Okay, I'm really diggin' this now, getting the hang of this "tour" thing, and figuring out how to maximize my time and the locations. The way this works is that every location within my own state is worth one point, an adjoining state is worth 2 points, and states beyond that are worth 3 points.
Many of the names in the song lyrics have more than one location in the U.S. There are some places I'll never get to in the time limits of the contest, regardless of their location, so I can scratch these off the list right away. Where there is a choice of locations, I can gain the most points by choosing the location furthest away from TX. And there are those places where there is no chance I can get to the higher point locations between now and end of November, when the contest ends. Pasadena and Santa Fe are two examples of these.
I headed out with a friend of mine for a lunch ride to east Texas where we picked up Pasadena and Dayton TX. She's doing the H.O.G. ABC's of Touring contest and needed a "P" and a "D" along with a few other letters, so we had fun scouting and riding to collect these locations.
The next day, a fellow BMW rider and I headed down to Galveston for an early morning ride and breakfast. Along the way, we passed through Santa Fe, and stopped to snap a photo of my bike and flag in front of the beautiful historic Santa Fe School District building. It was a rainy day, but it didn't matter. We had the whole day with each other, doing something we both enjoyed doing. We continued down Highway 6 toward Galveston and had a delightful morning watching the seagulls, sipping fruit smoothies and getting to know each other.
We reluctantly began heading toward Houston, running into heavy rains along the way. We pulled into a gas station and stood huddled together beneath the overhang, dripping wet, but laughing at our plight. As we got further north on Highway 288 and close to my exit, I moved to the right lane, and he pulled up along side me and we waved to each other, made the telephone hand signal, telling each other to call and report that we'd each gotten home safely. Sadly, this will be my last memory of him. He died the following Sunday in a tragic motorcycle accident. I will forever see his smile and wave in my memory.
Next entry: Collecting major points in the northwest.