Rebel Index



Freeway Riding



* * * * * * *

Main Index

Safety Courses








My Motorcycle Blog: Memorable Rides
by Donald Ray Burger
Attorney at Law

* November, 2006 blog * * October, 2006 blog * * September, 2006 blog * * August, 2006 blog * * July, 2006 blog * * June, 2006 blog * * May, 2006 blog * * April, 2006 blog * * March, 2006 blog * * February, 2006 blog * * January, 2006 blog * * December, 2005 blog * * November, 2005 blog * * October, 2005 blog * * September, 2005 blog * * August, 2005 blog * * July, 2005 blog * * June, 2005 blog * * May, 2005 blog *

My Eleven Thousand Mile Run on My Harley

June 1, 2008:
On last Saturday's run (May 24), I realized that, with a little effort, I could make my 11,000 mile run this weekend. My original plan was to make the run on Saturday morning. Early. Real early.

That plan bit the dust when a friend told me of the Houston premiere of Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens on Friday night. The play is one long sexual innuendo, from character names to song lyrics. How could I pass that up?

Anyway, I went to a party for one of the Space Vixens afterwards, and I didn't get home until well after midnight. I had a great time at the play. If you're in Houston, give it a try, if you are not faint of heart.

The late night (and adult beverages) made me oversleep my proposed five a.m. departure, so I decided to do a short ride on Saturday and move the long run to Sunday.

Saturday night was more normal that Friday. The result was that I awoke at 5:15 a.m. I jumped out of bed, got the paper, fed the dog, checked the bees and headed out. After confirming that the tires were properly inflated, I duck-walked the bike to the end of the block (so as to not wake the neighbors) and fired it up. It was well before six.

Light was still coming on. I did my normal warmup route, and entered the freeway, heading west on I-10. I had filled the tank at the end of Saturday's ride, so I was good to go.

Traffic was very light at that hour. The temperature gauge at the house registered 77 degrees, but it seemed to cool off as I headed west. I needed thirty-five miles to reach my goal. No problem. My only worry was getting so involved in the ride that I failed to notice the odometer roll over.

Which is almost what happened. Before I realized it, I was at mile 10,998. My alert system in cases such as that is to count the seconds to myself. This reminds me that I am expecting an "event" to take place. Just as I approached the Fairfield residential development on Highway 290, the magic number appeared on the odometer. I took my hands off the handle bars and did the bird as 11000 appeared on the odometer. But I really had another goal in mind for this trip. I wanted a picture of mile 11111. Only one hundred and eleven more miles to go.

As I continued down the highway, I noticed fog beginning to appear in the fields on both sides of the road. It was scattered, and seemed to disappear as I got to it. Sort of like a water mirage on blacktop.

The fog was surprising at this time of the year. But its misty presence put me in mind of Sherlock Holmes and jolly old England. As I continued west, however, the fog thickened.

Suddenly, I hit a swarm of insects and their yellow remains instantly covered my visor. This was not good. I didn't want to use my gloved finger to clean them off, because I figured it would just smear the bug juice. So I decided to live with the splattered remains. Besides, no more insects were colliding with me. I must have interrupted a gathering of the little creatures for purposes I will not go into.

Normally, that would not have been a problem. But, within a mile or so of encountering the bugs, I hit heavy fog. And this fog was on the freeway, not just in the fields. Things got bad quickly. Visibility was reduced to a quarter of a mile before I even realized it. I could not slow down for fear of being rear-ended by a speeding car. And bugs and fog is not a winning combination. My visor was clouding over. I decided to risk smearing the bugs, and took my finger and wiped a tiny spot clear. It helped. I could see again. At least until the visor fogged over again, Which was usually in about ten seconds.

I knew I was near the light for Chappell Hill, but I could barely see ahead, let alone the sides of the road. And the fog was wiping out all the usual landmarks.

All of a sudden, I saw a flashing yellow light in the road. I slowed down. There was a number of garrish lights on my right, that looked like a big gas station. Then, without warning, the "flashing" yellow light turned red. Oops. I was in the intersection for Chappell Hill. Yikes. Fog and red lights.

I made it through the intersection, and began looking for a place to turn around, since I had missed my turn northward.

I made a u-turn and headed for the Chappell Hill Country Store. Unfortunately, there was a big "closed" sign on the door. I turned north, and entered the parking lot for a Shell/Burger King station. I parked the bike and went inside to warm up with some coffee.

Yes, you read that right. It was cold in the fog. Just before I hit it, a neon roadside sign for a car dealership had claimed the temperature was 68 degrees. I believe it. And although 68 doesn't sound cold, add the humidity of a fog bank and the wind chill of 60 mph, and coffee begins to sound mighty good.

When I got inside, I headed for the men's room to clean my visor. I used lots of water to wash off the bug remains. The wind had blown most of the body parts away, so I could not make a positive ID on the species. After washing the "remaining" evidence down the drain, I looked around for something to dry the visor. The store used air dryers. Ugh. Before I had to find out how effective that was, I spied a paper towel dispenser in another part of the men's room. I opted for that system. I kept a piece of towel in case I had to go through this routine again at another stop.

Anyway, I felt like I should buy something for the privilege of using the facilities, and French Vanilla coffee it was. I paid for the coffee and stood next to the door drinking it. Several people came into the store while I was drinking. I had my helmet in one hand and my coffee in the other. Everyone who came in talked to me. One couple asked how the ride was going, and we chatted about the effects of fog on speed. The point I am making is that my motor cycle gear was a conversation starter in the way that normal clothing would not have been. And everyone was friendly.

After finishing the coffee, I headed north on 1155. The fog was not as bad as on Highway 290, so I was able to enjoy the turns and hills. Plus, I had the road pretty much to myself. The main company I spied was what looked to be a porcupine that was crossing the road ahead of me.

Eventually, I got to Scenic Road 390, and continued west. By the time I reached Burton, it was a little after eight. I wanted to be back in Houston by nine, so I decided to head back east on Highway 290. I kept on Highway 290 through Brenham. When I reached Chappell Hill for the second time, I again pulled into the parking lot for the country store. It was still closed. This time, I noticed the sign. Closed until 9 a.m. on Sundays.

I continued eastbound. I chanced a look at the odometer and noted that I was eleven miles short of my 11111 goal. And a sign popped into view stating that Waller was eleven miles away. It looked like things would work out. I took the first Waller exit, with 11110 showing on the odometer. Just as I reached the driveway for the Wall County Line Barbeque, the odometer rolled over to 11111. I pulled in to the parking lot, got out my camera, and preserved the numerical moment in history. I then called Maria to tell her I was about forty-five minutes from home. I got back on Highway 290.

As I neared Highway 6, I noticed that the tripometer showed that I had 160 miles. I usually fill up at mile 150. I did some calculations, and decided that I should stop for gas before getting home. I pulled in to a Shell station and gassed up. The tank took 3.376 gallons.

I continued on home, and was in the driveway before 9:30 a.m. The odometer read 11,152. I had logged 187 miles in a little over three hours. It was good to get in a nice ride, and I still had plenty of time to work in the garden.

See you on the road. And don't forget to think.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

For the November, 2006, blog entries, click here.

For the October, 2006, blog entries, click here.

For the September, 2006, blog entries, click here.

For the August, 2006, blog entries, click here.

* * * * *

For the July, 2006, blog entries, click here.

* * * * *

For the June, 2006, blog entries, click here.

* * * * *

* * * * *

For the May, 2006, blog entries, click here.

* * * * *

For the April, 2006, blog entries, click here.

* * * * *

For the March, 2006, blog entries, click here.

* * * * *

For the February, 2006, blog entries, click here.

* * * * *

For the January, 2006, blog entries, click here.

* * * * *

For the December, 2005, blog entries, click here.

* * * * *

For the November, 2005, blog entries, click here.

* * * * *

For the October, 2005, blog entries, click here.

* * * * *

For the September, 2005, blog entries, click here.

* * * * *

For the August, 2005, blog entries, click here.

* * * * *

For the July, 2005, blog entries, click here.

* * * * *

For the June, 2005, blog entries, click here.

* * * * *

For the May, 2005, blog entries, click here.

* * * * *

*Note to Law Enforcement:

All statements of speeds on various streets are simple estimates, and solely for novelity purposes. Actual speeds vary, but are always lower. I'm sure that legal speed limits are never exceeded, anything in this blog to the contrary nowithstanding.

mail comments to

[Go Back to My Motorcycle Page]

[Go Back to My Home Page]