Texas Day 4: Under the Ground, Over the Road - Neither is a Place for High Heeled Shoes
April 4, 2006
Day four was to be welcomed as a short, leisurely drive. If you know anything about my trips, when I say it will be short day, you know you are in for a good story, as fate has a way of turning a few miles into many hours. So lets first start out with the bad.
I was packing up the bike, early this morning, so not to incur Shooter's wrath for another day of tardiness. Upon returning to the room, the one I was sharing with Duncan, I walked through the door, and I saw Duncan, preparing for a shower, completely naked. This was not the wake call I every thought about having!
"Duncan", I said. "I will need my eyes to see to drive today."
Duncan replied, "Yes, and so."
I replied, "Right now, I would like to gouge them out!"
So now, lets shiver off the shakes of that memory, and head onto the good. A short road trip to Carlsbad Caverns. The morning was cool. Upon reaching the entrance, we had to take some photos. Apparently that is the thing to do, as there is an asphalted pull off, just for this Kodak Moment. Here is a picture of our bikes in front of the sign.
The caverns were spectacular. I guess I was expecting another Mamouth Cave, but this was far superior. It was like one huge underground room. The lighting was minimal, but highlighted the major features of the cave. Have a look for yourself.
The whole morning we spent 750 feet underground scanning this miracle of nature. Often we wondered what it would have been like to explore this area with a candle in hand. With our tour over, and our digital camera memory cards filling up, we headed back out on the road. On our way out of the park, we had thought about getting bite to eat, but none of the restaurants wee open in the area. We all had snacks and water on board. It wasn't long before we were back in Texas, where everything is bigger, including the speed limit, which was 75 mph.
So now that you have read another good thing, it is time for more bad news. Fortunately, there is no nudity of a 60 year old man in this episode. We had turned or make that returned, onto Texas Highway 54, after we missed the turn once, and ran into road construction. I guess Indiana really does not have a monopoly on year round road construction on every road that I happen to want to ride. Waiting for the escort truck would yield a slight delay, about thirty minutes. This "pilot truck" would return and guide us through the road work zone from hell! Hell for two wheels, but it would be darn fun in my truck.
First there was chip and seal, emotion is was the road worker called it, then gravel, then dirt, then gravel covered concrete, then dirt covered asphalt, then sand, then sand covered concrete, then another round of each. We white knuckled our way through the war zone without incident. At least no one laid the bike over, and I assuming that everyone's pants were still clean.
Once back on good pavement, we made our run into Van Horn, Texas. After gassing up, we decided to hit a restaurant in town. I mentioned before we had plenty of time to talk to the road worker, who suggested this eatery. It would be tough job, as he would be alone in the heat, all day long. I commend him for having a great attitude about it, and his impeccable manners. He was being put up in a hotel in Van Horn while the work was completed.
The eatery we choose was called Chuy's, apparently it has been made famous by the fact that the infamous John Madden stops here, when he can, to dine. I was happy with the fact we could park under an awning, and get the bare saddles out of the driving sun. Inside, there a table, chair and large screen TV that paid homage, it was more of a culinary throne for the former coach and commentator. Shooter and Duncan took several pictures, and even graced the John Madden seat with there bottoms. Maybe someday they will run into John, and he can autograph there posteriors! It was another fine Mexican meal, and I can understand why John takes break from his RV to get a bite to eat, even listing them on his Hall of Fame.
From Chuy's we made short trip to the Love's Truck Stop, so I could possibly get another CB Antenna for my bike. I don't know where I lost the other one, but the CB had been working better without it, to some extent.
We had about 50 miles to get to Fort Davis. It was getting late in the day, and we knew we would not make there by the time the National Park closed, but we decide to drive by and check it out anyway. Along the way, on route 90, we could see a small building. I noticed the letters "Prada" on the side. I remembered that name from somewhere, had something to do with fashion. Sure enough, when I passed, I could tell it was display case for High Heel Shoes. I certainly do not fit into their customer base, so I can't imagine that many of their potential buyers happen this way, or realize what they passed at 75 mph. But then again, here I am talking about, mentioning the name, it good be pure Advertising Genius!
The rest of the drive to Fort Davis was absolutely gorgeous. We road through some mountain passes, cattle gates, and were warned of Loose Livestock. We didn't see any wayward farm animals, though. We meandered our way around the mountains, past a camp, and into the town of Fort Davis. These were all photo ops, but we were pushing on, trying to get to Fort Davis, and then onto the hotel for the night in Alpine, Texas.
Fort Davis is quaint little town, one full of history. We noticed right away some motorcycles parked on the main drag of town, in front of a restaurant/hotel. We ventured through town, and to the National Park for Fort Davis. We took a view pictures, and I offered that we should stay here in town, drop in on Fort Davis in the morning for the stamp, and then head down to Big Bend. Jim and Duncan agreed, and we were off to find accommodations.
Fort Davis is centered around a great old hotel, the Limpia. We decided to try and check it out. Shooter was able to broker deal we could all afford. We would be staying in a luxury suite, two bedrooms, two baths, and a kitchen. This place is old, but classic, and very cool. We even would have shaded parking for our bikes! The room we stayed in was not part of the hotel building, but a number of cottages tied together. We were offered to come an sit in the front parlor room of the hotel, enjoy a fire, and free wireless internet.
After roaming around the suite, and then walking around town, we realized the only place to eat, still open, was the bar/restaurant in the hotel. We choose upstairs in the bar, so we could have a drink or two. I am glad we did, as we had great service from our bartender, who was also our server, and great food. We were told about the third largest telescope in the area, that Fort Davis was home to the Buffalo Soldiers, and that the bartender was a history teacher for The High Frontier, a school for troubled children. She was very outgoing, and full of history of the area. She grew up in Alpine, which was not far away. We had been very lucky with our food and our service so far, as each of the servers accommodated our "Guys Gone Wild" lifestyle.
Before we left, we had a short conversation with two Englishman, who had flown in to rent bikes and ride them in Texas. Too much rain and bad weather in the Queen's Land for them, so they come to America to ride. They let us know of a route along the Rio Grande, that leads to Big Bend.
After dinner, we went back to room, packed our laptops under our arms, along with a few beers, and headed to the hotel parlor to get on the net. I know we are geeks, but I had a blog to write, Duncan was writing re-caps in e-mail, and Jim actually wanted to do work!!
When we returned to the room, we watched a little television, and eventually turned in for the night.