Texas

Day 1775 Tuesday 25th August

Riding on a convenient toll road to the north / south interstate highway thirty five I was not at all sure of being able to pay the fee as we did not have the tex tag or an IVA, what ever that was. No cash was accepted. Stopping on the road and asking a local sheriff that said as we had been tagged on the camera we would be charged by mail, result. Hopefully a free road, or a night in jail…

Riding another hundred clicks we pulled into a very non Australian road house that sold food, beer and a very expensive motel room.

Day 1776 Wednesday 26th August

Not having found any alternative routes we rode into San Antonio on I thirty five. A soulless road with nothing to look at. We were looking for a camp ground or RV park that took tents as the hotel/motel accommodation we were forced to take was killing our budget. At our first we were asked for twenty five bucks for pitch, asking for long term discount we were told “no”! So we searched on and after a couple of hours we found a great motel ran by two guys from the UK. We struck a deal for long term stay as we needed to sort out a few things in Australia and wait for the stove part to arrive.

Day 1777 Thursday 27th August

We spent the day in town, riding in on the Honda, successfully posted the parcel of souvenirs that we had carried since Panama. Not realising that the Alamo was here and luckily finding it we spent three plus hours there, indulging in past memories of cowboy movies and songs that ‘remembered the Alamo’. Spending the rest of our day at a huge mall that sold nothing but fast food, candy and designer clothes, at outrageous prices. Not for us, so we headed back.

Day 1778 Friday 28th August

Having contacted a few guys on a bike travel website we set out at silly O’clock to meet for a breakfast and a catch up. Was interesting to hear their advise on where to go and what to see in Texas.

Riding back to the motel it sunk in how large the state was, based on their information.

Filled our afternoon with internet stuff, researching our next state.

Day 1779 Saturday 29th August

Greg gave up his Saturday for us, another guy who replied to our email, he introduced us to Ammo who offered to carry out the re-weld of Dianes highway pegs and possibly a new sump guard. We all talked a heap while enjoying a breakfast tacos, courtesy of Mike and his wife. We made plans to meet up on Monday morning to make the repairs.

We left with Greg showing us the way to the KTM dealer to collect my parts, after a few hic-ups on our behalf we arrived at the dealer and left Greg to carry on with what was left of his day. Nice guy, hope his wife went easy on him…

Day 1780 Sunday 30th August

Cleaned bikes…..

Found Antonio on a garbage can so we took him in, he’s a snake, we felt sorry for him. More later, maybe….

Day 1781 Monday 31st August

Research into our future in sunny Spain

Day 1782 Tuesday 1st September

Taking the bus into town we did a little more tourist stuff, the River Walk and Buckhorn’s bar and curiosity shop, where a vast variety of shot animals, mostly from Africa and the southern states we stuffed and nailed to a wall, most a hundred years or more ago, long before animal welfare was thought of.

Later we had a beer and tacos in a biker bar, where we had a freebie due to mix up over orders.

Stove bits arrived, so we are free to wild camp now, and COOK!

Day 1783 Wednesday 2nd September

Another internet day and diary writing.

Day 1784 Thursday 3rd September

Reluctantly we left our perfect “get things done rest stop” and headed north to Austin. Nice ride however it would have been nicer to have taken a back road, but there wasn’t an easy one.

At a gas station a large lady in a flowing purple dress and large purple car with a huge vee eight engine came over and talked enthusiasticly with us for what must have been half an hour, about her travels our travel and her plans for a cruise to Alaska in the coming months. Nice lady and very interested in Diane and her bike, which made a welcome change.

Arriving at Jay’s house we got sorted and headed out for our first Tex-Mex experience. Mexican food was average, the best we had was the first in the mountains. The rest was good, however not as good, in my opinion as the

Tex-Mex we had in Austin.

In the evening he took us to The Chilli Parlour, a possibly dangerous looking joint on the outside, very alternative and funky themed on the inside. Ordering a ‘taster plate’ between us we enjoyed a three bowl of cheese dip, hot chilli meat, a gorgeous salsa and guacamole.

Day 1785 Friday 4th September

Jay kindly let us use his vehicle to save riding the bikes in the heat, we spent the day walking the downtown and sixth street, the must do tourist street, filled with bars, desperately trying to keep Austin weird, shops selling everything Austin. The State Capital building was an imposing dark pink granite building with a magnificent dome, standing out on the city sky line. Waking through the heavy wooden door, inside the shock of cold air made me shiver and the hairs stood up on my arms and legs!!

The walls were inset with a large ornate door frame and a hefty wood doors, both a beautiful dark ruby brown. One of the portals every three metres or so, leading into a large round room beneath the dome both painted bright white, giving the enclosed space a very light and airy feel. The only natral light coming from the dome overhead.

Reading that the state cemetery was well worth a look we walked the few extra ks, it was well worth it. To me it looked exactly like an American cemetery should do, well spaced markers, imposing memorials and well kept lawns. It also had a memorial for the twin towers catastrophe, two pieces of twisted steel from one of the towers, or possibly one from each. A surprise for us the unexpected bonus of Angie’s Mexican diner being just down the road, so we had another great breakfast meal, between us, there.

In the evening we all went out for another wonderful Tex-Mex meal with Jay.

Day 1786 Saturday 5th September

For our last meal with Jay he took us for an early supper at Kreuz smoke house in Lockhart. The car park was ninety per cent full, a good sign, the line of hungry diners was close to out the door! However we were soon ordering our ribs, sausage and smoked beef at the counter. The guys were pulling out the meat from one of four long smokers. All about ten metres long, leading to a common chimney. Only a relatively small fire provided enough heat to cook enough food for a small army. Our food was wrapped in heavy paper into a kind of bucket, which you held by the ears! Entering the air conditioned dinning hall we bought some bread and pickles, cheese and chillies and sat down to fill our fat bellies.

Day 1787 Sunday 6th September

Waking late as usual due to a very comfortable bed and late nights we packed our gear to head to humid Houston. After thanking Jay for an excellent stay we rode out in midday heat. Which to be fair was not that hot, just thirty degrees or a little more….

Taking a back road made for more interesting riding, passing through small towns and past roadhouses smelling of fast food.

Heading to the north of Houston we took a fantastic camp ground with showers and toilets. Set amongst fir trees and park land it was a state run free camp! Free camping and R.V. ing for up to seven nights, to keep the tourist money in the town, good idea.

Day 1788 Monday 7th September

Walked an eight km round trip into town for something light and meat free for supper.

Day 1789 Tuesday 8th September

Contacting Ron via a bike travel website we invited to stay a while and be shown the sights of Houston. Needing to stay off the meat for a while after our excellent Lockhart smoke house experience we were thankful of a Mediterranean supper of tasty salads, vinegar dressings and a little bread.

Day 1790 Wednesday 9th September

Houston Space Centre was a must do for us and Ron kindly gave up his day’s work to take us there. An unforgeable day for us as there, on display were the historic remnants of an almost bygone era of my childhood. To see the pods that went to the limits of our atmosphere and came back was amazing.

Day 1791 Thursday 10th September

We were invited to talk and show some of our pictures at a local bike club this evening, I guess we all should have ridden, the weather dictated otherwise though. Kindly Bill picked us up in his vehicle and we enjoyed a ride through the rain, staying dry. Never having talked in front of a group before it was a little daunting. A local couple had recently taken a trip around Morocco and we were to follow their excellent slide show. I thought that they all enjoyed our talk, it was amazing to see the interest of our trip, that for us is day to day life. We are so fortunate to have been able to take this trip, many are tied by real life and these guys really seemed keen and listened with intent. We both had a great evening, lovely people, nice beer and good food!

Day 1792 Friday 11th September

Day 1793 Saturday 12th September

Being offered the chance to go to a shooting range was too good to pass up, we went to the range and later met up with Bill. We shot a variety of their hand guns and had a fantastic afternoon, where better to shoot than in Texas?

Day 1794 Sunday 13th September

Meeting up with a number of Indian riders at Ikea for a cooked breakie we went for a ride out to Brookshire at a very country pub where we soaked in the atmosphere of rural Texan life. The second place we visited was very much what I had envisioned of outback American pubs. Wood panelling, stuffed animal heads, memorabilia and heaps of other cool stuff!!

Day 1795 Monday 14th September

Waking late as usual it was a rush to finish packing and keep our appointment at the Spanish consulate. Our goodbye with Ron was hasty to say the least, we had such a great stay with himself and Kiki, however it was time to move on, thankfully it was only a short hop to Brandon and Claire.

Seems the same as Africa and Australia we were moving through peoples lives, they offer shelter, a place to work on the bikes and hospitality, when we leave its like leaving life long friends behind, probably never to see them again.

Some friends of our hosts came by for supper and Helen originally came from Leigh Sinton not far from my home town, it was really nice to hear she still had the Herefordian accent. A great evening was had by all.

Day 1796 Tuesday 15th September

Took the KTM to bits to hopefully just to replace the oil pressure switch, to eliminate that item which is maybe causing the oil light to come on randomly, been two thousands km’s now so I don’t reckon its oil pressure….

Day 1797 Wednesday 16th September

Left the kind hospitality of Brendan and Claire for the wilds of Louisiana.

As Claire promised there was not a heap to see on the Interstate highway, however it did give the opportunity to cover four hundred clicks fairly rapidly, like one day…. We did drop onto old route ninety for a few km’s, there we saw lots of potential free loader camping spots with lush, thick deep grass and food stores nearby. But needing to make the distance we kept moving.