It has stopped raining, but I wasn’t able to get any sleep at all so I’m pretty knackered. Today is going to be very long as I really want to make up for lost time so I am going to be riding about 350 miles today to a place called Ozona for tonight and then on to San Antonio to visit The Alamo and finishing tomorrow night at Seguin Texas. Best get started then!
Today is hot but not too hot… it’s actually perfect riding weather, well for me anyway.
The interstate is straight and there is not much to see except mile upon mile of similar scenery.. On one stretch I see it is going to be a windy section…
Now I know we all need electricity, none more so than me I am sure, but come on guys.. really? On top of these beautiful, monuments… shame!
I was right about the wind, but there has been worse and I guess I’m kind of an old hand at this now so really doesn’t bother me.
What is bothering me is that I think I am falling asleep, only for a few seconds at a time, but I am on a motorcycle… sleeping is not recommended!! I do feel like I have gaps and so I try and stop as often as I can. This part of the i10 is pretty sparsely populated with not very many towns so I do utilize the rest areas when then come along, which is about every 50-100 miles.
At one rest stop I lie down on the concrete bench and have a snooze for about 10 minutes before I am woken up by a lorry that is parked opposite me and is running his engine. I have noticed this a lot. Many cars seem to be left with the engine running while the driver goes into the shop or the petrol station… it seems very weird to me… aren’t they worried someone might steal it, or indeed the cost of the petrol or even more so the cost to the environment?? I can only assume it is to keep the air con running, but is it really going to heat up that much in so short a time? Well, guess its none of my business really, but this lorry was seriously pissing me off… I mean I am dog tired, falling asleep on the bike and all I wanted was 20 minutes, but this guy has to keep his cab freezing!
After a while I am in need of petrol… I’m actually worried I might not make it to the next station, but before long there is a sign for gas at the next turn off. I take the slip road and find that I have to go right 2 miles to a place called Balmorhea… rather scottish I thought… to get the petrol. I also take the chance to have some refreshment and something to eat. As I’m eating I hear what I think is thunder… hang on it’s brilliant sunshine outside. I finish up and go out to take a look… behind the petrol station is a dirty great big thunder cloud and as I’m looking it is shooting out forked lightening… OMG I’m not riding in that. I quickly jump on the bike to get myself back onto the i10 before the storm catches up. I am about 300 yards down the road when I realize I am probably not going to make it… what to do? I don’t like riding in the rain and I certainly don’t like getting wet, but this is different. Lightening has been known to kill bikers.. I think the lightening strikes and either kills the rider outright or knocks them out and then of course they crash. Anyway, I’m not riding in a thunderstorm. I turn around back to the petrol station thinking I can just wait it out… but how long will that be? Then I notice the business road, this is something that is quite common over here, on some sections especially in towns there is a parallel road that runs next to the interstate where a lot of the local businesses are located, there is access along the road on to the interstate. Now this road here is 2 miles away from where I left the interstate but will join up again with it somewhere along the line and it’s out of the range of the thunder cloud. Right off I go… yep in about 1 1/2 miles there is a slip road on to the i10, but I can see the cloud in my mirror and it seems to be closer… oh no, don’t say it is moving that fast!! Ok time to ride it like I stole it… 80, 85, 90… it still looks closer… ok 95… now I feel like I’m getting away from it; not falling asleep now I can tell you!
I must have done about 30-40 miles before I feel like I am out of danger… maybe I am overreacting, I don’t know, but I ain’t going to test it that’s for sure, it just isn’t worth it. The interstate is mostly pretty remote, there are no high structures, or trees even, to attract the lightening and although there are cars and lorries it isn’t really all that busy so the chances of a biker getting struck are pretty high as far as I am concerned.
I pull in to the next rest area with mighty relief I can tell you… phew!
As I am nearing my destination, Ozona, I’m now in mid Texas and have crossed into another time zone so have jumped forward another hour making me 6 hours behind the UK, but this means it is getting really late. With about 60 miles to go I pull in to what I think will be my last rest area. As I get off the bike I see I have, yet again, lost something off the bike… my ride waistcoat with all my badges etc. on. That has got all my memorabilia from all my tours, in the UK and Europe.. nope I’m going to have to go back and find it, some of it is irreplaceable.
I jump straight back on the bike and ride to the next turn off to turn around and rejoin the westbound carriageway of the i10. Now of course I don’t know when the waistcoat fell off, my last stop was about 50 or 60 miles ago I think… bloody hell what time am I going to get to Ozona now! But it doesn’t matter because I will keep searching until I find it.
I take it fairly easy, while at the same time looking over at the other carriageway to see if I can spot it. I do see a couple of possibilities, but I can’t be sure so I keep going.. I wonder if I should go back to the petrol station at Balmorhea, but I know I have stopped since then and would have noticed if it was missing then. After about 50 miles I see the rest stop where I last stopped so carry on until I can cross back over the interstate.. this is at Fort Stockton about 110 miles from Ozona. I ride quite a bit slower along the eastern side at about 60mph… after about 5 miles I see it, it is on the left hand side of the road just inside the hard shoulder. I pull over to the hard shoulder on the right and park up… I then walk back, cross over and get it… whew! what a relief, I am so happy to have found it. I can see that it has been run over and some of the metal badges have been damaged, but its not the time now to access what’s missing etc. I need to get back on the bike and get to Ozona asap.
After that 100 mile detour I’m not going to arrive now until 10.30ish so I guess I must have stolen it again because it’s 90+ all the way and I’m very pleased to get there by just gone 10 including a stop for petrol. I haven’t got a hotel of course and I’m not going to chance it so I buy some data and look on booking.com to find a hotel that has got good reviews. The Motel 6 looks ok, I haven’t stayed in one of these yet so I book it.. a deluxe room with double bed, coffee maker, iron etc etc… now remember that.
Up and down, up and down, can I find it? Noooo… I ask someone, they give me directions.. to the travel inn… ok so what’s going on. I have put the address in my gps but it’s routing me to nowhere. Then I spot a sign with a 6 on it, its on the fence in front of the Hillcrest Lodge… mmm maybe that’s it. Yep, this is it. The woman behind the desk tells me where my room is, its up a flight 11 wooden steps to a row of what appear to be very small sheds.. Oh, I usually ask for a ground floor room as I do have the very heavy bags but, she says this is all they have left.. ok well beggars can’t be choosers so I just have to get on with it.
The room is very small and they have used the ‘wardrobe’ or hanging cupboard for the fridge and microwave to live, so there’s nowhere to hang my jackets. There’s also no coffee maker or iron and I can’t connect to the internet.. it’s the same problem I’ve had before, I can get on the wifi but it won’t connect to the internet. I ring them and eventually its connected ok. The bathroom is ok but there is only one very thin largish towel and one hand towel, not really what I am used to. I’m absolutely knackered and to be honest can’t even be bothered about it all, I just want to go to bed. zzzzzz at last!