Sunday, April 26, 2009

Day Ride to Dublin Texas

Day Ride to Dublin Texas

My wife’s uncle invited me to go on a ride with some of the members of his church. They were going to be leaving from North Richland Hills Baptist Church after a Leading Man Breakfast meeting this past Saturday morning. So, I was up early Saturday getting my V-Star 1100 ready for the ride. I tightened up the slightly leaking oil line fittings going to the Oil Relocation Kit filter housing and put the half quart of Amsoil left over from the recent oil change in the saddlebag. Then I added a small tool kit and organized the contents of the saddlebags a little better. Lastly I gave her a much needed bath.

I draped myself in my leather boots, chaps and jacket and headed to my wife’s uncles house. It was very overcast and there was some slight sprinkling going on here and there. I put on my riding sunglasses with the yellow lenses which brighten up dreary days making it look like a sunny day. The forecast was for 30% scattered showers and lots of wind. I had checked the news radar before leaving and all the heavy precipitation, thunder storms, was to the west of D/FW. I was not sure at that time which direction we were going to be riding in.

I stopped and filled up the fuel tank on the way to my wife’s uncle’s house. I arrived and he got his riding vest on and backed his Honda Goldwing out of the garage and we were headed to the church to meet up with the other riders stopping on the way to fuel up the Goldwing. The bikes were all lined up in a row and we were now ready to go. I found out there were a total of five of us going on this ride and we were headed to Dublin Texas.

We had an interesting collection of motorcycles going on this ride. The lead bike was a brand new Yamaha V-Max. What a beautiful piece of technology, it literally purred when started. He was followed by a Honda Goldwing, my V-Star 1100, another Honda Goldwing and riding drag was a Suzuki Volusia. I put on my Airflow gloves and we rode out of town staggered fashion and headed west. We battled the normal Saturday morning traffic as the winds picked up enough to keep you on your toes.

We made our way through Fort Worth and ended up headed East on Interstate 20 to 281, where we stopped for fuel. I was glad I still had my leathers on because it was still cool in the late morning. After refueling we headed south on 281 and from there I completely lost track of the directions, and just enjoyed the ride.

The ride down was refreshing. I’m sure we did not take the most direct route because for the most part there was not much traffic and we turned onto other roads several times. There were a lot of twists and turns which made the ride fun. The scenery was gorgeous, Texas farmland, the start of the Texas Hill Country, huge beautiful older homes with wrap around porches, antique cars, Texas Longhorn cattle, dairy farms, goat farms, old buildings and barns. The odor from the dairy farms is one memory I do not relish.

We arrived in Dublin to get stuck in a long line of traffic. It tuned out that we had arrived just after the Cowboy Culture Celebration Parade. The proof was on the ground in the road left over from the horses and added another element of dodging to the mix. We turned off a side street and parked across the street from Old Doc’s Soda Shop. The Texan sun was starting to come out a little now and it was starting to heat up so I removed my leather chaps and stored them in my saddle bag. In the field next to Old Doc’s there was a line of horsemen that, after looking at the itinerary later, must have been the Ft. Hood Mounted Calvary.

It was 11:55 AM when we went into Old Doc’s for lunch. We had traveled a little over 103 miles from North Richland Hills, according to someone’s GPS, to get to Dublin for lunch. I had a smoked turkey sandwich and a large Dr. Pepper. Of course, real Dr. Pepper made with the original recipe and Imperial Pure Cane Sugar, is what Dublin is famous for. And Old Doc’s, serves them up hand mixed, soda jerk style. Several riders had another soda bar specialty, Frosty Peppers, a Dr. Pepper float made with another Texan favorite, Blue Bell Vanilla ice cream. The food and drinks were very good and the small town nostalgia made for excellent ambience.

We did not stay around for any of the tours this trip. I will have to make a trip back for that though. Lunch over we geared up and hit the trail. I decided to ride without my gloves, which later may have proved to be a mistake. I switched to my Oakley sunglasses for the ride back because the sun was out some. Honestly, I’m not even sure we took the same route back or not.

The ride back was fairly uneventful. We stopped one time for fuel. The wind had picked up and it was pretty bad. It was a constant struggle the keep the bikes upright. You would lean into the wind and then it would suddenly die down and you had to quickly correct your lean again. Some of the gusts were extremely strong and we battled this all the way home. It made for a tiring very ride and I was exhausted when I arrived home at 3:30 PM.

After getting my leather jacket off and getting a cold glass of ice water, it slowly became apparent that this fair skinned large guy had forgotten one important item for my trip, suntan lotion. The exposed strip on my forehead, my face from below my sunglasses, my neck, earlobes, and the backs of my hands from my knuckles to a couple inches above my wrists were all turning bright red. I looked like a reversed exposure raccoon. I quickly applied sunburn lotion to all burned areas.

There were several other interesting side effects of this ride. First my rear end was very saddle sore not being used to being in the saddle for such an extended period of time. Even with a Corbin seat, I am no Iron Butt, that’s for sure. Both my hands had a slight buzzing sensation to them, like when you have held a vibrating object for too long. This and the sunburn is where those gloves may have helped. For awhile I thought I might get a blister on the inside edge of my right thumb, from gripping the handgrips so tightly, but it did not blister up. My ears were a little deaf from the wind, road noise and my Cobra exhaust. Also, despite using my cruise control on occasion, my right wrist and forearm were very soar from twisting the throttle so much, something I really enjoy doing.

We saw a lot of other motorcyclists on our 220 mile ride and I tried to wave when I saw them in time and it was safe to do so. We also encountered a lot of local police and State Trooper vehicles, most of which had travelers already pulled over. I learned a lot about riding in a group and my limitations on this trip. I also learned to plan a little better for the trip, like using SPF 99 sun block. There are also a couple pieces of equipment and accessories for the bike I would like to get that would make longer rides more enjoyable. Things like a cup holder would be nice. I forgot to pack my digital camera so the photos were taken with my Palm Treo phone. I can’t wait to get back to Dublin the try one of those Frosty Peppers at Old Doc’s Soda Shop and take a tour of the museum and the Dr. Pepper plant.

Ride on,
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