Saturday, May 30, 2009

North Texas Sights By BMW......Tornado Damage...

Stopped at a park in Miami and took a little break in the shade and had a bit to eat. Nice little park with a community swimming pool on the other side. Heard some "Western Meadowlarks" singing.....that bird song always reminds me of my Eastern Montana summers during my does the rough crackle of the Red Winged Black Birds.....

We came through here (Pampa Texas) last weekend but didn't take any decent photos. We were racing a big thunderstorm. The storage building below was thrown there from someplace else...

I think it came from the guy next door.....

These irrigation frames were all laying upside down last weekend. They have "righted" them and looks like maybe they will repair them. They are pretty bent up.

This house had the roof torn off by the tornado. They were still cleaning up stuff when I went by. I didn't feel right taking photos of someone else's misery. I don't think anyone was looking....

So end todays little adventure....maybe I'll work on the R100S tomorrow.(?)

North Texas Sights.....BMW Motorcycle Sidecar Trailer Towing

I planned on turning to the west, but for some reason I decided to go east...This added quite a few miles to the days ride. I guess that was my motive......We have been in Miami Florida, Miami Arizona, and now I'm headed to Miami Texas. Not much of a town but now I can say I've been there. I took this left and followed a windy little farm road which was mainly used by big oil hauling semi tankers. They were always hauling ass....I met one every few miles....Lots of oil pumping dereks around here....

One of the ever-so-frequent "Historical Markers".
Passed through the Canadian River Valley a couple different times today. This bridge was at least a mile long......the river itself was about 20 feet across. And I didn't stop on the bridge.

I've seen folks hook up trailers with side car rigs so I thought I'd give it a try. Damn thing was a bugger to get up to speed, but once I hit 55 mph, the momentum was awesome! Good thing I didn't need to make any panic stops.....I don't think I'll go with any sort of trailer scenario after trying this one out. I think someone makes some lighter ones with better suspensions.....
Damn thing was pretty noisey going down the road. Pulled pretty straight though......backing it up without reverse was a bitch. I just parked it here and left it.
Texas has lots of oil, and the locals aren't scared to use it either. Lots of Hummers, Suburbans and gas guzzlers on the roads. The enviromental "greenies" haven't had much impact in rural Texas.... Texans' do drive Friendly, but man they like to go fast. "Drive Friendly" I think the other half of the sign says; (and) "Get the Hell Out of My Way"

North Texas Sights .....Opel GT Derelicts

I had all good intentions today to tear into my R100S engine and see the condition of the rusty cylinders. Walking outside into cloudless skies and nearly 80 degrees ( at 9:00AM) I decided that a little motorcycle ride would be a more fitting way to spend the day. Darian is in the Seattle area for a week so I'm on my own. I weighed that decision for about 60 seconds and decided to get the bike ready. I have a newly recovered 1000 mile solo seat so I attempted to mount it to the bike for a trial run. The mounting brackets don't like up too well because of the large sized Heinrich Fuel Tank. So I'll just save the seat for the R100S bike...On the road by about 10:30 and headed north towards Stinnet Texas. I had a route in mind to go north then turn eastward. Entering Stinnet I spyed a couple of old Opel GT's along side the road. I used to have one and bought 7 or 8 other ones for parts. They looked pretty complete from the distance.....

The blue one even has some custom wheels. They appear to be 1969 to 1972 models. The tail lights changed in 1973. They were fun cars to play with but due to parts shortages / difficulties, I started buying up all the junk ones I could find and parted them out. The guy who owns them has a warning sign posted: "STOP UNLESS YOU WANT DOG BIT OR SHOT" I guess that gets the point across! I didn't see any I guess getting shot was the thing today....

A mile or so up the road I spotted two more Opel GT's in another lot...these were marked "for sale". An Opel Manta is keeping them company. The guy had an ATV salvage thing going too. There must have been a hundred ATV's in various states of disrepair. Funny that all these Opel GT's ended up here. I saw about 4 more during our trip last weekend. Lots of Opel's must have come to Texas to die......
Below is my old Opel GT project. I had it looking pretty good at one point. It lived in the garage and we only drove it in mostly good weather. We took it all the way to Texas/Arizona one winter. The German "poor vette" never let us down. These cars had a few poorly engineered items (electrical wiring & headlight mechanisms) but as a mechanic I had things under control all the time. We really liked our little GT. I was sad to see it sold...

When I had this car painted I picked what I thought was sort of a corvette gold color. Picked the color from one of those tiny little chips in a book. When the car came out of the paint shop I nearly fainted.....It was what I would call, kind of a "metallic mustard". After I assembled the car, wheels etc. the color actually was real pretty. It was a Dupont Imron color and in the sun it was beautiful...(in my opinion).
Another junky looking yard in Stinnet. This guy is using an old Honda for slope protection.(?) Stinnet has kind of a third world flavor...a lot of old cars, trucks, buses, rusting things adorning many peoples yards.....I stopped for a beverage and this Harley Guy pulled up. He tried to talk with me about the BMW Sidehack rig but his phone kept ringing......he said his Hog has 100,000 miles on it. I had to figure out an angle for a photo because the chrome kept glaring in the photo.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Oklahoma......Turtles, Turkeys, Bobcats, and squashed Armadillos.

Darian had a real hankering to ride into Oklahoma. I have never been into Oklahoma so why not? We headed over to Wellington Texas which would eventually take us into Oklahoma. We stopped at a nice little local restaurant in Wellington for breakfast. I used to have some distant relatives ( 2nd. cousins), Charley & Kate Palmer, in Shamrock Texas years back. I visited her in the late 70's and she was in her 80's then. While having breakfast we were sitting next to some local ranchers, one who appeared to be in his 70's so I thought he may have heard of my cousin. After striking up conversation I come to find out that the 70 year old looking guy was 103 years old. He had knew of my relatives years ago and said that old Charley Palmer was a rodeo announcer too. As we left the 103 year old guy waved from his pick up as he drove away.....103 years old......That would be.......born around 1906.......12 years old during WW1. Plumb ass amazing! Damn good genetic pool down here in Texas! One thing I see here every day, friendliness, and lots of it. Everyone waves when you meet on the highway. I must have waved a hundred times today

Crappy photo here but I saw one of the biggest salvage yards I've ever seen. (other than in CA.) There were hundreds of old cars, a lot of 30's to 50's. Lots of newer stuff too. A truck salvage yard, equipment yard, even a combine yard. I have to say that for years my dream was to own a salvage yard........the gear head coming out in me. I turned around and had Darian take a movie of the salvage yard as I drove by it. Can't get it to upload though....oh well, not everybody is excited by a junk yard like I am.

Forever the romantic, Darian was singing the theme song to the musical "Oklahoma" for the first few miles into the state. She came in loud and clear through the ear plugs. I think that was her motive to going there.

This part of the country was beautiful. Rolling farm lands, trees and everything so green. I loved seeing new territory. Saw corn fields, lots of grain fields. I don't know my "grains" very well so don't know if it was wheat, barley, oats or whatever, maybe all..... Saw a lot of cotton fields too.

This was a little town in Oklahoma...don't remember the name but the Musician, Roger Miller was from here. I loved...KING OF THE ROAD" as a kid, so that tune was running through my head for a while. Better than "Oklahoma" in my opinion. (no offense Darian, you sounded beautiful!) While driving through this town I saw two Armadillos' smashed on the pavement. I wanted to show Darian an Armadillo as she has never seen one. She didn't see them in the road. When I told her I saw two Armadillos she wanted to see them too......until I told her of the state of their condition......... Well, if she had used her imagination she might have been able to tell what they looked like. She passed on the opportunity.......

Oklahoma farming country.

I didn't want to promote any particular beverage company so hence, the brown bag.

Actually water in this river. Most of them were full of trees and mud.

Saw quite a few turtles along the road in the past two days. This guy was heading out into the road so I stopped to aim him back the other way. Not a lot of traffic out there but hate to see the little guy get mashed. He hunkered down and sucked himself into his shell. Not a very cooperative little fellow. I may have saved his life and he wasn't gonna stick his head out for nothing. As we drove off I saw him running back into the brush. Actually moving pretty fast. Fifty miles or so up the road we were in pretty heavily brushy country. It brought to mind some of the close calls I've had with deer in MT. & WYO....... So here I am, thinking about my closest call, driving straight through a herd of deer outside Cody Wyo., missing ones ass by inches on my left and nearly wiping ones nose on my right, right at that moment, a very big, almost Red Bobcat comes out of the brush with something in his mouth and tears right in front of us. He was as tall as the sidecar and we missed him by an inch. No time to react, which was probably a good thing. I had never seen a bobcat of that color. I think he was packing his lunch in his mouth. It happened so fast that we couldn't see what he was carrying. Weak knees for a second............

Yesterday we had a bird fly right into our faces too, he made us both "duck".

We saw numerous Turkeys along the road yesterday too, only a couple today. never got a photo. Texas Turkeys look a lot bigger than Montana Turkeys. But I guess they say everything's bigger in Texas.

Back to Texas. Passing through Pampa Texas, about 40 miles from where we are living. Pampa was hit by a tornado two weeks ago. Darian saw a home with the roof torn off but only got a tiny piece of the house in the photo. (above) I saw a series of irrigation sprinkler units knocked over with tires pointing skyward. Many people were re roofing their houses there. Scary.

Well almost home and we're heading into this. 36 miles to go.

Luckily the road veered northward and we were parallel to the storm. Had one stretch of rain and serious crosswinds so side car navigation was a hand full for a while. The temperature dropped about 20 degrees for fifteen minutes or so.

All and all a fantastic little 600 mile run. We dodged thunderstorms, bobcats, birds, dead batteries, and whatever came at us. Can't wait for the next one...soon I hope!

Texas Sidecar Trip - Rain ,Dead Horses, Turkey Texas, Memphis, Sleeping on the highway.......

Leaving the canyon area we rode over to Canyon Texas. We wandered around the town a little bit and found that some of the old streets were brick paved. We saw this in a few towns during this trip. Texans are proud of their history....we saw "Historical Markers" every few miles. If we stopped to read them all we'd still be a few hundred miles back.

We came to Tulia Texas, south of Amarillo and rode into quite a thunderstorm. It hit so fast we didn't get time to get our rain gear on. I stopped for a second but we decided to keep going. The rain started falling even harder so I stopped a second time. Our new light Micro Fiber jackets are great in the wind and cold but rain.....I watched as the rain hit Darian and the water just vanished as it hit her. Kind of like the "Sham-Wow!" commercial. Very absorbant! I'll keep the rain gear closer next time. One thing about riding with wind screens is that the rain tends to just fly over us. It takes a very serious rain to actually get wet.
We raced ahead of the storm and stopped at a "historical marker" to take some photos. We just came through the edge of that wall of water.

The Historical Marker. This really paints a disturbing picture.....1450 horses........glad I wasn't there.

One town we passed through was the world renowned town of Turkey Texas....Home of "Bob Wills". (whoever he was...a musician I think) We were then Memphis bound.

Memphis looked like a big town on my there and it was around 2300 Motel and a closed Hotel. We decided that the Cactus Motel (Which Advertised in big letters "AMERICAN OWNED") would have to do for the night. $39.99 + tax. The old Black Hag BMW is having a little charging sickness which I haven't figured out. Pulled the seat / battery and charged the battery all night in the motel room. I had the fore site to bring my 1 amp trickle charger luckily. I ran part of the day without running the headlight to conserve juice.

The beautiful view from our room. I was able to catch a live shot of what we heard all night....Semi Trucks and Trains. The Train drivers blast their horns a minimum of three times as they approach the crossings. Of course there was a crossing very close to us. I spent a summer working along side the train tracks building new track beds. We had a minimum of 90 coal trains per day. I never got used to the train drivers blasting the horns each time . Let's see.......90 trains a day......minimum 3 blasts per pass........270 blasts minimum. I always said
I would like to find where one of those guys lived and sit outside a blast a horn a few hundred times.......naw...their just doing their job.

Texas Sidecar Trip - Palo Duro Canyon

South of Amarillo the terrain rolls and affords distant views of the plains. Out of nowhere a small canyon appears and before you know it the canyon opens up for miles.

The first hint that there is a canyon at all.

We pulled in at the entrance to the State Park and took a break before entering. A large group of riders where grouped up heading out of the park. I think they were with the "Christian Motorcycle Riders Club". I have never been fond of riding in even a small group much less a group as big as this. Riding in a group is O.K. as long as people spread way out. I've had friends pile up due to a impulsive quick move of anoher rider.

After entering the Park this is one of the initial views. Very pretty place with a lot of Red Rock formations. There is a 10 percent grade going in for a few miles.

The road wanders in about 18 miles and doe a large loop. The majority of the canyon is only accessable on foot or horse back. We came across a series of "Water Crossings" all dry until I came to this one.........

I stopped for a moment and the flood gauge showed basically "0" feet so I went for it. As luck would have it the water was not near "0" but more like a foot or a little less. The exhaust was bubbling going through.

"Lying Flood Gauge"

Road going back out of the canyon.

Last view looking back.

Texas / Oklahoma Sidecar Trip - Old Route 66

On the road Saturday morning. Thunderstorms were forecast for the entire weekend. We headed out under some blue sky with a lot of clouds skudding about. We headed south down to Panhandle Texas to avoid driving through Amarillo. We crossed Interstate 40 which parallels the old route 66.

"Woody's Cafe" was likely a very prosperous little business back in its' hey day. Woody had a couple of gas pumps , cafe, and what appears to be a four room motor hotel. We saw a number of these old type motels on this trip and I am always amazed how small / narrow the little "garages" are. The 40's -50's cars weren't that much smaller, were they?

The center units had to share a parking garage.

Woody's joint kind of looks like a time capsule as there were old cars , trucks and buses out back. They looked like they've been there for many years.

Years of Gravity are taking a toll on Woody's garage.

My better half, co-pilot, navigator and lovely passenger soaking up some sun. The clouds would come and go all day,

Gila Mtns.

Gila Mtns.