3rd Annual East Texas Spring Ride to Hodges Gardens, La., April 6-7th, 2002.
The Night Before The Ride
It's funny how things sometimes turn out even though you don't plan it that way. This is the case for this ride. At first, My wife (Beth) and I visited the Gardens on the suggestion of my Dad when we were looking for something to do on a free weekend. We were so impressed that we made plans to attend again the next year in the spring. However, the second trip would be a group ride. I sent out invitations, made all the plans, and three people came with us. We still had a great time. This year I put more effort into promoting the ride.
I start in January, putting together the website, sending out the email invitations, and inviting anyone I meet between January and the time of the ride in early April. When it finally starts to get down to ride time, I have fifteen bikes committed to the ride. But the weather this time of year has a nasty habit of interferring with outdoor plans. It turns out that very nasty weather is floating out and about for our weekend. As Friday night approaches, I start getting cancellations. I'm worried that after all these months of planning, we'll wind up cramped in the house for the weekend eating pizza, drinking beers, and watching motorcycle racing on the tube. All I can do is wait.
It has been slow at work lately so I spend all day at work changing tires on both of our VFR's. I tried to put it off until an upcoming trip in May, but the idea of riding in the rain on worn out tires doesn't sit well. What I think is going to be a task taking a few hours, turns into an all day ordeal. I finally leave the office and head home a few minutes before 7:00pm. As I am coming down the road to my driveway, I spot motorcycle headlights coming from the other direction. No sooner than I pull in the driveway, Brian Jones and Shane Christian (from Dallas) pull in behind me. Before I finish getting the bike parked, Duanne Schlosser and Scott Bass (from Austin and Bastrop) pull in as well. What great timing!
I have been planning to do a group dinner with all the people that get here by 8:00pm. However, Brian seems to be a bit hungry and suggests that we leave a note on the door and head out earlier. The only people we are waiting on at this point are David and Deanna Asencio. Their ears must have been burning because David calls a minute later. He informs me that they are about an hour out, some ninety five miles away! He tells me to get dinner and not wait for them. It does not take much arm twisting to convince me. So we head to the local Mexican restaurant with cheap and strong Margaritas.
After dinner, Duanne and Scott decide to call it a night. Just outside of town, Scott had picked up a nail with his rear tire. He managed to get it plugged but was not wild about the idea of starting a weekend ride on a bad tire. They are thinking of trying to get up and get a tire tomorrow morning. Brian, Shane and myself head back to the house to watch some taped World Super Bike racing. David and Deanna show up a little while later carrying beer. Beth gets home about 10:00pm and we spend the evening goofing off and getting to know each other. David and Deanna fit right in like old time friends. We finally call it quits so we can get to bed and be up for tomorrow's ride.