Thursday, January 30, 2014

Mid Winter Ride

I'm heading out to west Texas for a little fun in the warm dessert sun.  I'm doing some recon stuff for a couple of events.  I got a new Samsung GalaxyS4 smartphone so I'm anxious test it out using BubblerGPS Pro.

SPOT2 SpotWalla Map

Saturday, 2/1:  Departed the Best Western in Alpine around 8:30 after breakfast.  I'm going to take I-10 home so just east of town I took the road to Fort Stockton.  It's about 325 miles from there to my house in the suburbs of Wimberley.  So, I topped off the fuel tank at the brand spanking new Flying J and after another cup of coffee hit the 80 MPH superslab. The weather was great with the temperatures in the high 60's and low 70's most of the way.  Stopped in Luckenbach to pee and see some of the goings on.  Saturdays sees lots of motorcycle traffic at this interesting big of Americana, mainly cause...."Everyone is Somebody in Luckenbach, Texas"  What a great mid winter ride.

Friday, 1/31:   I'm going to do a clock wise loop from Alpine to Marfa, south to Presideo then along the famed FM 170 river road to Lajitas, Study Butte, then on to Panther Junction in Big Bend NP before heading north to Marathon then back to Alpine.  I'm scouting out some particulars for the Motorcycle Tourers  Forum's Ride Around Texas evemt that is planned for this coming May.  I'll take some pictures along the way using BubblerGPS Pro but don't expect them to show up until I get back in 3G or 4G cell coverage.  BubblerGPS is supposed to hold the messages and photos when it is not in coverage range, so the will be a good test.

FYI:  The BubblerGPS app on my new Samsung GalaxyS4 worked great.  Check out the GPS track and pictures in the map above.

Marfa questions
After a leisurely breakfast I headed west through Alpine.  Alpine is definitely the economic bright spot here in West Texas.  I stopped at the Marfa Lights viewing area to capture some pix and info for a future riding adventure I'm working on for March.  On the way into Marfa I saw this mural so I had to stop to check it out. Seems someone has a lot of questions.

Since I was not on any kind of schedule I thought I'd so some sight seeing along the way.  I stopped in Shafter, almost a ghost town by now.  But, in the 70's it was the town of "Peidmont" location in the SiFi movie "The Andromeda Strain."  I recognized the church but most of the other buildings I remember from the movie have been changed over the years.

Presidio was my next waypoint along the way.  Checked out a couple of gas stations for hours of operation and pump availability.  It's also at the northwestern end of FM 170, the road which runs along the Rio Grande border of the US and Mexico.  The road was in great shape for this time of the year.  There were signs of recent TxDOT maintenance activities at some of the low water crossings.  I stopped at the high point on the road for a quick picnic lunch and to take in the sights.

Looking West
Looking East down the mountain

Just past the Lajitas Resort and Spa main complex is the Lajitas General StoreIt's normal hours are from 8AM to 8PM in spring time.  It has a gas pump that stays on 24/7 that can be used with a credit card.  Just 87 octane though.  I stopped for a cold drink to get a dated business receipt before continuing on my way through Terlingua to Study Butte. Study, pronounced Stoody Butte is at the junction of FM 170 and SH 118.  It has a couple of gas stations and a new convenience store.  Again, their gas pumps stay on 24/7 with a credit card.  The ALON station has up to 91 octane gas.

Lajitas General Store
ALON Study Butte

On my way to Big Bend National Park via SH 118.  The speed limits drops off to a mere 45 MPH once you enter the park.  It's best not to go faster than the posted speed limits in the park.  The Park Rangers take the speed limit very seriously.  My next stop was the park headquarters at Panther Junction.  It has a great gift shop with lots interesting items.  Leaving Panther Junction heading north to Marathon the temperature was 85F and beautiful skies.  I reflected on how fortunate it is to be unemployed and on a fixed income.  If you have never been to the Gage Hotel in Marathon I recommend you stop for a look-see.  It's supposed to be famous according to the locals, imagine that.   I does have a stuffed White Buffalo head in the bar.  A lot of American Native cultures revere the white buffalo as a great spirit. 

Thursday, 1/30:  After a couple cups of coffee I departed home on my way to a comrade's place to help him with a mechanical issue on his GSA.  Big Jim is so large he couldn't get the spring clip that holds the H7 headlight bulb in its socket.  I had to show him a trick I learned to make sure the spring clip doesn't come off while seating the bulb.  He was grateful and gave me a cup of coffee.  I tried to get him to ride out west with me but he wimped out.

I didn't want to take I-10 out to Alpine, where I was to spend the night, so I took the scenic route on US90.  It was a great ride and the sky opened up after Del Rio.  It was chilly when I started.  By the time I got to Marathon just east of Alpine the temperature was 77F. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Static Display Data Sheet

Tim Masterson, IBA # 415
Hard Riding Adventures (Google it)