December 17, 2007 GMT
Texas

To find a town big enough to have a small motel, we had to ride through New Mexico and an hour into Texas.


Just after the Texas border we were riding along when I noticed something by the fence on the side of the road. Thinking it was a Deer, I slow right down and its then that we realise that the animal is in fact a very large Wild Boar. The big pig then runs out in front of us for a while before trying to force his way through a fence on the other side of the road, speechless.

Close to the New Mexico/ Texas border as far as the eye can see are cotton fields mixed in with the odd oil pump.



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Stopping in the town of Post, we unpack while watching the local news, the local Sheriff is talking about the drive by shooting that occured that afternoon and he had every confidence that his team will find the gunman without delay. Its then that I notice the three dead bolts on the motel room door and the scuff marks on top of the chair thats been wedged under the door handle too many times. Suddenly I am not as confident as the Sheriff.


After a night where I check the bike a few dozen times, we check out and hit the road, heading south east toards Abilene then finally after a couple of hours on the interstate, we arrive in Arlington and the home of Curtis and Janet.


These guys had kindly offered us their basement to stay in for a while so we could take a break and also get the bike serviced and basically get ready for Mexico down. Its a very strange feeling being stopped, its almost like we both realise that the trip is now half over and we both feel quite sad at the thought. The trip so far has been a blast and I just dont want it to end, but increasingly the worry about money creeps into the trip, as does home and what we do when we return - basically real life is catching up and all I want to do is ride to keep ahead.


With 15,000 miles behind us, we have rode throughout Alaska, down through Canada and travelled quite extensively throughout the US. We are now halfway through and completed "the easy bit" while spending 65% of our budget. This means that we face the "hard bit" of Central and South America with less money than we had originally planned.


Em and I sit down and have a heart to heart and address what the trip means to us both, thankfully we are on the same page. This trip is our adventure to get from the top of the world to the bottom and neither of us was going to settle for anything else but Ushuaia Argentina. If this means that we have to speed up and complete the trip quicker then so be it, if we have to skip the resort style places that we had hoped to stay at once in awhile so be it, if we have to pass some of the attractions that we had hoped to visit, so be it, - we can always return to visit places that we ride through at a later date, but this is our one opporutnity to complete this journey as one ride, one adventure.


Curtis and I take ourselves off for a few days ride out while leaving Em to relax with Janet, we ride down to La Feria close to the Mexican border that we will cross after Xmas. Taking the scenic route back to Arlington, we even manage a couple of hours on the dirt before rolling into the garage after covering 1650 miles in four days, good fun, but I thought I was suposed to be having a rest?



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While Curtis and Darren are off being boys, Janet takes me under her wing and shows me around Dallas. We meet up with her work colleagues for lunch, then a tour around downtown Dallas - which has a really nice feel about it. We stop to admire the bronze sculptures of a cattle drive set around a stream right in the middle of Dallas. This cattle drive has 50 individual bronze sculptures of cattle and 3 cowboys herding them, it is a lovely piece of art in an authentic setting.



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Cattle drive in Downtown Dallas


We also pass the Kennedy memorial fountain where a cross on the ground marks the actual spot where Kennedy was assasinated.


Janet also sets about getting me organised for Christmas with lots of visits to local shopping malls and interesting things to see.


After returning, we service the bike after getting the 20,000 mile schedule from BMW Fortworth and work through the service sheet in the garage, all oils, filters, brakes, valves, tire swap and general check - the result is a different bike. I didnt realise how much the Beemer needed the TLC and we saved a bundle on labour costs too.



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Two days later Curtis and I once again get the bikes out, this time we are heading for the home of one of the other couples joining us from Mexico down. I have agreed to look after their home and dogs while they are on holiday for two weeks - earning some much needed petrol money in the process.


One problem, their home is in Alabama, meaning that we ride for 14hrs stopping only for fuel and coffee and cover the 750 miles in one hit to ensure we get there before they need to get to the airport. This is the first time in 4 months that Em and I have been apart as she stays back in Texas with Janet. After the initial thoughts of its nice to have your own space, I must admit I really missed her and the bike feels all wrong on my own.


While in Alabama, I strip the bike to thououghly clean everything and check tension and settings of everything. I also fit an extra power socket ready for my heated vest (hopefully now Em will stop nagging me about it!).


The weather out here had been unseasonally hot, until the time came for me to ride back to Texas, now it was cold but thankfully dry. Leaving Alabama about 3pm I eventually stopped for the night at 11pm, as I could no longer feel my hands and feet. Next morning I woke early to get a head start on the traffic, from my room I look out at the bike which is covered in heavy frost, as is the car park and surrounding areas. The first 100 miles the frost is still visible on the side of the road before it finally warms up a bit, I arrive back in Arlington around 11am after covering over 3000 miles in seven days of riding - I was really enjoying the rest.


Whilst Darren is gone Janet pampers me and organises a massage, facial and several evenings wallowing in the hot-tub eating chocolate.


We also go to see the Nutcracker performed by the Russian Ballet in Downtown Dallas which is great. We go to 'Bunko' which is a ladies group that meet once a month to play a dice game, this is a really fun night and I come away with $20 more than I started with!


Although my highlight has to be going to see the Dallas Stars (ice hockey) play the Los Angeles Kings. I get kitted out in a Dallas Stars sweatshirt and we head downtown on the train. The stadium is huge and we have a good view of the action.
Lots of quirky things happened that I wasn't expecting like everyone standing to sing the National Anthem before the game started (all the fans shout 'stars' really loudly when it is mentioned in the anthem!). During the interval lots of fun things happen on the ice and around the stadium with a 'kiss cam' catching couples out in the audience, a hot air balloon that drops food vouchers and interviews with local servicemen/ women where they are thanked for their service and the whole stadium stands to applaud them for their courage.

The game itself was great too and nowadays not as violent as I remember.

During the time Darren is away, Thanksgiving Holiday occurs. This is an extra holiday to us Brits, which is pretty much like Christmas Day (without the presents), lots of food brought by everyone and a real family occasion.


We stay with the Texans for one more week, before finally the road is calling again and Em and I head south to South Padre Island in southern Texas.
This place is to Texas, what southern Spain is to the UK. Holiday homes, beaches and restaurants as well as multiple hotels everywhere, this is good news to us as the competition drives down room prices. Also the motels do weekly and monthly rates for those that wish to winter in the sun.



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After staying here for a while we head out back to La Feria about an hour away, where we stay in an RV / holiday home park, again the guests of the Texans.

Its from here that the four bikes will leave for the border just after Xmas. Our time is spent route planning and loading GPS software as well as organising Mexican insurance and currency, I also fit another set of tyres on the Beemer and ensure we are set for the second half of our adventure.

This is when the trip really starts...

Posted by Darren Homer at December 17, 2007 08:20 PM GMT
 
 

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