Part IV – Ft. Worth to Houston

Family Loop Tour, Part IV

By the time I got to Fort Worth, I decided that I was going to reach my daughters house that day. The gps showed my arrival time at 1 36 pm and I decided that with minimal stops, I could make it to Sea Brook and beat the rush hour traffic in Houston.

After stopping for a good lunch to make up for the lousy breakfast I had that morning, I was all set to make it to Sea Brook with minimal stops. The small town I pulled into had a Sinclair gas station. I have not seen this brand of fuel in the Phila area for over a hunrit years. What a trip down memory lane !!

This same morning while riding on rt 287, I passed a long freight train traveling in the same direction as I was going. The train must have been doing about 60 to 65 mph, because it took me quite a few miles to pass it. That sucker must have been a few miles long and all the freight cars were the same, looking like a coal car.

Well my body was not holding up as well as I needed it to make it through Houston before rush hour. My butt was really sore as was my left shoulder. As I was not able to install my throttle lock, I had to settle for the Cramp Buster, which was way better than nothing, but my hand was tired from gripping the throttle and my ear plugs felt way too big in my ears.

I was regretting not having looked further into getting a seat from Touratech. When I saw that their seat set cost $200 more than Sargent, I let the seat decision be decided by price. The only two seats that I could find that included a seat pan were the Sargent and the Touratech and Touratech uses a BMW seat pan while Sargent makes their own. But after spending way too much $$ for this new bike and outfitting it in a few months, I decided to let cost be a factor and now I was paying the price for this poor decision.

As I sit tall in the saddle of the Adventure, I was able to let my legs hang almost straight down without touching the road to relieve some discomfort from riding in the BMW Grasshopper position. In one area of I45 I moved to the left lane somewhat leaned over and my left boot hit a raised road reflector. Can you say “ouch”. Boy did that smart.

Well I had to keep making stops to rest my body and drink a lot of liquids. While the temps were in the low 90’s the winds were still quite strong.

I check on AV Rider web site to find a replacement for my Camelback hydration system and the Platypus seem to get some good reviews. The first time I used it the water tasted ok, but after that first day the water tasted like plastic to me and I only used it while riding when I was desperate.

I also tried to spit out the water that was in the drinking tube as it was hot, but I was not able to find a technique that did not get water all over my glasses and inside the face shield. I even tried raising the face shield, not to no avail.

By now my gps showed my arrival time at 2:58 pm. The unit must recalculate every now and then, because I did manage to get it down to 2:56 by riding with the traffic flow which was around 80 mph in a 65 and 70 mph zone. I always ride at the speed of the flow of traffic. And while sometimes I think about being singled out because I am in the left lane, I just take my chances and hang out there and I will move over if a vehicle gets close and I sense it wants to pass me.

Fortunately the winds were not bouncing my helmet around as much. I passed a huge statue of Sam Houston on my left, it was quite a sight.

On my one small navigational error, the gps quickly re-routed me and as my first exit was on the far right side I had to cross over four lanes to get there and a fine gentleman in a TX police car flashed his lights for me to cross in front of him. I gave him a friendly wave and noticed that the gps changed my arrival time by 2 minutes. Not too bad and I was ever grateful for having this gps on my bike as I can’t even imagine how long it would have taken me to get back on track.

Once I got off the interstate and to the suburban roads of Sea Brook I pulled over and rested while I called my daughter and let her know that I would be there in 15 minutes for my Kodak moment. She said that she would wake the 4 year old up and the baby was sleeping and the two girls would be there to greet me. And so they were camera in hand. It was good to see them and park my bike for a few days while I enjoyed my visit.

It was such a relief for me to get off the Houston interstates during early rush hour traffic. I get a lot of anxiety when I have to ride in rush hour traffic. In all fairness, I will say that overall the traffic moved very well, with very few lane change jockeys and drivers having cell phones stuck in their ears.

The left shoulder on I45 was huge in most places, over two lanes wide and I stayed in the left lane as much as possible, keeping about a five car distance for the car in front of me and very few cars pulled into my cushion space. So “hats off” to the drivers in Houston.

My wife arrived at my daughters the following day, Friday. My daughter lives near Hobby airport and Southwest is one of the major terminals there, so it works out for all of us. My wife was only staying there until Sunday and I would leave for Atlanta on Monday.

My youngest grand daughter is 14 months and the other two are 4 and 6. My wife is very close with the oldest and I was very close with the four year old. But on this trip when my wife arrived, the four year old told me that I was only getting one hug a day and my wife was getting two hugs. So now it looks like she has switched favorites, but that is ok and I did have a great time with the toddler. She walks like a drunk and her tongue is almost always hanging out of her mouth. She spent soo much time handing me all her toys.

My daughter was a gracious host to my wife and I and we both enjoyed the grand kids and all the time we spent playing with them.

My wife left on Sunday and early Monday I departed for Atlanta to visit with my other daughter and future son in law, their three cats and one very large Rhodesian Ridgeback (I think that is the correct name).

As this ride to Atlanta was going to be a little over 800 miles, I decided to ride at least 500 miles on Monday and then have a short 300 mile ride on Tuesday.