Riding the Texas Hill Country Labor Day Weekend 2000

  It all started because I had a bad bug to go riding with some friends. Of course the next thing I know I am inviting anyone that is interested, sort of a mini-rally if you will. So I decide to issue general invites to the VFR mailing list, the Hinkley Triumph list and the Sprint ST list. Then the word spreads on its own and I start getting emails from folks that I had never heard from before, Cool! I figure the easiest way to handle all the questions is simply to make a website with all the pertinent details and send everyone there.

  Well, when I first start making these plans, it is early July. I am thinking that surely by the first of September, the daily temperatures will be down to the mid to low nineties. WRONG! We proceed to have one of the absolutely hottest summers on record. A non-stop string of 100+ degree F days on end begins right about the Fourth of July. As it gets closer to Labor Day and the temperature shows no signs of returning to normal, more and more people begin to cancel, citing the heat as their reason. Undaunted, the die hards in the group of potential riders decide to suffer on, and on, and on...

  I had decided to base our ride from the Inn of the Hills in Kerrville. This is the place where the Honda Sport Touring Association holds its annual Hill Country Rally. The facilities are very nice and they have lots of parking space for trailers and bikes. Besides, Kerrville is conveniently located among some fantastic roads, has lots of nice restaurants and is near to Fredericksburg, a hotbed of shopping! The Inn even gave us great group rates and let me reserve a block of rooms without charging me extra. Very nice people to deal with!

  Those who can get away early Friday afternoon agree to get together for dinner in the evening. Beth and I are planning on getting away by 6:30pm. She has to work till 6:00pm and I have to get the bikes prepped and loaded on the trailer. We had just returned from our trip to North Carolina two weeks earlier. On that trip, Beth had a low speed tip over on her bike and we just picked it up from the shop Thursday evening. I have to get the oil changed in my bike BEFORE this trip. Of course I have waited till nearly the last minute. My bike is at the dealership getting its 16000 mile checkup. I am planning on heading over with the trailer to get it Friday morning before work, changing the oil, and being ready to leave with the bikes by 5:00pm. Yeah right!

  Dad and I work together. Of course he gets a call late Thursday night from a client informing him that he will be needed for an onsite consultation during the day Friday. That means I have to go in early because we cannot both be out of the office at the same time. And so it begins... The day begins to unravel.

  The new and improved plan is for Dad to get home by 2:00pm so I can run over to College Station, an hour away, and get my bike and still get back by 4:30pm or so and still get the oil changed. Well, he calls around 2:00pm and informs me that he will not be getting back until 5:00pm at best. Oh great! Finally, around 3:00, I tell the other guys in the office that they are on their own until Dad gets back, I have to leave.

  I get over to the dealership in record time. They got the 16000 mile checkup finished, changed my rear tire, scratched the rim AGAIN and did not do a full maintenance checkup because one of their tools is broken and they don't have a spare. Arrgghh! So I pay them, load up the bike and head back to Huntsville. By the time I get back to town it is already 5:30pm. This is going to be tight.

  I figure it should only take me about twenty minutes to do the oil change on my bike. It does. However, it takes another thirty to get the last freaking fairing screw in place. But before that happens, the small threaded piece the screw threads into pops out of its holder and rattles down inside the fairing. So I have to take all the others off, find the piece, remount it, and start over with the fairing. Did I mention that it is also hovering around 105 Deg. F? My patience is burning off pretty quick. But I endure and get everything back together. It is now 6:30pm. So much for getting out of town on time.

  I get the bike loaded on the trailer and head for the house to pick up Beth and her bike. She is already packed and ready to roll. It takes me a few minutes to throw some clothes in a bag and get her bike on the trailer. All we need to do is fill up with diesel and get some munchies on the way out of town. Seems simple enough. 7:30pm when we leave the house... the evening is slipping away from us...

  As I round the corner and get ready to pull into the filling station, a large diesel truck pulling about a sixty foot trailer pulls in ahead of me and blocks all the pumps. So we figure, go across the street to McDonald's, grab some grub, come back and fill up after the guy is done. We should have known better.

  We get over to McDonalds after taking forever to cross the street. No one in the traffic wants to let us get across. I pull in the parking lot to find that the drive thru line is very long. Thinking it might be quicker, I send Beth in to order inside. It has worked before. Not tonight. As I sit in the parking lot waiting in the truck, I watch the drive thru line speed by at an unprecedented rate! Finally Beth comes back out with the food. It turns out that it was packed even worse inside and took her forever just to place the order. We are now past 8:30pm.

  So we head back over to the filling station thinking the guy with the big truck and trailer will be gone. Once again, it takes us a while to get across the street. Guess who is STILL filling up!? Good grief. I finish my fries before this guy is done and gets out of the way. So we finally fill up, top off the bikes and hit the road. I glance down at the clock as we are heading out of town, 9:15pm, nearly three hours late, and we have at least a four and half hour drive ahead of us.

  Fortunately, the drive out to Kerrville is not too bad. However, we have been in drought conditions since early July, so what do you think happens when we arrive on the west side of College Station? It is raining of course. I had just cleaned my bike too. Now they are both covered in a thick coating of road spray and mud. Great. Anyway, we make good time the rest of the trip and get in around 1:30am. We see everyone else's bikes in the parking lot. We get checked in, unload the bikes and go to bed. Our wake up call is for 7:30am. I guess it was just one of those days. Thank God it's over!

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