Still in Texas
The Universe is taking no time testing our fortitude. We three are sitting lined up in our tent, our first real day of camping with the rain pouring out of the heavens above us. While we have spent many a holiday back home camping and enduring such conditions, it has always been with a trusty car to pile into and drive to the nearest shopping centre or pub. The only (sometimes) unfortunate aspect of motorbikes is that you cannot escape the elements so we have decided to sit and wait it out and take the opportunity to up date our followers.
We said a fond farewell to Dallas on Monday, 24 March 2014, our home for the last three weeks. The departure was not quite as we planned and are thankful for no great send off. Checkout from the hotel was midday and true to form, we handed over our room keys at 12:01pm. The plan for the day was to take the scenic four hour ride to Austin, the capital of Texas, set up camp and explore the city the next day. While we had checked out on time, we spent the next three hours in the hotel car park loading up the bikes, throwing out excess stuff that didn't fit, repacking, throwing out more stuff and then repacking again. So we get on the road but its getting late and our communication and map systems are not working. Everything passed the pre-flight checks the day before but with the sun quickly setting we had no time to muck around so we jumped on the Interstate 35. This is not an ideal route for adventure riders travelling at 60 mph (100 km/hour). Trucks and Trailers were passing us at around 85 mph (140km/hour). A few cars slowed down beside Stu to grab a happy snap of the 'dog on a bike' then returned to their original speed. Two hours on the road, it was getting dark so we pulled in to a motel on the side of the motorway to rest our weary souls. The blaring sound of sirens outside our motel window unsettled us as we hoped into bed but could not keep us awake after the activities of the day and we quickly drifted off.. A good nights sleep and a good coffee first thing in the morning improved our perspective of the situation and there was once again excitement in the air. With the rushing around and drama of the previous day we hadn't taken the time to realise that the journey was really starting now, no turning back! With a better idea of the direction of travel we were on the road at 11am. Austin is a very pretty city. It still had the feel of winter but there were signs of Spring returning to the trees with little sprouts of bright green emerging amongst the brown mesh of tree branches. Its quite easy to imagine the place in full bloom and how bright it would be. We only stopped for a late lunch then were back on the road, our destination a KOA camping ground in San Antonio. And now we're back to the beginning of the article, sitting in the tent hoping the rain will clear in the afternoon. We were lucky it was not raining in San Antonio when we arrived last night so we were able to set up the tent, queen size blow up mattress and camping kitchen (petrol fuelled and nearly burning the tent down, but that's another story). Being stuck in the tent gave us a chance to reflect on some of the highlights of the last three weeks. We made some wonderful friends in Dallas and spent most of our time kitting up and preparing for the trip with the help of these friends. It wasn't all work though, some highlights included seeing our first ice hockey match – Dallas Stars vs Calgary Flames – at the American Airlines Centre, checking out Down-town Dallas including the famous JKF assassination site and experiencing some comic relief at Backdoor Comedy. Now looking back to the very start of our journey is the flight. The three of us were on the same flight, QF007 (Qantas). It was a 15 hour direct flight from Sydney to Dallas. Janell was close to tears when leaving Skyla with the Customs Officers and the concern only escalated until the two were reunited in Dallas. All in all, the process was fairly seamless. There was a lot of paperwork to get through in both Australia and the USA but so long as you had the paperwork completed and knew where to go with it, it was just another process. Having put some kms/miles on our bikes and tested our gear we are so far really happy with the choices we've made including our Touratech auxiliary fuel tanks which have added an extra 22L to each bike, the Touratech seats that provide some added cushioning for longer rides and the Touratech Zega Pro 45L panniers which just hold all our stuff. FYI this is not a Touratech sponsored plug guys! In addition to the Touratech accessories, we have ourselves installed a 240V inverted for the purpose of inflating our queen size blow up mattress and recharging IT equipment. For those of you that think the queen size mattress is an unnecessary extravagance on a trip such as this, let us assure you that a good nights sleep is paramount to safe riding. Let us finish by stating that it feels good to be on the road. There is a sense of excitement in the air. The bikes look good all kitted up and we can continue to refine our storage and systems. The Texas hospitality has been out of this world and it is a place we will hold dear to our hearts.
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