Our trek to Austin Texas was to visit with our friends from Cancun, Fernando and Gaby and with Rick and his wife. We arrived in an easy fashion and appreciated the ease of travelling in the USA. First stopping to see Rick then getting an escort to Fernando’s place with his son, we settled in. Austin is a nice town but it’s big, the size of which we usually avoid. We checked out some local sights but were most impressed by the grocery store called ‘Whole Foods’. They had hundreds of kinds of craft cheeses, meets, beer and other foods. Fantastic! Deya and I love visiting Mercados (Markets) and just because we are in a developed country doesn’t really change the thrill of produce and interesting food options. Sounds odd but that’s how we roll.
After a few days of visiting the family, Fernando and his daughter escorted us out to Roger & Kate’s place in Fredericksburg. On the way we stopped at a place called Luckenbach to check it out. This place was made famous in the song by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. The place was simple and interesting but we didn’t have time to hang out. We did meet a couple of nice riders enjoying a short vacation; I, of course, had to rub in my 2 year tour…sorry.
We ended up saying goodbye and thanks to Fernando then headed over to Roger’s place. This was a very nice return since we first met this lovely couple on our way South and Roger taught me an important lesson that has made a significant difference to this trip and given me an understanding about people that I was previously oblivious to. Thanks for that Roger, you know what that was. We spent the evening chatting and had an impressive sleep; I don’t think Deya wanted to leave. But now the road North was calling and Colorado would be our next destination.
Texas is big and we planned our route to take us through a small town called Canadian, just because. We ended up staying there, camped by the lake, for free and had a nice dinner as we often do when we are camping. The next day we left the area and headed North again in the heat and long roads. Passing through the seamless and seemingly boring states of Oklahoma and Kansas we encountered only extreme heat and very high winds. This made the journey like torture on the bikes until we finally entered into Colorado.
Colorado was much more beautiful and everything improved at that point. Our first stop was in a village called Lamar and the visitors centre told us to try camping in the municipal park. Free and very nice meant that we had not any problem making that decision. A fellow at the centre with a motorized pedal bike was waiting for parts and warned us to watch out for the sprinklers. We headed for the park.
It was beautifully setup with plenty of shade and lush green grass, picnic tables with overhead covers and sufficient space to put the tent. We did a thorough search but could find no sprinkler system and figured it must be in a different area. By 9 pm we were wiped out, had a nice dinner as we usually do and set up camp to go to bed. The temperature was perfect and we both slept peacefully until exactly 3 am when all of a sudden we hear the roar of pressurized water and, “tack, tack, tack, tack, tack, tack…” to which Deya boldly grabbed a plastic bag and jumped out of the tent to find and suffocate the sprinkler head before it could do its damage.
I lay in my sleeping bag wondering about her success when all of a sudden I hear this loud screaming, “ahhhhhhhh, aaaaaaaahhhhhhh” and Deya burst back into the tent, with her plastic bag in hand, soaking from head to toe and laughing. I asked what happened and she said it was far too dark to see anything and when she just about got to the sprinkler it turned on her. As she fought her way back a second one trained on her and got her from behind spinning her around like a top so she could be thoroughly soaked from both sides. I was laughing lightly to myself when the sprinkler finally discovered our location, likely because Deya lead them back to us and they focused their fury on our tent walls.
The 1.5 year old thirty dollar tent from Wal-Mart was simply no match for the onslaught delivered by the municipal sprinklers and we had to abandon her. We finished the morning resting on the road way before making breakfast and leaving town. By 7:30 am everything was dry and our next stop would be our friend Shawn who we first met with Beemer Chef (Ara and Spirit) in Bisbee, Arizona.
Shawn is my kind of character and it was a pleasure to see him. We spent a few days recovering from our previous week, got some maintenance done on the bikes and toured around Colorado Springs a bit before the fires started to burn down houses. That was about the time we said, “Sorry to eat and run but we gotta go!” It would be nice for me to go adventuring around the mountain with Shawn but we had to go and our US insurance was running out. After saying goodbye Deya and I rode for a few hours before stopping for a break, we both mentioned to each other that Shawn and Cathy didn’t get the best of us because of our semi burnt out state and thought that was regrettable, I wondered to myself how often that happens. Sorry to those folks who suffered our dull looks and mindless chatter.
Colorado is a place worth visiting again and we had an excellent ride out of Colorado Springs. The only weird thing to see is all the legal places selling marijuana, “1/8th $25.00” and other assorted volumes and prices, odd. People often ask us what the best country was that we travelled through and depending on your criteria (easy, safe, cheap, etc.) I would have to say the USA. The same day we left Shawn’s place we stopped for the washroom about 300 kilometres out near a visitor centre in Gunnison, Colorado. A guy stopped when he saw the bikes and was wearing a BMW hat, he had many bikes and was just picking up parts of a KLR for a rebuild. We chatted briefly but had to go because we were racing the sun to the mountains and didn’t want to get caught in the dark trying to find a place to stay.
Two blocks away from the visitor centre we stopped to fill up the tanks of gas. While I filled the tanks and Deya went inside to pay; the fellow from the visitor centre drove up, got out of his truck, walked over to the bikes with fifteen dollars and stuck them to Deya’s bike saying, “I’ve got some left over’s from the weekend, please enjoy.” I tried to protest but he simply smiled and walked away knowing there was little I could do about it. Well, thank you sir! The money ended up well spent and that little thing that you did goes a long ways for demonstrating the kind of people we have been lucky enough to meet and it means something.
We headed out of town filled with hope and a little wonder about that incident and found a nice state park to camp at for fifteen bucks, compliments of a fellow rider. We set up our tent and started cooking a nice dinner, as we usually do, and a couple in an RV drove by and parked. I waved at the folks inside and carried on with my food preparation. A little later the gentleman driving the RV came over and chatted with us a bit, we asked him to sit down, then his wife came over and we had a really nice chat for a little while. They left and we finished up our dinner. Shortly after, the gentleman came back with two cold beers saying that he found them in his fridge and they would not need them as they we’re leaving the next day, just then I heard the RV’s generator come on. He headed back and his wife came out carrying a freshly micro waved bag of popcorn. Lol.. Things that are simply impossible for us to do! She reminded us that if it started raining we were welcome to stay in their RV, having camped many years they know what it’s like. Later that evening we stopped by to say thanks and we’re invited in for mojitos and more conversation.
Deya and I went to bed in our tent that night reflecting on our trip and the simply awesome good time that we have been having and the incredible generosity of people and this great nation. Our next destination, Yellow Stone National Park.