Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Near the downtown of Austin, (the capitol of Big 'Ol Texas, for you 8th-Grade flunkouts). Staying at a Motel 6... my apparent Motel D' Choice on this little excursion.
Backing it up....

I left Sierra Blanca mid morning.. uh.. yesterday. Yup. Got onto ornery Interstate Route 10, heading across the bottom of the state... and turned on the gas. Lots of miles to cover in Te.xas... as far as I'm concerned, West Texas has nothing... just barren, straight, and endless.

No one gives a rat's ass how fast you go; drive Indy 500 speeds for all they seem to care. I saw one, count 'em.. one police vehicle going the other way during the entire drive over to Austin, 550 miles.
Not a whole lot to report about that. The ride was numbing and utterly tedious, with little except tumble-weed- desert to look at. Towns were few and far between. It's a chore to keep your mind from daydreaming into complete sleep.
I made the mistake of forgetting to look at my fuel guage for too long... At 95 mph, my gas mileage is halved...and when I noticed that I was already down into the Red Zone on my dial. With 28 miles to go... bucking a headwind... uphill. I layed down on the tank road-racer style and dropped my speed down to 65 mph to get the best fuel economy. People roared past me doing 100 in giant manly pick-up trucks (they all seem to have 'em here), looking at this nut with a New York license plate, doing only 60, laid-out like he's screaming along at Bonneville. What the....
Thank God Fort Stockton appeared on the horizon at the very last minute.. talk about running on fumes...the needle on my guage was completely outside of the red zone... on the bad side.

A hundred mile later I rolled into a town called Ozona.. biggest 'burb in the region, and not saying much. Strange little place... real back-woods, southwest Texas town. Little agricultural village, in the middle of Great Nowhere; west texas buildings with the square facades and Old West, castled roof-lines. But they had a modern tidy high school with a team called the Wildcats... and a little, dry, town square where I pulled into to take a photo of Davey Crockett,.. who apparently has no connection with Ozone whatsoever except for the fact that they both have something to do with Texas. Hey, everyone needs a hero. While I was trying to take a snapshot of old Crockett, my wispy strands of long hair floating around my face, I turned and saw that an ominous, white, Dodge Charger with a big "Texas Ranger" pointed star painted on the door had just pulled into a strategic position very nearby, too nearby, and seemed to be watching me carefully. Now, this being a town so remote from yer modern Ikea Civilization, the very idea that some Yankee with a queer ponytail could possibly be riding a motorcycle through there might be Sufficient Cause, and as I just didn't need anymore Texas K-9 experiences, thank you. I gently replaced the helmet over my Coiffure and motored along back to the highway as quietly as possible. Heh Heh.


Back to the Bottomless Run... El Paso to Austin, which is something like 550 miles. That's a long day, and I don't care what you're riding. At 90 mph steady, the vibrations were doing a number on my hands and Ball Package, which, if you've ever spent time on a sportbike, you might understand. I took numerous stops, re-arranging a carefully-folded bandana in my shorts, but every halt simply increased the duration of the trip. Really... just a stupefyingly long ride.

At one little pull-off I walked over to a bush in the desert to takle a Wizz, and there were lots of desert grasshoppers and ants milling about. As I was shaking out, I noticed two of what must have been dung beetles, rolling little balls of.. well, shit. Someone trucker must have been there before me... Anyway, I ran back to get my camera, because it's not just everyday you see big black insects toiling over balls of feces. When I was taking a short video I saw a little black spider jump out of a hole and launch at one of the beetles... little black spider.. with a red hourglass on it. Black Widow. Never saw one before. Before I could get a decent photo, it zipped back into it's little lair, but I do have a little video for later.

Endless... simply endless.
Yes, I said that already, but, well, fuck you. You weren't there. I have the right to repeat myself. Go start your own goddamm blog.

heh heh...
Eventually the hills became longer and taller and the vegetation more green. Clouds appeared on the horizon, something I really hadn;t seen since I left the Coastal range in California. Dusk drew near, and although the sky was textured and beautiful, I was running into lines of drizzle... that became more frequent as I approached Rte 290 over to Austin. 290 is a much more interesting road, runs along through the Texas "Hill Country", home of LBJ, (you see signs quite often). More little towns popped up between the rolling, now-tree-filled landscape. Ctalle Country.. where the original Cowboys would start their drives up to Kansas and Dodge City.

Finally, after scurrying under various looming storm clouds, I headed right into a line of showers that kept up for the two further hours into Austin. Tough slogging, as the road was wtisty and poorly paved, and trying to peer through a plastic faceshield covered with water droplets after dark is draining.
Before Austin, still in the hills, I came across a dramatic scene where a small car had run into a ditch somehow and a cop was shoving some kid forward, up and out of it, locked tightly in handcuffs. The cruiser still had it's siren blaring away. The cop didn't look happy at all, and neither did the kid. I passed by slowly.

Down into Austin finally. Exhausted, I rode down through monsterous highway overpasses within the nightime city limits, looking for Motel 6 signs... my signal that I'd reached Budget Drydock. Tough to find... but when I finally did, the girl behind the bank-glass-thick window just about Read me my Rights, if I wanted to stay there. Obviously a high crime area.. which a motorcycle shop worker, very articulate and educated, attested adamantly to today... "These Mexican 'bangers will take that bike of yours and hoist it by board onto a pickup truck before you can even take your hands out of your pockets".

Crashed out happily, bike locked up as best as possible outside my window and my soggy rain-gear dripping off hangars across the room.

Today I got up and had an expensive breakfast at a divey place that had no air-conditioning, and I realized that I'm now out oif the Desert and into the South. The humid South. I began sweating immediately, and all day tropical showers have been pelting the area. I went out and found a large bike shop to get maintenance parts (air filter again...chain-cleaning materials...new faceshield for my helmet... $145 ouch). The guys there were super friendly, and this does seem to be the Norm in Texas.. people ultra kindly. Unless they want to steal from you. Watch them. They're not happy. Anyway, I was told where I should go as a tourist, and I managed to get to at least one place: Downtown Capitol district, 6th Street. Twenty bars and plenty of live music... and Austin prides itself on being the "Live Music Capitol of the World". Personally, I think that's a bold claim... but the Texans are happy to boast about almost anything Texas-related, so...
I wiggled my bike into a parking spot on 6th Street, and of course this is one of the great benefits of touring on a light motorcycle: manoervability and parking. I wandered up and down the street... the architecture is a blend of 1890 square-topped facade and modern urban pragmatism... most of the places I went into were cavernous and very old... almost all had a stage of some sorts. Raw, ancient rafters and crumbling, hundred-year-old bricks were the norm. I was there just at the end of Happy Hour, oin a Tuesday, (is it? How nice to lose track)... and as such I was between shifts of sorts. Nonetheless I had a few Lone Star beers and watched a handful of bands gettinmg started. One thing I could clearly see: there are plenty of guitar players in the South and boy, you'd better have your chops together if you expect to play Austin. I was sorry to end it early, but I simply don't want to take too many chances with the Public Safety (cops) on this part of the Tour. I packed it in around  nine PM and rolled back to my homey Motel 6. Everything is scattered around this room... totally un-packed... but I did LAUNDRY... a great luxury, as generally you rinse out your socks and underwear for the next day... every few days wash out the one pair of black riding jeans... usually still wet in the morning when you squeak them on, cold and soggy.
Tomorrow back up to the bike shop on Rte 35, where I will disassemble all four carburetors in their parking lot asnd clean out as clogged pilot jet that has started causing some hiccups. Not taht I need to do it at a bike shop... but it's not far away, and God Forbid I snap something off like I did in Urbana, at least I won't need a tow-truck.

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