Texas Day 7: Surprise, Surrrprrrrise, Surrrrpriiiiiissssse - Gomer Pyle

April 7, 2006

I woke up in San Antonio still high from the feeling I got from walking along the River Walk downtown. Realizing the politicos in Indianapolis would never be smart enough to do it in the Circle City would bring me back to earth. My first order of business was waking up, and then getting something to eat for breakfast.

Surprise: When I came out of the room, a second floor room, I saw Jim talking to some strange woman. This is a surprise, as Jim often retreats when Duncan and I get going with our flirting. I do it because I think it makes people feel better, I would say that I am not sure why Duncan flirts so much, but I think you can all imagine (he's single, he's 60-something, and he's still going). With our final trip to load up the bikes, as Duncan and I's were parked around the corner from Jim's, the same woman approached us. It didn't take her long to start with the regular speech: I just left my husband, I need money for gas, if I can only get to this town, and I am honestly buying gas, you can watch me pump it in my tank, your friend just gave me five bucks. I didn't hear anything I hadn't heard before, sometimes from the same person in the same day! Duncan gave her the change he had in his pocket, as I studied her eyes. I could almost see the meth in them. She wasn't going anywhere, as I am sure the whole story is bovine skeptitude.

It would be a while before the next surprise, even after lunch. We were turning and burning the miles away, and had made it through Houston and the city's noon time traffic, and were on our way through Beaumont, Texas. I decided to finally grab a bite to eat at a Whattaburger. I had been seeing the signs for 2500 miles, and I thought we should just get the place out of our system.

Surrrprrrrise: Back on the road, and trying to escape the Beaumont Traffic. I was riding tail. Shooter Jim was in the lead. We were in the left lane and Jim was passing a semi. There was also concrete construction barriers on the left edge of the road. Jim got mostly around the truck, but then stalled just along the front bumper. Duncan was stuck right next to the truck, nearly a sandwich between the 18 wheeler and the concrete barrier. Neither one a forgiving foe when on two wheels. Duncan shouted on the CB for Jim to get around the truck. Jim was reluctant for some reason, I could not hear it on the CB. Needless to say, the conversation escalated. They would not be able to understand anything I would have said, not that I probably had any constructive to add anyway. I ended up in the lead, as the discussion of who should lead ended the heated exchange. First thing first, no harm, no foul. Everyone is okay. Second, I usually lag behind, wait for the bike in front of me to clear, and power around the truck. In fact, I try to never ride along side of any vehicle, at any time. I will either back off the throttle, or get around them as quickly, and safely, as I can. Third, if I am ahead, and I see someone next to a truck, then I speed up to get them clear. I guess I am conflicted on who was right or who was wrong. Sounds like a little from column A, and well, you know. The important thing, no one got hurt.

Surrrrrrrrprrrrriiiiiiiissssse: It is funny how one thing can happen that will make another previous event seem small, and easily forgettable. Shortly after entering Louisiana, the roads were in terrible shape, by the way, we hit a large bump. A few feet later, my trunk broke loose, and was riding in it own. The case landing on its side in the middle of the lane, rolled upright, and continued its high speed slide along the road. I was terrified, as my laptop computer and my digital camera was in that case! The only thing I could see was the semi, and the bright, shiny, low hanging bumper on the front of that mass of machinery. I was already resigning myself to getting new laptop and a digital camera. I have seen car accidents with trucks, and 20 pound case was not to be any match. Duncan was far behind, and was slowing. Jim was able to slow faster than the top case. Apparently that wax job I did on it before I left must have really been good. Jim and Duncan were able to stop on the highway right next to the case. The semi was also able to start short. Jim collected the case, and cleared the road. I was so wound up, all I can remember was my mind telling me, put the kickstand down, kill the engine, make sure you don't lay over the bike. All I remember was that the truck was white, and cab over. If the driver ever reads this, write me, I owe you the largest, frostiest beverage of your choice!!

I noticed on the mounting plate that the latch part was broken. Part of it was still sticking up, and I thought I could still mount the case on the plate, and bungee cord it down. When I saw the case, I was surprised that it was just scratched up. The feet that slide into the mount were gone, however. It was going no where on my bike!! After some thought, it was decided that the case would get strapped into the rear seat of Duncan's Goldwing.

I suppose I could find someone to buy a new case, the company that made it, the Louisiana Road Department? After all, I am in the state where it is always someone else's fault, and the government should be there to bail you out. Maybe I could blame FEMA. Maybe I should send the invoice to George W? Maybe I should have made a big sign that said, "send help, I hit a huge crater on your highway!!" Looking around, I could tell the state had not done much to clean up from last fall's disasters. I know for sure, once the infamous governor of this state would find out I am from a red state, I would be out of luck. The only Blue Person she would not help the mayor of New Orleans. I guess I will just have to suck it up, and take responsibility for my own actions. Perhaps the case was over loaded, maybe I packed it wrong. Who knows, maybe with my example, responsibility and discipline may just be the next fade and catch on or something!

On down the road we went, looking for another national park for Jim to get a stamp. We arrived at the park. Jim hopped off his bike, and went inside. I walked over to Duncan's bike. So how is Wile E doing back there. "My bird doesn't like him!" He ranted.

I walked inside, Duncan said he was going to wait outside. When I got into the park, Jim was finishing up his stamp. He must have seen the look on my face. "Duncan said he still loves me," he said.
I replied, "So does this mean you guys want to have the room together tonight? Jim laughed as Duncan approached the front door. Jim was looking for a park patch. Duncan headed straight for the men's room.

We gassed up about 10 miles out of town. The wind was very strong. This gas station was very popular, although it was out in the middle of nowhere, but it was operated by several attractive young girls. Of course at my age, every young girl is attractive anymore.

It was about 120 miles to Natchez, and we decided to make a run for it. This would be another 500 plus mile day. Sorry I don't have pictures, but this was a blue collar, turn and burn kind of day. Before we went to bed, I bored holes into the bottom of the trunk. I am hoping to change some packing, and get less weight into it. We sat in Jim's room, and had meals that we each went out and retrieved. I had gone to K-Mart to get the tools to make the holes, and had to break down and have sub at Subway. My choices were limited.

This was certainly day of surprises, but I guess it could have been worse.

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