St Louis Arch Museum

I did not realize just how big the underground museum at the St. Louis Arch was.  Many exhibits and quite a lot of floor space along with a couple of gift shops.

 

Good job Thomas J!  One of the best deals in history!

The museum had some good examples of settlers lives, from the houses they lived in to transportation, livestock and wildlife.

My great grandmother lived in a sod house! it was probably not this neat and clean inside.

Depictions of Native life.

They had a couple of live actor exhibits.  This guy was very good and very knowledgable.  I forgot who he was supposed to be, some black business man who worked his way up from nothing to become one of the cities wealthy and well respected citizens.

This guy was from Green Bay, that cold weather must make people want to put strange things on their heads.

 

 

St. Louis Arch

St. Louis Arch

This is one monument that you don’t need a map or GPS to find! It is pretty much visible from all areas of the city.

 

We got here early and were about the only car on our floor of the parking structure and except for a group doing Yoga under the arch we nearly had the park grounds to ourselves while we waited for things to open.

This has got to be a pretty cool prospective, it made me a little dizzy just looking at them.

St. Louis Arch Yoga

The park grounds are very nice, great walk ways, trees, shade and ponds.  Everything was well groomed and clean and seemed to be popular with morning joggers and other fitness folks.

Even the squirrels were having a good time jumping up the trees.

After we had explored all of the area it was time to wait for the gates to open.

We quickly grew bored during the long wait but at least we could take several hundred  “artistic arch” shots to pass the time.

St. Louis Arch

St. Louis Arch

I thought it was neat that you could still see the suction cup marks on almost all of the panels leftover from the arch’s construction phase.

 WET PAINT!!

As we were one of the first groups up the elevator I got wet paint all down my pants and back and side from the inside of the lift!  I complained to one of the rangers who let maintenance know that several passengers were getting paint on their clothes and they shut down one of the lifts.  I did not bring many clothes and now these were ruined!

The head maintenance guy found me downstairs and called over the guy who did the paint. He said that he was finished with the paint an hour before opening and it should have been dry by then like they had always done. They offered to get me a new shirt from the gift shop but before that to try washing it off as it was just water soluble paint.   I came out of the bathroom soaking wet but thank god the stuff came off!   Even if I lost my chance to get a free t-shirt I was so relieved I didn’t have to buy new pants!

 

Views from up top

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.

Boy Oklahoma sure is boring..

Garth Brooks Blvd

GPS got us temorarily lost in Oklahoma City, some how we wound up at the capitol building.

Wow, I don’t remember there being a giant casino in Tulsa the last time we were here.

Missouri!   First new state of the trip.

Joplin rest area.

We didn’t quite make it to St. Louis the first day like we’d planned.  We came close and stopped only about an hour short because of some major traffic jams from construction and some poor guy’s Cadillac burning to the ground in the middle of I44

We got up good and early the next morning to go check out the St. Louis Arch and continue on to Columus, OH.

Turned out to be a beautiful day after the fog from the previous day burned off

You see some cool things on the road sometimes.

I think we need to go that way to the arch!

At least the arch is easy to find.  We arrived right as they were opening up, perfect!

 

 

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.

Coast Guard

Competition down the road did not go out either today.

The triple hull Polly Anna shrimp boat

 

 

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!

New fishing pole.  By now people were catching good sized dog snapper all around the boat but I put my line back at the same depth that I had last time.  After a bit of a wait something hit my line just as hard as before, this time it stayed on longer than 20 seconds.  My pole looked like it was going to snap, whatever I’d hooked was pulling a hell of a lot harder than that 93 pound wahoo!  After fighting it for 20 minutes I was getting freaking winded.  I needed to adjust my grip and just barely touched the bottom of the pole to the railing so I could adjust my grip and snap the line went again.

Just then a deck hand finally ran up to give me a hand and said yep don’t touch it to the railing!  sorry we should have gotten you a belt.   Oh well, good to know the railing tip for next time.

Shortly after my second broken line another guy hooked a monster fish and this time had help from the crew and managed to pull in this shark that was let go.

All in all we had a good time and Cece had a lot of fun and now wants to come back and go again!

Our haul for the day.

Cece holding up our pair of atlantic sharpnose sharks.  These are full grown and good eating!

Dolphin Docks does a great job cleaning the fish afterwards if you’d like here is what that wahoo looked like afterwards.

Since we were on the bike we bought a box of ziplock bags and you put a few pieces of fish in with a little bit of water and burp out all of the air.  Then it can be blast frozen with Dolphin Docks freezer and shipped back home.

I didn’t have time to call my neighbor who took delivery of the fish.  He said he got home one day to find a giant box and couldn’t remember what he’d bought then opened it up, wow fish!

 

95 pound fiance posing with 93 pound fish LOL

Good haul for the boat that day.