Rebel Index



Freeway Riding



* * * * * * *

Main Index

Safety Courses








My Honda Rebel 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 *

"Twenty-five Thousandth Mile Run"

Last weekend John email me, noting that we should try to get in a long ride before the weather turned hot. As it happened, I was nearing my 25,000th mile mile run, so I proposed a Saturday or Sunday jaunt. Sunday worked for John, so we reserved the date.

On the 13th, I took a very early morning ride out Highway 290. I was looking for a restaurant I remembered seeing on an earlier trip. I couldn't remember whether I had been on one of the streets in Hempstead or Waller at the time. A prior trip had eliminated Hempstead as the location.

This time I hit paydirt. I took the main exit to Waller off Highway 290, and headed south on FM 2920. Within half a mile I had come to a little restaurant that was surrounded by pickup trucks. It was called Ranchito Taqueria, and it appeared to be very popular with the locals. I didn't have time to stop, but I was pleased to note that the restaurant was open on an early Sunday morning--and it was just before seven at that. I figured John would enjoy the place, so I included it in my planning for our long ride.

John and I traded emails during the week, firming up the departure time and place, and making contingent plans if bad weather hit. But, bad weather seemed unlikely. In fact, we were having Chamber of Commerce temperatures--and unseasonably low humidity.

Saturday afternoon I checked the oil and gave the Rebel a wash. I located my pocket compass and the can of tire inflator in case of a flat. I got out the maps and picked our route. John had mentioned that a stretch of Scenic Highway 390 had been under construction the last time he had ridden it, so I plotted an alternate route in case it was still a mess.

On Sunday, I arose around 5:30 a.m., got the paper and fed the dog. I checked the air in the tires and then took a shower. When I came back down, I wheeled the Rebel into the driveway so John would know I was ready if he drove by early. We had agreed on a seven o'clock departure time, but I know how hard it is to estimate exactly when you will arrive at a distant location. And John was coming from Kingwood.

Just before seven, Sarah started barking up a storm. John was at the door, helmet in hand. I had not heard the rumble of his Harley, and I made a comment to that effect. He claimed he ahd employed stealth technology, but I think he just coasted into the cul de sac. Given the early weekend hour (and the distinctive sound of his Harley), it was the courteous thing to do, because it surely made for a quiet arrival.

Before John had shown up, I had made each of us a copy of both my "hoped for" route and the "alternate" route. I went over each route with him, and we were ready. We got on our bikes and headed out. Because it was my anniversary ride, John let me take the lead.

Just as I do at the start of every ride, I weaved my way through the neighborhood on a "warm up" route prior to entereing the freeway. When I reached the feeder road for I-10, we entered the freeway and headed west. The paper had reported construction work at 610 and 290, but everything was supposed to be over by 5 a.m.

As I headed north on Loop 610, I held my breath. We topped a rise, and there were no construction cones in sight. More importantly, there was no traffic congestion.

We got on Highway 290, and headed out of town. Waller is a little over forty miles from the house. Normally, that would be no problem. But this morning I was dressed in my usual summer riding gear, including my Vanson ventilated jacket. I love that jacket in the summer. It has armor at the shoulders, elbows and back, and plenty of pockets. And the ventilation is excellent. But that was a bit of a problem this morning. The temperature was in the low 60's, with hardly any humidity. It was actually chilly riding at 70 mph* and I was closely watching my odometer and the exit signs, willing Waller to appear before I shivered to death.

At last, the sign for FM 2920 rolled into view, and I put on my turn signal. We went south on FM 2920 for about half a mile to a strip shopping center on the west side of the road. Between the road and the strip center was our destination: Ranchito Taqueria. I was happy to note that it was open, and had a crowd.

We pulled into the parking lot, and exchanged our helmets for do rags. Piratically attired, we headed for the entrance. John commented that the food must be good, given the number of ranch vehicles already parked in the lot.

We grabbed a table and settled in. The restaurant was nicely warm, as was the fresh coffee. We each ordered the huevos rancheros, and both the price ($2.65) and the quality was top rate.

After a leisurely breakfast, we headed back to Highway 290, and made our way west to Chappel Hill. Fortunately, the temperature had warmed up--or maybe it was the coffee.

John and I have developed a standard route through this hilly country. We took it today. From Highway 290, we headed north on FM 1155 all the way to FM 2193. We then headed west for a short distance until we hit FM 105. Once again, we headed north. In barely a mile we were at the intersection for Scenic Highway 390, which we took west to Independence.

This road has some wonderful hills and curves, and one really sharp 90 degree turn just before the final stretch into Independence. We passed several bikers along the way, both the motor cycle kind and the ten-speed kind.

When we reached the intersection of 390 and FM 50, we continued on west, going past the four pillars that mark the original entraance to Baylor University. We have ridden past this Texas Stonehenge many times. Today, for whatever reason, I decided to pull in for a closer look.

I made a sharp right at the last second, and we headed down a well-worn path. We parked in a parking area close to the pillars, and began our walking tour. Someone had put up very informative plaques throughout the area. We learned that Baylor was originally co-educational, and that it was established by the State of Texas as a Baptist University. Whether tax dollars were used, or whether the school was simply "chartered" is not clear to me. Anyway, the co-educational status lasted only as long as the first headmaster. His replacement would have nothing of young men and women learning together, so a second campus was established a mile or so away for the males.

After visiting the ruins of the dining hall (and noting the thickness of the walls and smallness of the rooms), we view some "dog trot" cabins. A dog trot cabin consists of two wings, each connected to a large central porch with a roof over it, and open on the sides. Apparently, in those days before air conditioning, many tasks were performed in the large covered breezway.

One of the plaques discussed the fact that Sam Houston had lived in Independence before moving to Huntsville, and that the Mrs. Sam Houson home was nearby. I expressed a desire to see the structure, so we doubled back down Highway 390 until we came to it, just east of the intersection with FM 50.

We easily located the Mrs. Sam Houston house on the south side of the road. The Houstons had lived there before they moved to Huntsville. She had moved back to the house after Sam had died in Huntsville, and lived there until she died. From the house, we rode to the men's campus, or what was left of it. Mostly there was only foundational footprints of the original buildings. There was a bell tower, but I think it had been reconstructed. No bell remained.

We decided to end out visit with a tour of the town square. Independence was once a bustling community. Now, all that remains of downtown is a solitary building. The plaque said that when the railroad asked for approval to come through the town, the leaders of the Baptist university and certain town fathers oppossed it. One can just imagine their arguments against the riffraff that would surely come into the town with the railroad. So, the railroad was rejected and a route was found where it was more welcome. Independence, its purity intact, died for lack of commerce. Baylor relocated to Waco, and the doom of the town as a vibrant community was sealed.

On that note, we headed west again, looking for fuel and a bathroom. At Burton we came upon a gas station with a collection of motorcyclists who were sitting around enjoying the morning air. We filled up our tanks, then began to look for a restroom. The actual gas station was locked up. Only the pumps were on. We decided to try our luck in Brenham.

We came to a busy gas station, and pulled into a couple of spots near the side. I got a big V-8 juice (Spicy Hot). As I was paying, the clerk asked me where we were from, and where we were headed. I exchanged pleasantries with her until John was ready to head out. I was once again surprised at how eager people are to talk to bikers.

Back at the bikes, I gave John the option of stopping nearby for lunch or pushing on to Newman's in Bellville. He took the lead down 290 to Highway 36, then south to Bellville. I was hungry when we pulled into Newmans. More bikers were in the parking lot, ready to take off. They had come from the NASA area, and were enjoying the morning coolness.

After talking with them for a minute, we went inside and I ordered a hamburger, french fries, tea and, of course, a glazed doughnut. I ate the doughnut while waiting on the hamburger. John, pleading a new diet, passed on lunch.

The hamburger and fries were okay, but nothing to write home about. Clearly, Newman's is a doughnut Mecca, and the glazed offering lived up to their standards.

John and I talked about this and that while I ate. I even got a call from the Houston Museum of Natural Science, where I am helping with their new bee exhibit and observation hive. I always have my cell phone on while riding, but I can only hear a call if I am stopped. And you sure can't answer a call while wearing a full faced helmet. It was pure luck that Nancy called at a time when I could hear the phone ring, let alone talk.

After I finished the call, I told John that no landmark ride of mine could take place without a trip to a bookstore, so I intended on stopping at the Half Price on Highway 529. John said that he would pass. So, we decided to head out on the final leg of our trip, and split up as we passed the bookstore. Which is what we did.

FM 529 has pleasant memories for me, as it was one of the first routes I took in the Bellville area. One always meets lots of bikers coming and going on the road, and we saw our share on this trip. There are some nice curves near the Bellville section of the ride.

Just before Highway 6, I pulled into the parking lot of the bookstore, and John continued on home. It had been a pleasant day together, with almost as much time off saddle as on. I was glad we had taken the time to explore Independence.

I put on my do rag and headed inside the bookstore. I struck pay dirt instantly in the "current fiction" section, with a book on humor of the racy kind. I also found a couple of tomes in the philosophy section, and a work of fiction to boot. I was closely watching the page count, and after the fiction book, I decided I had reached the limits of what I could haul home. So I payed up and headed outside to pack. I stuffed both the front and the back of my Vanson jacket with my treasures, and headed out.

The ride back was every bit as pleasant as the rest of the trip, except for the lack of hills. My paralegal, Cynthia, lives on Highway 6. As I passed her apartment complex, I gave her a couple of toots on the horn. Doubt she heard me.

By the time I made it back to the house, it was almost 4:00 p.m. I had been on the road for nine hours, and 210 miles. A great annivesary run. The odometer stood at 25,115 miles. It was good to be out on two wheels, and good to be back home.

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]