Texas Day 6: One Day, One Road - The delirium Finally Sets In
April 6, 2006
Thursday and Day six of our adventure, we had made the hump, and we were on the back half of our trip. We woke up in Marathon, Texas, home of the train passing by town every two hours, whether it needs to or not. The trains were like clockwork, but after I closed my eyes, I didn't hear anymore until I woke up in the morning. No messages, no voice mail to disturb either, as we had no cell phone signal. We did, however, have wireless internet!
While loading up the bike, Duncan struck up a conversation with the couple who were staying in the room next to us. Apparently they currently live in Fort Worth, and are looking to move to this area. Why, I have no idea!! I hope they plan to be far away from the train tracks. She is also a Web Logger, and we traded hyperlinks, if you want to check out Cowtown Patty, click here.
It was getting close, if not slightly passed 8 am, so it was time to hit the road, or Shooter Jim would be on the road without us. We headed East on SR 90, and that was the road we would stay on until our destination town. The GPS popped up with 173 miles, and three hours to our first stop. Of course we would have to make a stop, because I was not going to be able to run that far on fuel, especially at 75 mph.
Duncan took the lead, as we were just heading east on 90, all day until San Antonio. My fuel light came on at 115 miles, which means I had maybe 55 miles further that I could go. The GPS showed the closest fuel stop at 58 miles. Yikes!! I have a feeling that this short day could turn into a long day of sitting next to a motorcycle, empty of fuel, waiting in the desert, for my friends to return with gas. Of course, as I am running on fumes left in the tank, pops up a photo opportunity. We were crossing the Pecos River. The first advertised body of water we have seen since leaving the Rio Grand, and going into Big Bend!! There were lots of highway signs saying there was a creek or river we were crossing over, but I all saw is dry bunch of rocks and dirt that looked as though they hadn't seen H-Two-O in a long time.
Duncan decided he was inspired, and slowed down quickly, and turned into a look out post parking lot at the far side of the bridge. I wasn't able to stop, why he didn't say something on the CB, I don't know, but he must have had the creative juices flowing and forgot that anyone else was with him. I ran up to the top of the hill, and then turned around. Upon returning down the hill, the bike sputtered to stall. I expected this, and I knew I wasn't really out of gas, but to conserve the precious few ounces I had left, I coasted down the hill, and into the parking lot. Here is a photo of Duncan taking a picture of Jim posing along the Pecos River.
After the photo shoot, we toned down the speed, so I could conserve fuel. We finally pulled into Comstock, my saving grace. I would have kissed anything in this town for gas, but everything looked to be for sale! On our second attempt, we found a gas station that was open. The pumps were the old kind that don't take credit cards, and have the old white numbers on a big black, sun faded dial that spins around. The numbers tumble, telling you how much fuel you are putting in, and how much it is going to cost you. I topped off at 4.2 Gallons. The VTX 1800c sports a 4.5 gallon tank. I figure I had about ten miles left!
With our tanks full, we headed down the road again. Our next stop was to the Amistad National Park so that Shooter could collect another stamp. Amistad also has a reservoir, yes, a reservoir, and it was even filled with water. Suddenly it is everywhere! We rode about another 40 miles, 80 total on this leg, and hit another gas station. The second stop is always the first talk of stopping to get a bite to eat. Most days of the trip so far, we have been snacking at gas stops, and then stopping for lunch around 2 or 3. This puts us hungry for dinner about 8 or 9, and then ready for bed after midnight. The old guys were not handling this schedule very well. I am used to 4 hours of sleep a night, put I am also used to three squares, and one of them being closer to noon.
Most of the time, lunch is probably not spoken of because no ones wants to decide where to eat. Any group, not matter what the hobby, can all decide that they are hungry, but no one wants to say where the group is going to eat. Usually the road captain would decide, or the leader, right now, that would be Duncan. It was decided to grab a bite in Uvalde. Duncan first suggested either Subway or Pizza Hut. Even though I am the rookie, and I am not aware of the rules, I doubt the rules are written down anywhere, that's probably because they are always in flux, but I had to step in. "I can go to Subway or Pizza Hut in Indy!!" I said over the CB. I didn't ride 2500 freaking miles to get a sub!
Duncan replied, "Oh you want a mom and pop kind of place?"
We cruised on down the roads of Uvalde, and finally, like beacon in the night, we saw a brightly colored building that sported Mexican food. Apparently this town has three kinds of restaurants - Mexican, Mexican, and Mexican.
Duncan ordered their hamburger, and I went with the Mexican Plate. While waiting for our food, I became aware of Shooter's Secret Plan for the trip. He mentioned what a control freak I was with lunch. I think he was kidding. At some point, someone has to say, Eat There! Anyway, the gears in my head began to mesh, driving out the road noise, until the light went on. Jim is refusing to make a decision this whole ride, so when we get back, he can tell everyone what control freaks Duncan and I are. Aha, I know his plan! "So that is your plan," I started. "Refuse to make any decisions, then tell every one we would let you do anything you wanted." Jim knew I was joking, but coming up with a conspiracy theory proves that we have done too many miles in too few days. This was becoming like combat.
"I guess," I continued, "I should just stop making decisions. But the other person who hasn't made any decisions this trip will have to take up the slack!" Jim remained quiet for a second. Then he answered, "This is your guys' trip not mine, I am not going to make a decision, I am not good at that, I am a follower." Jim is a Vice President of the company he works for. Yeah right, he isn't a decision maker, by the way, he is the VP of estimating. No decisions ever made in that line work.
Lunch was over, and so was half the trip. On to San Antonio. We were wanting to get there and check out a mission, collect another national park stamp, and get some pictures. When we arrived at the mission, there were lots of tables and decorations around. We would find out that they were doing a fund raiser this evening. I couldn't resist taking a photo of one of the piniatas, I think, like the cartoon version, this coyote is going to take a beating sometime soon.
We spent only a short time at the mission, as Jim was feeling some of the effects of the heat, and needed to take nap to sleep off the migraine that was approaching.
Duncan and I sat in the room, working feverishly away at our laptops. When it got to 6:30, we decided to see if Jim was okay, and if he wanted to head down to the River Walk. Jim was still a little woozy, so Duncan and I headed off on our own. I figured it was Thursday, and the River Walk would be busy, but not too busy. It was hard to find parking, there wasn't any street parking, and the first lot we tried, didn't allow motorcycles.
We were able to find a lot, and it was right across from a Bar-B-Que place that was suggested by one of the Parking Attendants that refused to allow us to park in his lot. We strolled down the steps, and I was in awe. This was the most beautiful mix of artistry and commerce I have ever seen. The sidewalks were lined with restaurants, shops above them on the street level, and office space and hotels soared to the skies. The walk ways were packed with people of all ages. I could only image what it is like on Friday and Saturday Night.
Duncan and I enjoyed dinner, and then took a stroll along the walk. He got interrupted several time with Cell Phone calls, but we came to the same point. Indianapolis has a canal, why don't they have this? Sure our outdoor season is limited, but there is an indoor walk also here in San Antonio for when it rains. I could only imagine the money being spent, the sales tax being collected. This was a gold mine! For the city, and for the business owners. The campaign starts now! Please whether you are in Indiana or not, write our state legislators, our city representatives, and tell them Rodney wants his River Walk!! I am sure Duncan would like it too, but it would have to have cell phone service!