Sunday, October 25, 2015

Delivery Road Trip

We had decided a number of weeks ago that it would make the most and best practical use of everyone's resources for me to deliver Ben's Honda to him in Texas.  The October 23-25 weekend fit both his and my schedule, giving me time to blitz down with his bike on the trailer, behind the van.  I'd stop for a few hours of sleep when I needed them (sleeping equipment still in place from our Slimey Crud weekend), make the trip right down Interstate 35 to Killeen, TX / Ft. Hood.  Not only would his bike make the trip but with his new, more permanent assignment at Ft. Hood, it made sense for him to have more of his personal items and the bike hauler/minivan was a perfect vehicle to make that happen.

Last weekend events in my neighborhood altered some of our plans.  I opened up the Flea Market section of Adventure Rider (shouldn't have and I really do know better), saw a 650 KLR for sale within 100 miles of home, mentioned my new purchase to Mark and the two of us went after it last Friday.  Cody was thinning his collection by a count of 4 but the KLR was really the only one of his machines that belonged here with mine.  Thursday evening I texted son Ben to let him know what was happening and he wondered if my "old lethargic 250 KLR" might be for sale.

 I'll put it this way; it wouldn't have been at any other time or to anyone else.  He had spent enough time on it to grow almost as fond of it as I am.

Sunday, my brother was excited to learn that there would be some extra space in the garage, wanted to stop by to see the units inside before they all disappeared.  We then made a quick lunch run, each of us both way too busy to do any extra miles that we'd otherwise have preferred to do.....way too many home projects that needed finishing in his case, started in mine.

So this week instead of one bike passively riding to Texas on Thursday there were two of them.  I was on my way by 5PM and stopped for a few hours of rest just north of Kansas City at the last Rest Stop before the city.

I was reminded that single women seem very cautious about guys taking Rest Stop photos at 3AM and they have good cause. Hopefully she was relieved when I got back into the van and drove away.

Gas stop in Emporia, KS......hard not to be reminded of a film.....

All week, actually ever since the decision had been made to make the TX trip, I've been looking forward to returning to, actually passing through the Flint Hills again, if however briefly.

Remember this from almost exactly 4 years ago??  My Flint Hills Ride Day 2??

Looking Northeast.....

Looking North from the bridge, atop the "Mound"......

 What Teapot Mound looked like early on Friday from the Kansas Turnpike.....

(Just an aside, after my original Post about riding the Flint Hills, I had a question from a rancher in the area based on some research he'd been doing on Chase County, KS....our correspondence fun)

Seeing the area again, the names on the signs and the very few sights available from my limited access on the Turnpike brought back so many memories.  I need to get back down there for more exploring.  That view from the Matfield Green - Knute Rockne Memorial Service Area, located on a high point is incredible.  I think you can see almost half way around the world from there.....well, maybe 1/3 of the way.

 The sign warns of springtime burning with cautions about smoke across the road.....

South of the Flint Hills, land(s) of windmills, an entire 'farm' not yet up and running.

 Through KC, through Oklahoma City and finally through Ft. Worth.  At that point, local radio reports of "inches of rain" the day or so previous and I certainly found out that they weren't lyin'. 

"Avoid Interstate 35 if at all possible......"

South of Dallas/Ft. Worth, around Waco there was a section of Northbound lanes that had what looked to me like 3' of standing water.  Three lanes of stopped traffic for what I measured as 10+ miles south of there.

Pouring rain and MORE pouring rain, as if we needed any more.  Central Texas had been dry.

Between wiper sweeps.....

At least those of us Southbounders were still moving.....but that didn't last, not long enough anyway.  Beyond Waco it was our turn.  Between accidents, traffic, flooded roads, etc., etc......

Those poor, poor folks still moving North wouldn't be for long.

Free advertising......I had my fingers crossed that his oily, smoky exhaust wasn't going to foul a couple of his plugs, which then would have fouled me.

Those of you familiar with Texas freeways know about the one-way frontage roads beside the major artery roads.  Some of us with less patience, thought we'd be crafty and avoid the blockages.....

Trouble was, the road ditches were soft because Texas road ditches aren't always dry and hard.  Even for those that managed to traverse the low spots, there was for most of them the later issue of MERGING back ON, only compounding things once we actually started to move again.

 It took almost 2 hours to make my last 20 miles, but I finally made the mall parking lot in Killeen.  The rain gods were kind to rain for the swapping of personal goods, getting the bikes unloaded at his buddy's home on the Base or for us to get some dinner together.

Ben's 'new' Forerunner.......

Ben and I said our goodbyes, it was about 9PM and I felt like crawling in back for another nap right there in the quiet Walmart parking lot.  Weather radio said "Flash Flood Warning, 6-8" more rain overnight......."   Darn that Hurricane Patricia!!

Knowing what I knew about road conditions already to the north and with adrenaline flowing, I jumped back into the driver's seat and drove to a quiet gas station parking lot north of Dallas (Argyle) for a nap, deciding not to get caught in even worse conditions when traffic would be more intense the following morning.

About 3AM the local constable seemed to be nervous about my presence in the "all night pumps but store is closed" parking lot.  It wasn't a different enough time from my normal wake-if-not-rise time anyway, so I drove to Oklahoma City where another hour and a half nap carried me through to a cloudy, misty sunrise.  From there, a quite pleasant drive home.  Conditions were better, got some more views of the Flint Hills and for the most part, courteous and reasonable travelers were my company.

50 hours, 2300 miles and cargo delivered except for Ben's USB cord that I forgot to grab from under the seat.

It's good to be home.


  1. There's never a bad time for a road trip. The exception may be when there's a huge storm in the area. Maybe. I couldn't see any hills in the Flint Hills pictures. I must be getting blind.

    Nice looking KLR. I can't even get my leg over the seat, how do you do it?

    1. Richard, agree completely about road trips in general. I will always find them easy to live with. I think the hills are a matter of perspective, might help if you lie down to see them.

      Height is definitely going to be a challenge. The 250 was tall enough and I've been practicing with all of them once the soft bags and rear tail bag is on. I bend my knee sharply and go through "the gap". I can tell this new taller bike is going to demand my full attention at mount-up time. The improvement and it's a big one is that I don't have to kick start. There's a fine little red button that you push insteadl

  2. Glad, you weren't traveling by bike... At least you stayed dry during the downpour.

    1. Sonja, there was nothing about that weather down there conducive to riding. I'd have looked for a motel on high ground and waited it out (things have only become worse, so glad left when I did).

      There was a point yesterday while driving in my shorts I was sure I felt a drop on my leg, which would have been totally understandable considering conditions. I did stay dry though.

  3. That's a lot of miles in 2 days! The new-to-you 650 will replace your 250? Nice...

    1. Erik, I really wanted to try the bigger KLR and have been sort of watching for them now over the years. This one was substantially below my price threshold, at least that's the excuse I used.

      I'm honestly going to miss the 250 which in so many ways is probably a better fit for me. Don't be surprised if another one or something very competitive shows up here again someday.

  4. Coop that was a crazy number of miles to travel in two days particularly in those weather conditions. Glad you made it back to enjoy the new KLR.

    1. Karen, it was a long ways to go but it really didn't seem all that difficult, less so that I expected (been a long time since I've done that) but it was still fun.

      Seems we're still getting lucky with the weather so I'm anticipating some more miles in a few days.

  5. Wow, that is a long trip. I bet Ben was happy to have not one but two machines delivered. Glad you made it home safe and sound.

    Congrats on adding/subtracting from your stable as well.

    1. Brandy, what was really behind Ben having 2 machines down there is that he's been planning on selling his Honda. Interest in his ad was almost overwhelming, potential buyers had to be put on hold due to the weather. He expects to enjoy another sport bike some day but for now, extra restrictions on base make the KLR much more practical in most every way.

      Over the last few weeks he's been DR400 shopping. I was able to provide him with something not so different for a lot less. Now he's got time to find the one he really wants....maybe I'll have to go back down in a few weeks and bring the Barbie model back :)

  6. We must be kindred spirits. Undertaking that kind of trip, in those conditions, is unthinkable to most folks I think.

    The way I see it is if you have the means to do the favor, then by all means jump right in.

    I've been following Steph Jeavon's adventures on her 250 Honda trail bike: UK to southeast Asia, South America to Antartica, then north headed for the US and Canada. The simplicity of those small displacement trail bikes interests me.

    I was at my dealer picking up some CVT parts for my Vespa. I am planning to replace the rollers as a winter make work project. They had a Honda CRF 250L in the showroom. It's nuts, but that bike appeals to me as an adventure bike more than a BMW GS.

    1. David, as far as I'm concerned, you couldn't be MORE on track with your interest in that Honda. A fabulous machine, able to get you anywhere you might want to go. Honestly, I don't consider the 650 a step forward, just different. It's more a matter of not too big of step back though I'm hoping to be corrected.

      If you haven't yet visited, please stop here and take a look. I can't imagine anyone not finding ride inspiration here.

      I'll find Steph's story, thank you!