the South entrance, a waterfall caught my eye too. Well, me and about 10 other people all fighting for shots.

I knew I had to make Jackson by evening so I departed the South end on Hwy 89 without ever seeing the Eastern half of the park. As soon as you leave Yellowstone, you enter the Grand Tetons National Park.

Wandering through the park was just as scenic as Yellowstone, but in a slightly different way. Along the way, I ran along the Eastern edge of the mountain range at Jackson Lake. Those are the Tetons in the pic.

Continuing South on Hwy 89, the Grand Tetons stayed on my right. About an hour outside of Jackson, was the Cunningham Cabin. Again, I thought what a hard life these people must have had living in these types of homes. This was also the first time to try out the B&W feature on my camera.

Yet further South, a very large Elk preserve appeared with it’s high game fence covering miles of land. Throughout the entire run by the preserve, I failed to see any elk. Bummer. Next up was the Jackson airport so I knew I was getting close. Rolling into town, I was greeted by a lot of other travelers all headed to this little ski town. I drove around the ‘square’ a few times and found a motel. It might as well been a palace as the only room they had left would accommodate 8 people and it was $25 less than the Super 8. Needless to say, within walking distance of two blocks from the square I jumped on it. I unpacked the bike and walked into town. This was a fun place with tons of little shops and eateries.

I settled down in a quaint establishment and ordered fresh trout with a Snake River Pale Ale brewed in Jackson. The whole time I was there, I kept watching about a dozen hang-gliders over the ski slopes. Those guys must have been up there over an hour in the afternoon drafts.

After dinner, I headed back to the square where the Atlanta Boys Choir was putting on a singing demonstration. They were quite good too for a bunch of kids. The square has at each corner an ‘antler gate’ that when you think about it, took a tremendous number of antlers to make the arches.

After staying on the square for a bit, I wandered back through some of the shops and then called it a night. Jackson Hole had grown up considerably over the years, but I’ll be back someday.


Nov 28, 2006
North of Weird
Day 05
Wednesday July 11, 2007
Jackson, WY to Grand Junction, CO
483 Miles

I had decided somewhere along the Northern most part of the trip, or someplace that had a ‘cool’ factor I would buy a t-shirt. I wandered by the Jackson Harley-Davidson shop just as they were opening at 9am and purchased a pretty neat HD shirt with an old Harley WLA military motorcycle on the front and the Jackson HD logo on the back. I also thought it was sort of interesting that my BMW was at the Harley shop with four HD’s and they too were all buying t-shirts.

Departing Jackson the terrain turned from ski slopes to really nice rolling hills. Just outside of Hoback Junction on Hwy 189/191 I spotted these guys.

You really had to look hard for their friends as they blend in very well into the mountainside. The zoom feature is wonderful for stuff like this.

Somewhere between Bondurant and Pinedale I saw a large group of antelope. The zoom didn’t really do this one justice, but it was a bunch of them.

Arriving in Pinedale, WY I saw a group of Llamas that appear to have been freshly sheared. Pinedale was a quaint little town with just about all the amenities you would want for living in that part of the world. Small, but gorgeous.

In Pinedale, I continued on Hwy 191 headed South thru Farson and on to Rock Springs. When I hit I-80, I had a choice to make for the next leg. I could take the Eastern less scenic route around the Flaming Gorge National Rec Area, or I could take the longer scenic Western path (Hwy 530). Hmmm….. I’ll go West – it’s vacation. Not a whole lot out on the Western side. In fact, I counted 10 vehicles in 45 miles or so and all 10 were headed the other direction. I didn’t get passed – I didn’t pass anyone. Nothing out there so if you plan on fuel, it isn’t there.

The Flaming Gorge was actually very nice. The trip was similar to the other Green River in Utah. Just a lot of desert terrain and some hills in the background. After 45 miles or so, I crossed back into Utah. By now, I was at the foothills of some good sized hills and I zig-zagged my way to the top. It was here I really thought it was going to rain as there were some big, dark cloud formations all around me.

Crossing back into Utah, 530 turned into Utah 43/44. I continued on my way South and picked up Hwy 191 again into Vernal, UT. Just before Vernal was a large mining operation and a good sized lake called Steinaker. I passed through Vernal in the nick of time. At 4:45pm, they were closing down all the streets and the highway for the PRCA Rodeo parade. It was 4:30 when I cruised through town and made the turn on Hwy 40 towards Dinosaur CO.

Cruising along Hwy 40, I saw a sign for the Dinosaur National Monument. I still had some daylight left, so I headed down the side road about seven miles to the park ranger station. Digging for the $5 entry fee and still geared up, the ranger gal took my money and then said “you’re aware the exhibit is closed aren’t you”? Well why did you just take my five-bucks???? Actually, she was very nice and explained the base rock the exhibit was on has shifted and it would be a two year restoration project, but the visitors center was open and had postcards and pictures. No thanks. I wanted to see a dinosaur fossil. She gladly returned my money and told me there were about 30 complete skeletons there and numerous other pieces of others. She also indicated that they were located on the last day of an expedition. With that knowledge, I figured it was worth the 15 mile detour.

I stopped in the great metropolis of Dinosaur, Colorado for fuel and a bit of conversation with the convenience store attendant. By now, I was getting a bit tired, so I figured a Mt. Dew and some conversation would be good to get me through the next two or so hours to Grand Junction. When I was done, I headed South on Hwy 64 through Rangely on some great twisties. (obligatory twisty road picture #2)

Continuing South, I had to toss on the rain gear for some ‘nuisance’ rain as I call it – just enough to get you damp, but not wet and it’d dry in about 30 min at speed if it stopped. I went over Douglas Pass at 8240’ and had a great view of the valley below.

By now, the rain I was trying to outrun was catching up. I really thought it was going to come down about Loma where I made the turn on Hwy 6 to Grand Junction. (Hwy 6 parallels the interstate if anyone is interested…)

The quick trip into Grand Junction was uneventful. I wandered around looking for an inexpensive place and settled in on El Palomino, a $45 including tax motel that wound up being a great little 50’s type motel. What caught my eye was the Triumph in the parking lot that had some serious Haul Road Mud covering the bike. Well, that and the Alaska stickers sort of gave it away. Plates were from California and I’d say based on the appearance, he/she went down a time or two or hit an animal along the way. Both the front headlight and rear stop/tail were duct-taped and the side cases were strapped onto their mounts as they too appear to have broken.

Sleep came easily as my long day wound down. Twelve plus hours but lots of great memories for today.


Nov 28, 2006
North of Weird
Day 06
Thursday July 12, 2007
Grand Junction, CO to Lamar, CO
449 Miles

This morning started out with some clouds so I figured it was going to be a rain-day. Not a bad thing, as I really hadn’t had any bad weather thus far. I checked out of the motel and headed down Hwy 50 towards Delta and then Montrose. The clouds were hanging very low by now.

Staying on Hwy 50, at Montrose, the road remained wet, but had lots of great slow sweepers. Even with the wet pavement it was sort of fun just tossing the big-pig back and forth. Not too far down from Montrose was the beginnings of a large lake known as the Curecanti National Rec Area. There were some really nice rock formations off to the North and I criss-crossed the lake a few times.

Around Sargents the road was beginning to get hilly and twisty again. I think I’m becoming addicted in trying to get the cool twisty mountain pictures, so here’s another attempt:

Just a bit further down the road was Monarch Pass. Now this was one fun ride uphill with great sweepers even with wet pavement. Arriving at the top, I was glad I had the rain gear on. Not for the rain, but for the temperatures. It was 55*F at the top of the pass and not quite a rain, but close.


Coming off the mountain was fun. Again, great sweepers on an excellent road proved to be a lot of fun. As the elevation got lower, the rain more or less disappeared so I considered ditching the rain gear. Around Salida the humidity became miserable so I pulled into a turn-out to ditch the rain gear and snap this pic of the tail-end of a train on the side of the mountain.

Next up was the Royal Gorge according to the map. I vaguely recall visiting this as a child many years ago, but couldn’t have told you a thing about it beforehand. I entered the bypass from the West and meandered the ten or so miles on a very old paved road to the park entrance. The park attendant kindly told me it would be $23 to visit the park and what all that included. I was astonished at the price to go see the bridge, not even knowing if I could cross it or for that matter, what to expect. He told me of the amusement park, the animals, observation decks, petting zoo, tram ride and all the other ‘features’ of the park and waited for my money. He did say however that if I departed within an hour I’d get $7 back for a net cost of $16. I forked it over and found a place to park. Walking down to the bridge I couldn’t help but think how the amusement aspect ‘cheapened’ the experience.

Needless to say, I walked across and back, took a few pictures and decided I had better motivate myself to get out of the park within my allotted hour. I made it back to the bike, geared up and headed across the bridge on the bike. At the middle, I stopped and a gentleman was kind enough to take a shot of me on the bike at the highest point.

Leaving the park, I parked the bike at the ticket window and walked over to the booth. The gal cheerfully refunded my $7 and I felt good about the experience. Now I had seen the Royal Gorge bridge, walked, and driven over it and I’d remember about it. Leaving the park to get back on Hwy 50 heading East I noticed a huge black cloud off in the not too far distance. A quick glance at the GPS and where I was headed and where it was gave me a bit of relief – but not much.

I made it out of the park and headed towards Pueblo with this huge thunderstorm complete with frequent lightening fast approaching from North to South and I was running West to East. About Canon City, I stopped at a light and just had to snap this one. Always looking for good humor, this fit the bill.

The storm was still in my mind and more importantly, in front of me. Hmmmm…… This is going to be UGLY. I ratcheted up the speed thinking it was a ‘see if I can outrun the storm’ kind of ride. Well, starting out it was warm and muggy, then it became windy, then really windy and I was riding at quite an angle. Then it got cool, then much colder as the black clouds got closer to my intended path of travel. Then it became extremely windy and gusty, and even colder – but I was still ahead of it. I maintained my ‘safe riding speed’ (yeah, right) and kept pushing hoping I would outrun it. Mr. Colorado State Trooper going the other direction must have been laughing at me thinking I would have made an easy stop, but he most probably didn’t want to get out and issue a citation with the impending chaos. I kept riding and then magically, the gusty winds subsided, the temperatures began to rise and it was generally muggy again. Within another few miles I was sitting at the first of a few traffic lights in Pueblo West thinking I was going to go through this again if all these traffic lights wouldn’t go in my favor. The rain gods must have been done, as the storm never caught up with me on this day.

I rolled in to Las Animas and decided to see what the Kit Carson museum was all about. Wandering through town, I located the little museum and paid my donation fee and took the tour. Turns out, he only lived in Las Animas for a short period of time so there wasn’t much of his stuff there. However, the town’s people had put together an excellent representation of artifacts from the local area detailing it’s rich history. One artifact I found quite interesting was the ‘jail’ facility. I went inside and couldn’t believe how hot it was. The jail was literally a tin box with steel around it to keep the people in.

From Las Animas to Lamar was less than an hour that went by fairly easily. About three miles out, I got a little smell of some stockyards. That little smell turned into a full-blown WOW and then the stockyards appeared. There were a LOT of cattle in that stockyard.

I pulled into Lamar and immediately noticed a large collection of military 2.5 and 5 ton trucks. After a little bit of searching, I found out who they belonged to and collected their contact information. A bunch of the guys in our historic military vehicle club will drool over their inventory. Anyway, I scouted the town and settled on the Lamar Inn, an older motel that was very cheap for the night. Like I said, all I need is a bed and a shower so this fit the bill just fine. A quick dinner at the local diner and it was time to call it a day.

Sleep again came easily in spite of the huge thunderstorms floating around the area all night long.


Nov 28, 2006
North of Weird
Day 07
Friday July 13, 2007
Lamar, CO to Matador, TX
370 Miles

Learning of the huge thunderstorms that had passed through the previous night, I figured I’d be in rain today. Not the case. In fact, it was a splendid day to get back into Texas. Leaving Lamar, CO, I took Hwy 287/385 South to the Oklahoma border. Along the way, there were two construction zones and a lot of flat, straight highway. I took this opportunity to try the “moving on the bike shadow picture”. I will admit, I found it a bit tricky to keep the throttle on with the right and hold/shoot with the left.

Still in Colorado, I crested a slight rise and off in the distance saw a windmill farm. Having ridden past these farms in the past, I never found myself close enough to get a good picture or see them close up. Well, it must have been my lucky day as the highway split the farm down the middle. I was amazed at how large they really are. I also thought this next shot was worth taking as it’s the old and the new.

I made the Oklahoma border and also saw the 45th Infantry Division sign that both warranted a picture. First, the obligatory state sign, and then the 45th ID sign. The reason for the 45th ID sign is my jeep, a 1953 M38A1, served with the 45th ID based on it’s markings I had uncovered under several layers of olive drab paint. It was sort of nice to see it’s roots on a sign.


Within a half-hour, I was crossing back into Tejas. There’s always a good feeling when you get your feet back in the home state. This moment was no different. And I had great weather as an added bonus.

Still headed South on 287 the winds picked up around Dumas. Some clouds had rolled in and yet again, I figured it was going to rain but it held off. Up to this point, I really didn’t have any rain so to speak. A quick fuel-up and I was again headed South to Amarillo. Hwy 287 turned into I-25 and I followed that down to Plainview. I had forgotten how long that panhandle really is just to get out of it. In Plainview, I ducked off on Hwy 70 but made a quick trip through town. Much like Austin has their ‘guitar’ project, Plainview at one time did a fundraiser with cattle. This was a the Chamber of Commerce.

Cruising along Hwy 70 to the metropolis of Floydada, I hopped on 62/70 another half-hour to the great metro-mess of Matador, Texas. A friend of mine lives there with his wife so anytime I’m in the ‘hood’, I’ve got a place to bunk for the night. Rolling into Matador was extremely green for this time of year.

Matador is the county seat of Motley County, population 1400 or so. There’s a courthouse on the center square and the single jail cell is used for evidence lockup. (currently filled with contraband alcohol). There’s an old jailhouse that is really quite nice and is also listed on the Texas Historical Registry.

At the ‘blinking yellow light’, is a place called Bobs Oil Well. Bob Robertson, who was a gifted marketing person, started this Texas landmark. He decided to open a service station in Matador and he paid truckers passing through to place markers indicating how many miles to Bobs Oil Well. He was also known to keep a cage of live rattlesnakes, coyotes, buffalo and other assorted animals as an attraction. The derrick on top was originally wooden, but was replaced with a metal structure reaching some 84 feet up. He died in 1947 and the business closed in the early 1950’s. The building is a nice representation of how a business was built as a destination during that time period.

I wandered to my friends place to unpack and get cleaned up for the evening. He’s the deputy for the entire county and went on at 5pm. I did a ride-out for his entire shift that evening which was a lot of fun.

While out in the county, I tried my first sunset picture with so-so results.

At 2am, we called it a night and I promptly fell asleep having been up since about 6am that same day. I didn’t even bother to set the alarm clock for the next morning as I knew I had a short trip home.


Nov 28, 2006
North of Weird
Day 08 – The final day
Saturday July 14, 2007
Matador, TX to Austin, TX
400 Miles

As mentioned, I didn’t set my alarm clock this morning. I woke up about 8:30 or so and Michael was cooking breakfast of bacon and eggs. I had checked the weather radar last night and expected some heavy rain today for the final leg of this journey. However, the sun was bright in Matador at the moment so I checked the radar again. Much to my surprise, all the rain was in Austin at the moment and moving South. Looks like the rain gods were smiling on me again.

After a great breakfast, I packed the bike and headed East on 70 to Paducah where I was again greeted with a great road and perfect weather.

At Paducah, I caught Hwy 83 South Guthrie. A bit after Guthrie was this ranch sign.

After the Paramore Ranch, I continued down through Abilene, and Santa Anna where I picked up Hwy 283. Running 283 down to Brady, the old mandarin pig was getting close to home and the pace picked up. Around Brady on Hwy 71, the pig was on auto-pilot and I pulled into the driveway about 5pm. The trip home was uneventful and the weather was absolutely perfect. For such a fine finish to the trip however, bugs did have to sacrifice themselves.

Running a tad bit over 3,700 miles for the whole trip, I can say this week on the road was a blast.

Hope you enjoyed the ride-along…


Forum Supporter
Mar 6, 2004
ABSOLUTELY enjoyed the ride along!

Looks like you're doing a great job getting the pics you like (and you seem quite enamoured by trains) and trying out new things.

Was this your longest solo journey on the bike? Overall, what were your most and least favorite moments of it all? What gear/equipment will you keep and what might you change for the next go-round?


Nov 28, 2006
North of Weird
ABSOLUTELY enjoyed the ride along!

Looks like you're doing a great job getting the pics you like (and you seem quite enamoured by trains) and trying out new things.

Was this your longest solo journey on the bike? Overall, what were your most and least favorite moments of it all? What gear/equipment will you keep and what might you change for the next go-round?
Glad you enjoyed the ride-along!

This was the longest trip on this bike, and I must say it was a joy to ride. I ran to Alaska and back on a BMW F650 "classic" thumper about 2001 which was a good 12K trip, but the 1150GS is in a different league all together.

Most favorite moment? Probably has to be a few things. Sitting in Jackson Hole, WY drinking a local beer eating fresh pan fried trout watching hang-gliders over the ski-slopes has to rank up there. Seeing Old Faithful do it's thing was a sight, and all the wildlife was a bonus with cooler temperatures.

Least favorite moment? Has to be the three or four times the pucker-factor was 'high' when exploring some gravel roads. Pea gravel and The Pig do NOT go together very well IMO. Outrunning the two major storms wasn't high on the list either.

Gear-wise, I'd consider ditching the BMW System Cases for some Jessies just to be able to collect a few more trinkets along the way. My iPod shuffle (old style) ran out of juice after two days and I had no way to charge it so I'd consider a 12v adaptor for that. I sort of liked the music on the long stretches, so I'll look into the waterproof cases for a RAM mount for my new iPod 30GB I just got. I'll possibly add a fuse block for all the other electronic stuff that seems to be accumulating. I would NOT carry two sets of riding gear like I did. For a summer trip I'd keep the mesh gear and liners for cooler weather, but I would not bring the Tourmaster/Cortech setup again. All I did was drag it around for the most part in the yellow river bag. I'll mount my PIAA's this week 'cause the night riding on the 1150GS is horrible. I didn't do any night riding on this trip, but not having that capability could limit me in the future.

Other than these observations, I'd pretty much run the same way again but with a few tweaks. Staying in hotels really simplified the planning too.