The role of “she, her, Becca, RocketBunny, or RB will be portrayed by Becca W. on her BMW1200ST, and the role of “me, I, or Squeaky” will be portrayed by Rebecca N. on her VStrom1k.
Becca's version of the ride is different than my own. It's interesting to compare the way two people on the same trip focus on different events of the day and tell the story from a different angle. To see the weekend from her POV, go to rocketbunny.blogspot.com
Oh, and the monkey, a.k.a. “Spank”, will be joining us on this ride. He’s been kinda down, so he didn’t do much socializing during the trip. I don’t think he’s been feeling well – hearbroken that Sockette still hasn’t been found. He says, “Baby, if you’re out there, be strong. Let them know I’m willing to give myself willingly as a hostage to whomever has taken you. I ask only that you be returned to Texas T or any moderator on this site so that your rightful owner can have you back.”
Yet again, poor planning led to a late pre-ride night, and early morning, and a late start. All my fault. I was certain RocketBunny would be fuming. Lucky for me, she got the ‘rub-the-sleep-from-my-eyes-realize-you-overslept-and-text-your-ride-parter’ message in time to stay home and play with the pets for a little while longer. This allowed me the opportunity to take one of the top-ten fastest showers in my life, throw the bag on the bike, refuel, and get my rear in gear headed for JIB. From the moment I awoke until I was rolling down the freeway, I think about 19 minutes had elapsed. That’s gotta be a record for me.
[boring retentive disclaimer]
The odometer was reset at the corner gas station, so we’ll consider the driveway and my block to the corner a moot point. Let’s consider this Mile Marker 0.
[/boring retentive disclaimer]
I was obviously not going to have the time for the back-roads route to Brookshire, so I headed up the tollway towards I10. After finding my entrance under construction and closed for the weekend, I crawled through traffic toward the next on ramp. The cones ended about 50 feet from the traffic light, blocking the left lane. Workers were a half mile back, clearly they wouldn’t be down working on this section for hours. About three cones from the end, and with only one car in the entire left lane, I decided to move over and occupy less densely populated space by taking the left lane. As I finished getting over through the large cones and through the intersection, I heard a blip. Looking back through the mirror, I could see the blue and red flash of lights.
Mile marker 3.5 / 7:58 am
This can’t be the way a trip to the Hill Country is supposed to start.
The kind officer did not ask me to remove my helmet. He did not even get out of his truck. He pulled up next to me and I got a ‘talking to’. I must look old and slow now.
Mile Marker 26(?)
Traffic on the Katy Freeway has it’s own predictably unpredictable freak-of-nature patters and I was stopped and walking the bike in three miles of construction traffic. Every vehicle that could was exiting the freeway. Do I? Could I risk an additional traffic violation that morning just to not sit in traffic, bike overheating, when there was a perfectly good feeder road just yards away; separated from me only by tire-worn grass and dirt.
Mile Marker 29(?)
Miss the ramp to re-enter the freeway and had to get my ‘feet dirty’ again. And yet again there were worn tire tracks through the grass. Can the city engineers not see that these are places extra ramps should be, as long as they can feasibly be done safely?
Mile Marker 31.5
Brookshire, Texas / 8:23 am
A quick spin around both the Chevron and Jack In The Box reveals no RocketBunny. If she’d left the house before I sent the text message, then she’d surely check her phone if I hadn’t shown up by 8. Less than five minutes after rolling onto JIB pavement, I heard the hum of the Germans emerge from the underpass. RB and her Bimmer parked themselves next to me in the shade, and we were officially a pair. The next 36 hours (give or take) and 600-800 miles (give or take) would be The Odd Couple, TWT-Style.
Heading up 359 and on towards Stephen F Austin State Park, I noticed Becca pass the sharp left onto a small paved country road that looked familiar. She’s the one with the GPS; I navigate by “over by that brick building across from the gas station”. I guess there’s another way to get over the river and through the woods.
Nope. No other way. We got to the entrance to the park. NO THROUGH TRAFFIC was clearly posted. Left hand straight up and circling, Becca made for the parking lot to get herself turned around. I glanced back at clear pavement and swung the Strom around in yet another obvious infraction. I took the lead as she came up behind me and I guided us with the red light at the end of my nose, faltering only once at a T-stop. What RB probably didn’t know was that almost every turn and road we passed ran through my head and quickly got either a “this looks right” or a “nah, I don’t think that’s it” from my Linkin Park-filled brain.
We arrived at this crossing just as the train began to whistle and pass. I turned the bike off, dropped the ‘stand, and grabbed the camera. I guess RB hasn’t been in Texas long enough to know that this is like a break. She kept her engine running, probably in gear, staring down the tracks. We both searched for the end of the line, but it didn’t come for a while.
Fayetteville, TX / 9:56 am
We arrived at Orsak’s in Fayetteville and found a spot to park amid the sea of bikes and trucks. It was turning into a beautiful day – sun shining, clear roads, and great riding.
Becca and I sat and talked about our combined pace, route ideas, and other such assorted nonsense. The wait for our food was longer than usual because we’d gotten there right after a large group had placed their order, but the eggs and extra crispy bacon were worth every minute of it.
After leaving, I led us towards LaGrange through the ‘typical’ route. I’ve done it lots of times, but always following other riders. Along the way, I kept doubting myself and wondering if I was getting us lost. I [i]really[/i] need to get a GPS. RB finally sensed my confusion and passed me and led through the end of 2981. Becca looked ahead at Post Oak Rd and was puzzled. The GPS told her to go straight. The unpaved roadway told her not to. He turned right, then signaled another u-turn. I pulled up next to her and let her know that only the last part of Post Oak was paved, and that she did NOT want to navigate that road on her bike. I did, though! I am used to splitting off from the street riders at this point and meeting back up at the other end, so I told her to go on and I’d be there waiting when she got there. She told me I better not drop my bike because she wasn’t coming down there to get me!
I was strolling through the park one day…
In the merry merry month of May (well, July, but the song won’t rhyme that way)…
I was taken by surprise…
By a Beemer in disguise…
In the merry merry month of July!
Mile Marker 147.8
Exxon Station: Bastrop, Texas
Fuel: 3.657 gal / $10.24
At this point we were running about an hour behind schedule. All things considered, it could be worse. We took a few of the smaller roads out of the route to try and make up for it, but it may not have made much of a difference. RocketBunny asked if I’d ever been to Kyle. “No, but I know a guy named Kyle!”
As we pulled up to a building with a large slice of pie protruding from the awning, I knew we were stopping for a slice at the Texas Pie Co. Well, make that a tin. It seems you don’t buy a slice of pie here, just a small, individual pie.
RB had Strawberry Peach and I had Dutch Apple. They were quite good, but nothing to write home about. My Camelbak was empty already, so we bought some bottled water and the store clerk got us a few cups of ice to cool it all down.
Once outside, Becca wanted to test how hot the asphalt was out here. Check out that fancy thermometer gadget that looks like a digital camera!
Just north of Canyon Lake, we came upon a sight that appealed to both of us Beccas. [url=http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/RR/rbr18.html]Rebecca Creek[/url] runs through here, and a subdivision aptly named The Springs at Rebecca Creek was born. How do two Rebeccas on a journey [i]not[/i] stop for a photo op???
To get the shot of the two of us, RB set her camera on the ground and was setting the timer when a Texas Parks & Wildlife truck pulled up and asked if we needed help. He thought she’d crashed and was lying there in need of medical attention. We laughed and told him about the Rebecca thing and he smiled and told us to have fun. “We will!”
Boerne, TX (pronounced Bernie)
We decided that since we were now only a few miles from our first destination, a graduation party for a childhood friend of Becca’s, that we’d freshen up and change our clothes in an attempt to look somewhat presentable when we arrived. Taryn and Becca hadn’t seen each other since eighth grade, so it’s really a second first impression and we didn’t want to mess it up.
We took turns changing in the gas station bathroom while the other stayed outside and watched the bikes and gear. We got lots of strange looks from the locals, but we really don’t care what others think of us – we think we’re pretty weird already! Becca managed to spill her water all over the front of her shirt. Would it dry before we got to the house? Not likely. Well now, isn’t it a nice coincidence that I always over pack and had not one, not two, but [i]three[/i] extra shirts for her to choose from!
“So this glove goes on my right hand, no wait, my other right hand…”
Only two or three u-turns later, we arrived at Taryn’s house. Two acres, and deer that come to visit in the backyard.
Everyone that we were introduced to did a double-take when we did the name thing. It was pretty hilarious at times. The atmosphere was very relaxed, and even though I hadn’t known who anyone was when we arrived, I think I blended in pretty well. The small children were adorable and fun to watch. Kids that just act like kids. It’s a beautiful thing, the innocence of toddlers.
Three of the graduate’s family and friends had their guitars with them. They played from an accumulation of seventies music; Neil Diamond, the Everly Brothers, and other assorted classics.
And they weren’t mild old gents like they might appear. This is the Texas-Sized Margarita Machine!
It’s made with a ½ hp garbage disposal. It sucks the ice and margarita mix down and around through the PVC tubing and back into the mix.
The spigot simply lets some out during the cycle. Being the tinkering kind that I am, I was amazed at the ingenuity that was involved here. If only I liked Margaritas, maybe I’d make one of my own? This one had a bit of a ‘power continuity’ issue, but with some coaxing it yielded many smiles.
This is Titus. He’s Tori’s dog, although I never got to meet Tori (Taryn’s brother). He had a work thing and was going to be back later that evening.
Alas, we didn’t want to be heading into the Hill Country without the light of day. We were geared back up and said our goodbyes, then we were headed into the setting sun. Wait, this is a familiar feeling – trying to race the sun to my destination so I could avoid the dreaded “change the visor” stop.
So… As we got back towards town the Shell station got it’s second of three appearances for the weekend.
Visors now clear and cleaned, we focused our attention on getting to I10 before all of the fading light was gone. Not a mile or two farther down the road, the GPS turned over to sunset mode for Becca. At least we’re accurate!
As we exited for Kerrville (which Becca likes to call ‘Care-ville’ for some reason) I started to recognize landmarks and hotels. In the distance, the familiar glow of the neon YO began to appear from the darkness. It has been the preferred hotel for TWT/BMT tours and rallies. Definitely worth it for a weekend away.
But we didn’t stay there. We just needed beds and a shower, not a pool, hot tub, or bar. The EconoLodge was home for us. Not bad at all, reasonable priced, and next door to a convenience store that would provide food and drink for the evening. As we pulled in, we turned toward the portico. Becca stopped and disconnected herself from her bike. I somehow decided to grab a handful of front brake as I came to a stop, the bike still slightly turned to the right.
So as you can image, the bike started over and got heavy very quickly. As it slipped farther down my throttle hand started to slip and revved the engine. It wasn’t going to stay up, and at this rate I’m libel to get my foot stuck underneath it. I stepped out to the side and laid the bike on the ground as softly as possible.
At some point Becca turned around and discovered my bike on its side and me standing over it laughing. She hurried off her bike and back to me, and we got the bike upright. I almost forgot to put the sidestand down. (I suppose I failed my real-life test from the drop-n-learn…)
After looking down at the bike, Becca looked back at me and declared, “that’s it?”
Yup. Not a scratch. Have I mentioned how much I love my bike?
The guy at the desk said it was Ok for us to leave the bikes in front of the office, which is within clear sight of the front desk. Although I have never had issues out here, there’s nothing wrong with accepting the offer he extended. We hauled our baggage through the lobby and down to the room and then went next door for some snacks.
As I eyed the Starbucks in the case, I wondered if caffeine was such a good idea at this hour, considering the early morning and long day ahead. I asked Becca, now an aisle over, how late we were staying up tonight. A funny guy grabbing a case of beer from the fridge called back, “All night long!”
We overloaded with sugar and carbs with a splash of caffeine.
This provided enough energy to offload and review pics from our journey and discuss the plan for tomorrow. As it turns out, there really wouldn’t be a set plan. We’d do our best to be out of the room by 8, then wander through miles of smiles on the ‘three sisters’ and the ‘tail of the dragon’ before returning home around dark.
We were asleep by 11. Must be another record for me.