Rides and Tales

Observations From Behind Bars

Archive for the ‘travel’ Category

Ride to the Harvest Classic

leave a comment »

Friday morning, that lucky Flour Bluff woman, and I,  were on the road about the time the sun made her appearance. We were bound, ultimately, for the Harvest Classic European and Vintage Motorcycle Rally, at Luckenbach, TX.

Our first 65 miles were ridden on wet streets and in light rain, but by the time we rendezvoused with friends at Seguin, 104 miles later, we were dried.

Another 100 miles of fantastic riding country found us at Armadillo Farm Campground, about a half-mile from the Harvest Classic.

image001

After making camp, we decided to mosey on over to Luckenbach and see what was what, and what wasn’t what.

image002

image003

It was still early, for the event, but not too early for music to be played and beer to be consumed.  Security rode around on an invisible motorcycle making sure all was secure.

image006
The vendors and the participants in the swap meet and bike show were still setting up.  We left them to their preparations and met the Texas chapter of the Valkyrie Riders Cruiser Club, for eats.

1967 Honda CB450

1967 Honda CB450

Saturday, we decided to forego an organized ride, and take our own tour of the Willow City Loop, close to near-by Fredericksburg, TX.  In the spring, the Loop is a favorite for bluebonnet runs.

No bluebonnets, this time of year, but some of the fenceposts were in bloom, probably due to recent rains.

Boots on fenceposts

Boots on fenceposts

People live on the Loop, but you’d never guess by looking at the terrain.

image010

The view is worth the ride, any time of year.

Willow City Loop

The fence is made of stone.

Stone fence.

Now, I’m not sure what this is all about, but I suspect it has something to do with bragging rights.

image014

Our tour of the Willow City Loop, completed, we rolled back to Luckenbach, to check out some motor cycles.  Rather than post small pictures, I’ve posted them to my picture blog,  Click on the link or the pic of the Harley to go to Road Storyer (a WordPress blog)

Link to pictures

Link to pictures

Later, we stood around a campfire and spun mostly true yarns .  The ride  back to Corpus Christi could not have been better,  we traveled some roads we hadn’t seen before, and the weather was fantastic.
After all was said and done, the weekend was an unqualified success.

sundown

Advertisements

Written by fiddle mike

October 21, 2013 at 2:11 pm

A Gathering of the Fools

leave a comment »

We packed our tent and an extra pair of socks and headed for the fifteenth annual, “Gathering of the Fools”, at the home of Hotglue and Flamingo Babe, south of Houston, TX.
These folks define hospitality.  Our bedroom was one of the best, no motels, for us.


 

 

Hotglue is a Renaissance man whose talents range from fabrication to preparing top-notch barbecue.  If you’re from Texas you know that’s not a claim made lightly.

 

 

 

 

The Gathering of the Fools is a much-anticipated event for members of the Valkyrie Riders Cruiser Club, some of whom rolled in from as far away as California and Virginia.
The Honda GL1500 C, CT and Interstate is affectionately known to some as, “The Fat Lady” (advertisement: The Fat Lady Has Sung), and to others as, “The Dragon”.

 

 

As you can see, while we love our Valkyries, the gathering is hardly exclusive.  Some of Flamingo Babe’s cronies from the CanAm owners turned up, as well riders on Wings, Harleys, rockets and dual sports.

 

 

 

 

Saturday, the yard and the street began filling up with every description of Valkyrie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The annual ride was dedicated to Laser Pat (GBNF); the route included a stop at this spacious bar and grill for lunch, drinks and socializing.

 

 

 

Back at the ranch, we wandered the bikes and found these beauties:

 

 

 

 

Some of the paint was fantastic:

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Super Bee bike is really slick and I had to capture it for a friend who is a fan of classic American cars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This rider stood out in a sea of black Valkyrie Interstates.

 

 

 

 

Motor trikes were under represented.  This trike is owned by a woman who can take most riders to school, when it comes to riding the twisties.


 

 

The meal was fantastic, as per usual, and the fellowship was cold beer for the soul.
Now, I can’t speak for everyone, but it’s been my experience that motorcycling folk are about as big-hearted as they come.  Hotglue informed us that he and his associates in the Lions Club support a camp for disabled children and asked that we also support the cause by participating in some fund raising activities at the Gathering.  We did.

 

 

What a weekend.  We had a wonderful time with Hotglue, Flamingo Babe and the good folks and their fine machines, we ate the way God intended and had the opportunity to support a great cause, as well.


South of I-10, we really got it made.

 

 

 


Written by fiddle mike

April 3, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Posted in motorcycle, Texas, travel

Tagged with , ,

We Salute a Rider

with 3 comments

The luckiest woman in Flour Bluff had the big yella bike packed  and  ready to be on the road at 7:00 a.m. of a Saturday morning; we needed to be in Leander, Texas by noon.  We were going to join fellow VRCC members in a ride celebrating the life of Laser Pat, who has left this world to ride into the land of souls. 

 

Gravity, as we all know, is an invisible force that drags you down. “Escape velocity” is the speed required get free, in this case, 70mph.  In short order we’d freed ourselves from the city and were bound north-west on US-181

The day began overcast and the air became misty as we rode, the predicted high temperature of 83° F. (28 °C) looking more like wishful thinking, all the time. Despite the gloom, the spring wildflowers lined the roadside, showing off their finery.

 

 

The road is familiar and, despite an increase in truck traffic, we were able to relax and enjoy brilliant flowers that, in some cases, stretched for as far as the eye could see, maybe further.  The sun finally made her appearance and, in good time, we were making our way through Austin,

While making passably good time in traffic, I spotted the familiar back-patch of our cruiser club and made a friendly overture (grinned like a madman).  Introductions were made at a traffic light and member “Bull Goose” fell in with us.

 

 

 

With next to no trouble we found our way to the Lucky Star Ranch, home of the Big Red Bunkhouse.

 

 

We rolled into the circular drive and parked our bikes. Eventually, thirty motorcycles lined the drive waiting to be ridden on some of Laser Pat’s favorite roads.

 

 There were Honda Valkyrie motorcycles of every description as well as a few Gold Wings, Harley-Davidsons and dual-sports.

At, or near, the appointed time, we rolled out in three groups of ten to honor our departed friend and brother by doing what he loved to do in the place he loved to do it.  Some of us think it no coincidence that the weather was perfect.


The Texas Hill Country is recognized as having some of the finest motorcycling roads in the country.  While I’d ridden over lots of it, the area just west of Leander and Austin was new territory for me.

 

 

The land begins to roll, here, north of Lake Travis.

There are long sweepers where we let the old girls stretch their legs.


The route was about 50 miles, all told, and entirely enjoyable. 

 

 

We returned to the ranch where we saluted Laser Pat in words and song.

 


The Lucky Star Ranch is thoroughly charming place, replete with folk art and pleasant surprises at every turn.  Never one to miss a chance to fondle jugs, I posed, here, alongside one of the many fountains.

 

 

There was a camper trailer on site…


… as well as a tree house with a spiral stairway.

 

 

Not everyone knows this, but I’ve always wanted to own  a wooden white man.

 

In short, the location for the celebration was well chosen.  The observance was something memorable.  We did what we believe Pat would have wanted: we had a good time doing the things he loved to do, riding the Hill Country and enjoying our friends.

The road goes on forever.

Written by fiddle mike

March 26, 2012 at 4:55 pm

Thanksgiving Jaunt

with 2 comments

There are certain advantages to bucking Thanksgiving Day traditions.  For one, my missus prepares a great seafood gumbo instead of the usual “turkey with all the fixin’s”.   And, while the rest of the world feasts or watches The Game, it’s possible to ride through the city on streets that are nearly empty. The luckiest woman in Flour Bluff and I decided to take advantage of the situation by riding  around Corpus Christi Bay to the town of Ingleside for a picnic.  She stashed picnic stuff in the saddlebag, hopped on the snatch pad and off we went.



The day was beautiful, breezy, the temperature topping out near 75°F (23.8° C).  We weren’t the only motorcyclists out enjoying the day, either.

Northbound over the Harbor Bridge and a picture postcard view of the USS Lexington Museum.

The couple we’d seen on the bayfront found their throttles, she  giving us the accepted “low wave” from her Shadow VLX as they went by.  You meet the nicest people on a Honda.

Riding through Ingleside, we made our way to the city park named, “Live Oak”.  Live Oak Park is plenty spacious even on days when there are more than the ten-or-so visitors we saw in addition to ourselves.

Who can resist being able to make a photograph of their motorcycle with an uncluttered background?  Note the very groovy way the saddlebag lids open to the outside.  


While I sat and absorbed the peacefulness of the day, Jill serenaded the trees with her Native American flute.


We were surely  enjoying the day, but the clock was walking (as it’s known to do, in these parts) and it was time to head back to the big Bluff  and make ready the feast.

Life’s good, we’re alive and in Texas.

Written by fiddle mike

November 25, 2011 at 3:09 pm

Blowing Smoke IV

with 3 comments


The bonfire was roaring and I was part of the crowd who stood around it enjoying its warmth and attendant activity.  Drummers with Irish bodhrán and African djembe found a hypnotic rhythm; dancers appeared out of the night, ringed the fire and begin to undulate and glide around.

A particularly attractive young woman, moving gracefully and dressed only in a couple of bandannas, had my eye, life was good. Then, as I idly speculated on exactly how the bandannas remained in place, a male voice intruded on my reverie.

Standing a little behind me, some big dude in a cowboy hat was squealing into a cell phone like a teenage girl, “Really?  Really? No Shit?”

I thought, “Good news about some business deal, or a job promotion he’s been sweating, maybe”, the reason he carried a telephone to a celebration of the primitive.

He got louder; “No shit?” and his voice climbed half an octave,  “Holy shit, that’s fantastic!”

“Maybe he’s a new uncle”, thinks I.

So this big yahoo pushes his way past me and through the dancers till he stands near the bonfire. There, he began shouting for quiet and for everyone to “listen up!”

Since I reckoned it  unlikely that he was about to announce a promotion or a new relative to crowd of reveling strangers, I looked to the sky, which was star-filled and negated any chance that he was about to announce a weather emergency.  My hand began slipping inside my coat as he became louder, agitated and more insistent that the drummers stop and everyone listen to what he had to say.

The bandanna honey stopped her eyeful undulations, as did the sexy belly dancers, their pretty girlfriends and the open-nosed boys who dogged them hoping for a miracle. All eyes were now on Center-of-Attention Man as he loudly proclaimed,
“For you who care about such things, University of Texas just kicked Kansas A&M’s ass!”

Silence.

At my ear, I heard, “Yayyyy!” and I turn, almost expecting to see a thirteen-year-old girl with a deep voice, rather than the cowboy’s sidekick.
I looked him dead in the eye and told him, “If I gave a fuck about such things, I’d be at home, watching it on TV”.

Now, I don’t understand why a sports fan displays a Halloween jack o’ lantern decked out with a professional sports team’s logo and colors any more than I understand why someone would name both his dog and his daughter, “Harley”, and I don’t understand why a grown man would halt a party, complete with comely dancing girls, to announce the goings-on of twenty-two semi-literate coke heads and rapists.
It’s not like they’re kin, you know?

Written by fiddle mike

January 12, 2011 at 4:20 pm

Posted in culture, Texas, travel, Uncategorized

Tagged with

Lost Cajun

with 4 comments

Honesty and open lines of communication are mainstays of a successful marriage, so when I began to crave some boudin (BOO-dan) I opened right up and admitted it to the luckiest woman in Flour Bluff.   She, thereupon, confessed to a willingness to ride the 100 miles to the Lost Cajun Restaurant and acquire said boudin.

Now, if you’re one of those unfortunate folks who live outside the cultural influence of the Cajun people of Southwest Louisiana, you may not be familiar with boudin, a wonderful loose sausage also called boudin blanc, white boudin, because a main ingredient is rice. Imagine that.
It doesn’t sound like much, and looks like less, but once it’s tasted, you’re hooked.

We set off from the center of art and culture at 4:00 pm, Saturday and moseyed mechanically through the city.  Once on the ramp to the span that bridges our harbor
(called, “Harbor Bridge”) I noticed I was somewhat hemmed in by cages, a couple of which had “Obama” bumper stickers.  Concerned that they might do something stupid, I twisted the wick and managed to get some space between us and them; the view from the Nueces Bay Causeway is nice when you can relax.


Once off the State’s super slab, and on a Farm-Market road that cuts through the fields of cotton and grain behind the town of Gregory, I felt that our excursion had finally begun.



We rolled along “past houses, farms and fields”, as the song goes, and into areas where you can see to the horizon without spotting a power line or gas well.  Some places are pasture, giving us a glimpse of how the terrain must have looked to the Karankawa and Copane people, before the Spanish occupation.

It was a great summer day, slightly cooler than usual, the wind was down and we had the two-lane pretty much to ourselves. In good time, we arrived at the Lost Cajun Restaurant.  I ground-tied the big girl, so she wouldn’t wander off, and we went in and made ourselves to home.



I like that there is a Castor Bean plant at the edge of the patio.  They are reputed to be poisonous.  When I was a youngster, long before every unfortunate incident spawned a new law named for a child or a disgruntled politician’s wife, there was a campaign to rid my town of “Castor Bean trees”.  Some proto-Oprah decided we needed to do it “for the chil-dren”, I guess.  At any rate, this plant makes me smile, knowing that the meddling do-gooders  can’t get us all.



We poked our heads inside the restaurant, told the waitress that we’d be dining  “al fresco (Italian for ‘on the patio’)” and looked around for just the right table.  It was only chance that kept us from putting our boots under that one that was occupied by the resident cat who, we were told, was sleeping off blueberry cobbler and ice cream.



Our waitress, the lovely and charming, Michelle, intuited that I was there for boudin and got me supplied while we perused the menu.  She told us that the original owners were, once again, running the show. That suits me just fine, jalapenos had begun making their way into the food, under recent management. The damned things don’t belong in red beans and rice any more than they belong in corn bread.  Michelle recommended the “Cajun boil”.  A boil is shrimp, crawfish, Andouille sausage, corn on the cob and new potatoes all spiced up and cooked together, brought out in a colander and dumped in front of you on the butcher paper-covered table.  Such a thing has been known to cause northerners to go into culture shock and temporarily lose their regional accent.



“Did I steer you wrong?”  She already knew the answer, there was nothing left on our table but a bottle of Tabasco and a heap of shells.


I had to pass on dessert, fearing that consuming more food would put me into a stupor while behind bars; we drank up and pointed our wheel south.

The sun settled below the horizon just before we turned into the west and made that last run across the bays and into the city.  I must live right.



Written by fiddle mike

August 1, 2010 at 3:23 pm

Posted in Texas, travel

Tagged with ,

Rollin’ with my homlies.

leave a comment »

Sunday afternoon, that lucky Flour Bluff girl and I decided to make a little lunch run over to Fulton Beach, in Fulton, Texas; a short 40 miles and a world away.  We called our other brother, Darryl, arranged to get up with him, and off we went.

We took the scenic route on roads that by-pass the SH-35 by-pass around the towns of Port Aransas and Rockport.
The tides have been particularly high, recently, and as we rode Fulton Beach Road, we could see that parts of it had been covered.
We’d decided to dine at Alice Faye’s Restaurant, a long-time favorite.  However, after asking to be seated on the patio, we were forgotten.  I guess  we weren’t potential tippers for the dining room twinkie who greeted us, so she blew us off.  Well, I like to eat at Alice Faye’s as much as the next guy but it’s against my principles to put up with crappy wait staff, no matter how good the food is.  My decision to, “fuck this”, went as un-noticed as our exit.

Charlotte Plummer’s Restaurant was more than willing to sell a meal to a handsome stranger.

“We’re hungry!”,  was my answer to the pretty waitress’, “How are y’all doin’, today?”

“Well, you’re in the right place”, she assured us.

We were.  Seated upstairs, enjoying delicious seafood, with a perfect day just on the other side of the window, we congratulated ourselves on having it dicked.

The second floor has a great view of the marina, as did the deck behind the building.

After, we made our way down the newly paved street.

It seemed obvious to me that the city got a two-for-one deal on some stop signs.  Four-way stops, ever few yards, seems a poor idea for a restaurant row in a tourist town.  We had quite enough of stop-and-go, toot sweet, and  turned off the beach road and into Fulton, proper, making for the state highway that takes us back to where we belong.

Written by fiddle mike

July 12, 2010 at 3:29 pm

%d bloggers like this: