Steph, May 17, 2015, Cooksey Park, Camp Wood, Texas
We’ve been riding for 7 days from central Florida to central Texas on a mission to hammer out nearly 2,000 miles to our first destination, Big Bend National. Feeling a bit discouraged since we’re averaging only about 200 miles a day and not enjoying the fast speeds and volume of traffic. This is not our preferred way of traveling. We’re most happy meandering in a general direction via back roads without much of a plan. Minor mechanical adjustments have set us back a few hours on two of those days and our butts are sore. One of those setbacks turned out to be a sweet experience. We parked our bikes under the porch of a closed down feed shop next to the Short Stop restaurant/gas station/general store in Burton, TX population 302. Several passersby stopped to ask if we needed help and to chat about where we were going. At one point there were six people gathered around us. One fellow drove back to his house to grab his tool chest and loaned us a ratchet handle, asking that we return it to the Short Stop since they know him. They know everyone at the Short Stop.
My body is not adjusting to sitting on a motorcycle seat yet. Less than 500 miles into our trip I developed a sensitive red rash from the friction of sitting on my seat for hours on end. Each morning when I get on my bike I wince in pain, yet I do it because I know we’ll be that much closer to Big Bend where we plan to spend a few days hiking and relaxing. I just need to push through these next 1,500 miles. After about 45 minutes of riding it becomes unbearable as I shift around on my seat trying to find relief. We stop and take breaks as needed.
The scenery of the last 800 miles or so has been bleak. Yesterday that changed when finally – with the help of some local Harley riders at the historic four corners Garvin Store where we bought $47 worth of homemade beef jerky – we found ourselves on the gorgeous rolling roads of Texas Hill Country. The road beneath us changed from uninspiring and forgettable semi-truck laden flatness to rolling ribbons and fun curves cutting through 5,000-acre ranches with expansive views of distant green hills dotted with sheep and goats. Turns out we’re riding one of the most scenic paved motorcycle routes in the country – Three Sisters. We even managed to find a dirt road for a few miles where livestock roam without fences and high water crosses over the flooded low points.
The slower pace and serenity of traveling these back roads has encouraged us to slow down and take a day off moving. We found a lovely, quiet campground on a river – again, with the help of a local. The peacefulness and cool breeze tempts us to stay an extra day to simply relax and heal our bodies and spirits.