Friday, November 10, 2006

HSTA Rally in Kerrville, Texas

I finally did two things that I've been meaning to do for some time - I joined the HSTA (Honda Sport Touring Association), and I rode an Iron Butt Saddle Sore 1000 (a documented ride of 1000 miles or more in 24 hours or less), plus I rode in two states that I had not previously ridden in: Arkansas and Texas. The rally was held in Kerrville, TX, just outside of San Antonio. I left home at 4:30am on Thursday and met my friend Daryl in Nashville (my halfway mark) at noon. When I left home it was a comfortable 61 degrees, but as I got into the mountainous region between Asheville and Knoxville, the temperature quickly dropped into the 30s, and it began raining. I stopped and put on my electric vest and winter gloves, and all was once again peachy. After meeting Daryl, we proceeded to ride through Memphis and Little Rock on our way to our day's destination of Atlanta, TX, just outside of Texarcana. It was a great day of riding, with just a bit of traffic congestion in Memphis. We arrived in Atlanta around 10:30, with my final numbers being 1036 miles in 18 hours. I was still comfortable and in good spirits and felt as if I could have kept going for a few more hours.

Friday morning we departed around 7:00 in 28 degree weather bound for Kerrville and stopped for lunch at Louie Mueller's Barbecue in Taylor. What a fantastic BBQ joint this was! It had tons of character, and the food was incredible. Their idea of BBQ is much different than what I'm accustomed to; rather than pork shoulder, it's beef brisket, and sauce isn't a big deal. It was different, but quite tasty, as were the baked beans, cole slaw, and chipotle sausage.

Louie Mueller's Barbecue:

We left there pleasantly full and had a great ride to Kerrville. I like how the Texans drive on two-lane highways - the speed limit is often 65 or 70, and when you're approaching a car from behind, they'll pull over onto the shoulder and maintain speed (the shoulders are wide and of good quality), so you can pass them without crossing the yellow line. This happened time and time again, which is so contrary to what I'm accustomed to; usually folks get offended when passed, but the Texans invite you to do so. Superb! We could all learn from them. We made it to Kerrville around 6:00 and got checked in and registered and enjoyed an evening of drinking Guinness and meeting other riders.

The lobby of our hotel, the Y.O. Ranch and Resort:

Saturday morning we arose and headed over to a nearby dealership that hosts a breakfast for this rally every year, where we enjoyed some really good breakfast burritos, donuts, and coffee, while checking out their bikes and gear and visiting with fellow riders. There was a suggested route that most everyone took, but not all as one group; folks broke up into small groups based upon riding style and such. Daryl and I rode alone for a good portion of the route - we occasionally would catch up with some folks and ride with them for a bit, but our throttle hands quickly got itchy, so we'd zoom past them. :-) It drizzled most of the day, which required us to keep the pace down a bit, and it also impacted viewing of the scenery, but it was still a spectacular day of riding. Great curvy roads and beautiful scenery. We rode three roads that are collectively known as "Three Twisted Sisters," and though they're not as technically challenging as some of the roads in the NC/TN/GA mountains, they were still a lot of fun to ride. We encountered some deer and cows in the road, so that always had to be kept in mind. We encountered a lot of cattle guards as well, which were fine while going straight, but we sometimes encountered them in the curves, so we had to slow way down and stand the bikes upright before crossing them (slick in the dry, really slick in the rain.) We'd been warned of animals in the road; a couple weeks prior a fellow had hit a porcupine and ended up crashing pretty hard and breaking lots of bones; fortunately, we didn't see any of those. There were three riders who went down during the course of the day; two were simple low-sides on the slick roads, and the riders and bikes weren't hurt too badly. The third, however, was pretty nasty; a fellow went off the road in a curve into a river. He and the bike got pretty banged up, and his initial problem was shock from the cold, but other riders with them got him out and covered him with riding jackets until EMS arrived. Daryl and I happened upon this crash as the authorities were wrapping things up and hauling him off in the ambulance. I don't think he had any major injuries, but possibly had some broken bones and such.

The dealership we visited:

Stonehenge II not too far outside Kerrville:

Stopped for a break in Leakey, TX:

Saturday night we had a great banquet with a meal of chicken parmesan, beef stroganoff, and various tasty sides and desserts. It was a really good meal, and we ate at a table with a good group of folks, one of them a woman who'd lived many years in New Orleans and had travelled to my hometown just across the state line to ride horses. Lots of door prizes were awarded, but unfortunately Daryl and I left empty-handed. Maybe next year.

Sunday morning we arose early and headed away from Kerrville; we rode to around Shreveport, LA, where we had an excellent lunch at a little diner. Our waitress sounded like she had a four-pack-a-day habit, but she was certainly nice, helpful, and funny. She assured me that the food I ordered would be filling and said, "If you leave here unhappy, it's your own damned fault!" :-) Following lunch Daryl and I parted ways, with him heading to Memphis for the evening, and me heading down to southern Mississippi, where I spent a couple of days with my family.

On Wednesday I had a pretty uneventful ride back home via the slab. Left at noon and got in around 10pm. I covered about 3,300 miles over the course of the trip, and had a blast! I'm stoked to have done the Iron Butt ride and to finally be an HSTA member, and it was awesome to ride in Texas. I plan to do this trip again in the future. Here is an album of all my photos.

Mileage Per Day:
Thu 1036
Fri 475
Sat 250
Sun 800
Mon 15
Tue 25
Wed 650

Update - I finally received my certificate!


At Saturday, November 11, 2006 9:36:00 PM, Anonymous Marsalis Wallis said...

As always.....great write up, trip, and pics my white friend.



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