The Texas Tour
         A Long Rider in the Lone Star

Welcome to the first tour of 2007, a 3400 mile ride through Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi.  This was a tour I wanted to do last year, but was unable to work it in. If I can't do it right, I won't go, just the way I am.  I'd spent a lot of time in the state over the years, but hadn't seen anything.  Most of my time was in the Panhandle and points north.  

Texas is a big and vast place, it must be treated as a stand alone tour, too much to see and do for a pass through., and Big Bend is not on the way to anywhere, going there will take you far out of the way in a normal cross country ride.  With that in mind I began planning for this tour in December.

I started the tour with a pass through the storm ravaged city of New Orleans, then the Louisiana Bayous, and Texas Coast.  From there I turned north to San Antonio to spend the weekend with Debbie, who had flown in for the occasion.  I left San Antonio for the Hill Country, and Big Bend.  Both areas offer excellent riding, some of the best miles I've ever put down.

The Big Bend area is one of America's best kept secrets.  A beautiful place with so many breathtaking panoramas you feel overwhelmed at times.  I hope I do the Park justice in the following pages.

I have a special ability to connect to places.   When I was a child I didn't go to many, and I never dreamed there would be a  day I could tell someone, "I've visited every major landmark and historical site in the country".   The tour added the last few I was missing- The Alama, Dealy Plaza, and Galveston.   These places were stamped n my memory since childhood.  I always wanted to see them for myself, and now I can rest easy.

This tour follows the same format-backroads, quiet towns, beautiful scenery, and good riding.  If the riding is not going to be good, I'm not going.  I refuse to ride to California on I-10, I didn't even like riding it to NEW ORLEANS, for me it is the journey, the destination is secondary.  I had a great ride in/ through the Bayous and along the Coast, that if I had taken I-10, I would have missed.

The  sport side of this tour took place in the Hill Country, and along the Mexican Border.  Some of the most technical and challenging roads in the country.

This was my first tour with GPS, and all I can say is WOW, I'll never go back to paper.  Moving through the country with ease and grace, with so much at your fingertips is a good feeling.  I preplanned this tour in my study, then downloaded the routes and via points in the Zumo.  Despite being a 3500 mile tour, with hundreds of route changes, and having to locate places in huge cities like San Antonio, and Dallas, I never once had to get the atlas out.  Not one turn was missed, and I accomplished all my goals.  Over the years I can't tell y'all how many times I've had to pull off and get the atlas out to see where I messed up or to plot a new course, that is now a thing of the past.

I can't say enough what a fine piece of equipment the Zumo 550 is.

The ride for this tour was the RT.  What a great bike.  Supremely comfortable, with all the touring amenities a sport touring bike is suppose to have.  The RT pampered me across the emptiness of Texas, and leaned like a champ in the hills.  Its ability to put down a 1000 mile day without a sweat is one of  its great assets.  I enjoyed riding it this tour.

As in all long tours I faced challenges and tough decisions, you'll just have to read about them in the story.
Most days have a related video, I suggest reading the story before watching the video.  The essence of the ride is in the story, and it will help you relate to the images in the video.  There are pics in the story not in the video and vice versa.

With all that out of the way, its time to go.  I hope you enjoy the ride.
March 31, 2007