Lately, every time I walked out into the garage, I'd feel sadness and no small measure of guilt, looking at the two motorcycles sitting out there, side by side, unloved and unridden. But this weekend got both pretty two-wheeled girls out for a romp.
Zooty BMW got to go to Orange TX Thursday afternoon for an overnighter, where we'd be signing the BigTex Rally participants out early Friday morning.
Three of us met at the Hampton Inn in Orange at 4:45 AM to review the start procedure and then went over to the start gas station at 5:30 AM and got the riders briefed and signed out and on their way at 6:00 AM. Three other start locations were doing the same thing with their riders.
I contemplated getting a run in afterward - I'd even brought my running gear - but instead I decided to pack the bike up and head back home. It was early enough and I could be home by 9:00 AM or so, plenty early enough to go for a run in my own neighborhood.
While the rally participants were out exploring Texas and scooping up bonus points, I spent Friday getting some chores done and getting caught up on a few things. One of those things was getting some sound effects edited and loaded onto our Player's Club laptop in preparation for the upcoming production of Hallelujah Girls. Then that evening I transferred everything over from the BMW to the FZ6 and I was ready to get up Saturday morning and head north toward Dallas to meet up with the volunteers and help at the finish.
9:00 AM seemed a bit too early to head north, but I was determined to catch at least some of the Aggie football game on TV, so I climbed aboard the FZ, backed her out of the garage and proceeded north to Cedar Hill just south of Dallas.
My forward progress was stymied more than once when, first the entrance ramp onto 610 North Loop from US 59 was blocked and I found myself heading east rather than west on 610. So I had to exit 610 at the next opportunity, do a U-turn and get back up onto 610 going westbound. Then, as I approached the Hardy Toll Road, a temporary electrical sign told me that the toll road was closed at Bammel Rd. Not wanting to deal with detours and more delays I continued west to I-45. This was the very thing I was trying to avoid by taking the Hardy Toll Road. I hate the stretch of I-45 between downtown and Beltway 8 north of the city. It's narrow, with 4 lanes squeezed into the space that really should only hold 3 lanes, and the drivers in this part of town are reckless beyond belief, swerving, lane-changing, cutting other drivers off.
But I did finally manage to survive this stretch and get north of the city where traffic loosens up and the flow goes more smoothly. I stopped for gas in Buffalo and then continued on to Ennis, where I got off I-45 and onto US 287 toward Midlothian. The wind was knocking me around all morning and it seemed no matter which direction I was headed, it was hitting me broadside and pushing my lightweight little bike out of my lane. But when I turned onto 67 to ride those last few miles to the hotel in Cedar Hill I caught a bit of a break as the wind now seemed to be off my front quarter.
A last stop for gas near the hotel, it was about 1 o'clock, so I grabbed a slice of pizza from the gas station and a small yogurt and then continued on to the hotel and checked in. Up in the room, bike unpacked, riding gear replaced with shorts and sandals, I settled in just in time to catch the last of the 3rd quarter of the Aggies game.
Minutes later, my cellphone tweedled, letting me know I had a text message. It was a simple message, an address that I immediately recognized as the Rally Master's work office. I responded back with "Is that where I'm supposed to be?" and the reply immediately came back, "Yes." To that I answered, "Only if someone comes and gets me." Heck. Once I'm off the bike and riding gear is removed, I really hate getting back on the bike.
I didn't hear anything more, so continued watching the rest of the game, which the Aggies managed to lose in the 4th quarter. Then, at around 2:45 PM, a message came through that someone was coming to get me. I quickly packed up my laptop and went down to the lobby where my "ride" was waiting for me. We all convened in the conference room of the Rally Master's company office where we went through the scoring process and got some last-minute news about the riders.
Then it was back to the hotel at 4:30 PM where we knew some of the rally participants were already waiting for us. We quickly got the hotel conference room set up and we scorers got our computers ready and then we waited for the riders to go through their paperwork and ready themselves for scoring.
It took us a long time to score the riders. There were five of us doing the scoring, and there were maybe 40 or so riders. We were supposed to start scoring at 4:30 but, really, the first riders weren't ready to be scored until closer to 5:30. We scored well into the evening, well into the banquet and at one point I jumped up and grabbed a plate of food before the caterers packed things up and left.
It was good to see old friends, folks I don't get to see often, and to make new friends. I think most everyone had a good time doing the rally, judging by the smiles on their faces.
I was glad that I could help out. Besides, it gave me a good excuse to take my little "girls" out for good long rides.