Trials Utopia

Trip Start Jun 29, 2007
1
Trip End Jul 02, 2007


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Flag of United States  , Texas
Wednesday, July 4, 2007

 
Friday June 29
 
I finished loading up and left Laredo at 6:00 am and slowed down only for the Border Patrol Checkpoint. At exit 83, I got off and had a quick breakfast of tacos at Pacho Garcia's Café in Dilley. I exited again at exit 101 and turned to the west on State 140 towards Frio Town. At FM 187 I was to turn north, but the road was closed. This road crosses both the Frio and Sabinal Rivers and no doubt one of the rivers was over the bridge from all the recent rains. Because of this, I had to continue into Uvalde on FM140 to Uvalde and go back east on US 90 to Sabinal and then turn north on FM 187. This added an hour to my traveling time, but at least I got to see Knippa!
 
I followed Bill's directions and drove up to the gate at 11:30 am. After unloading the bike and moving into the Barham's spacious guest quarters, it was decided that we would ride county roads to Tarpley and eat lunch at Mac and Ernie's Roadside Eatery. http://www.macandernies.com/
 
Bill would be riding his BMW 1150 GS http://jeff.dean.home.att.net/gs.htm and I would be on his Gas Gas Pampera 320 http://www.motorcyclingblog.com/specs/gas-gas-pampera-320-1998 . The Gas Gas had less than 500 kilometers on it when I climbed on and was a perfect choice for the ride I was about to take. The county roads that we traveled passed through ranches and open range, so there where many cattle guards to cross and cattle lounging right beside the road. There were also many water crossings, some of them quite deep due to all of the rain that the Hill Country has received this summer. We rode through Seco Creek numerous times and this normally dry creek was 
 
By taking the county roads, it was about 35 miles to Mac and Ernie's on FM470 beside scenic Williams Creek. This little place was recently featured on the Food Network as well as Southern Living and Texas Monthly. It began to rain just as we arrived. We brought rain gear, but I hoped I wouldn't have to put it on over an already wet t-shirt! We both ordered the Catfish Basket that was recommended by a couple of locals sitting under the tree. It was excellent!
 
Bill took care of some business on his cell phone while I walked down to the creek and photographed mud swallow nests under the bridge. When I went back up to the covered dining area, it started raining again and I met two ladies, one of them owned a camel named Sally. Not to far from there is Camp Verde where in 1856; the U. S. Army researched the feasibility of using camels in the U. S. for overland communication and transportation.
 
After the rain stopped we rode back to Bill and Hattie's place initially going on pavement for a few miles where I hit speeds in excess of 100kph on the little Gas Gas. It was a good ride and we traveled over 70 miles in all over some beautiful territory mad even more so by this spring's rains.
 
Truett came over and suggested that we ride on a ranch that he looks over the next morning and we quickly decided that it was a great idea. We went down to the Sabinal River that runs below the house by going through a gate and down a couple of flights of stairs. A flood in 1972 changed the channel of the river so we had to wade across the old channel to get to the newer rapidly moving channel. There were places where you couldn't go without being swept away and other wider slower moving parts. At one part there is a flat stone bottom to the river and dinosaur tracks can be seen through the clear water.
 
After a while we went back up to the house and had a fine meal of fajitas cooked on the grill and eaten out on the patio. Later on we went to visit some folks down the way and stopped to take photos of the full moon rising over the hills. Once there we found a large group of people standing around a big stone fire pit covered with meat and foil wrapped ears of corn. We didn't stick around to eat, but someone insisted that we try the corn and it was the sweetest I had ever eaten. When asked where it came from, some girl replied, "I don't know, he stopped beside the road somewhere and picked it!"
 
 
 
 
Saturday June 30, 2007
 
Sander showed up about 8:30 and we all had a fine breakfast cooked by Hattie and then got loaded up to go to the "Como se Llamo Ranch" near Vanderpool. Truett showed up and we followed him to the ranch. This was a real treat. The place was beautiful and was full of tall hills and rocks. The first thing we did was to ride up a dirt road to the top of the highest hill and enjoy the view. Truett and Hattie followed us up in a four-wheeled mule.
 
It was also a good place to try out some of the rocks. We rode around there for  a bit and then rode to the top of another hill and at that point I noticed that I was dripping fuel and when I checked the gas tank, I wasn't sure that I would have enough gas to get back to the trucks. So I took off hoping that I could at least get to the last big hill where I could coast the rest of the way down. I made it there and put it in neutral and coasted down the hill anyway. It was a long way and its kind of fun going fast downhill and only using the brakes.
 
Just as I had suspected, the fuel line was melted where it is routed near the exhaust. After wasting a bunch of time trying this and that, I took off the fuel filter and used the piece of hose that wasn't melted and ran it without a filter. I was still able to get in a good amount of riding near the truck on some good rocky hills, steps and creek beds. We were getting tired and hungry by then, Bill was already finished!
 
Just down the road was the Lone Star Motorcycle Museum and Ace Café where we had a big lunch of cheeseburgers and fries and looked at all of the vintage bikes. Of special interest to me were the two Matchless G50s and the AJS 7R. One of the G50s was Seeley framed and was quite a machine!
 
http://lonestarmotorcyclemuseum.com/index.html
 
The Manx Nortons and the Gilera Saturno was also eye catching as well as the Vincent Black Shadow and Rapide.
 
From there we went back to Bill and Hattie's and made some trails and rode those until our legs turned to jelly. Hattie cooked up some pork ribs on the grill while all of the riding was going on and we ate on the table in the garage surrounded by cool bikes as we had at lunch.
 
Sander went home to Castroville and we got in the hot tub and soothed our tired muscles before retiring for the night. It would make a big difference the next morning.
 
Sunday July 1, 2007
 
I got up early again and photographed the hummingbirds and the deer outside the gate. After breakfast we worked on the trails a bit more and rode until we could take anymore. The trails were pretty demanding and the high humidity made it pretty tiring. After lunch we went down to the river crossing and hunted for holey rocks and Bill showed me a small pool that was about twenty feet deep. Later on we went back to the river below the house and cooled off and I had even better luck finding holey rocks.
 
Monday July2, 2007
 
Once again I arose early to see the deer and hummingbirds and got the truck loaded up after a quick breakfast. We sadly said our goodbyes and I took off. This is not an easy place to leave! I decided not to try continuing down 187 at Sabinal because I didn't want to risk having to turn around due to a flooded river crossing. I knew there wouldn't be any problems going east on US 90. At D'Hanis, I turned south on FM 2200 and headed for Yancey. Down the road at Moore I turned on to I35 and got back to Laredo at 11:30am.
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folkmusictrekke
folkmusictrekke on

Utopia
seems well named and the effort to get there well worth it. Love the deer and cat photo, also the full moon, of course!

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