Road Trip !!

For months we had been planning an epic road trip to do for our honeymoon.  Spend a week in Vermont, stay a while in Montreal and Maine, it’ll be awesome!

It had been a massive undertaking to try and get the bike prepped in time, we had just taken it to Ruidoso and noticed it still had some issues that needed to be sorted out. 12 hours from launch with the bike half packed and ready to go and Cece’s knee still hurting from the short trip the week before to Ruidoso we decided to abandon the plan and take the car instead, it wouldn’t be much of a trip if Cece couldn’t walk for all of it with her knee hurting from the vibrations on the bike.  The car would also be warmer in Canada, more comfortable and faster.  We really want to ride to New England but that’ll have to wait.

At 4 in the morning we hit the road. From Rio Rancho to Tramway on the other side of Albuquerque in 15 minutes! thats gotta be some kind of record.

Since I had a blowout 3000 miles after I bought the car new the car has always made a bit of a grinding noise if you accelerated or drove aggressively. I’m not sure if it was the light drizzle and water all the way to the Texas border or the somewhat high speeds for a lengthy time but going through Amarillo I thought the trip was over before it started.  Car was making such a horrible metal on metal grinding noise that we were sure the wheel was going to fall off.

Well we couldnt afford a rental car and we had a motel reservation in 2 days plus several others after that what would be lost of we ended up breaking down or having to wait for the car to be fixed.  We were kind of screwed, do we call the whole trip off or keep going and see what happens.

In the past any time the car started acting up like this, I keep thinking it’s a CV joint somewhere but so far no mechanic has been able to determine the cause, when it starts grinding if I’d let off the accelerator and don’t go past 1/2 throttle and just slow down it mostly goes away and after a few hours of driving it’s back to normal.

Lets go for it!

Not a whole lot to see but fog most of the morning, we kept the cruise control set right at the speed limit to ease the load on the car and by Shamrock Texas the car was back to normal Whew!

We had the car loaded with granola, bananas, crackers and vitamin waters in a cooler, we were planning on not stopping for anything but gas and bathroom breaks the first day as we had 1000 miles to get under our belt as fast as possible.

We did take a slight detour to check out this cool old Conoco station in Shamrock.

Continue reading Road Trip !!

Everything is bigger in Texas

They say everything is bigger in Texas (except for those tiny dog sized deer).    The theme of today seemed to be oversized things, starting with this giant walking stick bug!

It was under the table at breakfast and knowing Cece with unusual critters she had to get it to crawl on her hands.  When it got on her sleeve it ran up her arm and around the back of her neck in a flash and surprised her at how fast it was as you can tell by this hilarious picture.

Had to get gas for the morning ride and we saw this.  Texas limo or just someone with a really big family?

For lunch at Bandara we got to watch the chaos and ensuing traffic jam when someone tried to drive a dump truck bucket that took up two lanes through town forcing a big 5th wheel trailer to have to reverse all the way through town as well.     You’d think something like this would have an escort.

Lone Star Motorcycle Museum – Opposed Twins

As a BMW airhead owner I’m always a fan of other Boxer Engined vehicles and there was quite a few at the Lone Star Motorcycle Museum.

Of course they had a number of old BMWs including an R26 single but also several opposed twins that I’d never heard of or seen in person.

I’ve never heard of a Douglas motorcycle and never seen an opposed twin mounted lengthwise in the frame this way before.  Douglas was a British motorcycle company and has an interesting history  including building the first bikes with disk brakes in the 1920′s!   This one is a 1920 350cc side valve.

I like the old bikes with nickel plating and no chrome.

Indian made an opposed twin? No Way!    Yet another opposed twin mounted lengthwise in the frame, how about that.

I forgot to take a picture of the tag on this one but I found on the web this is apparently an Indian Model O  which first came out in 1917 and only had a short run.  From the article it seems that both Indian and Harley Davidson had a go with the boxers which both failed miserably before BMW’s legendary 80+ years with them mounted transversely.

I thought I was pretty well versed in all things BMW has done on two wheels but I have to admit I’d never heard of this one till I saw it in the middle of nowhere in Texas of all places one spring day.   The MKM1000 developed by Krauser has a unique light weight tubular frame like something you’d see from Ducati today, too bad it’s covered up by all of that body work.  Read more about the MKM here and here.

 

Lone Star Motorcycle Museum

Today we rode a bit of the famous Three Sisters roads in the Texas Hill Country and had to stop at the Lone Star Motorcycle Museum on the way.

One thing that I noticed about the roads in this area was that most were fun high speed sweepers with a few very sharp switchbacks thrown in with little to no warning to keep you on your toes when the roads descended into a ravine or crossed a ridge.  Riders get so focused on going fast through the gentile stuff that they are unprepared for that sharp corner out of the blue and in our couple of times here we’ve seen a handful of bikes off the road including one 30 or 40 feet down a cliff just outside Hamilton Pool on a later trip not to mention the skid marks going into nearly every sharp corner.  Nothing like a 180 degree switchback to jolt you back to reality after drifting off into a dream of motorcycle nirvana.

Our route was mostly sweepers and nothing too technical, still some riders lagged behind and got separated.  The museum itself is just a metal warehouse looking building with nothing else around and easy to miss.  One rider blew right past us at full speed, there was no catching him.

For being a bit isolated way out here the museum was pretty interesting with many unique pieces I’d never seen before and a couple of high dollar motorcycles.  If you are out in the Texas Hill Country it’s well worth the trip to stop by and check it out.

They have a rather nice collection to browse through and the guys up front were really helpful with a map to give us some ideas of where to go for the remainder of the day.

We were going to eat once we got back to town at some BBQ joint they knew about so none of us ate at the little museum diner.  After a long day riding the sisters and then looking at all the awesome motorcycles I imagine this would be a good place for a rest and a bite to eat.

I’ve never seen what our bike looks like from the front, I think the triangle of lights does make it a bit more visible than the passing lamps that blend into the headlight and are less distinguishable.  Thanks for all the pics Mark & Paige and Nick.

Motorcycles on the beach

Salty sea air and motorcycles do not mix!    I was quite shocked at how quickly the rust appeared all over my spokes and my braided stainless cables the last time we were spent some time on the Gulf  coast.  Since I had bought the bike new it had never seen the inside of a garage and had been left out in the elements for 5 years and even ridden on salty roads in the winter with only a few small spots of rust appearing in that time.  5 days near the beach in Texas, however, and rust everywhere!!!  I swear the thing looked like it aged 15 years in 5 days.    I couldn’t even ride with my visor down on my helmet, it’d get a coating of salt over it in 10 miles that only smears trying to wipe off.

This time I came prepared, before we left I’d lightly coated every surface I could think of with a light coat of wax.  I’m not one of those clean freaks and have better things to do than sit and polish a bike for hours thats just going to get covered in dust 2 hours later whether I ride it or not so by waxing everything what I mean is rub a bit of hard carnauba wax into a cloth and rub everything chrome down with it and quickly wipe off,  15 mins max.

This is why!

One of the Dolphin Dock employees rode this Shadow.  It’s not very old and was in pretty good shape before he started riding it a year or two ago and leaving it yards from the docks every day.

Look at all the rust and aluminum corrosion that can happen in just a short time near the ocean. Wow!

If you lived near the ocean full time I’m not sure what one would do to stop this, maybe dunk your bike in a vat of WD-40 every week.

So if you are riding to the ocean from some place where rust does not exist like the desert South West be sure to take appropriate measures or your bike will turn to dust before you get home.  Seriously you’d be shocked at how fast it will start to rust, I’m talking hours.

Dolphin Dock 2

We had such a good time fishing yesterday and the crew enjoyed talking to Cece that they offered us a discount to go again the next day.  Unfortunately it was windy and rough seas that morning and we didn’t get to go out again.   Instead we went shopping around the island that morning and tried another go at some bay fishing in the afternoon.

Texas has triggerfish?

It was very cool when Cece pulled up this triggerfish, I thought they mainly lived where there was coral.  This one is rather ugly compared to the clown triggerfish I used to take care of back in high school.   If you don’t know where they get their name from, that spine at the top of their head locks in place to secure themselves in holes and to make them harder to eat but if you press the second spine down (the trigger) the top one will unlatch.

This one was too small and had to be thrown back.  I’ve never heard of eating triggerfish anyway I’m not sure if I’d have wanted to keep it even if it was big enough. It’d feel like eating an ugly cousin of one of my pets.

What are these things called?  Strange looking fish with a giant eye.

We didn’t seem to have much luck the second day with the bay fishing.   We only seemed to catch these poisonous toadfish I think they were called.   Others caught a small stingray and a few small gafftopsail and hardhead catfish.   We still had fun getting to go out on the water a second day.

Continue reading Dolphin Dock 2

Castaways Seafood and Grill

Where do you go when you’ve eaten at every place in Port Aransas?    Castaways again!

Yum!!

 

Dolphin Dock Deep Sea Fishing

When we motored up to Dolphin Dock Deep Sea Fishing in Port Aransas a couple of the workers came outside to greet us.  They recognized the sound of the bike and knew it had to be that motorcycle couple from New Mexico again lol.  Out of how many tourists they must see every day it’s neat that they would remember us.  I guess we did sit and talk with everyone for hours last year waiting to see if we could go out before they called it and we ended up going bay fishing later in the day.

This year the weather was better and at least the first day we got to go out for Cece’s first deep sea fishing adventure!

Bait almost looks too good to throw to the fishes, that looks like some real good sashimi right there!

First catch of the day was a 93 pound Wahoo!   This should’ve been my fish, the deck hand threw out a line as we were slowing down and hooked it then looked for me to hand me the pole to reel it in.   I had just stepped away to get a picture of Cece so they handed the pole to the next closest guy, darn it!     Oh well, the fish is a beauty! and a good omen for the day.

Cece’s first catch of the day, a very nice red snapper!   Too bad they were out of season for a few more weeks and it had to be thrown back.

We had a bit of excitement when we all had out lines in waiting for someone to get a bite when BOOM something hit my line and the reel started spinning out out so fast it was smoking. The reel stopped and the thick deep sea pole about doubled over in half, it was all I could do to hang onto it and POP! the line snapped!  We have no idea what the hell it was only that it was huge!  After that my reel was seized it wouldn’t crank in or let out anymore, whatever it was had broken my pole!

Continue reading Dolphin Dock Deep Sea Fishing

Shorebirds

We did find quite a few guys fishing off the beach and the rock jetty. Some of them were actually catching something besides stick fish.

I didn’t realize that they had trout in the ocean.

Of course there are always plenty of different kinds of sea birds in this area.

Continue reading Shorebirds

Feeling Crabby

Went to the beach today after getting fishing tickets for tomorrow and going through some swimwear and t-shirt shops in town.

Crabs were everywhere!  Many different kinds too, only got decent pictures of 4 species.  Never seen so many different kinds in one place.

Ghost crabs live on land, there are burrows for these everywhere in the sand near the water.   Cece had never seen one before so I tried to dig one of the smaller ones up, the bigger burrows are wayyy too deep.   That burrow was empty but we got lucky and found a few walking around on the way back to the bike.

The blue crabs were rather feisty.  If a shadow went over the water while they were.. ahem, busy.. the males would snap their claws out of the water and splash.   The first one surprised and scared Cece so badly she screamed and fell backwards, almost completely off the rocks into the water, then I almost fell in the water from laughing so hard.

Continue reading Feeling Crabby