Where Is Maggie Mae?

Blasting Away....


Gone, But Not Forgotten

 

We left Texas behind and I left 50,000 miles behind as the Blast rolled over 51,000+ today on the way back towards home.

 

Not willing to let the road time come to an end, we have stopped off and are already planning an escape before we will officially call the summer vacation touring season to an end.

 

Those long weekend rides are great, but hitting the road for days on end is so addicting, knowing that you can ride all day long and then get up and do it again.   Especially love those old two lane roads that go through small towns.  I will never get tired of that.  Thanks Thumper – for making it happen.

50,000 Miles!!!

We made our way into Texas a week ago via southern routes.  Now, how to get back out of Texas?   Looking at Google maps and my trusty old paper map I had tentatively settled on US 84 east.  This highway began as a short Georgia-Alabama route and now goes all the way to Colorado. 

 

Then I noticed that just outside of Gatesville 107 branched off of 84 and then turned into Texas 7.  This would carry us back across the Mississippi and through more rural areas.  This is the kind of traveling I like most.  So, 107 and 7 it was.  For anyone wishing to make time through Texas and enjoy it as you go, I would recommend this ride.  Rolling hills, sweeping curves, 70 MPH speed limit and very little traffic.

 

Just outside of Moody, Texas on 107 the Blast turned over the 50,000 mile mark and we stopped to capture the moment in pictures on the Pew Branch Creek bridge.

 

We will continue this route tomorrow and eventually pick 84 back up for a bit towards Brookhaven, MS.

 

Thanks to Thumper, Jameson and my buddies at RTM Motorcycles for keeping the Blast on the road!

Happy Father's Day

Up at dawn and riding before the heat of the day is definitely the way to go.  By 10 am we had already logged half of the days 140 miles.  

 

After riding Park Road 4 and Farm Road 1431 in both directions off US 281 we headed to the River City Grill for much needed food and fuel. 

 

The photos today were taken at the Pottery Ranch - “Hwy 281’s Must Stop Mega Shop” in Marble Falls, Texas.  

 

While the pottery shop provided for a quick rest out of the heat, the old cars next door and the old time Shell station proved to be more interesting. 

 

Tomorrow we start the trek home looking for those old two lane roads that will take us back to Florida.

 

Happy Father’s Day to my Dad, William, Thumper and all the other Dad’s out there who instill the dream of riding across country on a motorcycle in their little girls.  Thanks Dad – I’m still smiling…

Krause Springs

Our mileage was relatively small today, but the smiles were huge. We rode through the small towns of Cypress Mill and Bee Cave before finding the roads that lead back to Spicewood, Texas and the Krause Springs swimming hole.

 

It was obvious when we emerged from the tiny little bathroom/changing room that we were out of town tourists.   With no shoes upon our feet we crept our way towards the stairs. We found the staircase leading down to the spring and looked at each other with smiles that said “you gotta be kidding me”?

 

After making it down the stairs we had to try and make it down to the water.  All the rocks were big and covered with slippery moss.  I kept hearing people tell friends it was best to just sit and slide into the water on your butt.  So that is just what I did.   After a hot ride and all that work getting down to the water, it was not as cold as I imaged it would be. 

 

The falls are set among the cypress trees and moss covered cliffs. There was a rope to jump off the tallest cliff into the deep pond but I completely content to just sit and soak.

 

The 75 mile route took us within 15 miles of Austin and plenty of bikes were about surfing the curves.  The Texas department of transportation managed to take the most challenging portion of the road and tear it up with groves just to make it more fun for motorcyclists attending the ROT Rally I am sure. 

 

Tomorrow we will be riding Texas 1431 and Park Road 4 heading into Inks State Park.  Rumor has it that 1431 is another one of those roads motorcyclists love.   

Rumble Strips

RM-3347 Between Fredericksburg and Marble Falls, Texas.  That was the plan. 

 

Fist we made a quick stop in Luckenbach – “where everyone is someone” or so the sign says .  This a town surely built on the tails of a single country-western song by Waylon Jennings and is now a motorcycle hangout and beverage stand.  So we stopped for a beverage and then returned to the plan.

 

1631 out of Fredericksburg to Farm Road 1323 and on to Althaus-Davis Road (aka RM-3347) which should have led us to 962 and eventually into Marble Falls.   We are not sure what RM stands for but I am certain it must mean really messed up. 

 

For a while it was just a beautiful one lane road that meandered through ranch country.   Cattle grades (no pavement, just pipe laid over the road to keep cows from walking from one pasture to another)  and the occasional free roaming black angus cow were the only hazards. Then, just around a bend in the road and over a cattle grade the road just sort of stopped.   Really stopped.    

 

The gravel I can tolerate.  The rumble strips were a little more than the Blast and I could handle.  Barely able to control the bike over the rough terrain I finally said enough is enough and begged Thumper to give it up and turn around.  I really did not want to ride back over what I had just ridden, but not knowing how much more there was ahead, I opted for the turn around.  That was a challenge in and of itself.  Thumper – that beast made his turn around and offered to come back for me. That was enough to push me to “get-er-done”, make my turn-around and head back for the main road.  After  looking up the road on the internet, I am glad we turned around. Had I not been so rattled (pun intended) I would have thought to stop for a photograph.  We did however get a couple pictures before pavement ended. Even in the middle of the day in the hot sun we still saw a deer.  He was right in the middle of that one lane road, but ran into the woods as soon as he saw us coming. 

 

I would highly recommend 1323 for anyone riding through this part of Texas and even say you should take a little side trip on RM-3347, but turn around within the first 2 miles or have your off-road tires on. 

We are now in Marble Falls where we will spend a couple days looking for more dirt roads.  I am with Thumper, he always finds the dirt roads!

 

 

I would like to send out a hello to new friends we met at lunch, Corey & Wade riding to the ROT Rally from Odessa, Texas.  Thanks for the company – have a great trip home.

The Holy Trinity

It’s what we came out here to do; ride Texas Hill Country.  If you ride, especially if you ride in Texas, the three roads known locally as the Three Sisters, Ranch Roads 335, 336, 337 are the holy grail of riders, the roads that everyone must ride.  They did not disappoint.

 

You will be riding through and around the canyons on these roads.  Steep hills give way to tight twisty curves that suddenly have you heading back down again.  They are ranch roads and offer little in the way of comfort stops (i.e. we packed extra gas just in case the Blast couldn’t make the loop, it was a smart decision).  There are few guardrails and you must be on the constant lookout for falling rocks and rocks that litter the road, along with the occasional road kill that may block your path.

 

If you dare take your eyes off the road, the views of the canyon valleys, streams and the occasional ranch house are amazing.  There are a few places where you can pull off and snap a photograph,  but you are a flatlander like myself, just watch your footing.

 

Thumper had mounted a video camera to the front of his bike in attempts to capture the ride.  Keeping in constant communication through our blue-tooth devices he would warn me of rocks and other debris that littered the road.   So when a black object went flying from the front of his bike off toward the canyon wall without a warning from him that it was coming my way – I knew it must be the camera and that he could not have seen it fall.  I immediately passed on the bad news and we were off the bikes walking back towards the canyon curve.  We found the camera, a little banged up, but obviously not in shape to remount to the bike. This ride will have to live on in our memories and the occasional still photograph I took.

 

This ride goes out to Glenn and Glenn, JR and all our friends back at the Hog Pen Saloon in Tampa.  In the middle of the Three Sisters ride, in the Leakey, Texas intersection of 83 & 337 we met Buddy Casteel and his little BBQ joint, The Hog Pen.   If you are riding The Three Sisters loop you will pass through Leakey and should not miss this stop.  A cool breeze was blowing through as we shared a Shiner Bock with Buddy and recharged a bit for the ride home.   Kristin and her husband William from Dallas, Texas were kind enough to snap a picture of us.  Turns out they have been to our neck of the woods as well.  Who would have figured that out in the middle of Texas Hill Country we would run into someone who knew about the Mullet Festival down in Goodland, Florida.  Small world.

 

The sun was still high in the sky but wild animals were already out making the trip back to Fredericksburg more interesting.  After more than 200 miles on the road concentrating on the technical turns, fatigue was setting in and I needed that extra fuel.  A quick stop on the side of the road for gas and a 5 Hour Energy had riders and motorcycles alike recharged and once again heading for home while dodging the deer.  I have never had that many sightings while riding in all my years in the saddle.  Clayton, where are you when we need you?  

 

Back at the hotel we took a dip in the pool to cool off, ate and died.   It was a long, challenging, glorious day. 

 

Tomorrow, more curves and Marble Falls, Texas are in store. 

Fredericksburg, TX

Energized by that ton of crawfish I ate (really, a ton of those little beedie-eyed buggers…) we were up early and on the road to San Antonio. 

 

The bayou area in and around Lake Charles is breathtaking.  Riding into Lake Charles we rode across a bridge that covered more than 15 miles in length over Louisiana swampland.  I have been on higher bridges and bridges with more interesting architecture but never one quite so long.  That is one bridge I would not want to get stuck on. A shout out here to our bridge building riding friends Trent and Marisol back in Wesley Chapel. 

 

San Antonio was a whole lot bigger and more crowded than I pictured in my old western imagination.  It’s not that old dusty John Wayne trail of lore I see on my Saturday morning westerns.

 

Checked into the hotel Thumper took me out for a stroll and my first taste of The San Antonio River Walk.  The first thing I hear is the sound of a flute from a Native American group playing across the canal, it was almost surreal.  The channel meanders for 2 ½ miles in a circle through downtown with the waters originating from the Guadalupe River.  Lined with trees, plants, waterfalls, restaurants and little pubs, there is no shortage of things to see and do.  The Alamo was just what Thumper said it was, little more than an old Spanish building, but very rich in history.  I got to see my first live Texas Ranger who gladly snapped a photograph for us.

 

We took a ride out of town looking for the noted twisty roads we had read about and found the Shade Tree Tavern & Grill in Spring Branch, Texas, a hill country riding destination establishment.  It was just the beginning.

 

Beers at an Irish Tavern and a boat ride later we said good-by to The Alamo and headed further into Hill Country.

 

I had the roads picked out and knew exactly where I was going, or so I thought.  Sometimes things just don’t always materialize like you envisioned.  We were headed out of town on US 90 and towards Castroville, Texas looking for 471.  A right hand turn later we settled into the rhythm of the curves winding through the farmland. 

 

Although I had the route laid out in my mind from the maps, I had plugged the roads into the GPS to help keep us on track.  So when it said turn left on CR 271, we did just that.  Barely more than a car-width wide and covered in potholes we crept along going deeper into the cornfields.  The potholes became gravel and then it happened.  Anyone out there knows me, knows if there are dogs within a ten mile radius I will find them.  Two big black mean looking furry creatures that did not like the fact we were riding their farm came right for me. I took my six-shooter out of the holster and the dogs were no longer an issue (OK, so I embellish just a little).  Just around the corner from their farm we came across the Old Medina Dam. I know this because when I got to my room I looked the name of the road up, wondering how to tell on my maps when the paved become not so much paved.  After taking a photo of the bikes on the bridge we tentatively rode up the hill and the gravel became, well, worse gravel.  I had to make a tough decision; gravel or dogs?   I chose to brave the dogs and we turned around making our way towards 471 once again. 

 

At 2676 we turned left and discovered where we would have ended up had I picked the gravel and not the dogs. In Quihi, Texas we found the old white church which stood in honor of OJ & Margie Steubing and another photo-op. 

 

Closer to Kerrville, Texas we hit some of the most technical roads of the trip, short, steep curves cut into the hillside.  Then out of nowhere, the technical portion of our day was over and the road turned into long sweeping curves with a 70 MPH speed limit. They do not drive in Hill Country like they do in San Antonio, nor anywhere else that I’ve been in recent memory. I kept seeing cars pulling off the road and then realized, they either go fast or slow. And if they go slow, they just pull over and let you by. 

 

We have made it to Fredericksburg, Texas which is west and south of Austin.  The ROT Rally (Riders of Texas) is this weekend and we are seeing more bikes on the road.  Tomorrow we will be riding more of those curvy, twisty roads.  

 

I miss everyone back home and will be in touch soon.

 

Bonnie & Erwin – got my first taste of real Texas BBQ today – thanks for all your help in our preparations.

 

(Editors note:  No dogs were harmed in the making of this journey journal; no guns were used and those big black dogs are still protecting their farm.)

 

 

 

Things That Crawl...

Lake Charles, Louisianna


Crawfish Heaven…well, for someone who does not like to eat things that can “look” at her, I gave it my best shot and tried those little buggers.  Did pretty well, but  try as I might, could not eat the heads.  Thump did very well. 

 

Thanks to my cousin Rob Pulver for showing us the beautiful bayshore old side of town and the best hole in the wall place to get crawfish.

 

A shout out to Aunt Sharon & Uncle Dan back home, Mom, Sherrie, Eric and all my family back in Michigan. Rob says hi.

 

Tomorrow – Alamo, here we come….

Mobile, Alabama  Friday

We made it to Daphne, Alabama – Thanks to a tip from Dale Hanson (Thanks Dale, Hi Bobby) we found this beautiful little bayside town just this side of Mobile. Hi Jean the Bean Dot Gert and her family in Alabama and beyond!

 

Tomorrow – we will hook up with Rob Pulver, my cousin (Mags) and watch history; Big Brown should take the first Tripple Crown in 30 years.

 

My love to Amy and Tonia for taking care of Bonnie and Clyde.  Hugs also to the husbands, Jameson & Kevin.

 

Hi Mom, Dad, Aunt Sharon and Uncle Dan…Angela, Melanie…..




Getting Out

Lake City, Florida     Thursday June 5, 2008

 

Dejavu – I think we’ve been here before, so I will not bore you with the photograph.  Getting out of Florida is always our mission when starting out on a long distance journey.  Normally you will find us meandering old two lane routes, but when we must make distance and time is short, the big road is the only way we can accomplish this.  So, 75 North was the pick of the day (Thanks to Toshia, my trusty co-worker who stepped up to the plate and took over for me). 

 

Actually thought we might make it out of Florida for a while, but then the brake lights appeared over a hill and wammo – we were stuck out on the highway in the heat. 

 

Could have been worse.  After the medivac chopper left the scene, and the numerous red lights zoomed passed, we were on our way again after just over an hour.    We could have turned around in the median, but thoughts of nails and other demons stopped Maggie cold in her tracks, so we waited it out.

 

Tomorrow we continue on towards Texas.  After today, 90 is looking real good…..

 

 

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