Sunday, March 1, 2009

Orange Blossom Special: T-1

I awoke very early this morning, my mind spinning through the final details of preparation for my departure early tomorrow morning. It was a chilly night for south Texas - down into the low 30's - and the house was cool when I awoke at 5 AM, forcing me to snuggle deeper into my down comforter. My cat was pressed hard against my legs, providing some warmth, but no doubt she was also seeking some warmth from me, as well.

Tomorrow morning at 3:00 AM my alarm will go off. I'll be departing my house for the Buc-ee's gas station a mile away to get my start receipt for a SS1000 to Van Horn, TX. I'm excited at the prospect of getting on the road for a good long ride. It's been nearly two months since my Tucson AZ trip and I'm ready...more than ready. This will be leg 1 of a 3-legged trip. Leg 2 will take me up into NM for some national park stamping, and leg 3 will be a SS2000 to Jacksonville for the annual IBA party.

The BMW was recently serviced and on Friday I wiped her down, checked the tires, air pressure, moved the GPS cradle over from the FZ, and checked the mileage. Oh my gosh! I realized that I had a slap-full gas tank! And believe me...unlike my previous BMW or my FZ, I can really get this new BMW's tank very full. You see, there's no metal "cage" over the filler neck, so I can really top it off. This would make it very hard to squeeze a few ounces of gas in for that starting receipt. Into the house, change into jeans and boots, grab the jacket and helmet and I was off for a 50 mile loop to burn some of the gas.

My trip to Van Horn will be by way of Deming NM, to get the full 1,000 miles needed for a SS1000. I love the stretch of I-1o west of San Antonio and I'm looking forward to seeing it once more. The landscape changes dramatically from cattle grazing to rugged hill country in almost the blink of an eye as the road exits the San Antonio area and continues west. And while it does get flat west of Ft. Stockton, the road begins to rise again and ridges of mountains begin to appear near El Paso. Although this trip will be "fast track," I may stop here and there if a photo opportunity presents itself.

In Van Horn I'll be witnessing another rider's extreme multi-leg ride. I'm thrilled to be his official witness. When he finishes it, he will be one of only a small handful of LD riders to attempt and complete such a ride. I hope to get photos of his arrivals each of the two nights that mark the beginnings and endings of the ride segments.

So here it is...Sunday morning. Witness forms, map printouts, and logs - one set for each of the two certifiable rides I'll be doing - are printed out and tucked into ziplok bags. Routes are entered into the GPS. The bike is packed. Items are laid out on the kitchen counter to be grabbed as I walk out the door early Monday. My start witness will be over this evening to sign my paperwork. Have I forgotten anything?

Tomorrow: SS1000 to Van Horn

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