​​​BamaRider
Day 2                                                                             
March 23rd, 2007
Port Neches, Texas


                                   
Days begin early in the Shahan house, so I was up by 6am.  CB and I were scheduled to meet a friend for breakfast, so after awakening I put on civilian clothes to go eat.

It was very dark at 6am, and another reminder I didn't like daylight savings time this time of year.  We loaded up in CB's van and made the short drive to the Port Neches Cafe, that was still recuperating from Hurricane Rita damage.

One thing about being retired you have your routine, and it was neat CB was showing me some of his.  Ken was waiting for us in the cafe when we arrived.  Ken is a good friend of CB's and play golf together.  When several of the patrons saw I was from Alabama they began asking me questions about my trip.

A man at the next table with his young daughter told me had to drive to Mobile to return her to her mother who shares custody. 

"well if you're goin to Mobile that means I-10, I feel sorry for ya"

"yeah I know, its bad"

I skipped anything heavy to eat, I was still full from last night.  After breakfast and the latest golf news we were on the way back to the house so I could get on the road.

By now the sun was up, and I was anxious to get on the road.  It only took me a short time to pack and load the RT, when I finished I checked email from CB's PC and posed for a few pictures.  CB checked the weather radar and reported no rain in the area.

I told Miss Wilma good bye and followed CB out of Port Neches to SR 124.  It was still early and commuter traffic was yet to build.

I had a custom route to pick up on the Peninsula, that would drop me off south of San Antonio, from there I'm going to ask the GPS to take me the motel, best way he sees fit.  I spent a lot of time working on this route, it was complicated and I hoped it would all work out.

We rode south through the bayous to the coast.  We were briefly hung up in a single lane construction, but not anything serious.  CB rides as well as anyone I've seen on the bbs, I hope I'm as good when I reach my 70s.
Crossing the Intracostal Waterway I spotted a huge barge making its way to the Gulf, and several new cottages were going up on 20 foot concrete pillars, hoping to get the houses high enough in the air to survive the next hurricane storm surge.   After reaching the coast we hung a right on  SR 87, and followed the shoreline a few miles before turning in at a parking lot near Gilchrist.

The tide was coming in and we could  see water rushing in to the inland canals.  I took a few pics, thanked CB for all his hospitality, and continued my ride west along the coast.

I gassed up a Chevron station at Crystal Beach.

The Texas Coast is not all the developed, there are many miles of empty beach, you don't see that in the Florida Panhandle, but the beaches there are a lot more scenic.  The Gulf water is darker here and the beach yellow and gray.

Coming into Galveston from the east means a ferry ride.  I had just missed it and was now stuck waiting for the next.  Way it goes.  I parked in the que line and took my helmet off.  I made a few phone ca;;s, and put in some notes.  The battery in the Razor was on 1 bar so I broke out my new DC charger that uses 2 AA batteries, very convenient. 

A lady in a red pick up truck was behind me so I struck up a chat with her.  She had dark hair, and wore those new style long plastic glasses.  She spoke in a distinct Texas accent, which is definitely southern, but different from Alabama.

"so you ride the ferry often?"

"yeah, couple days a week.  I work for the school district and have business over here often."

"Is it always this busy?"

"shoot this ain't nothin, you should be here on a Friday afternoon in summer"

Across the street, a honky tonk with the latest beer special signs invited ferry goers to step in a forget their troubles.  It wasn't open for the day so everyone just sat in their cars.
​If you tired of sitting in the car, you could always walk 
over to this place.

When the ferry ported I was instructed to take a spot in the back, in small corner only a bike could fit.  The lady told me the ride over takes about 15 minutes.

After the ferry pushed off, I stood over the rail and watched the scenery go by as we sailed across the harbor and channel.  It was good to let someone else do the driving for awhile.  A couple of motorist went to the stern and fed seagulls as the tried to hover over the ship. 

I saw a decommissioned submarine and a destroyer, now serving as museums, at a park on shore.  I didn't get the names of the vessels.

The ferry docked and I rolled off into the city of Galveston, population 57,000 plus.  Galveston is a true island, connected by a ferry in the east and a toll bridge in the west.  The ferry is free, so why does the bridge cost 2 dollars?

I followed Seawall Blvd through the city, and stopped for some video and pics.  The beach front was like most resort towns; T shirt shops, motels, and seafood. 
​RT at the seawall, Galveston, Texas
Something about the beach makes folks want to run.  People that do nothing of the sort all year, break out their running shoes when arrive at the beach.  I saw several of them struggling up Seawall Blvd.

It was early season, the motels were half empty.  I took a side street to check out a few things off the Blvd, but came back in just a few minutes.  Galveston seemed like a pleasant place to live.
When you leave the main highways you can find houses
like this.

The route changed to SR 3005 out of the city and the congestion thinned out as I rode west to the toll bridge.  
A public works truck had the highway blocked, and a police cruiser directed cars to take the sidewalk around.  I went across the ramp and a gap made the RT bottom out.

I went over the toll bridge and followed the road on a  narrow strip of land to Freeport, where I made a hard right north on SR 36 and started the ride inland.

When I created this route, I placed a waypoint on the south end, and another on the road I wanted to ride in the northwest, that way the software would auto route me the best way through the city.  In doing so it did a end run around the city all together on county roads, and I picked my route up on CR 521.  Nice.  

The route took me by a huge Dow chemical plant. 

The weather was warm and partly cloudy, I stopped to vent out the Roadcrafter, but stayed with the leather sport gloves.

A very stiff crosswind picked up on 521 forcing me to lean the RT at weird angles.  The scenery was mostly plowed farmland.  

From 521 I turned on FM 1468, another obscure road I found in the map software, and the bad crosswind became a good tailwind.  I went around a large tractor pulling a wide farm implement, the contraption took up a lane and a half.

Eventually I found my way into Midfield at the intersection of SR's 71 and 111.  Dorothy's Cowboy Country Corner looked like a good place to take a break, and to check out the local atmosphere.

The door was open when I pulled to the parking lot and removed my gear. I was taking my ear plugs out when I stepped in.  The store was very rustic looking.  A pool table and several tables were in the back, a middle aged lady tended the bar, and a young guy in polo shirt sat at the bar drinking beer.  I didn't take him to be a local but I was wrong.  I bought a Mountain Dew and a bag of chips, "this is gonna be lunch I guess."  I paid for my snack and sat down at a nearby table, running my hands over my hair, trying to loosen up my helmet head.
Some kind of cowboy mannequin sat in a chair in the rear.  I don't know what his purpose was.

I spoke out to the lady and bar patron-"hey how y'all doin?"

"pretty good," the lady said, "what brings you this way?"

"nuttin, just passing through on my way to San Antonio."

I got my phone out to check messages.  I had just missed Debbie, she called about 10 minutes prior.  She was in Houston and on schedule to arrive in San Antonio on time.  She was on a 1 hour lay over so I called back.
​Dorothy's Country Cowboy Store.  Midfield, Texas
"Hey I got your message baby, glad to see things are good'

"yeah everything's fine, but I need the number of the motel, to arrange to meet the shuttle."

"hold on I'll call them, and call ya back"

I called the motel only to find out there is NO shuttle.

I called Debbie back, "look here baby, there is NO shuttle, gonna hafta to take a cab"

"ok I'll manage, see ya in a few hours"

I asked the guy at the bar, "you from around here?"

"yeah, just down the road"

"not working today?"

"I work shift down at the draw bridge, I go in tonight, must be nice to just ride around"

"do you ride?"

"no, I was just referring to how you got it made today"

"well its ok"

Like many folks I meet along they way they wanted to know about some of my adventures, and when I informed them I was in New Orleans yesterday, they peppered me with all kinds of questions.
"is it as bad as they say?" the bar tender asked

"yeah, in some places the best thing to do is take a bulldozer to it"

The lady went on to tell me the store was built in the 1930s and she had been operating it for 30 years.  The folks in Midfield were genuine, and I was glad to spend some time with them.

I left Midfield on SR 111 toward Edna, and the skies were turning cloudy.  The riding was good, but the wind was still tossing me around. 

The by pass around Edna was busy, but I was glad to use it avoid the congestion of the city.  I rode out the north side and left 111 near Hocheium for a county road that was not in my atlas.
​I found this old SUV and satellite in Cheapside.  A fitting
name for such a place.

"I hope this road I picked works out," as I made a right turn off the highway.  I needn't have worried.  This road was the best riding all day.  A peaceful ride on a low traffic, forgotten road is always good.  The pavement was not in the best of repair but the all the rest was good.  
​Not all of Texas is rock and desert, as I found out CR 315 
in Gonzales, County.

The road took me over a few hills, and past sweeping farmland.  I stopped in a forlorn place called Cheapside for some pics.  It was nothing more then 2 houses, a couple of barns, and a church.  I followed the arrows on the GPS and turned on CR 315 and a few miles later I came out at US 67, just like I wanted.  What a great little ride I had just completed.

My custom route was completed and now the GPS needed to know what to do next, so pulled into the parking lot of the Westhoff Volunteer Fire Department, and tapped in the address of the Super 8 in San Antonio.  I was about 50 miles south of the city.

A few seconds later I had the route straight to the parking lot of the motel and took off.  I was anxious to get to the city to see my wife, and was looking forward to our evening at the Riverwalk and the Alamo.

U.S. 67 was not a good ride, traffic and congestion, but it was mostly 4 way divided and served the purpose.   I took the outer loop around the city and met I-35 and fought several narrowed lanes of construction, then it started to drizzle rain.  The city was busy, with the NCAA regional tourney in town, on top of it just being a weekend.

I maneuvered in and around traffic, it makes a lot of difference knowing how far it is to your exit.  I exited, followed a few surface streets, and the next thing I know I'm there!

From the parking lot I called Debbie, "Hey where ya at baby?"

"at the motel where you?"

"in the parking lot, whats the room number?"

"hold on lemme walk out"

I was practically at the front door of the room.

She came out waving, and I called out to her, "HEY BABY!!" .

I unloaded the RT after a 368 mile day. 

After getting a shower we walked on down to the Plaza.  What a moving experience.

All my life I had wanted to see the Alamo.  I was about 7-8 years old when I saw John Wayne's movie.  I knew what happened here, and even at that young age understood, some things are worth fighting for.  There is good and bad, and it must be confronted, but some folks nowdays aren't going to fight for anything, because they don't they aren't commited.  But the defenders of the Alamo stood for something.

It humors me to hear the news talk of Americans being war weary.  How could that be? From watching it on TV?  Good thing they weren't around in WWII where every American had to sacrifice something, but this country is so rich today, we can fight a global war and 99% of the country doesn't notice, we just go about out business of shopping, watching cable tv, eating buffets, and yes, even taking motorcycle tours.

The weather was great our entire time in the city, not too hot, not too cold, a good time of year to be here.
"Too late to go inside, we'll do that tomorrow," I told Debbie.  So we left and went down to the Riverwalk looking for a place to eat.  There were many to choose from.  We settled on Dicks where we split a combo of ribs and chicken.  It was excellent.  We sat outside on a riverside table, a really great atmosphere.  The Riverwalk is great way to share time together, a very romantic place.
We enjoyed our time in San Antonio
We watched the boats on the river and people scanned.  After supper we strolled around the shops and others stores and then worked our way back to the Super 8.  It was a great way to end the day.